DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Divisional Round
The main slate at DraftKings remains the full weekend in the Divisional Round. As such, the roster suggestions below are with main-slate roster construction in mind. The picks this week include a QB/TE stack that’s part of a three-man game stack, a two-man game stack, and a standalone stud who’s likely to be the chalkiest play this weekend.
Tom Brady (QB – NE): $7,000 vs. Titans
Rob Gronkowski (TE – NE): $7,100 vs. Titans
Rishard Matthews (WR – TEN): $4,500 @ Patriots
The Chiefs shredded Tennessee’s defense in the first half of last week’s Wild Card game. However, when Travis Kelce was knocked out of the game with a concussion, Kansas City’s offense fell apart. You can be sure that Bill Belichick took note of Kansas City’s ability to carve up the Titans through the air when they were at full strength last week.
Anything can happen in one game, but Tennessee’s struggles defending the pass and tight end were not an outlier. Football Outsiders (FO) ranked the Titans 20th defending the pass and 24th defending tight ends in the regular season.
Brady and Gronk are the top players at their respective positions. This year, Brady ranked first in pass attempts (581), fifth in completion percentage (66.3%), third in touchdown passes (32), and tied for fourth in yards per pass attempt (7.9). He was also third in adjusted yards per pass attempt (8.4), and first in passing yards per game (286.1), per Pro-Football-Reference.
Among tight ends this season, Gronk ranked sixth in targets (105), fifth in receptions (69), first in receiving yards (1,084), tied for second in touchdown receptions (eight), and first in receiving yards per game (77.4) while ripping off a whopping 15.71 yards per reception. As I stated, these two are the top players at their respective positions. Furthermore, they’re tied to a robust implied team over/under total of 30.25 points, according to Pinnacle.
The game’s spread is 13.5 points, favoring the host Patriots. The lopsided spread should force the Titans to speed things up and air it out more than they typically do. The enhanced pace and pass-heavy flow bodes well for all of Tennessee’s pass catchers, but Matthews is my favorite of the bunch.
FO ranked the Patriots eighth defending tight ends, making it a tough matchup for Delanie Walker. Additionally, they’ve struggled mightily with receivers ranking 26th defending No. 1 receivers, 20th defending No. 2 receivers, and 21st defending “other” receivers, per FO. The Patriots coughed up the fifth most DraftKings points per game to receivers this year.
Getting back to Matthews specifically, recency bias could serve to suppress his ownership a bit from where it should be — especially relative to his cheaper teammates, Corey Davis ($3,400) and Eric Decker ($3,800). Matthews hasn’t cleared 50 yards receiving in his last three games (Week 16, Week 17, and the Wild Card Round game).
Despite his lack of recent production, he finished the regular season second on the team in targets (87) and receiving yards (795), and he was first on the team in receiving yards per game (56.8) and touchdown receptions (four). He also led the team’s receivers in offensive snaps played last week. Matthews should still be viewed as Tennessee’s best receiver.
Jay Ajayi (RB – PHI): $4,600 vs. Falcons
Mohamed Sanu (WR – ATL): $5,700 @ Eagles
The Eagles are home underdogs, but the spread is only three points. The spread is small enough that they should be able to run the ball throughout the bulk of the game if not the entire thing.
It’s no secret the offense isn’t as high flying with Carson Wentz on the shelf and Nick Foles leading the way. The downgrade at quarterback could and should play into Ajayi’s hands — literally — this week.
The former Dolphin wasn’t used in Philadelphia’s meaningless regular-season finale. Over his last three games played, he’d carved out a steady diet of touches with between 14 and 16 touches in each of those contests and 73 or more yards from scrimmage in each. He also caught exactly a pair of passes in each of his last two games played in the regular, both with Foles starting.
Ajayi isn’t considered much of a weapon in the passing game, but his last two games played included his highest and third highest receiving yardage outputs in a game this year. He also reeled in a touchdown grab in that two-game stretch. This week’s matchup sets up favorably for continued usage in the passing attack.
Atlanta surrendered the most targets (139) and receptions (110), fourth-most receiving yards (814), and tied for the ninth most touchdown receptions (four) yielded to running backs in 2017. The Falcons weren’t great shakes defending the run, either. FO ranked Atlanta 20th defending the run in the regular season. Ajayi is a steal at his salary.
Sanu makes for an enticing option on the opposition. FO ranked the Eagles third defending the run. Atlanta would be wise to use the short passing game instead of a run-heavy approach.
Possession receiver Sanu is the perfect option to attack the Eagles with. He ran 43.1% of his snaps from the slot, according to PlayerProfiler.com. FO ranked the Eagles seventh defending No. 1 receivers and first defending No. 2 receivers, but it might be best to view Sanu as an “other” receiver given his heavy slot usage.
The Eagles’ ranking of 22nd defending “other” receivers makes them seem far too generous against team’s tertiary receiving options. Moreover, the Eagles put the clamps on big plays in the passing game in the regular season.
Philadelphia’s 40 pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed in the regular season were tied for the fifth-fewest, per NFL.com. The matchup stands out more favorably for Sanu than big-play wideout Julio Jones.
Le’Veon Bell (RB – PIT): $9,600 vs. Jaguars
I’ll keep this short and sweet with Bell. The Steelers unwisely attempted 55 passes against the Jaguars when they lost to them in Week 5. In that contest, Bell totaled 47 yards rushing on 15 carries and hauled in all 10 of his targets for 46 yards receiving.
The Jaguars are much more exploitable on the ground than through the air. FO ranked the Jags first in pass defense and 26th in run defense in the regular season.
Bell led the way in the regular season in touches (406) and was inactive in the regular season finale. He also ranked second in yards from scrimmage (1,946) and tied for sixth in rushing plus receiving touchdowns (11).
Don’t overthink this selection. Eat the chalk.