FanDuel Market Watch: Divisional Round
Let’s take a look at notable salary changes as we head into Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
Marcus Mariota (TEN): $7,500 @ NE (+$300)
Mariota finally turned in a strong performance for the Titans when all parties from Nashville involved needed it the most. Context is obviously important with Mariota’s fantasy output, as 7.1 FDP of his 26.9 FDP came on a touchdown pass to himself. Still, if you remove that freak play Mariota wound up with his best fantasy game of the season, which is certainly an indictment of how the year went.
Up next for Mariota and the Titans is a trip to Foxborough to face the Patriots. New England’s defense has been all over the place this season, so there might be some merit in targeting Mariota as a tournament flier despite a modest price increase.
Blake Bortles (JAC): $7,100 @ PIT (-$500)
Bortles produced more yards on the ground (88) than he did through the air (87), which speaks volumes as to how difficult this game was offensively for the Jaguars. Things won’t get any easier this week against the Steelers, who will no doubt be looking to exact revenge for being on the receiving end of a thumping at the hands of the Jaguars earlier in the season. Bortles’ price surely dropped as a result of the upcoming matchup coupled with his putrid passing output, but I don’t think I can take the bait this week.
Derrick Henry (TEN): $6,700 @ NE (+$200)
In one of the more perplexing price moves heading into the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Henry’s price edged up just $200 despite scoring 26.1 FDP last week. Per Football Outsiders, the Patriots ranked mere percentage points behind the Chiefs (dead last) in DVOA against the run this season. I would have liked to see Henry’s price correct itself after last week’s outing, but this is the hand we have been dealt.
Now an interesting decision looms as Henry will surely carry high ownership levels, but do you fade the chalk? That’s the question that many DFS owners will be weighed against when constructing tournament lineups this week.
Leonard Fournette (JAC): $7,900 @ PIT (-$200)
After watching the game between the Bills and Jaguars, it was very apparent that the Bills sold out to stop Fournette and the rushing game as they dared Blake Bortles to beat them. What’s more concerning is that the Bills were bad against the run all year long, yet they somehow managed to bottle up Fournette, who scored just 9.3 FDP.
Things won’t get any easier this week against the Steelers, who rank 18th against the run per Football Outsider’s DVOA metric. While that’s not out of this world in terms of difficulty, consider Buffalo ranked 31st in the same statistic. However, if Jacksonville wants any chance at winning this game, it will be via their defense and the rookie Fournette, so I don’t mind having some tournament exposure here this week at a slight discount.
Julio Jones (ATL): $8,800 @ PHI (+$300)
The Eagles present a difficult matchup for Jones and the passing attack, but a 21.2 FDP outing in a similarly tough matchup last week caused Jones’ price to creep up anyways. As is always the case with Jones, he can carry the entire offense at times, but he’s also prone to disappearing as well. It’s risky to eliminate exposure to a player of Jones’ talent, but I wouldn’t go overboard to due to the tough matchup that looms.
Michael Thomas (NO): $8,200 @ MIN (-$100)
The Saints managed to slide by the Panthers last week as it took a vintage performance from Drew Brees to accomplish this with the Panthers focused on stopping the run. Thomas participated in Brees’ big day as the talented wideout scored 17.1 FDP, yet his price slipped by $100.
This is likely largely due in part to a difficult matchup awaiting on the road against the Vikings. This is a tough matchup for all facets of the Saints’ offense, so I don’t know that I’d get too crazy here with Thomas.
Delanie Walker (TEN): $6,200 @ NE (+$400)
Walker led the Titans with six catches on eight targets for 74 yards against the Chiefs, which resulted in his price breaking back above $6,000. The volume was encouraging to see as Mariota looked to the veteran when he wasn’t able to get anything done with his legs.
The Titans are big underdogs in a tough environment again this week, but Walker should play an important role especially with the likelihood that the Titans are forced to throw a lot. This makes Walker an appealing target as the volume should be there yet again this week.
Zach Ertz (PHI): $7,200 vs. ATL (no change)
There were no tight ends that saw a drop in price after last week and with Ertz and the Eagles obviously off last weekend, he didn’t have a change either. The Falcons can be beaten by opposing tight ends, and while it’s not Carson Wentz at quarterback, Nick Foles has had an extra week to prepare, so I expect him to utilize Ertz early and often in this game. He’s pricey, but there’s plenty to like about Ertz’s prospects this weekend.