FanDuel NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Divisional Round
FanDuel has switched things up in the second round of the NFL Playoffs. Instead of their main slate featuring the games on Saturday and Sunday, they’ve opted to split things up into two separate main slates.
As a result, I’ve switched things up in this week’s lineup analysis. In the interest of providing readers a lineup for each main slate, I’m scaling back on the analysis for individual players on each team and analyzing the two lineups as a whole.
QB: Tom Brady (NE): $9,000 vs. Titans
RB: Dion Lewis (NE): $7,800 vs. Titans
RB: Jay Ajayi (NE): $6,600 vs. Falcons
WR: Mohamed Sanu (ATL): $6,000 @ Eagles
WR: Nelson Agholor (PHI): $5,900 vs. Falcons
WR: Rishard Matthews (TEN): $5,700 @ Patriots
TE: Rob Gronkowski (NE): $8,200 vs. Titans
K: Matt Bryant (ATL): $4,900 @ Eagles
D/ST: New England Patriots D/ST (NE): $5,200 vs. Titans
This team’s roster is maxed out on Patriots. New England is a 13.5-point favorite with an implied team over/under total of 30.25 points, according to Pinnacle, so maxing out on them makes perfect sense. The huge spread and home-field advantage support the correlation stack of Dion Lewis and the D/ST. Furthermore, with the other members of New England’s backfield nursing various injuries,
Lewis should be in line for a do-it-all role against a Titans defense that ceded the most receiving yards (967) to running backs during the regular season, per Pro-Football-Reference. If the game goes according to the betting line, he’ll be busy as a runner down the stretch, too.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski don’t require much explanation for rostering. Brady’s the likely MVP this year, and Gronk had another monster season.
Football Outsiders (FO) ranked the Titans 24th defending the pass and a matching 24th defending tight ends. Brady/Gronk is an elite stack, and Tennessee’s struggles defending running backs as pass catchers makes Brady to Lewis a thing we should see often Saturday, too.
Speaking of teams struggling to defend running backs as receivers, the Falcons coughed up the most targets (139) and receptions (110), fourth-most receiving yards (814), and tied for the ninth-most receiving touchdowns (four) allowed to running backs this year. Jay Ajayi’s receiving skills aren’t anything special, but he posted his highest and third highest receiving yardage totals in a game this year in his last two games played (Week 14 and Week 15) with Nick Foles starting at quarterback. Ajayi will be fresh after having the last two weeks off, and he should reach the mid to upper teens in touches (he totaled between 14 and 16 touches in each of his last three games).
Teammate Nelson Agholor has the best matchup of Philadelphia’s receivers, according to Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) grades and matchups, primarily lining up in the slot (59.9% of his snaps lined up in the slot, per PlayerProfiler.com). Mohamed Sanu also often lines up in the slot (43.1%), and I think a smart game plan from the Falcons heavily involves him. The Eagles are tough as nails on the run, and they did an excellent job of limiting long receptions in the regular season. With those things considered, Sanu should be an integral part of Atlanta’s offense this week.
Rishard Matthews rounds out the receivers as Tennessee’s No. 1 receiver. He’s tied to a sizable underdog that is likely to be forced to speed things up and air it out.
The game flow should work in his favor against a Patriots defense that FO ranked 21st defending the pass and 26th defending No. 1 receivers. New England allowed the fifth most FanDuel points per game to receivers this year, per Pro-Football-Reference.
QB: Drew Brees (NO): $8,000 @ Vikings
RB: Le’Veon Bell (PIT): $9,400 vs. Jaguars
RB: Latavius Murray (MIN): $6,500 vs. Saints
WR: Michael Thomas (NO): $8,100 @ Vikings
WR: Stefon Diggs (MIN): $7,200 vs. Saints
WR: Dede Westbrook (JAC): $5,900 @ Steelers
TE: Vance McDonaldd (PIT): $4,500 vs. Jaguars
K: Kai Forbath (MIN): $4,900 vs. Saints
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST (PIT): $5,400 vs. Jaguars
Bell and the Steelers D/ST are another correlation stack. Bell’s inclusion on the roster doesn’t require much analysis. He’s a do-it-all back who averaged 21.4 carries and 5.7 receptions per game as well as 129.8 yards from scrimmage per game in the regular season.
Sounds like a player to roster, right? The Jaguars befuddled Ben Roethlisberger when these two teams met earlier in the year, and it stands to reason the Steelers would run the ball more this go round. FO ranked the Jaguars first defending the pass but just 26th defending the run and 15th defending running backs as receivers.
The Steelers are the biggest favorite in the Sunday games with a 7.5-point spread, and bad Blake Bortles began to rear his head in the last couple weeks of the regular season. If he’s forced to air it out to bring the Jags back, Pittsburgh’s defense should pile up some statistical goodies and fantasy points.
I don’t love any of the quarterbacks on this slate, but Drew Brees is the best of the bunch and damn good at that. The matchup isn’t ideal, but Brees amassed 291 yards passing and a touchdown pass at Minnesota in the regular season opener back in September. After a regular season of taking a backseat to the high-powered running attack, he lit the Panthers up for 376 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Wild Card Round. Brees is better at home than on the road, but he was no slouch on the road this year with 11 touchdown passes, three interceptions, a 72.28% completion percentage, and 257.0 passing yards per game in eight road tilts.
Michael Thomas is his No. 1 receiving option and one of the better ones in the NFL. He averaged 6.5 receptions and 77.8 receiving yards per game with five touchdown grabs in the regular season, and he torched the Panthers for 131 yards receiving on eight grabs last week. There’s a bit of shootout potential in this contest despite both the Vikings and Saints featuring outstanding defenses.
The Vikings are 4.5-point favorites with an implied team over/under total of 25.25 points. Even if the game merely goes to script and isn’t a full-blown shootout, you’ll want pieces of Minnesota’s offense, and Latavius Murray and Stefon Diggs stand out as my favorites. Both had notable home/road splits this year that favored playing at home. In eight home games, Murray averaged 4.60 yards per rush, 56.9 rushing yards per game, and he scored six rushing touchdowns.
Diggs averaged 5.8 receptions and 81.8 receiving yards per game with six touchdown receptions in six home games this year. He also ripped off a gaudy 14.03 yards per reception, and his big-play ability meshes nicely with the Saints’ susceptibility to giving up long receptions. New Orleans yielded 57 receptions of 20-plus yards this year, a total tied for the third most. Diggs schooled the Saints in Week 1 with a 7-93-2 line.
Dede Westbrook has quickly emerged as arguably the go-to guy in Jacksonville’s passing attack. In eight games (seven regular season games and one postseason game), he was targeted six or more times in seven contests. The Jaguars are 7.5-point underdogs, and if they’re forced to play catch up, Westbrook could prove to be the apple of Blake Bortles’ eye.
From the same contest, Vance McDonald is a punt. Tight end is awful on this slate, and if you’re banking on Murray punch in short-yardage touchdowns, then Kyle Rudolph is a poor correlation play as a touchdown-dependent option. FO ranked the Jaguars 20th defending tight ends. In Pittsburgh’s last meaningful game (Week 15), McDonald fell just three snaps short of Jesse James‘ position-leading total.
McDonald could very well post a goose egg, but the same can be said about the tight end peers on the slate. There isn’t a safe play at the position, and there isn’t an exciting option, either. Spend your money elsewhere.