Fantasy Football: Best Divisional Round DraftKings Cash-Game Plays (DFS)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jan 11, 2018

With such a short slate, you cannot afford to fade Le’Veon Bell in cash lineups

While there were a couple duds last week, our cash-game lineup did what it was intended to do – double your money. On such a short slate, it’s often difficult to find players you feel extremely comfortable with, but we did it. Heading into the divisional round, it gets even tougher. There are tough matchups for some of the top players, so you must decide on which ones you’ll be taking your shot on.

Create Optimal DraftKings lineups using our DFS Lineup Optimizer tool >>

Fortunately, we’ve combed through the entire slate, looking for the best values. Keep in mind that just because a player has a good game, it doesn’t automatically mean that he was a good play in cash. For instance, look at Josh Hill last week, who hadn’t seen more than three targets or totaled more than 30 yards all season. Those who played him felt good about it when he finished with 49 yards and a touchdown, but we’re playing the best odds here, and not looking at the outliers. More often than not, you’ll come out on top. Let’s discuss the top plays for the divisional weekend.

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady (vs. TEN) $7,000
This is the most obvious choice of the week, as Brady will be the most-owned quarterback in DFS this weekend. In reality, it shouldn’t even be all that close. The Titans boast one of the best run defenses in the league, having allowed just 3.43 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns all season. The Titans pass-rush got better as the year went on, but they were far from an elite unit. With Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Rex Burkhead, and James White all relatively healthy, look for Brady to tear up this secondary while at home. If you were to remove the dropped passes for Alex Smith last week, he would’ve completed 85 percent of his passes last week, and that was without Travis Kelce for over a half of football. The only quarterbacks who failed to score at least 15 fantasy points against the Titans this year were: DeShone Kizer, Jacoby Brissett (twice), Blake Bortles (twice), Jay Cutler, and Blaine Gabbert. He’s your guy.

Matt Ryan (at PHI) $5,700
I’ve always put multiple quarterbacks in this article, so why stop now? Even though I’ll be playing Brady, you should have a cheaper alternative if you so choose. Ryan doesn’t come with near the ceiling that Brady does, but his floor should be relatively safe. You must pay attention to the weather in this one, though the forecast has temps in the low 50’s right now. The Eagles allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL this year, and it wasn’t all that close, allowing just 79.2 yards per game, while no one else held opponents below 83.6 yards per game. That’s part of the reason we saw five quarterbacks throw for 291 or more yards against them, including 434 from Eli Manning in Week 15. He was also the fourth quarterback to throw three touchdowns against them. The reason you should feel good about Ryan’s floor is because the Eagles have allowed at least one passing touchdown in all but two of their games this season, while Ryan has accomplished that in all but one game.

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell (vs. JAX) $9,600
On such a short slate, it’s impossible to avoid Bell in cash lineups. Did you know that he’s touched the ball at least 19 times in each of his last 14 games, including nine games with 25 or more touches? That type of volume is impossible to pass up, even if his price is through the roof. The Jaguars have defended the run well since acquiring Marcel Dareus from the Bills, but have shown weakness in another area where Bell excels – the passing game. They’ve allowed 223 receiving yards to running backs/fullbacks in their last three games, and a lot of them went to Derrick Henry and Kyle Juszczyk, two players who can’t sniff Bell’s receiving ability. Not that Bell wouldn’t be involved as is, but the fact that Antonio Brown is going to be less than 100 percent and against Jalen Ramsey, Bell is going to be leaned on heavily. It shouldn’t shock you to see Bell hit value in receiving alone.

Leonard Fournette (at PIT) $6,900
This one may shock some people after his dud last week, but that’s even more of a reason to get in on lower ownership. Similar to Bell, Fournette is going to get his touches, one way or another. The Bills sold out to stop the run last week, but do the Steelers have the personnel to do that? Back in their Week 5 meeting, Fournette had a career-game with 181 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. That was with linebacker Ryan Shazier on the field. Since losing Shazier in Week 13, the Steelers run defense has fallen apart, allowing 546 yards on 110 carries (5.0 YPC) with six rushing touchdowns in those five games. Any time a player of his caliber receives 20-plus touches, there’s going to be some big plays, especially against a defense like this. We aim for safety in cash-games, and Fournette is one of the only workhorses outside of Bell going this week.

Jerick McKinnon (vs. NO) $4,900
Seeing that DraftKings is a full point per reception site, we have to like McKinnon at his low price. Since Dalvin Cook went down with a season-ending injury, McKinnon has totaled at least 12 touches in 10-of-12 games, with plenty of those touches coming through the air. In what should be a close game against the Saints, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to lean on Latavius Murray like they have in some blowouts. The Saints have been no stranger to allowing yards through the air to running backs, either, as there’ve been eight running backs who’ve totaled at least 40 yards, with five of them totaling at least five receptions. On such a short slate, getting one of the better pass-catching running backs for under $5,000, you need to at least consider him.

Wide Receivers

Adam Thielen (vs. NO) $7,600
Don’t walk into this weekend trying to figure out who the Saints will put Marshon Lattimore against, because we already know it’ll be Stefon Diggs. Lattimore doesn’t travel into the slot, which is where Thielen plays a majority of his snaps. In the first meeting between these two teams, Thielen racked up nine catches for 157 yards. The Saints have had a merry-go-round at the slot cornerback position, starting the season with Sterling Moore, then cutting him and moving on to converted-safety Kenny Vaccaro, who then got hurt, forcing them to bring Moore back (who was bad again), and then plugging P.J. Williams into the slot. Over the last two games, Williams has been targeted 15 times in coverage, allowing 10 receptions for 114 yards. If you’re paying up at wide receiver Thielen or Julio Jones makes the most sense, though Thielen being slightly cheaper is what lands him here.

Mohamed Sanu (at PHI) $5,700
Most DFS players will opt for Julio Jones here, and while I can’t blame them, Sanu is much cheaper. Knowing that the Falcons should struggle to move the ball on the ground, we want to find the value in their passing game. Sanu has now seen at least five targets in each of the last seven games, including 19 targets in the last two games. While Taylor Gabriel plays through a hamstring injury and Austin Hooper‘s hands remain questionable, there’s no reason for those targets to go away. He’ll match-up with Patrick Robinson, who allowed a couple massive games to close out the season. Cooper Kupp tagged him for 5/118/1 in Week 14, and then Sterling Shepard demolished him for 11/139/1 in Week 15. He’s the cornerback who has played the worst among the trio for the Eagles, so it’d make sense for the Falcons to attack that area of the field.

Nelson Agholor (vs. ATL) $4,800
Seemingly mis-priced at less than $5,000, Agholor is one of the best cheap plays on the slate. Since Nick Foles took over, Agholor was one of the players who didn’t see a massive dip in production, as he totaled 16 targets, 11 receptions, 94 yards, and a touchdown in the two full games he played with Foles. His matchup is what we like so much here, as the Falcons deploy Brian Poole into the slot when teams go three-wide, which is where he’ll meet Agholor. As mentioned with Cooper Kupp here last week, Poole has allowed an 83 percent catch rate in his coverage this year, which is easily the highest in the league among starting cornerbacks. By comparison, the highest catch rate outside of him was 78 percent. Quarterbacks now have a 108.8 QB Rating when targeting him in coverage. At just $4,800, you’re not even taking much risk, despite Foles being under center.

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski (vs. TEN) $7,100
The league’s best tight end versus one of the league’s worst defenses against the tight end position… what else could you ask for? There were four tight ends who racked up seven or more receptions against them this year, and Travis Kelce was about to be the fifth last week when he recorded 4/66/1 through less than two quarters of work. While some will overthink this and say that the Titans will focus on stopping Gronk, don’t you think that would’ve happened with Kelce last week? They simply don’t have the personnel to contain an elite tight end. He’s kind of a must-play on this short slate.

Delanie Walker (at NE) $5,000
If you’re out of your mind and want to fade Gronkowski for whatever reason, Walker isn’t a bad replacement, though his discount isn’t as massive as it should be. The Patriots really struggled against tight ends to start the season, and while they got better as the season went on, it may have had to do with competition. From Week 6 through Week 17, they didn’t play a single tight end who finished top-10 on the season, and just two who finished inside the top-18. Walker has seen at least five targets in each of his last 15 games, including seven games with eight or more targets, and that’s solid enough to get him into cash lineups if you can’t afford to play Gronkowski.


SubscribeiTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | TuneIn | RSS

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
FanDuel photo
New players get a free NFL contest every week until they win cash.
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
3Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
4Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
5Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
6Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
7David Johnson (ARI)RB
8Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
9Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
10Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12A.J. Green (CIN)WR
13Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
14Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
15Sony Michel (NE)RB
16DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
17Michael Thomas (NO)WR
18Mike Evans (TB)WR
19Tevin Coleman (ATL)RB
20Robert Woods (LAR)WR
21Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
22Brandin Cooks (LAR)WR
23Travis Kelce (KC)TE
24Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
25Jarvis Landry (CLE)WR
26Tyler Boyd (CIN)WR
27James White (NE)RB
28Adrian Peterson (WAS)RB
29T.J. Yeldon (JAC)RB
30LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
5Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
6Bryce Harper (WSH)CF,RF
7Manny Machado (LAD)3B,SS
8J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
9Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
10Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
 View All Rankings 
11Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
12Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
13Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
14Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)LF,RF
17Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
18Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
19Joey Votto (CIN)1B
20Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
21Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
22Chris Sale (BOS)SP
23Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
24George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
25Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
26Luis Severino (NYY)SP
27Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
28Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
29Starling Marte (PIT)LF,CF
30Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
 View All Rankings 
11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests