DraftKings NFL Cash Game Lineup Advice: Divisional Round
If you think last weekend was fun, you’re in for a real treat with this weekend’s four-game Divisional Round slate. Now that we got rid of those pesky teams that like to play defense like the Ravens and Bears, Saturday and Sunday should provide some high-scoring action.
As with most small NFL slates, we need players in our DFS lineups who can make impact plays in order to prosper. There is no bigger impact play than the touchdown, so it should come as no surprise that the top performers last week were the ones that scored. This week, there are also a few positions where rostering the right player will give you an opportunity for a distinct advantage over the field. So pay up at a couple key positions and take your chances elsewhere in cash-game lineups.
Patrick Mahomes (KC): $7,000 vs. IND
The scoring at QB was pretty flat last weekend, as none provided a decisive advantage. I believe Patrick Mahomes could lap the field this weekend and give his DFS owners a significant edge over those who don’t roster him. He threw at least two touchdowns in 14 of 16 games this season, giving him a high floor, and we all know about his ceiling. Mahomes will face a Colts pass defense that looks good if you focus on the raw numbers after allowing just 238 passing yards (16th) and 1.3 TD passes (tied for third) per game this season. But if you dig a little deeper, you will see that they ranked just 20th in DVOA against the pass according to FootballOutsiders. This is because of the weak list of QBs they faced this season. Stop me when you have heard enough: Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, Sam Darnold, Derek Anderson, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Blaine Gabbert (x2), Ryan Tannehill, Cody Kessler, and Eli Manning. Woof! The only good QBs they faced all season where Tom Brady, Carson Wentz (although he was playing his first game of the season), and Deshaun Watson. I’m not buying into the Colts’ pass defense, and Mahomes will be locked into my cash-game (and many of my GPP) lineups.
- Jared Goff (LAR): $5,500 vs. DAL
Todd Gurley (LAR): $8,000 vs. DAL
Todd Gurley missed the last couple of games of the regular season with a knee injury but is expected to be a “full go” for the Rams’ first playoff game on Saturday night. Look for him to resume his workhorse role with carries and involvement in the passing game. He’ll face a Cowboys run defense that, despite posting solid numbers overall this season, was a little more vulnerable down the stretch. They gave up 4.22 YPC (18th) and 1.0 rushing TD (20th) to RBs over the last five weeks of the regular season. The Cowboys ranked just 26th in DVOA against pass-catching backs this season while giving up seven receptions per game to RBs over the final five weeks. They also allowed six receptions to RBs in the Wild Card game against the Seahawks.
Alvin Kamara (NO): $7,300 vs. PHI
A big decision point this week is which high-priced Saints player to roster between Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. I’m giving the edge to Kamara, who exceeded 15 DraftKings points in 13 of his 15 games played this season. Meanwhile, Thomas reached that mark in “just” 11 of his 16 games. There is also a chance that the game script favors the running game for the Saints this week, as they are an eight-point favorite at home. While he will likely split carries with Mark Ingram, Kamara should get the goal line work. I fully expect Drew Brees and the Saints to exploit the Eagles in the passing game with Karama, which is something the Bears should have done with Tarik Cohen last week. The Eagles rank 24th in DVOA against pass-catching backs and have allowed 7.6 receptions (30th) for 51.4 yards (26th) to the position over the last five weeks of the regular season. I want TDs on a short slate, and Kamara might have the highest probability of a multi-score game outside of Gurley.
- Damien Williams (KC): $5,100 vs. IND
- James White (NE): $4,900 vs. LAC
- Rex Burkhead (NE): $3,600 vs. LAC
Keenan Allen (LAC): $6,400 @ NE
Sure, I’d love to pay up and get Thomas, but if I am going to prioritize Kamara over him, then we need to save a few bucks for our number wideout. Keenan Allen didn’t set the world on fire down the stretch, but he was hurt early in one game and faced the Ravens twice over the last three weeks. He should be able to find room in the Patriots secondary while primarily working out of the slot, and he could be the most targeted receiver on the slate. Allen also has plenty of touchdown equity, as he led the Chargers in red-zone targets this season and found the end zone in five straight weeks before getting hurt in Week 15.
Ted Ginn Jr. (NO): $4,400 vs. PHI
My second WR spot is a close call between Ted Ginn Jr. and Golden Tate. I’m going to give the slight edge to Ginn. Although they should see about the same number of targets, Ginn has more big-play upside. He has played just five games this season, but he received at least six targets in four of those games and topped 55 yards three times. The Saints’ passing game has the eighth-most big pass plays (greater than 20 yards), and the Eagles have allowed the third-most big pass plays this season. Here is hoping for that one big play from Ginn (don’t drop it!) to pay off his salary.
- Michael Thomas (NO): $7,900 vs. PHI
- Robert Woods (LAR): $5,900 vs. DAL
- Golden Tate (PHI): $4,600 @ NO
- Chester Rogers (IND): $3,700 @ KC
Travis Kelce (KC): $7,000 vs. IND
Much of my reasoning for paying up for Mahomes at QB applies to why I’m paying up for Travis Kelce at TE. He has a chance to destroy the slate with two-touchdown upside in a favorable matchup. The Colts ranked 29th in DVOA against TEs this season and allowed a league-high 7.0 receptions for 83 yards to the position over the last five weeks. Kelce scored at least 10 DraftKings points in every game except for the season-opener and topped 18 DK points nine times. It could be one of those slates where if you don’t have Kelce, you are just going to lose.
Kansas City Chiefs (KC): $2,500 vs. IND
The Chiefs D/ST has posted a drastic difference in their production at home compared to on the road this season. In their eight home games, they have averaged 11.9 DraftKings points (4.6 per game on the road) while recording 3.9 sacks and 2.1 turnovers per game. The Colts have a good offensive line that has limited opponents to an NFL-low 18 sacks this season, but they have still turned it over 1.5 times per game. Andrew Luck might be forced to pass often if they fall behind early, which will give the Chiefs’ defense plenty of opportunities for impact plays. Oh, and having Tyreek Hill returning punts doesn’t hurt either.
- Rams (LAR): $3,000 vs. DAL