FanDuel NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (Saturday)
On Saturday’s slate, two teams have over/under totals north of 28 points, and two have team totals south of 25 points. The two teams with the higher totals provide offensive players to five roster spots below, and one of them is also represented in the defense/special teams (D/ST) spot.
Patrick Mahomes (KC): $9,000 vs. Colts
The Chiefs have the highest over/under total on Saturday at 30.5 points, per Pinnacle. Their MVP-favorite quarterback became just the third quarterback to toss 50 or more touchdown passes in a regular season, and his 5,097 passing yards were the eighth most in a season as well. Suffice to say, he had a prolific 2018 campaign.
He’ll take aim at a Colts defense that’s more fearsome against the run than the pass. Football Outsiders (FO) ranks Indianapolis fourth defending the run but just 20th defending the pass. Mahomes will be joined on this roster by a pair of forthcoming pass-catching stack partners.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): $8,800 at Rams
Zeke and the Cowboys are 7.5-point underdogs in Los Angeles. That would be a problem for a traditional ball-carrying back with limited pass-catching chops, but that’s not a description that fits Elliott. Despite being rested in the regular season finale, he led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards and 95.6 rushing yards per game.
However, even if game script gets sideways for the Cowboys, that won’t be a problem for Elliott. After averaging a career-high 2.6 receptions per game and 26.9 receiving yards per game last year, those numbers surged to 5.1 receptions and 37.8 receiving yards per game this season. Since Amari Cooper joined the Cowboys via trade before their Week 9 contest, Elliott’s caught four or more passes in every game. He’s also surpassed 110 yards from scrimmage in all nine games played with Cooper on the team.
The matchup is favorable, too. FO ranks the Rams 28th in run defense.
Marlon Mack (IND): $7,400 at Chiefs
The Colts are five-point underdogs in Kansas City, so there’s a threat of them falling behind and turning to pass-catching back Nyheim Hines. However, the Colts would be wise to lean on their workhorse back in Kansas City in order to keep the opposing juggernaut offense off the field. Furthermore, Andrew Luck and No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton both have significant home/road and indoor/outdoor splits that favor playing at home and indoors, and neither of which will be the case outdoors in Kansas City. No problem, though.
The matchup is dreamy for Mack. FO ranks the Chiefs dead last defending the run. They’ve coughed up the third most FanDuel points per game to the position, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
For Mack’s part, he’s been on fire and deserving of a heavy workload as well. He’s rushed for at least 119 yards in three of his last four games and scored a rushing touchdown in five straight. It doesn’t hurt that he runs behind an offensive line that FO ranks fourth in adjusted line yards.
Robert Woods (LAR): $7,700 vs. Cowboys
Woods has blossomed into a hell of a receiver since joining the Rams last year. This season, he set new highs in targets (130), receptions (86), receiving yards (1,219), touchdowns (six), receptions per game (5.4), and receiving yards per game (76.2). Head coach Sean McVay does a masterful job of moving his receivers around to exploit matchups, so while Dallas has a talented secondary, Woods should be put in a position to succeed this weekend. The veteran wideout has run 51.0% of his routes from the slot this year, according to Player Profiler. He and the Rams have a gaudy team over/under total of 28.5 points, and he — as well as a soon-to-be-named teammate — should benefit from quarterback Jared Goff’s huge home/road splits that favor playing at home.
Chester Rogers (IND): $5,100 at Chiefs
If the Colts are going to hang with Kansas City’s high-powered offense, they’ll need more than Mack to perform at his best. As I noted in Mack’s write-up, Hilton has substantial home/road and indoor/outdoor splits that favor playing at home and indoors. With that being the case, I’m looking down the receiving pecking order.
The Colts receiving corps is banged up a bit, but Rogers is one of the only pass catchers who isn’t on the injury report. In his last three games, Rogers has per-game averages of 5.33 targets, 4.67 receptions, and 44 receiving yards with one touchdown reception. They’re far from world-beater totals, but they’re solid-ish.
He’s played better at home than on the road this year, but in theory, he could benefit from Luck’s road numbers. None of Luck’s pass-catchers actually benefit from him averaging 13.1 fewer passing yards per game on the road in his career and 28.1 fewer passing yards on the road this year. However, his drop in adjusted yards gained per pass attempt (7.58 AY/A at home and 6.63 AY/A on the road in his career as well as 8.50 AY/A at home and 6.30 AY/A on the road this year) should benefit the pass-catchers who are targeted on shorter passes.
Insert Rogers. According to NFL NextGen Stats, Hilton’s average targeted air yards (TAY) is 11.3, Ebron’s is 9.9, and Rogers’ is 6.4. The matchup should be good, too. According to FO, Kansas City’s biggest coverage weakness is against “other” receivers, against whom they rank 29th. Rogers would check in as an “other” receiver behind No. 1 Hilton and No. 2 Dontrelle Inman.
Chris Conley (KC): $4,700 vs. Colts
Conley isn’t a volume-based play. He’s been targeted six or more times in just three games and has caught more than three passes only two times this year.
He does, however, have Mahomes’ trust in the red zone. Five of Conley’s 32 receptions went for touchdowns this year, and all were scored in the red zone. According to Lineups, Conley was targeted 11 times in the red zone this season. That total was the third highest on the team. If Mahomes has a multi-touchdown effort, Conley has a decent shot at being on the receiving end of at least one.
Travis Kelce (KC): $7,500 vs. Colts
The most targeted option in the red zone for the Chiefs this season was Kelce with 26. He’s obviously not just a touchdown-or-bust option after holding the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end briefly before being surpassed by George Kittle later in the day in Week 17.
Kelce is arguably the top tight end in the game and he has an otherworldly awesome matchup this week. The Colts allowed the third most FanDuel points per game to tight ends this season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They coughed up the most receptions (106) and receiving yards (1,234) to the position. I’d be shocked if Kelce isn’t on at least 75% of GPP rosters. He’s easily my favorite play on this slate at any position.
Gerald Everett (LAR): $4,700 vs. Cowboys
As I pointed out in Woods’ write-up, the Rams have a hearty team over/under total of 28.5 points. There is scoring to go around if things go according to script. Everett could join in the fun. He posted a bagel in the final regular season blowout victory over the 49ers, but in the three games prior to that, he was targeted six or more times in each game and caught 14 passes during that three-game stretch. He didn’t eclipse 50 yards receiving in any of those contests, but the volume is encouraging.
FO ranks the Cowboys only 19th defending tight ends, so this should be a favorable matchup for the second-year tight end. He’s likely to be low owned, and he’s a nice wrinkle to throw in on a team that features plenty of chalk.
Los Angeles Rams (LAR): $5,000 vs. Cowboys
The Rams are 7.5-point home favorites, and that’s a good starting point for any daily football D/ST selection. Their full-season numbers aren’t overly impressive, but they were without starting corner Aqib Talib for two months of the season. Furthermore, this matchup sets up great for them.
Back in the middle of December, RotoWorld’s Evan Silva pointed out Dak Prescott has massive home/road splits and splits versus man-coverage defenses and zone-coverage defenses that are favorable at home and against man-coverage defenses. What are the Rams’ coverage tendencies? Well, Silva asked Keegan Abdoo of NFL Network to look at Rams man-coverage tendencies with Talib playing, and you can see the results here. For those who didn’t choose to click on the link, the Rams played much more zone defense with Talib in the lineup.
Back in the middle of December, Cameron DaSilva wrote about the Rams’ surge in turnovers forced from Week 11 through Week 13. Surprise, surprise, the surge in turnovers forced coincided with the major uptick in zone coverage played by the defense. The Rams D/ST is the most expensive on the slate, but it has big upside that’s worth paying for.