DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (2020)
There’s a common theme for all of the players featured in this week’s piece. They’re all well-rested as members of the hosts this weekend and coming off of a first-round bye. A pair of explosive one-off suggestions are joined by a three-man stack with a sizable upside.
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF): $5,200 vs. Vikings
Samuel has been quite the versatile weapon for the 49ers. After recording only five rushes through his first 10 games, he’s riding a five-game streak of recording at least one carry. Over his last five games, he’s rushed nine times for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kyle Shanahan’s decision to get his electric rookie touches on carries enhances his value, and he’s also making waves in the passing attack.
In the second half of the season, he’s eclipsed 100 receiving yards three times. During that same stretch, he’s caught four or more passes five times. In the last eight games of the regular season, Samuel bested 100 yards from scrimmage or scored a touchdown seven times. From Week 10 through the end of the regular season, Samuel’s 697 yards from scrimmage ranked as the fourth-highest total among receivers, per Pro-Football-Reference’s Play Index Tool.
Samuel has a plus matchup this week. The Vikings are actually good against the pass but bad against receivers. Minnesota’s coughed up the second-most receptions (231) and ninth-most receiving yards (2,727) to wideouts while tying for the eighth-most touchdown receptions (18) ceded to them. Samuel’s easily my favorite receiver this week.
Aaron Jones (RB – GB): $7,400 vs. Seahawks
Jones is the third-most-expensive running back behind Derrick Henry ($8,200) and Dalvin Cook ($8,000). Both of the higher-priced backs are studs, and I’ll likely have a bit of exposure to them, but I’ll have far more exposure to Jones. Even if Jones was priced in the same $8,000-$8,200 range, I’d be more heavily invested in Jones than Henry and Cook. With that in mind, the discount is gravy.
Football Outsiders (FO) ranks the Seahawks 26th in rush defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), second-worst of the playoff teams remaining. Backs have averaged a solid 4.28 yards per carry against the Seahawks this year, per Pro-Football-Reference. Seattle also tied for the second-most touchdown rushes allowed (18) to backs, and they struggled to defend them through the air, too. The Seahawks yielded the fourth-most receiving yards (817) to backs during the regular season, and that’s worth noting since Jones averaged 3.1 receptions and 29.6 receiving yards per game.
Additionally, the Seahawks have been serving up big runs aplenty down the stretch. From Week 9 through the end of the regular season, Seattle tied for the second-highest average explosive run rate (15%) allowed, according to Sharp Football Stats. Jones isn’t just a matchup-based suggestion, though.
FO ranked Jones seventh out of 45 backs who carried the ball a minimum of 100 times in DVOA and fourth in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). He also showed no signs of slowing down as the season wore on, and that could be a product of not being force-fed the ball earlier in the season. In the last four weeks of the season, Jones reached at least 100 rushing yards three times. During that stretch, he posted the third-most rushing yards (439) ripping off a whopping 5.7 yards per carry.
Perhaps saving the best for last, Jones tied Henry for the most rushing touchdowns (16) this year. He’s capable of ripping off long touchdown runs, but he was — predictably — heavily used in the red zone. His 34 red zone rush attempts this year were tied for the 14th most, according to Lineups, and they were far and away more than the 13 totaled by backfield mate Jamaal Williams.
Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC): $7,500 vs. Texans
Travis Kelce (TE – KC): $6,400 vs. Texans
Damien Williams (RB- KC): $6,000 vs. Texans
The Chiefs are commanding 9.5-point favorites over the visiting Texans, per BettingPros. Furthermore, the game’s over/under total of 51 is a whopping four points clear of the second-highest total of the week, a tie between the Titans at Ravens and Seahawks at Packers. The spread and total leave the Chiefs with a tantalizing implied team over/under total of 30.25 points. Comparatively, the Ravens second-highest implied team over/under total at 28.25 points.
Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability gives him an unmatched ceiling at quarterback, but Mahomes has a legitimate shot to outscore him in a drool-inducing matchup and comes at a $900 discount. Sign me up for that. FO ranks the Texans 26th in overall defense DVOA and pass defense DVOA. Houston coughed up the fourth-most passing yards (4,276), tied for the fourth-most touchdown passes (33) allowed, and surrendered the eighth-highest Quarterback Rating (97.6) this year. No matter how you slice it up, they were picked apart by quarterbacks, and the 2018 NFL MVP should have a field day carving them up.
Mixing and matching a variety of stack partners with Mahomes makes sense, but Kelce’s my preferred stack partner. Having said that, his status warrants monitoring after showing up on the injury report during the week with knee soreness and logging limited practices Wednesday and Thursday. Among all players this season, Kelce finished eighth in receptions (97) and ninth in receiving yards per game (76.8). His five touchdown receptions left something to be desired, but don’t blame the total on a lack of red-zone looks. His 19 red-zone targets were more than the second-highest total of seven (a mark shared by a couple of players) on the team. Kelce is a consistently large piece in Kansas City’s offense with seven or more targets in 14 of 16 games this year and at least five targets in every game.
Williams rounds things out in this stack, and there is some correlation potential with Mahomes in addition to a likely favorable game script in a great matchup. Williams is one of the parties tied for second on the team in red-zone targets with seven, and he’s chipping in per-game averages of 2.7 receptions and 19.4 receiving yards this year. He has a great matchup for catching the ball, too. The Texans allowed the fourth-most receptions (99), third-most receiving yards (857), and tied for the most receiving touchdowns (eight) allowed to back this year.
The Texans were also thumped by backs on the ground. FO ranked them 22nd in rush defense DVOA. Houston was creamed for 4.61 yards per carry by backs this year, and they regularly got smacked with long runs down the stretch. From Week 9 through the end of the regular season, the Texans were tied for the ninth-highest average explosive run rate (13%) allowed.
It’s possible the Chiefs could use a committee at running back, but the end of the year usage suggests Williams is the clear-cut lead back. He touched the ball 14 times or more in four of his last five games, with the lone outlier being a game he left early with a rib injury after playing just 12 offensive snaps. Williams eclipsed 90 yards from scrimmage in the other four games during that stretch, and he reached triple-digit yards from scrimmage three times. Williams has an upside that belies his salary, and that’s what we’re looking for in GPPs.