FanDuel NFL Cash Game Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (2020)
It’s a new week in NFL DFS, which hopefully means that this one won’t have as much hullabaloo as this past weekend had with Draftkings and their Millionaire Maker contest. Fortunately, this article is designed for Fanduel and cash games, so hooray?
The top seeds are back in action this week after an exciting Wild Card Weekend in the NFL. Last weekend, three of the four home teams lost. To compound matters further, those three teams scored a combined three touchdowns, only one of which was a passing touchdown (and Taysom Hill was on the receiving end of that one). The “running backs matter” crowd certainly has had a celebratory start to the postseason.
Most, if not all, of the teams on bye used their week off to get healthy. The Baltimore Ravens have essentially been on bye for the past two weeks and their offensive stars should all be plenty rested. The San Francisco 49ers are getting healthy in their defense, which could dramatically affect the NFC landscape if Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford can come back and play quality snaps.
Here are the players I’m considering for my cash game lineup for the Divisional Round of the playoffs:
Comparing the #Chiefs & Texans with DVOA:
Category – Chiefs, Texans
Pass O – 2nd, 15th
Rush O – 14th, 11th
Pass D – 6th, 26th
Run D – 29th, 22nd
ST – 2nd, 5th
— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) January 8, 2020
During the regular season, Mahomes threw a touchdown on 19% of his passes that traveled 20 or more yards downfield according to Sports Info Solutions. The Texans haven’t given up a lot of yardage to deep passes (more on that in the tight end section) but when it comes to Mahomes, we’ve realized that anything is possible.
Lamar Jackson (BAL): $9,400 vs. Tennessee Titans
I’m paying up at quarterback this week and it’s really between the two top seeds in the AFC. The question ultimately will be whether the $800 in savings from Jackson to Mahomes will help elsewhere in my lineup. If there’s a way to attack the Titans it’s through the air, though they limited Tom Brady and company last week.
The Ravens-Titans chess match is gonna be fun.
Defensively, Tennessee’s been middling, better against the run (No. 10 DVOA) than the pass (No. 20 DVOA).
Offensively, the Ravens probably haven’t faced a better run-blocking team or run attack. Or a line with worse pass blocking.
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) January 5, 2020
During the regular season, the Titans were in the bottom third of the league in pressure percentage on opposing quarterbacks. Of course, even if the Titans choose to blitz Jackson, according to Pro Football Focus, Jackson threw 23 touchdowns against the blitz in 2019, the most in the NFL. While much of Jackson’s fantasy appeal comes from his running statistics, don’t think for a second he can’t shred a defense through the air.
- Russell Wilson (SEA): $7,900 @ GB
Dalvin Cook (MIN): $8,000 @ San Francisco 49ers
Cook looked 100% last week and he’s going to need a repeat performance if the Vikings want to advance to the NFC Championship game. The best way to attack the 49ers is on the ground. The 49ers defense allowed 4.5 yards per carry this season, which ranked 23rd out of 32 teams. Cook averaged 4.5 yards per carry on his rushes.
Per Next Gen Stats, Vikings RB Dalvin Cook had the 2nd-fastest speed when hitting line of scrimmage on run plays this year at 10.9 MPH. "Not many people could just maintain the speed that he maintains through contact," Nick Bosa said. First? #49ers RB Raheem Mostert at 11.3 MPH.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) January 9, 2020
Aaron Jones (GB): $8,200 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Perhaps the closest (on paper) matchup of the weekend could come where running backs ultimately matter the most. Or is it the least? Either way, Jones has been on a tear lately and Seattle has been getting abused by running backs lately. Opposing running backs averaged 167 yards per game in Weeks 15-17 and 61 receiving yards in Weeks 15-17.
Aaron Jones: best back still in the dance pic.twitter.com/HIrykdNUPf
— PFF (@PFF) January 9, 2020
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU): $8,100 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Hopkins advances to the second weekend of the playoffs for just the second time in his career. This weekend he gets a Chiefs defense that lost one of their safeties in Week 17. The Texans might try and control the clock by running against the Chiefs, but if this game turns into a shootout, Hopkins is going to be needing to have a big game.
If so, would be interesting to see Kendall Fuller as #Chiefs main FS with Tyrann Mathieu in slot.
DeAndre Hopkins ran 50% WC Round routes inside.
Texans have few matchup advantages @ KC but this may be one.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) January 8, 2020
Deebo Samuel (SF): $6,100 vs. Minnesota Vikings
When your receivers coaches are Wes Welker and Miles Austin, your transition into the pros is a whole lot easier than most receivers in the NFL. It might have taken Samuel a little while to adapt to the pro game, but his evolution into a bona fide top-tier receiver has accelerated lately. “In Samuel’s first seven games this season, he had 22 catches for 227 yards (10.3 yards per catch) and one touchdown. In his past eight games, he’s had 35 catches for 575 yards (16.4 yards per catch) and two scores.”
Travis Kelce (KC): $7,500 vs. Houston Texans
The Chief’s passing attack has a tasty matchup and in a week where the tight end options are severely limited, Kelce stands out in this game.
Fun divisional playoff preview fact: KC is No. 1 in defense against passes to the short middle of the field. HOU is No. 32 in defense against passes to the short middle of the field.
— Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@FO_ASchatz) January 8, 2020
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): $5,400 @ San Francisco 49ers
Spending down at tight end doesn’t provide a lot of options, but Rudolph has been getting a bunch of usage in the second half of the season. Since Week 7, Rudolph has had five or more targets in six games. Last week against the New Orleans Saints he was targeted seven times including two targets inside the five-yard line. Thus far this week, Stefon Diggs has missed practice with an illness and Adam Thielen injured his ankle in practice. While both receivers are expected to play, the short week could mean that Rudolph is incorporated more into the game-plan.
- George Kittle (SF): $7,400 vs. MIN
San Francisco 49ers DST: $4,600 vs. Minnesota Vikings
I mentioned the 49ers defense getting healthy at the right time. That’s really bad news for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense this week. While Alexander might contribute some snaps, the addition of Ford in the front four dramatically alters this stingy 49ers defense. Let’s just throw some tweets with stats in this space, shall we?
Dee Ford, Jenga piece? @Dameshek
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) January 9, 2020
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) January 6, 2020
The increased pressure with Ford on the field has also resulted in sacks for the 49ers defense and unsuccessful passing plays from opposing offenses:
With Tartt on the field, the 49ers allowed a 40.5% success rate passing and 8.4% explosive pass rate compared to a 48.0% success rate/11.6% explosive rate with him sidelined.
His replacement Marcell Harris was the 72nd graded coverage safety per PFF over the final four weeks.
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) January 7, 2020
The 49ers are my top cash game play at defense and I probably won’t be looking elsewhere. Ride or die with the scarlet and gold!
- Kansas City Chiefs DST: $4,200 vs. HOU