FanDuel NFL Cash Game Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (2021)
The first round of the playoffs is over, and we had just about everything we could ask for. An upset in the NFC, an exciting finish in the AFC, and slime on Nickelodeon. The addition of an extra team last weekend made for a fun weekend of game slates to choose from. You could do each three-game slate per day or the combined weekend contests.
This weekend allows you the same type of choice as last weekend, though each day features only two games per day. Just like last weekend, for the sake of this article, I will be selecting players for the entire weekend on FanDuel. If you’re crafting a lineup for just one day, note that each player’s salary remains the same across the different slates.
One aspect of lineup construction I’ve harped on throughout the season has been keeping your most expensive late player in the FLEX spot. If you are building lineups in the all weekend contests, you must put a Sunday player – or your latest Saturday player – in this spot. As we’ve seen all season, the only thing predictable about COVID-19 is its unpredictability. Always keep your ability to pivot open.
I’m considering each of the players below for cash game lineups this week:
Josh Allen (BUF): $8,800 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Allen continued to show last weekend that he’s not only one of the most improved quarterbacks in the NFL this season, but one of the best period.
Interesting to note: The Ravens blitzed more often (263 plays) than any other team this season.
Josh Allen (228 plays) saw more blitzes than any QB in the NFL, leading the NFL in TD passes, 1st downs, passing yards & completions of 20+ yards
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) January 14, 2021
Allen’s two previous games against the Ravens didn’t go too well, but he also didn’t have the complementary weapons around him that he has this season. Allen was also not playing at the level he’s playing. The only issue with playing Allen this week is that for $400 more, you get the next cash game quarterback…
Patrick Mahomes (KC): $9,200 vs. Cleveland Browns
I’m not sure what you need to know about Mahomes at this point in the season in this matchup that would definitively sway you towards not playing him in a cash game lineup.
The much bigger challenge is on the @Browns defense. Cleveland is:
29th in DVOA on deep passes
29th in DVOA on 3rd down passes
28th in DVOA on passes to TEs.
These are all things KC excels at https://t.co/NYD8pqJIA2
— trey wingo (@wingoz) January 14, 2021
While much of the game was garbage time, Ben Roethlisberger threw 68 times for 501 yards against this defense last week. Mahomes might not need 40 pass attempts to throw for that many yards this weekend.
Cam Akers (LAR): $7,000 at Green Bay Packers
For a brief moment in time last weekend, there was a thought that the Rams could’ve been dead in the water once John Wolford suffered a horrible injury that ended up sending him to the hospital. However, the Rams offense turned to the rookie running back Akers, and he turned in a magnificent performance against the Seattle Seahawks defense.
A route on 62% of Drop backs last Wk
This Week vs. GB who have allowed:
3rd Most Rec Yds & Rec Tds to RBs
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) January 14, 2021
Over the last five games, Akers has had 21, 29, 15, 21, and 28 rushing attempts, respectively. He’s truly the bell-cow running back in this offense, and the way to attack the Packers is certainly the run game. Green Bay allowed 112.8 rushing yards per game and were 5th in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs.
Aaron Jones (GB): $7,800 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Deciding what running back(s) to play this weekend could ultimately be the deciding factor for whether you hit the cash line or not. Obviously, the remaining defenses are (almost) all good against the run. For Jones and the Packers, however, the Rams are playing exceptionally well against the pass. While that might not matter when it comes to Aaron Rodgers at the helm, it does mean that Jones could be getting a significant workload this weekend. The health of Aaron Donald is important to note here as well. Last year in the playoffs, Jones saw an increase in usage. This year?
Aaron Jones snap rates:
2019 regular season – 61%
2019 playoffs – 75%
2020 regular season – 60%
2020 playoffs – ???
— Jarad Evans (@PFF_Jarad) January 9, 2021
Stefon Diggs (BUF): $8,600 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Despite the Ravens being third in DVOA against number one receivers, Diggs comes into this game scorching hot on one of the league’s top offenses. The Bills are finding ways to get Diggs the ball throughout the game. Diggs has not had fewer than eight targets since Week 4 and has not had fewer than six catches in a game since Week 3. Last week A.J. Brown was targeted 10 times and caught six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Diggs should be able to replicate that stat line this weekend. Yes, please.
Highest-passer rating when targeted this weekend:
1. Stefon Diggs – 156.3
2. Antonio Brown – 149.3
3. A.J. Brown – 147.4
4. Michael Thomas – 144.6 pic.twitter.com/oifK44RXqq
— PFF (@PFF) January 11, 2021
Tyreek Hill (KC): $9,400 vs. Cleveland Browns
Remember that aforementioned tweet about the Browns’ defensive rank against deep passes? Well…
Highest-graded deep WR by season
???? 2020: Tyreek Hill
???? 2019: Tyreek Hill
???? 2018: Tyreek Hill
???? 2017: Tyreek Hill pic.twitter.com/q2IKRkbNMh
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 11, 2021
Travis Kelce (KC): $8,500 vs. Cleveland Browns
The way to beat the Browns is through the air, and the Chiefs can certainly attack through the air. The 28th ranked defense in DVOA against tight ends gets a tight end that had one of the best seasons of all-time at the position. The Browns allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends during the regular season. Per Sharp Football: “The Browns were 28th in targets faced to opposing tight ends (7.5 per game), ranking 25th in catch rate (70.8%) and 15th in yards allowed per target (7.3) to the position, while also allowing an 8.3% touchdown rate (26th) to tight ends in the regular season then allowed Eric Ebron to post a 7-62-1 line on 11 targets on Sunday night.”
Mark Andrews (BAL): $6,600 at Buffalo Bills
If there’s one area where the Bills defense can be heavily targeted, it’s the tight end position. No team allowed more targets to the position than Buffalo, and last week the Indianapolis Colts followed that game plan throughout the day. The Bills defense was 23rd in catch rate (70.3%), 20th in yards per target (7.6 yards), and 18th in touchdown rate allowed (6.8%) to tight ends. Last week Andrews had six targets, good enough for a 25% target share. Over his last seven games, Andrews has caught four or more passes in each game.
The Ravens pass game predominantly consists of Andrews and wide receiver Marquise Brown, so Andrews should be expected to significantly impact the game if the Ravens are going to pull the upset. Over the course of the regular season, Andrews and Brown combined for a 50% target share (each was at 25%) and a 67% air yards share.
Other notables: Robert Tonyan (GB): $6,200 vs. LAR.
Los Angeles Rams D/ST: $3,800 at Green Bay Packers
The Rams defense has been phenomenal all season, and at this price, they should be able to return some value. Be sure to check on Aaron Donald’s status leading up to the game, though. While all indications are that he will play and shouldn’t be limited, his presence is a big factor in how successful the Rams defensive performance can be. With left tackle David Bakhtiari out for the Packers, the Rams’ front seven must get pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
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