Divisional Round Sunday Showdown DFS Primer (Bills at Chiefs)
The Bills and Chiefs are closing the Divisional Round in what many are billing as the most-anticipated game of the weekend. These squads are meeting for the fourth time since the beginning of the 2020 season after they’ve played in consecutive regular seasons and faced off in the AFC Championship last year. The game’s spread is small, and the over/under is high, setting the stage for an exciting back-and-forth shootout. I agree with the betting public. However, it’s challenging whittling down who to use, as each star quarterback requires a sizable salary-cap commitment, saying nothing of the top-flight skill-position players on each team. Fortunately, there are intriguing value players that have flash occasionally, easing the difficulty of using a handful of the stars.
Game: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: KC -1.5 Points
Over/Under: 53.5 Points
Bills Analysis: Buffalo's offense is run through Josh Allen. It's only modest hyperbole to call the Bills a one-man show on offense. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Allen was seventh in passing touchdowns (36) and 10th in passing yards per game (259.8). However, he also averaged 44.9 rushing yards per game, scoring seven times as a runner. As a result, Allen is a game-script-proof, high-floor, high-ceiling superstar. The Chiefs have improved immensely on defense since losing to the Bills in Week 5. However, Allen destroyed them, passing for 315 yards and three touchdowns, running for 59 yards and a score. As a result, he's my favorite option on the single-game slate.
Allen leads one of the most pass-happy offenses, opening the door to multiple contributors in his pass-catching corps. According to Sharp Football Stats, in neutral game scripts, the Bills pass at the second-highest rate (66%). Further, even with Kansas City's colossal improvements on defense in mind, they were only 23rd in pass defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), per Football Outsiders.
Obviously, Stefon Diggs is the top stacking option with Allen. He led the Bills in every meaningful receiving category. So, if you want to lean heavily into the Bills, he's an excellent selection. However, I'm content with fading him for Allen's secondary and tertiary pass-catchers.
Dawson Knox and Gabriel Davis are my favorite non-Diggs pass-catchers on the Bills. First, Allen loves both big-bodied options in the red zone. According to the red zone stats, Knox has been second on the team in red-zone targets (19), and Davis has been third (18), converting them into precisely six touchdowns for each. Moreover, since Week 14 (including the Wild Card Round), Knox and Davis have been co-leaders for touchdown receptions with four. According to Pro Football Focus, in that span, Knox was second in routes (228), tied for third in targets (30), second in receptions (21), and third in receiving yards (247). Meanwhile, Davis was third in routes (181), second in targets (34), tied for fourth in receptions (18), and second in receiving yards (248).
I'm also interested in Isaiah McKenzie as a punt. Since barbecuing the Patriots in Week 16, he's gradually carved out a functional role in Buffalo's offense as a gadget player and slot receiver. In fact, last week, he ran 12 routes to only eight for Cole Beasley. Therefore, Beasley is toxic as an option on the single-game slate, and McKenzie's a defensible hail-mary, adding value as a runner on jet sweeps to his receiving profile.
Devin Singletary is the other option that's an excellent pick from the Bills. He's ascended to feature-back duty down the stretch. Singletary has touched the ball 17 times or more in five straight games, reaching at least 78 scrimmage yards in six straight, splashing pay dirt in five straight, scoring multiple touchdowns in three straight. He's dialed in. Finally, the Chiefs are a good matchup for him in the passing game. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Kansas City has allowed the fourth-most receptions (109) and third-most receiving yards (887) to running backs.
Chiefs Analysis: Kansas City's offense is spearheaded by Patrick Mahomes. In a down year by his lofty standards, Mahomes was fifth in passing yards per game (284.6) and tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (37). Sadly, he'll have a challenging matchup with Buffalo's pass defense that's first in DVOA. However, the league is geared toward offense, and he was still excellent from a fantasy perspective in the first matchup with the Bills this year. In Week 5, Mahomes passed for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, rushing for 61 scoreless yards for good measure. As a result, he's my top target from the Chiefs. Thus, since I'm suggesting using Allen and Mahomes together, spending down for ancillary pieces is necessary.
However, as essentially the converse of using Allen and Diggs together instead of spending for top-shelf options from the Chiefs, gamers can use one of Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce with Mahomes rather than the elite players on the Bills. Obviously, Kelce is in the table above, and Hill isn't. So, I'm firmly backing Kelce. It's no competition which one was more productive down the stretch. From Week 14 through the Wild Card Round, Hill hauled in 30 of 35 targets for 342 yards and two touchdowns in six games. Meanwhile, Kelce secured 27 of 36 targets for 385 yards and five touchdowns in one less game (five games).
Still, my general leaning is to dig even deeper for Mahomes' ancillary and tertiary options. Ranking them without salary in mind, Byron Pringle is my favorite, followed by Jerick McKinnon, Mecole Hardman, and a distant fourth is Demarcus Robinson. In the previous six games, Pringle has been second in routes (175), third in targets (31), receptions (23), fourth in receiving yards (253), and second in touchdown receptions.
Hardman has run only 128 routes in that time frame. However, he has used his blazing speed to amass 300 receiving yards on 20 receptions. McKinnon came out of nowhere in Wild Card Round, reeling in all six of his targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. Moreover, he rushed for 61 yards on 12 attempts. In all, he had 142 scrimmage yards, six receptions, and a touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is trending toward a return this week, and Darrel Williams might muddy the waters even more. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine Andy Reid ignoring the dynamic element Jet added to the backfield unseen from CEH and Williams before last week.
Finally, Robinson is good to pop up out of nowhere from time to time. He's been quiet most of the year. However, he had a 3-46-1 line in Week 2, went for 3-46-1 in Week 6, 2-33-1 in Week 17, and 4-76-0 last week. So, he's a defensible pick.
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