The NFL Playoffs move to the divisional round this weekend, and there is a four-game fantasy slate starting on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Josh Allen is coming off one of the greatest games in the history of the quarterback position last week. He pitched a “perfect game” vs. the Patriots, leading the offense to seven touchdowns on seven drives.
From a fantasy perspective, he did plenty of damage with his arms and his legs. He had 308 yards and five touchdowns through the air to go along with six carries and 66 yards on the ground. Overall, he finished with 41.92 DraftKings points, and he’s cracked 40 fantasy points in two of his past six games.
The Bills are underdogs this week vs. the Chiefs, but this is a significantly easier matchup for Allen on paper. The Patriots have been one of the best defensive teams in the league this season, but the Chiefs rank just 23rd in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA.
There aren’t a ton of value options to consider at quarterback. That is to be expected during the playoffs, which is typically comprised of the best QBs in football.
If you are going to spend down at the position, Ryan Tannehill might be your best bet. He owns the top Bargain Rating at the position on DraftKings, and he also owns one of the better marks in Opponent Plus/Minus.
He should also benefit from the return of Derrick Henry. Tannehill has had a disappointing fantasy season, but he’s averaged nearly 3.5 additional fantasy points in games with Henry this season.
Tannehill will also take the field as a home favorite, and that has historically been his best split. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.71 in 16 previous starts as a home favorite with the Titans (per the Trends tool).
Patrick Mahomes was a bit overshadowed by Allen last week, but he put together a monster performance of his own. He finished with 404 yards and five passing touchdowns, resulting in 41.06 DraftKings points. Mahomes will also take the field as a home favorite, and the Chiefs’ implied team total of 28.0 is the top mark on the slate.
Tom Brady is another elite quarterback worth consideration on this slate, particularly on FanDuel. He leads the position with a Bargain Rating of 79%, and he’s another QB who has thrived as a favorite. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +2.08 on FanDuel when favored as a member of the Bucs.
Joe Burrow is another underpriced option on FanDuel, and he’s displayed an elite ceiling recently. He was pretty average last week vs. the Raiders – he finished with just 17.56 FanDuel points – but he scored at least 34.84 FanDuel points in each of his prior two games. He’s also projected to be one of the lowest-owned options at the position.
The running back options are a bit thin at the top this week. The slate is dominated by elite quarterbacks and pass-catchers, but the running back options are a bit more modest.
Joe Mixon stands out as one of the best options at the top. He’s commanded a monster workload recently, and he’s active as both a runner and a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He racked up 17 targets and five targets last week vs. the Raiders, and he had at least 20 opportunities in five of his final six regular-season contests.
He has a decent matchup this week vs. the Titans. They rank just 14th in rush defense DVOA, and Mixon leads the position with nine Pro Trends on DraftKings. He’s also one of the better values at the position on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 93%.
Cam Akers got his first taste of NFL action in the final week of the regular season, but the Rams unleashed him during the Wild Card round. He saw 19 opportunities – compared to just 15 for Sony Michel – and he turned them into 95 total yards. Overall, he looked as good as he ever had, running with power and speed and generating big plays.
That performance should be enough to solidify his status as the Rams’ lead running back vs. the Buccaneers. It’s a middling matchup – the Bucs rank 12th in rush defense DVOA – but Akers stands out as a massive value on FanDuel. His $5,700 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%, which should make him one of the highest-owned players at the position.
Derrick Henry is expected to make his return this week, and he is easily the best fantasy runner on the slate if he’s at full strength. Of course, we won’t really know if he’s at full strength until the game starts. Still, $7,500 is an absolute steal if Henry hops right back into a workhorse role for the Titans. He’s had a comparable salary in 14 games over the past three seasons, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.94 in those contests.
Elijah Mitchell continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of DraftKings – he gets no respect. He continues to smash virtually every time he takes the field, finishing with 96 rushing yards and a touchdown last week vs. the Cowboys. There are some game script concerns vs. the Packers, but the Packers rank just 28th in rush defense DVOA. Mitchell can do some damage if this game stays competitive, and his $5,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Leonard Fournette is expected to return for the Buccaneers, and he operated as a true bell-cow back before hitting the IR. He was highly involved as a runner and a pass-catcher, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in 10 of his past 12 games on DraftKings. He was priced as high as $7,600 during that stretch, so getting him at $5,700 vs. the Rams is a nice discount.
Don’t forget about Devin Singletary. He’s emerged as the clear RB1 for the Bills, and he’s provided excellent value in that role recently. He’s tallied at least 18 opportunities in five straight games, and he’s scored at least 16.6 DraftKings points in each of them. Singletary is another strong value given his Bargain Rating of 95%.
Finally, if you’re looking for a true punt play at the position, Jerick McKinnon seems like your best bet. He will have to contend with Clyde Edwards-Helaire this week, but McKinnon proved his worth in the Wild Card round. Even if he loses some touches to CEH, he should still be involved as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. That gives him some upside at just $4,800.
The Cardinals were able to slow down Cooper Kupp last week, but that had more to do with their offense than their defense. Kyler Murray and co. were so bad that the Rams simply didn’t need to lean on Kupp as much as usual. When they did target him, Kupp was as good as ever, turning seven targets into five catches for 61 yards and a score.
The Rams will likely need a much bigger performance from their passing attack if they’re going to knock off the defending champs. That makes Kupp a very appealing buy-low option. His price tag is down to just $8,600 on DraftKings, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.00 with a comparable salary this season.
Kupp should be able to do some damage vs. the Buccaneers’ secondary. That unit has improved as they’ve gotten healthier, but Kupp still owns the fourth-largest matchup advantage per Pro Football Focus.
As good as Kupp is, Davante Adams might be the preferred target on FanDuel. He’s -$800 cheaper than Kupp, and his $8,700 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. That’s the top mark at the position by a wide margin.
Adams also arguably has the superior matchup. The 49ers have been stout against the run this season, but they’ve been a bit leaky against the pass. They rank just 16th in pass defense DVOA, and PFF gives him the largest matchup advantage of the week. None of the 49ers’ corners stand out as particularly imposing, so Adams should be able to have his way with each of them.
Receiver doesn’t stand out as a great position to save money this week. There’s a strong midrange tier on DraftKings, but things get a bit rough once you get below $5,700 or so. There are currently eight receivers with a projected Plus/Minus of at least +1.09 in our NFL Models, and only one of those players is priced below $6,200.
That player is Randall Cobb, who will make his return to the lineup for the Packers. Cobb hasn’t been a huge part of their passing attack this season, but he did rack up at least four targets in five of his final six regular-season contests. That gives him a decent chance at paying off his minimal $3,100 salary.
Locking Cobb into your lineup certainly doesn’t feel great, but it helps unlock the rest of your roster.
Mike Evans has taken over as the Buccaneers’ clear alpha receiver following the injury to Chris Godwin and the release of Antonio Brown. He’s racked up 15 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns over the past two weeks, and he’s scored at least 26.9 DraftKings points in both contests. He’ll face a tough matchup this week vs. Jalen Ramsey, but Evans is capable of winning against anyone.
Tyreek Hill at $6,600?!? Sign me up! Hill wasn’t really needed last week – he played on just 29 of 65 possible snaps – but he still led the team in routes run. If the Chiefs need to take to the air more, Hill has the potential to provide massive value.
Hill isn’t the only receiver priced at a discount on this slate. A.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs are also very affordable, and both players obviously have the potential to produce like fantasy studs. Brown rates out slightly better than Diggs in terms of projected Plus/Minus, and he also has the advantage in terms of PFF grade. However, Diggs owns the higher ceiling projection in our NFL Models.
Ja’Marr Chase and Deebo Samuel are slightly more expensive than the midrange tier but slightly cheaper than Adams and Kupp. That could make them a bit overlooked on this slate. That obviously makes them appealing on a three-game slate.
If you’re looking for some other potential value options, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman, and Tyler Johnson could be worth some consideration. Pringle is slightly more expensive than the other two, but he’s racked up 15 targets and averaged 55 snaps over the past two weeks.
Tight end is another position loaded with quality options this week. There are plenty of strong options to choose from, but Rob Gronkowski owns a clear edge in our NFL Models. He’s had an excellent fantasy season, and he’s been awesome since losing Godwin and Brown. He has two games with at least 115 receiving yards over his past three games, and he scored a touchdown in the other.
The Rams represent a tough matchup for Gronkowski – they rank fourth in DVOA vs. the position – but Gronk still ranks first at the position in projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. His median and ceiling projections are both slightly lower than Travis Kelce’s, but the price differential gives Gronk the edge. The lower salary is even more important than usual on this slate given the lack of quality value options.
Tyler Higbee is the best source of value if you’re spending down at the position. He was a slight disappointment last week, posting a Plus/Minus of -1.38 on DraftKings, but he continues to remain a factor in the Rams’ passing attack. He plays on virtually every snap for the Rams, and he posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his previous four games.
In fact, using Higbee in addition to Gronkowski could be a preferred option in cash games. I would gladly use Higbee at receiver if he was eligible there, so using him in the flex spot is definitely reasonable. He’s projected for more fantasy points than any receiver priced below $4,700 and any running back priced below $4,800. I’m not sure if I’d go that route in tournaments – Higbee’s ceiling isn’t particularly high – but it makes sense when you’re trying to lock in a safe floor.
George Kittle has been a bit of a disappointment recently, but he’s in a potential smash spot this week. The Packers rank 30th in DVOA against the tight end position, and the 49ers could be forced to throw more than usual as an underdog. His price tag is also down to $6,400 on FanDuel, resulting in a position-high Bargain Rating of 77%.
Kelce is obviously a viable option any time he takes the slate. He racked up 28.88 DraftKings points in his last outing, and he’s scored a touchdown in four of the past five weeks. He’s still the best fantasy producer at the position, and his $6,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 84%.