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Jeff Mans guides us through all things playoff fantasy football. Whether it be league play or DFS NFL Division Round action, be prepared to add to that bankroll!
Nothing good ever truly ends. I told you this in the Week 17 Cash Game Breakdown, and hopefully, now you know what I meant. Just because the 2019 NFL regular season has come to an end, it doesn’t mean that our opportunities to make significant profits from the football season have. We’ve got several opportunities starting this week to pad our bankrolls. Here are a few things to do this postseason to grab your share of these proceeds:
PLAYOFF FANTASY FOOTBALL
I could sit here and explain to you all of the types of postseason fantasy football leagues that you could set up or join, but my guy Armando Marsal already did this for our Fantasy Guru subscribers this week, as you can read here.
Elite Mafia Playoff League
All players from teams still alive in the NFL Playoffs are available to all teams each week. Franchise owners select a starting lineup from this player pool each week, but each player can only be used ONE TIME through the duration of the playoffs.
Great job in the first week everybody. We only had one team not set a lineup, an all-time record (sadly, I am serious). PLEASE remember to set your lineup for the Divisional Round and improve your chance at claiming one of our prizes. Most importantly, don’t let me or Ted beat you, as that would be embarrassing.
Teams – 100
Scoring – Full point PPR
Lineup – 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR,
1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE)
Standings – Total points scoring only
1) KidCash – 180.02
2) Easier Pronunciation for Mans (much appreciated!) – 178.30
3) Sniper – 174.80
4) Zjohns88 – 173.08
5) FantasySlayer – 173.00
6) Touchdown The Aisle – 172.98
7) Cowgerls – 170.90
8) Wink – 168.80
9) ItsVIP – 168.14
10) Franchise 87 (Change your name!) – 167.18
1st – $50
2nd – $30
3rd – $20
4th – Elite Mafia T-Shirt
5th – Elite Mafia T-Shirt
6th – Elite Mafia T-Shirt
7th – Month of DFS NBA or NHL Content or Opto
8th – Month of DFS NBA or NHL Content or Opto
9th – Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide
10th – Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide
Daily Fantasy Football
This is likely what you came here for in the first place, right? Of course, there is DFS NFL this postseason, and of course, we are on top of it here at Elite Fantasy. No, I will not be writing a Cash Game Breakdown for the playoffs.
The fact of the matter is, with just four games per week over these first two weeks of the postseason, there simply isn’t a true cash game experience for us. Normally, we can build a zero-fat lineup based on a tremendous amount of research and matchup breakdowns. But with one, two and four-game slates, this allows even the most casual of DFS players to do a proper amount of research. Thus, our cash game edge is all but obliterated.
Now, I still strongly recommend the single entry 50/50 contests even in the postseason. These contests offer you the best opportunity to win, plain and simple. So, if you are new to DFS, have been struggling to win this season and/or are on a very strict budget, these are still the right contests for you.
Personally, I will be playing almost exclusively in GPP’s (tournaments) throughout the playoffs. What’s more, I will likely be building multiple lineups each week as well; something I rarely do during the regular season. Please understand, I do this with the full intention of not winning a single dollar that I put in back. Tournaments are very difficult and offer super high paylines and a limited number of payouts. If you are on a budget, don’t follow my lead in contest selection during the postseason.
FanDuel has decided to do a Saturday-Sunday slate this week so I will use both FD & DK prices in this week’s writeup. Personally, I didn’t miss FD last week but will go back to playing a little over there just because I have always had real good results in the half point PPR format.
So, for this writeup, I have decided to parcel it down to a game-by-game format. Of course, I will still provide you with my core four, but this way you will also get some of my deeper dive plays along with the analysis behind them.
Here is the DFS NFL Postseason Writeup for the Divisional Round:
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers – 4:35 pm ET
Spread: 49ers -7
Point Total: 44.5
- VIKINGS – Mackensie Alexander, CB (knee) & Jayron Kearse, S (toe) are OUT. Adam Thielen, WR (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE. Stefon Diggs, WR (illness) is PROBABLE.
- 49ers – Dee Ford, DE (quad) and Kentavius Street, DT (knee) are QUESTIONABLE. Kwon Alexander, LB (pectoral) expected to be ACTIVATED.
Matchups To Exploit
- Vikings – The Vikings ran the ball 40 times in their Wild Card victory against the Saints and will likely have a similar blueprint for this matchup in San Francisco. Minnesota finished the regular season with the third-most rushing attempts, second-highest running play percentage and the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL. The 49ers defense is terrific at rushing the passer and in pass coverage, ranking second in both categories according to PFF. But the 49ers did allow 4.6 yards per carry this season, 10th highest in the NFL. These two teams played in week one of 2018 with the Vikings winning 24-16, and in that game, Minnesota ran the ball 32 times for 116 yards.
- 49ers – It should be no surprise San Francisco is also a high-volume rushing attack on offense, as they share a similar offensive philosophy. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is the son of Mike Shanahan, who groomed and mentored Vikings offensive assistant Gary Kubiak. These offenses are near mirror images of each other, so it is going to come down to execution. The 49ers will utilize more RB’s than Minnesota will, but the volume is about the same, as they finished second in rush attempts, third in run play percentage and second in rushing yards. The Vikings defense allowed 4.4 yards per carry on the ground, 19th in the NFL this season.
Best Plays (FD/DK Pricing)
- Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers ($6100/$5200)
- Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers ($6700/$5800)
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings ($8000/$8000)
- George Kittle, TE, 49ers ($7400/$6200)
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers ($5700/$5400)
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens – 8:15 pm ET
Spread: Ravens -10
Point Total: 47
- TITANS – Jayon Brown, LB (shoulder) & Adam Humphries, WR (ankle) are OUT. Cody Hollister, WR (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE.
- RAVENS – Mark Ingram, RB (calf) & Mark Andrews, TE (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE.
Matchups To Exploit
- Titans – The Titans toyed with the Patriots in the Wild Card Game, basically playing keep-away with the Patriots offense. Tennessee ran the ball 40 times for 201 yards in that game and will likely attack Baltimore’s defense the same way. The Titans were seventh in rushing attempts, fourth in rushing play percentage, third in rushing yards and third in rushing yards per attempt. Obviously, with the NFL’s leading rusher Derrick Henry leading the way, the Ravens will have to slow him down in order to win this game. Baltimore completely shut Henry down in week six of 2018 the last time these teams faced each other where Henry rushed just seven times for 21 yards. Baltimore did allow the 13th most rushing yards, and 12th highest rushing yards per attempt this season.
- Ravens – Nobody ran the football more or better than the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. The Titans defense is much better against the run however than against the pass so the key to this game for the Ravens is establishing some sort of production through the air. With that in mind, Baltimore threw to the tight end position a league-leading 40.9% this season and use multiple TE’s more than any other team in the league. This is a real weakness for the Titans defense, as they have allowed the seventh-most receiving yards, third-most TD’s and fifth-most fantasy points to TE’s this season.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens ($9400/$8400)
- Derrick Henry, RB, Titans ($9600/$8200)
- Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens ($6800/$5600)
- Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens ($5300/$4400)
- Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens ($5400/$4900)
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs – 3:05 pm ET
Spread: Chiefs -10
Point Total: 51
- TEXANS – Will Fuller, WR (groin), Jahleel Addae, S (knee), Jordan Akins, TE (hamstring), Keion Crossen, CB (hamstring), Jonathan Joseph, CB (hamstring) & Kenny Stills, WR (knee) are QUESTIONABLE.
- CHIEFS – Morris Claiborne, CB (personal) is OUT. Chris Jones, DT (calf) & Travis Kelce, TE (knee) are QUESTIONABLE.
Matchups To Exploit
- Texans – The Texans offense is essentially Deshaun Watson. Sure, there are a few really good complementary pieces, but they go as Watson goes. Back in week six when these teams faced off, Watson threw for 280 yards passing while also rushing for 42 yards and two rushing TD’s. Houston won that game at Arrowhead and will look to duplicate that performance against a Kansas City defense that has greatly improved since that meeting. It would be wise to attack the Chiefs on the ground where during the regular season they surrendered the fourth-most rushing yards per game, fourth-most rushing yards per attempt and gave up the fourth-most fantasy points to RB’s.
- Chiefs – In their previous meeting this season, the Chiefs threw the ball 35 times while running the ball just 10 times. Even though Patrick Mahomes threw for 273 yards and 3 TD’s, the Chiefs put up just seven points in the last three quarters and lost the game. The Texans defense was seventh-worst in overall DVOA and are the worst unit of all eight remaining playoff teams. They surrendered the fifth-most rushing yards per attempt this season but also rated as the third-worst pass coverage according to PFF, gave up the seventh-most passing yards, ninth-most passing yards per attempt and the fifth-most fantasy points to QB’s this season.
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs ($8600/$7500)
- Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs ($7500/$6400)
- Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs ($7900/$7600)
- Duke Johnson, RB, Texans ($5600/$4700)
- Will Fuller, WR, Texans ($5600/$5000)
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 6:40 pm ET
Spread: Packers -3.5
Point Total: 47
- SEAHAWKS – Mike Iupati, LG (neck) is OUT. Ezekiel Ansah, DE (neck), Duane Brown, LT (knee), George Fant, RT (groin), Marquise Blair, S (ankle) & Quinton Jefferson, DT (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE.
- PACKERS – Bryan Bulaga, LT (concussion) is PROBABLE. Tyler Lancaster, DT (Illness), Dan Vitale, FB (knee), Dexter Williams, RB (illness), Kenneth Clark, DT (back) are QUESTIONABLE.
Matchups To Exploit
- Seahawks – The Seahawks are a heavy running offense, ranking third in rush attempts, fourth in rushing yards and 10th in rushing yards per attempt. With both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny out for the season though, they are going to likely rely on veteran RB Marshawn Lynch to carry the load in the playoffs. Seattle failed to rush for 106+ yards just twice all season. The way to beat the Packers is controlling the ball on the ground. In their three losses this season, Green Bay surrendered an average of 149 yards on the ground. The Packers did give up the eighth-most rushing yards per game and sixth-most rushing yards per attempts this season. In Week 11 of 2018, the Seahawks defeated the Packers 27-24 and used a heavy running approach to do so. In that game, the Seahawks ran the ball 35 times for 183 yards and one touchdown.
- Packers – Green Bay leads one of the most balanced offenses still in the playoffs. They were 13th in the NFL in rushing attempts and 16th in passing attempts this season, despite playing at the fifth-slowest pace. The best way for the Packers to attack this Seattle defense is to run the ball at them. The Seahawks were the seventh-worst DVOA against the run this season, surrendered the second-most rushing TD’s and fourth-most receiving yards to RB’s this season. The Seahawks have also had a real difficult time slowing down opposing TE’s this season despite trading for safety Quandre Diggs back at the end of October. Seattle gave up the third-most fantasy points to TE’s this season.
- Aaron Jones, RB, Packers ($8200/$7400)
- Davante Adams, WR, Packers ($8400/$7800)
- Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks ($6700/$6600)
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers ($8100/$6500)
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks ($7900/$6600)
DFS NFL Division Round Position-by-Position
- Lamar Jackson, Ravens – The most important player in the highest-scoring offense and likely MVP of the NFL. There isn’t a single more important player in the playoffs than Jackson. His combination of rushing and passing ability makes him a real dangerous fade in daily fantasy football. Jackson averages 27.7 fantasy points per game, over six more than any other fantasy QB this season, and has logged over 30 fantasy points eight times in 15 starts.
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs – Mahomes should be considered in the same tier as Lamar Jackson in terms of the “best” fantasy QB’s for this week, but in this short slate, he is also a tad contrarian. If you are fading Lamar Jackson this week, you need to have another QB that won’t bury behind a 35/40-point performance that Jackson is capable of putting up. Mahomes didn’t have as sensational of a season as he did in 2018, but he was still very, very good. He averaged 20.5 fantasy points per game and has averaged 23 yards rushing over his final six games of the regular season. In week six of the season, Mahomes threw for 273 yards and 3 TD’s against the Texans. Houston was third-worst in pass coverage per PFF, surrendered the fourth-most passing yards, fourth-most passing TD’s and fourth-most fantasy points to QB’s this season.
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Ideally, we would want a QB who can either throw for an abundance of yards and/or can rush for a big total when we are considering fading Lamar Jackson. That would seemingly point us to Deshaun Watson instead of Rodgers, but that is what makes Rodgers more contrarian. We all know Aaron Rodgers is as elite of a passer as there is in the NFL and his numbers this season were disappointing from a fantasy standpoint. He has the ability to go ham in just about any matchup, and the Seahawks 18th overall DVOA certainly isn’t one that will shut him down. This play comes down to expected game flow, as I project it to be a tightly contested, back and forth game that will likely come down to which QB can make the bigger play. I have a lot more faith in the Packers defense to stop Russell Wilson than the Seahawks defense to shut down Rodgers at Lambeau this Sunday.
- Aaron Jones, Packers – Jones was the #2 scoring fantasy RB this season and tied with Derrick Henry for the most rushing TD’s with 16. There will be winter storms in Green Bay Friday and Saturday night, dropping temperatures and ice/snow all over Lambeau Field. The snow will be gone by game time Sunday, but the temperatures will be in the low 20’s. The Seahawks have given up an average of 162 yards rushing over their last five games, including last week’s Wild Card victory against the Eagles.
- Derrick Henry, Titans – Henry isn’t some of the Titans offense; he isn’t most of the Titans offense; he is the entire Tennessee Titans offense. The game plan for Tennessee this week against the Ravens will be very similar to what they did against the Patriots last week where they ran the ball 40 times for 201 yards. The Ravens are loaded in the secondary, making it real difficult to pass the ball against them. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Ravens load the box up against Henry, forcing Tannehill to check into a passing play and leading to a few more targets to Henry as a result. There is just no path around him in this Tennessee offense, making him one of, if not, the most stable RB on the board this week.
- Raheem Mostert, 49ers – Mostert has assumed the RB1 role here with the 49ers, and as a result, has scored eight touchdowns over his last six games. He’s not the feature back by any means, but Mostert’s been so incredibly efficient and there’s little reason to think that will change in the playoffs. The Vikings have surrendered an average of 146 rushing yards per game over their last three games, including 97 to the Saints last week. With their defense fully healthy, it is going to be very difficult for the Vikings to score on this San Francisco defense. That gives more rushing attempts to Mostert and the 49ers RB’s and ultimately protects his production from game flow.
- Duke Johnson, Texans – I really love Duke Johnson here this week. He won’t be too heavily owned but will see quite a boost in snaps thanks to the expected game flow against the Chiefs. Even though Carlos Hyde out carried Duke 245-83 during the regular season, they played a near identical number of overall snaps (Hyde 538, Duke 531) this season. Duke Johnson only had six touches in their win against the Bills, but he accumulated 68 total yards. He’s going to be a lot busier in this game as the Texans try and keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
- Justice Hill, Ravens – Yeah, I am a total mark for Hill and will likely own some shares of him this weekend regardless of Mark Ingram being active or not. I strongly believe Ingram will be limited, and that leaves Gus Edwards and Hill to carry the load for the Ravens. To win in small slate DFS, you need to take some aggressive stances, and investing in the Ravens running game is a heck of a place to attack because the upside is tremendous.
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS – WR MATCHUP (Mans Model, By YOUR Request)
- Xavier Rhodes, Vikings → Deebo Samuel, 49ers
- Vernon Hargreaves, Texans → Sammy Watkins, Chiefs
- Tre Flowers, Seahawks → Davante Adams, Packers
- Gareon Conley, Texans → Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
- Bashaud Breeland, Chiefs → DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
- Tramaine Brock, Titans → Marquise Brown, Ravens
- Ugo Amadi, Seahawks → Geronimo Allison, Packers
- Ahkello Witherspoon, 49ers → Stefon Diggs, Vikings
- Mike Hughes, Vikings → Emmanuel Sanders, 49ers
- Kendall Fuller, Chiefs → Kenny Stills, Texans
- Davante Adams, Packers – The great thing about the Green Bay offense is we know the producers will be Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams. Those three will comprise about 80% or more of the fantasy production so it is immediately streamlined for us. He has a great CB matchup against Tre Flowers, my #3 worst CB remaining in the playoffs. Since returning from his turf toe injury in week nine, Adams generated 10+ targets & 7+ receptions in all but one game, averaging a stat line 11-7-73-.6 or 18.5 fantasy points. In a game that profiles as a back and forth contest, he certainly should see increases in just about every category and could easily be the top-scoring WR of the four-game slate.
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – You can’t play short slate DFS, aim for tournament wins and then fade the biggest playmaker of the slate and possibly the entire NFL. The Chiefs are the biggest favorites of the slate and going against easily the worst remaining defense. He went for 10-5-80-2 or 25 fantasy points against the Texans in his first game back from injury in week six.
- DeAndre Hopkins, Texans – It’s never easy projecting ownership in a small slate of DFS NFL, but as of this writing, it looks like Hopkins could come in just behind Tyreek, Adams and possibly even Deebo Samuel this week. The game script sets up perfectly for him, as the Texans are double-digit underdogs and will need to throw to either get back in the game or stay ahead of the Chiefs offense. He had 12 targets and nine receptions against them back in week six but only accumulated 55 yards. Hopkins has had some real tough CB matchups down the stretch this season but gets the #5 worst CB left in Bashaud Breeland this week.
- Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – DK Metcalf will be the Seahawks WR everybody uses, leaving Lockett to likely be Russell Wilson’s favorite target this week. The Packers secondary is tough, and the WR/CB charts will tell us that DK Metcalf/Kevin King matchup is the one to take advantage of in the game. But Green Bay will absolutely drop a safety over the top of Metcalf, now leaving Lockett and Tramon Williams one on one. I’ll take Lockett and significantly less ownership in a positive game script this week.
- Marquise Brown, Ravens – I will be going all-in on Marquise “Hollywood” “What’s Your Dream?” Brown this week. The Titans CB’s have a real difficult time guarding speed, and Brown is one of the worst matchups for them in the NFL. The Titans are going to stack the box early to try and force Lamar Jackson into poor decisions in the running game, leaving big plays over the top for them if they recognize it. We need value players with extreme upside in this kind of slate, and thus Hollywood is the best bang for the buck on the board.
- Deebo Samuel, 49ers – I love Deebo this week but so does the entire DFS industry, which has me more cautious than I was earlier in the week. He matches up against the terrible Xavier Rhodes this week, and the Vikings corner has been absolutely awful for most of this season. The only issue here is the 49ers really won’t have to pass much in this game so he will have to get his production in early or have the Vikings keep pace and score against the 49ers defense. I like the first part of that much more than the last part here in the Divisional Round.
- Will Fuller, Texans – As of right now, Fuller is expected to suit up for what is likely the Texans last game of the season. He is desperately needed in order to take the coverage off of DeAndre Hopkins. He got nine targets when these teams met earlier this season and will be lining up likely in single coverage against Chiefs CB Chavarius Ward, who doesn’t defend the deep ball well, surrendering a 108.6 QB rating against throws of 20+ yards. He’s a boom or bust receiver, but again, that is what we want in a small slate assuming of course that he actually gives it a go.
- Travis Kelce, Chiefs – The QB & TE positions breakdown like this. Fade anybody as long as you are positive that your replacement can come close to, equal to or surpass their ceiling projection this week. Hope is not a viable strategy, and thus, there are only really 3 TE’s to choose from here this week. Kelce is the best fantasy TE in the business and has had success against the Texans in the past. In five career games against them, Kelce averages 8-6-85-.4 or 16.9 fantasy points per game.
- George Kittle, 49ers – The second of the magic 3 TE’s for the Divisional Round, Kittle finished the season as the second-highest scoring TE in fantasy football, just behind Kelce. He has the third-most targets per game among TE’s and second-most yards per game. He faced the Vikings in week one of 2018 before he was “the George Kittle” and went for 9-5-90-0. We know how important Kittle is to this 49ers offense, logging the highest target share of any TE at 28.2%. For example, Kelce was 24.4% and Mark Andrews was 24.1% this season.
- Mark Andrews, Ravens – The last of the TE’s worthy of DFS use this week and the only one who may come in just slightly contrarian. The Ravens throw to the TE more than any other team at 40.9%, of which Andrews draws 24.1%. He comes into the game with an ankle injury that may worry some people off of him. The matchup could not be better at this point in the season. The Titans have allowed the seventh-most receiving yards, third-most TD’s and fifth-most fantasy points to TE’s this season.
- Nick Boyle, Ravens – It’s really not a good idea to stray from the top three at TE this week, but if you really need to get “different,” then consider leveraging Mark Andrews’ ankle (or any other possible) injury against the field. Boyle plays a lot, averaging more snaps per game than even Andrews though his fantasy production isn’t on par. But when teams focus on trying to shut down Andrews, like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Kansas City, we see Boyle’s targets rise. If you are going to pay down and get different at TE, you might as well do it in a situation that has monster upside as opposed to just hoping you fall into a single TD, which will certainly not be enough.
- San Francisco 49ers – The return of DE Dee Ford and LB Kwon Alexander make the 49ers defense even scarier than they were down the stretch this season. When they were healthy in the beginning, this defense was ruining lives. The Vikings scheme is a mirror image of what the 49ers defense has seen all season long in practice, and thus, they have a tremendous advantage in this matchup.
- Baltimore Ravens – The Titans have just one threat, and that is RB Derrick Henry. If Tennessee is forced into throwing the football, turnovers will occur with great frequency. This secondary is off of the charts and can lure Ryan Tannehill into making the gravest of mistakes.
- Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs defense has played well down the stretch, allowing an average of 10.4 points and 196 passing yards per game while generating 3.2 sacks and 1.4 turnovers per game over their last five games.
DFS NFL DIVISION ROUND LINEUP BUILDS
Since this is a GPP (tournament) slate, that means it is a time to build multiple lineups. With that in mind, there are no players who are just completely off-limits to us here. It’s all about reading all three game scripts, interpreting them and using the players who will most execute those scripts best.
In keeping with my usual “Core 4” theme, let’s go over four lineup builds I will be using. I’m planning on playing about four to eight total lineups in this slate.
Core Four #1 (From SiriusXM)
- QB – Lamar Jackson, Ravens
- RB – Raheem Mostert, 49ers
- WR – Marquise Brown, Ravens
- TE – Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Core Four #2
- QB – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
- RB – Duke Johnson, Texans
- WR – Marquise Brown, Ravens
- TE – Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Core Four #3
- QB – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
- RB – Duke Johnson, Texans
- WR – Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
- WR – Marquise Brown
Core Four #4
- QB – Aaron Rodgers, Packers
- RB – Damien Williams, Chiefs
- WR – Davante Adams, Packers
- TE – Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Check out our Ownership Projections for the DFS NFL Division Round!