If you’re playing DFS this is the last week you get to be creative with your lineups. Next week we are down to 4 teams and then it’s on to the Super Bowl. We’re here to help you with your decisions by dissecting every matchup for this weekend’s Divisional Round. Good luck to everyone this week!
Seattle @ Atlanta
Russell Wilson, Quarterback, SEA
The Falcons ranked 19th in DVOA and gave up the 3rd most points to opposing quarterbacks. They allowed 31 touchdowns (tied 3rd most) and had just 12 interceptions (tied 18th). Despite the plus matchup Wilson and the Seahawks have really struggled on the road this year scoring just 15.8 points compared to 28.38 points at home. When these teams met week 6 in Seattle Wilson threw for 270 yards and no touchdowns, though he was not 100% healthy. In order for Wilson to pay off his value this week he’ll have to produce one of his best road games of the season.
Thomas Rawls, Running Back, SEA
The Falcons ranked 29th in DVOA and gave up the 8th most points to running backs. They allowed 4.5 YPA and gave up 15 touchdowns. Rawls is coming off a huge game in the Wild Card round posting a 27-161-1 line. The Seahawks looked committed to the run last week and ran more plays out of the I-formation then they had all year. If they do that again this week Rawls could be in for another big day. The worry here is that the Seahawks revert back to their pass-happy ways especially if they fall behind on the road.
Doug Baldwin, Wide Receiver, SEA
Baldwin will line up against slot corner Brian Poole (ranked 30th). Poole was an UFA this year but has started every game for the Falcons. Though not a household name he has played very well this year. Baldwin is Wilson’s top target and will get his chances but will have a tough time of it in this matchup. He is not a receiver I would pay up for this week.
Paul Richardson/Jermaine Kearse, Wide Receivers, SEA
Richardson and Kearse will see outside corners Jalen Collins (ranked 16th) and Robert Alford (ranked 33rd). Richardson had a breakout game last week making 2 highlight reel catches including a one handed touchdown grab. Still he only saw 4 targets but could make for a cash saver in tournaments. Kearse has struggled all year and only turned 3 targets into 2 catches for 18 yards last week. He is a tough start in all formats.
Jimmy Graham, Tight End, SEA
The Falcons ranked 6th worst against tight ends giving up almost 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns. When these teams met in week 6 Graham posted a 6-89-0 line and led the team in targets with 9. Graham has re-established himself as a top tight end this year and makes for a top play this week.
Matt Ryan, Quarterback, ATL
The Seahawks ranked 13th in DVOA and gave up the 5th fewest points to the position. They also gave up just 16 touchdowns to quarterbacks, though Ryan had 3 when these teams met in Seattle week 6. The loss of Earl Thomas is a big blow to this secondary that was torched for 335 yards in their first meeting. Over the last 5 games without Thomas Seattle has given up 8.06 YPA to quarterbacks. Atlanta’s offense has been great all year and being at home should only help. I expect Ryan to be a top quarterback play this week.
DeVontae Freeman/Tevin Coleman, Running Backs, ATL
The Seahawks ranked 2nd in DVOA and gave up the 5th fewest points to running backs. They also allowed a league low 3.4 YPA. Last week they held Detroit to 3.1 YPA. If you’re going to play one of them this week Freeman is the best bet. Freeman scored 12 of his 14 touchdowns at home while Coleman scored 8 of his 11 on the road. It seems likely the Falcons will exploit this defense through the air though so both are tournament plays only.
Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, ATL
Jones lines up the majority of the time on the left which means he will see DeShawn Shead (ranked 36th). Shead is a good corner but should be no match for one of the best receivers in the game. In week 6 when Jones was lined up against anyone not named Richard Sherman he caught 4 of 4 targets for 99 yards and a touchdown. It doesn’t seem likely he will see a lot of Sherman this week and should be in line for a big day.
Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver, ATL
Sanu has the best matchup against slot corner Jeremy Lane (ranked 100th). In week 6 Sanu posted a 5-47-1 line in Seattle. He makes for a good pivot from Julio Jones if you are looking for a lower owned Atlanta wide receiver to play this week.
Tyler Gabriel, Wide Receiver, ATL
Gabriel is likely to see a lot of Richard Sherman (ranked 13th). In a tough matchup Gabriel makes for nothing more than a boom/bust tournament play this week.
Austin Hooper, Tight End, ATL
The Seahawks ranked 4th best in points allowed to tight ends giving up just 700 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hooper didn’t play in week 6 when these teams met, but Jacob Tamme caught just 2 passes for 16 yards on 3 targets. This despite the fact that Matt Ryan threw for 335 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hooper is a tough start this week.
Houston @ New England
Brock Osweiler, Quarterback, HOU
The Patriots ranked 23rd in DVOA and gave up just the 10th fewest points allowed. Quarterbacks averaged just 6.8 YPA and threw just 21 touchdowns. Osweiler was really bad all year and threw for just 196 yards and an interception when these teams met in New England week 3. Osweiler is by far the worst of the 8 quarterbacks left and is a complete dart throw this week.
Lamar Miller, Running Back, HOU
The Patriots ranked 4th in DVOA and gave up the 2nd fewest points to running backs. Teams ran for just 3.9 YPA against them and scored just 6 touchdowns. Miller was a workhorse against Oakland in the Wild Card round running the ball 31 times. He was only able to manage 71 yards but he did find the end zone. With Houston projected as big underdogs in this game Miller is a tough play in any format and will likely need a touchdown to pay off.
DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, HOU
The Patriots typically use Logan Ryan (ranked 22nd) on Hopkins. The last 2 times these teams played Hopkins posted a 3-52-0 line and a 4-56-0 line against Ryan. The Patriots also use safety help over the top on him. Hopkins can only be trusted in tournaments as a low owned, boom/bust play this week.
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, HOU
Fuller will likely see a lot of Malcom Butler (ranked 3rd) as that was the Patriots game plan when they played in week 3. Butler dominated Fuller in that matchup as Fuller caught 0 of 5 targets when covered by Butler. In a tough matchup Fuller is a risky start in all formats.
C.J. Fiedorowicz/Ryan Griffin, Tight End, HOU
The Patriots gave up the 5th fewest points to tight ends allowing just 700 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fiedorowicz broke out earlier this year as one of Osweiler’s favorite targets but saw his touches diminish somewhat with the emergence of Ryan Griffin. Last week they each saw 4 targets. Both are risky starts this week in a tough matchup.
Tom Brady, Quarterback, NE
The Texans ranked 5th in DVOA and gave up just the 3rd fewest points to quarterbacks. They gave up the second fewest YPA with 6.6 and allowed just 20 touchdowns. Brady didn’t play when these teams met in week 3 but come on, it’s Tom Brady. He’s one of the all time greats and is as close to matchup proof as it gets. He makes for one of the top plays this week as a big favorite at home.
LeGarrette Blount/Dion Lewis, Running Back, NE
The Texans ranked 17th in DVOA and 16th in points allowed. Blount will likely be a chalky play this week as he has produced big games when the Patriots win big. In the 7 games the Patriots won by 14 or more this season Blount had at least one touchdown. He’s also seen 14 carries inside the 10 over the last 3 weeks. Lewis has been sneaky good lately and he is my favorite cheap flex option for this week’s slate. Over the last 3 weeks Lewis had 50 touches to Blount’s 51 including 4 touches inside the 10. With his pass catching ability he should be able to pay off his value this week.
Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver, NE
Edelman will match up against slot corner Kareem Jackson (ranked 38th). Though the matchup is tough Edelman has averaged 7 catches and 12.6 targets since Rob Gronkowski’s season ending injury. Edelman makes for a safe cash game play this week.
Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, NE
With Malcolm Mitchell out in week 17 with a knee injury Floyd saw 4 targets and converted them into 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. He likely built a lot of trust in that game as he also threw a devastating block to spring Edelman for a 77 yard touchdown. Mitchell is looking unlikely to play again this week which means Floyd will get the start. Unfortunately he will be matched up against stud corner A.J. Bouye (ranked 1st). Floyd is a boom/bust tournament play only.
Chris Hogan, Wide Receiver, NE
Hogan lines up all over the field and doesn’t see enough volume to be anything more than a boom/bust tournament option this week.
Martellus Bennett, Tight End, NE
The Texans allowed the 3rd fewest points to tight ends giving up just 565 yards and 3 touchdowns. When these teams met in week 3 Bennett caught just 2 passes for 10 yards but of course that was without Brady. Still with the Texans being so tough on tight ends it seems likely Brady will be utilizing his receivers more in this one.
Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback, PIT
The Chiefs ranked 7th in DVOA and 10th in points allowed. They allowed just 6.9 YPA and gave up just 23 touchdowns while hauling in 18 interceptions. Roethlisberger has struggled on the road throwing for just 6.7 YPA, 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions this year. He did torch this defense for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns in week 4 but that was at home. Coming off the bye I expect the KC defense to be ready and for Roethlisberger to struggle this week.
LeVeon Bell, Running Back, PIT
The Chiefs ranked 26th in DVOA and 17th in points allowed. They also allowed 4.4 YPA. Not much needs to be said about Bell as he is one of the best backs in the league. He also performs very well on the road averaging over 5 yards per carry. Coming off a huge week he could likely be the highest owned running back this week and makes for a safe play in cash games.
Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, PIT
Brown will see a mix of Marcus Peters (ranked 17th) and Terrance Mitchell (ranked 26th). Brown is one of the top receivers in the game but could be limited in a tough matchup combined with Roethlisberger’s struggles on the road. He will likely be high owned but I prefer to pivot off him to less expensive and lower owned options this week.
Jesse James, Tight End, PIT
The Chiefs gave up the 8th fewest points to the position allowing just 725 yards and 4 touchdowns. James is barely an option on this team as he saw just 2 targets last week and makes for a risky start.
Alex Smith, Quarterback, KC
The Steelers ranked 12th in DVOA and 5th in points allowed. They gave up just 20 touchdowns through the air as well. Smith is not one of those quarterbacks that will put up huge numbers but he’s a solid play. He did post one of his best games this year when he faced Pittsburgh in week 4 throwing for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns on the road. Still his limited upside makes him a better cash game play than a tournament play.
Spencer Ware/Charcandrik West, Running Backs, KC
The Steelers ranked 11th in DVOA but gave up the 6th most points to running backs. A lot of that was because they allowed 20 touchdowns to running backs (15 on the ground, 5 through the air). Ware seemed to lose steam after suffering a concussion in week 9 as he didn’t run for over 70 yards the rest of the season. He makes for a risky play this week. In week 17 with Ware held out West ran the ball 16 times for just 58 yards but did add 5 catches for another 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. Still with Ware seemingly healthy and ready to take over starter duties West is nothing more than a boom/bust flex play this week.
Jeremy Maclin/Tyreek Hill, Wide Receivers, KC
Maclin and Hill line up all over the field and will see a mix of Ross Cockrel (ranked 32nd) and Artie Burns (ranked 40th) on the outside and slot corner William Gay (ranked 10th). Maclin has very limited upside and is a risky start in all formats. Hill can always break a big play at anytime and his usage in the kicking game and the run game makes him a viable option in tournaments.
Travis Kelce, Tight End, KC
The Steelers ranked 20th in points allowed giving up 945 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kelce had an incredible year and is a focal point of this offense. He makes for a great start this week in all formats.
Green Bay @ Dallas
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, GB
The Cowboys ranked 18th in DVOA and 16th in points allowed. Rodgers has been on fire the second half of the season and will likely be forced to throw the ball 40 plus times. He will likely be without his top receiving option, Jordy Nelson, but that didn’t slow him down last week as he torched a banged up Giants secondary for 5 touchdowns. He’s a top start this week in all formats.
Ty Montgomerey/Christine Michael, Running Backs, GB
The Cowboys ranked 8th in DVOA and allowed the 4th fewest points to running backs. They gave up just 3.9 YPA and 9 touchdowns. The Packers struggled to run last week against a good Giants front seven as Montgomerey and Michael combined for 74 yards on 21 carries. Neither dominated the backfield as Montgomerey saw 11 carries while Michael saw 10. It seems likely that both will struggle to find room this week and the Packers will be forced to throw 40 plus times. Both make for risky starts this week.
DaVante Adams, Wide Receiver, GB
Adams primarily lines up on the left which means he will see Brandon Carr (ranked 51st). With Jordy Nelson expected to miss Adams will likely become Rodgers’ top target. Already a consistent option Adams should be in line for even more work this week. He makes for a solid play in all formats.
Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver, GB
Coming off a huge Wild Card game Cobb will likely see his ownership rise this week. He benefited big time from the loss of Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie last week and draws Orlando Scandrick (ranked 26th) this week. Like Adams, Cobb should see more targets with Nelson out but is a risky play in cash games. I would prefer him in tournaments.
Jared Cook, Tight End, GB
The Cowboys struggled against tight ends this year allowing the 3rd most points while giving up over 1200 yards and 8 touchdowns. Cook has become a trusted option for Aaron Rodgers but his price continues to be low on the major sites. He saw 9 targets last week and if Jordy Nelson is out he should be in line for another high target day. He is a great pivot from the more expensive tight ends.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback, DAL
The Packers ranked 22nd in DVOA and gave up the 7th most points to the position. When these teams met in week 6 Prescott lit them up for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns. The risk here is that the Cowboys slow the game down and control the clock with Ezekiel Elliott. Still Prescott is one of my favorite tournament plays as he will likely be low owned and comes at a real value in a great matchup. I wouldn’t trust him in cash games though as he could bomb.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, DAL
The Packers ranked 14th in DVOA and 12th in points allowed. Still they were good against bad run teams and bad against good run teams. When these teams played in week 6 Elliott ran 28 times for 157 yards. Elliott was one of the best backs this year and is an obvious top start this week. He makes for a safe cash game play but will likely have a high ownership in tournaments.
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, DAL
Bryant plays half of his snaps from the left which means he will see a lot of Ladarius Gunter (ranked 43rd). Unlike last week were the Packers doubled and even triple teamed Odell Beckham, Jr., Dez should see mostly single coverage as the Packers defense will need to respect the Dallas run game. Bryant should be able to get plenty of separation in this game and could go under owned compared to the other high priced receivers this week. He makes for a good start in all formats.
Cole Beasley, Wide Receiver, DAL
Beasley draws a good matchup against slot corner Micah Hyde (ranked 70th). Beasley torched Hyde in week 6 for a 6-58-2 line but saw his role in this offense diminish down the stretch. Still he makes for a good tournament boom/bust play in a plus matchup.
Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver, DAL
Williams plays over half of his snaps on the right which means he will see a lot of Damarious Randall (ranked 108th). Williams doesn’t see enough volume to make him a safe enough play for cash games but makes for a sneaky play in tournaments as his ownership will likely be very low. Still he’ll need to hit a long touchdown to pay off.
Jason Witten, Tight End, DAL
The Packers ranked 20th in points allowed giving up 1000 yards and 5 touchdowns. Witten is a trusted target of Dak Prescott but his lack of touchdowns limits his ceiling. I think there are better options this week.