Divisional Round DFS Locks of the Week

In a four-game slate, locking up the big performers is crucial. Mike Tagliere identifies the locks of this week.

| 5 months ago
(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Divisional Round DFS Locks of the Week

It’s down to the final two weeks of DFS — well, for those of you who don’t play during the Super Bowl. There are some great quarterbacks to choose from, and narrowing them down requires serious attention to detail. Fortunately, with a four-game slate, it allows us to dig in more than we’d typically be able to. That’s why Sterling Shepard was in this column last week, rather than the obvious plays. Speaking of obvious plays, a lot of people like LeGarrette Blount this week. If you missed my fades of the week that went up Wednesday, I paid close attention to detail and explained why he may not be the best fit for your cash teams.

Similar to the fades of the week article, below you’re going to get two quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers and one tight end to play in your cash-game lineups. Again, it’s important that you know that when there’s a small slate like this one, you need to take chances in order to win a tournament. While it may take just one player who is sub-two-percent owned in order to do that, you won’t find those players here. These are the guys who you should consider locks for production, regardless of their ownership percentage.


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Seahawks)

This may strike some as odd, considering the consensus is that the Seahawks have one of, if not the best defense left in the playoffs. But it’s important to note that they have weaknesses and the Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has taken advantage of opponents’ weaknesses all season long. It just so happens that the Seahawks weakness is the Falcons’, and specifically Matt Ryan’s, strength. Ryan led the league in deep (20-plus yards in the air) passing this year, boasting a passer rating of 136.1 on such throws, with no other quarterback even reaching 125.0. In fact, Ryan destroyed the Seahawks early in the season with the deep ball, completing 3-of-7 for 106 yards and two touchdowns. With Earl Thomas on the field, those were the only deep-ball touchdowns that the Seahawks allowed all season. Including Ryan’s game against them in Week 6, they allowed just 13-of-44 deep passes to be completed for 414 yards with two touchdowns (both Ryan’s) and two interceptions in 10 full games. Since losing Thomas, they have surrendered a drop-adjusted 14-of-30 deep passes to be completed for 442 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in just seven games. As you can see, the loss of Thomas has severely affected this secondary. Their best pass-rushers (Michael Bennett and Frank Clark) also happen to primarily line up on the side with the Falcons; best offensive linemen (Jake Matthews, Andy Levitre and Alex Mack). Ryan will be at home and playing a worse defense than the one he did in Seattle, where he totaled 335 yards and three touchdowns.

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