DFS bargains for Divisional Round
After sorting through this week’s price sheets, I’ve found some valuable players for our Divisional Round rosters. As I have done every week, I used my prediction models — which I’ve written about in the past — to find the players with the most value at each position on all three major DFS sites. I also accounted for injuries and matchups when I made my picks.
Most of the well-known fantasy studs and superstars have been excluded. Even though I think many of them have a lot of value this week, I don’t think it’s necessary to explain why.
Now, lets jump into some of my favorite value picks for this weekend’s games. I’ve included many of the players’ projected floor and ceiling scores (PPR). They give us clear indication of who has good GPP potential (high ceiling), and who should be used primarily in cash games (high floor). The prices listed below each player are the ones I consider to be good values.
Carson Palmer vs. Green Bay
Among the limited field of quarterbacks playing this weekend, Palmer has the most value. For the regular season, he threw the second-most touchdowns (35), and scored the fifth most fantasy points (20 per game) among quarterbacks. He also had the highest PFF passer grade (97.5) and overall quarterback grade (98.5). As a comparison, Tom Brady’s overall grade (92.9) was a distant second. Simply put, Palmer played incredibly well this season, and is now among the elite at his position. Despite that fact, he’s only the sixth-most expensive quarterback on DK this week.
He’s not on discount due to the matchup. The Packers defense has the second-lowest pass-coverage rating (8.2) of the teams playing this weekend. Only the Steelers defense is rated lower (-22.8). Also, the Packers defense gave up by far the most passing yards (329) during Wild Card Weekend.
Palmer last faced the Packers in Week 16. He completed 18 of his 27 attempts for 265 yards and two touchdowns. I’m expecting bigger numbers from him this weekend. His floor is nine points, and his ceiling is 32. Play him in your GPP and cash games this weekend.
C.J. Anderson vs. Pittsburgh
David Johnson is indisputably the most-valuable running back in DFS this week—despite his hefty price. His floor is eight points, and his ceiling is a whopping 39. After him, the next most-valuable running back is Anderson.
Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will continue to share the Broncos’ backfield duties. In Week 17, they both had 15 carries. Hillman had the better overall game. He racked up 117 yards and one touchdown on the ground. A lot of his rushing production came from one big play, a 23-yard touchdown that was perfectly blocked. Anderson finished the day with 95 rushing yards and a touchdown.
However, Anderson was the more-productive running back when Peyton Manning—who will start this weekend—was in the game. Once Manning was under center, the Broncos offense was able to open up big running lanes against the Chargers defense, and Anderson was then able to make some big plays on the ground.
In fact, for the season, Anderson was the better back. Anderson out produced Hillman in the passing game. But, more importantly, he significantly bested Hillman on the ground. Anderson averaged 4.7 yards per carry, as Hillman had 4.2. Coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme rewards running backs that best take advantage of running lanes. That’s Anderson in this case.
Against the Steelers subpar run defense (-0.1), I expect Anderson to out produce Hillman on the ground, and to find the end zone more often. His floor is a risky three points, but his ceiling is an encouraging 21. Pair him with Johnson for a deadly duo.
Michael Floyd vs. Green Bay
Floyd has the most-valuable ceiling of all the wide receivers on DK and FD this weekend. In other words, his upside-to-cost ratio is unmatched. He surpassed 100 receiving yards in five of his last eight games. That includes Week 17, when he was nursing a knee injury, and was limited in action. Since the season’s halfway point, Floyd has led the Cardinals in receiving yards, yards per reception, and touchdowns. He’s also Palmer’s favorite deep threat.
He has a nice matchup this weekend. As mentioned above, the Packers defense has the second-lowest pass-coverage rating (8.2) of the teams playing this weekend. They also gave up by far the most passing yards (329) during Wild Card Weekend. When they last faced off, in Week 16, Floyd caught six of his eight targets for 111.
Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, or Quentin Rollins will cover Floyd for the vast majority of the game. He has the advantage in all three matchups, per the PFF Wide Receiver/Cornerback Chart. Shields is the best of that group. However, he has been out since Week 14 due to a concussion. He returned to practice on Wednesday, but still hasn’t cleared the concussion protocol. He should be considered questionable for the game. If he were to be inactive, Floyd’s value would be even higher.
His floor is six points, and his ceiling is 26. Only three wide receivers have higher ceilings this weekend: Antonio Brown (36), Demaryius Thomas (29), and Doug Baldwin (27). All three also have significantly higher salaries. That’s why Floyd is the best value at wide receiver this week.
Travis Kelce at New England
Kelce caught eight of his 10 targets for 128 yards against the Texans in the Wild Card round. This weekend, he’ll again be Alex Smith’s primary target, as Jeremy Maclin is questionable with an ankle injury.
Unfortunately, Kelce’s competition is much stiffer in this round of the playoffs. The Patriots defense is rated second in the league for pass coverage (39.7). Patrick Chung has been a top-tier safety this season, with an overall grade of 85.3. This season, he has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete only 22 of their 49 attempts for 269 yards and one touchdown against him. And, he was facing tight ends most of the time. This weekend, he’ll often matchup against Kelce.
Despite the tough matchup, Kelce is still the most-valuable tight end this weekend. His floor is four points, and his ceiling is 29. Not only does he have a high ceiling, he’s also very-reasonably priced. For comparison, Greg Olsen is $1,800 more expensive then him on DK, and Rob Gronkowski is $2,400 more expensive. So, save your money, and start Kelce.
Dave Pratt, DPT, is PFF Fantasy’s injury expert. Follow him on Twitter @PFF_DavePratt