Daily fantasy advice: Previewing the final slate in DFS
We get one final crack at NFL DFS this season, as DraftKings is offered a “Bowl Games” slate featuring the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.
This is, admittedly, an odd slate. The Pro Bowl is far from a “normal” game. But the good news is that both the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl should see plenty of points scored, so there could be some insanely high scores in DFS as a result.
As usual, this article will help you start your week of DFS prep. Below are my early-week musings in DFS for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
Between the two Super Bowl quarterbacks, I think I like Tom Brady a bit more. He’s a little cheaper (though that really might not matter much this week), and his matchup is undeniably easier than Matt Ryan’s. The Falcons gave up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, while the Patriots gave up the 10th-fewest. Yes, the Patriots faced a carousel of mostly bad quarterbacks — and I do not expect Ryan to have a bad game by any means — but Brady vs. the Falcons defense is as juicy as it gets.
As for the Pro Bowl quarterbacks, I think Kirk Cousins intrigues me the most. He can sling it deep, and the Pro Bowl features an absurd amount of wide-open deep shots. The combination of Russell Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston combined to throw for seven touchdowns in last year’s Pro Bowl. They each threw at least two, and they were all on the same team. Oh, and none of them attempted more than 12 passes. Cousins wouldn’t need to connect on many passes to make this work.
You can fire up Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman — or both. I fully expect Bill Belichick to focus on limiting Julio Jones’ impact on the game, and while Jones won’t be completely erased, the increased focus on him should free up some underneath work for Freeman and Coleman. The Patriots are monstrous against the run. They gave up just four rushing touchdowns all year, the fewest in the NFL, including none since Week 8. But they did give up 102 receptions to running backs (second-most in NFL) for 808 receiving yards (third-most). Even if they don’t find much room to run, Freeman and Coleman should pick up DraftKings points through the air.
The only team that gave up more receptions to running backs than the Patriots were the Falcons, who ceded league-high figures of 109 receptions, 870 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns out of the backfield. All New England running backs are in play, but this stat makes me like James White as a super sneaky play this weekend. He caught three passes against the Steelers last weekend, and he had a 19-yard touchdown catch against the Texans in the Divisional Round. In fact, White has as many receptions as Dion Lewis in these playoffs. While it’s basically touchdown-or-bust for White, he is a boring name in a sea of superstars this weekend, and could go largely unnoticed.
I’m not interested in any of the Pro Bowl running backs. There were a combined 19 touchdowns scored in the 2014 and 2015 Pro Bowls. Only one was a rushing score.
I mentioned that I think the Patriots will focus on Julio Jones above, but I think he’s still in play — especially in tournaments. He has unrivaled game-breaking ability, especially on a slate like this, where all of the other “superstars” won’t see nearly as much opportunity. Jones gets two weeks to rest up a toe that didn’t limit him at all in the Conference Championship game, as he went off for 180 yards and two scores on nine receptions.
Chris Hogan actually put up the exact same stat line as Jones — nine catches for 180 yards and two scores. His DraftKings price jumped from $3,900 to $6,200 as a result. To return just 3x value on that salary, he’d need to score 18.6 DraftKings points — a milestone he reached just three times during the regular season. To reach 4x value, he’d need to score 24.8 points, a mark he passed just once. Hogan is obviously a threat from deep, but so are literally all of the (much cheaper) Pro Bowl receivers this week. I’ll be passing on Hogan.
You’re unlikely to find a receiver who will catch more than three passes in the Pro Bowl, but even just two or three catches in this game should be enough for 60-plus yards and a score. Allen Robinson, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Jarvis Landry all met those thresholds last year. So give me any one of Mike Evans, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., Demaryius Thomas or T.Y. Hilton this year. Evans is probably my favorite target of that bunch.
Your Super Bowl options are Martellus Bennett, Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo. Bennett is worth a look, as he has three touchdowns in his previous six games, but he has only surpassed 40 receiving yards in two of his past 12 outings. He’s a touchdown-or-bust option, which is essentially what all of the Pro Bowl tight ends are, as well — but the Pro Bowl options come equipped with more yardage upside. I think I’ll be dipping into the Pro Bowl rosters to find my tight end this week.
Delanie Walker (3-80-1) and Travis Kelce (5-91-2) both dominated at the Pro Bowl last year, while Jimmy Graham (3-30-2) and Greg Olsen (3-52-2) shined in 2014. In 2012, Kyle freakin’ Rudolph was the Pro Bowl MVP after going 5-122-1 in 2012. Walker, Kelce, Graham and Olsen are all options again this week, and I’d be happy to play any of them — or even two of them.