Championship Round Weekend DFS Cheat Sheet
January 14, 2015 | Chet
Welcome to Championship Round Weekend of The Fake Football DFS Cheat Sheet!
With the help of our resident DFS Guru Rich Hribar, Ian Goldsmith and myself, we have put together a comprehensive NFL DFS Cheat Sheet with matchup stats, analysis, picks, sample lineups and lineup configuration advice. We have picks for FanDuel, Draftkings, and Draftday, and with their differing settings, the picks, stats and analysis will help you on even more sites than just those four. And with a week between games we will update our picks and analysis as the week progresses. You will receive your Cheat Sheet on Wednesday, in time for the Thursday night games and then we will update the sheet on Sunday Mornings to make sure you don’t miss any breaking news.
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Green Bay at Seattle
The opening game of Championship Sunday is a rematch of the game that opened the 2014 season. In that first meeting, Seattle won 36-16, holding the Packers to their second lowest yardage output (255 yards) on the season.
I don’t think there’s a lot to take out from that game from the Green Bay side offensively as their game plan was to sacrifice Jarrett Boykin to Richard Sherman and allow Seattle to only have to defend 75 percent of the field. I can’t imagine their game plan this week will be to relentlessly target Sherman, but Green Bay attempted just three total passes out of 33 total to the right side in week 1.
The Packers had Jordy Nelson ($8,900) move over to left side for the majority of that game, but he should see more of Sherman this week if the Packers stay in the offense they’ve been running since Davante Adams ($6,000) took the third receiver job. Per Pro Football Focus, Nelson runs 45 percent of his routes from the right receiver spot and Adams 51 percent on the left, so there’s equal footing for both to mix and match coverage this weekend.
Adams hit in a big way last weekend (seven receptions for 117 yards) after totaling just 29 receiving yards over the final four games of the regular season, so there’s an element of point chasing if using him this week. I’m not overly concerned with using either in a tough matchup, especially if Byron Maxwell misses this week. His replacement Tharold Simon had a tough time defender the long Kelvin Benjamin last week, so if he’s in the game he should see plenty of targets his way.
Jeremy Lane will draw Randall Cobb ($8,800) inside and is a tough assignment, but Cobb has been the target of choice for Aaron Rodgers over the past eight weeks, out targeting Nelson 77 to 72 with double digit targets in five of those games. Cobb is also the top red zone option of the group, converting 10 of his 27 red zone targets this season (37 percent) for scores, while Nelson converted just five of 28 (18 percent). When it’s all said and done, I won’t set to avoid to any Packers receivers and the field will have a hard time doing so as well with limited options at the top of the position. I’ll have more on lineup construction later on, but I’m more inclined to use Cobb of the group this week for his more consistent ability to find the end zone in short yardage.
Andrew Quarless ($5,200) had four targets last weekend as Richard Rodgers ($4,900) had just one, with both players finding the end zone. Seattle did allow 11 touchdowns to opposing tight ends on the season, but only two tight ends to reach 40 receiving yards in a game this season. That plays right in line from what we can expect from either Green Bay option, as you’re strictly chasing a touchdown by using either player.
Rodgers ($9,100) threw for just 189 yards in that week 1 game and had his lowest yards per attempt mark (5.7 Y/A) on the season. He played much better as the game wore on last weekend, but still appeared limited in the pocket against a soft defense. Seattle has allowed modest passing yardage to Cam Newton (246 yards) and Shaun Hill (243 yards) over their past two games, but it’s hard to view Rodgers as a great tournament option this weekend as Seattle hasn’t allowed a quarterback to reach 20 points since week 3.
Back in the season opener, Eddie Lacy ($8,300) carried just 12 times for 34 yards, with just four attempts for five yards after halftime. Expect Lacy to be heartily more involved this week with Rodgers still limited. Lacy has rushed for 90 or more yards in six of the past seven games, with 15 plus attempts in six of those games. Carolina backs carried 18 times for 95 yards this past weekend, so there are opportunities for Lacy to effectively grind out yardage if Green Bay can keep this game in check and commit to the run game.
For Seattle, you have to like using Russell Wilson ($8,900) as the cheapest starting quarterback this week. He poured on 25 points last week without the aid of rushing yardage (22 yards) and dropped 18.5 points on the Packers in the week 1 tilt. Green Bay has allowed 15 or more points to six of the past quarterbacks they’ve faced with multiple passing scores to six as well.
You also have to love Marshawn Lynch ($8,600) as the premier running back play of the week. On the road, the Packers held only Tampa Bay under 110 rushing yards this season, with three teams rushing for 190 or more yards total, including the 207 yards to Seattle week 1. 12 of Lynch’s 17 scores this season have come at home as well. It’s very likely he’s the most highly owned player of the weekend, but I wouldn’t avoid him solely for that reason.
The Seattle passing game is a weekly guessing game because of low target volume and Seattle does figure to have success on the ground this week. Jermaine Kearse ($5,800) is the best option because he has the highest ceiling and turned in a game with low volume into big points like last week, catching all three targets for 129 yards and a score. Doug Baldwin ($6,200) has topped 15 points just three times all season, so you’re better off playing Kearse with Paul Richardson out of the picture or Davante Adams near his pricing. As a long play you can turn to Luke Willson ($5,400) but he’s seen five or more targets just three times this season.
Indianapolis at New England
The AFC title game is also a rematch from the regular season, as these two teams met in week 11. In fact, the Patriots have played the Colts three times since Andrew Luck entered the league, with New England scoring 59, 43 and 42 points in those contests. You pretty much want exposure to this offense, but navigating the ancillary pieces is no easy task as usual.
In those three games, the Patriots have rushed for 198.3 yards per game, with a 166 yard effort from LeGerratte Blount ($5,400) in the playoffs a season ago and a 201 yard performance from Jonas Gray ($5,300) this season. Gray was inactive last week, so he’s nearly impossible to trust with rosters locking before inactives are released, and with him losing so much favor since that week 11 game, Blount is the chip to play of the two this week. It’s also worth noting that Brandon Bolden ($4,600) did get the start last week if you want to get really cute in hopes that Gray doesn’t dress again. Shane Vereen ($5,400) is largely avoidable as he may not be needed much in this game. In the previous two meetings with Indy he had just five and seven touches.
Even though the Patriots have pounded their ground game down the Colts’ throats recently, I still want shares of Tom Brady ($9,100), Julian Edelman ($7,500) and Rob Gronkowski ($8,200). Gronk is the premier pass catching play of the week and priced under the two Packer receivers, so just start every lineup with him and work backwards regardless of him being universally owned. The Colts have allowed eight tight ends to top 70 receiving yards against them this season, including a 4-71-1 line to Gronk in week 11.
The only Patriot I’m really setting out to avoid is Brandon LaFell ($7,000), who will lineup across from Vontae Davis the most often. You can nibble on Danny Amendola ($5,900) as he’s been involved recently, but he’s grouped up with Adams and Kearse in terms of pricing, two receivers with much higher upside.
The Colts shouldn’t be ignored as there should be plenty of junk opportunities at minimum, like there were in the past. In the earlier meeting, Darrelle Revis followed Reggie Wayne more often than T.Y. Hilton ($8,200), but Hilton still managed just three receptions on seven targets for 24 yards. Given that he’s the same price as Gronk, he’s nothing more than a contrarian volume play.
Donte Moncrief ($5,300) is the best play of the Indy bunch this week as he’s seen the second most targets (11) this postseason after Hilton and per Pro Football Focus, has a 21.8 yard average depth of target (aDOT) on those looks. That’s what you’re looking for in a short slate such as this weekend and he comes with the low cost to aid roster construction. Both Dwayne Allen ($5,300) and Coby Fleener ($5,500) can be used in spots on teams not using Gronk since the NFC tight ends are so limited, but I’m looking at Moncrief as the top option on this roster out of the pass catchers.
Andrew Luck ($9,200) is definitely still in play even with the threat of negative game script. He’s thrown multiple scores in 14 games this season, so the floor is always there to match his sticker price, something he’s also hit 14 times this season.
The last Colt that also should be on your radar is Dan Herron ($7,000). Herron played 91 percent of the snaps last week and has totaled 53 touches over the first two playoff games. Even if Indy doesn’t get going on the ground, or game script doesn’t accommodate it, Herron has 18 receptions the past two weeks as well. With the two highest priced backs facing each other, Herron is the next best play to match with Lynch.
Sample FanDuel Lineups(by Rich Hribar)
Even more so than last week, this final week of fantasy football features a limited player pool that is best suited for tournament play. The Colts are projected to flirt with three touchdowns on offense and even though they’ve been bludgeoned by the Patriots, have managed to score 22 points per game in those meetings. But the best way to attack stacking your teams is by playing off the two favorites. I’m going to build off the Seahawks and Patriots this week to the limit and look for cheap ceiling crashers on the underdogs such as Davante Adams and Donte Moncrief. Normally there’s no way I would stack a back with his quarterback, but with such a short slate, it’s nearly impossible to chase underdogs at that position. Across the board I will have nearly full exposure to Gronk and Lynch.
Sample DraftDay Lineups (by Chet Gresham)
DraftDay Lineup Configurations
Tom Brady makes for the easiest QB to build around as easily the cheapest option on the board. He’ll be my go to even though it would appear they will try to run the ball plenty. Blount’s price makes it tough not to go with him since his upside is so much higher than the other players around his price range. Herron and Lynch are my favorite plays. I think Herron is hard to skip with DD’s 1 point PPR scoring. He should see plenty of cheap receptions. Kearse, Adams, Moncrief and Nicks are the cheaper WRs I’d use. Gronkowski is extremely expensive, but hard to pass on. I didn’t care for any team I didn’t have him in.
Sample Draftkings Lineups (by Ian Goldsmith)
Draftkings Lineup Configurations
Heavy on the Patriots? You betcha. The playoffs are certainly not predictable, but I’d be shocked if this game was not high scoring. The Brady/Edelman/Gronkowski trio is nearly a must for me in cash games this weekend. While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Blount get a big uptick in carries, you know that Brady is going to look for his two favorite receivers repeatedly. Fortunately, DraftKings has lowered their minimum salary from $3,000 to $2,000, which allows for more roster maneuverability.
In the same game, Daniel Herron is a must have. That his price has stayed so constant is insane. His involvement in the passing game the past two games has skyrocketed his value on full PPR sites like DraftKings. Marshawn Lynch is also a near must, as the Packers have no match for him. He destroyed the Pack for 28.4 FP in their first meeting. While that number may be hard to attain, he is certainly going to flirt with 100 yards and a score.
Jermaine Kearse gets a boost in targets with the loss of Paul Richardson to an ACL tear, while Hakeem Nicks and Hoomanawanui make for nice filler picks that should pick up at least 10 points between the two of them. While it’s hard to pick against Aaron Rodgers, I have to when it comes to DST this week. Seattle held him in check in week 1 and have been playing lights out. If any defense is to have a good game, it is them. On a related note, Rodgers averaged more than 9 FP less on the road than he does at home. Food for thought.
While some of the plays are the same here, especially the two RBs, there are some noticeable changes to the cash roster. Davante Adams proved his worth last week, posting a huge game while Dallas shut down Jordy Nelson. Seattle could very well be able to do the same and force Rodgers to try and find his rookie WR again. I love Dwayne Allen at TE this week. The Patriots allowed the Ravens to throw to the TE position last week and Allen is a big step up from Owen Daniels. He finds the end zone regularly and is a favorite safety option for Luck. Speaking of Luck, I think he has the highest upside of any QB this week. This game has an O/U of 54 and you know he’ll be passing all game long. Unlike in the Broncos game, I expect the Colts to be playing from behind in much of this game.
Luck should have no trouble crossing the 300 barrier. I was disappointed in his performance last week, but chalk that up to the Colts’ stellar defense. They limited the amount of times he actually had to throw the ball. Even though I’m using Luck, I still like the Patriots defense as a tournament play. Luck can be forced into bad throws (he threw two terrible INTs in the last game) and the Patriots know how to take advantage of miscues. In addition, they should be able to sack him a few times, something the Broncos weren’t able to do once all game.
There is no team that will have to throw the ball more often this weekend than the Indianapolis Colts. Seattle will pound the ball with Lynch, Green Bay will make sure Lacy is heavily involved and Belichick will find a way for his RBBC to be effective against the Colts, whose run defense is exploitable. Who do the Colts have? Herron? He’s a fantasy monster because of his usage in the passing game, not because he can run between the tackles. In 9 away games he averages 2.4 yards per carry. Ouch. This inability to run the ball will once again force Andrew Luck to the air, something he will be doing very often today. Joe Flacco just showed the world how the Patriots’ passing defense can be exploited. Luck will follow suit and throw the ball all game long. The one caveat? I think Belichick will do his best to have the Patriots eliminate T.Y. Hilton as a threat.
Because of this, I am focusing on pairing Luck with some other pieces on his offense. Herron is a near must play. His ownership will be high, but how can you not roster a sub $6K RB that has caught 18 passes in the past two weeks combined? Along with Herron, I am using both Dwayne Allen and Hakeem Nicks. With the extra focus on Hilton, both Nicks and Allen (Moncrief and Fleener, too) will have more room in which to operate. Both caught TDs last week and have great opportunities to do so again, especially Allen who gets to face a New England team that gave up the 8th most FP to TEs in the regular season.
Gronkowski, like Herron, is a near must play for me this weekend. Indianapolis gave up the 4th most FP to TE’s in the regular season and have no pieces to stop the best TE in the game. He will, like most weeks, be the center of the New England passing attack. His partner in crime, Julian Edelman, is a PPR powerhouse. Amazingly, we’re able to fit in Marshawn Lynch onto this roster as well. The one downside is that, in order to do so, we’ll have to use the Colts’ defense, whose worth will have to come on big plays as the Pats are bound to score often.
A very simple, but good start to DFS research is to look at the over/unders and odds. Obviously you want your players in games where Vegas believes the game will be high scoring and on winning teams, while your defenses should come from games they believe will be low scoring.
If the Matchup Machine isn’t sortable for you, here are the same stats in Excel that are sortable: Championship Round Sortable Matchup Stats
Sortable Matchup Machine Quarterbacks
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Quarterback for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Running Backs
Here you will find the matchup stats for each running back for the week.
|DEP||Running Backs||Opp||DK||DD||FD||FanPts||Att||Yds||YPC||RuTD||Rec||Target||Yds||RecTD||Tot Yds||RZ Tch||RZ Tar||GL||FO||PFF||FP/$DK||FP/$DD||FP/$FD|
Sortable Matchup Machine Wide Receivers
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Wide Receiver for the week.
|DEP||Wide Receivers||Opp||DK||DD||FD||FanPt||Rec||Target||Com%||Yds||TD||RZ Tch||RZ Tar||GL||FO||PFF||FP/$DK||FP/$DD||FP/$FD|
Sortable Matchup Machine Tight Ends
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Tight End for the week.
|DEP||Tight Ends||Opp||DK||DD||FD||FanPt||Rec||Target||Com%||Yds||TD||RZ Tch||RZ Tar||GL||FO||FP/$DK||FP/$DD||FP/$FD|
Sortable Matchup Machine Defenses
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Defense for the week.
|Defense||Opp||DK||DD||FD||FanPts||Sack||Int||Fum Rec||Pts Allow||FP/%DK||FP/$DD||FP/$FD|
|New England Patriots||IND||$3,200||$8,650||$4,900||7||1.8||1||0.9||27.9||2.188||0.809||1.429|
|Green Bay Packers||@SEA||$2,900||$8,400||$4,700||5.3||2.6||0.4||0.4||23.8||1.828||0.631||1.128|
Sortable Matchup Machine Kickers
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Kicker for the week.