NFL DFS Divisional Round: It’s A Trap!
January 9, 2015 | Renee Miller
Check out The Fake Football’s Divisional Round DFS Cheat Sheet!
The thing about DFS is that it forces you to make tough choices. The chasm between elite and ummm, let’s say active players this weekend is wide. At every position there are a few–or at TE one–options that stand out as being way better than the rest. The way that salaries are, it’s really hard to have a top stud at every position this week without punting like three spots in your lineup. As always, it comes down to where do you save and where do you spend? For this Divisional Round I’ll give you a trap that I’m seeing a lot of people fall into, and then I’ll give you the trap that I’m personally falling for.
1. Paying top dollar for QB
Defense was a huge factor in the Wild Card Round, and I expect it to be again this weekend. According to PFF, Baltimore (1), Denver (2), Seattle (5), and New England (8) are all top eight overall defensive units for 2014. All four of those teams are also top 10 in rushing defense. The Dallas, Green Bay, Carolina, and Indianapolis defenses may not be as fundamentally sound as those teams, but they are 2nd, 8th, and tied for 10th, respectively, in total takeaways for fantasy purposes (per ESPN).
Aaron Rodgers, the most expensive QB ($9700 FD, $8900 DK), is dealing with a non-minor calf muscle strain/tear. Of course he’ll play, and there is a decent chance that he’ll play magnificently. I love Aaron Rodgers. But on that bad leg his mobility is likely to be reduced, it will be brutally freezing in Lambeau (cold is no friend to sore muscles), and Dallas’ defense has proven its opportunistic nature. Still Rodgers is the most recommended QB play I’m seeing around the industry. I’m spending up for Rodgers in a few GPP lineups only.
Andrew Luck…I’m less of a fan overall, as you might know. He performed well last weekend, making no mistakes and throwing a TD pass against the Bengals solid defense at home. This week he’s on the road against a MUCH better opponent in the Denver Broncos. Much of Luck’s success last week came in the form of dump off passes to Dan Herron. In his brief playoff history, Luck has been bad on the road, with 2TD, 5INT, and two losses. The weather looks good, the offenses are both strong, Luck was the No. 1 season long QB this year…but something has seemed off with Luck and his teammates over the past few weeks. Unless they miraculously correct that and play flawlessly, I think the Colts lose big in this one. Luck costs too big a chunk of your DFS budget to take that risk.
2. Skimping on WR
I feel OK about saving some money at QB with Russell Wilson (mostly) or Tom Brady (a little), but I’m having a hard time not spending at RB and TE. Any of Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, and C.J. Anderson (my preferred order of using them) has great talent, usage rate, and matchup this week. Rob Gronkowski is a given in my lineups. That leaves very few dollars to spend at WR. My top guys are Kelvin Benjamin or Steve Smith Sr.--both with decent seasonal numbers and efficiency scores (points per opportunity, per PFF) but playing in the worst possible match ups. I’m forced to completely punt with Reggie Wayne, Jermaine Kearse, Kamar Aiken, or someone similarly uninspiring in that third WR/FLEX spot.
I’m opting to go this route in most of my lineups because the numbers tell me that WR is inherently more variable than RB. Plus I reason, in the face of good defenses, quarterbacks will sometimes look to less talented but more open options in the receiving game. At their salaries, all any of these uber cheap WR3 guys needs is 40 yards and a TD. Yes, I’m scared that by Sunday afternoon fading all of Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, and Dez Bryant, along with most of Randall Cobb, Emmanuel Sanders, Brandon LaFell, and Julian Edelman will haunt me.
It’s all about those tough choices….Enjoy the games above all, and good luck to you this weekend!