Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
When writing DFS fantasy football articles, I use DraftKings’ values. For the divisional round of the playoffs, I set 7 line-ups.
Best Value: Marcus Mariota ($5,900)
Mariota is right in the middle of cost this week, as the 4th most expensive quarterback. He’s coming off a 2-touchdown game where he proved he could throw the ball (19-31 for 205 yards) and run (8 carries for 46 yards). He provides good value this week, against a New England team that’s allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. I have two Mariota shares this week.
High Upside: Blake Bortles ($5,000)
Bortles struggled against a tough Buffalo team that ranks 5th best on the season against opposing quarterbacks. Even with that tough match-up, Bortles managed to throw for a touchdown and rush for 88 yards. Bortles rushed for more yards than Mariota (46 yards) and Newton (37 yards) combined. I don’t expect Bortles to blow us away this week, but he’s the cheapest play at quarterback; and I think he performs above value. I have one tournament share of Bortles this week.
Safe Play: Drew Brees ($6,300)
Brees had the second best QB Rating last week, throwing for 2 touchdowns, 376 yards, and a 70% completion rate. Brees may be playing against a tough Vikings defense this week, but he’s the definition of safe play. If you’re going to pay up at quarterback I’d suggest stopping at Brees. I don’t love paying up this week, but I have Brees in one line-up.
Worst Value: Tom Brady ($7,000)
In Week 17, Brady completed just 48% of his passes, and threw for 190 yards. He hasn’t surpassed 300 yards passing since Week 11, and hasn’t thrown for more than 2 touchdown passes since Week 12. Since Week 13, he’s thrown for just as many touchdowns (6) as interceptions. Yet, you’re shelling out $700 more for Brady than any other quarterback this week; that makes no sense to me.
Best Value: Dion Lewis ($6,600)
Lewis’ price is ridiculously low. Lewis has taken hold of the New England backfield, getting 50 carries and 12 targets in his last two games. His dual-threat ability should allow you to look past the Titans strong running defense. It’s likely that the game script will drive Lewis to 20+ carries again this week, making him very valuable. I have him in 4 line-ups this week.
High Upside: Latavius Murray ($5,400)
I love Murray’s value this week. He’s gotten at least 20 carries for each of his last three games; averaging 85 rushing yards per game and totaling 3 touchdowns. He’s a very cheap play, for someone with high volume, playing at home after a full week of rest. I have Murray in 3 line-ups this week.
Safe Play: Devonta Freeman ($5,900)
Freeman has scored a touchdown in each of his last 4 games. What makes him a safe play for me is that when he fails to find success on the ground, he comes through in the passing game. Freeman is the 6th most expensive running back this week, and he has a huge opportunity against an Eagles defense that will have to sell out to stop the passing game. I have 3 shares of Freeman this week.
Worst Value: Derrick Henry ($7,300)
Listen, I get it; I love Henry just as much as any other truther out here. Draft Kings, however, has raised his price way past the point of value this week. Henry is the 3rd most expensive running back; with an incredibly tough game script. The Titans are likely to trail the Patriots early and often this week, meaning Henry likely won’t get the value he’s so dependent on. I’d avoid paying up for him this week.
Best Value: Michael Thomas ($7,200)
The is a high-cost value pick, but he’s cheaper than 3 other wide receivers this week. Thomas has 17 targets over the last two weeks. I flipped my opinion on Thomas after watching him last week; pulling in 89% of his 9 targets for 131 yards. That was strong performance, without scoring a touchdown. If Thomas can find the end zone, he very well could finish as WR 1 in the divisional round. I have Thomas in 2 line-ups this week.
High Upside: Nelson Agholor ($4,800)
Since Foles has taken over for Philadelphia, Agholor has 19 targets; catching 14 of those for 105 yards and a touchdown. His low yards/target suggest that he could be a popular choice for Foles, who will likely be facilitating a check-down passing attack. Agholor makes for a good play for anyone trying to offset paying up for another player. I have 3 shares of Agholor this week.
Safe Play: Julio Jones ($7,900)
It’s always risky when you list the 2nd most expensive player as a safe play, however Jones justifies it this week. Jones has at least 10 targets in 4 of his last 5 games; and has at least 80 yards in each game. Jones’ value has taken a hit because he’s failed to consistently find the end zone. Jones, however, matches up well against the small eagles secondary and he’s on a hot offense facing an ailing and rusty eagles defense. I expect Jones to build off his first-round momentum and lead the Falcons into the championship round. I paid up for Jones 3 times this week.
Worst Value: Adam Thielen ($7,600)
Thielen has pulled in more than 100 receiving yards just once since Week 12. He’s caught just 61% of his targets since Week 14, and has just 1 touchdown since Week 12. Yet, Thielen is the third most expensive wideout this week. There’s a steep drop off between him, and his teammate; Diggs at $6,200. If you’re going to pay-up, go all out and upgrade to Thomas, Jones, or Brown.
Best Value: Zach Ertz ($5,800)
The tight end position is tough this week, however, Ertz’s targets make him an appealing option. In Weeks 15 and 16, his only two full games with Foles, he caught 15 of his 23 targets. He’s racked up 137 yards and a touchdown in those two games as well. Ertz is $1,300 cheaper than Gronk, so he offers a good compromise between paying-up and avoiding the mess than is cheaper options this week. I have 2 shares of Ertz this week.
High Upside: Josh Hill ($2,600)
Hill caught 3 of his 4 targets last week, and found the end zone once. He’s a risky pick, seeing no more than 4 targets in any game this season, however, he offers you a cheap and hot alternative to paying up at the tight end position this week. I have 2 shares of Hill this week.
Safe Play: Delanie Walker ($5,000)
Walker has at least 5 targets in every game since Week 2; and has pulled in at least 3 of those in every game this season. Last week, Walker caught 6 of his 8 targets. The game-script should force the Titans to throw a lot in the second half, which gives Walker a safe floor. I have 2 shares of Walker this week.
Worst Value: Kyle Rudolph ($4,700)
Rudolph is a trap at $4,700. He caught just 4 passes since Week 15, and has seen just 6 targets in that same time span. Rudolph has just 26 yards in his last three games; and is very touchdown dependent. The Saints, however, have allowed just 6 touchdowns to opposing tight ends all season; I’d avoid Rudolph entirely this week.
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