Let's have one last go at the million, shall we?
If the wild card weekend was similar to New Years Eve than the divisional round’s equivalent celebration is definitely Christmas. Look, I know, it’s January 9th, the last thing anyone wants is to read about is Christmas but the comparison holds up. Christmas is the greatest of all the holidays as it centers around time off work, presents, food and drink. It doesn’t get any better. Which makes the days after Christmas some of the most depressing of the year. It’s the time where you’re forced to dwell on the fact that the good times are over and all you can do is think about how good we USED to have it. Enter the divisional round.
The divisional round is the holy grail for NFL fans. It’s the last weekend where we still have 12+ hours of football to watch. We’ve lost our fallen brethren in Monday and Thursday night football but in their stead we have something even more appetizing, Saturday afternoon and evening football. What’s even better are the games themselves. Peyton vs Luck, the Ravens going back to New England, Lambeau field on a freezing January day welcoming the perennially polarizing Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, the superbowl champs taking on the all conquering 7-8-1 Car….oh wait, the Seahawks are going to blowout the Panthers. But so what if they do, it’s still a compelling slate of games and no matter what anyone tells you, it’s the high point of the NFL season.
It also coincides nicely with the last millionaire maker of the year. Yes I said last. REPEAT: IT’S OUR LAST SHOT AT THE MILLION PEOPLE!
So what does all this lead to? Well to my pessimistic mind it lead’s to a whole lot of sadness and depression come January 12th. Which is a particularly cruel twist of fate as that also happens to be my birthday. The day after the divisional round isn’t quite as painful as the post Super Bowl hangover where we all collectively stare into the football free nine month abyss, but it still hurts. It’s a warning sign for what’s ahead. It’s a way of preparing you for the fact that there are only three games of football left…*shudder*…. I can’t deal with that reality right now so instead, let’s just all live in blind ignorance for a few more days and attempt to build a team that will take down the final millionaire maker of the season.
Andrew Luck – $8,700
I decided to fade Luck last week in both my cash and GPP line-ups. For DFS purposes, it was a weekend defined by parity at the quarterback position as Luck finishing with 23.84 points just ahead of pretty much every other QB not named Ryan Lindley. There might not have been a huge difference in their point totals but Luck was the most impressive QB of the week with the highlight being his 36 yard TD pass to Donte Moncrief. Lost in the talk about Herron and the Colts running game was the fact that Luck threw the ball 44 times. This is still an offense that revolves around Andrew Luck and it’s telling that he threw the ball so much in a game that they lead from start to finish. In a small four game slate attempting to predict game flow and outcome become crucial and Luck to me is one of the few players who is almost game flow proof. Obviously if they get behind Luck is going to air it out to his numerous TE’s and WR’s but even in the unlikely event that the Colts get up big, Luck will still have a huge part to play in the game. The other QB’s I considered here were Russell Wilson and Brady. I discounted Wilson as I see his floor being quite low this weekend. The Seahawks could get up quickly through Lynch and the defense and look to the run game to eat up the clock. Brady was trickier to ignore and although I have Luck in this team I definitely want some exposure to the Patriots passing attack. In the end I went for Luck as I see the Broncos getting ahead in this game which will force Luck to put the game on his back, which in turn will lead to a whole pile of DK points.
Daniel Herron – $5,300
Ok so obviously this pick doesn’t seem to correlate with my above statement about the Broncos getting ahead in this game but normal DFS theory does not always apply on a four game slate. With such a shortage of options you have to take a look at pairing a RB with his QB and in this case I think they can both return value. In last week’s NFL Playoff Million three out of the top ten teams had Luck paired with Herron and that was in a game where the Colts scored just 26 points, 12 of which came from the leg of Vinatieri. What we also have to take into consideration is the fact that in general we’re not looking for as many points to take down a large field GPP as we would during the regular season. In the final regular season millionaire maker the first placed team finished with a score of 233.1. Last week’s winner had a final point total of 181.76. That’s a considerable drop off and so the normal 4x salary normally needed for a winning position in a GPP is not necessarily applicable. The other important factor for me when it came to picking Herron was the scarcity of other options. I really like Hillman this week as a possible sleeper, but I just couldn’t take a secondary option in Hillman over a definite (so long as he keeps the fumbles to a minimum) No.1 like Herron. One final thing, Herron caught ten passes on eleven targets from Luck last week so the possible negative correlation between a RB and a QB becomes a positive when he is used as an auxiliary wide receiver.
Eddie Lacy – $7,200
Lacy wasn’t one of my first targets but he ended up fitting in quite nicely. He’s not the most impressive of RB’s, certainly when compared to the likes of Murray, Foster or Bell, but you can’t argue with his production. His consistent level of scoring are probably linked to the potency of the Packers passing attack but it really doesn’t matter when it comes to DFS. We are not here to debate the merits of Eddie Lacy’s possible production outside of Green Bay, we are here to workout if he’s going to get us enough DK points this week, and I think he will. Rodgers is not 100%, and although that shouldn’t effect his passing game too much, it will almost certainly limit his scrambling ability. Rodgers’ usually scrambles outside of the pocket when he can’t initially find somebody down field, if he doesn’t have an option to throw down field and he doesn’t feel comfortable scrambling, guess where those passes are going? Straight to his check down buddy, Eddie Lacy, that’s where. Rodgers’ injury will hopefully give a bump to Lacy but I think he’s a decent GPP play regardless. People will either pay up for Lynch or Murray, or look for value, and that’s not even taking CJ Anderson into consideration who will probably end up as the highest owned RB and is right around Lacy’s price point. That should give us a low ownership percentage, couple that with the fact that there’s next to no threat of him being vultured by James Starks and Lacy makes for a great play this week.
T.Y Hilton – $7,600
Luckstackluckstackluckstackluckstack. Shall I leave it there? Ok, I’ll type more stuff if you insist. Outside of maybe Cam and Russell Wilson, every other QB this week should be stacked with their No.1 WR. Newton has a more obvious and prolific No.1 than Wilson but I’m not touching Kelvin Benjamin in any format this week. That, you could argue, might make him the perfect GPP play but you can argue that all you want and I hope you play him in the same GPP’s as me this weekend because he’s doing nothing against the ultra physical press corners of Seattle. As for Hilton, I love that his price actually came down this week and he’s still not viewed alongside Dez, Deamaryius and Jordy as one of the top receivers in the game. I think people will be off him this week and I think his targets will go up from the 15 he received last week. Ok that’s a tad optimistic and my pessimistic nature has been outlined above, but I think he might actually catch more than the 6 he managed last week. (side note: 6-15, WTF!!!) Anyway, if you, and I mean YOU, don’t tell another soul about T.Y and the other guy reading this also keeps quiet, we might have ourselves an under the radar WR play.
Julian Edelman – $6,400
This was a toss up between Edelman and LaFell. Due to my (spoiler alert) shocking and groundbreaking fade at the TE position I needed some way to get exposure to the New England passing attack. I went with Edelman due to the ridiculous amount of targets he gets from Brady on a regular basis. He missed both week 16 and 17 but before that Edelman had 10,12,10,15,8, & 10 targets over his previous 6 games. He also catches a huge percentage of these targets which makes him a dreamy DK option. Edelman is one of those players that has been labelled with the ‘cash game’ only moniker for much of the season due to his perceived lack of big play ability but like I’ve mentioned before, normal rules do not apply when it comes to the playoffs. Edelman is most definitely in play and I’m hoping that, similar to Lacy, he might fall in between the likes of the cheaper Smith’s of Baltimore and the more expensive players like Cobb and Sanders.
Cole Beasley – $3,900
This is my cheeky pivot of the week sponsored by Pivot Companies PLC. I had Beasley in quite a few spots last week and although he had a decent game, catching 4 passes for 63 yards, it was hard not to be disappointed as his fellow wide-receiver-that-isn’t-Dez-Bryant, Terrance Williams went 3-92 with 2 TD’s. Williams is only $200 more expensive than Beasley so it seems obvious that people will gravitate towards him at this price point. The interesting thing is that Beasley actually had more targets (I know, I’m obsessed with targets this week) and catches than Williams last week and they played a similar amount of snaps (Beasley 40/63 Williams 51/63). They had very similar games just with different outcomes. Williams also has a track record of having a big game and then going back to his anonymous self. Remember all the way back in week 4, he went for 25.7 DK points against the Saints on national television. He followed that up with another solid 15.1 outing and then he didn’t go above 13 points again until week 16. Neither of them are a sure thing but in a GPP I’d rather have the guy playing a similar amount of snaps and getting a similar amount of targets but with a far lower ownership percentage.
Owen Daniels- $3,600
We’ve left the cheeky pivot section and now we’re onto the decision-that-is-bound-to-cost-me-all-of-the-moneyz section. I originally had Dwayne Allen in this spot but I’ve swapped him out for Daniels. Now before anybody panic’s rest assured that I will probably over compensate due to the fear of Allen having a monster game and put him in every other team I build. I had to take him out though. QB,RB,WR and TE from the one team? I couldn’t quite sign off on that one. The Pats haven’t been great against the TE and Daniels saw a decent amount of work last week against the Steelers. He was also on the field for 54 out of 57 offensive snaps. The other concern with Allen is his reliance upon a touchdown to score fantasy points as he has to share targets with Coby Fleener. In a week like this, the difference between winning and losing could be the difference between a big ol bagel from the TE position and say 4 catches for 56 yards. Basically what I mean is Daniels’s floor is far higher than Allen’s and it lets me diversify my roster a little.
Paul Richardson – $3,200
And now we’ve arrived at the dart throw section. This is another selection I’ve just swapped out after initially picking the team. I originally had Jermaine Kearse in this spot as I think he’ll get more snaps than Richardson now that he’s back from injury but if I’m going the safer route at the tight end spot, it’s time for a bit of risk at the flex position. Richardson returns kicks and naturally I’m going with the Seahawks defense so why not attempt the rarely seen ‘double up.’ If Richardson manages to take one to the house I get points through the D and Richardson. Unlikely, but it’s worth a shot. Plus Richardson has done pretty well since getting his chance in this offense and it’s always hard to predict who will get the targets with the Seahawks so why not go with the $3,200 kick returner!
Seahawks – $3,700
Hard to go with anyone else here. I contemplated the minimum price Colts as Peyton has been throwing quite a few ducks just waiting to get picked off lately but there’s a real possibility of the Hawks putting up a huge score against the Panthers and I can’t risk the possibility of missing out on it.
That’s it, thanks for reading and good luck this weekend.