NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Divisional Round: The Grind Down
Written by Notorious
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.
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Sports Betting Lines and Overview
Green Bay Packers DFS Breakdown
|Equanimeous St. Brown||GBP||$3,000||$4,700||$10||3.1||WR30||5.00%||1.83|
Injuries to Monitor
Running Game Outlook
The Packers secured the first-round bye and should be well rested for this week’s game against the Rams. There’s always the rest vs. rust debate, but a week off at this point of the season has to be a huge advantage. It will be interesting to see how they split the backfield work in the playoffs, as we’ve seen Aaron Jones be the workhorse at times and we’ve seen him be in a full timeshare with Jamaal Williams. In Week 16, we even saw AJ Dillon lead the team in rushing. Many will be hesitant to target anyone in this backfield, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers gave Jones 70%+ of the snaps in this one.
There are certainly better matchups available this weekend, as the Rams are ranked third in DVOA against the run and fourth in fantasy points allowed to running backs. However, there is something to be said about targeting a running back that is a sizable favorite and playing at home. Additionally, the best way to slow down an elite pass rush is to run the ball effectively and employ a quick passing attack. I won’t be starting my lineups with Jones this week, but he should fly under the radar despite having a path for 20+ touches as a home favorite.
Passing Game Outlook
Aaron Rodgers likely locked up the MVP with a strong finish to the season and will now set his sights to making it back to the Super Bowl. He finished the regular season with the second highest DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and the highest total QBR. He doesn’t go out of his way to run the ball, but he did add three rushing touchdowns to his resume. While he’s capable of throwing for three or more touchdowns every time he takes the field, I do worry a bit about his volume. In the last five games of the regular season, he averaged 29 pass attempts and 240 passing yards. On top of that, he’s facing one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. During the regular season, the Rams were ranked fourth in DVOA against the pass, second in adjusted sack rate, and first in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Given all of the factors at play here, I have Rodgers ranked behind Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen.
Despite missing three games, Davante Adams finished the season second in receptions, sixth in receiving yards, and first in receiving touchdowns. He finished the year with 16 touchdowns in his final 11 games. He is clearly the favorite weapon for Rodgers, especially when the Packers get down near the goal line. The big question is whether or not Jalen Ramsey will be able to slow him down. He’s been one of the best cover corners in football over the last few years and held basically every wide receiver in check that he shadowed this season. However, Rodgers is not afraid to throw the ball to Adams when he’s covered and the Packers do a nice job of moving him around the formation. Does the significant dip in ownership make up for the difficult individual matchup? I think so and will be targeting Adams with confidence in tournaments.
I have managed to avoid getting cute with the Packers this season. They have such a concentrated offense that I haven’t felt the need to chase the likes of Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. They are certainly more enticing on a smaller slate like this one and a case can be made for them in tournaments if you think Ramsey can hold Adams in check. I expect the Packers to put up points at home and if they aren’t coming through Adams, perhaps we get a touchdown from Lazard or MVS. The most likely beneficiary of a quiet game from Adams would be Robert Tonyan. After a quiet start to the season, he caught a touchdown in six of his last seven games. With so many people looking to pay up for Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews, Tonyan could be a nice contrarian option at tight end.
Strong Projections: None
Roster Construction Punts/Values: Robert Tonyan (GPP)
My Expected Team Exposure: Low (Cash) / Medium (GPP)
Los Angeles Rams Projections Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Cooper Kupp (Questionable)
Running Game Outlook
Cam Akers must not have gotten the memo that chalk running backs were supposed to fail all season long. In the wildcard game against the Seahawks, he parlayed 30 touches into 176 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. The most impressive part was that he did it against a tough Seahawks defense in Seattle. Since Week 13, he’s been the workhorse running back in this offense when healthy. With Darrell Henderson out and Malcolm Brown relegated to a handful of snaps per game, Akers should get as many touches as he can handle on Saturday.
While game script is a small concern (Rams are 7-point underdogs), Akers draws an exploitable matchup against the Packers. During the regular season, Green Bay was ranked 18th in DVOA against the run, 23rd in defensive adjusted line yards, and 28th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Jared Goff is expected to draw the start this week and he’s had trouble getting the ball downfield since having surgery on his thumb. The Rams will look to pound the rock with Akers early and even if they fall behind, he’ll be heavily involved in the passing game.
There are a surprising number of value plays at running back this week, but Akers stands out as the best of the bunch.
Passing Game Outlook
The Rams were coy about their quarterback plans last week and ultimately decided to start John Wolford. Many thought this was strictly due to the thumb injury of Jared Goff, but he was the only backup on the active roster. Perhaps Sean McVay thought Wolford gave them a better chance of winning the game. Ultimately, he got injured and Goff came into the game and got the job done. To be fair, it was Cam Akers and the defense that won that game. Goff finished 9-for-19 for 155 yards and a touchdown. While the Rams could be trailing in this one, I will not be rostering a quarterback that isn’t named Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Lamar Jackson this week. They are head and shoulders above the other options this weekend.
While I have no plans to roster Goff, there is room for one of his wideouts to have a big game. The Packers have been tough on receivers this season (third fewest fantasy points allowed) and have an elite cornerback in Jaire Alexander, but the Rams might be forced to air it out in the second half. If that happens, there’s a good chance Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp ends up having a nice game. Both are priced down across the industry and even in a low passing volume game against the Packers last week, they racked up a combined 17 targets. Both receivers move around enough that I wouldn’t expect one to see shadow coverage from Alexander. I have interest in both, but would side with the one with a lower ownership projection if forced to choose between the two. I should note that Kupp is currently questionable and might not practice all week, so keep an eye on his availability as we get closer to lock.
If you are building multiple lineups, you can potentially look to the ancillary wideouts of the Rams. We know Alexander is a great cornerback on the outside and the Packers have done a nice job at limiting production to slot receivers. This could be a sneaky spot to get exposure to Josh Reynolds in large-field tournaments. He was essentially in a timeshare with Van Jefferson during the second half of the season, but he dominated snaps in the wildcard game against the Seahawks. If the Packers are able to keep Woods and Kupp in check, Reynolds has a path to 6-to-8 targets at low ownership. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett continue to cut into each other’s fantasy production. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see one score a touchdown, tight end is loaded with options on this four-game slate.
Strong Projections: Cam Akers
High Upside Correlations: None
Roster Construction Punts/Values: Josh Reynolds (GPP)
My Expected Team Exposure: Low