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Scott Barrett’s daily fantasy focus: Top plays, strategy, and advice for the Divisional Round

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with fans after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we’ll be breaking down the top DFS plays of the Divisional Round of the playoffs on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Before digging too deep into the specific players on this slate, I did want to mention two important notes:

  • On a typical full slate, we’d want to feel comfortable with every player we’re rostering. Ideally, even our punt-plays would be strong values with good upside. On a shorter slate like this (four games, eight teams) it’s okay to roster a relatively “gross” name if you feel they give you a stronger lineup overall – allowing you to pay up elsewhere.
  • It’s impossible to stress too much the importance of late-swap on these smaller slates. If you have any tournament lineups that, after a bad game or two, seem unlikely to cash, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding exposure to some “riskier” lower-owned players in the later games.

Notes: All numbers in parentheses refer to a player’s salary rank on each site.


Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

(Jackson DK: QB1, FD: QB1; Mahomes DK: QB2, FD: QB2)

Jackson leads all players on FanDuel in points-per-dollar value (3.0X), while also ranking second on DraftKings (3.5X). So, although he seems expensive, that’s hardly the case. On paper, Tennessee is a neutral matchup, ranking 14th in opposing passer rating (90.6) and 15th in fantasy points allowed per game (18.2). However, digging deeper, they appear to be the perfect defense for a player like Jackson to exploit. Only eight defenses played man coverage more frequently than the Titans, and mobile quarterbacks historically dominate man coverage defenses for fantasy. That’s especially been true for Jackson, who, across five games, averages 33.0 DK fantasy points per game (with a low of just 28.6) when facing the top-12 man coverage defenses (New England, Miami, Houston, and Cincinnati).

Mahomes may feel a few tiers below Jackson and his 2018 self, but that hasn’t really been the case. If excluding the two games Mahomes suffered an in-game injury, he’d average 24.4 DK fantasy points per game – which would rank second-most, and only 4.4 off his 2018 average. He also has what’s easily the best matchup of the week (and, following an extra week of game-planning from Andy Reid). Houston ranked tied for second-worst in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks (21.7), while no other Divisional Round team ranks higher than 15th.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

(DK: QB4, FD: QB5)

Wilson, our highest-graded quarterback this year (91.3), might also your best tournament option at the position (when factoring in projected ownership). Travelling to Lambeau to take on Green Bay’s top-rated pass defense is no easy feat, but, as underdogs, without any semblance of a running game, volume should finally be favorable. In eight seasons, Wilson has ranked top-four in fantasy points per dropback six times, top-six seven times. We know Wilson is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL, but volume has always been the chief concern. That shouldn’t be the case this week, and it hasn’t been the case since losing Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to injury. Over Wilson’s last two games, he’s averaged 42.0 dropbacks per game and, more importantly, 8.5 rush attempts per game, both numbers ranking well above his prior average.

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