Fantasy News & Analysis

Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Sunday's NFL divisional round playoff games

Tampa, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) runs the ball against Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Rashard Robinson (28) during the first half in a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The divisional round of the 2021 NFL playoffs got off to a great start on Saturday, with two games that ended with a game-winning field goal.

On Sunday, things only got better. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that was as equally as competitive as Saturday's contests, while the Kansas City Chiefs clinched a 42-36 overtime victory in a nail-biter against the Buffalo Bills

The Rams are now the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, while the Kansas City Chiefs will be the favorite in the AFC.

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PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success for any NFL playoff contests as well as the 2022 season.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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LOS ANGELES RAMS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

  • Cooper Kupp: 9 receptions, 183 yards, 1 TD (4.46 YPRR)
  • Leonard Fournette: 13 carries, 51 yards, 2 TD (38.5 first down/touchdown rate); 9 receptions, 56 receiving yards
Los Angeles Rams Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Cooper Kupp 72 41 11 0
Odell Beckham Jr. 66 38 7 0
Van Jefferson 65 39 3 1
Bennett Skowronek 6 1 0 0
TE
Tyler Higbee 70 39 6 0
Kendall Blanton 8 4 2 0
Brycen Hopkins 1 0 0 0
HB
Cam Akers 58 26 3 24
Sony Michel 14 11 2 1
Total 72 41 34 29

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Mike Evans 64 52 14 0
Scotty Miller 54 46 5 0
Tyler Johnson 40 33 6 0
John Brown 5 4 0 0
Jaelon Darden 1 1 0 0
TE
Rob Gronkowski 70 54 10 0
Cameron Brate 40 29 3 0
O.J. Howard 11 6 1 0
HB
Leonard Fournette 62 43 9 13
Giovani Bernard 9 7 1 0
Total 72 57 49 14

Cam Akers' role expands: Akers injured his Achilles this summer and didn’t return until the final week of the regular season. He was eased into action with 20% of offensive snaps his first week, followed by 53% in the wild-card round. The second-year back earned the start today and handled the vast majority of offensive snaps.

Akers wasn’t very effective rushing against the Bucs, as he hovered around 2.0 yards per carry for most of the game. He also lost a red-zone fumble to end the first half, costing the Rams a score. He then fumbled again in the fourth quarter, which gave Tampa Bay a shot at winning.

Sony Michel can’t be trusted in DFS next week, as Akers is likely to remain the starter. There is also a chance Darrell Henderson could return from injured reserve next week, which could complicate matters. Henderson probably wouldn’t see much playing time unless Akers has another slow start.

The surprising Kendall Blanton: The Rams' backup tight end scored 9.8 PPR points, the fourth-best mark among L.A.'s skill players. This was particularly odd since he only played in two-tight end sets. He ran four routes in total, where he caught one pass for 11 yards and another pass for a touchdown. It’s highly unlikely he plays much next week, and if he does, he won’t see a 50% target rate. He’s unlikely to contribute to your fantasy football success unless Tyler Higbee suffers an injury.

The return of Leonard Fournette: Playoff Lenny was activated from injured reserve yesterday after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 15. This led the Buccaneers to cut Le’Veon Bell and bring Fournette back to the top of the depth chart. He played every first and second down outside of the two-minute drill, as well as a lot of the third downs. Giovani Bernard was the only other who played a role today, taking a two-minute drill and the rest of the third downs.

All of the Buccaneers running backs outside of Ke’Shawn Vaughn are unrestricted free agents after the season, so it’s unlikely they will bring back everyone. Tampa Bay has eight of the top 100 free agents, including three in the top 20. The team was able to keep all of their starters from the Super Bowl team last year, but it will be much harder to repeat that this offseason.

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BUFFALO BILLS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Buffalo Bills Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Stefon Diggs 54 38 6 0
Gabriel Davis 53 33 10 0
Cole Beasley 30 24 8 0
Emmanuel Sanders 17 10 1 0
Isaiah McKenzie 16 4 1 3
Jake Kumerow 3 1 0 0
TE
Dawson Knox 63 39 4 0
HB
Devin Singletary 64 34 5 10
Total 64 40 37 23
Kansas City Chiefs Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
WR
Tyreek Hill 63 46 13 1
Byron Pringle 58 43 7 0
Demarcus Robinson 49 36 0 0
Mecole Hardman 31 19 1 2
Marcus Kemp 4 3 0 0
TE
Travis Kelce 65 47 9 0
Blake Bell 16 6 0 0
Noah Gray 15 9 2 0
HB
Jerick McKinnon 53 38 7 10
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 23 12 2 7
Total 76 53 41 20

The return of Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Edwards-Helaire injured his shoulder in Week 16, sidelining him for the last two weeks of the regular season and the wild-card round of the playoffs. An injury to Darrel Williams allowed Jerick McKinnon to emerge as a star in the wild-card round, and he stepped up to the task by averaging over 5.0 yards per carry, gaining 81 yards receiving and scoring a touchdown.

McKinnon remained the starter for most of this divisional-round game, but it became more of a rotation as the game went on. Kansas City mostly rotated by drive, with Edwards-Helaire also taking more snaps close to the end zone. Edwards-Helaire took all of the snaps late in the game during the two-minute drill, while McKinnon had his best run of the game in overtime.

Edwards-Helaire ultimately put up better numbers on the ground, while McKinnon played better as a receiver. The backfield could be further complicated if Williams is healthy enough to be active next week. Every other team in the playoffs has a more clear-cut No. 1 back, so this will be a risky backfield to rely on in DFS lineups.

Gabriel Davis breakout game: Davis provided a spark to the Bills offense throughout the game, scoring the team's second, third and fourth touchdowns. He dominated in the last minute of the game with multiple catches, including the Bills' final score. He was a clear top-two receiver in terms of offensive snaps, routes and targets. 

The Bills' salary cap situation isn’t great, and they could see several changes to their wide receiver room in the offseason. Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie and Jake Kumerow are all unrestricted free agents, and the Bills could release Cole Beasley to free up $6.1 million in cap space. Davis should be an every-down starter next season — he was already going to be a very popular mid-to-late round dart throw in fantasy drafts this summer, and this just impacted his future ADP by a few rounds.


 

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