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NFL Divisional Round DFS Cheat Sheet: All contests

Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) rushes with the football after catching a pass as Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas (29) defends during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Leverage PFF’s NFL divisional-round weekend fantasy football rankings and DFS ownership projections as close to lock as possible. Knowing what your competitors are going to do ahead of time provides an edge that simply not enough DFS gamers take advantage of. Focus your attention in cash formats on high-rostered value players and pivot to lower-rostered ceiling players in GPPs.


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Last week’s process led to Josh Allen being the go-to quarterback for the Saturday-only slate due to his rushing upside and stacking Tom BradyRob GronkowskiMike Evans on the Sunday-only slate. 

Identifying players across all positions with low rostership projections who rank high in PFF’s fantasy projections, fantasy football rankings, high-value targets and route participation will lead to a strong return on investment.

And to further improve the process, I have updated the expected fantasy points per game graphics to numbers from just the past six weeks to get a better grasp of what players have done more recently.  

Enjoy the second DFS slate of the 2021 playoffs!

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QUARTERBACKS

Using a mid-priced quarterback who has posted relatively high expected fantasy points per game has been the leading indicator of the next GPP-winning quarterback, especially when they are facing an opposing quarterback who fits similar criteria.

This week's standout candidates include Josh AllenPatrick Mahomes as the clear favorites followed by Tom BradyMatthew Stafford and then Joe BurrowRyan Tannehill

In terms of matchups that are projected to be high-scoring based on the offensive pace of play over the last six weeks: Buffalo Bills-Kansas City Chiefs (second vs. 14th), Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Los Angeles Rams (fourth vs. 22nd), Tennessee Titans-Cincinnati Bengals (eighth vs. 21st) and Green Bay Packers-San Francisco 49ers (13th vs. 24th). 

BUF-KC is the top game for stacking. The Rams, Bengals and 49ers need to be pushed by their opponents to hit their ceiling projections based on their slower pace of play. 

High Tier ($7,500-plus)

At quarterback, the primary pay-up options are Josh Allen ($7,600), Patrick Mahomes ($7,300) and Aaron Rodgers ($7,100).

Allen is above the rest of the field due to his recent rushing production. The Buffalo Bills quarterback has averaged nearly 65 rushing yards and nine carries per game over his last seven games. 

Allen's rushing production has vaulted his expected fantasy points per game to 26.5 – almost five fantasy points more than the next closest quarterback left in the playoffs.

Allen has also posted his best fantasy games on the road this season, as he has averaged nearly four more fantasy points per game on the road than at home in 2021 (29.0 versus 25.1). I love the over on his 295.5 total yards prop – a number he has surpassed in every single road game since Week 2. 

And from a defensive schematic standpoint, Allen matches up well. His 14 passing touchdowns against Cover 0 and Cover 2 – which Kansas City predominantly runs – lead all quarterbacks. 

QB PFF grade vs Week 20 matchup scheme
Player Opposing Scheme PFF Grade Rank
Josh Allen Cover 2 & 0 74.0 9th
Patrick Mahomes Cover 1 67.8 13th
Tom Brady  Cover 3 71.4 15th
Matthew Stafford Cover 3 75.3 10th
Aaron Rodgers Cover 3 84.2 4th
Joe Burrow Quarters 72.1 13th
Ryan Tannehill Cover 1 & 3 78.0 10th
Jimmy Garoppolo Quarters 77.2 9th

Meanwhile, Mahomes is faced with a much tougher task at home against a tough Bills defense, which has allowed the fewest passing yards per game to quarterbacks this season. He also arguably owns the biggest scheme disadvantage versus Buffalo’s Cover 1 defense. 

If projected ownership between the two QBs is 50/50, Allen should be the preferred option. I would only take Mahomes over Allen is the Kansas City QB is projected to be under-rostered, which is not likely. And there’s always an opportunity to late swap from Allen to Mahomes, as they play the last game of the weekend.

The last $7K-priced QB is Rodgers, who has a divine matchup versus a pass-funnel San Francisco 49ers’ defense. The 49ers defense ranks fourth in pass-play rate faced since Week 10 — behind only Tampa, Green Bay and Kansas City. 

Rodgers will have an efficient day passing against the 49ers’ defense, as he did in Week 3 when these teams first met. The Packers quarterback passed for 261 yards and tossed two touchdown passes for 19 fantasy points, which is a solid effort but not nearly enough to win a DFS tournament.

For Rodgers to hit his ceiling, he needs to be pushed by the opposing offense. In the best-case scenario, the 49ers jump out to a lead with their ground game, which forces Green Bay drops back to throw 40-plus times. 

Low Tier (Sub-$7,000)

Tom Brady ($6,800), Joe Burrow ($6,600), Matthew Stafford ($6,200) and Ryan Tannehill ($5,800) round out the sub-$7K quarterbacks who I'd consider. Sorry, Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,200). I threw you a bone last week and you gave me six points. Woof.

I’ve probably played Brady in tournaments more than any other quarterback for two reasons — the heavy nature of the offense regardless of the game script and the fact that his stacking partners are super clear. 

Tristan Wirfs‘ potential health issues in addition to a strong Los Angeles Rams defense would probably be enough to get me away from Brady if he projects to be extremely popular, especially considering if the Rams are in the lead, they will try to slow the game down. 

However, this Rams defense is probably overvalued after their Monday night beatdown, which could cause Brady to be rostered less often. That’s a proposition I can’t pass on. Not only did Brady throw for over 400 yards the last time he faced the Rams, but their defense has also given up 300-plus passing yards to four different QBs since the Week 11 bye. Furthermore, the Rams rank fourth in most completions allowed to opposing quarterbacks, making Brady double stacks extremely viable in DraftKings’ PPR scoring format. 

Burrow is set up well against a pass-funnel Tennessee Titans defense that trails only Tampa in highest pass-play rate faced this season. 

The three most recent quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards against the Titans are Davis Mills, Jimmy Garoppolo and Mac Jones. Considering Burrow is a major step above those guys, the over on his 262.5 passing yards prop looks like a stone-cold lock. He is No. 1 quarterback value, per PFF’s DFS optimizer

I lead Brady over Burrow slightly based on the former playing on Sunday. Playing more guys later in the slate allows you access to more information as you make your late swaps. 

Stafford has his best game of the season back in Week 3 versus the Buccaneers, scoring 32 fantasy points. And coming off an impressive 25-point performance versus the Arizona Cardinals, Stafford's stock is high as a DFS option. 

However, recent floor performances versus Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks have made me hesitant to go all-in if Stafford garners massive rostership. His 18.4 expected fantasy points per game over the last six weeks rank 17th at the position. He also leads the NFL in interceptions thrown against Cover 3, which is the Bucs' most common coverage. 

Tannehill won’t be very popular even though he flashed his fantasy ceiling in Week 18 with more offensive weapons at his disposal. The Titans should be as healthy as ever coming off their playoff bye week so don’t sleep on Tannehill at his cheap price. He allows DFS managers to jam in studs across the board and has sneaky rushing upside with seven rushing touchdowns this season. 

If he hits at low-rostership in the first game of the weekend, DFS managers can then confidently late swap to more chalky builds because they already differentiated their lineup with him at quarterback. 

FANDUEL QUARTERBACK VALUES

RUNNING BACKS

Elite Tier ($6,000-plus)

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