Well Wild Card Weekend turned out to be Mild Card Weekend with the smallest margin of victory being 13 points (Houston Texans over the Oakland Raiders) in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Divisional Round should see those same Texans on the other end of a lopsided score as they head to New England. But the rest of the week’s slate promises much better. The other three games look hyper competitive, on paper, and have the potential to be all-time classics.
Last week, I decided to bet with Le’Veon Bell rather than against him and the move paid off as he was the highest scoring running back for the week. However, my ticket hit the skids thanks to a pair of Lions wide receivers. Detroit couldn’t muster anything against a tough Seahawk defense. Also the party boat receivers did nothing to help my pick of Eli Manning at QB.
Alas, the Divisional Round offers a shot at redemption. Below, I present to you my DraftKings lineup for this weekend and my rationale. Reminder: point per reception scoring is in effect. Lineups consist of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST. Players have $50,000 to spend on nine roster spots.
DraftKings Daily Lineup
Pos Player/Team Opponent Salary
QB – R. Wilson/SEA @ATL $6,900
RB1 – E. Elliott/DAL GB $8,500
RB2 – T. Rawls/SEA @ATL $6,900
WR1 – R. Cobb/GB @DAL $5,700
WR2 – T. Gabriel/ATL SEA $4,400
WR3 – T. Williams/DAL GB $3,100
TE – M. Bennett/NE HOU $4,000
Flex – D. Freeman/ATL SEA $5,900
DST – Patriots $4,000
The Divisional Round will answer a much-discussed question: how will Dallas’ star rookie duo perform under the pressure of the NFL playoffs? After from the comforts of home last weekend, the Cowboys should be ready to roll this week. I’m not willing to back Dak Prescott just yet, however, Ezekiel Elliott is a different story. Coming off a monster rookie campaign (322 carries, 1,631 yards, 15 touchdowns), Elliott hasn’t played many meaningful snaps over the last month. (The Cowboys had the luxury of getting some rest for their starters.) Yet he still managed to log 354 touches on the year and we know the Cowboys are not afraid to ride him for an entire game. (He had 20-plus touches 12 times this year.) Having young, fresh legs, an o-line that hasn’t allowed him to be hit for a loss all year at home, and a matchup with an overrated Green Bay run defense has me all-in on Dallas’ rookie rusher this week.
Even receivers broke the century mark last weekend (versus only two running backs), I can’t get away from my RB-heavy ways. Thomas Rawls had an injury plagued year and suffered from ineffective line play when he did manage to get out on the field. Then the playoffs started. Sure it was only one week, and it was against Detroit, but Rawls’ 161 rush yards was second only to Bell. This is a Seahawk team that is used to imposing its will on opponents come playoff time. They’ll want to ride Rawls in order to keep Atlanta’s potent offense off the field. The Falcons’ 17th ranked run defense won’t hold up if Rawls gets another 25-plus carries.
I needed to start saving some money after a hefty spending spree on my top two rushers. Rawls’ teammate Russell Wilson offers solid value at QB this week. His $6,900 salary saves you $1,300 over the highest priced QB, Aaron Rodgers. He’s the fourth-most expensive QB on the week but may have the highest upside. He’s facing an Atlanta team that surrenders 25.4 points a game and is ranked 25th in overall defense, and he may find himself trying to keep up in a veritable with the high-scoring Falcons.
At $5,900, the price was right to add a 15-touch player in as my flex starter. Devonta Freeman may be in tough against a strong Seahawk defense but, unlike Seattle’s Wild Card opponent Detroit, the Falcons offer a much more diverse and potent attack. With the likes of Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, and Taylor Gabriel on offense, teams can’t just key in on Freeman, which allowed him to find the end zone 13 times this year. His ownership should be down this week because of Seattle’s reputation on defense. Given Atlanta’s versatility on offense and Freeman’s nose for the end zone, I see value in him.
With the majority of my funds spent, I finally turned to the ever unpredictable wide receiver position. With top-tier option Jordy Nelson likely out for Green Bay, I’m jumping all over last week’s leading fantasy performer, Randall Cobb, at $5,700. Cobb’s season was, once again, full of nagging injuries and disappointment, but he sure looked good to go last week, submitting a 5-116-3 line. Cobb is sure to be highly owned at that price but, with Nelson at least limited, Cobb should see an increase from last week’s seven targets.
Forced to go bargain hunting to round out my receiver position, I went with two receivers who are fairly hot entering the postseason. Both Taylor Gabriel ($4,400) and Terrance Williams ($3,100) are on decent scoring runs during the last half of the season. I won’t say they aren’t dart-throws, but with Gabriel reeling in six touchdowns over his last eight games and Williams reeling in three over his last six, both are performing during crunch-time for their respective teams and should find roles this weekend.
Martellus Bennett nursed himself through injuries much of the season after a hot start. He has now been declared fully healthy as the Patriots removed him from the injury report. If Bennett is fully healthy, he is undervalued at $4,000; even with nagging injuries, he managed to score in three out of the Pats’ last four games. Like Cobb, Jared Cook offers good value at a similar price to Bennett thanks to Nelson’s injury. However, the upside Bennett possesses far exceeds that of the Packer tight end.
Every dog has their day and last week Brock Osweiler had his against a weak Raiders defense. His day is over and so is the Texans’ season. I will take the Patriot defense for $4,000 and enjoy the picks as Brock chucks it up aimlessly while playing from behind.
And there you have it! My one-shot attempt at a winning DraftKings lineup. Hopefully the Divisional round brings better fortune … and much better football!