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NFL Playoff DFS Picks - Divisional Round Daily Divide

Daily Divide: Divisional Round Playoff Weekend

Playoff DFS can still be plenty of fun! Short slates can offer less choices and sometimes dicier options, but people who can make good choices can still put themselves in a good position to continue their winning ways. (Plus, football is always more fun with DFS involved!)

As usual, Nathan and Matt will each make picks for every position, our arguments debates hopefully providing enough information to make help people make good decisions for their DFS lineups.

Nathan: Daily Divide Divisional round. Say that five times fast.

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Nathan’s DFS Picks for the Divisional Round

QB:Carson Palmer vs GBP:

There aren't a lot of quarterbacks in good situations this weekend, but Carson Palmer is in a good spot at home and tied for the largest favorite of the week at 7 points and the highest team total at 28.5. With all of that, he is still the 3rd least expensive quarterback on Draft Kings. Not much more to say about this play, as safe as it gets on this slate with some nice upside to boot.

STACKING: Almost everyone playing Palmer will have a trio of Cardinals with Palmer, David Johnson and one of the wide receivers. In order of preference, it goes Michael Floyd > John Brown > Larry Fitzgerald. But all three are in play.

Matt: Intuitively and analytically, possibly the highest floor QB on the slate, all things considered.


RB: Seattle RB at Carolina

It is another ugly week at running back in DFS this week after Johnson. My favorite RB2 for the week is whoever is starting in the Seahawks backfield. If Marshawn Lynch returns from injury, after being out since week 10, I think the Seahawks will give him 16-18 carries, which is better than almost everyone else on this slate in a tough matchup. If Christine Michael is the starter, the Seahawks have run it with Michael 17 and 21 times respectively in the last two weeks. Like with Lynch, the projected workload alone would make him one of the more attractive running backs on the slate.

Matt: I like Michael in theory, but I’m not sure if his price isn’t higher than I’d prefer for the expected outcomes. Where his price gets higher than I’d like, I might look for some salary relief touches in the Denver backfield, or even James Starks. (And I suppose it’s too much to ask for clarity in New England’s backfield before kickoff.) If Lynch goes, I’ll be all over him despite the time off. He’s just so much better than the other options.


Chris Conley at New England

Chris Conley is my favorite punt, and cap saving play of the week. Jeremy Maclin hasn't practiced in the early part of the week with an ankle injury and the Chiefs are facing a Patriots defense that allowed the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers in the regular season. In the Chiefs one game without Maclin this season, Conley caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. When Maclin left the game last week, Conley caught a nine yard touchdown. If Maclin practices later in the week and it looks like he will be good to go, I will be doing some lineup maneuvering to pivot to Maclin.

Stacking: On a slate with Big Ben, Brady, Cam and Palmer, I just can't find a reason to play Alex Smith.

Matt: I think I’d rather go Albert Wilson. But I like the theory of a salary relief WR from KCC this weekend.


TE: Greg Olsen VS SEA

Greg Olsen faced Seattle in October, and went nuts, to the tune of 7 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Like in their matchup in Seattle, I think the Panthers know they will have to use the passing game to win and Olsen is their only weapon you can count on week in and week out (though Ted Ginn has come close, weird huh). Gronk, Olsen and Travis Kelce are all attractive options on this slate, but I think Olsen provides both the highest floor and ceiling of the group. Outside of a meaningless week 17 game, Olsen has put up at least eight PPR points in 11 consecutive games with 14 or more in seven of those games.

Stacking: It all depends on the site you play on. On DraftKings, I see no reason to spend 1000 more on Cam than Palmer.

Matt: Nathaniel was first to edit our shared document this week, and he takes two of the most obvious plays on the slate, with Palmer and Olsen. Both are great high floor options, and cannot be overlooked on short slates..


Matt’s DFS Picks for the Divisional Round

QB: Cam Newton vs SEA

With every quarterback facing a minus matchup this weekend (save Peyton Manning welp), I decided not to overthink this one. Cam Newton is the likely real football MVP, and may deserve consideration as the fake football MVP as well. Playing at home, and not on the road, one of the most consistent players at his position in 2015 figures to be one of the better bets to maintain a nice floor this weekend. You can’t even tell me the upside isn’t there. Seattle is stout when they are stout, but they have been beaten up several times this season, and they are travelling across the country for their second time in two weeks. Where the price isn’t dehabilitative or you can fit him in anyways, Cam is a great floor and ceiling option this weekend.

Stacking: Greg Olsen is the cash game stack. Ted Ginn may make a nice tourney flier.

Nathan: Cam is likely the top scoring quarterback on the slate even in a minus matchup, but you have to pay for it on the bigger sites.


RB: David Johnson vs GBP

David Johnson is the best running back play on this slate, and by a margin larger than my crush on Nathan’s Mom. No need to belabor this one. In cash games, there is zero reason for him to be anything other than 100% owned. In tourneys, thoughts of contrarianism and ownership percentage are your only grounds for fading. This play is so good, but also so obvious, that Nathan and I decided to each give one non-David Johnson option for you, to help your process about the rest of your roster. He should be the first player in your cash game lineup this weekend.

Nathan: What Matt said. Except all the comments about my mom are about his sister.

Matt: I follow your sister on twitter, but you don’t follow mine. Don’t front.


RB: Pittsburgh’s RB at Denver

Pittsburgh has employed a true bell cow each game in 2015, regardless of who the RB is. Obviously this play is (significantly) better if DeAngelo Williams plays and figures to be relatively healthy. We saw a nice floor from Fitzgerald Toussaint last weekend, however, with this work in the passing game. The matchup is far from ideal, but after the obvious number one running back play of the weekend it’s a big fat mess. So I’m fine with taking one of the more reliable workloads, which hopefully translates to one of the more reliable floors as well.

Nathan: I just can't play one of the most inefficient running backs in the NFL against one of the top defenses in the NFL. If it is Deangelo Williams, I think it is a fine play, otherwise I'm avoiding.

Matt: I don’t even disagree with you. That’s how bad this RB slate is though.


WR: Demaryius Thomas vs PIT

With a lot of good defenses in the playoffs, the generosity of Pittsburgh’s passing defense really stands out as you scan the matchups this weekend. Allowing the third most fantasy points to wide receivers on the full season Pittsburgh was no better than sixth most generous in each of the following categories: passing attempts allowed, completions allowed, first downs allowed, and passing yards allowed. They’re also really good against the run, so Denver may need the passing game to work well in this one. I also want to note that Denver is the only team on this slate projected for more points by Vegas than their seasonal average, and by a fair margin. A nice vote of confidence. The Pitt defense racked up sacks at a top ten pace in the NFL in 2015, which is a slight concern, as Denver’s offensive line isn’t exactly a strength. Nonetheless, Demaryius Thomas is a real and fake football stud, playing well recently, in not only one of the best matchups on the weekend, but of the entire NFL. Emmanuel Sanders is also in play this weekend in this matchup.

Stacking:Playing the receivers here without the QB may be a nice way to lower your risk while still taking advantage of this matchup. Not sure I can suggest using Peyton Manning’s (likely?) fantasy swan song in cash games. There is a very real floor here. (I love him on Fanduel, though, where he is the cheapest QB on the weekend, almost 2,000 cheaper than both Cam and Palmer.) Manning makes a terrific tourney play, though, and the matchup is certainly there in either format.

Nathan: The Steelers secondary is the most exploitable on the slate and Demaryius Thomas is the best non-Antonio Brown receiver on the slate. Demaryius may be the second guy in all my lineups after David Johnson.


TE: Travis Kelce at NEP

Travis Kelce is the complete package tight end. The only thing that holds him back in fantasy is a lack targets. If Jeremy Maclin sits or is limited, the team would “figure” to lean more heavily on their best healthy playmaker left on offense. The risk here is of course that they don’t. Kansas City (read: Andy Reid) has been infuriating us all season with an apparent shortage of Kelce targets. He did hit the double digit target mark last week, for only the second time this season. (Ten targets last week, and again in Week 3 at GBP.) I can’t help but emotionally feel like Charlie Brown lining up to kick the football again. Don’t you be Lucy again, Andy Reid. Don’t do it.

Stacking: Smith figures to have a reasonable floor in cash, but there may be more attractive options on the slate. He lacks tourney upside.

Nathan:If Maclin is out, I love this play. If Maclin is in, I can already see Lucy pulling away that football.


Watch The Pricing, But We Also Like

Nathan likes: Ben Roethlisberger, Jonathan Stewart, David Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Martavis Bryant, Michael Floyd, Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski

Matt likes: Peyton Manning, James Starks, C.J. Anderson, Steven Jackson (UGH/maybe), Emmanuel Sanders, Doug Baldwin, Michael Floyd, Richard Rodgers (pure punt, but the matchup isn’t bad)


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