Divisional Round DFS STEALS
We are at the point in the playoffs where the options truly start to become limited, and it will be harder to find deep sleeper picks. Because of this, our DFS “steal” for quarterback this week is Tom Brady. I don’t need to tell anyone reading this that Tom Brady is good, and the DFS salary reflects that. But although he is the most expensive quarterback, he is still undervalued. New England has the #1 pass offense in the playoffs (47.1% above average), and they are going against the Titans, who have the worst pass defense in the playoffs (19% worse than average). So even though Brady will cost 9% more than Drew Brees (who is going against a good Vikings defense), and 10% more than Ben Roethlisberger (who is going against the best pass defense in football), he should easily make up for his higher cost by simply dropping bombs on a very mediocre Titans pass defense.
Derrick Henry – RB TEN
As far as running backs, however, we can find a steal, and that steal is Derrick Henry. Henry has been splitting time all year with DeMarco Murray, which makes him a less valuable piece typically. But Murray has again been ruled out for the game against the Patriots. He suffered a torn MCL in Week 16 and has not played since. With a 7 week Optimal Recovery Time, he is nowhere close to being healthy.
With this news, we would expect that Henry will get a much larger workload, and he is even more valuable considering that his DFS salary hasn’t really gone up. There aren’t really any bad run defenses in the playoffs, but the Patriots are probably the closest thing to one. They allow 2.6% more fantasy points to running backs than average. Henry should have a decent day, and his low DFS salary makes him very valuable.
Julio Jones – WR ATL
Another player who would normally not qualify as a “steal” due to his high salary, Julio Jones is the #1 wide receiver with the best odds to put up big numbers. The six #1 wide receivers in the playoffs are Julio, Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas, Alshon Jeffery, and Brandin Cooks (not counting Jacksonville or Tennessee since they don’t have especially good pass offenses). We can systematically eliminate each of these receivers’ value by going player by player and noting their flaws. Brandin Cooks has to compete with Gronk. Jeffrey is missing his starting quarterback. Thomas has to go against a strong Minnesota defense and has to share touches with two 1500-yard running backs. Thielen is going against another pretty good pass defense in the Saints. And Antonio Brown has to go against the best pass defense in the nation (and his HPF remains Below Average due to his calf strain). This leaves Julio, who has the best combination of health (he’s good to go, and so is Matt Ryan), opponent (the Eagles rank 4th of 8 in pass defense among playoff teams), and recent performance (averaged 17.8 points per game over his last 6 and scored 18+ in each of his last two games).
Rob Gronkowski – TE NE
A lot of people are going to curve Gronk due to his high salary, but I’m all in on Gronkowski this week. For all of the reasons that Tom Brady is a good choice this week (great pass offense, bad opposing pass defense, etc.), plus the fact that Gronkowski is an absolute beast. He has averaged over 20 points per game over his last 4, and he should be able to dominate a weak Titans defense. If you really feel the need to go cheap on tight end, however, then try targeting the opposing tight end Delanie Walker. The Pats pass defense isn’t great, so he should have a good day.
Jacksonville Jaguars – DEF
A lot of people are down on the Jaguars defense this week since they have to play a strong Steelers offense, but the matter of the fact is that this defense is the best in the league, they constantly get turnovers, and they rack up fantasy points like no other. The Jaguars have averaged 12.63 Fanduel points per game this season, by far the best in the league. And last time the Jaguars played the Steelers, they won 30-9 and had 28.00 Fanduel points, their best of the season. Go with the chalk and feel good about it.
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