It is always important to find value for DFS lineups. What is also important is finding value with a reasonable upside, especially for tournaments. This article digs into the cheap players in the Awesemo NFL DFS projections that have the best points-per-dollar ratings. Using those projections, here are the top Divisional Round NFL DFS picks and value plays for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.
Divisional Round NFL DFS Picks & Value Plays
FanDuel Value Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill — $7,300
Tannehill’s success this season has varied drastically based on the availability of both his top receivers and running back Derrick Henry. With none of the trio in the lineup, Tannehill averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt. With one of Julio Jones or A.J. Brown in the lineup, that number jumps to 5.5, and with both receivers (but not Henry) a respectable 8.2. However, with all three available Tannehill averaged 9.2 yards per attempt, which would have led the league.
Fortunately for the Titans (and fantasy gamers), everyone is expected to be in the Titans lineup today. While Henry’s effectiveness could certainly be called into question after a nearly three-month layoff, the Bengals will still have to respect his threat. That opens up opportunities in the play-action for Jones and Brown to get open downfield, which is great for Tannehill. The Bengals rank 24th in DVOA against the pass, so it is an exploitable matchup as well. Tannehill ranks fourth in value in Awesemo’s projections, behind only higher-priced options.
DraftKings Value Quarterback: Matthew Stafford — $6,200
Stafford sits just behind Tannehill in the value column in Awesemo’s projections (on both DraftKings and FanDuel) with his slightly higher price. Stafford is in a similarly good situation, as he takes on the Buccaneers pass-funnel defense. Tampa has faced a higher opponent pass play rate than any team in the league this season. That volume will be critical for Stafford’s (fantasy) success. His efficiency has not been an issue this year. He ranks third in the NFL in yards per attempt and second in touchdown percentage.
The lack of elite volume has kept Stafford from being a top fantasy producer, though. The Rams finished 17th in pass attempts per game on the season, well behind the rate of the best fantasy quarterbacks (Josh Allen and Justin Herbert were the top two quarterbacks in fantasy scoring on the season, and they ranked seventh and third in pass attempts per game). With the Rams as underdogs against the Buccaneers, that should improve this week.
FanDuel Value Running Back: Cam Akers — $5,700
Akers will be playing in his third game after returning from what was thought to be a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. He saw eight opportunities (targets plus carries) in his first game back and 19 last week. One of those targets last week became a 40-yard reception, leaving little doubt as to Akers’ effectiveness. Of course, those numbers are somewhat inflated based on last week’s game script. Los Angeles attempted only 17 passes in their blowout win over the Cardinals. Akers received 56% of the running back carries and all of the targets. That is not a great rate in a vacuum, but Akers showed himself to be ready for a larger role. His carries are likely to dip a bit but with a potential boost to his target count against the pass-funnel Bucs defense. Even if they do not, he is far too cheap on FanDuel. Akers is at least $1,300 cheaper on FanDuel than all of the backs ranked above him (in raw scoring) in Awesemo’s projections. He is by far the leader in value score.
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DraftKings Value Running Back: Leonard Fournette — $5,700
Fournette returns as the best value on DraftKings this week. Thanks to DraftKings’ pricing strategy of decreasing players salary for every game missed, Fournette not making the field last week did a favor to fantasy gamers. With the injuries to Tampa’s receiving corps, he could play a major role this weekend if he is able to lace ’em up. Fournette tied with D’Andre Swift for the most targets per game at running back, which is crucial with DraftKings full-PPR scoring.
Additionally, Tampa will be without two Pro-Bowl members of their offensive line on Sunday. While that is normally not a good thing for running backs, it can be when they do most of their damage in the passing game. It is reasonable to expect more checkdowns from Tom Brady as he tried to avoid the Rams pass rush — deep routes to Mike Evans take longer to develop. This is baked into his projections, of course. Fournette is the leader in value in Awesemo’s projections for the weekend.
FanDuel Value Wide Receiver: Tee Higgins — $6,400
It is very difficult to find value at the receiver position this week on FanDuel. Most of the remaining teams have heavily concentrated passing attacks that focus on their top players, all of whom are on the expensive end. However, Higgins stands out among the moderately priced FanDuel options. Higgins is viewed as the second option in the Bengals passing attack thanks to the success of Ja’Marr Chase, particularly over the last few weeks. However, Higgins averages more targets and catches — and only 8 fewer yards — than Chase on the season.
The difference in their fantasy production mostly comes down to touchdowns, with Chase having the 13-6 lead in that category. However, touchdowns are far less reliable of a measure than targets, so Higgins is due for some positive regression in that category. Cincinnati will need to lean on their passing attack as underdogs here, so volume should remain solid for Higgins. He is the top value option in Awesemo’s projections under $7,600 on FanDuel.
DraftKings Value Wide Receiver: Cooper Kupp — $8,600
Clearly Kupp — the most expensive receiver on the slate — does not fit the literal definition of “low priced.” However, at “only” $8,600, this is the cheapest Kupp has been since Week 7. He is low priced by his standards and clearly a value play. For the reasons outlined above with Stafford, this should be a pass-heavy game for the Rams. Kupp’s overall targets have been down a bit lately, but his market share is not. He saw seven of Stafford’s 17 passes last week head his way.
Barring an extremely unforeseen turn of events, Stafford and the Rams will need to dial up a lot more passes against the Bucs. Tampa was one of only two teams to average over 30 points per game on the season. It is hard to keep up with that pace strictly by running the ball. This is the perfect time to buy low on Kupp’s massive target share. He is the leader in value in Awesemo’s projections on DraftKings.
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