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NFL DFS Preview & Projections: Bills vs. Chiefs NFC Divisional Round Playoffs




Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups for Divisional Round Sunday Night Football. This column will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let us dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Divisional Round Bills vs. Chiefs Sunday Night Football matchup.

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NFL DFS Preview & Projections: Bills vs. Chiefs AFC Divisional Round

After thoroughly trouncing the Chiefs earlier in the regular season, and playing a nearly flawless game against the Patriots during the Wild Card round, the Bills return to Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday night to try and avenge their loss in last season’s conference championship. The Chiefs, winners of 10 of their last 11 games, are the healthiest they’ve been all season on offense, and appear fully prepared to defend their AFC crown, which they’ve held for each of the past two seasons. Kansas City, despite playing the toughest defense remaining in the playoffs, has the highest implied team total of any squad on the slate. Not to be outdone, the Bills, despite being an underdog in this contest, have the third-highest implied team total. With both teams featuring All-Pro quarterbacks revitalized backfields and a bevy of superstar receiving weapons, it’s hard to imagine this game being a low-scoring affair. This could end up being one of the most fun games of the entire football season.

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While his overall numbers weren’t quite as impressive as 2020, the Bills’ Josh Allen ($12,000 DraftKings/$17,500 FanDuel) had yet another fantastic season under center, ranking eighth in the NFL in passing yards, seventh in touchdowns, and top ten in key advanced metrics like total expected points added and total QBR. And thanks to his 7.2 carries per game, which included an average nearly two red zone totes per contest, Allen ended up leading all quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. Most impressively, Allen has been at his absolute best over the last month, scoring over 23 fantasy points in four straight weeks, and scoring over 30 fantasy points in two of those games. Last week he threw for over 12.0 yards per attempt for the third time this season. His ceiling is as high as any player on the slate, and the Bills’ success in this contest entirely hinges on Allen’s level of play this Sunday. The Chiefs have drastically improved their pass defense over the course of the season, but still rank closer to league average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Allen will likely be looking to get Stefon Diggs ($9,800 DraftKings/$13,500 FanDuel) involved early and often, as Diggs had a rather quiet night against the Patriots, catching three of four targets for 60 yards. While the Bills didn’t need Diggs’ production in last week’s contest, they’ll almost certainly need ceiling performances from each of their top weapons if they want to compete with Kansas City’s high-flying offense.

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In the running game, the Bills continue to feature Devin Singletary ($8,800 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) as the lead back, and while he’s still at risk of losing valuable goal line carries to Allen, Singletary has seen at least 18 opportunities in each of his last four starts. He’s had four or more targets in two of those games, and he’s topped 75 total yards in every single one of those contests. The Chiefs ranked dead last during the regular season in yards allowed per rush attempt.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes ($11,200 DraftKings/$17,000 FanDuel) has one of the toughest matchups of any quarterback on the slate, but with his otherworldly ability to sense pressure, and both elite receiving options healthy for this matchup, Mahomes could still easily out-produce all other players in this contest. Despite up-and-down production throughout the season, Mahomes finished the season ranked top-five in total QBR, and best among all signal-callers in total EPA. PlayerProfiler graded Mahomes as the most accurate quarterback in the NFL this season, and while he’s not quite as strong as Allen in the open field, Mahomes isn’t afraid to use his legs, either. He ranked eighth among all quarterbacks with 66 red zone carries, helping him finish fifth in the NFL in fantasy points per game. We can reasonably expect 50% of team targets to go towards the dynamic duo of Tyreek Hill ($10,000 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel) and Travis Kelce ($9,000 DraftKings/$14,500 FanDuel), but neither have particularly strong matchups on paper. The Bills ranked fourth-best in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to tight ends this season, and third-best against opposing wideouts. No defense allowed fewer yards per pass attempt this season than the Buffalo Bills.

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The Bills have continued to expand their receiving corps beyond star Stefon Diggs, rotating-in a cast of capable pass-catchers with a variety of unique skill-sets. Youngster Gabriel Davis ($5,200 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) and veteran Emmanuel Sanders ($5,000 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) split duties as the team’s big-play specialist. Both are capable of getting open on long passes, and frequently have shot plays dialed up for them when in the game. It was especially encouraging to see Sanders, in his first action since Week 16, earn three targets, including one in the end zone, which he ultimately came down with. The Buffalo short-area passing attack has expanded to three players, with Dawson Knox ($6,400 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) seeing a massive boost in snap share and target share in recent weeks. Cole Beasley ($4,400 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) has still earned a higher average target share this season, but the gap between the two players has closed during the season’s second half. Gadget weapon Isaiah McKenzie ($3,000 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) has averaged over four opportunities per game over the last five weeks as well. The Awesemo projections particularly like Davis and Beasley, who both have greater than 20% chance of being in the optimal lineup this Sunday.

While it’s always possible that tertiary options like Mecole Hardman ($4,800 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) or Byron Pringle ($5,400 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) have monster games, as Pringle did last week, the Kansas City passing attack most often stays concentrated around their big two superstars. Pringle and Hardman have combined for 33 targets over the last five weeks, on par with Kelce (32) and Hill (34) during that same span. Pringle has seen seven more looks than Hardman during that span, but the Awesemo top plays tool prefers either player to Demarcus Robinson ($2,400 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel), who’s averaging under two targets per game since Week 13.

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The most difficult aspect of this contest to assess is the Kansas City backfield. If Buffalo has any weakness, it’s their rush defense, but with Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,800 DraftKings/$11,500 FanDuel) returning to the lineup, it’s unclear whether any Chiefs running back will receive the requisite volume to be fantasy relevant this Sunday. Edwards-Helaire has been used sparingly as a receiver when in the lead back role, but is still in line to earn the most touches of any Chiefs’ back, with Jerick McKinnon ($7,000 DraftKings/$11,500 FanDuel) likely close behind. McKinnon looked significantly more explosive than Darrel Williams ($4,600 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) during Wild Card Weekend, though that could have been injury related. Williams nearly missed last week’s game with a toe injury, which has presumably healed much better this week for Williams.

The Bottom Line (FanDuel New York Betting Offer)

Despite the way the seeding has worked-out this season, this game feels like the true heavyweight title bout in the AFC this season. After back-to-back losses in early December, Buffalo has looked nearly unstoppable, winning their next four games by an average of 35 points, allowing 21 points or less in each of those contests. The Chiefs, meanwhile, look to have finally figured out their defensive struggles that plagued them early in the season, but face arguably their toughest test yet in the potent Bills offense that put up 38 points in Kansas City in Week 5. While anything’s possible on this one game slate, and building lineups that anticipate a defensive struggle, or an outright upset by the Bills ($3,400 DraftKings) are two simple ways of getting contrarian on this slate, the likelihood that neither offense produces multiple ceiling scores is next-to-none. Both quarterbacks are too good and both offenses are too potent for such things to get in the way.

Divisional Sunday Night Football Prediction: Bills 28, Chiefs 27

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View our DraftKings DFS NFL rankings and our FanDuel NFL rankings. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tips for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacks. Take a look at our NFL depth charts, starting line-ups and NFL inactives. We also have DraftKings showdown projections and NFL DFS showdown ownership projections.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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