Daily Fantasy Football Divisional Round: DraftDay Value Plays

Donald Brown, daily fantasy football
Jan 4 2014 Indianapolis IN USA Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown 31 against the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium Thomas J Russo USA TODAY Sports

Wild Card Weekend offered the latest round of gut-wrenching proof that in the playoffs, daily gamers shouldn’t be terrified of stocking up on players from the same team.

If you had Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Donald Brown in your daily fantasy football lineup last weekend, you ended up just fine. If you stacked your lineup with Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis, you fared well in daily fantasy.

If your lineup featured Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, and Darren Sproles, well, my condolences.

Packing a lineup with a trio of skill position players from one team, once you’ve identified the week’s most favorable matchups, is not nearly the faux pas that it is in the regular season, when we have 16 games from which to choose.

Below are the over-unders for each of the four divisional round games, just so you have an idea of where Vegas expects the points to be scored this weekend.

Game Over-under
Colts at Patriots 53
Seahawks vs. Saints 48
Broncos vs. Chargers 54.5
Panthers vs. 49ers 43


Remember that as you compose your divisional round DraftDay lineups: It’s OK to jam your squad with guys on a team with a mouthwatering matchup.

Divisional Round DraftDay Value Plays

Player Projected points
Peyton Manning 26
Andrew Luck 22.9
Tom Brady 22.1
Russell Wilson 20.1
Cam Newton 16.2
Drew Brees 16.1
Colin Kaepernick 15.7
Philip Rivers 15.7


  • I went ahead and posted every quarterback projection, not just the value plays. Though I like the prospects of Indy’s run game against a banged-up New England front seven, I think Luck has a chance to pour on the fantasy points for a second straight week. This year’s fourth highest scoring fantasy signal caller will watch his defense get shredded by Tom Brady and company, forcing him to throw quite a bit. The Colts’ passing game is projected to go for 243 yards and 1.5 touchdowns, on average, against New England’s defense. I think that’s conservative.
  • We heard it — and I said it — time and again during the regular season: whichever signal caller plays the Broncos will have to throw and throw and throw some more, giving them every hope from fantasy goodness. That, as you might know, was daily fantasy fool’s gold. Denver allowed a meager 15 schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterback this season — an amazing stat considering the team so often built giant leads in the first half of games. The Chargers have made no secret that their intent is to slow games to a grinding halt with long drives and minimal passing. I don’t think there’s any way Rivers will attempt more than 25 passes unless game flow goes haywire very early in Denver.
Player Projected points
Donald Brown 13.9
LaGarrette Blount 11.5
Darren Sproles 9
Montee Ball 8.3


  • I’ve already written about New England’s defensive deficiencies and how the Colts might attack those weaknesses this weekend. Suffice it to say that I like Brown a lot, even at his inflated DraftDay price (he’s the site’s seventh most expensive running back). Trent Richardson is a disaster, Brown has done a lot with somewhat limited touches (.6 fantasy points every time he touches the football), and he’ll pile on PPR points if and when Indy is staring at a three-score deficit.
  • If you’re into masochism and are pinning your DraftDay hopes and dreams on one of the Patriots’ running backs, I think Blount is a fairly safe bet. The New England press, Patriots players, and coaches have heaped praise on the bruiser in recent weeks, calling him everything short of the offense’s linchpin. Doug Martin’s former backup is averaging six yards per attempt since Week 14, tacking on four rushing scores in that span. Blount is getting 14.8 carries per game, and against a Colts’ defense that allows 23.7 fantasy points to opposing runners, I think he’s a more-than-solid play.
  • Reports say Pierre Thomas “appears to be a long shot” to play in Seattle this week, leaving Sproles and Ingram to share the backfield work. Ingram won’t see the squishy six-man fronts he saw against Philadelphia on Wild Card Weekend, leaving Sproles as the superior option despite being slowly fazed out of the New Orleans offensive machine. Neither option is irresistible.
Player Projected points
Julian Edelman 19.3
Michael Crabtree 13.9
Danny Amendola 13.8
Steve Smith 13


  • Edelman is like a living, breathing PPR cheat code. He’s one of the only guys who can end the game with 80 scoreless receiving yards and somehow rack up 20 fantasy points. The Colts’ secondary is bordering on abysmal these days, as the Chiefs showed time and again last week. Edelman, a top-6 fantasy wide receiver over the season’s final six weeks, averaged 11.4 targets per contest over that span. Even as DraftDay’s third highest-priced receiver, Edelman could be a value.
  • Smith’s projection is incumbent on him playing through a knee injury he suffered in Week 17. Receivers combined for an average of 36.9 schedule-adjusted fantasy points against the 49ers in 2013; only five teams gave up more points to pass catchers. Smith, a gamble however you look at it, is DraftDay’s 14th highest priced receiver. Probably he’s a better tournament play than a head-to-head lineup staple.
Game Over-under
Julius Thomas 14
Zach Miller 10.1
Coby Fleener 9.9


  • Orange Julius, as DraftDay’s second highest salaried tight end, is hardly a screaming value. I included him here because I think his price point is an open invitation for daily gamers to fade Jimmy Graham, who faces a nightmarish matchup in Seattle. I have Graham projected to score precisely one more fantasy point than Peyton Manning’s tight end.
  • The Saints, as I wrote last week, as suddenly awful against tight ends after the loss of safety Kenny Vaccaro. Only five defenses were worse than Rob Ryan’s gang against tight ends during the regular season, and the Eagles exploited that weakness last week with a short touchdown to Zach Ertz. Miller isn’t running a ton of pass routes or seeing a glut of targets, but I see the lumbering pass catcher as a premiere against-the-grain play this week.
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