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Divisional Playoff Game #1: Minnesota @ San Francisco
Adam Thielen is Questionable. There doesn't appear to be any other injury concerns. I will assume for this article that he will play. If he misses, then Olabisi Johnson would be a very viable play in Showdown with his price.
- I think this is a tough spot for the Vikings. They are on a short week, having to fly from New Orelans back home, and then to San Francisco. They also had to play an Overtime game in New Orleans, so I right now am leaning on a 49ers heavy stack. In that scenario, I think the running backs are in play. Raheem Mostert (8,400) has scored in six straight games, and is seeing the majority of the work, with over 50% of the snaps in each of the past five games. The only issue here is that he's not seeing more than 15 touches, and gets about two targets in the passing game. While he maybe feels slightly overpriced, his consistency in the last month of the season and getting the majority of the snaps makes him someone you need to consider. Behind him, Tevin Coleman (3,600) is seeing only about 5 touches a game with about a 30-35% snap share. There aren't enough touches fo rme to want to use him, unless you think he gets a lot of 3rd and 4th quarter work in a blowout. Matt Breida (3,200) is clearly the RB3 in this group and would have to take one of his few touches to the end zone to make it worth a play: but that feels way too thin for me.
- I also have interest in the passing game. Minnesota is 21st against WR1 and 24th against Other WRs (5th against WR2). I have had a lot of interest in Deebo Samuel (8,600) who seems to be the clear WR1 in the offense. What is a bit sneaky on him is that Samuel has rushing touchdowns in two straight games and about 30 rushing yards in three of his last four games. I would rather play him than George Kittle (9,800) as the Vikings are pretty good against TEs. Kittle still should end up around 15-20 fantasy points, and if you have other value plays, is fine to play. Emmanuel Sanders (7,600) has not been seeing the volume that Samuel and Kittle have, but always has upside. He's unlikely to end up in my single lineup, but would be someone to use in MME. If you need a last player in your lineup, Kyle Juszczyk (2,600) will see a couple of touches, but would need a touchdown to hit value. If playing one of the receiving options at captain or two of the receivers, Jimmy Garoppolo (10,000) can be used, though he hasn't put up 13 or more fantasy points in three straight games. This does feel like a spot the 49ers can pass and Jimmy G could be more active here than he has the past few weeks.
- The 49ers are the 2nd ranked overall defense according to DVOA. They do rank 11th against the run (1st against pass-catching RBs) so this seems to be the spot to attack. Dalvin Cook (11,200) had over 30 touches last week, as it was clear the Vikings wanted to rely on him. I can see a similar game plan this week, though asking for 30 touches again may seem to be a bit much. Cook is the Viking I want to play the most and if I get off of a 49ers steamroll, would be on my shortlist for Captain.
- Kirk Cousins (9,600) finally got the big win people have been waiting for. But, he still has four straight games of just throwing one touchdown, and has the tougher matchup against the 49ers 2nd ranked pass defense. I don't think I have much interest in Cousins. I don't think I have much interest in Adam Thielen (8,800) or Stefon Diggs (8,000) in this tough matchup. If I had to pick one, I'll take the discount on Diggs, as I could see Cousins trying to get him some extra targets after his antics on the bench last week. Kyle Rudolph (5,600) got saved by the game-winning touchdown last week. He saw a season-high 7 targets but draws a tough spot against the 49ers 2nd ranked defense vs Tight Ends. If I had to go here, despite zero targets, I like the price on Irv Smith (1,400) who still was on the field for 56% of the snaps last week.
- I don't have any interest in the Vikings Defense (3,400) or Dan Bailey (3,800). I do have a lot of interest in the 49ers Defense (4,800) and Robbie Gould (4,000) who has put up at least 9 fantasy points in four straight games.
Vikings I am Considering: Cook, Smith, Diggs
49ers I am Considering: Mostert, Samuel, Kittle, Garoppolo, Sanders, 49ers Defense, Gould
Divisional Playoff Game #2: Tennessee @ Baltimore
DraftKings did a really nice job of pricing with Lamar Jackson (13,600) and Derrick Henry (12,200). Playing one at captain and the other in a FLEX does not leave you with much money. So it is possible that unless some values emerge, you will have to choose one or the other, or play both at FLEX and choose a different captain. I will be doing my best to fit both of them in with one (likely Lamar as he may be lower owned at captain since he's more expensive) at captain just because of their high floors. I won't mention them down below because I think we can all agree they are great plays.
- It's ugly for the Titans. A.J. Brown (8,600) only saw 1 target last week against Stephan Gilmore. No matter who he sees, the Ravens CBs of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith are all very good and present a tough matchup. The price is just too high for this matchup (though if the Titans win, I will be ready to use him against KC or HOU next week). Corey Davis (4,800) saw 81% of the snaps last week but didn't have any catches. The price is fair if you are trying to get value, but it's a big risk. Same with Tajae Sharpe (3,000) who only saw 18 snaps. Even if you think the Titans get down early, they won't turn to Dion Lewis (3,400) as much as you think. But, his pass game role does give him a chance to hit value at this price. The other issue with Lewis is that he hasn't hit 10 fantasy points in a game this season. The Ravens are 10th against the TE, so taking a chance on a tight end of Jonnu Smith (3,600), Anthony Firkser (2,200), or MyCole Pruitt (600) is fine. The Titans do run a lot of 2-TE formations, and Pruitt is the 2nd TE. Firkser is higher because of his TD last week. From a raw points perspective, I would take Smith. But if I'm taking best value, I think it will be Pruitt.
- The Titans are vulnerable through the pass game, particularly wide receivers. While Baltimore has a few deeper options that you can mix and match and hope you hit the right one (Snead, Roberts, Boykin), it's Hollywood Brown (7,600) that has the big play upside. He hasn't done much in his past four games and is probably why he's priced down a bit. I'm willing to take a chance in this spot and hope he gets in the end zone. You can play any of the tight ends as well, with Mark Andrews (9,200) the top option. He may be a bit overlooked since his price is so high and would be almost impossible to fit into Jackson/Henry builds. Boyle/Hurst are more dart throws that do give you access to the expensive options. The big thing to keep an eye on is Mark Ingram's (9,800) health. It sounds like he will play despite being Questionable, but we will see. The Titans are 10th against the rush, so it's not a great spot, but probably not terrible either. If he is limited, inactive, or you think the Ravens get up big early, you could see a case for Gus Edwards (4,200) being viable. I wish he were a little cheaper, but he does get touches each week. He's not the worst dart throw.
- I don't have any interest in the Titans Defense (2,800) or Greg Joseph (3,800). The Ravens Defense (5,800) is an ok play, but they are expensive. The Titans don't turn the ball over much and with a run-heavy approach, don't throw enough for an opposing defense to get many sacks. Justin Tucker (4,000) can always be used with his 50+ yard FG consistency and higher scoring nature of the Ravens Offense.
Titans I would Consider: Henry, Smith/Pruitt, Davis/Sharpe (no more than one)
Ravens I would Consider: Jackson, Brown, Ingram/Edwards, Andrews, Boyle/Hurst (not with Andrews, and no more than one), Tucker, Ravens Defense, Snead/Boykin/Roberts (No more than one)