With a four game slate this weekend, there is still plenty of fun to be had in fantasy football particularly for daily gamers – we use Draft Street around these parts, and they are still running their free rolls throughout the playoffs, so if you’re interested in checking it out, do so here. If you’re working in other formats, here are a few players worthy of consideration to start and sit this week.
Sign up for the above free roll and take me on; I’m in there as Jon-FSLR. No prizes to winners (except those offered by Draft Street) but feel free to come back and call me a goon if you finish on top.
Divisional Round QB Start
Peyton Manning – $18,894 (QB1) – Go ahead and pay the cash for Manning this week. Sure, the Chargers came to town a month ago and put a hurting on the Broncos but Manning has had an extra week to prepare for this home playoff game, and on the season the Chargers have given up the 10th most points to opposing QBs. Then there is the fact that we think he had a ‘bad’ game a month ago, Manning has thrown for six touchdowns (to one interception) against San Diego in two games with 619 combined yards. Those average stats are impressive enough on their own and represent a strong anchor play, particularly in the two QB format on draft street.
Tom Brady comes in as the second most expensive QB this week, so he doesn’t represent a massive value but he could post big numbers against Indy. I know all about the struggles of their passing game this season (Brady finished the regular season as the 12th highest scoring QB) but he draws an Indy secondary that struggled against a lesser passing attack last week.
Philip Rivers find himself on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s the cheapest draft street QB in the game, and faces a Broncos team that he’ll have to throw against. San Diego’s gameplan was decidedly run heavy the last time out, but I’m not convinced it will play out that way this week.
Divisional Round QB Sit
Russell Wilson – $13,284 (QB7) - As the second cheapest QB in the round, we can’t argue that Wilson doesn’t represent value, but I expect Seattle to try to take it to New Orleans on the ground this week. Despite a strong outing against LeSean McCoy in the Wild Card round, the team is vulnerable against the run. Percy Harvin‘s impending return adds a layer of appeal, but the Saints gave up the 4th fewest points to QBs on the year and face a Seattle team that tends to throw the ball less at home. Wilson totaled 357 yards with three TDs the last time these two teams met but if anything that suggests to me that he’ll be a focus of Rob Ryan’s game plan.
Divisional Round RB Start
Donald Brown – $9,492 (RB3) – I’m fully aware that there are more cost efficient options than Brown this week, but I’ve also been paying attention to his results. Last week, Trent Richardson played himself out of the game plan with a fumble on his first carry and while I expect him to get back in the mix this week, I think Brown will have plenty of opportunities against a Patriots D that faced the most (426) rushing attempts against during the regular season. Coming off a two TD Wild Card outing, Brown has scored eight times in his last seven games. Count on him to take advantage of his opportunities against New England.
Keep an eye on Ryan Mathews‘ status this week. I’ve loved everything that he did during San Diego’s stretch run, but his injury seems to be getting worse before it gets better. Woodhead is a player of interest (and along those lines, so is Ronnie Brown who had to close things out last week) given the risk that Mathews may not start or may not finish this game.
Divisional Round RB Sit
Frank Gore – $9,002 (RB4) – Back to back, Gore represents a much different proposition than Brown. While the former is on an upward trend, Gore hasn’t done much worth being excited about over the second half of the season (a fact that we covered in greater detail during our rankings analysis this week). We broke down in the second half with just two scores in the second half and 3.3 YPC last week against Green Bay.
Divisional Round WR Start
Keenan Allen – $8,435 (QB6) – I can’t get enough of Allen this week. Even with a quiet game against Cincinnati (2/3/21), Allen has five receiving touchdowns in his last four games, including two that came against Denver. The Broncos held him to just 70 yards receiving in two meetings this season, but I’m expecting Allen to make a splash this week. As we mentioned above, San Diego won’t be able to trot out the same heavy run game plan this week because a) Denver has already seen it and b) Ryan Mathews’ injury is becoming a significant concern. If they shift to the pass, the ball is coming Allen’s way.
Percy Harvin – $5,542 (WR14) – Go ahead and live dangerously this week. Yes, Harvin has one catch and has played a handful of snaps this season, but he has game breaking potential and Seattle appears ready to use him. He’s not pricey this week, and has the potential to deliver numbers well in excess of his current price tag. Plus, if the gamble doesn’t pay off, you’ve saved money to make use of elsewhere on your roster.
Divisional Round WR Sit
Steve Smith – $5,687 (WR13) – Smith is like the anti Harvin this week, while he comes in with injury concerns of his own, he has very little upside. Yes, for just a few dollars more ($1,145) you’ll find a lower floor, but Smith hasn’t topped 69 yards this season; faces a defense that allowed the 9th fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs this season; and is no lock to play a full complement of snaps (if at all). He’s not worth the investment.
Divisional Round TE Start
Greg Olsen – $6,364 (TE4) – Olsen is one of just five TEs who saw more than 100 targets this season, and while just three of them came in his team’s previous meeting with San Francisco he has been one of the more consistent TE’s in the league. Costing just (roughly) 2/3rds of Jimmy Graham‘s price tag this week, despite the league’s top TE’s struggles against Seattle in their last meeting, Olsen represents a value play this week. Smith drew 11 of Cam Newton‘s targets last time out against San Fran, and if we’re sticking with the above assertion that he’ll see limited use, I expect many of the residual targets to go to Olsen – against a 49ers defense that gave up four touchdowns and 81 yards per game to TEs over the season’s final month.
Divisional Round TE Sit
Coby Fleener – $4,787 (TE6) – the Patriots allowed just six touchdowns to Tight Ends this season, and as far as Fleeer goes it is time to alter our perceptions of him. He’s scored four times, and put up 38 YPG on the season, not topping 60 in his last six outings. He’s scored twice in that span, and thus delivered two useful fantasy outings but the numbers suggest that he won’t find the endzone this week and as such, he won’t be particularly useful. Fleener has topped five receptions just once this season, so he won’t see a boost in the DFS PPG settings either.
Divisional Round DSTs to Stream
Patriots DST – $4,726 (DST4) – Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco are the three top fantasy (and real life) defenses left in the playoffs, but they’ll cost you like the top three units as well. This week, I’d rather invest in New England. With 29 turnovers and the 5th most sacks in the league (48) the Pats have a fair shot to score this week. The last time Andrew Luck played in Foxborough, the setting proved two much for him and he committed four turnovers. While I’m as impressed with anyone in his comeback last week, he’s coming off another four turnover game and faces a home team with an extra week to game plan against him.