FanDuel ran an audible this week. Originally, they had one Divisional Round daily fantasy (DFS) football slate for Saturday and one for Sunday, with no slate for all four games. But sure enough, they recently added a slate for all four games.
However, that was after my editor and I agreed to tackle the slate separately for both FanDuel and DraftKings. My article for Sunday will therefore likely follow less than 24 hours from this being published.
Should you have any questions after that is published about which option is better for the full four-game slate, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I can be found on Twitter: @MarkStrausberg.
Enough administrative talk, let's get to the Saturday picks!
Safe Quarterback Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers (DK $7100, FD $8400)
Yes, I've heard all the talk about has Rodgers has not fared well against SF in the postseason. Let's take a page from Aaron's book and everyone needs to just R-E-L-A-X. First off, that's a limited sample size. Secondly, the most recent game was in San Francisco; this one is at Lambeau. Third, ever heard the axiom that past results are not a guarantee of future success?
For one, Rodgers is playing with a huge chip on his shoulder. That is not limited to just the media for the whole COVID-19 thing. It is also against Green Bay management. And a pissed-off Rodgers is a dangerous Rodgers. He will gladly give Green Bay another Super Bowl title and then give the front office a piece of his mind as he storms out the door.
San Francisco also is much better versus the run than the pass. My guess is that Matt LaFleur knows this and therefore tries to attack through the air rather than the ground. My bigger concern with Rodgers is that both the 49ers and the Packers are some of the slower-paced teams. I am not counting on a "ceiling" game from Rodgers whatsoever.
However, Rodgers is the front-runner for another MVP this season for good reasons. Also, for all the talk about previous poor playoff performances, he still has strong playoff credentials. His postseason career passer rating is 100.5. He's totaled 5,669 passing yards, 45 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 21 games. He has the highest floor of any quarterback playing on Saturday. He threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns in last year's divisional playoff game. I think we can expect similar numbers on Saturday.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals at Tennesee Titans (DK $6600, FD $7700)
Trying to win your first playoff game on the road is often a daunting task for a young quarterback. But honestly, the reason Burrow is listed here is due to default. I'm a little worried about Jimmy Garoppolo's finger injury. And Ryan Tannehill just lacks the upside that I want for my GPPs. He did not hit 350 passing yards in a single game this season and he had just two 300-yard efforts. Burrow, on the other hand, has far more upside.
Burrow has 10 TD passes and 1,215 passing yards in his last three games, including last Saturday's vanquishing of the Raiders, the Bengals' first playoff victory in three decades. In addition to coming in hot, I am not very concerned about the Titans' defense. They allowed the seventh-most passing yards this season. And that could have been even worse, as we should recall Tennessee had the luxury of playing the aerial powerhouses of Jacksonville and Houston twice.
Don't be surprised if Burrow tears up the Tennessee secondary this weekend, given this is a "have to have it" game:
Safe Running Back Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (DK $5800, FD $7300)
Perhaps I should have listed Derrick Henry here. But Henry hasn't played since Halloween, and he is prohibitively expensive. Presuming he plays, we know he will have huge chunks of yardage. Truthfully, he probably does have the highest floor. But I think he's far from a safe bet to get the 20-plus fantasy points he needs to make a profit at his price. Give me the far cheaper Mitchell.
As I mentioned, Garoppolo is battling a finger injury. It would not surprise me one bit to see the 49ers have a 75/25 split between runs and passes on Saturday. Mitchell should get at least 20 carries, maybe even 30. Mitchell is averaging nearly five yards per carry, and with that kind of volume, he should top the century mark.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers (DK $5100, FD $6100)
Dillon is definitely a risky play. For one, folks aren't aware of just how good this 49er defense is. Yes, they were only the 12th-best team in preventing fantasy points to RBs this season, but that is skewed by the nearly 50 points they allowed to D'Andre Swift and the Lions' backfield in Week 1. Secondly, Dillon remains in a timeshare with Aaron Jones.
However, Dillon seems to have passed Jones in the pecking order, having out-snapped and out-touched him last game. Furthermore, Dillion's fantasy points per 100 snaps of 31.8 are greater than Jones' 30.6. Lastly, since Green Bay's bye in Week 13, Dillion has three rushing TDs to just one for Jones. Despite the lower cost, I think Dillon scores more fantasy points on Saturday than Jones.
Safe Wide Receiver Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers (DK $8500, FD $8700)
I'm not going to waste time telling you all the reasons why I'd play Adams regardless of the matchup. But I will add that San Francisco allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs this season. Let's move on.
High Risk/High Reward Wide Receiver Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (DK $4800, FD $5800)
Boyd has consistently seen fewer targets than both Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins throughout this season. However, despite being the clear third option, we give him the Chris Berman description, "All he does is catch TDs." He has scored in each of his last four games. And it's not like he only sees one or two targets a game, having seen at least five in each of his last six contests. Burrow will find a way to get Boyd the ball.
Safe Tight End Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (DK $5300, FD $6400)
Yes, Kittle has been kind of quiet lately. But the Packers have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to TEs this season. Kittle is far and away the most talented TE playing on Saturday. If the 49ers are going to win this game, I'd bank on Kittle being a major part of that game plan.
High Risk/High Reward Tight End Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Anthony Firkser, Tennesee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals (DK $3100, FD $5200)
As poor as the Packers have been against TEs, Cincinnati has been even worse. They allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the position this season, the worst of any team still in the playoffs. I'm willing to roll the dice on Firkser who has a touchdown catch in back-to-back games.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (DK $2500, FD $3700)
Here is where things get very interesting. Not one of these four teams had a top-10 defense. All four offenses can score. I doubt any of the four DSTs score many points by keeping the opposing offense from scoring. Predicting DST TDs is an exercise in futility. And even the amount of turnovers we see is likely to be limited. So what do you do, especially in cash games?
The answer is to grab the team most likely to give you a few sacks. And the 49ers tied for the fifth-most sacks this season (48). That's more than any of the other three teams. They also registered a season-high 20 hurries last week, so they should be in good shape provided Nick Bosa is healthy and effective.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Pick for Saturday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans (DK $2700, FD $3400)
I really want to include the Packers here. But I think they will actually be the most owned DST unit on Saturday, making them a low-leverage pick in your GPPs. At best, you'll hold par with the rest of the pack (pun intended!).
Therefore, I'm going to grab the Bengals in my GPP entries, as I think they will be relatively low owned and I'm going to need the salary savings. Besides, it's not like the Bengals are bad. They still managed 13 INTs and 42 sacks this season. I'm happy to take the risk.
Good luck with your Saturday Divisional Round DFS entries!
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.