I come to you with my picks for the Divisional Round daily fantasy (DFS) football slate for Sunday with a heavy heart. One of my favorite musicians, Meatloaf has died. You may have heard, you might not. But it's now almost 12 hours later and I'm still upset.
One of the many things I loved about Meatloaf is he was a well-known sports fan. His most famous song includes an audio clip from Phil Rizzuto. And while not the leanest singer ever, he also has confirmed that he played football in high school.
I remember the first time I heard Metloaf's music and I liked it instantly. He continued to be a musical mainstay throughout my life. I got along with my college senior-year roommate great even though we did not see eye-to-eye on everything. However, one thing we absolutely agreed upon was that Meatloaf rocked.
Therefore, I will honor him the best way I am able and know how to — using a Meatloaf-themed format for my DFS picks for the Sunday slate of the Divisional Round. I will still feature two options at every position. And I hope you can enjoy this half as much as I enjoyed his music.
Before you start "praying for the end of time," let's get to this Sunday's picks.
Quarterback DFS Picks for Sunday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
"It's All Coming Back to Me": Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $7600, FD $8800)
I have this vision of members of the Bills Mafia singing the lyrics from that song 15 years from now:
There were moments of gold and there were flashes of light
There were things we'd never do again but they'd always seemed right
My guess is they might not jump and destroy tables 15 years from now, but they'll always remember how much hope Allen gave them. And that includes his "moments of gold" last weekend while vanquishing division rival New England. Discounting their final possession of kneel-downs, Allen led the Bills to a score on all seven of their possessions.
He completed 21-of-25 passes for 308 yards and five touchdowns. And that was against New England, who gave up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in the regular season behind only Buffalo. Kansas City meanwhile gave up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Allen is a little expensive, but if you can afford him I'd start him.
"Objects in the Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are": Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (DK $7300, FD $8500)
Chiefs fans meanwhile are hoping a look in the mirror of Mahomes a few weeks from now is far brighter than it was after last year's Super Bowl. Otherwise, it could be a long offseason for Mahomes with the lyrics from this melancholy tune:
There were endless winters and the dreams would freeze
Nowhere to hide and no leaves on the trees
Despite a tough matchup, however, I say Mahomes makes for a great GPP play. Why? It's Patrick freakin' Mahomes! He too is coming off a strong performance. He easily dispatched the Steelers with his five touchdowns and 404 passing yards last week. Do you really want to fade a guy with 42 TD passes this season?
Running Back DFS Picks for Sunday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
"Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back": Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (DK $5900, FD $7200)
And we're always slipping through the cracks
Then the movie's over, fade to black
Life is a lemon
And I want my money back
Over the last three years, Singletary often slips through the cracks and ends up on my team. But every one of those teams failed to win a fantasy championship and I'd like my entry fee back for those teams! Even this year, he seemed to turn it on after I was already eliminated.
But don't misunderstand me, Singletary is one of my favorite plays on Sunday. I expect the Bills to run the ball often to drain the clock in order to keep the Chiefs' offense off the field. And it's also a great matchup for Singletary. Kansas City gave up more than 23 PPR points per game to RBs this season. With 279 rushing yards and six touchdowns over his last three games, I think Singletary will easily surpass 20 fantasy points again.
"Paradise by the Dashboard": Cam Akers, Los Angles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $5500, FD $5700)
A Meatloaf tribute would not be complete without a nod to probably his best-known song. And does anyone fit the lyrics below better than Akers?
I've been waiting so long
For you to come along and have some fun
And I gotta let you know
No, you're never gonna regret it
So open up your eyes I got a big surprise
It'll feel all right
Well I wanna make your motor run
We have all been waiting so long to see what Akers can do and he is certainly having fun, coming off a 95-yard day. And man do I enjoy watching his motor run...
Wide Receiver DFS Picks for Sunday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
"Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $5300, FD $6500)
Beckham is the obvious choice here as I often want him and need him, but in no way am I going to ever love him.
I do like the cheaper and sneaky play of Van Jefferson as well. However, it's hard to look past what kind of weapon OBJ has been for Matthew Stafford. He has three TDs in four weeks (including last week). And you don't need to be a math major to know that three out of four is better than two out of three!
"All Revved Up with No Place to Go": Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $8600, FD $9500)
We all know how great Kupp is and he is the most obvious play on Sunday. I'm not going to even go into detail about him.
But it's not just his receiving skills. As Meatloaf sings in this song, "I was a varsity tackle and a hell of a blocker..." so too can Kupp clear out space for his teammates:
Tight End DFS Picks for Sunday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
"Bat Out of Hell": Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams (DK $5800, FD $7100)
If I'm not mistaken, Gronk said words pretty close to this to his buddy Tom Brady when he went down to Tampa after retiring.
Well, I know that I'm damned if I never get out,
And maybe I'm damned if I do,
But with every other beat I've got left in my heart,
You know I want to be damned with you
Brady and Gronk already had more TD connections than any other QB/TE combo. Yet Gronk and Brady hooked up on half a dozen touchdowns again this season and that is in addition to the one Gronkowski scored last week in the Wild Card Round. He also averaged more than eight targets per game during the regular season. The Rams meanwhile allowed 90 receptions to TEs prior to the playoffs, the 11th-most catches in the league. No TE has a higher floor on Sunday than Gronkowski.
"You Took the Words Right of My Mouth": Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills (DK $4900, FD $6500)
If I had to choose one Meatloaf song, this one is probably my favorite. And that is why I'm connecting this song to Knox, one of my favorite TEs this year.
And just like the booming note that starts after the spoken intro, so too is Knox's performance. He might go absolutely targetless possession after Buffalo possession and then BOOM, he and Allen connect for a TD. I think the same thing happens against KC on Sunday.
DST DFS Picks for Sunday's Divisional Round Playoff Games
"Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)": Buccaneers DST vs. Los Angeles Rams (DK $3100, FD $4500)
We are nearing the end of the article. And I am admittedly digging deep for theme-related correlations. But there's a line in this song that goes, "All the seconds go on forever, but the thirds and fourth ones are even better"
Well, the Buccaneers definitely want to get the Rams into third and fourth down this weekend down in Tampa. No team is better at home versus their opponents' offense on third down than the Buccaneers, who held their opponents to a league-worst 29.3 percent conversion rate. They are pretty good on fourth down too, allowing teams to convert just 30 percent of such opportunities over the last few weeks. That's the best of any team left in the playoffs (Packers are next at 50 percent).
But Tampa Bay also is a pretty good fantasy defense as well. The Bucs produced 47 sacks and 17 interceptions in the regular season, to go along with the fifth-ranked scoring defense. That's the makings of a strong DST pick for Sunday.
"For Crying Out Loud": Buffalo DST at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $2600, FD $3500)
The oddsmakers have Kansas City winning this game, as well as liking the Chiefs to go all the way, but there's a lyric that is quite apt here:
For taking and for giving, and for playing the game
For praying for my future in the days that remain
Because the Buffalo DST plays the game really well. The Bills give all they got, but they do plenty of taking. In fact, no team had more takeaways than their 30 in the regular season. But they also had us praying for opposing QBs, whom they sacked 42 times. On top of that, they sacked Mac Jones three times and picked him off twice in their Wild Card Round romp over the Patriots.
Buffalo will likely be the least popular DST option on Sunday. But for crying out loud, don't dismiss the Bills so quickly!
Good luck with your Sunday 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.