Welcome to the Divisional Round edition of The Worksheet, a comprehensive fantasy football preview, by Rich Hribar.
What is The Worksheet from Rich Hribar?
The Worksheet is a comprehensive weekly fantasy football preview for each NFL game. Rich Hribar analyzes the matchup for every notable fantasy player for every game every week of the NFL season.
For those who are new to this article, just because the fantasy regular season has ended doesn’t mean that fantasy football stops. The fantasy playoffs offer a host of new opportunities for playoff leagues, props betting, and daily fantasy games.
Some Divisional Round recent history since the NFL’s last expansion to 32 teams in 2002.
Home teams have posted a strong 57-27 record over that span. Last season, home teams went 3-1.
Against the spread, however, home teams are just 38-46 (2-2 a year ago).
Of course, that ties into favorites.
The favored team has a 56-28 record straight up (3-1 a year ago), but those teams are 37-47 against the spread (2-2 a year ago).
Putting that together, the underdogs have had a strong run this round of the postseason.
The last time we did not have at least two underdogs cover the point spread in the Divisional Round was in 2017. The last time all four favorites covered the point spread in this round was in 2006.
If looking for larger upsets, underdogs getting seven or more points have only posted a 12-29 record straight up, but those teams have a 24-17 record against the spread.
Digging into seeding, No. 1 seeds have a 29-13 record straight up, but those top seeds are 16-26 against the spread.
No. 2 seeds are 28-14 over that span and have been better against the spread (22-20).
That said, since the NFL added a seventh team to the playoffs and removed the bye week for No. 2 seed in the opening round, a No. 2 seed has lost in the Divisional Round in each of those three seasons.
Of course, we already had one No.2 seed eliminated, so that just leaves the Bills. Buffalo was in this spot a year ago and lost at home to the Bengals.
If hunting for upset potential, it is not overly surprising that you want to focus on No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Those teams are 6-5 straight up over the past eight seasons with a 3-2 record straight up since the NFL expanded the playoffs to 14 teams.
Those teams have also been the best bets to cover the point spreads, going 23-20 with the points since 2002.
Teams that were No. 5 seeds or lower have posted a 12-29 record over that span, going 3-17 heads up since 2014.
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This article will be updated throughout the week to reflect major news or injury implications.
I encourage you to use the game-by-game tables and data points here in conjunction with the player rankings that will be available each Thursday and enjoy the games.
Click the matchups below for the individual game previews.