Continuing the same approach we took during the regular season; I am using this space to highlight my favorite discounted options in DFS.
We are throwing out the arbitrary pricing thresholds to diagnose our defined “value” since the slates are so short, but we still primarily focus on the options that are outside of the top tier plays. So you will not find Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce here.
There will also be some contrarian plays. Players that necessarily do not have a great objective matchup or layout since we will have to take some swings here.
I do not have enough space to talk about every player in my complete player pool this weekend, so make sure you check out the Championship Round Worksheet to see my full thoughts on every player this week. Also, make sure to cross-reference those thoughts with weekly rankings in the Sharp Football rankings hub.
Devin Singletary ($5,800/$4,500)
Singletary logged 84% of the offensive snaps last week with Zack Moss sidelined, giving him 89%, 89%, 63%, and 84% of the snaps in the four games Moss has missed this season.
He also accounted for 83.3% of the backfield touches. The downside is that the Bills had no interest in using their backs against Baltimore in the Divisional Round as Singletary still only managed 10 total touches for 37 yards. The Bills called just one rushing play in the first half. This is not uncommon for the Bills as Buffalo running backs produced just 20.2% of their non-passing fantasy points this season, the lowest rate for any backfield in the NFL.
That could shift some here if adapting to their opponent as 35.6% of the fantasy points allowed by the Chiefs this season have gone to running backs (the sixth-highest rate in the league and behind only the Packers among playoff teams). The Chiefs allowed 4.5 yards per carry to backs (20th) and allowed 141.8 total yards per game to opposing backfields during the season (28th), with eight different backs hitting 100 yards from scrimmage.
When these teams met in Week 6, Buffalo backs totaled just 16 touches for 55 yards, but Singletary is logging too many snaps in a potential shootout to completely ignore.
Leonard Fournette ($5,300 DraftKings)
With Ronald Jones returning to the lineup, Leonard Fournette continued to lead the way for the Bucs backfield, playing 49 snaps (68%) while Jones played 21 snaps (29%) last week. Fournette also continued to play effectively, turning 22 touches into 107 yards and a touchdown against a stingy Saints defense. In two playoff games, Fournette now has 45 touches for 239 yards and two scores.
Opposing backfields have produced 38.8% of the fantasy points allowed by the Packers, the highest rate in the league. Green Bay entered the postseason 17th in YPC (4.48) and 20th in rushing points allowed per game (13.6) to opposing backfields and then allowed the Rams backfield to turn 20 touches into 100 total yards and a touchdown.
This backfield has pulled the rug out on us multiple times this season and it is doubtful we are just locked into Fournette getting another 20 touches if Jones continues to improve his health. But Fournette is a much safer bet in not being able to be game scripted out as he has run a pass route on 37.4% of the team dropbacks compared to 26.5% for Jones.
Ronald Jones ($5,600 FanDuel)
While Fournette is still underpriced on DraftKings and his passing-catching role is a safety net there, Jones is $1,600 cheaper on FanDuel, where his game is more conducive to scoring.
Jones was also effective on his limited opportunities last week, turning 13 touches (all runs) into 62 yards. This week, he said his quad is “feeling better” this week. We know that the Buccaneers could just as easily turn back to Jones as the headpin in this backfield and if game script lends itself to Tampa Bay skewing run-heavy, then Jones is a dart over at FanDuel. When these teams met in Week 6, Jones rushed 23 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Godwin ($6,800/$5,400)
Godwin runs 66% of his routes in the slot, where he posted a 49-605-5 line this season on 61 targets. Catching 80.3% of his inside targets, Godwin secured 59.5% when on the perimeter. Green Bay was equally solid on the inside in part from Chandon Sullivan ranking 10th among slot cornerbacks in yards allowed per slot snap (1.13 yards).
When these teams played in Week 6, Godwin secured 5-of-7 targets for 48 yards, but he received 25.0% of the team targets, his second-highest rate in a game this season. With Antonio Brown out and Mike Evans seeing just two targets in Jaire Alexander’s coverage last time these teams met, Godwin is a bet to lead the Buccaneers in targets while game script could force them to throw more than the 27 times they did in Week 6.
John Brown ($5,600/$4,300)
After being blanked on four targets in the Wild Card Round, Brown bounced back to catch 8-of-11 targets for 62 yards against the Ravens. The 29.7% target share that Brown had last week was a season-high and just the fourth game this season in which he received more than six targets in a game.
Brown has yet to hit 100 yards in a game this season. When these teams played in Week 6, Brown secured none of his four targets. He played 96% of the snaps, but was playing through injury and outright missed the following game.
The Chiefs were solid against opposing wideouts this season, allowing a 59.6% catch rate on wideout targets, which was second in the NFL and 7.5 yards per target to the position (fifth). Browns wideouts caught 13-of-18 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs last week.
I prefer swinging on Brown over Cole Beasley as a cheaper attachment to Josh Allen. Chiefs cornerbacks allowed just one touchdown in slot coverage this season while allowing four total touchdowns from the slot this season on their 30 passing touchdowns surrendered.
Mecole Hardman ($5,300/$4,000)
Hardman has four or fewer receptions in every game but one this season, but has been more involved than Demarcus Robinson to close the season. Over the past three games excluding the Week 17, Hardman has seen 19 targets compared to just seven for Robinson if chasing an ancillary piece of Mahomes. Hardman has also run 53.6% of his routes from the slot compared to just 15.6% for Robinson, the area where we have targeted the Bills more with wide receiver production this season.
You also have the complete longshot of any special teams score in the return game with Hardman that impacts a small slate like this one.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,500/$3,900)
Allen Lazard is tracking to be four times as rostered in large field tournaments over Valdes-Scantling, but is nearly just as volatile. Lazard hit a week ago, but his 96 yards were his first time clearing 56 yards in a game since that Week 3 game and just his third game with more than three catches over his eight games returning to the lineup in Week 11.
The Buccaneers force teams to play one dimensional, seeing a league-high 62.6% pass rate. As a byproduct, Tampa Bay saw 20.0 targets per game to opposing wideouts (fifth most). As good as the Tampa Bay defense was this season, they were beatable downfield, allowing a 49.5% completion rate on throws over 15 yards downfield (27th) and allowing nine touchdowns on those throws (22nd). In the postseason, opposing passers are 9-of-15 on those throws with two touchdown passes.
Valdes-Scantling is a completely boom-or-bust option, but in his five games this season reaching the end zone, he averaged 20.3 fantasy points. He also leads the Packers in depth of target (18.2 yards downfield) and led the NFL in yards per reception in the regular season (20.3).
Scotty Miller ($4,900/$3,400)
Miller is a great cheap option for a Tampa Bay passing game that will be without Antonio Brown. Prior to Brown joining the team, Miller had run a pass route on 68.5% of the team dropbacks and then 26.5% afterward, but Miller leads the team in average depth of target (16.4 yards) and yards per reception (15.6 yards) when given opportunities.