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 Patrick Mahomes, Nick Chubb, Alvin Kamara, 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 Divisional 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.
Drew Brees ($7,300/$5,600)
Since returning to the lineup in Week 15, Brees has posted 19.4, 8.1, 20.0, and 18.8 fantasy points with that low point total coming attached to 311 yards and 12.0 yards per pass attempt in a game where the Saints just happened to rush for seven touchdowns.
In two games versus the Bucs, Brees threw for 5.3 and 6.9 Y/A, but threw six touchdown passes with a season-high four when these teams last played. The Tampa Bay pass defense has been beatable since the start of the season. Since dismantling Aaron Rodgers back in Week 6, the Bucs have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in 8-of-11 games while allowing 21.9 fantasy points and 18.2 passing points per game to opposing passers over that stretch. The only times they held an opposing passer under 17 fantasy points over that span was to Daniel Jones (16.2 points) and the Detroit game where all of Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniel, and David Blough played.
Baker Mayfield ($7,400/$5,300)
A lot of people are assuming the Browns are going to play cautious offensively and lean on their run game, but that would go against what they have been doing of late.
The Browns have averaged 6.0 yards per play on offensive (10th) and have gotten more aggressive as the season has worn on. Through 11 weeks, the Browns had thrown the ball on just 46% of their first and second down plays outside of the fourth quarter, which was 29th in the league. From Week 12 on, Cleveland has thrown the ball 59% of the time on those early downs outside of the final quarter, which is the ninth-highest rate in the league. On those early down passes, Baker Mayfield has completed 66.2% of his passes for 7.9 Y/A with eight touchdowns and one interception.
Mayfield now has 14 touchdowns passes to just one interception over his past seven games after throwing 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions over his first 10 games of the season. He is averaging 20.8 fantasy points per game over that span after 12.6 per game prior.
The Chiefs pass defense has sagged down the stretch from their numbers early in the season. After allowing 6.6 Y/A and nine touchdown passes through their opening eight games (15.2 fantasy points per game), opposing passers have averaged 7.5 Y/A with 20 touchdown passes against the Chiefs over their past games (23.5 points per game). They have allowed multiple touchdown passes in all eight of those games after just twice over their initial eight games.
Cam Akers ($7,000/$5,700)
The Rams have really gotten Akers going to close the season and leaned on him to carry their offense down the stretch as their passing game has been largely underwhelming.
Over his past five games, Akers has received 22, 31, 16, 25, and 30 touches for 612 yards. Over that same span, other Rams backs have totaled 29 touches with just one game over that span in which another received more than five touches in a game alongside Akers. Akers also has at least 22 receiving yards in four of those five games, with 52 and 45 yards through the air the past two weeks.
Last week, Akers tallied 176 total yards against a Seattle defense that entered last week 10th in the league in yards per carry and in rushing points allowed to backs. This week, he draws a Green Bay defense that enters the postseason 17th in YPC (4.48) and 20th in rushing points allowed per game (13.6).
Kareem Hunt ($6,200/$4,800)
Hunt has become an all-or-nothing type of play, but one still worth exploring in the game with the highest point total on the slate. Nick Chubb has out-touched Hunt 69-37 over the past four games and Hunt has 62 or fewer total yards in seven of his past eight games.
But when Cleveland has exploded for points or played in shootouts, Hunt has typically gone along for the ride and played a role.
Cleveland has scored 30 or more points in six games this season with both Hunt and Chubb active and in those games, Hunt is averaging 13.2 touches for 77.3 yards for 19.1 PPR points per game with nine touchdowns in those contests.
Devin Singletary ($5,700/$4,500)
With Zack Moss suffering an ankle injury last week and being out for the remainder of the playoffs, Singletary is back in front of the Buffalo backfield.
With Moss absent from the lineup Weeks 3-5, Singletary had 17, 23, and 12 touches for 121, 76, and 33 yards. His best game over that span did come against the Rams defense, which offers some promise against a Baltimore defense that is sixth in the league in rushing points allowed (10.7 points). Where the Ravens have been vulnerable to backs is in the passing game, allowing 10.7 receiving points per game to backfields (23rd).
Robert Woods ($6,600/$5,900)
Woods sustained being the most reliable Rams wideout this season, catching 4-of-8 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown last week in Seattle. Woods is 50/50 lining up inside and out, running 49% of his routes in the slot. That can help him out in avoiding Jaire Alexander in man coverage situations to a degree as Alexander has played just 15 snaps in the slot this season.
Jarvis Landry ($5,600 DraftKings)
Landry has at least five receptions in six consecutive games, receiving 25.5% of the team targets over that span. Landry has also found the end zone in four of those six games after failing to score over his first 10 games played this season.
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), but just came off facing the team that ranked first and sixth in those categories a week ago.
John Brown ($5,500/$4,600)
Brown was blanked last week, failing to catch any of his four targets. If looking through rose-colored lenses, Brown did play 97% of the snaps.
Stefon Diggs has at least six receptions in 14 straight games, something that has been done only three other times in league history. With Diggs expected to draw a ton of attention from the Baltimore defense, Brown’s cost is worth going back to despite the volatility.
Mecole Hardman ($5,200/$3,900) and Demarcus Robinson ($5,100/$4,300)
The Chiefs’ ancillary pass catchers have not provided as many positive moments this season as last, but with Sammy Watkins out for Sunday, both will be cheap attachment to Patrick Mahomes in a positive matchup.
In the five games that Watkins missed this season already, Robinson has seen 23 targets (19-214-2) and Hardman 17 targets (13-217-1).
Hardman has been used more of late. In the final two games with this offense in full, Hardman saw 15 targets compared to just five for Robinson. The Browns have allowed 14 different wide receivers to post double-digit PPR points over their past seven games.
Mark Andrews ($6,600/$5,000 DraftKings)
Andrews may not be a dirt cheap value, but he has a wide gap from Travis Kelce, being $1,900 and $2,800 cheaper than Kelce on both sites while only $400 and $800 more than Robert Tonyan.
Andrews has at least four receptions in each of his past seven games after having hit that number in two of his first eight, so the floor has still been higher with this offense playing their best football to close the season.
Opposing teams have targeted their tight ends 23.6% of the time against the Bills, which is the fourth-highest rate in the league. On those targets, the Bills rank 23rd in catch rate (70.3%), 20th in yards per target (7.6 yards), and 18th in touchdown rate allowed (6.8%) to the position and just allowed Colts tight ends to catch 14-of-16 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown a week ago.
Austin Hooper ($5,500/$3,800)
Hooper has double-digit PPR points in four straight games and despite having 46 or fewer yards in seven of his eight games since returning to the lineup in Week 10, Hooper has seen his usage begin to spike with 18.8%, 28.3%, 18.5%, and 32.4% of the team targets over the past four weeks after being at 10% or lower in three of his previous four games. Hooper also leads the team with seven end zone targets since returning to action in Week 10, securing four for touchdowns.
The Chiefs were 20th in catch rate (69.6%), 22nd in yards per target (7.7) and 21st in touchdown rate (7.1%) allowed to opposing tight ends this season.