Bargain Bin DFS Plays for the NFL Title Games
This is a strange and challenging week for those of us who play DFS. We have two elite defenses, a No. 1 seed that no one gave any respect to, and, of course, the Patriots.
I’m sure lots of players will plan to stack Pats in their lineup this weekend (let’s assume many will start with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis). But if you want to look for cheaper options elsewhere, here are five quality DFS plays from the Eagles, Vikings, and Jaguars rosters.
Rely on Kyle Rudolph for Gronk Fade
The highest profile player in my figurative bargain bin is Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph. The tight end has been a top target for Case Keenum all season, especially in the red zone. Rudolph tallied 29 of his 81 targets inside the 20 and converted for eight touchdowns during the regular season.
Last week was more of the same with Rudolph pulling in five of eight targets for 28 yards, including two targets in the red zone. No, he didn’t catch either of the end-zone balls, but he’s going up against an Eagles defense that gave up touchdowns to tight ends in one-third of its games this season. That, along with an average of 4.6 catches and 46.6 yards per game, and Rudolph looks primed for a big performance.
If you choose not to spend on Gronk ($7,900 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel), Rudolph’s more reasonable $4,500 on DraftKings and $6,100 on FanDuel should be well worth every dollar. His averages line up with what the Eagles allow to tight ends so look for Rudolph to put up at least four grabs for 50 yards and a touchdown in the NFC title game.
Marqise Lee Makes Bargain WR Option
Marqise Lee is coming off a game where he tallied just three catches for 28 yards. Those aren’t the typical stats of a wide receiver you’d want in your DFS lineup. But for a No. 1 target facing a Patriots defense that gave up the sixth most points to the wide receiver position during the regular season, and 14 catches for 175 yards and 2 TDs to Titans wideouts last week, Lee comes at a major discount at $4,400 on DraftKings and $6,100 on FanDuel.
In the Jags’ Divisional Round win, the USC product did record a team-leading six targets and looks to be Blake Bortles’ favorite target heading into this very favorable matchup. Also, look for Bill Belichick, in typical Patriots fashion, to stack the box against super-rookie Leonard Fournette while forcing the Jaguars to throw the ball — another positive for Lee owners this Sunday. Likely playing from behind as well, this should equate to at least five grabs and (hopefully) a garbage touchdown for Lee, putting him in the WR2 conversation at a discount price this weekend.
Eagles Wideout Could Be Wild Card This Weekend
Nelson Agholor had an up and down 2017 Fantasy season while setting career highs across the board. The third-year receiver scored eight touchdowns on 62 receptions while averaging just under 50 yards per game. His best game all season came in Week 13 when the wideout exploded for seven catches for 141 yards and a touchdown, while his worst was a one-catch, minus-two-yard performance just two weeks earlier.
So to say Agholor is a sure thing would be one hell of an overstatement. However, with Xavier Rhodes likely shadowing Alshon Jeffery, look for Agholor to step up and into the role Ted Ginn played for the Saints while racking up eight grabs for 72 yards against the Vikings last weekend.
Coming off a Divisional Round win where he played 76 percent of the Eagles offensive snaps, Agholor caught all three of his targets for 24 yards. He should outpace those numbers at a price tag of $4,800 on DraftKings and $6,200 on FanDuel, making him a low-floor, high-ceiling investment at your WR2 or flex spot.
Roll with Receiving Backs in Conference Title Contests
The running backs I’m banking on as RB2 and flex plays are both in timeshares and both dominate their team’s third-down snaps. Say hello to Jerick McKinnon ($5,100 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) and T.J. Yeldon ($4,200 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel).
McKinnon just keeps producing despite his limited (10-15) touches, going for 40 total yards and a touchdown on 11 touches last week. And this Sunday, McKinnon and the Vikings face an Eagles team that gave up five receiving touchdowns to running backs in the regular season along with almost six catches and 40 yards per game. And it was more of exactly the same versus the Falcons last week, giving up six catches for 40 yards and a touchdown to the Falcons backs. That’s music to my ears for McKinnon’s backfield-leading 51 receptions and 421 yards.
Yeldon has actually led the Jaguars in receiving and/or receptions in two of their last three games. Facing a Pats defense that gives up almost eight targets, six catches and more than 50 yards a game to running backs — ALL of which should go to Yeldon — makes him a more than serviceable RB2 and/or flex option, especially in PPR formats.
With these cheaper DFS options in position to perform, paying a premium for Brady and his top few targets should lay the groundwork for a bountiful Conference Title weekend.