The second round of the NFL Playoffs is packed with good teams and plenty of potential stars and value sleepers for NFL DFS tournaments. You have to take some level of strategy risk, whether it means fading one team entirely or going with a bunch of cheaper contrarian plays to fit in two or three of the highest-priced stars. We’re combining those strategies with our full-slate FanDuel lineup picks for Saturday and Sunday’s divisional round action, fading the Bengals and going all-in with our primary pass-catchers.
Before we get into this week’s lineups, here are the basic rules for FanDuel contests. Scoring is pretty standard, with the only notable settings being four-point passing TDs and half-point PPR.
FULL-SLATE DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings
Divisional Round Full-Slate FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice
Saturday main slate, $60,000 budget, no more than four players from one team
QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Bengals ($7,300)
You can make a case for every starting QB this week, but we opted for a cheaper signal-caller to fit in more high-priced pass-catchers. Tannehill is the second-cheapest starter, but he possesses plenty of upside, especially when you factor in his running ability. However, this is mostly a differentiation play, as many will opt for higher-ceiling guys like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen, and even more will fade Tannehill with Derrick Henry (foot) expected to return. We’ll take our chances with Tannehill against a decent (but not great) Bengals pass defense that could be down some players on the defensive line.
RB AJ Dillon, Packers vs. 49ers ($6,100)
Dillon has seemingly taken over as Green Bay’s lead ball-carrier. He doesn’t do much as a receiver, but with catches de-emphasised on FanDuel compared to DraftKings, he can easily pay off his RB7 price. Dillon has had 14 carries in each of the past two games, scoring twice in Week 17. The 49ers have been tough against RBs this year, but Dillon is the kind of physical runner who can grind out yards against anyone. We’re banking on the Packers winning this game and Dillon being called on to seal the victory on the ground.
RB Cam Akers, Rams @ Buccaneers ($5,700)
The Bucs have been one of the most dominant run defenses in the NFL the past two seasons, so it’s a contrarian move to use an RB against them — especially one who splits carries. However, it’s clear the Rams want to be a run-heavy offense, and Akers is fresh and talented. He’s also L.A.’s preferred receiving back, so regardless of whether the Rams are up or down in this game, he should be involved. We’ll go for differentiation again here and hope Akers can find the end zone.
WR Cooper Kupp, Rams @ Buccaneers ($9,500)
Kupp was “held in check” with just five catches, 61 yards, and a score last week, showing just how high his floor his. No matter how much L.A. wants to run, it can’t go away from Kupp in a premium matchup. Again, regardless of whether the Rams are up or down, Kupp will be heavily involved. He’s a chalky pick, but if he goes off (which he likely will), he’ll be needed in any lineup that wants to contend for a high finish.
WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. Bills ($8,200)
Hill’s ceiling is as high as any player on this slate, so even though he’s been relatively quiet lately, we want him in our lineup. The Bills did a good job holding him down when these teams met in Week 5 (seven catches, 63 yards), but the Chiefs won’t be shy about using Hill in a variety of ways if they need to. His career postseason numbers speak to this, as he’s averaged 6.2 catches and 90.1 total yards in 10 playoff games with Patrick Mahomes.
WR A.J. Brown, Titans vs. Bengals ($7,600)
With Tannehill as our QB, we needed to stack him with at least one of his WRs. Brown is obviously the best choice, and he’s the most likely to go off for a huge game. He’s scored in two of his past three outings, and the Bengals have been below average against WRs most of the year. Brown has just three monster games this year, but he’s always a candidate for 150 yards and a score.
TE George Kittle, 49ers @ Packers ($6,400)
Kittle has done next to nothing over the past four games, but we all know he’s one of the elite tight ends, both in terms of overall impact and yards-after-catch ability. With studs like Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, and Dawson Knox on the slate, many will pay up for them; others will pay down for a touchdown-or-bust guy like Anthony Firkser or Joseph Deguara. We’re going with the disappointing star who seems “due,” hoping others will veer away from Kittle, who still has a sky-high ceiling.
FLEX (WR) Tyler Johnson, Buccaneers vs. Rams ($5,000)
We needed a cheap flex, and Johnson has as much upside as anyone in this price range. He had just two catches on three targets last week, but he played 77 percent of snaps. In what’s expected to be a tighter game, Johnson could be heavily involved, especially if Jalen Ramsey is able to lock up Mike Evans. Based on snaps, he’s easily Tampa’s No. 2 wide receiver, so he’s worth a shot at this ultra-cheap price.
DEF Tennessee Titans vs. Bengals ($4,100)
There are no obvious D/ST plays this week, as even Green Bay has some warts. We’re going all-in on our Titans stack and hoping they can rack up a bunch of sacks and force a couple turnovers. Tennessee finished tied for ninth in QB takedowns during the regular season, while Cincinnati allowed the third-most sacks. It’s an exploitable situation for Tennessee, so we’ll take a chance with it against Cincinnati’s high-powered offense.