SB Nation brings you the top Daily Fantasy options each week of the postseason through the Super Bowl. This week, we only have two games to work with, so choices are limited and low-owned values are harder to come by. This week is as much about salary strategy as collecting raw points, especially with each team possessing a talented defense. Frankly, in a regular week, these two games would be fade candidates. Instead, it’s all we have, so tread carefully and most important, creatively.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($7,700 DK, $9,000 FD)
I think we have to assume that whatever this hand injury is that has all of New England consulting their medical journals, there’s little chance of it keeping TB12 out of this game. And if he plays, he’s throwing, even in the face of the best defense he’s played against this season. But will he produce enough to pay off his salary, especially with the other options considerably cheaper? That’s the real question on Sunday. Brady struggles against pressure, and the Jags are uniquely qualified to get after the quarterback. I would strongly consider a GPP fade here and take a more balanced lineup approach.
Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles ($6,600 DK, $8,000 FD)
This is where I want to go in large-field GPPs this weekend. The Vikings are likely going to struggle running the ball against a terrific Eagles run defense. Because of that, the game is going to be in Keenum’s hands, and we saw how that worked out on the last play of the game last week. Keenum threw the ball 40 times last week. His volume at a nice discount off Brady’s salary makes him an ideal tournament play.
Discount Darling: Blake Bortles, Jaguars at Patriots ($5,000 DK, $7,600 FD)
Bortles has put up 16 DK points in each of his two playoff games, despite completing 26 passes combined. The Jags want to run the ball and play defense in Foxboro. But that is easier said than done, and Bortles is going to have to put it up to keep the Jags in the game. His receivers have gone missing since late in the regular season, so Bortles is probably best deployed as a “naked” play who is likely to pay off his salary, even if not producing the most raw points at the position.
Avoid: Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Vikings ($4,800 DK, $7,100 FD)
Foles has not topped 10 DK points in either of his past two starts after his great performance against the Giants in Week 15. The Vikings have the best defense not facing Tom Brady this weekend, and the Eagles could well try to turn this into a run-heavy attack. I’d rather spend the extra $200 and hope that Bortles is up to the moment in Foxboro.
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars ($7,200 DK, $8,500 FD)
The Jags really only have one way to win this game: Give the Fournette the ball and hope he does enough in support of his great defense. It worked for the 1975 Steelers and the 2000 Ravens. It sorta worked last week. The Jags defense sprung leaks all over the field, but Fournette overwhelmed the Steelers for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots ($5,400 DK, $6,000 FD)
Before he got hurt in Week 15 in Pittsburgh, Burkhead was doing a terrific Danny Woodhead impression and was finding the end zone on a weekly basis. Assuming he’s active on Sunday – and all indications are that he will play – Burkhead could become a huge factor, especially in the passing game. This might be the only spot in lineup building where ownership levels come into play, as Dion Lewis is expected to have as much as four times the ownership of Burkhead. I’d rather correlate Burkhead with Fournette and hope Lewis’ usage comes way down – at Burkhead’s expense.
Discount Darling: T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars ($4,200 DK, $5,200 FD)
Two things that could easily happen on Sunday: The Jags defense get carved up by Tom Brady and Fournette aggravates his ankle injury. If either – or both – come to pass, Yeldon is going to get work as the pass-catching back. Yeldon found the end zone last week and has caught TD passes in two of his past three games. He stands as the top value play at the position and a solid bet to put up points if the expected game script comes to pass.
Avoid: Dion Lewis, Patriots ($8,100 DK, $7,700 FD)
With Burkhead expected back into the mix, Lewis’ recent explosion has to be placed in context. When Burkhead was in the lineup, Lewis topped 16 DK points just twice this season. Now that Lewis’ price has skyrocketed to $8,100, he is overpriced for the amount of touches he’s likely to see with Burkhead in the mix. If your salary builds leave $8,100 for a running back without sacrificing someone you value highly, then go for it. And if Burkhead is a late scratch, then Lewis is the top overall play. But his cost and his usage likely do not compute this week, and that salary can be used more wisely elsewhere.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings ($6,900 DK, $6,700 FD)
The Minnesota Miracle put an exclamation point on an undeniable trend. His 61-yard touchdown reception clinched Diggs’ fifth straight double-digit DK points performance. For all his acrobatics, Adam Thielen is taking a bit of a backseat to Diggs over the last few weeks – Diggs leads 30-27 in targets the past four games — and now Thielen is dealing with a back injury. Diggs is slightly cheaper and is expected to have lower ownership. He screams “tournament play.”
Chris Hogan, Patriots ($5,000 DK, $6,100 FD)
Last week was the Danny Amendola Show, as Hogan was still getting his legs underneath him. In his first game back after being out since Week 14 because of a shoulder injury, Hogan caught one pass, but it did go for a short touchdown. This week, expect Hogan to take on a workload closer to his regular-season volume, which would crush is salary if he finds the end zone once again.
Discount Darling: Torrey Smith, Eagles ($3,000 DK, $5,400 FD)
We know the Vikings are going to stick Xavier Rhodes on Alshon Jeffery and clog the middle to stymie Zach Ertz. That leaves Nelson Agholor and Smith to pick up the slack, and did you notice that Smith had more targets (4-3) than Agholor last week? Foles has been splitting his targets to Agholor and Smith almost 50/50 the past three weeks, and Smith had three receptions last week. At a massive savings over Agholor, Smith could be that play that allows a host of high-priced plays while providing value in his own right.
Avoid: Alshon Jeffery, Eagles ($4,600 DK, $7,300 FD)
As mentioned above, Jeffery is going to get the Rhodes scholarship this week, and that grades out poorly for the Eagles. Sure, Michael Thomas lit up Rhodes in the second half last week, but Jeffery has neither the raw talent of Thomas, nor a quarterback capable of taking advantage.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots ($7,900 DK, $8,400 FD)
I’m not crazy about spending 8K for Dion Lewis, but I will gladly drop 7,900 on Gronk. With all due respect to the Jags’ secondary, I just can’t see them taking Gronkowski out of this game, especially if Brady’s hand is not an issue and he eludes the Jags’ pass rush. Gronk’s targets the past four games: 9-7-13-11. Brady is locked in and Gronk is smashing. Get him in there.
Zach Ertz, Eagles ($5,300 DK, $7,000 FD)
There are only three tight ends worth considering this weekend, but Ertz has the worst matchup of that trio. Foles will certainly try to force the ball into the teeth of the Vikings defense to get Ertz active, but be prepared for a possible long day.
Discount Darling: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings ($4,500 DK, $6,100 FD)
I like Rudolph as a the cheap tight end option, but I LOVE Rudolph as a flex option paired with Gronk. Outside of T.J. Yeldon, I’m just not feeling many of the options in the mid-4,000 range on this slate, making Rudolph a solid option as part of a two tight-end set, which I also expect to be an extremely low-owned play
Avoid: Any and all Jaguars ($2,500 DK, $4,500 FD)
Minnesota Vikings ($3,800 DK, $4,900 FD)
New England Patriots ($3,500 DK, $5,200 FD)
Discount Darling: Jacksonville Jaguars ($2,800 DK, $4,400 FD)