NFL Playoffs 2018: Vegas Odds, Top Fantasy Picks for Saturday Divisional Games

NFL Playoffs 2018: Vegas Odds, Top Fantasy Picks for Saturday Divisional Games

Although traditional season-long fantasy leagues are complete, you can still play daily fantasy football during the playoffs.

The DFS sites have contests that range through the divisional-round weekend, as well as ones that last just one day.

Here’s a look at the schedule and odds, according to OddsShark, and the top fantasy picks at the four main positions.


NFL Playoff Bracket and Schedule

Divisional Round

Saturday, January 13, at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC: Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, 40.5 O/U) at Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, January 13, at 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13, 48 O/U)

Sunday, January 14, at 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 41 O/U)

Sunday, January 14, at 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-5, 46.5 O/U)


Conference Championships

Sunday, January 21, at 3 p.m. ET: AFC Championship on CBS (lowest-seeded AFC team at highest-seeded AFC team)

Sunday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m. ET: NFC Championship on Fox (lowest-seeded NFC team at highest-seeded NFC team)


Super Bowl LII

Sunday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET: AFC champion vs. NFC champion on NBC (game will be played in Minneapolis)


Top Picks

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (No. 1 at QB), RB Dion Lewis (No. 1 at RB) and TE Rob Gronkowski (No. 1 at TE)

OddsShark is showing the Patriots have an implied team total of 30 points. For context, no other team on the Saturday slate has an implied total of 22 or higher.

Therefore, the Pats look like they have a significant fantasy advantage versus the rest of Saturday’s playoff participants.

It isn’t exactly a hot take to say Tom Brady will be the No. 1 quarterback considering he averaged four more FanDuel points per game than the leader of the rest of Saturday’s signal-caller field (Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota), per Roto Guru. And everything suggests he will be No. 1 again after his matchup against a Titans defense that allowed 22.3 points per game (17th of 32 NFL teams).

Running back Dion Lewis is probably going to see a ton of carries for the third straight game, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that backfield mates Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee will miss the Titans game with an injury.

In his past two contests, Lewis rushed 50 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns in addition to catching 11 passes for 64 yards and two more scores.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski presents the biggest mismatch for the Titans, who struggled to cover Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who posted four catches for 66 yards in the first half of their wild-card game. Gronk will present similar problems and could accumulate more than 100 yards.


Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota (No. 2 at QB) and WR Rishard Matthews (No. 2 at WR)

If the Pats offense goes off as predicted, then Titans quarterback Mariota and his crew of pass-catchers might be busy as they try to keep up with New England.

Tennessee ideally would give the ball to running back Derrick Henry 25-plus times and control the time of possession en route to a low-scoring win, but the Pats might force their hand and make the Titans go to the air if Brady is in a groove.

Therefore, look for Mariota to rack up fantasy points on the ground (he rushed 10 times against the Kansas City Chiefs) and through the air. They may not lead to many points, but the Patriots’ bend-but-don’t break defense can give up a lot of yards (they finished 30th in the NFL, with 251 passing yards per game allowed).

Wideout Rishard Matthews, who led the team four receiving touchdowns, could be the beneficiary here. Although Matthews hasn’t fared well in recent weeks, catching just four passes on eight targets, he could be on the right end of a deep shot that works and leads to a score.

The guess here is the Pats blow out the Titans, so Tennessee could be racking up some garbage-time yards and points when the fourth quarter rolls around.



Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (No. 2 at TE)

Per Pro Football Reference, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz averaged five catches for 59 yards and one touchdown per game during the regular season.

However, in the two full games Ertz played with backup Nick Foles following Carson Wentz’s season-ending ACL injury, the former Stanford Cardinal has amassed 15 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown (or roughly an average of eight catches and 68 yards per game).

You would figure the numbers may dip with a backup as opposed to an established star like Wentz, but that hasn’t been the case.

Two games is a small sample size, but a full season of football games isn’t a large sample size, either. Also, Ertz left two games early, during a loss versus the Seattle Seahawks after suffering a concussion and a defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 as the team looked to rest its starters.

Still, the point here is the early returns are good, and Ertz and Foles look to be on the same page. The tight end seems to be Foles’ security blanket, as he amassed a whopping 23 targets in a two-game span.

Although Philadelphia may struggle to score against a tough Atlanta Falcons defense Saturday, Ertz could still rack up catches and yards to accrue fantasy points even if he doesn’t find the end zone.


Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (No. 2 at RB) and WR Julio Jones (No. 1 at WR)

The reason for picking Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to finish second among all backs in fantasy points is simple: He has a favorable game script that may give him the opportunity for more touches.

If the favored Falcons grab a lead, we could be seeing a lot of him and Coleman, much like we did against the Los Angeles Rams last time out (the two combined for 36 touches, with Freeman handling 19).

Titans running back Henry may not receive as many opportunities if his underdog team falls into an early hole against the Patriots, and the same goes for the Eagles’ Jay Ajayi.

The reason for picking Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to finish first among all wideouts in fantasy points is even simpler: He’s Julio Jones.

No wideout on the pass-catcher list can come close to matching Jones’ seasonal and career-long production. That isn’t a slight to those talented players so much as it is an acknowledgement Jones is one of the best wideouts in NFL history. He’s amassed 9,054 yards and 43 touchdowns in just seven seasons and just completed his fifth year of 1,000 receiving yards or more.

The only downside to rostering Jones is if the Eagles’ primary objective seems to be sending the house at him on every play and asking the rest of the Falcons offense to beat them. That’s a possibility, but Atlanta has enough talented skill-position players that it’s unlikely Philly could afford to pull off such a strategy.

Jones is the top Saturday wide receiver target by a large margin.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page

January 13, 2018 at 08:44AM


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