Daily fantasy football divisional round plays: Zeke and Ryan lead the way

Are you still playing daily fantasy football for the NFL playoffs? Us, too! Doug Baldwin and a couple of Steelers were last week’s heroes – let’s see if we can find more for the divisional round. We’ll use DraftKings salaries, choosing a high-priced and low-priced player at every position.


Spend: Matt Ryan, Falcons ($7,000)

As well as Aaron Rodgers has been playing, Jordy Nelson’s uncertain status should be a red flag. Tom Brady seems like a solid choice, but if the Pats are blowing out the Texans, will they stick to the run? The guess here is that they will, so the expensive QB to target is Ryan, who faces a Seahawks’ defense that has been leakier since Earl Thomas got hurt in Week 13. The Falcons have a healthy projected point total of 28.25, so oddsmakers aren’t too worried about the Seahawks slowing them down.

Save: Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($6,000)

The Packers’ pass defense is BAD. They ranked 30th in passing touchdowns allowed (32), 31st in passing yards allowed (269.2) and last in passing yards per attempt (8.1). The Cowboys figure to be as run-heavy as possible, but Prescott is always a threat to run for a TD, and he threw for 247 yards and three TDs during an easy win over the Packers in Week 6. Prescott is behind five of the other seven quarterbacks in DK salary this week, and it’s not like you really want Brock Osweiler. If you want to save a few bucks, Prescott is your man.

Running back

Spend: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($8,500)

Sorry, but I’m probably not paying $10,500 for Le’Veon Bell, especially on a four-game slate that doesn’t have many low-salaried options to offset his cost. Elliott wrecked the Packers with 157 yards on 28 carries in Week 6, and a repeat is certainly on the table. Start Zeke with confidence in what should be a high-scoring affair (52.5 O/U).

Save: LeGarrette Blount, Patriots ($5,800)

The Pats are favored by 16 points, and if they cover or come close to doing so, Blount should become a bigger factor as the game progresses. In six games with the Pats as a double-digit favorite over the last three seasons, Blount has averaged 20 rushing attempts, 84 yards and 16.83 DK points with eight touchdowns. He’s the league leader in rushing touchdowns this season, and should be in line for at least one more on Saturday night. Blount isn’t cheap, but he’s cheaper than he should be.

(Note: Blount missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday due to an illness. If he can’t play, fire up Dion Lewis at $3,900. You should consider Lewis even if Blount plays, as he had 45 carries over the final three games of the regular season.)

Wide receiver

Spend: Julio Jones, Falcons ($8,400)

The Seahawks aren’t saying whether Richard Sherman will shadow Jones, but Sherman normally stays on one side of the field. Jones went 9-139-1 at Seattle in Week 6, with much of his damage done beyond Sherman’s clutches. Look for the Falcons to scheme Jones away from Sherman as much as possible, and for another big day to be the result.

Save: Geronimo Allison, Packers ($3,900)

Jordy Nelson’s status isn’t looking good due to his (possibly) broken ribs, so someone will need to pick up the slack. When Randall Cobb was out in Weeks 16 and 17, Allison was targeted 13 times, resulting in eight catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. He filled in after Nelson’s injury against the Giants and was targeted twice. The Cowboys secondary isn’t impressive, and if you want a cheap option to try against them, give Allison a look.

Tight end

Spend: Travis Kelce, Chiefs ($6,100)

If you have the money to pay at this position, Kelce is the no-brainer choice. He had five games of 100-plus receiving yards over the final seven weeks of the season and faces a beatable Steeler defense. He’s far and away the best tight end on the board.

Save: Jared Cook, Packers ($3,900)

Yes, we know. Cook has disappointed your fantasy teams for years. But did you know that over the last four games, he’s got 18 receptions for 226 yards on 30 targets? Rodgers isn’t shy about throwing to Cook these days, and that puts him in play.

Defense/special teams

Spend: Patriots ($4,000)

Another obvious option — probably the most logical pick of the entire weekend, considering the slate of quarterbacks, projected point totals, etc. In cash lineups, you almost have to pick the Pats. They’re a smart play in tournaments as well.

Save: Packers ($2,800)

Maybe you can save $600 by using the turnover-heavy Chiefs. But if I wanted to differentiate my tournament lineup, I’d go with the Packers at $2,800 with the hope that they pressure a nervous Prescott into some turnovers. The Pack ranked T-6 with 40 sacks this season, and T-4 with 17 interceptions. There’s some logic to this path, even if the monstrous Dallas O-line stands in your way.

Halpin’s lineup

QB: Dak Prescott ($6,000)

RB: Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500)

RB: LeGarrette Blount ($5,800)

WR: Taylor Gabriel ($4,400)

WR: Geronimo Allison ($3,900)

WR: Doug Baldwin ($8,100)

TE: Jared Cook ($3,900)

FLEX: Spencer Ware ($5,200)

DST: Patriots ($4,000)

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