Last week was one to forget. The Texans’ inability to show up just absolutely killed this lineup. Not only was DeAndre Hopkins held to 5 catches for 37 yards (8.70 points) but them not even putting up a fight kept Indy’s Nyheim Hines off the field (9 snaps, 0 points). After a hot start, the Colts didn’t need Andrew Luck to keep his foot on the gas and he ended up with a stream-worthy 18.78 points. T.Y. Hilton had four catches for 65 yards in the first half and ended with just five catches for 85 yards. Dontrelle Inman also got his early with 53 receiving yards and a 2nd quarter TD but like most of the offense, he simply wasn’t needed in the 2nd half. What should have been the marquee box score game turned into the Marlon Mack show.
Zeke Elliott did Zeke-like things (167 total yards and a touchdown). Dallas Goedert did exactly what we need at his salary, score a TD. Jordan Howard did exactly what we didn’t need him to do, 35 rushing yards, and the Ravens defense closed out the lineup with 5 points for a sad 104.68 total ☹…on to this week.
QB Patrick Mahomes vs. IND
Mahomes is making his playoff debut against a Colts defense that has played extremely well. They are a predominate Cover 2 defense that mixes in timely blitzes and uber sound play. With all that said, the Chiefs’ weapons and Mahomes’ uncanny improv ability can just flat out break good defense and that’s just in your average run of the mill game script. Lord knows what could happen if Luck is able to carve this KC defense up as well as he did the Texans D last week. Hint-those odds are pretty good
DraftKings salary: 7,000
RB Zeke Elliott @ LAR
Elliott remains bulletproof in this matchup. The Rams get hammered for 5.1 yards per rush and if the Rams jump out to a lead the Cowboys will just throw to Zeke out of the backfield. With Cole Beasley’s availability in doubt, his short passing game workload may even grow. Really easy play here.
DraftKings salary: 8,200
RB Todd Gurley vs. Dal
By all accounts Gurley is healthy and ready to resume workhorse duties. The Cowboys have a really good run defense and just held Chris Carson to 20 yards on 13 carries, but this Rams offense is a whole different stratosphere. Even if they cause problems for Gurley’s rushing output, Sean McVay uses him aggressively in the passing game and the Cowboys give up the 6th most catches per game to RBs. “Gurley at less than 9,000: is my favorite song.
DraftKings salary: 8,000
WR Robert Woods vs. Dal
Woods has been the focal point of the Rams’ passing game and has the best matchup playing from the slot where he’ll avoid stud Byron Jones more often than not. Regardless of game script, Woods’ work has been pretty bankable, as he’s only had fewer than five targets on three occasions this season, the last time coming due to injury in the meaningless Week 17 matchup versus the 49ers. Healthy and ready to go following the bye, look for Woods to pick right back up where he left off. He’s one of the more secure plays of the week regardless of position.
DraftKings salary: 5,900
WR Golden Tate @ NO
Traveling to the Mercedes Benz dome almost always means you need to score 30+ to have a chance to win. The Saints have a top-2 run defense and have defended tight ends as well as anybody in football. Where they are vulnerable is in the slot where they lack a fleet of foot option quick enough to stay with Tate. His usage has been a bit up and down but he was heavily involved last week with eight targets and a TD. Look for him to build off of last week’s success.
DraftKings salary: 4,600
WR Ted Ginn Jr vs. Phi
Ginn returned to action in Week 16 with a surprising amount of volume. He had eight targets on 20 routes run which is major considering the Saints have been a Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara exclusive passing game. The Eagles have started 107 different DBs this year and give up the 4th most points per game to the wide receiver position. I like Ginn’s chances to get behind them for a score at least once.
DraftKings salary: 4,400
TE Eric Ebron @ KC
Every Ebron target feels like it could go for a score at this point. Frank Reich does such an excellent job putting Ebron in spots to highlight his athleticism. This week’s matchup literally couldn’t get better as the Chiefs are dead last in the league at defending the tight end. I’d put Ebron’s target floor at six but if this game becomes the shootout that Vegas thinks it could be, that number could get to double digits.
DraftKings salary: 5,500
Flex Nyheim Hines @ KC
I don’t drink, so let’s go ahead and get that out of the way. I know going back to the player that gave me a donut doesn’t seem like sound strategy but hear me out. The Chiefs give up the 3rd most points per game to running backs, more specifically they give up the 4th most receiving yards per game and 10th most catches per game to RBs. I think we can comfortably count on the Chiefs scoring points, ensuring game script keeps Hines involved.
Those projections I had for Hines last week? Just pretend I was talking about this game.
DraftKings salary: 3,300
Defense Patriots vs. LAC
Philip Rivers’ recent turnover issues didn’t carry over last week but he certainly didn’t play well. The Ravens were pathetic on offense for much of this game and Rivers and the Chargers could never muster up a knockout blow. Traveling across the country again to face an overachieving Pats D that will no doubt have a game plan in place to take away what they do best, I have New England’s defense as the best value on the board.
DraftKings salary: 2,600