You know it’s going to be tough to build a DFS playoff lineup when your first choice is between three future Hall-of-Fame QBs and another one who was a top overall pick just a few years ago. That’s what daily fantasy football players are dealing with on Sunday’s two-game divisional round slate, as Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Baker Mayfield are all viable QB plays when factoring in prices and matchups. From there, things only get tougher, as the defenses for each team present unique challenges and lineup-building opportunities for DraftKings tournaments.
As always, DraftKings pricing is tight, forcing you to take at least a few chances. Our big risks come at WR/flex, where we’re counting on two boom-or-bust pass-catchers, but with a strong foundation that’s tailored to DraftKings scoring, we feel like this lineup has a great opportunity to cash.
Divisional Round Sunday DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS tournament playoff lineup
QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. Browns ($7,900). Mahomes is $1,700 more expensive than Tom Brady, $2,400 more than Drew Brees, and $2,700 more than Baker Mayfield, so all of those QBs offer more value. But none offer the same type of ceiling as Mahomes, who absolutely tore up the playoffs last year with at least 286 passing yards, 29 rushing yards, and three total TDs in every game. Given the highly favorable matchup and the Chiefs issues at RB, you can bet he’ll be asked to do a lot once again.
RB Kareem Hunt, Browns @ Chiefs ($4,800). Hunt is priced as the RB7 this week, which seems low considering Cleveland could be forced to pass more in the second half. Either way, Hunt should make the most of his seven-to-10 carries and three-to-five targets against Kansas City’s lackluster run defense, and he’s just as likely to score as teammate Nick Chubb. Take the value here.
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($7,600). There are plusses and minuses to using Kamara on DraftKings. The main plus is that he gets a full point per reception; the biggest minus is he’s unlikely to hit 100 yards as a runner (just once all year) or receiver (once). Of course, he’s one of the few backs in the league who could hit 100 yards as both a runner and receiver in the same game, but given Tampa’s strong run defense, we’re not betting on that. Either way, he has a high floor thanks to his receiving ability (at least five catches in both games against Tampa this year) and touchdown potential (league-leading 21 scores). With so many questions in both Kansas City’s and Tampa’s backfields, Kamara is a safe “chalk” pick, even at his high price.
WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers @ Saints ($5,700). Mike Evans led the Bucs in catches (6) and yards (119) last week, but it was Godwin who led in targets (12) and scored one of two passing touchdowns. Godwin has now scored in four straight games and caught five passes in three straight. Even with his drops last week, you can expect him to be targeted often, and he’s a safe bet for a solid floor.
SUNDAY PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel
WR Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($6,600). It’s tough to pass on Thomas on DraftKings because of the full-point PPR scoring. He hasn’t had a 2019-like game yet this year, at least not one that included a touchdown, but he does have two nine-catch, 100-plus-yard performancese and he scored his first TD last week. New Orleans will have to throw more in this game because of Tampa’s tough run defense, so Thomas could finally have an explosive performance like we saw so often last season.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns @ Chiefs ($3,000). Because we paid up at so many other positions, we have to look for extreme values at others. Enter DPJ, who’s played at least 56 percent of snaps in four of the past five games, including a season-high 69 percent last week. Cleveland could be forced to pass more in the second half this week, and while that actually hasn’t helped WRs against Kansas City most of the season, DPJ is the kind of big-play guy who only needs one to pay off this remarkably cheap price.
TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Browns ($7,700). It’s tempting to pay down for one of the other tight ends, all of whom cost at least $3,900 less than Kelce and many of whom also have favorable matchups, but it really doesn’t make sense given DraftKings scoring. With a full point per perception and a bonus for 100-yard games (Kelce had six of this year), Kelce has a significantly higher floor and ceiling than everyone else.
FLEX Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs vs. Browns ($3,600). It was tough finding a flex for this lineup, but Robinson makes sense with Sammy Watkins (calf) ailing. He always plays a significant amount of snaps, and that was especially true in Weeks 6-11 when Watkins was out. Robinson averaged 3.8 catches, 4.6 targets, and 42.8 yards with two total TDs in that span, which isn’t great, but we know any Chiefs receiver has big-time upside in a must-win game. Going with Deonte Harris ($3,500) and hoping for a second straight seven-catch game or taking a chance with a TD-or-bust guy like Rob Gronkowski ($3,500) or Cameron Brate ($2,900) are other options, but we like Robinson to pick up the slack for Watkins.
D/ST New Orleans Saints vs. Buccaneers ($3,100). The Saints defensive numbers in two games against Tampa this year are staggering: Six sacks, six takeaways, one defensive TD, 26 total offensive points allowed. It might be a trap to expect a third good performance, but it’s tough to feel great about the Browns or Bucs, and Kansas City is too expensive for this lineup, so let’s hope for a hat trick.