Point/Counterpoint: Divisional Round Playoffs DraftKings Strategies

Daily Fantasy

By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:


Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.

For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.

So let’s get to the Divisional Playoff Weekend strategy talk!



And then there were 8! Super Wildcard Weekend was exciting as always filled with some unexpected close games and upsets. But now we are down to the final 8 teams. If you told me at the beginning, middle, or even end of the season that the Jaguars and Giants would still be here, I would have told you that you were insane! But here we are!

So with four games this weekend (two on Saturday and two on Sunday), it looks like DraftKings has the biggest prize pools for the 2-day four-game slate.

In starting with the QBs, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t price up Daniel Jones and Brock Purdy more after their big Wildcard weekend performances. Both are nearly 3K less than Mahomes. So how do you handle that and who will you target as your main QBs?

What about which games are your favorite to stack?




I think the story of the Jags and the Giants is definitely one of the value of good coaching. Both Doug Pederson and Brian Daboll have done an excellent job this year, and have covered up the weaknesses on those rosters.

That price jump I think actually benefits Mahomes, Allen, and Hurts more than Purdy and Jones. Had DK put them in the $6K range as well, we might have seen more ownership in paying up for the studs, now I’m guessing we see a fair amount of people hope they can get a cheap Purdy/Jones line-up. It makes sense as it can allow you to get more stud players, but if they don’t have a 24-28 point game you might be in trouble. We’ve seen before what Mahomes and Allen can do in the postseason, and Hurts has shown the same type of ceiling this year. If one of those three top QBs puts up 38-45 DK points, that savings probably won’t be enough.

For the most part, I like going with Mahomes and Allen, but we shouldn’t forget that Hurts put up 30 points in 3 quarters against these Giants just over a month ago. As much as I love the price for Dak Prescott, and he’s coming off a fantastic game, I think the best paydown option might be Trevor Lawrence. He had 26 DK points last week despite throwing 4 INTs and just missing the bonus. The Chiefs are weakest in the secondary, and this should be a negative game script for Lawrence. Similar to last week against the Chargers, he will need to throw the ball 40+ times. At just $6K he offers significant savings, and I’m guessing he won’t see the ownership of Purdy, Dak, and Daniel Jones.

This also leads me to the Jags vs Chiefs game as my favorite one to target and stack up this week. I think both QBs will easily throw the ball 35+ times, and neither defense really worries me.



I agree the Jaguars/Chiefs is very appealing to stack. But I’m of course interested in stacking the Bengals/Bills too. I think both these games will go over and I’m not sure about the Giants/Eagles and Cowboys/49ers totals. I can see so many different game scripts for those games.

Maybe it’s too recency bias, but we’ve seen multiple short slates lately where the cheap QB was the one you needed amongst all these studs. A couple of weeks ago Jarrett Stidham outscored Mahomes. And last week Purdy outscored both Lawrence and Herbert on the Saturday slate. Then Daniel Jones outscored Josh Allen and Kirk Cousins on the Sunday slate. The floor is scary with the cheap QBs and of course safe with the expensive ones. But I think it’s absolutely in the range of outcomes that Lawrence, Prescott, Purdy, or Jones can put up comparable numbers to the studs. It is also what that salary allows you to get. I like a lot of stud RBs and WRs.

If you did pay up for QB and could only get one stud RB, WR, or TE, who would it be? Who are your other core plays at those positions?




So for me, my top QB option is Patrick Mahomes and pairing him with Travis Kelce. I know that is an expensive stack, but I think there are ways to make it work. My other core plays will be CMC, McKinnon, Sanders, and Cook at RB. McCaffrey is expensive but worth it when I can afford him. Otherwise, I like mid-range guys like McKinnon and Sanders or a cheaper option like Cook. Given the match-up, I don’t see myself paying up a lot for Barkley. Other backs like Mixon, Etienne, and Pollard are fine, but not necessities for my line-up.

At receiver, I love the guys at the top like Chase, Brown, Lamb, Diggs, and I will try for one of them in most builds. I do think there is strong value at WR with the pricing of the Deebo Samuel, Higgins, and Gabe Davis. Aiyuk, Juju, Kirk, and Zay Jones. They are also all at a good price point given their upside. For value options, I think the Giants receivers, Toney, and Gallup are all reasonable as well. I really am not against any starting WR that fits your build. I will probably be a bit lower on DeVonta Smith given there isn’t a big price gap between him and Brown, but other than that I don’t see any clear guy that I’m down on. I don’t want to overuse the cheaper Giants receivers given what happened last time these two teams played, but inherently they aren’t bad plays given their price and potential game script. I will be overweight on Jaguars’ options given the volume they should see at this price point.

At TE Kelce is by far my favorite option, but I don’t mind Kittle, Schultz, and Evan Engram. Goedert and Knox would be fallback options as well. I also think it is worth considering 2 TE builds this week, especially if one of them is Kelce or Kittle.



Some things we agree on. That would be your core plays for receivers. There are so many this week, it’s hard to prioritize given their price points. But I think you can get 2 studs and one or two value receivers depending on your build. Also, I agree with your TE core plays. I also agree that just like last week, 2 TE builds are very much in play.
I don’t agree with all the running back core plays. I do like Barkley and Sanders scares the hell out of me. He’s either a hero or an (almost) zero. I could see them leaning on him more this week given Hurts’ injury, but wow has he been volatile this season. I like Barkley, because of his high-value touches and I think they are going to have to check it down to him a lot so he could rack up the catches. So my core plays for RB are CMC, Barkley, McKinnon, and Cook.
While I love the idea of stacking Mahomes and Kelce and I will probably do it once, I don’t see that being my main build. You sacrifice a lot of salary when I think we could see cheaper QBs come close to his fantasy output. We know Mahomes will run some and put up 300+ yards. It will all come down to how many TD passes he throws. If he throws 4 TDs, then he’ll pay off his salary and be the QB you need. But if a couple TDs come from the Chiefs’ running game and he only puts up a 25-point day, then that will not be optimal most likely with the other QB firepower on this slate.
Overall, I think I’ll be doing a more balanced build and getting 2-3 studs and I think I will utilize the 2 TE build a lot because I love most the TE options on this slate. On the Saturday and Sunday only slates, I’ll also do a couple of builds where I overload a game stack as I could see the Jags/Chiefs Saturday and Bengals/Bills Sunday significantly outscore the other games those days.


What do you think of these strategies for Divisional Playoffs DFS on DraftKings? Who are your main game stacks and core plays?


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