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2024 Fantasy Football: Division Round DFS Top Plays

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws from the pocket during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you are new to DFS, check out our introductory pieces, such as DFS 101Contest SelectionStackingRostership and Lineup Construction.

This article will go in-depth on each game and pull from them the players I am most interested in. 

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Division Round DFS Analysis

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Weather: 20 degrees with some wind

O/U: 43.5

Spread: BAL -9.5

Houston Offense vs. Baltimore Defense

Bobby Slowik put together a masterclass against the Cleveland Browns' defense last weekend, but a daunting challenge awaits. The Baltimore Ravens' defense has been dominant throughout the season and asserted its dominance in these teams' matchup in Week 1.

Over the past two months, C.J. Stroud has consistently targeted Nico Collins, who boasts a 28.6 percent target share. With Marlon Humphrey absent, the Ravens are unlikely to assign a cornerback to cover Collins. Slowik used strategic motion for Collins the previous week and plans to do so again this weekend.

Other Texans pass-catchers lack appeal because Stroud hasn't targeted them significantly. Dalton Schultz faces a tough matchup against Kyle Hamilton, and Houston's remaining players struggle to maintain a consistent role.

The effectiveness of the Houston Texans' offense hinges on igniting the run game, with Devin Singletary taking the lead. While the Ravens' run defense isn't the primary factor behind the unit's elite status, exploiting it could create one-on-one opportunities for Collins. Although considered a risky move, constructing a Lamar Jackson double stack with Singletary and Collins presents a viable strategy to stand out in the fantasy field — a unique approach that may yield success.

Baltimore Offense vs. Houston Defense

These teams have undergone significant transformations since their Week 1 encounter, refining their identities and expanding their offensive and defensive playbooks. Jackson, performing at an MVP level to close the season, is poised to extend this excellence into this matchup against the Texans.

When constructing a lineup around Jackson, the focus is on maximizing his proficiency as a passer. The three players drawing the most interest are Isaiah Likely, Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. Anticipating that Derek Stingley won't adopt a traveling strategy, as seen against Amari Cooper last weekend, opens doors for the Ravens to exploit favorable matchups.

In the run game, my interest is reserved for scenarios where Jackson isn't part of the lineup, making the running backs Baltimore's sole offensive representation. Gus Edwards becomes the preferred choice due to the potential for the Ravens to establish a significant lead, presenting opportunities for multiple rushing touchdowns. Despite some reservations about this group, there's a cautious outlook, considering the possibility of Dalvin Cook starting the game but only seeing limited snaps and a mere five rushing attempts.

Graph that shows Lamar Jackson's target share in Cover 4 among Zay Flowers (highest), Odell Beckham Jr. (second highest), Rashod Bateman (third-highest) and Mark Andrews (fourth-highest)

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Weather: 60 degrees with a chance of rain

O/U: 50.5

Spread: SF -9.5

Green Bay Offense vs. San Francisco Defense

Jordan Love is performing at the level of a top NFL quarterback, and this game against the San Francisco 49ers is anticipated to differ significantly from Green Bay Packers' encounter in Dallas. The 49ers' defense is expected to pose a formidable challenge, particularly in limiting the effectiveness of Green Bay's run game witnessed last week. This adjustment could result in more third-and-long situations for Love.

San Francisco boasts a potent pass rush, especially at full strength, and the team is likely to apply pressure by rushing four defenders. Cover 4 will be the primary coverage, and Romeo Doubs emerges as a dominant player against this scheme.

Predicting the performance of the Packers' wide receiver room might prove challenging, but the player with a close-to-full-time role and excelling against Cover 4 is Christian Watson. Dontayvion Wicks has also shown promise in limited snaps against this coverage but hasn't garnered much attention. Despite Jayden Reed being projected as the highest-played Green Bay wide receiver, the provided data doesn't lead me to favor that choice.

Aaron Jones doesn't spark interest for me this weekend against the 49ers' robust run defense. The 49ers are well-equipped to halt him in the run game, and failing to do so could jeopardize their chances of winning the game. While Jones is undoubtedly a great player, this matchup doesn't favor a strong performance.

Jordan Love Target Share bar graph in Cover 4 coverage with Romeo Doubs (1st), Christian Watson (2nd), Dontayvion Wicks (3) and Tucker Kraft (4)

San Francisco Offense vs. Green Bay Defense

The Packers' primary coverages in this game will be Cover 1 and Cover 4. In Cover 4 situations, Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey are expected to be used heavily, capitalizing on the space provided and challenging the Packers' tackling abilities. When facing Cover 1 looks, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk will have favorable matchups that allow them to excel. With the Packers likely to play more Cover 1 due to the threat posed by McCaffrey, it is unlikely Green Bay will employ two deep safeties.

I expect the 49ers' offense will maintain its momentum, and the Packers' defense could struggle to impede San Francisco's progress. Brock Purdy has displayed remarkable efficiency against various defensive looks throughout the season, and this trend is anticipated to continue in this matchup. There is no wrong way to deploy Purdy in this scenario, and pairing him with the efficient McCaffrey as a pass-catcher is a viable strategy. In terms of leverage in a popularity contest, Samuel emerges as the choice likely to be less played on DraftKings due to his price tag of $7,700.

McCaffrey becomes the pivotal player on the slate, forcing the decision to either include him and diversify the rest of the lineup or opt for a talented 49ers player to counterbalance his potential points. A subpar performance for McCaffrey is defined as anything under a 20-point total, a scenario deemed possible.

If choosing to fade McCaffrey without stacking Purdy, the strategy involves including at least one San Francisco player and, in certain cases, two. Given the compact nature of this slate, it's conceivable that two 49ers pass-catchers could generate sufficient production while Purdy falls short, leaving room for one of the running quarterbacks to deliver a ceiling game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

Weather: N/A (Dome)

O/U: 48.5

Spread: DET -6.5

Tampa Bay Offense vs. Detroit Defense

The initial matchup between these two teams featured the Detroit Lions employing a mix of Cover 2 and Cover 4, a different strategy from their recent patterns. However, I anticipate a return to this approach against Baker Mayfield, given the prevalence of crossing routes in the Buccaneers' offensive scheme. Detroit opting for man coverage could result in vulnerability to big plays, reminiscent of the Philadelphia Eagles' struggles in a similar scenario.

Against Cover 2 and Cover 4, Mike Evans emerges as the most effective receiver, having scored six touchdowns against this coverage — tied for the most in the NFL. Chris Godwin closely follows as the second-most effective option. While Cade Otton is expected to see targets, his appeal is diminished, especially considering the pricing of other tight ends.

When stacking Mayfield, I prefer to keep it simple on this slate by primarily selecting Evans and Godwin. Although Trey Palmer and David Moore have been making splash plays, their lack of volume diminishes their attractiveness on this particular slate.

The Lions' run defense stands as a formidable unit, performing at an elite level. If I choose to play Rachaad White, it will be in the context of a full-game stack. White possesses the potential for multiple touchdowns and is a receiving threat against a two-high safety look. However, I am skeptical about the efficiency of the run game. White becomes a viable play within a Jared Goff double-stack strategy, with the hope of accumulating a substantial reception total.

Detroit Offense vs. Tampa Bay Defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are much healthier on the defensive side of the ball, and their secondary is performing at a higher level than earlier in the year. Despite this improvement, Tampa Bay faced challenges in its first matchup against Goff, contending with various defensive looks without finding an effective answer for the Lions' passing game. The Buccaneers' defensive strategy involves frequent blitzing and deploying Cover 3.

Against Cover 3, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta have been standout performers this season, boasting averages of more than three yards per route run and a target share exceeding 50 percent. Adding to the mix, Jameson Williams has also found success against this defensive coverage, particularly showcasing big-play upside. When constructing Goff stacks, I will prioritize chasing this potential for explosive plays, especially considering Williams' previous success against the Buccaneers in the teams' initial matchup.

Conversely, given Tampa Bay's physicality and strength in the front, I am not interested in selecting David Montgomery in this matchup. Jahmyr Gibbs emerges as the preferred option in the backfield due to his explosiveness and potential to exploit the edges of the Buccaneers' defense. Gibbs didn't play in the first matchup, where Detroit struggled on the ground with 16 rushes for 29 yards.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Weather: 20 degrees with some wind

O/U: 45.5

Spread: BUF -3.5

Kansas City Offense vs. Buffalo Defense

This will be the first time we have seen Patrick Mahomes play a road game in the postseason, and this will be a hostile environment. I expect the Buffalo Bills to mix things up plenty and to pick their spots on when to blitz him. The Kansas City Chiefs' passing offense flows through two individuals: Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice. They must win and create big plays for Kansas City’s passing offense to be successful.

In these two teams' first matchup, Kelce and Rice combined for 46.5 percent of the target share. In Kansas City's playoff game against Miami, they combined for 53.7 percent of the targets. The other Chiefs pass-catchers are playable in a Mahomes stack, but I don’t believe Kansas City can rely on those pieces to win this game. 

The Chiefs' run game flows through Isiah Pacheco, who didn’t play in the first matchup. Pacheco will get a lot of looks against a light box from the Bills and must be able to run effectively. He had more than 70 percent of the rushing attempts last week, and I fully expect him to have the majority this weekend. I will not play Pacheco with Mahomes this weekend, but I'll consider him a viable mini-stack option.

Buffalo Offense vs. Kansas City Defense

Since Joe Brady has taken over play calling, Josh Allen has accounted for 23 percent of the team’s total rushing attempts. Only Justin Fields, Jackson and Jalen Hurts boast similar rushing usage. Allen’s agility has kept him at the top of the list for DFS purposes.

However, only three players have surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game during this period: Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir. Although Stefon Diggs leads the team in target share, the Diggs-Allen connection seems off, and the Chiefs' secondary is currently playing at the highest level. Kansas City's cornerbacks held Diggs to 24 yards receiving on 11 targets. 

The weak link in the Chiefs' coverage is their linebacking core. Consequently, I plan to stack Allen with James Cook and Dalton Kincaid. These two are poised to be matched against linebackers, and their skill sets make them strong contenders. This strategy provides flexibility for a full game stack with two of Kelce, Rice or Pacheco. I am not considering playing Allen without anticipating this game to be a shootout.

Cook’s usage is one of the best in the NFL right now, and he’s a great player in this game. He’s the chess piece Brady has to use to his advantage, and Cook will have the mismatch against these linebackers. If the Chiefs decide to put a cornerback on him in the passing game, Kincaid will be the player asked to step up.