My first week of the playoffs was not as good as I hoped. My picks went 2-3-1 and included some pretty bad beats. Hopefully, we can get our plays back on track in the divisional round. As always, I have included my confidence rating out of five for all of my plays and where I would play the lines if they get bumped.
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Trevor Lawrence Higher than 38.5 Pass Attempts
I think this will end up being extremely close, but I feel confident in the higher play here. Trevor Lawrence has averaged 35.1 pass attempts per game, but Kansas City gave up the third most pass attempts per game this season. Jacksonville will likely see a negative game script in this game and be forced to pass to catch up.
Lawrence averages 36.8 attempts in games Jacksonville has trailed at halftime. This includes his 47 pass attempts in the incredible comeback against the Chargers last week. While I don’t expect a similar type of comeback this week, I do expect the Chiefs to control this game and the Jaguars to be down at halftime. Because the line is already so high, I rate this as a 3/5 for confidence and would not play it any higher.
Miles Sanders Higher than 66.5 Rush yards
Miles Sanders gets a fantastic matchup against the Giants. They are giving up the fourth most yards rushing per game to running backs and allow the second most rush attempts of 10 or more yards. Sanders will likely have to split carries, but he should see at least 10 rushing attempts in this game, and likely closer to 15.
With the Giants giving up more than five yards per carry and being prone to giving up big runs, I like going higher on this play. Sanders also had 144 yards in his matchup with the Giants in Week 14. I would not worry about his Week 18 rushing yards total since the Giants were resting a significant number of players for that game. I give this a confidence rating of 4/5 and would play it up to 69.5 rush yards.
Brock Purdy Lower than 251.5 Total Yards
Brock Purdy has played well the last few weeks as the 49ers’ starter, but I think the Cowboys might be the team to finally expose him as the last pick in the draft. The Cowboys have the highest quarterback pressure rate of any team in the NFL. Purdy has not been great when under pressure, so the 49ers will try their best to scheme around relying on Purdy and using their running game to beat the Cowboys.
Originally, I wanted to take Purdy lower on passing yards but by going with total yards, you get 12 additional yards when his rushing yards line is only 6.5. I like his rushing yards lower as well because he’s averaging 2.6 rushing yards per game and has only one game over 6.5 rushing yards in his five starts. I rate this pick as 4/5 for confidence and would play it down to 245.5 total yards.
Hayden Hurst Lower than 33.5 Receiving Yards
Hayden Hurst has been seeing a decent amount of volume this season, especially for a tight end. The issue is his yards per reception is only 3.79, which ranks 36th out of all tight ends with at least 20 targets. The Bills are good at defending tight ends and allow the fifth-fewest receiving yards to tight ends per game.
That number is also heavily influenced by Travis Kelce having more than 100 yards against them. No other tight end has had more than 45 receiving yards against the Bills’ defense. With all the Bengals receivers healthy, I am confident in this play. I rate it 5/5 for confidence and would play it to 30.5 receiving yards.
DeVonta Smith HIGHER than 5.0 Receptions
DeVonta Smith has turned into a critical part of the Eagles’ offense in the second half of the season. In the last eight weeks, he is averaging 9.9 targets and 6.1 receptions per game. During that same time frame, he only went lower than five receptions once. One big reason for this increase in targets and receptions is his usage on third down. He has a team-leading 37.5% target share on third down since Week 11.
New York’s defense led the league man coverage percentage, and Smith also leads the Eagles in target share against man coverage. I expect another massive day from Smith, and I think this line is safe with a strong chance to push. This is my highest confidence play of the week and would play it if it moves to 5.5, but not as confidently.