The NFL regular season has come to an end, and now DFS has gotten a lot more challenging. We will no longer have a plethora of star players throughout the league to choose from every week. Instead, there will be very few players who emerge with a breakout performance each week. If you miss out on one of these players, it might cost you your matchup. Just as the NFL gets more intense in the playoffs, so does DFS. It is essential to draft all of your players very thoughtfully. Going into this weekend, I believe three certain players will outperform their value. Incorporating these players in your lineup might just be enough to put you over the top.
Gabriel Davis ($4,800)
Gabriel Davis entered the 2022 season coming off one of the greatest single-game playoff performances of all time. He notched eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Because of this performance, expectations were high for Davis entering the season as the WR2 on one of the best offenses in the NFL. While Davis didn’t have a terrible season, it would be unreasonable to say that he met expectations. Davis’ underwhelming 2022 season has caused his DraftKings value to drop below $5,000 for the Wild Card round. At this price, I believe Gabriel Davis must be in your lineup. I predict we will see a total return of “Playoff Gabe Davis.”
There are a few reasons behind this prediction. Most importantly, the Bills tend to up their offensive intensity come playoff time. Buffalo scored 83 total points in its two playoff games last year. It is going up against a subpar Miami defense it scored 32 points against a month ago. Also, Gabriel Davis is a big play candidate. We saw him score the longest receiving touchdown of the season against Pittsburgh. Davis is a legitimate deep threat, so don’t be surprised to see him as the recipient of one of Josh Allen’s 60-yard bombs downfield. On Sunday, I expect a near-flawless performance from the Bills' offense, including some big plays from Playoff Gabe Davis. I strongly suggest you include him in your DFS lineup.
Josh Palmer ($5,300)
Last week the Chargers made the uncommon decision to play all of their starters for nearly the entirety of a game that was meaningless to them, given that their playoff seeding was locked in. This is a strategy that many coaches avoid out of fear that one of their star players might get injured. The Chargers ended up learning the hard way that they probably should’ve benched their starters, as midway through the game key receiver Mike Williams went down with an injury that will sideline him for the Wild Card round.
If you are looking for someone who will step up in the wake of the Chargers’ stupidity, may I present to you Josh Palmer. The Chargers have had an injury-riddled season, especially at the wide receiver position. Towards the middle of the season, Josh Palmer began to take over as a key receiver in games where either Mike Williams or Keenan Allen were out. In fact, in Mike Williams’ absence from Week 9 to Week 13, Palmer averaged 6.2 receptions and 74.4 yards per game. Now that Williams is again out with an injury, I expect Palmer to return to his WR2 role in his first playoff start. At $5,300, Palmer holds tons of value in a pass-happy offense.
T.J. Hockenson ($5,100)
After getting traded from the Lions to the Vikings halfway through the season, T.J. Hockenson has quietly been one of the best and most consistent tight ends in the league. He is an essential part of the highly explosive Vikings offense. In his first career playoff game, Hockenson is going up against the Giants. New York does have a good defense; that’s what got them to the playoffs. However, the last time Hockenson faced off against this defense just three weeks ago, he grabbed 13 receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. It would be unreasonable to expect a replication of that performance this week, but Hockenson has shown that he is more than capable of competing against this defense.
Drafting Hockenson to your team also provides something that very few cheap tight ends can give you: A high floor. This season, Hockenson is the second-most-targeted tight end in the league behind Travis Kelce. He is averaging eight targets per game, over two targets higher than any other tight end available at $5,100 or cheaper. This massive difference makes Hockenson the obvious choice at tight end.
I expect to see many great games this year during the playoffs. This week will give us a taste of what DFS will look like over the next few weeks. Just as NFL teams have to improve their performance as we transition into the playoffs, so do you if you want to cash in.