Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs:
Dak Prescott, Cowboys, $11,300 – By far the highest over/under of the weekend belongs to the Packers/Cowboys tilt in AT&T Stadium (52.0 points) so rostering members of the game is of the utmost importance. While Aaron Rodgers will cost $15,400 to roster, and severely limit the potential for the remainder of the roster, Dak Prescott will only require $11,300 worth of salary…or more than $4,000 less. Even though the Cowboys enjoyed a week off during the Wildcard Round of the playoffs, they still possess arguably the most dominant offensive line in the game. On the other hand, the Packers rank 22nd in passing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric. They even allowed Eli Manning to throw for 299 yards in a losing effort on Sunday. As if that were not enough, Prescott’s 282 yards rushing this year finished eighth amongst all QBs and his six rushing TDs were tied to first. For a versatile player in an elite offense against a beatable defense, this price tag is simply way too low and allows plenty of excellent players to be rostered around him as well.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, $19,900 – If passing on all the expensively priced QBs, rostering Le’Veon Bell is easily attainable…and why not? Despite playing just 12 games in the 2016 regular season, Bell finished with the fifth most rushing yards in the league and the second most receptions (RECs) of any RB as well. Against a Dolphins defense that ranked 22nd in rushing DVOA this year, Bell rumbled, bumbled and stumbled his way to 162 rushing yards and two TDs on 29 carries. On paper, the Chiefs are just as susceptible against the run (if not more so) as they ranked 26th in rushing DVOA and surrendered the 13th most fantasy points to the RB position. Notably, the Chiefs allowed the third most receiving TDs to opposing backs as well and Bell is clearly of the best in the business at catching passes. This is probably way more of an explanation than is necessary considering he is by far the best fantasy back left in the playoffs with David Johnson eliminated. However, this is a friendly reminder to not overlook him just because of the hefty price tag because he is an absolute monster in a favorable matchup.
Davante Adams, Packers, $13,300 – Jordy Nelson suffered at least two fractured ribs in the Wildcard Round so he will almost assuredly miss this week and more as he recovers from this incredibly painful injury. Therefore, the rest of the receiving core will be forced to step up in his absence and replace his true WR1 production (or at least attempt to). All of the Cowboys corners have played respectable football so far this year but Brandon Carr has graded the worst of the bunch, per Pro Football Focus. Also, although their corners have played well, the Cowboys ranked 18th in passing DVOA. Passing on rostering Rodgers, especially in cash games, is not a knock on him whatsoever. Instead, it allows a fantasy owner to complete a well-rounded roster by incorporating multiple Packers weapons because both offenses are in fantastic spots to produce this weekend. Of all Packers weapons, none draws a superior individual matchup to Adams’ so start him with confidence.
Julian Edelman, Patriots, $12,700 – In the final week of the regular season, Julian Edelman played on 90-percent of the team’s offensive snaps which should closely resemble how his role should shake out this week. For the entirety of the season, Edelman led all the team’s receivers by playing 78.1-percent of the offensive snaps (Chris Hogan ranked second at 74.1-percent). Now, the Patriots will be tasked with playing a Texans team which they should dominate in terms of time of possession. Additionally, both of the Texans outside corners have played incredibly well this season including A.J. Bouye who graded as a top five corner this season. Luckily for Edelman, he lines up out of the slot 54-percent of the time meaning he will draw the individual matchup against Kareem Jackson. If finding a hole in the passing defense, beating them out of the slot is definitely the way to go. Coach Bill Belichick is one of the game’s best offensive game planners so if this is obvious to us then it is obvious to him as well. At a sub-$13,000 cost, expect Edelman to rack up the catches as he exploits the weakness in the defense.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys, $12,300 – As noted in the Prescott tidbit, the Packers struggled against the pass this season. The extent to which they struggled against WRs jumps off the page because they allowed the most fantasy points of any team to opposing WRs. Specifically, they ranked 28th in DVOA against opposing number one WRs and allowed 75.1 yards per game to the position. In other words, this matchup is as good as it gets and Vegas believes all of the great individual matchups in this game will lead to points. If there is one WR who should see significant volume on the Cowboys, it will be Dez Bryant as the Packers simply possess absolutely nobody who can stop him.
Geronimo Allison, Packers, $7,700 – The return of Randall Cobb scooted Geronimo Allison back down the WR totem pole but the injury to Jordy Nelson slides him back up once again. According to Aaron Rodgers early in the week, he feels like Allison will step up for the team when they need it (like he did in Weeks 16 and 17). “Geronimo has been playing a lot for us and he’s been playing effectively. You know Geronimo is going to have to step up and play extended time for us if Jordy is going to be out,” Rodgers said. That pretty much tells the whole story right there as Allison will once again play a significant part in the offense. Remember, Allison was targeted 13 times in the final two weeks of the regular season and caught eight passes for 157 yards and a TD during the span (while Cobb was out). An even more significant contributor is out of the rotation now so expect Allison to revert back to his late season form. At $7,700, a producer of this ilk in a Rodgers-led offense should be as safe as they come.