There are two teams that I'm leaning on in my search for DraftKings gold in this Saturday's and Sunday's NFL Divisional Round games. First, I'm pretty much all in with the Tennessee Titans. There's a big chance that the strategy backfires. There's no telling that QB Marcus Mariota really did become an elite quarterback after his performance versus the Kansas City Chiefs last week.
I'm counting on Mariota to play as effectively versus the Patriots as he did against the Chiefs. I've also added both RB Derrick Henry, and WR Eric Decker to the team.
The other squad I'm leaning on are the New Orleans Saints. I must believe that Alvin Kamara's less than stellar fantasy performance against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans' Wildcard Round win was an aberration. Kamara should come out on fire this Sunday. I like the Saints' D to step it up. I also like how New Orleans targeted TE Josh Hill.
Check out my 2018 NFL Divisional Round Classic Team!
2018 NFL Divisional Round Classic Team
QB – Marcus Mariota, $5,900, Tennessee at New England
Marcus Mariota's fantastic performance against the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn't be taken lightly. Great quarterbacks usually carry over signature performances. Will Mariota carry over last Saturday's signature performance? I hope he will!
He threw for 205 yards and 2 TD passes. He rushed for 46 yards. If he can provide a similar type performance, this time with at least 1 rushing TD, the Titans could upset New England. I like Mariota's chances to keep it going versus the 28th ranked pass defense in the NFL on Saturday night.
RB – Alvin Kamara, $7,800, New Orleans at Minnesota
Versus the Carolina Panthers, Alvin Kamara only rushed the ball 10 times. He averaged 2.3 yards per carry for 23 total yards. He did score a rushing TD. He only caught 1 of 3 targets for 10 yards.
But, the Saints beat the Panthers 31 to 26. What that tells me is that unless Minnesota does something differently on defense than what the Panthers did, the Vikings could be in some trouble. Daring Saints' QB Drew Brees to beat you is never a great idea.
Kamara should be more open in the passing game on Sunday afternoon. He should also find more advantageous rushing lanes. I feel he's worth his DraftKings' fantasy salary.
RB – Dion Lewis, $6,600, New England vs Tennessee
I must believe that the New England Patriots lean heavily on Dion Lewis in both the rushing game and passing game. Lewis scored 10 total touchdowns during the regular season. What I like about Lewis' chances of being a huge part of the Pats' offense on Saturday night is the fact that James White, Rex Burkhead, and Mike Gilislee are all listed as questionable.
Not only that, but Lewis scored a rushing TD in the Patriots' final 3 regular season games. QB Tom Brady targeted Lewis 5 times against Buffalo in Week 16. Terrific Tom targeted Lewis 7 times versus the Jets in Week 17.
WR – Julio Jones, $7,900, Atlanta at Philadelphia
In the Atlanta Falcons' 26 to 13 upset win over the L.A. Rams in the Wildcard Round, Falcons' QB Matt Ryan targeted Julio 10 times. Julio caught 9 of the 10 targets for 94 yards and a TD. Philadelphia must open things up to beat the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday. That means Ryan must open things up as well.
Even if Matty Ice stays cool, he'll go to Julio at least 10 time again. He might go to Jones 12 times. For the first time in forever, Julio practiced this week without an injury designation.
WR – Chris Hogan, $5,200, New England vs Tennessee
Hogan had been hurt for much of the second half of the season. In fact, the only game that he played from Week 8 through Week 17 was in Week 14. He caught a single pass for a single yard. Hogan is listed as probable for New England's Divisional Round Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.
I believe Hogan has a monster game. He's better at catching the long ball than Danny Amendola. WR Brandin Cooks is easily the Patriots' WR1. Tennessee must pay attention to Cooks. That means Hogan could get behind the defense at least a couple of times on Saturday night.
WR – Eric Decker, $3,800, Tennessee at New England
Mariota only targeted Decker 5 times last week. Decker did catch 2 of the 5 targets for 21 yards. 1 of his catches was for a TD. The thing about New England is that they're going to concentrate on stopping TE Delanie Walker as well as the Titans' vertical game with Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis.
Decker has a ton of experience playing against the New England Patriots' defense. I must believe the Titans devise some plays to take advantage of Decker's experience.
TE – Josh Hill, $2,600, New Orleans at Minnesota
Hill caught 3 of 4 targets for 49 yards and a TD in the win over the Panthers. The reason I like Hill Jan. 14 against the Vikings is because receiver Brandon Coleman might not play. Coleman suffered a neck injury versus Carolina.
If Coleman doesn't play, Hill should pick up more targets. Minnesota must account for both of the Saints' starting wide receivers, Michael Thomas and speedster Ted Ginn Jr. That could leave Hill open on plenty of passing plays.
FLEX – Derrick Henry, $7,600, Tennessee at New England
Henry, like Mariota, had a breakout performance against the Chiefs last week. With DeMarco Murray out due to an injury, Henry rumbled for 156 yards from 23 carries. He scored a rushing TD. He also caught 2 of 2 targets for 35 yards. The Patriots allow 114.8 rushing yards per game. This could be a bad match up for New England's D on June 13. I believe Henry has another monster game.
DEF – New Orleans Saints, $2,800, New Orleans at Minnesota
This is a huge gamble. The Minnesota Vikings have a solid offense. The running back tandem of Jerrick McKinnon and Latavius Murray could give the Saints' defense fits. QB Case Keenum is having a fantastic season while wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs burned the Saints' D in Week 1.
But, that's just it. Until Week 3, the Saints were the most burned defense in the NFL. Once Week 3 came around, New Orleans' buckled down. I must believe that New Orleans' defense steps it up versus Keenum and the rest of the Vikings' offense on Sunday.
Good luck in all of your 2018 NFL Divisional Round Contests!