The Winners Edge: NFL Divisional Round (Part 1)

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Carolina Panthers

Sportsbook Projection: 15 points

Seattle’s Strengths:

– 1st in Fantasy Points Allowed to QBs and WRs.
– 1st in total DVOA.

Seattle’s Weaknesses:

– 18th vs TEs and RBs (receiving) DVOA.
– 16th vs TEs Fantasy Points Allowed.


Obviously, I’m not going to recommend anyone from a team that is projected to score only 15 points. However Jonathon Stewart and Greg Olsen are reasonable GPP plays, especially for their respective prices on DraftKings. Just avoid putting them in your cash game lineups.



Seattle Seahawks

Sportsbook Projection: 25.5 points (12.73 Run Point Share)

Carolina’s Strengths:

– 9th against the Pass in DVOA.
– 7th against TEs in DVOA.
– 2nd against RBs (receiving) in DVOA.

Carolina’s Weakness

– 22nd in Rush Rank (DVOA).
– 17th vs RBs Fantasy Points Allowed.
– 27th vs #1 WRs (DVOA).

Key Injuries:
DT Star Lotulelei (Out)



Marshawn Lynch ($8,900 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings)

There are already several reasons to love Lynch this week. Carolina is a week run D, the Seahawks are at home and are huge favorites, Lynch has gotten some much needed rest, and Carolina’s young, talented defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is out. But my favorite reason to play Lynch this weekend: the return of Center Max Unger. Unger is one of the best run blocking offensive lineman in the league, but injuries have caused him to miss most of the season. In the 5 games where Unger has started this season, Lynch has averaged over 5.1 yards a carry. And Lynch’s TD total in those 5 games? 9. Don’t underestimate the addition of Unger and the boost it brings to Lynch.

High Floor Play

Russell Wilson ($8,200 on Fanduel, $7,800 on DraftKings)

There are a lot of strong QBs this week, but I find my best lineups come with saving a little money at QB and using Wilson. Seattle may not have as high a pass projection as other teams, but Wilson’s ability to run will keep his floor high in this game. And as we examined in an article about dual-threat QBs like Wilson (, blowouts like this game is shaping up to be, is actually beneficial for running QBs.

Good Value

Doug Baldwin ($5,900 on FanDuel, $4,500 on DraftKings)

Baldwin is a great play to save some money in your lineups this week. He caught 6 balls for 61 yards in Seattle’s macthup at Carolina earlier this season, and that was with the Seahawks struggling on offense as a whole and only putting up 13 points. Carolina is actually one of the worst teams against #1 WRs this year.



Baltimore Ravens

Sportsbook Projection: 20.25 Points (12.09 Pass Point Share)

New England’s Stengths:

– 7th vs #1 WRs in DVOA
– 4th in Pass Cov. (PFF)

New England’s Weaknesses:

– 30th vs TE in DVOA
– 24th vs TE in Fantasy Points Allowed


Owen Daniels ($5,100 on FanDuel, $3,600 on DraftKings)

The numbers speak for themselves, New England has a strong secondary but is poor against TEs. Daniels is definitely the 3rd option in this Baltimore offense, and the targets are there. He was targeted 5 times in the Wild-Card round despite Baltimore leading in the game and going against a strong Pitt front 7 and Troy Polomalau. I expect more targets and more success against the Pats, and Daniels is a downright bargain on both DraftKings and FanDuel.



New England Patriots

Sportsbook Projection: 27.25 Points (17.18 Pass Point Share)

Baltimore’s Strengths:

– 1st vs RBs in Fantasy Points Allowed
– 5th Rush Rank in DVOA

Baltimore’s Weaknesses:

– 28th in Fantasy Points Allowed to WRs.


The Patriots Pass Attack

There is no offense that will more certainly be scoring their points through the air than New England. Baltimore has a killer front 7, but their secondary leaves a lot to be desired. Tom Brady is a fantastic play on DraftKings, where his salary ($7,800) is much too low for this type of matchup at home. Brandon Lafell is a risky play, but his price on FanDuel ($6,800) makes him a great GPP play and viable in cash games. I think Gronk ($7,900 on FanDuel, $7,100 on DraftKings) will also be wildly underused, but seems like a good play against a Baltimore D that’s middle of the pack against TEs.

Risky but Cheap

LeGarrette Blount ($5,700 on FanDuel, $4,600 on DraftKings)

Blount may have a tough matchup, but his price is so low (especially on FanDuel) that all he needs to do is score a TD to hit value. With an offense that’s supposed to score 27.25 points, some goal-line opportunities should come up. I am worried about Jonas Gray splitting carries with Blount here, but even in the Miami game in week 15 where Gray was outplaying Blount, Blount still got the goal-line carries. He’s a risk, but may be worth it in order to fit in other strong plays.

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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