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Top daily fantasy D/ST punt plays for Divisional Round

Team defense can be a significant hit or miss opportunity in DFS. Prices are lower, but you can still find some dirt cheap options with which to punt. We’ll dive into two of those options to consider.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt looks on during the first quarter against the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card NFL Playoff game at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Defense/special teams plays are often the some of the most unpredictable. But they can also be the most rewarding if you play your cards right. You can save some serious money elsewhere in your lineup with a cheap pick at this slot, and we want you to find the best value.

These are the defense/special teams punt plays we feel are work a shot for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Texans ($2,000), at Chiefs

It’s a risky pick, but hey, the whole point of this column is to identify the high upside DST plays, not the safe and expensive options. We all know Patrick Mahomes can do magical things with a football, but that ability comes with a massive side-effect: Mahomes takes risks that would make Brett Favre blush. His success rate on those borderline-insane passes is absurdly high, which is why we’re used to avoiding Mahomes when picking a DST, but sometimes those risks do turn into mistakes. He’s thrown four picks in his last six games – not a ton, but more than six of the other seven QBs still in the playoffs during the same stretch. Add to that the fumbling issues that have plagued the Chiefs all season (only two remaining playoff teams gave up more during the season), and there’s a good chance that the Texans come away with a couple of turnovers Sunday. The Texans forced two turnovers the last time these teams met, in Week 6. Finally, the Texans gave up fewer points and yards in games with J.J. Watt healthy this season, and he is back in full force after missing Weeks 9 through 17.

Vikings ($2,700), at 49ers

After the Texans, the next three cheapest DSTs this weekend are the Titans ($2,400 at Baltimore), Seahawks ($2,600 at Green Bay), and Vikings. Target Lamar Jackson at your own peril. So that left the Seahawks and Vikings as my two options for this spot. My gut tells me to target the Seahawks, as I just don’t believe in this Packers team at all. But the data points to the Vikings with flashing neon lighting. Both the Packers and the 49ers have given up the exact same number of sacks this season, but the Vikings defense has recorded almost twice as many sacks as the Seahawks (48-28). Clear edge Vikings. The Seahawks and Vikings are neck-and-neck in takeaways, but the Packers have given up nearly half as many turnovers as the 49ers (13-23). Again, clear advantage to the Vikings. DVOA says that the Packers and 49ers offenses are effectively identical (seventh and eighth on the season, eighth and ninth by Weighted Offensive DVOA), while the Vikings defense runs circles around the Seahawks defense (seventh vs. 18th). DFS is a numbers game, not an “Alex Rikleen’s gut” game, and the numbers imply that these two defenses should be separated by a whole lot more than $100 this weekend.

I am an avid fan and user (my username is arikleen) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.