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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Divisional Round 2023 Top High-Upside DFS Contrarian Targets

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for this week’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on upside plays, stacks and strategies to help tackle the largest tournaments on the slate. GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate, and finding some relatively lower-owned diamonds in the rough will be the goal of this article.


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Stacks

Game Stack: Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

Joe Burrow ($6,500) — Ja’Marr Chase ($7,800) — Hayden Hurst ($3,200)

The Dolphins needed to drop back their third-string quarterback 45 times last week just to keep the game competitive and with the Bengals' run game sagging of late, it feels like Joe Burrow will be in for a busy game this week as well.

Burrow will obviously be dealing with more pressure this week as a result of the injuries his O-Line has amassed of late, but that could also lead to a spike in his rushing stats, an area for Burrow which has been dormant of late. The former No. 1 overall draft pick is an underrated rusher and ranked fourth this year in red-zone rush attempts among quarterbacks. Additionally, if we’re expecting Burrow to be dropping back a ton, we should also be projecting Ja’Marr Chase for a monster target share as well.

Chase established himself as the clear leader in this offense in the back half of the year posting 12.8 targets per game over his last five starts, a mark which would have led the league had it been spread over a full 17-game season.

The Bills have also had their issues with shutting down elite WRs and allowed the fourth-most TDs to the WR position this season. While Chase will be popular, there’s also no other wide receiver on the slate who has the same kind of team target share and a potentially perfect game environment to pivot to at his price range. Additionally, if we’re chasing a big day from the Bengals’ passing game then using Chase with Burrow and one other lower-owned Bengals pass catcher will give you a more unique stack to build around.

As for who to use as a third option, Hayden Hurst looks like a solid roster option at just $3,200 and should carry very low ownership given the elite names we have at TE this week. Hurst has been used more as an outlet by Burrow of late — potentially to counteract his weakened offensive line — and the former Falcon comes into this game off back-to-back four-catch outings. Hurst is likely to be a pivotal player for the Bengals this week and it’s worth mentioning that over his last two games, he’s drawn three red-zone targets from Burrow. That ranks him second on the team in that category over that span behind just Chase.

With Hurst potentially in line for some positive TD regression, along with Chase and Burrow’s volume likely benefiting from the matchup and their own team’s regression in the run game, a Bengals passing stack has a lot of appeal this week and should be available at far lower ownership numbers than several of the other elite teams on this slate.


Quarterback

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000)

Over his last eight games of the season, Lawrence posted four games with 26.0 or more DKFP with three of those performances involving him dropping back to pass 40-plus times.

Just based on Lawerence’s game logs alone we can see that this is a Jaguars team that isn’t going to stubbornly stick to a run-first approach if they get down. That’s great news for Lawrence’s DFS prospects as Jacksonville will be taking on one of the best offenses in the league this week in Kansas City. Teams playing the Chiefs have averaged 38.0 pass attempts per game over their last three starts and Lawrence himself threw the ball 40 times when these teams met in Week 10.

Lawrence also has some underrated rushing upside, which makes his salary and potential low ownership appealing this week. He was seventh among all quarterbacks in red-zone rush attempts this year and will be going up against a Chiefs defense that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks. Going with Lawerence over Mahomes is a great way to get the overall ownership of your lineup down and leave yourself room to spend up on studs from other games.


Running Back

Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars ($6,000)

We should see Andy Reid lean quite a bit this week on McKinnon, a player who enters this game averaging 5.8 targets and 5.0 receptions over his last five starts. Once thought of as a tertiary player in this Chiefs offense, he’s quickly become a focal point in the passing game and also been a pivotal figure for the Chiefs in the red zone. McKinnon led the Chiefs this year with 36 red-zone targets and will now take on the Jaguars, a team that allowed the second-most receptions to the RB position overall.

It’s also worth noting that last season once the playoffs began, we saw a clear shift toward McKinnon as the feature back. He saw 11 red-zone targets in the Chiefs’ three playoff games last year and also saw his snap count spike from the 30% percentile range to over 70% for all of the Chiefs' playoff appearances.

While we can still expect to see the Chiefs employ Isiah Pacheco ($5,500) early on, don't be shocked if the game plan is built around exploiting the Jaguars with McKinnon’s pass-catching ability. He makes for a great upside target at RB and a fantastic way to get exposure to a Chiefs offense that has the highest implied team total of the week at 30.75.


Wide Receiver

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers ($7,300)

With the 49ers' daunting defense on the other side of the ball, it’s very possible that for DFS purposes CeeDee Lamb will carry some of the lowest ownership numbers this week among the elite WRs. While the Cowboys’ passing game carries some risk, the 49ers’ secondary remains perhaps the weakest part of their defense and has had issues in limiting big and fast outside WRs all season.

Over their last five games, the 49ers have given up over 70 yards and a TD in a single game to the likes of Terry McLaurin, DK Metcalf and Davante Adams — all players who either have a yards per reception mark of over 15.0 for the season or a team target share of over 25.0%.

Lamb ranks out with a 28.1% team target share (fourth highest in the league) and had a solid 12.59 yards per reception mark over his last five games. With teams averaging 34.9 pass attempts per game against the 49ers this year, Lamb’s in a spot to see a big target bump and potentially put in a ceiling performance against the 49ers’ lackluster secondary.


Tight End:

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs ($4,300)

The Chiefs were one of the worst teams in the league at guarding against tight ends this season and were particularly bad at guarding them in the red zone, ceding nine TDs to the position overall. Engram averaged a stout 71.85 yards, 5.42 receptions and 0.42 touchdowns per game over his last seven starts of the year and also saw multiple red-zone targets in three of his last seven games.

This game has the highest point total on the slate at 53.0 and teams playing the Chiefs have averaged 38.0 dropbacks over the last three weeks and 36.0 dropbacks over the full year. Engram’s a fantastic talent who is going to present huge coverage issues for a defense that has allowed TDs the last few weeks to names like Albert Okwuegbunam, Teagan Quitoriano, and Noah Fant. At just $4,300 he should be high on your list of value targets for the big Divisional Round contests up for grabs on DraftKings.


Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Cowboys ($3,000) at San Francisco 49ers

Dallas held Tampa Bay to 14 points last week and forced a turnover. It didn’t result in a ton of fantasy points but it was a dominant performance and certainly a good enough reason to go back to them this week against a rookie quarterback in Brock Purdy ($5,400). Purdy should be forced to do a little bit more than he was required to do last week against Seattle, which only managed one sack and allowed him to average 11.1 yards per pass attempt.

Dallas ranked fifth in defensive rush DVOA and only allowed nine rushing TDs this season, so more dropbacks by San Francisco will likely be required. A closer game spread also suggests we may even get Purdy throwing late into this game and that would result in more opportunities for an INT or defensive score. It’s worth noting that in the two games where Purdy attempted over 30 passes, he threw an INT.

Much like last week, using Dallas is also a great leverage opportunity as the 49ers DST (which is only $300 more expensive) is likely to be a more popular play in big-field GPPs. Dallas’ defense rebounded nicely last week and — with most of the world expecting a 49ers win — targeting them at DST is a great way to be contrarian this week at a high variance position.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.