If you played daily games in last week’s NFL divisional rounds, chances are if you had Gabriel Davis in your lineup, you almost certainly won some money. If you didn’t, you probably didn’t win.
Look, Davis isn’t a villain – he delivered some nice Christmas gifts with a huge production in December – but he was by no means certain that he would hit big fantasy points last week.
But that’s what he did – eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns, good for 48.1 points at FanDuel (half PPR) and 52.1 at DraftKings (full PPR). You cannot expect such a production every week, or even often. But what you can and should expect every week is for a player to drastically exceed his expectations. This is as easy to call as declaring that one of the stallions is going up. We know it’s going to happen.
As always, the question is: Which player(s)?
In big DFS tournaments, you have to think the opposite way: what can I do that most others don’t? This is how you separate yourself from the pack. It can make it harder to get across the payline (unpopular options generally have less chance of big games than more reliable alternatives), but if you guess right, the payout can be much bigger.
For championship week, we’re leaning towards the 49ers roster to find this player. They have the least explosive attack of the last four, so San Francisco players are likely to be used less often – well, anyone other than Deebo Samuel.
We see Elijah Mitchell confused but leaning towards play, but he has played three games in a row with 15.5 PPR points or less, and coping with an ongoing knee problem does not inspire confidence. His backup, Jeff Wilson Jr., has an ankle injury and has not practiced. JaMycal Hasty is more scatback and has only hit five times all season – with six in Week 7 and nine in Week 2. And Trey Sermon hasn’t logged a stat since Week 11.
So where does that leave the running game the Niners rely on? They’re not going to make Samuel the full-time RB. We’re betting Mitchell plays and gets most of the work, but his effectiveness will likely be limited. So we expect some more work for Hasty, but not enough to invest in him.
Instead, we bet on fullback Kyle Juszczyk. He doesn’t get the ball very often, and if we expect more use this week we might be thinking 5-6 touches instead of 2-3 – so not much. But we like how it’s used.
When the Niners get near the goal line, it is most used. Of his total rushes this season, 37.5 percent came in the red zone – the second highest of the remaining teams behind Travis Kelce. They also throw at him more often than any other RB.
At $4,500 at FanDuel and $4,100 at DraftKings, essentially all we need is a TD. We think he has as good a chance this week as any other time. And the extra hood space will make it possible to get one or two more studs in our lineups.
Top picks to consider for this weekend’s FanDuel and DraftKings matches:
Patrick Mahomes QB, Chiefs, vs. Bengals (FanDuel $8,800/DraftKings $7,400)
In 10 playoff games for his career, he has averaged about 25 fantasy points per game – with just one complete dud. It’s worth paying for that kind of reliability.
Brandon Aiyuk WR, 49ers, at Rams (FD$5,600 / DK$5,000)
The only elite threat on the Niners’ attack is Deebo Samuel (apologies to George Kittle). I can’t imagine the Rams not using a defensive game plan to stop him, which should open the field for Aiyuk.
Byron Pringle WR, Chiefs, vs. Bengals (FD$5,700 / DK$4,300)
Looking for cheap options for the best attack still being played? Pringle had averaged about three more in PPR than teammate Mecole Hardman over the past five games.
Tee Higgins WR, Bengals, at Chiefs (FD$6,400 / DK$5,700)
The Chiefs clamped down on Stefon Diggs last week, but were devoured by Gabriel Davis. If KC similarly sells out to stop Ja’Marr Chase, we’ll love Higgins’ chances of a big day.
Tyler Higbee TE, Rams, vs. 49ers (FD$5,500 / DK$3,700)
Van Jefferson has a knee problem. That could open up a few more goals for Higbee. Or, for a deeper dive, maybe even WR Ben Skowronek.
Daily dose of fantasy insanity
Daily Fantasy Setup Suggestion by Drew Loftis
Grand Prize: $15K
All of them. can: $150K
QB: Patrick Mahomes=$7,400
RB: Kyle Juszczyk = $4,100
RB: Joe Mixon=$6,800
WR: Brandon Aiyuk = $5,000
WR: Tee Higgins = $5,700
WR: Byron Pringle=$4,300
AT: Tyler Higbee=$3,700
Bow: Cooper Coup = $8,800
DEF: Rams = $3,200
For late schedule changes, follow @NYPost_Loftis on Twitter
Season at risk: $168.77
Seasonal Profits: $15