It’s finally here- Divisional Weekend of the 2023 season, and another DraftKings main slate. We are back offering you DFS advice to try and help you navigate your way to victories throughout the season. The players selected here are based on their price, their ability to hit value and likely ownership. The selections are leaning more towards GPP slates, rather than cash (50/50) slates. But let’s get into it
Brock Purdy v GB ($6,500)
Throughout the offseason, there were a number of question marks surrounding Brock Purdy and his role in this San Francisco offense – after all, Purdy’s debut season ended with a UCL injury, casting major doubts on his readiness for week 1 in September, and not to mention this was Mr Irrelevant…a rookie QB taken with the final selection of the draft, thrust into the starter’s role after injuries to former 1st round pick Trey Lance and another man who had also led the 49ers to an NFC Championship game just 12 months earlier, Jimmy Garoppolo. In his sophomore year Brock Purdy answered all those questions, and more, as he led his 49ers team to not only a 3rd consecutive postseason – but the No.1 seed in the NFC and a first round bye following a remarkable 12-5 regular season. Purdy has transformed from Mr. Irrelevant to a near Mr. MVP, finishing the year with 4,280 padding yards (5th), 31 touchdowns (3rd) and only 11 interceptions (T-5th for QBs playing a minimum of 16 games). San Fran have found their franchise quarterback, and a contract extension in the offseason beckons for sure…but before that, Mr. Irrelevant has a Super Bowl to win – starting with a Divisional Round matchup against the Green Bay Packers and their 15th ranked passing defense. Purdy and co. will be as surprised as anyone (myself included) that it is the Pack heading to Levi’s Stadium this weekend and not the Rams or Eagles – but this is playoff football and the time to expect the unexpected. Purdy’s 9.6 yards per attempt led the NFL, and his 69.4% passing completion rate was behind only Dak Prescott (69.5%) on the year…just. The 49ers are a 10 point favourite, at home in the highest O/U on the week at 50.5 – Purdy is priced up as the QB5 on the slate, but he’s my QB1 – don’t sleep on him at only $6500.
Isiah Pacheco @BUF ($6,400)
Show me a running back currently in the NFL that runs harder than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco…I’ll wait. In the frozen tundra that was Arrowhead Stadium last Saturday night, Pacheco stomped all over the frozen field and all over the hearts of every Dolphins fan, as he exposed Miami’s run defense to be more fragile than the icicles forming on Andy Reid’s moustache. This wasn’t so much a game KC won, more a game that Miami lost…but enough about the Dolphins. After sitting out the Chiefs’ dead rubber week 18 victory over the Chargers, a fully fit Pacheco was given every opportunity to prove he is the lead back for KC…one he grasped with both hands. The sophomore rusher carried the ball 24 times for 89 yards and a score, his 3-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter killing off any hopes Miami had of staging a comeback. The Chiefs now head to upstate New York for Patrick Mahomes’ first ever road game in the playoffs, and whilst the forecast isn’t predicting temperatures will plummet to the feels like horrors of -30°C last weekend – it is projecting more heavy snowfall on Highmark Stadium come kick off. If conditions turn wintry, expect both teams to lean on the run game a little more than usual, and Pacheco to see a similar workload to last weekend. He’s a great volume play at only $6400.
Mike Evans @DET ($7,200)
As a Mike Evans fantasy manager, if I hadn’t watched Tampa Bay’s 32-9 victory over the Eagles last weekend, and had only seen Baker Mayfield’s box score of 337 yards and 3 touchdowns, I would have already have been licking my lips in anticipation to see just what kind of numbers the future Hall of Fame wideout put up on the league worst Philadelphia pass defense. 3 receptions for 48 yards…sorry, what? 3 receptions for 48 yards and 0 touchdowns…was the 1 key on the statisticians’ keyboard broken or something…surely that’s 13 receptions for 148 and 1 right…right!?! Urgh, what a disappointment Evans’ overall fantasy performance was in the Bucs rout of the Eagles on Wild Card Weekend. Everything was aligned for Evans, coming off his 10th consecutive 1,000 receiving yard season, to have a monster fantasy day against an Eagles secondary giving up over 180 yards per game to opposing wideouts. Credit to the Eagles pass defense, they played their part allowing Baker to connect with his wide receivers for 215 of his 337 yards – unfortunately for Evans’ managers, Trey Palmer and David Moor accounted for 122 of those and 2 of Mayfield’s 2 touchdowns. Tampa now travels north to Michigan, preparing to face a Lions team who allowed Matt Stafford to connect with his WRs for 295 yards in their Wild Card win last weekend – let’s hope Evans sees a much larger slice of the pie at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.
Brandon Aiyuk v GB ($6,900)
Back in week 12, heading into the 49ers divisional clash in Seattle and coming off a 156-yard and 1 touchdown performance against the Bucs, Brandon Aiyuk was priced at $6,800…a full $1,200 more expensive than teammate Deebo Samuel. In the 5 games since San Fran’s 31-13 victory over the Seahawks (we’re not counting week 18 here), Brandon Aiyuk has gone over 100-yards receiving in 3 of them, adding a score in 1 of the 2 contests he failed to eclipse triple digit yardage. In the same time frame fellow wideout Samuel has only 2 100+ yard efforts to his name (albeit he has scored 8 touchdowns to Aiyuk’s 2), and now is priced at $7,700…$900 more than the man with the 7th most receiving yards on the season (1,342 yards). I’ll say now what I said 2 months ago – I want whatever 49ers wideout is more wallet friendly, and against a Packers defense ranked 18th against the position – that would be Brandon Aiyuk this weekend. On the season only Tyreek Hill had more plays of 20+ yards than the 4th year receiver out of Arizona State – his big play ability gives him huge upside in this one.
Isaiah Likely v HOU ($4,700)
The Divisional Round has come just too soon for the Ravens’ franchise tight end Mark Andrews, as Friday’s breaking news suggests he will sit out of Saturday night’s matchup against the Texans. Andrews suffered a significant ankle injury back in week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but has participated fully in each of the Ravens practise sessions so far on the week. Murmurings of Andrews return after a long stint on the IR no doubt played a role in the pricing of Isaiah Likely for Baltimore’s opening game of the pre-season at home to Houston, with the 6’4” sophomore out of Coastal Carolina sitting at a very budget friendly $4,700, placing him as the TE6 on the slate. Likely has filled in admirably in the absence of the veteran Andrews, sitting as the fantasy TE5 since becoming the de facto starter in week 13. His 15.3 yards per catch sit 2nd behind only George Kittle (16.9 YPC) over the period and only rookie sensation has hauled in more touchdowns (6 to Likely’s 5) – the 2022 4th round pick is an essential part of this Ravens pass offense, with only Zay Flowers seeing more looks through the air from Lamar Jackson. The Texans rank 29th against the position, giving Likely a very favourable matchup and a great chance for a big fantasy day – only LaPorta and Kittle are ahead of him for me this weekend.