Another weekend of NFL playoff action of the 2021 season brings another DraftKings showdown slate- the Divisional divisional game of Los Angeles @Tampa Bay. After obliterating the Eagles and the Cardinals last week, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles face off on Sunday for a place in next week’s NFC Conference Championship. Matthew Stafford picked up his first ever NFL playoff victory last week against Arizona – but he’s still just a few shy of TB12’s 35 postseason wins. The winner of this one will host next week’s NFC title bout, presenting a huge chance to reach Super Bowl LVI – coincidentally taking place at SoFi Stadium, home to the Rams themselves. Vegas has the Bucs as 3-point home favourites, with the O/U sitting at 48.
DraftKings Divisional Showdown 2021- Los Angeles @Tampa Bay Captain Picks
Cooper Kupp ($17,100)
There really doesn’t need to be much explanation to this one. Kupp failed to reach 20 DKPTS just three times during the regular season, and whilst he had a season-low 61 yards last week, I think that can be mostly attributed to game script, with LA already three scores up at the half. and Stafford attempting just 17 passes all game. He’s pricey, but will likely be the highest owned captain on the slate, and undoubtably possesses the highest ceiling in the entire league.
Tom Brady ($16,200)
In my mind, the greatest player to have ever stepped foot onto a football field. Tom Brady just shows no signs of slowing down, and I think that continues on Sunday. No team in the league passed the ball at a higher rate than Tampa Bay this year, who threw on 66% of plays. When these two met in Week 3, Brady posted a ridiculous stat-line of 41-55 for 432 yards, and managed 31.68 DKPTS thanks to a passing and rushing TD. LA’s pass rush could prove to be a challenge, but I don’t think it will deny Tampa and Tom from reaching back-to-back NFC Conference Championships.
Tyler Johnson ($3,300)
After a disappointing 2 catches for 30 yards last week, Johnson has seen his price-tag plummet this week. As such, he makes a brilliant value choice in the captain spot, which is handy when there’s four $10,000+ guys on the slate. His price means he has to do very little to hit value tonight, and he should line up as the WR2 in this offense. Despite being the third-choice receiver behind Evans and Gronkowski, this pass-heavy offense should provide him with plenty of opportunities. Even with their wrecking-ball nature up front, this Rams defense have been poor versus opponent WRs from a fantasy perspective. Despite only surrendering 10 TDs to opposition wideouts (T-2nd lowest in the league) during the regular season, only 4 teams allowed more than their average of 38.4 DKPTS per game.
DraftKings Divisional Showdown 2021- Los Angeles @Tampa Bay Flex Picks
Mike Evans ($10,400)
Evans will inevitably see his ownership drop slightly tonight with the whole ‘shadowed by Ramsey’ narrative – but I think he is pretty much matchup-proof (besides Marshon Lattimore). However, in such a group of depleted WRs, Evans should see plenty of looks tonight, and had a 27% target share last week versus Philly. This Rams team gave up 173.5 Y/G to opposing wideouts this year, 4th-most in the league, and Evans should have another nice game tonight in this pass-heavy offense.
Matthew Stafford ($10,000)
With a run defense as good as Tampa Bay’s, the Rams are likely to go somewhat pass-heavy as well. Stafford ripped the Bucs’ secondary apart in Week 3 with 343 yards and 4 TDs through the air. Volume is key in DFS, especially on these showdown slate, and teams are averaging over 40 passing attempts per game versus this Tampa Bay side, a trend I expect to continue tonight, especially with as many solid receivers as this Rams team have. Tampa Bay gave up the 7th-most DKPTS to opposition QBs in the regular season, and Stafford has a nice high floor in this one.
Rob Gronkowski ($7,800)
If only Gronk was as good an actor as he is an NFL player. The 32-year old TE has been prolific since Godwin hit IR, averaging 15.7 DKPTS per game since Week 16, despite only finding the endzone once. He put up back-to-back 100+ yard games in Weeks 17 and 18, and the bookies have him just over evens to hit pay dirt once more on Sunday. LA has been solid against the position this year, but Gronk is cheap(ish) and is possibly the best play in this price range, especially with Rams S Taylor Rapp missing this one.
Cam Akers ($7,400)
Akers put in a solid performance last week in his second game back from what looked to have been a season-ending Achilles injury in the pre-season. Whilst this Bucs run defense were incredible during the regular season, they actually surrendered 13.2 DKPTS per game through the air to opposition RBs this year, the second-highest in the league. Akers ran double-digit routes in the victory on Monday night, and looks to see another healthy dose of targets out of the backfield on Sunday.
Tyler Higbee ($5,400)
Similar to LA, this Bucs defense has been around league-averaging versus opposition TEs this year. They do however, give up plenty of receptions to the position – with 92 over the 17 game regular season, good for T-6th most in the league. Higbee’s usage has been solid this year, with a 6-55-2 game in Week 18 to finish the regular season. He didn’t see too much work last week – but again I think that can be accounted for by the low volume of pass attempts due to the Cardinals’ implosion on offense.
DraftKings Divisional Showdown 2021- Los Angeles @Tampa Bay DST and Kickers
Both kickers have had solid seasons and provide nice salary relief on this slate. There doesn’t look to be any weather issues for this one, and I think both could get plenty of chances to put up some points. However, I am finding it harder to trust the Rams D in this one. No offense has allowed opposition DSTs to score fewer points than Tampa Bay’s and even in their Week 3 victory, Aaron Donald and co. only managed 3 DKPTs in a 34-24 victory. Whilst Bucs’ starting tackle Tristan Wirfs may be hampered by injury, with Brady under centre it’s always going to be difficult to rack up points on defense (unless you’re New Orleans). Tampa Bay on the other hand are certainly in play. Rams’ starting tackle Andrew Whitworth will miss Sunday’s game, which isn’t ideal when facing a pass rush as good as Tampa Bay’s. The Bucs’ front 7 are great at applying pressure to the QB, with a 28.6% QB pressure rate – thanks in part to a league-high 40.8% blitz rate. I love the Bucs DST tonight, and they could force a few turnovers thanks to the pressure up front.
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Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports