- Rob Gronkowski can do something this week only two others have accomplished in NFL playoff history, which is just one of five facts you need to know for Divisional Round DFS contests.
Playoff DFS is an entirely different animal. It’s not your typical small slate because there are a lot more studs, but also fewer good matchups. Here are five things to know as you create lineups for the penultimate DFS slate of the season.
1. Rob Gronkowski has caught a touchdown in five consecutive postseason games
Recency bias is one of the biggest enemies of a successful DFS player. The last time we saw Gronk was Week 17, when he played 58 snaps without drawing so much as a target. The last time we saw Gronk in the playoffs, though, was after the 2015 season, when he racked up 15 targets, eight catches, 144 yards, and a touchdown against Denver in the AFC Championship Game. His stat lines in the four games before that were 7–83–1, 6–68–1, 3–28–1, and 7–108–1, with at least eight targets in each game. Against a Tennessee defense that allowed the fifth-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points (aFPA) to tight ends—and a 4–66–1 stat line to Travis Kelce last week in less than one half of play—Gronk has a good chance to join John Stallworth and former Patriot David Givens as the only players in NFL history with a touchdown catch in six consecutive postseason games.
2. Alvin Kamara played over Mark Ingram on all three of the New Orleans Saints’ run plays inside the opponent’s 5-yard line last week
Kamara punched it in from two yards out in the fourth quarter last week, but was also lined up in the backfield when fullback Zach Line vultured a 1-yard score in the second quarter. In addition to edging ahead of Ingram in touches over the past four weeks, 63 to 60, Kamara has also handled three of the team’s five carries inside the 5-yard line over that span. Ingram, meanwhile, handled just one. The Vikings allowed 43% of the offensive touchdowns against them to come on rushing attempts, the fourth-highest rate in the league—and the highest of any team remaining in the playoffs.
3. Devonta Freeman’s career yards per carry drops from 4.6 to 3.9, and his yards per reception from 9.0 to 7.1, when playing outdoors
Freeman is always in play in DFS because of his high usage rate near the goal-line—his 15 carries inside the 5-yard line during the regular season ranked third in the league—but he may have trouble hitting value on yardage alone if he doesn’t reach the end zone this week. Not only are Freeman’s cuts less effective away from the Mercedes Benz Stadium field turf, but he also has to deal with an Eagles defense that allowed the second-fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs.
4. Nelson Agholor suffered the smallest decline of any Eagles receiver going to Nick Foles from Carson Wentz
After catching 44 of 71 passes (62.0%) for 610 yards (8.6 yards per target) with seven touchdowns from Wentz, Agholor caught 16 of 22 passes (72.7%) for 154 yards (7.0 yards per target) and a touchdown from Foles, whose 107.0 passer rating when targeting Agholor was only 3.7 points lower than Wentz’s 110.7. In contrast, the dropoff in passer rating with Zach Ertz is 29.6 points (112.8 to 83.2); Torrey Smith is 47.9 points (87.5 to 39.6); and Alshon Jeffery is 51.9 points (97.5 to 45.6). Agholor has enjoyed a 22% target rate with Foles, compared with 16% with Wentz under center. It would be a surprise if Agholor weren’t heavily involved in a win-or-go-home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
5. Latavius Murray averaged 7.5 more touches per game than Jerick McKinnon over the last four games after averaging only 1.3 more during Weeks 6 through 13]
Murray has also handled four of the Vikings’ five carries inside the 5-yard line over the past four games, with all four of Murray’s carries coming from the 1- or 2-yard line. McKinnon’s lone carry in that range came from the 5-yard line. McKinnon will be more involved in the passing game, but especially as a home favorite running back against a defense that has been better against the pass than the run this season, Murray’s volume and touchdown upside should not be overlooked.