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Fanball Fantasy Football: Divisional Round Picks

Sasha Yodashkin

Sasha Yodashkin writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Just eight Super Bowl hopefuls remain, and the best players from all of those teams can be utilized in this week's Fanball NFL contests. All four games from the divisional round spanning both Saturday and Sunday are encompassed in this slate. The Fanball format calls for a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX WR/TE, FLEX RB/WR/TE, D/ST lineup with a $55,000 salary cap. The players below can fit into lineups regardless of strategy, as they all offer strong value relative to price.

QUARTERBACK

Matt Ryan, ATL at PHI ($7,200):
In his last six playoff games, Ryan has thrown for 1,878 yards, with 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The veteran quarterback isn't easy to rattle and has the poise and experience to pull off this victory as a slight road favorite. Considering Philadelphia's defense ranked first against the run and just 17th defending the pass, the ball should be in Ryan's hands an awful lot.

Marcus Mariota, TEN at NE ($6,800):
The gap between these teams is much smaller than it seems considering New England benefited from controversial calls in a number of its close victories while the Titans would have gone 13-3 in the regular season if they scored one extra touchdown in every game. Mariota proved that he can do it all in the wild-card round, and his running and passing production is sustainable even if he's highly unlikely to score another receiving touchdown. The Patriots allowed the third-most passing yards per game (251.3) in the regular season, so this is a golden opportunity for Mariota to build on the momentum from last week's 18-point comeback.

RUNNING BACK

Derrick Henry, TEN at NE ($8,300):
Safe to say, Henry has arrived after rushing for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown in last week's one-point win over the Chiefs. He'll serve as a three-down bellcow once again this week with DeMarco Murray (knee) still sidelined, so expect Henry to get a ton of rushing attempts if Tennessee's playing from ahead and for him to rack up some catches should the Titans be forced primarily into passing situations.

Jay Ajayi, PHI vs. ATL ($6,300):
If the first top-seeded divisional round underdog in NFL history wants to defy the odds, the Eagles would be wise to use the Falcons' own game plan from last week against their fellow birds of prey. Atlanta controlled the clock and kept an explosive Rams offense off the field with a strong running game in the wild-card round, and Philadelphia has the personnel to execute such a strategy even without quarterback Carson Wentz (knee). Ajayi is unquestionably the best all-around running back at the team's disposal and any debate between him and LeGarrette Blount should be put to bed by their difference in receiving ability and the fact that Fanball uses a PPR format. The former Dolphin's explosive upside makes him a great play at his affordable price.

Jerick McKinnon, MIN vs. NO ($6,000):
Pass-catching running back Christian McCaffrey torched this Saints defense for 101 receiving yards and a touchdown on six catches last week, and McKinnon brings a similar skill set as the more elusive complement to Latavius Murray's power-running style. McKinnon caught at least five balls in six of his last 12 games, and Case Keenum likely will be checking down a fair bit with standout rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore likely to shut down one of his main receiving options and defensive end Cameron Jordan providing pressure off the edge.

WIDE RECEIVER

Mohamed Sanu, ATL at PHI ($6,600):
The gap between Sanu and Julio Jones ($8,800) production-wise isn't as great as the $2,200 discrepancy in their prices suggests. Sanu scored five touchdowns to Jones' three in the regular season, and the Rutgers product has held his own in the yardage department lately with more than 70 in three of his last five games. Jones is obviously the better player, but owners who can't afford the star wideout have a low-cost alternative available who's even likelier to get into the end zone.

Corey Davis, TEN at NE ($4,700):
Davis led all Titans wide receivers in targets, catches and yards last week, so he makes sense as a low-cost option to pair with Mariota in this favorable matchup. The rookie fifth overall pick has all the physical tools to turn into a dominant player, and he would have scored an easy touchdown last week if not for an overthrow. Eric Decker's trip to the end zone last week was only his second in 17 games this season while Rishard Matthews has a combined four catches for 70 yards in his last three games, making Davis the team's strongest play at his position.

Ted Ginn, NO at MIN ($6,300):
Ginn showed last week that he doesn't need many touches to provide massive value, burning the Panthers for 115 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. The speedster had a reputation for hands of stone but playing with the most accurate quarterback in NFL history has remedied that issue. Top Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes likely will spend most of his time guarding top wideout Michael Thomas, leaving Ginn to work against lesser competition. Drew Brees has always been far better in dome conditions, so playing at U.S. Bank Stadium should work in this whole passing game's favor compared to an outdoor venue.

TIGHT END

Rob Gronkowski, NE vs. TEN ($8,100):
Kansas City's Travis Kelce was absolutely dominating the Titans in the wild-card round with four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown before getting concussed in the second quarter. Gronkowski possesses similar receiving skills to the Chiefs tight end, and New England's likely to throw early and often against a Titans defense that ranked fourth against the run but just 25th against the pass in the regular season.

Vance McDonald, PIT vs. JAC ($3,000):
The strengths of Jacksonville's defense are cornerbacks and the pass rush, so expect Ben Roethlisberger to often check the ball down to his security blankets. Running back Le'Veon Bell should benefit heavily from this strategy, but he comes with a hefty $9,800 price tag. On the other hand, McDonald can be had for just $3,000, and he built up some nice momentum late in the season with more than 50 receiving yards in each of his last two games played with Roethlisberger under center.

DEFENSE

Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT vs. JAC ($4,000):
While he was effective with his legs, Blake Bortles was awful throwing the ball against Buffalo in the wild-card round. Things should get even tougher for him in that department on the road against a Steelers defense that ranked fifth against the pass with 201.1 yards allowed per game. This matchup is too good to pass up and the regular-season meeting between these teams doesn't paint an accurate picture of Pittsburgh's defensive play because Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in that game, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

Atlanta Falcons, ATL at PHI ($3,800):
As has been the case all year, the marginal cost of paying up for strong defenses is almost always worth it. This unit turned in a fabulous performance in the wild-card round, holding Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and a Rams offense that led the league with 29.9 points per game to 13 points in Los Angeles. Compared to that matchup, this tilt against a Nick Foles-led unit that scuffled after Wentz tore his ACL should be a cakewalk. While Foles only played a few series in the regular-season finale, the Eagles aren't exactly flying high after getting shut out by the Cowboys in that game.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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