NFL Divisional Round DFS: What the Oddsmakers are Saying

“You can’t hold anything back.” – Carson Palmer

If you remember correctly, last week Vegas told us that Ben Roethlisberger would have the most passing yards. He was second in passing yards behind Kirk Cousins and if not for the shoulder injury, he may have generated the most passing yards in the Wild Card round. Vegas also told us that Antonio Brown would have the most receiving yards and at the end of the wild card round, Brown finished with just nine less receiving yards than the week’s leader, Travis Kelce. The point I am trying to make is that the oddsmakers are sharp individuals that paint a picture before the games, giving DFS players a clearer view as to what should happen. Here is what the oddsmakers are telling us for the divisional round. Enjoy!

Arizona Cardinals helmet.
Arizona Cardinals helmet.

Highest Scoring Game: Green Bay vs. Arizona

You may want to focus your efforts on the matchup between the Packers and Cardinals because oddsmakers believes that this game will feature the most points. The Cardinals have a prolific offense, averaging a league best 408.3 total yards per game and scoring 30.6 points per game, the second best average in the league. The Packers average 23 points per game and Aaron Rodgers was the only quarterback in the wild card round to throw for more than one touchdown. Lastly, the Green Bay Packers have the worst rushing defense of any team playing in the divisional round, allowing 119.1 yards per game and 13 rushing touchdowns this season. If the oddsmakers are correct, players from both of these teams will pay big dividends.

Lowest Scoring Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Last week, the oddsmakers told us that the Vikings would put up the least amount of points of any team in the wild card round and while the Texans “beat” them in this category, the Vikings only put up nine points. This week, the oddsmakers believe that the Kansas City Chiefs will be the lowest scoring team. The Chiefs averaged 25.3 points per game during the regular season however, they did only average 203.4 passing yards per game, the third lowest average in the league. Add that to the fact that Jeremy Maclin may be out for this matchup and it’s entirely plausible that the Chiefs struggle to find the end zone against the Patriots. I’d suggest avoiding Chiefs players for this matchup with the exception of Travis Kelce who solidified his worth during the wild card round, catching eight passes for 128 yards.

 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer .
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer .

Most Passing Yards: Carson Palmer

Oddsmakers believe that Carson Palmer will have the most passing yards during the divisional round and I agree. Palmer averaged 292 passing yards per game during the regular season, fourth in the league, and the Packers do not have a defensive unit that could hope to stop him like the Seahawks or Broncos. Palmer threw 35 touchdowns this season and remember that he faced the Packers just a few weeks ago, throwing for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

Fewest Passing Yards: Alex Smith

It comes as no surprise that the oddsmakers believe Alex Smith will have the worst game of any of the starting quarterbacks. Smith had just 190 passing yards against the Texans during the wild card round and the Kansas City Chiefs are not known as a passing team. As I mentioned earlier, during the regular season the Chiefs managed just 203 passing yards per game, the worst of any team playing in the divisional round. The oddsmakers are clearly telling us to avoid drafting Alex Smith this weekend and the numbers justify their sentiment.

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28).
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28).

Most Rushing Yards: Jonathan Stewart

Vegas believes that Jonathan Stewart will finish with the most amount of rushing yards in the divisional round and I strongly disagree. Stewart is matched up against the Seahawks, the team with the best rushing defense in the league. The Seahawks allowed an average of 81.5 rushing yards per game this season which tells me that Stewart should struggle against this unit lthe same way Adrian Peterson struggled last week against the Seahawks. I much prefer David Johnson matched up against the Packers, the worst rushing defense of any team playing in the divisional round.

Fewest Rushing Yards: Anderson, Hillman, Ware, West

Once again we see another four way tie for the least amount of rushing yards in a playoff round. Basically, Vegas is telling us to avoid the Chiefs’ and Broncos’ backfields and I tend to agree. The Patriots allowed just eight rushing touchdowns all season and 98.8 rushing yards per game. The Steelers allowed six rushing touchdowns and an average of 91.2 rushing yards per game. Of these four athletes, I believe that Spencer Ware is the best priced and will have the most rushing yards but generally, this is a group I’d be inclined to avoid simply based on the matchups.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Most Receiving Yards: Antonio Brown

If he plays, the oddsmakers believe that Antonio Brown will have the most receiving yards and it’s impossible to argue the numbers. Brown was targeted twelve times during the Wild Card round and finished with 119 receiving yards. Of course, the Broncos have the best passing defense in the league, allowing just 200 passing yards per game. If Antonio Brown does not play, Larry Fitzgerald and Demaryius Thomas are expected to lead the field in receiving yards and when you consider their respective matchups, it’s hard to argue with the logic.

Fewest Receiving Yards (of any WR1s): Doug Baldwin

No surprise here, as Doug Baldwin is expected to have the fewest receiving yards of any WR1. Baldwin has cooled off from his incredible second half of the season where he scored twelve touchdowns during Weeks 9-16. Baldwin has averaged just 44 receiving yards over his last two games and his numbers take a drastic decline when he’s away from Seattle. Don’t forget, the last time these two team met, Baldwin had a total of three catches for 23 yards. Here’s another cool statistic for you: Baldwin has scored 13 touchdowns on non-grass surfaces this season and just one touchdown on grass. Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, contains a natural grass surface.

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