NFL Divisional Round Daily Fantasy Targets (01/12/17)
Matt Ryan seems like a strange pick for a cash game lineup against the Seahawks defense. However, the injury of Earl Thomas has made the Seahawks secondary vulnerable. Two things are guaranteed; Matt Ryan will throw the ball a ton in this game and he'll play in their fast-paced dome.
In their matchup earlier this season, Ryan attempted 42 passes and completed three touchdowns. There was a late, critical interception thrown by Matt Ryan in that Week 6 game. That pass, though, bounced directly in and out of Julio Jones' hands and was then intercepted. It was Ryan's best game, but he'll be forced to throw the ball a large amount of times.
Alex Smith hasn't had a great season, but he has been a little more valuable than he's gotten credit. He's attempted over 32 throws per game. Granted, many of those are shorter throws, but he may be able to get away with that approach this week. The Steelers front seven has been much better lately with Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier being fully healthy. With the pressure they've sent on quarterbacks lately, Alex Smith will be using his legs and athleticism to escape their rush along with completing plenty of the shorter throws.
HIs tournament value comes into play on whether or not he is able to throw the ball in the red zone. Smith's touchdown percentage is only 3.1% this season, the lowest of his career. If he's able to get a couple throws in the red zone to go his way against a poor secondary, he'll quickly become valuable.
Playing Ezekiel Elliott in any week is easily convincible. Jason Garrett, as an ex-quarterback himself, will want to take the pressure off of Dak Prescott in his first game. This will mean a heavy load for Zeke. In their first matchup agains the Packers, Zeke rushed the ball 28 times for 157 yards, his second highest total of the season.
Still, Prescott shouldn't have much trouble attacking the Packers in the air. Their pass defense gave up 8.1 yards per attempt in the regular season and are even more banged up than they were for most of the year. This will create enough red zone opportunities for Zeke to get a quick six points.
Spencer Ware is a fine RB2 or tournament play. Ware got most of the work down the stretch for the Chiefs in the rushing and passing game. As mentioned above, Alex Smith is unlikely to throw the ball often as the Chiefs move closer to the red zone. Hence, Ware will be getting those goal line carries. If the Chiefs are able to move the ball effectively, you'll want Spencer Ware for those red zone opportunities.
With Jordy Nelson out, Davante Adams becomes the biggest threat on the field for Aaron Rodgers. The Cowboys defense has been about average at every measure, but most expect this is because of the relief the offense has provided. The Packers hardly run the ball; thus, Adams is likely to get the most targets. The success of Randall Cobb last week may move some players off of Adams, as well, even though Adams still received 12 targets against the Giants.
Mohamed Sanu has been a slight disappointment this season. Coming in as the #2 receiver behind Julio Jones, many expected Sanu to have success within the Falcons great offense. Sanu has only caught more than five balls in two games this season. Nonetheless, he becomes a tournament play while everyone is chasing Julio Jones around the field. One would assume Richard Sherman will draw Jones on most plays. Thus, Sanu in the slot or on the opposite side of the field, should get more targets than usual as they won't shy away from throwing the ball. In fact, Sanu saw ten targets in the Falcons' first matchup against the Seahawks this season.
For many of the same reasons that made Davante Adams a valuable play, Jared Cook becomes one, as well. Even with Jordy on the field, Cook was seeing quite a few targets. Cook received at least eight targets in three of the last four games. His yardage has stayed relatively low this season, but he could expose the Cowboys weak linebackers as Sean Lee is their best coverage linebacker but is typically assigned to running backs. Cook does not get many red zone targets; however, his targets alone should make him well worth his price.
It's hard to predict Bill Belichick's game plan in any given week. In their game earlier this season, the Patriots were able to torch the Texans' defense on the ground with LaGarrette Blount and Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Bennett hasn't been as big as a target as most expected once Rob Gronkowski's season ended with an injury. Bennett is having his best season in regards to yards per reception. Brady has targeted him downfield and Bennett has the athleticism to run after the catch. Bennett is a good red zone target for Brady; thus, if he's able to get into the end zone just once, he's well worth his minimal price.