With the NFL regular season in the history books, it’s time for the Wild Card round of the playoffs. I typically like the first two rounds of four-game playoff slates, however, the Wild Card round opening weekend matchups leave a lot to be desired in my opinion with all of the home teams coming in as around touchdown favorites and too many boring offenses.
That said, I have pushed through the matchups and provided my thoughts for each game along with my Hot Picks and Top Plays for DFS.
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Note: DVOA referenced in this article stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average which is a metric from FootballOutsiders.com.
So, let’s get right to the numbers and analysis…
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
|Kansas City Chiefs||66||53||46||73||56||74||59||87||-9|
The Titans pushed their way into the postseason with a victory over the Jaguars in Week 17. They will open the playoffs with a road tilt in Kansas City on Saturday. With DeMarco Murray very questionable to play, the running game will once again fall to Derrick Henry who saw 29 touches in Week 17 with Murray out. He was very unproductive on the ground averaging just 1.82 YPC but he should have more success against a Chiefs run defense that ranked 32nd DVOA this season. On the downside, the Titans are almost a double-digit underdog on the road which could limit Henry’s carries if the game script gets away from him. He can be productive in the passing game as seen by his 66-yard TD reception last week but he doesn’t get the volume needed if he doesn’t break off a long one. Marcus Mariota could have some success moving the ball through the air against the Chiefs’ pass defense that has allowed 262 passing yards (27th) over the last five weeks but he will need to run one in as his passing TD upside is limited to one (maybe two). Rishard Matthews will be his top receiving option with the best individual matchup. Henry is the strongest DFS option but I do fear the game script gets away from him as I expect a Chiefs’ rout.
With the Chiefs locked into the #3 seed they rested many of their starters last week and still managed to beat the Broncos. With two weeks to prepare and rest, I expect the Chiefs’ offense to come out clicking on Saturday against the Titans. Look for most of the production to come from Alex Smith and the passing game against a Titans’ pass defense that ranks 24th DVOA and has allowed 277 passing yards (30th) per game over the last five weeks. Smith will find his usual targets including Kareem Hunt and Charcandrick West out of the backfield against the Titans’ 32nd DVOA ranked defense against opposing pass-catching RBs. Meanwhile, both WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce set up nicely for big games as the Titans have allowed 1.1 TDs per game (28th) to opposing WRs and 58 receiving yards (26th) per game to opposing TEs over the last five weeks including a 13.3 YPC (29th) to TEs. Hunt will have a more difficult time on the ground against a good Titans’ run defense that ranked 7th DVOA while allowing just 3.44 YPC (4th) and 0.25 rushing TDs (1st) to opposing RBs. Harrison Butker is the top kicker to own this weekend as the Chiefs lead the league in FG attempts this season while the Titans have allowed the second most attempts. Load up on the Chiefs’ passing game in DFS.
- Derrick Henry (*)
- Rishard Matthews (*)
- Alex Smith (***)
- Kareem Hunt (*)
- Tyreek Hill (**)
- Travis Kelce (***)
- Harrison Butker (**)