DFS Three And Out 2021 week 20
As the playoffs progress, the field narrows and the options dwindle. So the object this week is to find three slightly-off schedule plays with reasonable price tags and some upside and to dodge a pricey play that might not return value. With the mission outlined, here are some choices I'm making to meet the objective.
A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers ($5,100 on DraftKings; $6,100 on FanDuel)
As we head into Saturday's NFC Divisional battle between the Packers and 49ers in Green Bay, there are plenty of high-end options we'll all be interested in. But as Fansided.com's Freddie Boston suggests, one of the slightly lesser lights well-positioned to make a difference for the Packers is Dillon. Yes, the second-year back is working in a timeshare with the higher-profile Aaron Jones, but both players saw sufficient usage to finish with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. Dillon had a slight edge on the ground, rushing for 803 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Boston believes Dillon could play a huge role on Saturday night. We all know what he brings as a runner: An imposing physical presence capable of wearing defenses down. According to Pro Football Reference, 407 of Dillon's rushing yards -- more than half -- came after contact. But Dillon's work as a receiver has come a long way - he caught 34 of 37 targets for 313 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season. Beyond all that, Dillon is the perfect running back for Lambeau Field in January. Not just for the yards and first downs he picks up by running over defenders, but also for the impact his power has on defenses, creating opportunities for the offense to take advantage. Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Al Zeidenfeld notes that because Dillon and Jones have been splitting the RB workload for the Packers since Jones has returned from a knee injury, it would make sense to see them both priced similarly here. That's not the case on either DraftKings or FanDuel. That difference in cost is appealing. "Dillon provides us with massive TD upside," Zeidenfeld wrote, "but he can also get there on volume alone via his work both on the ground and in the passing game." Agreed.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams ($4,000 on DraftKings; $5,400 on FanDuel)
As Rotoballer's Dan Fornek pointed out this week, Higbee has developed a consistent role in the Rams' passing attack in his last five games. Higbee has at least four targets, three receptions, and 41 yards in every game he has played since Week 12. He also added two touchdown receptions in Week 18. While most will look to Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. as the two difference-makers, Higbee should be a focal point. According to Zeidenfeld, in the three weeks prior to the playoffs, Higbee was targeted on 26.3% of his routes, compared to the 16.1% target rate he'd managed up to that point this season. Tampa Bay yielded 92 receptions and a 73% catch rate to tight ends during the regular season. Higbee caught all five of his targets for 40 yards and a touchdown in Los Angeles' first matchup against the Buccaneers. With four red-zone targets over his last four games, Zeidenfeld contends Higbee brings solid volume and TD upside at a good price. That said, investors should be aware Tampa's defense has also allowed just two touchdown catches to the position in their last 12 games.
Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,200 on DraftKings; $5,700 on FanDuel)
When looking at the cheaper options at wideout, you know the risks involved. Once I get past the top level plays, the overall offense and the player's role have to be factors. There are no shortage of cheap options this week and I like a number of them. So let's focus on the game with the highest over/under (54.5 points) for the weekend. There are plenty of cheaper options at wideout in this game. So why not choose one with a consistent workload. While Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill lead this team in targets, the Chiefs' target distribution is not as narrow as previous seasons. Pringle has seen at least four targets in five straight games while playing a majority of the snaps. Adding to that, Pringle has at least seven targets in three of the last four games and he has a pair of two-TD outings over that span. As Awesomo's Matt Gajewski put it, "With Kansas City providing a slate-leading 28.75-point implied team total, Pringle looks like the preferred value at the position this week."
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,600 on DraftKings; $7,800 on FanDuel)
We've seen Mixon's range of possible outcomes vary widely this season. For example, the Pro Bowl running back had one of his best games of the season against the Raiders in Week 11, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-13 Bengals win. He wasn't as big a factor last Saturday, however, averaging only 2.8 yards on 17 attempts for 48 yards. Still Mixon is very good. Good enough to finish 2021 as the league's third-leading rusher with a career-best 1,205 yards. So the argument here isn't that Mixon is incapable of delivering big games. But with a tough matchup -- the Titans rank a middle-of-the-pack 12th in total yards allowed this season, but they rank No. 2 against the run, I'm dialing back expectations. The Bengals have ample firepower in the passing attack to rack up yards without relying solely on Mixon. Considering he's the second- (on FanDuel) and third-highest (on DraftKings) priced running back, he'll need a great showing to return value -- let alone deliver an explosive, tournament-winning total.