NFL Playoffs 2019: Vegas Odds, Top Fantasy Picks for Sunday Divisional Games

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 18:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints and Alvin Kamara #41 react during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 18, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Sunday's second pair of NFL divisional-round showdowns should keep the points flowing.

The two games feature three future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, and don't forget about Philip Rivers. Just kidding, but Nick Foles could produce plenty of fantasy points as a sizeable road underdog.

Plenty of marquee names will compete when the New England Patriots face the Los Angeles Chargers. Daily fantasy football (DFS) contestants, however, should judiciously target the NFC clash between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Saints and Eagles respectively ended the season 29th and 30th in passing defense. As a result, OddsShark shows that bookmakers anticipate more scoring in the Big Easy. All of the highlighted plays hail from this matchup.

           

Sunday Divisional-Round Schedule and Odds

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-4, 47.5 O/U): 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-8, 51.5 O/U): 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox

         

Top Fantasy Picks

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 18:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 18, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The quarterback choice is obvious for DFS participants solely playing Sunday's slate. Pay up for Drew Brees, who gets the postseason's weakest secondary inside the Superdome.

While the Eagles rank a decent No. 15 in Defensive-adjusted Value over Average (DVOA) against the pass, according to Football Outsiders, they yielded the NFL's third-most passing yards per game (269.3) during the regular season. Take away two matchups against Washington, which had already lost quarterback Alex Smith, and Philadelphia has surrendered 339.4 passing yards per bout to its last seven opponents.

Brees compiled 363 of them while also tallying four passing touchdowns in Week 11's 48-7 laugher. The dominant display was nothing new for the soon-to-be 40-year-old, who posted 2,251 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, one pick and a 133.3 quarterback rating in seven home starts.

An aggressive Eagles pass rush did not muster a single sack in the blowout loss. Per Dave Spadaro of the team's official site, defensive end Chris Long addressed the challenge of pressuring Brees.

"It's not easy at all," Long said. "Drew feels pressure and he knows where it's coming from. He has a different sense. He has that quick release. It's very hard to get to him."

Having notched at least 17 fantasy points in every Superdome showcase, Brees is a safe selection who warrants the hefty investment in cash contests. 

               

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 23: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs with the ball during the first half against the Pittsburg Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 23, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythe
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Saints are heavy favorites at home, where they garnered 37.0 points per game with Brees. They should manufacture enough scoring opportunities for the quarterback and his running backs to coexist.

Some will see this as a justification to deploy Mark Ingram, who stomped the Eagles to 103 rushing yards and two scores on Nov. 18. He has since collected 297 yards and two scores on 69 touches in six games.

Because of his lower floor, Ingram works better for tournament lineups. Alvin Kamara, on the other hand, carries a towering floor and ceiling to trust anywhere.

Touchdowns will reign supreme in a microscopic slate. That makes it imperative to play the second-year rusher, who found pay dirt 18 times in 15 games.

That garish outcome was no fluke. Per Pro Football Reference, he tied Saquon Barkley for the second-most red-zone rushes (50). Only teammate Michael Thomas secured more receptions (24) inside the 20 than his 21.  

The Eagles concluded the season seventh in rushing defense before stuffing the Chicago Bears to 65 yards on the ground. Yet they also tied the Indianapolis Colts for the second-most catches ceded to running backs (6.9 per game). 

Snagging 81 catches during the season, Kamara should far exceed Week 11's one target. He also converted that opportunity into a 37-yard touchdown, so expect a busy day from the second-year standout.

             

Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 30: Nelson Agholor #13 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedExField on December 30, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Image
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Michael Thomas is the top wideout on Sunday's slate. Yet you already get that the Saints offense is good. The Eagles defense, not so much. Besides, money will get tight when trying to play them all.

Luckily, there are plenty of cheap wideouts to target from the same contest.

Activated from injured reserve in Week 16, Ted Ginn Jr. promptly caught five of eight targets for 74 yards. Dating back to last season and including the playoffs, the speedster is averaging 69.5 yards in his past 10 home games.

He's justifiably drawing interest as a cheap DFS pivot. So is Golden Tate, who turned his eighth Wild Card Weekend target into a game-winning touchdown. That timely play is drawing gamers away from Nelson Agholor, who has caught 13 of 19 targets for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the past three games.

The 25-year-old managed a tame three catches for 32 yards against a stout Bears secondary, but no team permitted more receiving yards (209.1) and fantasy points (36.2) per game to wideouts than the Saints.

Although the wide range of outcomes works better in tournaments, Agholor is likely to register a significantly lower ownership rate than Tate, who has compiled 36.0 yards per game with the Eagles. 

                 

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 06:  Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball in the fourth quarter of the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 06, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Those playing the entire divisional-round slate could have played Travis Kelce or saved some salary on Eric Ebron. On Sunday, however, there's no viable alternative to Zach Ertz.

Rob Gronkowski recorded 45 combined yards—including zero in Week 16—over his final three games. Even under point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, he reached a double-digit output just five times. The Chargers boast the NFL's top DVOA against tight ends.

Benjamin Watson, meanwhile, has recorded six yards or fewer in five games. Including Wild Card Weekend, Antonio Gates is averaging 2.0 catches for 23.0 yards per contest. If he returns from a torn ACL to play his first game in more than a year, Hunter Henry is at best a tournament flier.

That leaves Ertz, who gets a Saints defense ranked No. 4 in DVOA against tight ends. They stymied him to 15 yards on a season-low two catches and three targets in Week 11.

This would normally be a situation to fade, as Philadelphia's receivers are again better situated for success against the Saints. Yet given the lack of viable Sunday alternatives, managers will have to trust more typical volume from Ertz, who set the single-season record for receptions (116) at the position.

                    

Note: Fantasy football scoring data obtained from Yahoo Sports unless otherwise noted. DVOA courtesy of Football Outsiders.  

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