2019-20 AFC Divisional Round Playoff and Handicapping Preview
One round full of surprises in the books…let’s see what the divisional round deals us. We’re going to look at each matchup from a fantasy (daily, contests) and handicapping standpoint. Including a look ahead to the next round.
First up, the AFC…and tomorrow the NFC previews.
TEN at BAL (-9.0)
The Ravens have won 12 games in a row. Eight of their last 10 by double-digits. The only non-double-digit wins were in a downpour against the 49ers, which they handled SF pretty well all game and a 7-point win over Buffalo. The Ravens are blowing teams out and are possibly one of the best teams in the NFL in the past 5-10+ years, that I’ve seen. I have to bet with the Ravens because it’s been working for most of the 2019 season…now, they play a team that kinda backed their way here and the Ravens have had a week off – I’ll lay the points.
Tennessee backed into the playoffs to some degree…losing two of their final 3 games and then surviving a sad/dying Patriots team in the playoffs…a New England team that just lost to Miami at home the week prior. The Titans have been living with the angels all 2nd-half of the 2019 season…I think their luck runs out with impunity against the Ravens.
I’d like to think the Titans will try to be clever to take down the Ravens, but they won’t. They’ll run Derrick Henry as much as they can and try to play ‘keep away’ like they did to New England, but they’ll find the Ravens are nothing like the Patriots and they’ll get down quickly and will not be able to throw their way back into the game easily against the Ravens’ pass defense. I like the Ravens to win by 2+ scores and cover the 9.0. Tennessee is getting a bump for beating the Patriots…but that should not be meaningful much at all here. The public still underestimates how strong the Ravens are.
Because Tennessee will use the same game plan as always, I would not get cute with trying to play A.J. Brown or Jonnu Smith for fantasy purposes. Baltimore will control time of possession and the game…I don’t see a ton of opportunity for big FF numbers for the Titans passing game unless a major garbage time event happens.
I do believe Mark Ingram is more hurt than is being let on and it would not shock me if he is out for this game. Nothing really changes with him out. Gus Edwards is a fine runner of the ball up the middle in this offense. If Edwards starts with Ingram out…he’ll run for 100+ yards on Tennessee. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are always the pass game guys for Lamar, but I don’t fully love them in this one…they are more TD dependent than likely to have some monster/contest winning events.
2020 Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball Subscriptions Now Available
It’s time for season #2 of our last season’s debut subscription…Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball.
I created Dynasty offseason as a way to communicate rankings/valuations on (500+) existing players (and also 400+ IDPs) for Dynasty and Keeper planning purposes (trades, etc.) as well as getting the jump on Best Ball/MFL drafts that begin in February and run all the rest of the year.
The fastest growing success percentage/money earning with FFM scouting/rankings/etc. is in those Best Ball/MFLs – draft a deep roster and forget it until the season begins, and then just watch the results…no lineup settings, no trading. Just pay to compete, out-draft everyone else, and try and cash in on our early/better read on things.
Dynasty Offseason subscriptions will be available when College Football Metrics begins (1/3/20), and you can purchase as a combo or just individually the one you want/need. However, the Dynasty Offseason rankings, etc., will not kickoff until right after the Super Bowl (articles and reports will post in January but player rankings/mock drafts not until past the Super Bowl)…and then we pile in material daily/weekly until opening day of the new NFL season.
If you were not a part of the Dynasty Offseason program last year, I will have more details on it on my playoff game recaps in 2020 and some additional explanation on Best Ball/MFL leagues, how to get started in them, how they work, etc. – if you’re not doing Best Ball/MFLs…you are missing out.
HOU at KC (-9.5)
You can’t lay -9.5 with KC to just about any team – the Chiefs are not that good. They are sexy and people love to bet/pick them for everything, but the reality has been they are a good-not-great team. The Chiefs are 2-2 against playoff teams this season with Mahomes as the starter. The Chiefs have won their last 6 games but mostly against bad AFC West foes. Their defense has been showing better, but all against failing offenses…including the Patriots. Against playoff teams not-named the Patriots this defense has allowed 28-31-31-23-35 points in games this season. Houston will score enough in this game even if to just backdoor-cover here.
This game has all the makings of a shootout but be careful on that – it will be 30 degrees at kickoff and ‘feels like’ 20 degrees. It’s been a while since the southern dome Texans have played in anything close to these temps.
All the main FF options from these two teams are obvious, but there are two things that jump out at me a bit under the radar…
1) I like Carlos Hyde to push 100+ yards rushing and at least one TD. Last time they played, Hyde went for 116 yards in a win over KC.
2) I LOVE Damien Williams for this game for fantasy. Did you know…
Damien Williams has played 20+ snaps in a game nine times in the 2019 season and has scored 7 TDs in those games? *He has missed several games with nagging injuries, but is now back at full health.
Damien has five games with 10 or more carries in the 2019 season -- and in those games: 5 TDs, two 100+ yd games, 4.0 rec per game, 90+ total yds four times.
I got a strong feeling on Damien Williams for FF this week and ahead.
You have to strongly assume we’re getting KC at BAL for the finals. The home teams (coming off their 1st-round BYE) went 4-0 in the divisional round last season. 3-1 in 2017. 2-2 in 2016. 4-0 in 2015. 3-1 in 2014. 3-1 in 2013. 3-1 in 2012. 3-1 in 2011. The last 8 years of divisional round games the home team is 25-7 (78.1%) straight up.
Statistically speaking, there will be one road team winner this weekend. If you assume it’s not MIN or TEN…then you look at HOU or SEA. I like the way KC matches up with BAL, but I don’t love the way KC matches up with HOU…the Texans could be that one team, but I think it’s Seattle…and we’ll get into that in the NFC preview tomorrow.
A Baltimore-KC final I think has a lot more shootout power for the non-Lamar Ravens’ options than the TEN-BAL game this week. I like Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews more next week, than this week. I again caution – my source does not like the current Mark Ingram calf situation at all right now, for what that is worth (but unsure at this stage if it’s an issue Conference Finals week). If KC is making a run, besides the obvious (Mahomes-Hill-Kelce)…it’s a great setup for Damien Williams to be an X-factor play for FF the whole way.
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