2020 Season NFC Divisional Fantasy Football and Handicapping Preview
We’re going to take a look at each divisional game from a handicapping and fantasy (playoffs version) perspective and then project/predict the full NFC bracket to the Super Bowl. Tomorrow we look at the AFC.
Rams at Packers (-6.5)
Right away, looking at this matchup…I gravitate right towards how hard it is to play in Green Bay/at Lambeau in the winter. Opposing teams are always slipping all over the field. It’s going to be low 30’s/feels like mid-20s in this game – terrible for the home dome L.A. team.
But before we leap to ‘Davante-Rodgers House Party 2021’ FF thoughts…we have the Rams defense to contend with. Jalen Ramsey vs. Davante Adams. The Rams stellar defense vs. the Packers home field advantage at Lambeau. Green Bay has the edge at home, but this Packers team rarely faces a tough defense – they struggled with the 49ers in 2019 and then got bullied by the Bucs (when the Bucs D was starting to roar) in 2020…that’s the toughest defense they had to face in 2020. Other than that they’ve faced a lot of Lions, Vikings, Bears, Texans, Falcons, Eagles type cruising in 2020. They faced the Saints Week 3, before the Saints defense started humming several weeks later.
I have to give the advantage in this game to the Packers because of the home field, and the Rams/Jared Goff is not good outdoors/in the cold. But 6.5 points against that Rams defense? I think I’ll just take the easy way out and take the points. No real conviction on this one…just a fun bet to stay interested.
For fantasy, I wouldn’t love Davante vs. Jalen…but I’d pick Davante to win. Ramsey will slip and fall in coverage at least once in this game, in a key spot probably.
I expect this to be a lower scoring and heavy Aaron Jones v. Cam Akers event. Akers v. the Packers run defense is the Rams best hope and Akers is seeing mass touches the last several weeks. I don’t really like any of the options here on offense – bad matchup for Rodgers, bad weather for the Rams finesse offense. Cam Akers is not my favorite, but he should get a ton of touches, and Aaron Jones will probably best everyone in the game for FF numbers.
Cam Akers 'over' 16.5 carries as a player prop is the best bet item here.
Bucs at Saints (-3.0)
It’s so hard to beat a team three times in one season, but the Saints have pounded them both times they’ve played during the regular season. I like underdogs and I have to like the odds of not being beaten 3x in-a-row…so, I lean Tampa Bay. I don’t have any real conviction about it – but I have to take the points and the Bucs here. I kinda believe the Bucs are going to win here…’just because’.
This is the one game indoors this weekend, so this is where I’d play heavy FF action.
You can’t run on the Bucs, so this is a Brees-Thomas-Cook moment – the Bucs pass defense has been shred-able, and I suspect they’ll throw 40-50+ times in this game. Alvin Kamara may catch more passes than yards he runs for.
The Bucs will throw as much/more to keep up, so if you’d rather go Brady-Evans-Godwin, etc. -- be my guest.
Best NFC Division Week FF plays:
QB: Brees or Brady
RB: Aaron Jones…and then Cam Akers is close
WR: Thomas-Evans-Godwin and Antonio Brown
TE: Jared Cook
Sleeper: Allen Lazard
Deep Sleeper: Cameron Brate
NFC bracket predictions…
GB def. LAR
TB def. NO
…but LAR and NO both winning would not shock me at all.
GB def. TB or NO
Our 2021 scouting previews of all the Senior Bowl invites/prospects is planned to begin Monday 1/18, as I publish a quick preview summary of each player through my 30 minutes or so of preview scouting each prospect (looking at outputs and couple games tapes) and I'll assign a preview grade and cap it off with a 'Mock Draft' of the top prospects from my previews.
During the 2021 Senior Bowl week I'll be sharing takeaways/reports all week from the practices and from the rumor mills behind-the-scenes...on the prospects and the NFL coaches and GM's press conferences, etc., capped off with a game analysis/report and then a re-do of the grading/ranking...adjusted for post-Senior Bowl week.
After the Senior Bowl, we follow the same process leading into the NFL Combine (whenever it is/assuming it is still on).
All the while, full scouting reports on prospects will continue to flow up to and through the NFL Draft, going into the summer and into the NFL preseason.
The Senior Bowl is the first leg of a very long race to understand these prospects and their capabilities up to NFL opening day 2021.
We'll be covering it on College Football Metrics.com all offseason/preseason. Hope you come along for the ride for NFL Draft prep and Dynasty Rookie Draft prep, among other strategic and handicapping ways to consider the information.
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