If you’re looking for Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals DFS picks in Sunday’s Divisional Round faceoff, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
One year ago tomorrow, Buffalo lost one of the most entertaining playoff games of the century. At the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs led 26-21. When it was all over, they prevailed 42-36.
It was a 15-round heavyweight battle in which two elite fighters unleashed a torrent of uppercuts and body blows in the waning moments, hoping their final connection would be a knockout.
To face the Chiefs again, Buffalo must get past the team KC lost to in last year’s AFC title game — the team Buffalo would have played (and might have beaten) had they earned that coveted knockout.
This year’s Bills arguably are better than ever. All three of their losses were by a combined eight points. Their 13 wins were by an average of 13.6 points. Despite losing Von Miller to an injury, their core playmakers are healthy and thriving.
The additions of James Cook, Khalil Shakir, and Cole Beasley have turned an offensive juggernaut into some kind of uber-juggernaut rarely seen in a relatively balanced league.
They’re No. 2 in scoring, No. 9 in passing yards, No. 7 in passing yards per attempt, No. 2 in passing TDs, No. 2 in fewest yards lost on sacks, No. 3 in yards per carry . . . and that doesn’t include their vast array of defensive accolades.
For DFS purposes, few teams have as many “good” options as the Bills: an elite QB and elite WR, another elite-upside WR, multiple WR fliers, a near-elite-upside TE, two solid RBs, and one of the top DFS kickers . . . and that doesn’t include their near-elite D/ST.
Given the Bengals’ superlative options, we’ll need to be exceptionally strategic with this slate because we can’t afford most of the guys we want. A deep flier on the cheap might afford us five high-ceiling players if we organize this lineup effectively.
There were many worthy Cincy MVP candidates in their run to a Super Bowl last season. From a DFS standpoint, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow led the way, followed closely by Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon. And the team’s No. 5 scorer, only a few points behind Mixon, was kicker Evan McPherson.
McPherson booted a 52-yard game-winner versus the Titans with no time left in the Divisional Round. He followed that up with an overtime game-winner against the Chiefs. And had the Bengals converted on second-and-one (or third-and-one, or fourth-and-one) in the final minute of the Super Bowl, McPherson was poised to attempt a deep game-tying field goal that — based on his abilities — probably would have split the uprights with room to spare.
MORE: Divisional Round Predictions and Picks
I bring up McPherson because we need to get a little creative with this slate. Maybe he’s not the right answer. But all $5,000-and-under options need to be on the table, especially if they can realistically hit double digits.
Cincy’s QB, RB, and top two WRs will be expensive. Last year, based on price, McPherson was one of the Bengals’ biggest DFS bargains. In this power-packed matchup, we need to find a reliable bargain. Somewhere. Anywhere.
Top NFL DFS Picks for Bills vs. Bengals
Today, we’re playing DraftKings “Showdown Captain Mode,” which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output, plus five Flex players.
The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.
Captain: QB Josh Allen, Bills ($17,700)
I toyed with making Gabe Davis our Captain, which would have freed up thousands of dollars to spend on another high-upside guy. But in the end, I can’t avoid the game’s (statistically) No. 1 QB.
Flex: WR Stefon Diggs, Bills ($11,200)
This is the pivot point of this slate. It begins with Stefon Diggs vs. the comparably priced Ja’Marr Chase ($11,400). Later, Gabe Davis vs. Tee Higgins. And so on. Who’s likely to score more points at each tier?
Because if we invest in Diggs and Chase, we’ll be resigned to taking a couple of deep fliers. If I believed Chase was a strong 20+ point candidate, it might be a reasonable approach. But I don’t believe it. As incredible as Chase is, the Bills know he’s the key to beating them. If they can contain him, Cincy’s sub-par running game (yes, it’s statistically sub-par) won’t be able to keep pace.
It will also open the door to more volume for Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Hayden Hurst. So perhaps one of those three will be the biggest beneficiary.
For now, in our Diggs vs. Chase decision tree, Diggs wins.
Flex: WR Gabe Davis, Bills ($6,400)
The same can be said for Davis vs. Higgins. I pushed Davis a lot late this season and in last week’s contest (DFS and props). My theory was that Buffalo needed to get him going because no other wideout has stepped up as a consistent No. 2 opposite Diggs.
We know what Davis can do on a great day. Even on a half-decent day, he’s a bargain at $6,400 — which somehow is $800 less than he was last week.
Flex: WR Tyler Boyd, Bengals ($5,400)
With Isaiah McKenzie ($4,800) expected to return, I’m fading him, Cole Beasley ($1,800), and Khalil Shakir ($1,800). Without McKenzie, I would have lunged for Beasley or Shakir as a highly coveted cheap dart throw. Instead, this has become a crapshoot.
So I’m turning to the Bengals’ No. 3 receiver — reasonably priced, with enough pop (especially if Chase can’t break out) to exceed his realistic potential.
Flex: RB James Cook ($4,600)
As you’re about to see, this lineup assumes Buffalo will control the game and win by 12+ points. There should be plenty of opportunities for rookie James Cook to get more run. He’s arguably more talented than the inexplicably more costly Devin Singletary ($7,000). In a positive game script, Cook could shine.
Flex: Bills D/ST ($3,800)
Going into this process, I had intended to start four Bills and two Bengals. A Higgins-Boyd tandem seemed reasonable, with Shakir serving as a Hail Mary.
But I can’t get past the strong belief that Buffalo matches up beautifully against a Bengals offense that has the fourth-lowest yards per carry (3.8). Joe Mixon is dealing with the worst yards-after-contact mark of his career, and he’s broken a mere eight tackles on 210 carries (compared to 20 on 292 carries last year).
The pressure will be squarely on Burrow, whose average of 2.55 seconds from snap to pass is the league’s second-quickest mark, ahead of only Tom Brady. It reflects the duress Burrow is under, with an offensive line that still can’t protect him. His career sack rate is above three per game. How many other QBs have endured that level of pressure?
Yes, he’s fought through it and, at times, has dominated. But the Bills at home are a unique challenge for this franchise QB. I believe he’ll struggle more than we’re accustomed to seeing, and I am banking on 13+ points for the Bills D/ST.
Whatever you decide, good luck today.