As redraft fantasy football seasons come to an end, some managers and leagues pivot to a condensed version encompassing the NFL playoffs. This format brings its own unique challenges and changes from what we are used to playing during the NFL’s regular season. Others are competing in daily fantasy sports (DFS) competitions. How should managers handle Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2022 playoff fantasy football leagues and DFS?
Davante Adams is worth a high pick in playoff fantasy football leagues
I can hear the replies now: “Yeah, no kidding.” Well, hear me out for a second. I’m highlighting Adams due to the differences between traditional leagues and playoff leagues.
In any given week, Adams is a top-two receiver in rankings. He is coming off a season where he set career-highs in receptions (115) and yards (1,553) with 11 touchdowns on 169 targets, with the latter matching his previous best career-best.
The “new” fantasy season in the playoffs is just four weeks long. For Adams and the Packers, it’s even shorter. At most, No. 1-seeded Green Bay will only play in three games after clinching a bye in the Wild Card round.
That means Adams — at best — will play one fewer game than everyone else aside from the Tennesee Titans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC. This has to be accounted for if Adams is to be a worthy pick. We’d need to hope the Packers make the NFC Championship for the third season in a row, likely by defeating the winner of the Rams/Cardinals game.
Adams’ DFS value
It’s why I have Adams as my No. 2 wide receiver in the playoff rankings behind Cooper Kupp and ahead of Mike Evans and Deebo Samuel — three players I expect to play in a minimum of two games, just like Adams. While we do not have Adams’ DFS price yet, I am willing to pay any cost to make sure he is my lineup for next week’s games.
He will likely be the No. 1 or No. 2 highest-priced receiver. But I am more than willing to pay up to get one of the best WRs in football on my team and create a Packers stack with Aaron Rodgers. Sometimes the chalk tastes too good to pass up.
Allen Lazard’s recent surge in consistency could make him a great DFS sleeper
Since Week 14, Lazard has averaged 4.2 receptions, 58 yards, and a touchdown per game on 5.6 targets. He has 70+ yards in three of his last five games, including a meaningless Week 18 game against Detroit where he posted 75 yards and 2 scores on 5-of-6 receiving.
It’s been a career year for Lazard, who lost the majority of 2020 due to a core muscle injury. This season, he’s recorded 40 receptions on 60 targets (12.4% target share) for 438 yards and 6 touchdowns. With all eyes justifiably on Adams, receivers like Lazard will always have softer coverage.
That’s why he’s second among Packers WRs in red-zone targets (14). Lazard has 19+ DFS points on DraftKings in three of his last five games and will be one of the better values on the slate for the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a boom-or-bust fantasy option in fantasy
The Packers’ first-round bye came at a perfect time for Valdes-Scantling. In Green Bay’s final regular-season game, MVS left in the third quarter due to a back injury. He saw 1 target before heading to the locker room but did not haul it in. It was the second time this season Valdes-Scantling has failed to record a catch (Week 2).
When Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling connect, it’s usually fireworks. MVS averaged 16.5 yards per reception in 2021. Yet for fantasy, Valdes-Scantling is as frustrating as it gets, as he recorded only three games as a top-24 receiver with six games outside the top-60.
He would be a risky option in fantasy leagues and cash DFS lineups. But if you are playing multiple GPPs next weekend, I would have at least one lineup with a Rodgers/MVS stack. That would be a low percentage pivot option that could give you an edge over the competition if it hits.