We have reached the first round of the NFL playoffs, and there’s no better time to compete in DFS tournaments. Saturday’s matchups include the Bengals vs. the Raiders and the Bills vs. the Patriots. If you’re competing in DFS competitions today, our recommended picks for these playoff contests reflect the most likely fantasy football game scripts. This DFS lineup is based on DraftKings pricing.
Top NFL DFS picks for the Saturday playoffs | QB and RBs
When choosing a quarterback in a DFS slate, it’s important to balance high upside with a high floor. Similarly, there’s rarely a good reason to invest $5,000 in an 8-touch RB when you can invest $8,000 in a 15+ touch RB.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,300)
It’s been a tale of three seasons for Joe Burrow. After missing a good chunk of last year with a torn ACL and MCL, he has rounded into form this season, not unlike a gourmet dinner: hot at the outset (the prep), cool in the middle (sitting on plates as we wait for Uncle Phil to finish telling his story), and hot at the end (sticking the food back in the microwave).
No NFL QB has more momentum heading into the postseason. Although Las Vegas has been pretty solid against the pass, the other slate today (Bills vs. Patriots) features even tougher pass defenses. Burrow is the safest bet for great numbers.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,100)
It’s hard not to love the 2021 version of Joe Mixon. The overall RB4 has seven games with 24+ fantasy points. That’s right: seven. No other running back this season has more than six of such performances. The same is true for last year. Mixon, at his, best is as good as any fantasy RB not named Derrick Henry or Jonathan Taylor — likely because unlike Henry and Taylor, Mixon is part of a very balanced offensive attack. He’s simply too good to ignore in DFS.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots ($6,400)
15 rushing touchdowns. That’s how many Damien Harris has. Oh, and he had only 1 in his first four games. So that’s everything we need to know about how important he is to the Patriots’ offense. He is the glue that keeps this train moving, alleviating some pressure from the shoulders (and throwing arm) of their rookie quarterback. Harris’ 4.6 yards per carry is strong. And his 5 punch-ins from the 1-yard line reinforce his multi-touchdown potential.
Top NFL DFS picks for the Saturday playoffs | WRs
This lineup’s wide receivers include a WR stack and an undervalued dart throw. How confident are we that these three wideouts will help you win?
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,800)
How can we not start him? Ja’Marr Chase has exceeded even the loftiest preseason expectations. Now, he’s sometimes struggled, including from Weeks 8-13, when he averaged only 4 catches for 41 yards. But let’s remember he’s a rookie in a crowded receiving corps who’s still managed to rise above more often than not. His mammoth ceiling makes him a must-add in DFS slates.
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,200)
It’s been quite a season for Tee Higgins: 2 touchdowns in two games to open the year, then injured for three games, then returning to the reality of Ja’Marr Chase taking over the NFL.
But Higgins has worked his way back as an occasional top target for Burrow, including four 100-yard receiving games in his last six contests. And in Weeks 15 and 17, Higgins and Chase both posted great numbers. So this WR-WR stack makes sense.
Zay Jones, WR, Las Vegas Raiders ($4,000)
The price is right. Although Darren Waller is getting back into football form and might cut into Zay Jones’ upside, it’s important to point out that Jones earned an 89% offensive snap share in Week 18 — his highest rate since Week 9. Meanwhile, Waller was on the field 78% of the time. Jones can still be an active top-three receiver alongside a healthy Waller.
Top NFL DFS picks for the Saturday playoffs | TE, Flex, D/ST
We have only $11,200 remaining in this top-heavy DFS lineup. What’s the optimal combination for these final three slots?
Foster Moreau, TE, Las Vegas Raiders ($3,100)
Foster Moreau earned targets even with Waller back in Week 18. While Moreau is unlikely to serve as anything more than the Raiders’ No. 4 or No. 5 receiver, he’s a sneaky and cheap dart throw, as demonstrated by his strong play in Waller’s absence. Basically, Moreau is one of the best backup tight ends in the league, and he’s playing a bigger role than backups usually play.
Rhamondre Stevenson, Flex, New England Patriots ($5,100)
Rhamondre Stevenson is one of the best non-starting running backs in the NFL. It’s hard to believe he’s still only a rookie. Mac Jones is also a rookie and hasn’t been unleashed. For New England to win, they’ll need to pound the ball on the ground, just as they’ve done for much of the season. Stevenson’s pass-catching ability and 4.6 yards per carry should serve him well on Saturday.
Cincinnati Bengals, D/ST ($2,900)
The Bills are also a solid D/ST play today, but they’re more expensive. The Bengals work within our salary cap. The opposing Raiders are certainly turnover-prone, as Derek Carr has lost more fumbles in the last decade than nearly any other QB. And if Waller isn’t at full strength, Carr could find it difficult to keep the chains moving. Yes, the Raiders won big in Week 18. But Las Vegas is a middling offense. If the Bengals play close to their best football, they can contain their opponent.