Division Round Playoff Preview: Sunday

Breaking down the divisional round of the 2023 NFL playoffs.

By the time this slate is over, we will know which two teams will battle it out for their respective conference championships. Our Division Round Playoff Preview: Sunday looks at the Bucs vs. Lions and Chiefs at Bills contests from a fantasy football and sports betting lens.

Using our RDA* projections, we can break down each game to find the statistical edge that can give us a leg up in playoff fantasy and daily fantasy lineups. Also, we can determine the best bets to make.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-8) at Detroit Lions (13-5)

Time: 3:00 Eastern

Line: Lions -7

Total: 49.5

Money Line: Buccaneers +250, Lions -300

Tampa Bay Offense

Few people projected the Buccaneers to be playing in Week 20 when Tampa was sitting at 5-7. However, behind a strong defense and the heady play of QB Baker Mayfield, the Bucs rallied to win six of their last seven games and earned their spot into the divisional round of the NFC postseason.

Their reward is a trip to Detroit to take on the surging Lions. Detroit boasted the league’s No. 2 run defense in 2023. Meanwhile, Tampa ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing. Subsequently, don’t expect a big rushing performance out of RB Rachaad White. However, White ranked fourth among all running backs with 64 grabs, so he’s plenty capable of producing PPR points in a game with a solid over/under of 49.5

The matchup is much more appealing for the receivers. Mike Evans led the league with 13 touchdown grabs but went scoreless in Week 6 against this secondary. Chris Godwin fared better in that game, snagging 6-of-7 targets for 77 yards. Both are solid options in a game where Tampa is projected to score over 21 points.

Our RDA* projections have Tampa’s dynamic duo as top-5 wideouts this week.

WR3 Trey Palmer was out-snapped by David Moore last week against the Eagles. Both have some appeal as cheap DFS options against a defense that yielded the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers per FullTime Fantasy’s points-allowed tool.

Tampa’s wideouts have strong appeal against a secondary that allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.

Tight end Cade Otton saw a career-high 11 targets last week. He won’t play that big of a role against a Detroit defense that is more credible defending tight ends. However, all four of Otton’s touchdowns this season came on the road, which gives him some appeal as a low-cost flex option in daily lineups.

Detroit Offense

We all know Jared Goff tends to play better at home. However, Goff’s season-high total of 353 passing yards came back in Week 6 against the Buccaneers. Except that game was in Florida. Our updated RDA* projections for Week 20 predict Goff to have the most passing yards (268) of any signal caller this weekend.

This game should feature a fearsome battle in the trenches. Detroit ranked fifth in rushing. Meanwhile, the Bucs ranked fifth against the run.

Regardless of the imposing matchup, we’re not shying away from inserting Jahmyr Gibbs into our lineups. Gibbs has produced seven touchdowns in Detroit’s last six games. Additionally, both of his 100-plus yard rushing efforts came in this building.

David Montgomery is also a top-4 play in our RDA* projections. But, it should be noted that Montgomery did nothing against Tampa Bay in their previous meetings- a game where Gibbs didn’t play.

Our No. 1 wide receiver this week in full PPR formats is Amon-Ra St. Brown. With 18-plus PPR points in five straight, St. Brown is on a heater. Also, he destroyed the Bucs back in Week 6, snagging 12-of-15 targets for 124 yards and a score.

With Kalif Raymond ruled OUT, Josh Reynolds will act as Detroit’s safety valve. Jameson Williams also has appeal as the Lions’ big-play threat.

TE Sam LaPorta is questionable but played just fine last week. Only Denver allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than Tampa this season, so LaPorta looks appealing once word breaks that he is good-to-go.

Many of the defenders who helped the Buccaneers win a title just three years ago make up the core of a Bucs’ defense that allowed the seventh-fewest points in football this season. Tampa ranked fifth against the run and the Buccaneers were a sparkling 8-1 against the spread on the road. Subsequently, I think they can keep this to a one-score game.

Bucs +7 

Kansas City Chiefs (12-6) at Buffalo Bills (12-6)

Time: 6:30 PM Eastern

Line: Buffalo -3

Total: 45.5

Money Line: Chiefs +130, Bills -150

Kansas City Offense 

The 2023 Chiefs are a long way off from last year’s championship roster. While the defense has more than lived up to the billing, it’s surprisingly been the offense that has regressed. Kansas City fell to ninth in yards and 15th in scoring. QB Patrick Mahomes had his worst fantasy season and tossed a career-high 14 picks. Also, this will be the first road playoff game of his career and it comes against a red-hot Buffalo team eager to avenge recent postseason losses to Mahomes.

RDA* projections expect a big game out of Isiah Pacheco. The sophomore sensation is projected to have the second-most rushing attempts this week and comes in as our No. 2 running back. Pacheco ranked 19th with 4.5 yards per carry and should be able to find plenty of running room against a Bills’ defense that was 27th in that category.

As has been the case all season, the receiving corps is uncertain. Rashee Rice has been the only dependable option for Mahomes. Meanwhile, Buffalo ranked seventh against the pass. Rice is a solid option, but KC’s other wideout are all gambles with extremely low floors.

Buffalo allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Plus, with Travis Kelce‘s struggles, it’s not the best matchup. Kelce’s DFS salary makes him a cost-prohibitive choice, even if he is one of the safest starts of the slate.

Buffalo Offense

Only three teams allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than Kansas City. However, Josh Allen has been matchup-proof. Particularly at home. Allen has scored multiple touchdowns in every one of Buffalo’s 10 home games this season. And that is precisely what we are forecasting again this week from our No. 2 overall signal-caller.

The Chiefs’ defense ranked second in the league but was below average against the run. That could lead to a few more opportunities for James Cook.

After releasing Leonard Fournette, Latavius Murray has secured the No. 2 role. Murray has some potential as flex play in DFS lineups that will assuredly be low-owned.

Gabe Davis won’t play. Stefon Diggs remains the obvious top target in Buffalo. However, Diggs has not eclipsed 100 receiving yards since Week 6 and is likely to be blanketed by CB L’Jarius Snead. We like Khalil Shakir as a pivot.

RDA* projections favor Dalton Kincaid as a top-5 tight end this week. We’re projecting a few extra looks for Kincaid and Dawson Knox on account of Davis’s absence.

The Chiefs have won 10 of their last 12 road games, but Buffalo enters the Divisional round on a six-game win streak of their own. There are strong leanings on the under in this contest, and I hate betting against Patrick Mahomes. But this is not the same Chiefs squad that won the Lombardi a year ago. And these Bills are amped for payback. I’ll take the favorites and would consider teasing it down half a point.

Bills -3

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About Jody Smith 487 Articles
With over a decade of winning experience, Jody is a well-known fixture in the fantasy football community. He was named Fantasy Pros’ **Most Accurate Ranker** previously and was the site’s Top NFL over/under totals picker with a record 65% accuracy in 2020, while also ranking 5th in the country with a 55% against-the-spread hit rate. Jody has written for many sites over the years including Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, CBS Sportsline, FantasyData, and is a regular contributor to the Fantasy Index magazine expert’s poll, draft, and auction. Jody’s experience ranking and projecting player performance will help prepare the Fulltime Fam for their big draft days as well as answers they can trust on Sunday for those ever crucial Who Do I Start questions.