Julian Edelman

The playoffs have officially arrived, and this article focuses on an interesting matchup between the Patriots and Titans. For New England, it is their first game in the Wild Card round since 2009, meaning this could mark the beginning of the end of what has been a dominant run. Meanwhile, the Titans come in thriving with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, and are likely not your typical six-seed.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices

PATRIOTS-TITANS SHOWDOWN SPOTLIGHT

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SEVEN BETTING TRENDS

  • The Patriots have won each of their last nine postseason games at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Patriots have failed to cover the spread in each of their last four games against teams that held a winning record.
  • Nine of the Titans’ last 10 games have gone OVER the total points line.
  • Sony Michel has scored the first touchdown in each of the Patriots’ last three postseason games.
  • A.J. Brown has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Titans’ last four games.
  • James White has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Patriots’ last four home games against AFC South opponents.
  • Derrick Henry has scored two or more touchdowns in three of the Titans’ last four road games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

New England Patriots

This is an unfamiliar spot for the Patriots, but they will at least be playing at home. Because this team has participated in so many playoff games, we actually have a decent sample on their performances. Over the last five seasons, Tom Brady ($10,400) has played extremely well in playoff home games, scoring at least 17.4 DKFP in his eight such starts in that timeframe, with four games of at least 28 points. And if you’re into playoff DVP, Brady posted 28.7 DKFP against the Titans two postseasons ago.

It is no secret that Brady has aged, and it has been reflected in his play. If you believe his skills have waned too much to roster, there are certainly teams to be built that tell a story of New England dominating on the ground. In fact, the Pats called 114 runs (47.5%) to just 126 passes in their playoff run last year. That would be a top five rush rate in the 2019 season. Sony Michel ($7,000) has seen at least 18 carries in three straight games, making him a likely workhorse in the event of a run-heavy attack. James White ($8,200) has certainly been a fixture in the offense in his own right, especially in the playoffs. He has double-digit DKFP in all but one playoff game the past two years, including two of at least 20. White has a 17% target share on the year, making him stackable with Brady.

At receiver, there is one player to be fixated on, and that is Julian Edelman ($9,400). Edelman has been banged up, seeing just 18 targets in his last three games, but he still finished the season fourth in the NFL in that category. Additionally, he will have a great matchup in the slot with Logan Ryan, who allowed the most receptions, yards, and touchdowns in the slot in the entire league. If Edelman is still banged up, or you are just looking to differentiate in Brady stacks, Mohamed Sanu ($5,400) and rookie N’Keal Harry ($5,800) are options to consider.


Tennessee Titans

The Titans will enter the playoffs as one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses, making them a tough out in this round of the playoffs. Since Week 7, when Ryan Tannehill ($10,800) took over as Tennessee’s starting QB, no team has averaged more yards per play than the Titans. This will be their toughest test yet, facing a Patriots defense that finished the season ranked first in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA, both overall and against the pass. Tannehill’s performance validates his use, but it is not without risk.

The run game has perhaps been the star of the show over the final half of the season. Derrick Henry ($12,000) has totaled 896 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns in his last six games. Though New England no longer has a high-octane offense, it likely won’t stop teams from trying to establish the run in Foxboro in an effort to wear down the Patriots.

Adam Humphries (ankle) will miss his fifth-straight game for the Titans, which makes A.J. Brown ($9,800) a top play worth considering based on volume. He has seen 27% of the targets and 41% of air yards in the past four weeks. The dominant play of New England’s secondary will likely keep Brown lower owned than he should be. On the other side of the formation will line up Corey Davis ($4,600), who has seen 17% of the targets in that same time frame, but has only been able to muster 175 receiving yards. He is a potential cheap volume play.


THE OUTCOME

The Patriots are third in overall DVOA, but the Titans are ninth, indicating that they can hold their own in this matchup. I’m picking them to win outright. In a build reflecting this game script, I like Julian Edelman ($14,100 CP) or Derrick Henry ($18,000 CP) as potential Captain’s plays. Edelman is in position to see a ton of volume at a decreased price due to his subdued recent play. Especially if the Patriots are playing from behind, he is sure to soak up plenty of targets. Henry is pricier, but should be the focal point of the Titans’ attack.

Final Score: Titans 20, Patriots 17

Set your lineups here: NFL $500K Saturday Night Showdown [$100K to 1st]


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