Punt plays are something we must consider when building a lineup, usually in tournaments. Sure, in a perfect world, we could just jam in all the expensive players, call it a day and rake in the cash. But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? Punt plays are players that aren’t usually relied upon to bring us those big fantasy production games but have some potential and could surprise us. We’ll look at some options to consider for this four-game Divisional Round slate at both the quarterback and running back position.
Kirk Cousins, QB Vikings ($5,700)
On a slate that includes names like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson amongst others, Cousins doesn’t exactly pop off the page at you. However, we do have reasons to like him against the 49ers on Saturday. As seven-point underdogs, Cousins will presumably be playing from behind, putting him in a great position to throw the ball. In games where the Vikings lost, he averaged 35 pass attempts compared to the 29 when they won. Near the end of the season, the 49ers weren’t the stellar defense we saw to begin the year either. To opposing quarterback, they allowed an average of 26. DKFP, 244 passing yards and 12 touchdowns thrown. For reference, in their 11 prior games, only 11 TOTAL touchdowns were thrown against them. With a fully healthy Adam Thielen ($6,200) and Stefon Diggs ($5,600) at his disposal, this could be a QB/WR combo many will be sleeping on.
Ryan Tannehill, QB Titans ($5,400)
We have the same mentality as Tannehill as we do with Cousins. At first glance, it’s hard to want to roster Tannehill with some of the other names for us to choose from. However, he does give us some of that much-needed salary relief, which will be crucial on this slate. For as cheap as he is, this is still a mobile quarterback who is averaging 16 yards per game with four rushing touchdowns. He’s also thrown at least one touchdown in every start and nine games with at least two. Certainly, his matchup against the Ravens isn’t the best place to target but he’s only $300 more than Robert Griffin III ($5,100), who won’t even take the field in this game. The Titans could run Derrick Henry ($8,200) heavily in this game once again, fresh off his 34 carries against the Patriots but even still, it’s hard to discredit just how cheap Tannehill is this week.
Duke Johnson, RB Texans ($4,700)
I have to be honest, Johnson is one of my favorite plays at the running back position this week. He’s a weird guy to be hung up on this week, right? Look, I get it, but the game script plays perfectly into his usage. Carlos Hyde simply doesn’t draw any targets and the Texans are the biggest underdogs on this slate at +9.5. It’s not exactly the situation where they’ll be using Hyde frequently. Instead, we could see a healthy dose of Johnson to catch out of the backfield, an area the Chiefs have struggled with. The 951 receiving yards to opposing backs was the second-most allowed in the league, which averages out to 59 per game. When these two teams met earlier this season, Johnson scored 13.4 DKFP with 54 total yards and a receiving touchdown. With the Chiefs secondary posing to be a much bigger problem than people are giving them credit for, this could be a very sneaky game for Johnson.
Jamaal Williams, RB Packers ($4,600)
It looks as if Williams will be able to take the field this week after missing Week 17. With the off week included, he should reclaim his role as the immediate back to Aaron Jones ($7,400). While Jones will be the one to handle the bulk of the carries, Williams is still very much in the mix and worthy of a roster spot. He averaged seven carries and three targets per game, giving him double-digit touches on a week-to-week basis. If we get lucky and he finds the end zone on one of those, you’d be sitting pretty and would have quite the differentiation from the majority of the field. You’d also be surprised to know that Williams has a 22% carry share and an 11% target share in the end zone. While his health is a bit of a concern, if you need to punt one of your running back positions, Williams is someone to consider.
I am an avid fan and user (my username is steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.