“Laces out!”

Ray Finkle made those words famous in the cult classic Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Those very laces might have bit Blair Walsh in the backside after his chip-shot FG attempt to beat the Seahawks didn’t even sniff the goalpost.

Vontez Burfict intercepts a pass, he and his teammates run into the tunnel, and all the Bengals have to do is run the clock and hold on to the….FUMBLE! Jeremy Hill coughs up the football, then Burfict head-hunted Antonio Brown, Pacman Jones got into some kind of altercation with Steelers’ coach Joey Porter (who should’ve been flagged for being in the middle of the field), and the Steelers make their chip-shot field goal after those two 15-yard penalties put them in range.

It was a crazy, drama-filled week in the first round of the NFL playoffs and I can’t wait for the Divisional Round, by far the best round of the playoffs each year.

I love the Wild Card Round, but I love the Divisional Round the most. The best teams play the best teams and only then does the cream rise to the top for championship week.

This week features three regular-season matchups and one first-time matchup. It will be interesting to see the chess matches that ensue with these teams that have seen each other once this season.

I am excited about watching the games this weekend, but I am not that excited by DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament. The field has decreased mightily, but the entry fee has skyrocketed. Your shot at a million dollars will cost you $100 for each chance. Two bucks got you a shot at the $1.3 billion Powerball prize.

I don’t think I will take my shot in that tournament this week and would rather pay down for some solid prize pools. I wonder if it will even fill. Last week’s Millionaire Maker tournament did not, and that was at $20.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the Wild Card round grades with the Divisional buy and sell to follow.

Wild Card Round Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML Closing O/U Closing Spread Closing ML Projected Score Final Score Grade
Seahawks at Vikings 42 -5 – Sea -210 – Sea 40 -4.5 – Sea -240 – Sea 22.25 – 17.25 – Sea 10 – 9 – Sea 5 pts. – B
Chiefs at Texans 41 -3 – KC -157 – KC 39.5 -3 – KC -160 – KC 21.25 – 18.25 – KC 30 – 0 – KC 4 pts. – B
Packers at Redskins 47 -1.5 – Was -120 – Was 48 -1 – Was -120 – Was 24.5 – 23.5 – Was 35 – 18 – GB 1 pt. – F
Steelers at Bengals 45.5 -1- Cin -132 – Pit 46 -2 – Pit -130 – Pit 24 – 22 – Pit 18 – 16 – Pit 2 pts. – D

B.F.D.

That acronym is something vulgar. Google it if you must, but those were the grades that Wild Card round produced last weekend, with an extra B.

Chiefs/Texans and Seahawks/Vikings had the best grades of the weekend. Both were low-scoring games, as projected though the Chiefs spanked the Texans without allowing a single point.

I honestly don’t know why the Redskins were favored. Yes, they were at home, but they were not a good football team, making the playoffs by default because they won their division. Most of their wins came against the NFC East, and their defense coughs up points and yards like a yak with bronchitis. They were the home also because they won the division despite having the worst record out of all of the postseason teams from the NFC. I liked the Packers D over the Redskins D, thus the edge, for me, went to the Packers.

Vegas didn’t think so and they were dead wrong, and it wasn’t even close.

Two out of four were Bs, so a solid line for Vegas. See the total grading table below for last weekend’s playoff games and for the year-to-date.

Scale Wild Card Grades Total Grades
1 or less – F A – 0 A – 10
2 – D B – 2 B – 78
3 – C C – 0 C – 45
4-6 – B D – 1 D – 51
7-8 – A F – 1 F – 57

Now let’s take a look into the Divisional Round, which has great match-ups on the slate. Below will be the buy and sell feature for DFS, and like last week, I will buy and sell an item from each game.

Divisional Round Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML
Kansas City at New England 44.5 -5 – NE -240 – NE
Green Bay at Arizona 48.5 -7 – Ari -340 – Ari
Seattle at Carolina 43.5 -1.5 – Car -147 – Car
Pittsburgh at Denver 40.5 -2.5 – Den -220 – Den

Kansas City at New England – Saturday, January 16th – 3:35 p.m. ct

Buying – Spencer Ware – RB – Chiefs – For the past two weeks, the Chiefs have featured Ware over Charcandrick West. They even trusted him to carry the load in their first playoff game. For me, that says a lot about what to expect from him this week against the Patriots. Despite a middle-of-the-pack run defense, I feel Ware is a sneaky play this week. 1. Maclin is out, so other players have to step up. 2. You are going to need some value somewhere this week and RB, again, is nearly unplayable. 3. The Pats are going to want to score a lot of points. The Chiefs are going to be a dink, dunk, QB Smith scramble, run, run, run, chew the clock all over again team to keep the Pats’ offense off the field as much as possible.

Selling – Rob Gronkowski – TE – Patriots – Edelman is coming back from an injury and is supposed to be a “full go.” I am going to buy that Edelman is the guy that gets it done for the Pats. At an elevated price coming off injury, I could see him going low-owned as well. Gronk is Gronk and always offers that upside, but the Chiefs are one of the best teams against TEs, thus perhaps forcing Brady’s eye to key on Edelman. Let’s face it, the Pats aren’t going to try and run the ball too much (unless they are up big late). The Chiefs also are great at stopping the run, as we all know. The Chiefs’ pass rush will be coming in a flurry and Brady will need to get the ball out of his hands quickly many times. That’s where Edelman can flourish in the middle of the field, taking away opportunities for Gronk.

Green Bay at Arizona – Saturday, January 16th – 7:15 p.m. ct

Buying – James Jones – WR – Packers – I was in this well last week and I am going to stay there. He’s getting the lion’s share of targets, the Packers can’t and won’t be able to run the ball against the Cardinals (this time, even though Eddie cruised to a 100-yard game a few weeks ago somehow, in a blowout). He had 11 targets against the Cardinals in their regular season matchup, but turned in just 4 catches. I think the Packers found a groove last weekend, despite their opponent’s defensive weaknesses. Also, Davante Adams will be out, opening more possible targets for Jones. I don’t think another blowout is coming here like in Week 16.

Selling – Michael Floyd – WR – Cardinals – It is to my understanding that Sam Shields will see lots of Michael Floyd this weekend, should Shields be cleared to play (which is sounds like he should be a go). Floyd put up a solid stat line (6 catches, 100+ yards) against the Pack last time out. I feel I have to pick a Cardinals WR to fall under expectations and I feel that receiver will be Floyd (though keep an eye on Shields’ availability).

Seattle at Carolina – Sunday, January 17th – 12:05 p.m. ct

Buying – Doug Baldwin – WR – Seattle – Unless the Panthers change Josh Norman’s assignment, Doug Baldwin should not see lots of the Panthers’ stud CB. Playing out of the slot, Baldwin has won a lot of season-long leagues with his play after TE Jimmy Graham went down. I think ownership suffers here because of the thought of Baldwin facing Panthers. Seattle will be throwing (come on, Christine Michael at RB? Unless Lynch plays of course). These two teams played early in the regular season, but you can’t let Baldwin’s stat line back then keep you from playing him this week. This is a different Seattle offense than it a few months ago.

Selling – Jonathan Stewart – RB – Panthers – Stewart will be back this week against the Seahawks, but with outlooks on some of the top RBs looking bleak, you might feel like you have to play Stewart due to potential volume. We saw what Adrian Peterson didn’t do last week, so it’s foolish (in my opinion) to think Stewart can do any better against this stout Seattle front.

Pittsburgh at Denver – Sunday, January 17th – 3:40 p.m. ct

Buying – Denver WRs – Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (in a revenge game) torched this secondary awhile back and that was with Brock Osweiler at the helm. Peyton Manning is back in the saddle, so that has me worried a bit, but the Steelers’ secondary hasn’t changed much. It’s still mediocre and gives up the most fantasy points to WRs. Emmanuel will be motivated again and Demaryius is Demaryius. Forget the run game, it’s Manning and his targets.

Selling – Any Steelers QB – Ben Roethlisberger is battling torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder, so availability is in question. Landry Jones could start, or even play. Whomever plays, I want no part of either guy against the Broncos’ secondary. And I especially don’t want either of them if Antonio Brown, the best receiver on the slate this weekend, doesn’t play at all. It’s an ugly situation away from home for the Steelers. The Broncos’ secondary is legit and is one of the toughest teams against WR in fantasy.

Wild Card Overall
O vs. U – 1-3 O vs. U – 111-122-5
Favorite vs. Underdog – 3-1 Favorite vs. Underdog – 146-88-1
Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 0-0 Team Wins with <120 Money Line – 6-1
Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 1-1 Team Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 16-21
Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 1-0 Team Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 22-12
Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 0-0 Team Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 14-11
Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 1-0 Team Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 47-23
Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 0-0 Team Wins with 300+ Money Line – 42-16
Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 2-0 Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 81-42
Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 0-1 Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 35-38
Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 0-1 Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 22-8
High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 1-0 High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 26-27
Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 2-0 Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 15-19

Lastly, take a look at the record books for Vegas. Enjoy! Good luck this weekend.

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