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Divisional Round Saturday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

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Divisional Round Saturday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for daily fantasy football playoff tournaments

The Rams-Packers and Ravens-Bills kick off the second round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday, and daily fantasy football players will have some tough decisions to make when putting together DFS lineups. Our FanDuel picks center around three likely popular Bills, but we find some differentiation with secondary receivers from the Rams and Packers. 

Ultimately, you can only afford so many contrarian picks on slates like this, and certain “chalk” picks are hard to avoid. For this slate, Cam Akers and even Devin Singletary might be those guys. Singletary can be faded (though we don’t), but Akers is almost a must-play. If you fade him and he struggles, you’ll be in great shape, but that’s a big risk, especially with so few high-upside backs available.

MORE DIVISIONAL ROUND DFS: Top values | Lineup Builder

Divisional Round Saturday FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS tournament playoff lineup

QB Josh Allen, Bills vs. Ravens ($8,800). Lamar Jackson, who’s priced $800 less than Allen, is a better value, but Allen has just as high of a ceiling, if not higher. He’s been matchup-proof this year, and he showed last week with 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD that he’ll run more in the playoffs. With Zack Moss (ankle) out, Allen is a better bet for a rushing TD, and you know the passing volume will be there. Even at the highest price point in a fairly tough matchup, Allen is a great option.

RB JK Dobbins, Ravens @ Bills ($6,500). Dobbins will look to extend his seven-game scoring streak against a below-average Bills run defense that just allowed over 150 rushing yards and a TD to Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. It was a bit disappointing and surprising to see Dobbins receive just one more carry than Gus Edwards last week, but the rookie remains more explosive and is trusted everywhere on the field, giving him a good amount of upside. 

SATURDAY PLAYOFF DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings

RB Cam Akers, Rams @ Packers ($7,000). Akers is guaranteed volume, which is shown by his almost 25 touches per game since the start of Week 13. He’s produced with all those opportunities, too, averaging just over 122 total yards per game in that span. The Packers allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to RBs during the regular season, so expect Akers to be heavily owned. If you fade him and he goes off, which seems likely, you’ll have a tough time cashing.

WR Josh Reynolds, Rams @ Packers ($5,200). With Cooper Kupp (knee) limited or out, Reynolds figures to see a significant uptick in targets. There’s a chance he becomes a chalky play, but considering he wasn’t even targeted last week, he probably won’t be as highly owned as he should. Even if Kupp is active, Reynolds, who had 10 targets in Week 16 when Kupp played and six targets in Week 17 when Kupp was out, is a solid value. 

WR Stefon Diggs, Bills vs. Ravens ($8,600). Diggs has had at least 128 yards in four of his past five games and at least six catches in all but one game this year. He’s as automatic as you can find at this point in the season, and if you’re playing Allen, you almost have to stack Diggs with him.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers vs. Rams ($5,500). With Jalen Ramsey expected to cover Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers might not throw to him quite as much. That opens the door for MVS, who remains one of the ultimate bom-or-bust plays in the entire league. Just look at his past four games: 85 yards and a TD, no catches, no catches, 87 yards and a TD. Even in the games in which he didn’t have a catch, he still played a healthy amount of snaps, so the potential is there for him to get loose for one big play and pay off. 

TE Mark Andrews, Ravens @ Bills ($6,600). Opting for Robert Tonyan ($6,200) at a cheaper price makes sense if you buy into the theory that Ramsey will shut down Adams, but we’re fine paying up slightly for Andrews, who should see more targets and has a much better matchup. Buffalo allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points to TEs this year, making Andrews a threat for 80-plus yards and multiple scores.

FLEX Devin Singletary, Bills vs. Ravens ($5,700). Singletary feels like a bit of a trap, as he’ll be popular with Zack Moss (ankle) out, but Singletary averaged 17.3 touches and 77 total yards per game when Moss missed three weeks earlier this year. He should see at least 12 touches, and even though it’s a slightly unfavorable matchup, Singletary should have a fairly high floor. His touchdown upside could be capped by Allen’s short-yardage prowess, but Singletary is still a decent play.

D/ST Green Bay Packers vs. Rams ($4,600). Jared Goff (thumb) still doesn’t figure to be 100 percent, which gives the Packers by far the most favorable matchup on the slate. L.A. ($3,800) and Baltimore ($3,600) have better defenses and could always make a big play, so if you want to save some money, take a chance with one of them. 

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How long are CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Trail Blazers stars

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How long are CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Trail Blazers stars

The Trail Blazers will be without two of their most important players for an extended period.

Portland’s depth took another hit after guard CJ McCollum and center Jusuf Nurkic both suffered injuries during January games. The Trail Blazers, already dealing with the loss of Zach Collins after he underwent ankle surgery in late December, must now lean even more on Damian Lillard and figure out a way to avoid a major drop in the Western Conference standings.

What’s next for the Portland stars? Here’s everything we know about McCollum and Nurkic and the latest news on when they may return to the court.

MORE: When is the NBA trade deadline in 2021?

What is CJ McCollum’s injury?

McCollum left a Jan. 16 game against the Hawks with what the Trail Blazers initially called a left foot sprain. During the first quarter of that contest, Atlanta center Clint Capela jumped to block McCollum’s shot attempt at the rim and landed directly on his left foot.

Additional testing revealed McCollum had suffered a small hairline fracture in his left foot and a mid-foot sprain.

“Bad timing, it’s terrible timing,” McCollum said of the injury. “It’s nothing I can really do about it. I work hard to take care of myself. I put a lot of time in. I put a lot of effort into my body. This is one of the situations where there’s not much I could have done. Maybe if I would’ve done a left-handed layup he wouldn’t have fell on top of me, but it is what it is.

“I think I’m at the point in my life where, control what you can control. I’m not gonna feel sorry for myself. I live a good life. I’m still gonna live a good life. This is something that I can overcome with some time and some rest.”

What is Jusuf Nurkic’s injury?

Nurkic left a Jan. 14 game against the Pacers with a right wrist fracture. During the third quarter of that contest, Nurkic swiped at a driving Malcolm Brogdon, then immediately grabbed his wrist. He walked back to the locker room at the next timeout break and did not return.

“We’re always gonna be here for [Nurkic]. We’re always gonna show our support for him,” Lillard said. “But we gotta give him his space and let him take that in. It’s a tough thing. It comes with what we do, and it can happen at any time. I think that’s the best thing to do and how we should handle it.”

How long will CJ McCollum be out?

Portland announced on Jan. 19 that McCollum will be re-evaluated in four weeks. If he stays on that timeline, McCollum will miss at least 16 games, but the 29-year-old remains optimistic about his future.

“I’m battle-tested, man. I’m good,” McCollum said. “I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’m in a good stage of life. Mentally, I’m at peace.”

How long will Jusuf Nurkic be out?

Portland announced on Jan. 19 that Nurkic underwent wrist surgery and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. If he stays on that timeline, Nurkic will miss at least 23 games. Lillard expects backup big man Harry Giles to play a much larger role with Nurkic sidelined.

“There’s gonna be a huge opportunity for [Giles], and I think he’s prepared for it,” Lillard said. “Mentally, I think he’s a super confident young player. Every morning when I come into the facility, he’s on one of the baskets working on his game, sweating. … He’s been in the gym. He’s been preparing himself for whenever that opportunity came.

“I think now it’s here, and I think he’ll be ready for it. We’re gonna need him to be.”

CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic stats for 2020-21 season

McCollum  Per Game  Nurkic
26.7 Points 9.8
3.9 Rebounds 7.7
5.0 Assists 2.8
1.3 Steals 0.9
0.3 Blocks 0.9
1.0 Turnovers 1.9
33.8 Minutes 23.3
47.3 Field goal % 48.5
44.1 3-point % 25.0
84.4 Free throw % 55.6

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FS1’s Colin Cowherd has nuclear take on Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, AFC championship game

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FS1's Colin Cowherd has nuclear take on Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, AFC championship game

Hey, any interest in hearing an NFL take specifically designed to provoke an emotional response? Well, here’s Colin Cowherd!

The FS1 bloviator took to his microphone on Tuesday’s edition of “The Herd” and decided it was time to drop a nuclear sports opinion on his audience. Patrick Mahomes’ status for Sunday’s AFC championship game is up in the air with the Chiefs quarterback still in the NFL’s concussion protocol, so Cowherd suggested the league should simply wait until he is healthy before the contest between Buffalo and Kansas City is played.

MORE: Mahomes’ mom was not pleased with hit that injured QB

“We want Mahomes against [Bills QB] Josh Allen. That’s reasonable,” Cowherd said. “I’m sitting here this morning thinking, if I’m the NFL, Patrick Mahomes is going through protocol. I find the day Patrick Mahomes can play — that’s when we play.”

If that’s how Cowherd truly feels, then he should have taken it a step further and called out the NFL for not stopping the divisional game in which Mahomes was injured and waiting until he was ready to return. Is it really fair to say the Chiefs defeated the Browns when Chad Henne was the guy scrambling on the final drive? To the time machine!

But Cowherd doesn’t actually care about that. He knows how ridiculous his words sound. He isn’t concerned with offering a meaningful idea, just one that causes people to freak out. (And he did his job. Just check out the replies to this tweet.)

As for Mahomes, the 25-year-old cleared “some big steps” in the concussion protocol, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, though it’s still unclear whether he will be available against the Bills. Should Mahomes be ruled out, maybe the Chiefs can ask Cowherd to write up a special petition detailing why the NFL should take the unprecedented step of putting a conference championship game on hold as a star player continues to recover. Let’s push it back a month just to be safe.

That’s reasonable, right?

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Changes to March Madness schedule could create greatest day (or days) in NCAA Tournament history

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Changes to March Madness schedule could create greatest day (or days) in NCAA Tournament history

The opening Thursday of March Madness 2021 will not be the same. It always has been a holiday for college basketball fans — some of whom planned vacation days, called in sick or skipped school — to sit at home and binge on a day filled with 16 NCAA Tournament first-round games.

The challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic convinced the NCAA to push back the start of the tournament, what is known as the First Four, to Thursday, March 18.

Wait until you hear, though, what the tradeoff for that change to tradition will be: quite possibly the greatest two days of college basketball action in our lifetimes.

MORE: Why NCAA selection committee better not screw ’21 tournament up

Games in the Sweet 16, which will be contested at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, will be played in sequence on March 27 and March 28. There will be no overlap involving these games. There will be four games each day, played one after the other, so fans will not have to choose which matchup has greater appeal. You can watch each of them, one after the other: four on Saturday, four on Sunday.

You’re no longer going to need a second screen or a seat in a sports bar to see all the action — just a really comfortable chair and a stocked fridge.

There will be, for this year, no more choosing between such simultaneous classics as LSU-Texas and UCLA-Gonzaga, which were played in the same window on a Thursday night in 2006, or Virginia Tech-Duke and Kentucky-Houston, which shared the same late Friday timeslot in the most recent NCAA Tournament we had, in 2019.

A college basketball season like no other will end with an NCAA Tournament like no other.

In the case of March Madness, that could be a good thing.

Revised March Madness schedule for 2021

First Four: Thursday, March 18, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington, Ind.) and Mackey Arena (West Lafayette, Ind.).

First round: Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20, Assembly Hall, Mackey Arena; Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Second Round: Sunday, March 20 and Monday, March 21, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.

Regional semifinals: Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Regional finals: Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30, Lucas Oil Stadium.

Final Four: Saturday, April 3, Lucas Oil Stadium.

NCAA championship: Monday, April 5, Lucas Oil Stadium.

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