Updated: Sunday, Jan. 21 at 5:15pm ET
The Divisional Round of the 2023 NFL playoffs are loaded with some fantastic match-ups for DFS contests this weekend and this game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills is one that stands out, front-and-center. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have squared off six times since the 2020 regular season, including the post-season, and they have split the wins evenly. But the last five have all been in Kansas City, so, technically, this is foreign territory for Mahomes who now makes his road debut in the playoffs. Does that make a difference for either team? The game total sits at 45.5 right now so we expect both of these teams to put up points. Exactly where is always the question for DFS contests.
Chiefs vs. Bills Prediction: Patrick Mahomes earns victory in first-ever road playoff game
There has been so much made about this being Patrick Mahomes’ first road game in the playoffs, that it just makes me want to back him even more. Yes, his receiving corps, save for rookie Rashee Rice, has let him down throughout the season and yes, Travis Kelce does seem to be losing a step here, but this Bills team is currently dealing with a lot of injuries on defense and that is going to be problematic. The Bills will do everything they can to fight back and Joe Brady has done some fantastic things with this offense, most notably with James Cook. You never want to count out Josh Allen, but he tends to try to do too much and that, in the end, could be the Bills undoing.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills Odds
- Spread: Bills -3
- Chiefs (+120)
- Bills (-145)
- Total: 46.5
- Weather: Temperature should be around 20 degrees, with a 10-15mph sustained wind gusting around 20mph.
Chiefs vs. Bills Injury Report:
- Kadarius Toney, WR (hip – OUT)
- Derrick Nnadi, DT (elbow – questionable)
- L’Jarius Sneed, CB (calf – questionable)
- Gabe Davis, WR (knee – OUT)
- Sam Martin, P (hamstring – questionable)
- Terrel Bernard, LB (ankle – OUT)
- Baylon Spector, LB (back – OUT)
- Tyrel Dodson, LB (shoulder -- questionable)
- Taron Johnson, CB (concussion -- questionable)
- Rasul Douglas, CB (knee – questionable)
- Christian Benford, CB (knee – OUT)
- Taylor Rapp, SS (calf – OUT)
Best DFS Picks for Chiefs vs. Bills:
The rushing upside is always big as Allen loves to try and put his team on his back and carry them to a win, so we can probably mark him down for one score there. Then it’s going to be a matter of finding his receivers downfield against a team that ranked fifth in DVOA against the pass all year. He’ll find his top targets downfield, but will it be enough? Again, his value comes with his legs, so as we all know, you don’t need to win the game to post strong fantasy totals.
While I expect Andy Reid to lean fairly heavily on Isiah Pacheco early on, it’s only going to open things up more for Mahomes to take advantage of all these injuries we are seeing for the Buffalo linebackers and secondary. I’m not expecting Mahomes to throw for 300 yards but there is definitely strong potential for a multi-touchdown game here, especially when we know Pacheco is a solid pass-catcher as well. I favor Allen a bit more because he likes to run more and could be desperate to move the ball downfield in a hurry in the fourth quarter, but Mahomes is definitely a solid play who will likely go under-owned.
Since Joe Brady took over as the offensive coordinator, Cook has been playing at a phenomenal level. He’s seen no fewer than 15 touches per game over his last six and while he’s only got two touchdowns, we know the potential to score is there every time the Bills are inside the red zone. He’s going to be a little pricey, but considering the Chiefs ranked 27th in DVOA against the run, at least you know he’s going to be featured.
Yes, please. If you can afford Pacheco and you aren’t using a stack of Mahomes with pass-catchers, then get yourself some shares of Pacheco. Expect him to be chalky as everyone is suddenly all-in on this guy because of his “angry runs,” but it’s more than that. Go back to the Fantasy Alarm Draft Guide and look at how the scheme runs. Reid loves running backs who can do it all and now that he’s properly groomed Pacheco to be that complete back, he’s using him the way we know Reid uses running backs. I’m not saying he’s going to have a Priest Holmes or Jamaal Charles-type game here, but I bet he has a ton of them next season. This week, he’s just going to be a stud. Next year can be other-worldly.
I genuinely believe I can just say that he’s been Mahomes’ favorite and most-reliable target this season and leave it at that. If you need to see just how prolific he’s been, go check his game logs. Remember, when everyone was salivating over Jordan Addison and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, I was screaming for you to take Rice in the late rounds. It continues to pay off here in the playoffs.
While we may be seeing age and mileage take their toll on Kelce, he is still Mahomes’ favorite target. The two have been together throughout Mahomes’ career and they know each other’s on-field tendencies better than anyone else. Yes, the Bills have done well against the tight end all season, but this is still Kelce and this game’s importance to him should not be overlooked.
As Kelce ages out, Kincaid is one of the most dynamic, young tight ends ready to step in and claim the top spot at the position. We’ve seen Allen seek him out all over the field – when he needs to move the chains, when he needs to get into the end zone, you name it – and he will be on display once again in this match-up. The Chiefs have also done a good job against tight ends this season, but I’m still looking to get strong exposure to Kincaid this weekend.
It’s the pricey, contrarian play. I get that Diggs hasn’t been as reliable as he’s been in recent seasons and yes, he’s seen a drop in his snap count since Brady took over the offense, but with the playoffs on the line, I expect Allen and Diggs to reunite on the field for a strong performance. Keep an eye on the health of L’Jarius Sneed as he will likely see Diggs the most. Even if he plays, if he’s not 100-percent, Diggs could take advantage.
Other DFS Picks for Divisional Round:
Everyone is going to play him this week. His touchdowns catch-and-run from last week was fantastic, but it’s been so overplayed now that even the casual DFS player is going to try and lock him in at this price. He’s a great receiver with good speed to stretch the field and does well coming out of the slot. I expect him to see a strong target share which is exactly what you’re looking for when you go outside the top-priced tier of wideouts.
He’s the third receiving targets on the Chiefs and with the injuries to the Bills defense, he could see a few extra targets come his way. He’s not a big yardage guy, but at this price, if he finds his way into the end zone, he could be a solid option at a bargain price.
DFS NFL Value Plays:
I give the edge to Watson as the No. 2 receiver and No. 3 target, but the Bills have struggled against opposing slot receivers as of late as well and James could be the beneficiary here. He’s a dart-throw to save salary and get a little different in your lineups. Probably my favorite of the Chiefs dart-throws.
If he’s healthy, we’re willing to have some exposure, but he hasn’t practiced in almost two weeks so keep in mind that this is nothing more than a dart-throw and could be a wasted play if he’s limited. UPDATE: Davis will be inactive for this game.
We’ll see if he gets onto the field. If he does then he is definitely in-play and might even leapfrog James and Watson on my own personal DFS depth chart. But I need to see him in action at practice before I plug him into my lineups. UPDATE: Toney will be inactive for this game
He’s the deep-threat in this offense, so if Mahomes is going to take those long shots downfield, maybe MVS has some value. He couldn’t possible keep dropping long touchdowns, can he? If you wanna get weird with your lineups, MVS saves you a ton for your budget.
Another one if you want to get a little weird and contrarian with your lineup. Since coming back from injury, Knox hasn’t been the primary tight end, but he’s gotten into the end zone a couple of times. Remember when I used to love on the Higbee Special of one catch for eight yards and a TD? That would be Knox right now.
More NFL Divisional Round DFS Game Breakdowns:
- Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
- Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions