Bengals-Bills DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for playoff Showdown tournaments — Leaving money on the table to draft an optimal squad


The Bengals and Bills will meet at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park this weekend for what should be an NFL Playoffs divisional-round slugfest. A lot of emotions surround this game — the last time they met, on Monday Night Football in Week 17 — safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest, and the game was postponed and ultimately cancelled. Now, Cincy — which technically finished with one fewer win despite leading that contest at the time it was called — must go into a difficult Buffalo setting to defend its AFC crown. This will be a difficult one to bet, but an easy one for which to assemble a DraftKings lineup. Today we will discuss the optimal DFS players to draft for this one, and why each one made the final cut. 

What do we know about the Bills? They’re a high-flying offense with perennial MVP candidate Josh Allen under center, and they went 7-1 straight up at home this season (but just 3-5 against the spread at Highmark). The Bengals, meanwhile, have been ATS studs, with Joe Burrow helping Cincy cover the spread in 19 of his past 24 starts.

Check out my betting preview for this one, but suffice to say this one should be quite the battle. We would much rather pour our money into DFS tournaments than mess around with the spread. So, let’s get into our DraftKings Showdown squad, which employs the unorthodox strategy of leaving over $2,000 on the table in order to draft an optimal lineup.

Before we get into our picks and strategy, here are the key scoring settings for DraftKings Showdown contests: They’re full-point PPR and there are three-point bonuses for 300 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and 100 receiving yards. The Captain pick costs 1.5 times a player’s original price, but he also gets his point total multiplied by 1.5.

MORE DK SHOWDOWN: How to win a Showdown contest

Playoff DraftKings Showdown Picks: Bengals at Bills

$50,000 budget, need at least one player from each team. 

Tee Higgins

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Captain (1.5x points, 1.5x salary): WR Tee Higgins, Bengals ($11,700)

We don’t feel comfortable picking a QB for the captain spot, as that would leave us high-and-dry when it comes to setting the rest of our lineup. And as much as we love Ja’Marr Chase ($17,100) and Stefon Diggs ($16,800), we just don’t view them as $5,400 and $5,100 better than Higgins. So, Tee this man up! We have seen Higgins, arguably the best No. 2 receiver in football, dominate in big games plenty of times over the past few seasons, and he’s reached 26.8 DK points in three of his past eight games. One of those was a 29.8-point effort against New England’s stout defense in Week 16, which would have produced 44.7 DK points in the 1.5-times Captain multiplier. You can’t go wrong with cool-as-ice Tee. 

MORE BENGALS-BILLS:
Betting preview 

Josh Allen

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FLEX QB Josh Allen, Bills ($11,800)

Now we’re talking. No way were we excluding either stud QB from our DK squad, we just needed to utilize their flex salaries and not their captain price tags. How could we shy away from Allen, a bonafide MVP candidate averaging 27.7 DK points per game on the season? He’s one of the best fantasy assets in the sport, and he always steps up in big games. This one will be to assert Buffalo’s status as a rightful AFC champion contenders — next week will be to prove he can finally win the big one over Patrick Mahomes.

Joe Burrow

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FLEX QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($10,800)

While Allen has plenty of pressure to deliver, Burrow has an even bigger monkey on his back. The Bengals rightfully feel that they deserve a neutral-field divisional round game, as the Week 17 game between these squads was ultimately cancelled because of the Damar Hamlin injury. We know all about Joey B’s floor — 23.6 points is his average over the course of the season — but it’s the big-game, calm/cool/collected demeanor and icy ceiling of Joey Brr that really entices us. In just the past month, we’ve seen him put up 28 DK points in New England and 25 DK points in Tampa. Earlier in the season, he dropped 30-plus DK points against Pittsburgh and Kansas City. And we all know what kind of a heater he went on at this time last year. Ride the beast and draft the Burrow. 

FLEX WR Gabe Davis, Bills ($6,400)

Speaking of playoff heroes, remember last postseason when Davis hauled in four TDs and finished with 201 receiving yards against the Chiefs in the divisional round? I remember. He flashed glimpses of such brilliance last week in Buffalo’s tight 34-31 win over Miami, catching six passes for 113 yards and a TD. This is budget-bin pricing for a wideout with a massive ceiling in a high-flying offense. Grab him — he won’t be this cheap again for a while.  

FLEX TE Dawson Knox, Bills ($5,200)

Knox is quietly riding a five-game TD streak, and he hasn’t dipped below 9.3 DK points during that span. He has a benchmark of about 12 and a ceiling of 22, so we love him at $5,200 against a CIncy defense that allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to the tight end position this year. 

Cole Beasley

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FLEX WR Cole Beasley, Bills ($1,800)

Beasley got scooped up by the Bills for the Super Bowl run a few weeks ago, but he really made his return to the lineup known last week in Buffalo’s wild-card weekend win over Miami. If we can get a couple catches, 35 yards, and a TD from Beasley once again this week, the slot-man will be more than worth his $1,800 cost. And who cares if we’re leaving $2,300 on the table — we can’t find one roster spot we can significantly upgrade for $2,300 more. Go with the optimal lineup rather than trying your hardest to spend every dime!

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