With a player pool of only eight teams to choose from (six if you
wisely choose to avoid Raiders and Texans), and only a few advantageous
matchups to exploit, Wildcard Weekend of the NFL playoffs presents
an interesting and fun challenge for DFS players.
Owners who typically like to diversify their rosters by not having
multiple players from the same team will likely need to alter
their strategy as scarcity of players creates the need to stack,
while players in GPP formats who like to target minimally owned
players may have more difficulty finding that diamond in the rough.
Fewer players to choose from leads to a higher probability that
your opponent in cash games with have similar players on your
ticket, making it imperative you hit on can’t miss high
dollar/high floor guys.
I tend to stick to cash games during the first two rounds of
the playoffs, with a philosophy of not worrying too much about
having multiple players from the same team and the same game.
My strategy this week is to avoid the Houston/Oakland and Detroit/Seattle
matchups for most offensive players
while focusing on building my roster with picks from the other
To win a large GPP game this week someone will likely need to
hit on the breakout player from those two games. I am not comfortable
picking who that player might be, so I am going to stay the course
with my cash game plan.
Here are a few players I am targeting this weekend and a few
that I am going to avoid like the plague.
Russell Wilson, Roethlisberger and Rodgers
will be popular DFS plays in both cash and GPPs.
Last week’s 14.72 point game against the Niners in what
turned out to be a much closer game than anticipated is still
a head scratcher to me. With the Niners defense a dumpster fire,
it sur-prised me that Wilson was unable to get the passing game
going against a unit that allowed the 10th most points to opposing
One thing that is not surprising is Wilson’s success at
home as of late, with seven touchdowns and one interception in
his last two games at CenturyLink Field, including 37.6 points
Week 16 against Arizona.
The Lions backed their way into the playoffs with three straight
losses to NFC playoff teams, while allowing Dak Prescott, Aaron
Rodgers, and Eli Manning to throw for a combined nine touchdowns
and 713 yards without an interception.
With a nice matchup at home against a struggling defense, Wilson
is the quarterback that I feel will give the highest floor this
GPP - Matt Moore vs. Pittsburgh ($6,000 on DraftKings)
Moore has averaged a surprising 18.62 fantasy points per game
since taking over for an injured Ryan Tannehill. During that span,
he has produced more fantasy points that Big Ben, Eli Manning,
and Matt Stafford, while giving a floor of at least 15 fantasy
points in all three of his starts.
Although statistically, he has been pretty consistent this year,
I still view him as a boom or bust play for GPP players based
on the fact that I am uneasy on how he will play on the road in
a playoff game.
I anticipate this will be a high scoring game, with Moore and
the passing game forced to score at least 28 points to keep pace
with the Steelers. The question is how well the veteran quarterback
will play in his first career playoff start. For that reason,
I would feel more comfortable playing him as a homerun play in
a large tournament.
Statistically speaking Stafford is having a down year compared
to the type of numbers he put up earlier in his career with Calvin
Johnson. But from a real life football perspective, Stafford is
having arguably his best year in terms of efficiency and not
turning the ball over (career low 10 picks).
That is great news for Lions fans, and the former first-round
pick from Georgia is a big reason why they are in the playoffs.
Yet for fantasy owners, Stafford’s pedestrian numbers have
been a disappointment, with only two 20-plus fantasy point performances
in his last ten games.
I am not sure I would recommend playing Stafford at home against
Forking out over a fifth of your budget for one player seems
like a silly thing to do, as it will limit your ability to fill
out other roster spots with viable options. The only way you can
justify making an expensive move like that is if the player is
guaranteed a ridiculous amount of touches in a high-scoring offense.
Bell has averaged 26 touches per game since Week 11, highlighted
by a record-setting 42 touch, 298 total yards, and three score
game against Buffalo Week 14.
Now I am not anticipating that type of workload or production,
but barring injury Bell is a lock for 25 touches and has yet to
score less than 13 fantasy points in a game this year.
The vaunted Seattle defense that has dominated the league is
not quite the same unit as in years past, as evident by the fact
that they have allowed five rushing touchdowns in their last two
games to David Johnson and Shaun Draughn.
Seattle ranks in the middle of the pack this season in points
allowed to running backs, something they excelled at in recent
Zenner has been a nice surprise for Lions fans in the final two
games of the season with three touchdowns and just over 200 combined
yards. The thing that I find most appealing about Zenner is his
usage in the passing game during that span, with six catches for
This is somewhat of a contrarian play, as many owners will avoid
this game and focus on other upside plays with better matchups.
The perfect type of play of GPP owners looking or a single digit
ownership type of play.
Although Beckham finished the year with career lows in touchdowns,
yards per game, and yards per attempt, he turned it on in the
second half of the season to give fantasy owners a return on the
top three pick capital required to draft the former LSU star.
For DFS purposes, Beckham has scored 19 or more fantasy points
in eight of his final eleven games, highlighted by a 44-point
game against Baltimore Week 6.
The Packers have a depleted secondary that will struggle to matchup
against Beckham, even if Dom Capers ops to try to double team
with a safety or linebacker.
Of the three top wide receivers this weekend, Beckham, Nelson,
and Brown, the former is the one I feel most confident in spending
a sizable amount of my budget on, as he has the most ad-vantageous
matchup and high floor.
This one might be a bit of a stretch considering Richardson posted
four games this year without a single catch. Owners looking for
a cheap wide receiver to round out their ticket may want to consider
Richardson, a seldom used wide receiver who has 12 targets in
the last two games since Tyler Lockett left with a broken leg.
Darius Slay is the only cornerback on the Lions who presents
a matchup problem for opposing wide receivers and will likely
cover Doug Baldwin most of the game. The Seahawks have proven
over the past few weeks that they cannot run the ball and will
need to move it through the air to beat Detroit.
Richardson could be the breakout player of the week or he could
be a complete dud. Not the type of player who will be on my cash
ticket, but GPP owners searching for that diamond in the rough
may want to consider him.
Fade - Jordy Nelson vs. New York Giants ($8,000
Janoris Jenkins has done an excellent job shutting down the top
WR option for opposing offenses this year and will likely be matched
up against Jordy for most of the game. With Davante Adams, Randall
Cobb/Geronimo Allison, and Jared Cook as other options in the
passing game, it seems reasonable to me that the Packers will
not try to force the ball to their leading receiver.
Nelson may score a touchdown, but the chance of a big game against
a Giants team that has allowed only four receiving touchdowns
since Week 13 is not likely.
GPP - Jared
Cook vs. NY Giants ($3,400 on DraftKings)
With only one touchdown catch on the season and 80 percent of
his games resulting in less than ten fantasy points, Cook has
been a below average fantasy option this season.
Despite this fact, the recent trend of an increase in usage over
the past three games (8,5,8 tar-gets), Cook appears to be gaining
the trust of Rodgers and continues to be more of a focus of the
Green Bay offense.
I referenced in my Jordy Nelson fade that the Giants have been
tough as of late against opposing wide receivers, leading me to
believe that Rodgers will use Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook to
attack the New York defense.
Fade - Eric Ebron vs. Seattle ($3,900 on DraftKings)
Only three tight ends have scored a touchdown this year against
Seattle, with only Martellus Bennett topping the century mark
Ebron has seen a huge increase in usage with 18 targets over
the past two games, converting those looks into 14 catches for
154 yards. Despite this fact, I think the Seahawks will make a
point to shut him down while forcing Matthew Stafford to beat
them outside with Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
Defensive Play of the Week
Houston vs. Oakland ($3,800 on DraftKings)
The fact that rookie Connor Cook will be forced to make his first
start in the NFL on the road against a stingy Houston team makes
the Texans the most attractive DST play this week.
The Texans have not been a high scoring DST for fantasy purposes,
with only two defensive touchdowns and no games over 20 fantasy
points. That fact might change this week as Cook will be put to
the test with complex blitzes and coverage schemes.