NFL DFS: DraftKings Wildcard Weekend Picks
DraftKings has given us three slates for the NFL DFS Wildcard Weekend. There are separate slates for Saturday and Sunday as well as a complete six-gamer. If your bankroll allows, it makes sense to play all three. With a reduced player pool, many of the rules I live by when constructing lineups are moot. Don’t be afraid to play a defense with an opposing skill player. Don’t worry about correlation, it will happen naturally. However, and this is one of my non-negotiables, late-swap is more important than ever. With staggered start times, you need to change your lineups based on how you performed in earlier games. If you are behind the cash-line going into the last game on the slate, play the low-owned punt play, such as a Washington or a Cleveland receiver on the Saturday and Sunday slates respectively.
I’ve run through each wildcard weekend matchup and highlighted my fantasy thoughts on each one.
These are my personal opinions on the games and strategies at the time of writing this. I may employ different players and strategies than above if later or further information makes me re-evaluate my opinions.
Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills
In the last 6 weeks, the Bills offense is the 2nd highest offense in terms of total fantasy points (TB are 1st, Browns 5th, Titans 7th). Josh Allen ($7.5k) is my favourite QB on the slate and probably everyone else’s. I think stacks of Allen, Stefon Diggs ($7.7k), and John Brown ($4.7k) will be popular with a Jonathan Taylor ($7.9k) runback, especially on the Saturday only slate. I like swapping in Dawson Knox at only $3.1k for Brown as a nice way to differentiate yourself from the field.
From the Indy side, I like Jonathan Taylor as I think the Colts will be very run-heavy in the cold of Buffalo. The receivers are inconsistent week-to-week in terms of targets but Zach Pascal ($3.7k) and Michael Pittman ($3.5k) do offer salary savings. Picking the best option between them and TY Hilton ($5.1k) is a bit of a lottery.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson ($6.7k) has been a low scoring fantasy QB in recent weeks and doesn’t historically do well against the Rams. Spoiler alert: the Rams D is tough! He will probably be low-owned, and he’s still a class player, so he’s a great option if you don’t want to go the chalky Josh Allen route. Tyler Lockett ($6.9k)is higher priced than DK Metcalf ($6.7k) which is probably because DraftKings expect Metcalf to get the Jalen Ramsey treatment. Chris Carson ($5.9k) hasn’t done much since back from injury and the matchup isn’t favourable. I will have some exposure to a Wilson and Metcalf or Lockett stack here.
The Rams look like they’ll get Jared Goff ($6k) back which is a shame as Wolford at $4.9k is great value. Cam Akers ($5.1k) got a full workload at RB last week when we didn’t even expect him to play. He was extremely inefficient but on a short slate, he’s a great price at $5.1k. Cooper Kupp ($6k) will be back and, assuming Goff plays, is a play I like at that price. Don’t be fooled by the numbers on DK, the Seahawks D is better than advertised and has the most sacks in the league for the second half of the year. I’m expecting a very low-scoring tight affair and Cam Akers is my favourite play on the Rams side.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Football Team
For such a low scoring offense, there seem to be plenty of fantasy options in Washington. Antonio Gibson ($5.7k) is back but faces a really tough Bucs run defense. It was good to see Terry McLaurin ($6.3k) back last week and he should be the go-to guy for Alex Smith. The problem is Alex Smith ($5.1k) does not look 100% and he may share snaps with Taylor Heinicke ($4.1k). Cam Sims at only $3.9k will be popular this week after getting 9, 8, & 5 targets in his last 3 games. Logan Thomas ($4.9k) is the second most expensive TE on the slate and has been fantastic in terms of fantasy production since week 12.
The Tampa Bay offense has been on fire against some awful defenses but Washington give up second-least fantasy points to both WR and RB over the season so this should be an interesting matchup. Initial word is that Mike Evans ($6.5k) should be good enough to suit up and join the three-headed-monster with Chris Godwin ($7k) and Antonio Brown ($6.1k). If you are playing Tom Brady ($6.9k), you should stack at least 2 of those 3. Rob Gronkowski’s ($4k) targets have been low and inconsistent and he’s very much TD dependent.
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
I think this is most neutral’s favourite game on the slate. What is there left to say about the fantasy juggernaut that is the Titans’ offense? Derrick Henry has had a price drop down to 9.2k after his 39 points in week 17. I think that’s due to DraftKings giving respect to the Ravens defense who are middling in terms of fantasy points given up to RB. Ryan Tannehill ($6.6k) and AJ Brown ($7.1k) will be popular because of last week’s performance. I really like Corey Davis at $4.8k this week as a pivot off AJ Brown. He received 11 targets last week but couldn’t convert that into fantasy points.
Lamar Jackson is the most expensive QB this week ($7.8k), rightfully so, and he’s hitting form at the right time. JK Dobbins ($6.6k) and Gus Edwards ($4.4k) each had 13 touches last week but Dobbin’s efficiency turned those into 31 fpts whereas Edwards only scored 8. At only $4.4k, Edwards could be a nice money-saving pivot play. On the Sunday-only slate, you could play both running backs if you want to differentiate from the field. Marquise Brown ($5.4k) and Mark Andrews ($5.2k) are the only pass-catchers on the Ravens I’m interested in but I won’t have much if any, exposure to them. They don’t reach their ceiling games enough for my liking.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints
End of season darling David Montgomery ($6.9k) now faces the stingiest run defense in fantasy points terms in the Saints. Thankfully for the Bears’ fantasy options, New Orleans is a middling pass defense. Allen Robinson only garnered 5 targets in week 17 and his price is also down to $6.6k from $7.7k last week. In a game where the Bears will be behind, he’s interesting. Darnell Mooney at $3.9k offers a nice cheap alternative assuming he’s fit again. He was targeted 13 times last week in a game that should follow a similar game script.
The Bears also have a top defense and other than Kamara (assuming he’s off the covid list), I’m not interested in any other Saints. Kamara at $8.5k is pricey, especially when JT is $600 cheaper, but he is the focal point of the offense.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
A rematch of week 17 but with all starters back for the Steelers. The Browns D is a sieve for receivers and Diontae Johnson at $6.2k looks like terrific value. Juju Smith-Schuster ($5.5k) and Chase ‘on the case’ Claypool ($5.2k) are both below $5.5k so I’m going to play at least 2 of the 3 receivers in some lineups. The Steelers running game isn’t fantasy relevant currently and hasn’t been for the second half of the season. I expect Big Ben to air it out here.
There’s a trend here of good running backs in bad matchups and this continues for Nick Chubb ($6.7k). Kareem Hunt ($4.8k) had his largest workload in the last four weeks in week 17 which cuts into Chubb’s usage. I’m not really interested in either of them with better options available elsewhere and especially after the news came out about OL Joel Bitonio testing positive for covid, therefore, missing the game. Jarvis Landry ($5.8k) returned last week with an average performance based on his 6 targets. Baker Mayfield ($5.4k) spread the ball around with no Cleveland receiver getting enough work to be excited about. Austin Hooper has scored double-digit points in the last 3 weeks and at $3.9k could be a nice play to save some money.