We’ve made it through yet another NFL regular season, and while that does signal the end of wall-to-wall football on Sundays, we still have at least a few weeks of DFS action ahead of us. The playoff slates are a lot of fun because the games are typically competitive and every team is fighting to stay alive.
The Wild Card Round Primer will be formatted much like the Week 16 version where I’m highlighting top plays of the weekend rather than breaking down stat pages – there simply aren’t enough games/players. I’ll go position-by-position for the four-game slate.
Alex Smith ($7,800 on FanDuel, $6,300 on DraftKings) – Smith is my favorite dollar per point play on both sites and is neck and neck with the next guy on this list in overall points. His draw with the Titans is my favorite among the eight options – they’ve been much easier to beat through the air than via the ground game and have been thrashed by Jared Goff and Jimmy Garappolo in recent weeks. The Titans defensive scheme tends to lead to more men in the box and plenty of blitzing, which has generated 43 sacks (5th best) but just 12 INTs (18th) and 11 forced fumbles (25th), but also plays a big part in why teams like to throw against them. I’d prefer to stack Smith up with Travis Kelce as opposed to Tyreek Hill if I must choose one option.
Jared Goff ($8,500 on FanDuel, $6,700 on DraftKings) – While I think Cam Newton and Drew Brees will get attention in the late Sunday game, I’d rather get my secondary QB exposure to Goff in a home draw with the Falcons. This game probably has the best shot to turn into a shootout and even if you want to roster Todd Gurley, he’s a perfectly fine stacking partner with Goff given the Falcons susceptibility to pass-catching RBs. Atlanta allowed a league-high 6.8 receptions per game to opposing backs and the fact that they’re a little tougher to beat via the run, Goff’s upside is enhanced. If I’m looking to go a little against the grain in tournaments, a Goff-Gurley-Kupp stack makes sense given that Robert Woods is the Rams receiver most likely to draw Desmond Trufant’s coverage.
Todd Gurley ($10,000 on FanDuel, $9,700 on DraftKings) – It’s going to be really hard to fade Gurley’s raw points on a four-game slate, even with some other high-end backs at your disposal. As I stated earlier, the Falcons are a premier draw for pass-catching backs, allowing the most receptions in the league to the position. Gurley has seen at least five targets in four of the last five games and has seen at least seven in three of those five, so there is a nice potential here on PPR sites. Game script works in Gurley’s favor as a home favorite and I’m not confident enough that either Hunt or Fournette will outscore him. He’s certainly an interesting tournament fade given the cap room it would open up, but you’ll be behind the eight ball if he continues his run of dominance.
Derrick Henry ($6,500 on FanDuel, $6,000 on DraftKings) – Despite DeMarco Murray having already been ruled out, I can see Henry getting overlooked given that he’s a road underdog in Arrowhead. The Titans have the lowest total outside of a Bills Offense that has their best offensive weapon trying rush back from what should probably be a multi-week absence, and the presence of Gurley/Hunt/Kamara/Ingram gives the field plenty of options. If the Titans are going to have success in this game, it’s likely going to be because Henry was heavily fed and effective, allowing them to control the clock and keep the Chiefs Offense off the field. Kansas City allowed the 10th most rushing yards per game (to RBs alone).
Julio Jones ($8,500 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings) – For as dominant as he can be at times, Jones was somewhat of a disappointment from a DFS perspective, largely attributed to a lack of touchdowns. While some may think the Falcons don’t use him in close, that’s very much a myth. Jones ranked fourth in the league in targets inside the ten-yard line and was by far the most heavily targeted Falcon in the red-zone, but his efficiency was a major issue. That’s not going to continue for long, especially given how talented Jones is. He’s also leading the Wild Card WRs in percentage of workload, a nudge ahead of Michael Thomas. I can absolutely see Thomas being more popular, but I’d prefer Jones in a game that has more shootout potential. It’s also a good possibility that the Falcons, who are road dogs, end up being forced to throw more often than a run-heavy Saints team.
Albert Wilson ($5,200 on FanDuel, $3,300 on DraftKings) – There’s always a player or two that shocks the public with a massive performance on these short slates, and Wilson has a decent shot at being that guy and will be one of my most heavily utilized differentiation plays this weekend. His Week 17 performance was obviously a product of the Chiefs sitting both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, but Wilson is still a regular even with those two active as he has very little competition for the WR2 spot behind Hill. Wilson has drawn at least seven targets in four of his last six games and drew more red-zone looks (10) than Robert Woods (9), Rishard Matthews (9), both of whom are considerably more expensive and will come at much heavier ownership percentages. The floor for Wilson remains really low, but he’s got enough GPP upside on this slate to keep me interested.
Greg Olsen ($6,500 on FanDuel, $5,000 on DraftKings) – The TE spot is probably where I’ll have the most exposure to the Panthers. Olsen has been Cam Newton’s most heavily targeted receiver over the past three games, more than doubling Devin Funchess’ looks. The Saints have been tough on Funchess in both draws this year and it’s very likely he sees a heavy dose of Marshon Lattimore yet again. Olsen should once again be the focus of Carolina’s aerial attack and he’s considerably cheaper than Kelce and in a better spot than Walker, so he gets the nod.
Charles Clay ($5,500 on FanDuel, $4,000 on DraftKings) – Especially if McCoy sits, we could see the Bills rely on Clay a bit more often as he’s otherwise been their most dependable offensive option. Kelvin Benjamin is still banged up and even if McCoy does play, it’s a near certainty that he’s limited at least in terms of effectiveness. The Bills being road underdogs also increases the likelihood that the Bills are forced into a pass-heavy approach, and it’s not crazy to imagine a double-digit target game for Clay in that scenario. He didn’t get any love in this section, but Travis Kelce is obviously an elite option and the top overall play at the TE spot. He’ll be featured in plenty of my Alex Smith stacks.