The playoffs are upon us! Despite the limited schedule, there are still two weeks of games available to be played on FanDuel. That gives us a few more opportunities to win some cash, and hopefully this column can give you a kick-start on a few of your rosters. With only four games available, the options are somewhat limited. Avoiding the landmines and hitting on the big-time performers becomes even more important with less room for error on a short slate.
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Three To Target
Andrew Luck is definitely the premier option at the quarterback position this weekend, but the problem is that there aren't a lot of value plays on the slate. This makes it difficult to fit Luck in a roster, but he certainly could be worth the price of admission here. These teams faced off in Indianapolis back in October, and the Colts came away with a 27-0 win in a game in which the Bengals picked up just eight first downs. This allowed the Colts to move away from the passing game early, but Luck still piled up 340 yards and a pair of scores in that contest. Assuming the Bengals can stay closer this time around -- right now the NFL odds show Indianapolis favored by a field goal -- Luck should be throwing deep enough into the game to pay off the high price tag.
With Le'Veon Bell either out of this game or clearly at less than 100%, expect the Steelers to take to the air. The Ravens' pass defense is very susceptible to big plays, and Ben Roethlisberger touched up the Ravens for six touchdowns in their meeting in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Expect the Roethlisberger-to-Brown combination to click in full force on this Wild Card weekend. If you are looking for a QB/WR pairing on a short slate, that's the best combination to go after. Handcuffing could really pay dividends this weekend.
Although the Cardinals Defense has kept them afloat at times this year, the unit has issues containing mobile quarterbacks. Russell Wilson had a huge game against them a couple weeks ago, and the Arizona offense can't stay on the field. At a more than reasonable price point, Cam Newton is one of my favorite quarterbacks of the week. His rushing ability gives him a solid floor in this matchup, and he should have a fine all-around game.
One To Avoid
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, $7,800
It takes just one look at Andy Dalton's career playoff stats to make you cringe. With top receiver A.J. Green yet to clear the concussion protocol, the Bengals game plan is likely to be run-heavy this weekend, especially when you consider Dalton's sketchy playoff history. There is no need to pay for Dalton when Newton and Roethlisberger are much better options that are just a touch more expensive.
Three To Target
This doesn't seem like a week in which you have to pay up for running back, but DeMarco Murray could be a sneaky, low-ownership guy to take a look at. The matchup is a tough one against the Lions, but Detroit's defense has shown some cracks in recent weeks. Murray will get all the work he can handle in this game as the Cowboys look to put their past playoff failures behind them. The price tag is high, but Murray is a safe bet for production here, and that's something you can't ignore for your cash games.
Since taking over the primary-back duties in Cincinnati, Jeremy Hill has posted three consecutive games of 20+ carries and 100+ yards. Though he failed to find the end zone last week against the Steelers, Hill was still a big part of the game plan. He should be again this week, as the Bengals will look to keep the ball away from Andrew Luck and company as much as possible. In addition, A.J. Green has not yet been cleared to practice, though it appears he will play in this game. Hill's price has not caught up to his recent production, and he can be used with confidence again this week.
After a couple of down weeks, Justin Forsett picked up his play in a game the Ravens needed to have in Week 17, posting a 119-yard day on just 17 carries. There is also expected to be bad weather in Pittsburgh come Saturday, with a 100% chance of rain and mild winds. This should force the Ravens to a more run-focused game plan, and Forsett is already saying that he is embracing the potential bad weather. He is a solid mid-tier pick this weekend.
One To Avoid
The Pittsburgh Running Game (Le'Veon Bell, $9,000 and Josh Harris, $5,600)
This one is pretty simple. It is looking more and more like Le'Veon Bell will not suit up this weekend, and even if he does it will be in a limited role. That will leave Josh Harris to handle most of the early-down work, and he is a fringe talent with limited NFL experience. The Steelers are also going up against a Ravens Defense that is 4th in the NFL allowing just 88 rushing yards per game on the season. Expect Pittsburgh to focus on the aerial attack in this matchup.