The playoffs are here! We are down to the final weeks of daily fantasy football, but FanDuel does offer some big tournaments for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Roster construction becomes a little more difficult in these rounds, as there are only four games each week. Let's parse through the noise and take a look at some quarterback and running back options for the Wild Card Weekend.
*Note – FanDuel prices in parentheses
Three to target
1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8,400)
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($8,100)
3. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans ($6,900)
The Steelers are likely going to turn to an aerial attack this week, as all indications are that DeAngelo Williams is not going to be ready to go for the first round of the playoffs. This leaves the unimpressive tandem of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman to handle the backfield duties. Needless to say, that's probably a recipe for a poor running game. The Steelers are not afraid to take to the air, and that's precisely what I expect. For those reasons, Big Ben checks in as my top quarterback play of the week.
If you want to go with a risk/reward strategy, take a look at Aaron Rodgers. Yes, he's been well below average of late. His receivers have done him no favors, and the Packers have some problems on the offensive line. However, this matchup sets up well. The Redskins rank 25th in the NFL in pass defense (in terms of yardage allowed), and nobody will be on Rodgers given his recent struggles. This makes him a sneaky tournament pick. Hopefully he can get on the same page with his receivers and offensive line heading into this big playoff game.
The salary cap is not very tight this week, so you don't have to go cheap at quarterback. If you want to take the cheap route in order to fit two elite wide receivers, give Brian Hoyer a look – especially since this means you are likely pairing him with DeAndre Hopkins. Houston will likely struggle to run the ball against a good Chiefs defense, especially given the backs that will be toting the ball for the Texans. Hoyer has good rapport with his receivers and could be a decent low-cost option if you need to go there.
One to avoid
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings ($6,700)
The Seahawks are hitting their peak at the right time, especially on the defensive side of the football. They are starting to look more like the dominant unit of the last two seasons, and this is a great time for them to hit on all cylinders. The Seahawks/Vikings game has a low total of just 40 points on the NFL odds board, the Seahawks are a road favorite, and it is most likely going to be cold. There isn't much benefit to taking Teddy Bridgewater this week, as there are better options out there.
Three to target
1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings ($8,400)
2. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,700)
3. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,400)
Look, the running back options are nothing short of atrocious. Adrian Peterson gets a mention as the top back simply because he is far and away the most talented of the bunch, and he gets the largest share of the workload of any of the teams in play this weekend. However, this is a tough matchup against a very good Seattle defense that is playing its best football of the season. It’s hard to love him this week, but the upside is there for a tournament, and there simply aren’t many quality options available.
Expect Jeremy Hill to be one of the higher-owned running backs for Wild Card weekend. He has a nice matchup against the Steelers, who have had plenty of issues on defense. They are much better against the run than the pass, but Cincinnati should still try to establish the run in this game given the presence of untested A.J. McCarron at quarterback. Hill has seen an uptick in carries with at least 16 in each of the last three games, and he is the goal-line back. His price tag is very affordable, and he stands out above some of the other questionable options.
Charcandrick West didn't have a good game against Oakland in Week 17, and Spencer Ware dominated the touches in the second half. Ware is also be the better bet of the two to find the end zone, and he did so a week ago. If you are looking for a cheap option, you could do a lot worse than giving Ware a shot in your lineup on a week where there are more questions than answers at the running back position. I prefer him over most of the other cheap options on the board, as you never know what you are going to get out of run games from teams like Green Bay, Washington, or Houston.
One to avoid
The Steelers backfield is a toxic wasteland for the start of the playoffs. As of Wednesday, it does not look like DeAngelo Williams is going to be ready to go for this clash with the Bengals. That will leave the backfield duties to Todman and Touissaint, which doesn't inspire much confidence against a good defense. The Steelers should go pass-heavy, making that the spot to target here.