Wild Card weekend is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to leave your postseason fantasy leagues and pools with a win. Ian Hartitz dives into which offenses and defenses are destined to flourish in his Mismatch Manifesto, Hayden Winks breaks down every matchup in his famous Fantasy Forecast Column, and I answer all of your pressing lineup questions with my Playoff-Only Top-50.
I'm also here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also joined Ian Hartitz earlier this week to discuss the Wild Card slate from a big-picture DFS lens on the Rotoworld DFS Building Blocks show.
Bills @ Texans
*Buffalo has been one of the league’s healthiest teams all year and that’s expected to continue since CB Levi Wallace (ankle, questionable) closed the week with two limited sessions. Wallace was a true shutdown corner in the team’s final six games, being charged with 13/90/1 (3.9 yards per target) and two picks in coverage prior to rolling his ankle in Week 17. Shaq Lawson (hamstring, questionable), a former first-round pick who finished with career-highs in sacks (6.5) and quarterback hits (18) off the bench, should also rejoin the Bills after sitting out for their regular season finale.
*Deshaun Watson’s direct path to success obviously gets steamrolled if Will Fuller (groin, questionable) can’t go given the signal-caller’s 7.0 yards per attempt and 7.4 average depth of target with the latter off the field this year. And unlike his impeccable regimen leading into Houston’s must-win matchup against the Colts in Week 12, Fuller limps into Saturday with a practice schedule — limited throughout the week and ultimately listed as a game-time call — similar to that of the last two games he was forced from early. While that fortuitously entrenches DeAndre Hopkins (opposite Tre’Davious White nonetheless) as a high-floor WR1 on double-digit targets, it obviously removes any ceiling from this offense as a whole. Jordan Thomas could also sneakily see an increased role behind Darren Fells if Jordan Akins, who was surprisingly downgraded on Friday with a soft tissue injury, isn’t cleared by kick-off.
J.J. Watt’s (shoulder) return to the lineup on the other side of the ball instills a much needed run-stuffing threat in Houston's front-seven after the Texans were gouged for 5.21 yards per carry while he was sidelined with a torn pec. Coach Bill O’Brien said Watt will “be in there quite a bit” in his first game back, but Devin Singletary still warrants cash game consideration across sites since he was a true workhorse in his last start, logging 52-of-54 snaps (and 16 touches) ahead of Frank Gore. The rookie is a bargain on FanDuel in particular.
Titans @ Patriots
*Adam Humphries’ (ankle) and Kalif Raymond’s (concussion, doubtful) absences lock Tajae Sharpe into the same role that catapulted him into 15 routes behind Corey Davis (22) and A.J. Brown (21) in Tennessee's regular season finale. Rashad Davis was available as the team’s fourth wideout in that game but ran just one route on the afternoon. Sharpe would obviously line up in the slot opposite Jonathan Jones (groin, questionable), who returned dinged up against the Dolphins and permitted all three targets thrown his direction to get pulled down.
*Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder, questionable) claims he feels “good enough to go out and compete at a high level” despite totaling 10/107 on 18 targets and 74 percent of New England’s snaps while banged up the past three weeks. Having said that, no slot corner allowed more catches (68), receiving yards (758), and touchdowns (5) than Logan Ryan this year, making Edelman a tremendous high-floor option across sites if he’s truly back on his horse.
Vikings @ Saints
*Dalvin Cook said he’s at “full strength” and “feeling refreshed” after sitting out the past two games with a shoulder injury. He discouragingly handled 11 or fewer carries in 3-of-4 contests prior to injury but arguably projects to out-touch every back on Wild Card weekend if heading into the Superdome with a clean bill of health. He’s the only comparable pivot to Alvin Kamara in tournaments given his 20-touch upside for a similar price indoors.
*Unfortunately for opposing playoff teams, Janoris Jenkins’ arrival makes Eli Apple (ankle, out) expendable along the perimeter. Reminder Jenkins ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 overall corner before getting released from New York, being waived for actions indifferent to his performance-based motives.
Seahawks @ Eagles
*Russell Wilson would have to 'get there' without LT Duane Brown (knee, out), C Justin Britt (ACL, out), and LG Mike Iupati (neck, questionable), but David Moore (6’1/219) still makes for an intriguing DFS tournament punt for those willing to risk a goose egg in the box score. The 24-year-old burner ran a 4.48 40-time and finished with elite SPARQ results (96th-percentile) at the 2017 combine but battled an offseason shoulder injury and fell behind Jaron Brown on Seattle’s depth chart prior to Week 1. With Malik Turner (concussion) and Brown (knee, questionable) both potentially sidelined, Moore projects for a workload comparable to last week’s 49 routes as the clear No. 3 wideout behind D.K. Metcalf (52) and Tyler Lockett (49). Luke Willson’s (hip) return could also stifle any upside Jacob Hollister otherwise had as the team’s starting tight end.
As for their defense, Jadeveon Clowney was removed from the injury report but sounds far from 100 percent after coach Pete Carroll said he “was able to demonstrate the game plan and that he knew what was going on” but “if this is what we got, this is what we got.” Quandre Diggs, who recorded a forced fumble and fumble recovery the last time these two teams squared off in Week 12, was removed from the injury report altogether.
*At the time of this writing, there’s currently “optimism” Zach Ertz (ribs, back) suits up despite having yet to be cleared for contact. I would have no issues building lineups as if he’s going to miss Sunday, including Josh Perkins as a next-to-minimum cash game staple on DraftKings. Dallas Goedert played every snap in the Eagles’ must-win matchup against the Giants in Week 17 but Perkins quietly ran 33 routes and lined up as a true wide receiver in the slot or out wide on 33 of his 58 snaps in said contest. Note that the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-most receptions (97) and second-most raw receiving yards (1,099) to opposing tight ends.