Just because the regular season is over and re-draft leagues have come to a close doesn't mean the fantasy football season has been mothballed until next year. We still have four weeks of playoff action. Below is a lineup I've put together for FanDuel's $1.75 million tournament that kicks off on Saturday at 4:35 PM ET. It will pay out $175,000 to the first-place winner. Mensio's note: I am not responsible for you losing your money.
QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. Ravens ($8500): Heading into December, the Ravens were fielding one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They then wrapped up the season facing Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Connor Shaw in Weeks 15-17. It doesn’t get any easier than that. The Baltimore pass defense looks better on paper than it actually is, and Big Ben now gets to face it again after tossing six touchdowns against the Ravens in Week 9 to go along with 340 yards and zero interceptions. He posted his second-highest QB rating of the season (136.3) in that home tilt. Roethlisberger gets the Ravens at home again, and this time may be without the services of Le’Veon Bell at running back. If Bell is forced to miss the game, we can expect Roethlisberger to uncork 35 or 40-plus passes. The Pittsburgh offensive line is playing at a high level, as it’s only allowed three sacks the past five weeks. I’m not paying up for Andrew Luck ($9700). Save the $1,200 and allocate it elsewhere, especially when we only have players from eight teams to choose.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $1.75 Million Fantasy Football league for Wild Card Weekend's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $175,000. Starts Saturday, January 3rd at 4:35pm ET. Here's the link.
RB Jeremy Hill at Colts ($7400): A couple nuggets on Hill. The first is from Pat Thorman of Pro Football Focus: “During the eight weeks Hill received at least 17 touches, the Bengals went 7-1 and Hill was the overall RB1 those eight weeks combined. He averaged 140 yards and one touchdown per game.” The second nugget on Hill is from our own Evan Silva, and it’s more opinion-based: “Give Jeremy Hill the ball 30 times, maybe more depending on flow. Anything else is too cute.” It’s hard to argue with Silva, and the numbers don’t lie, as Thorman pointed out. Putting the team’s fate in Andy Dalton’s hands is a recipe for disaster, and OC Hue Jackson has to know it. The Colts allowed the fifth-most rushing touchdowns to running backs during the regular season. Cincinnati should play ball-control offense centered around Hill to try and keep Luck and the Colts offense off the field.
RB Joique Bell at Cowboys ($6600): Over his past five games, Bell is averaging a robust 4.51 YPC on 82 carries. He’s seeing on average 16.4 handoffs per game. The Cowboys allowed opposing running backs to run at a 4.2 YPC clip in the regular season and surrendered the eighth-most rushing touchdowns. Pro Football Focus graded them out as a bottom-three run defense, and it’s a unit that just lost starting DT Henry Melton to injured reserve on Tuesday. Melton isn’t a run-stuffer, but his loss means lower-level players on a Dallas defense that lacks depth will be forced to handle more snaps. The interior of Detroit’s offensive line is also back healthy (RG Larry Warford) and back from suspension (C Dominic Raiola). Matthew Stafford has struggled to throw the ball against good teams. Expect the Lions to lean on Bell on the road.
WR Antonio Brown vs. Ravens ($9200): Brown has to be the No. 1 must-play of the Wild Card Round. He’s the priciest WR on FanDuel, but well worth it. The Ravens are trotting out Rashaan Melvin opposite top CB Lardarius Webb and playing S Matt Elam in the slot. As mentioned above, these guys have had the luxury of facing Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Connor Shaw in Weeks 15-17. In other words, scrubs. Webb was one of Pro Football Focus’ worst corners for much of the season, while Melvin is an UDFA. In two games against the Ravens this season, Brown has posted an 18-234-1 line. With the Steelers potentially to be minus Le’Veon Bell (knee), Brown could see 15-20 targets.
WR Michael Floyd at Panthers ($6600): Floyd was one of the most-disappointing players of the regular season from a fantasy standpoint. We can throw that all out the window. It’s a new day. And Floyd is coming off a meaningless 9-153-2 line against the 49ers in the Week 17 finale. In Ryan Lindley’s two starts Weeks 16 and 17, Floyd was targeted 19 times, and that was with Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown healthy and in the lineup. The 19 targets represented over 20 percent of Floyd’s season total of 93. Floyd will do battle with Panthers LCB Josh Norman, who’s been one of the better corners in the league the past couple months. But he can be aggressive at times. One slip up and Floyd, who averages 18.0 YPR, can roast Norman for a long touchdown. Lindley has shown he isn’t afraid to throw it up to Floyd.
WR Donte Moncrief vs. Bengals ($5200): Yes, we’re going down this road. Again. Moncrief has played 66.3 percent of the offensive snaps the past four weeks, and that’s with T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, Reggie Wayne, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen all in the lineup for the most part. The Colts know Moncrief is better than washed-up veterans Nicks and Wayne, and the playoffs are no time to mess around. Get the best players on the field. OC Pep Hamilton will put the ball in Andrew Luck’s hands and let him try and take the Colts as far as he can. With only eight teams playing this weekend, there are limited lower-salary options on FanDuel. Moncrief and Martavis Bryant ($5,600) are my favorite two at receiver. I couldn’t fit Bryant in this lineup. If you don’t like the idea of Moncrief, you could play a cheaper defense, say Arizona ($4,900), and squeeze in Bryant. The thing with Bryant is that he and Markus Wheaton are canceling each other out opposite Antonio Brown.
TE Greg Olsen vs. Cardinals ($6400): Olsen is easily the No. 1 tight end play of the week. Much like last season, the Cardinals got destroyed by opposing tight ends again in 2014. They allowed the most receiving yards to the position, eight touchdowns, and the sixth-most fantasy points. Olsen was fantasy’s No. 4 tight end in the regular season. He went 5-79-0 against DC Todd Bowles’ defense in their 2013 matchup. Olsen is Cam Newton’s most reliable pass catcher.
K Mike Nugent at Colts ($4600): What more could you want from your kicker? Nugent is the cheapest option and will be kicking in a dome in what has the potential to be a high-scoring game. I’m rolling with Nugent and not thinking twice.
D Panthers vs. Cardinals ($5300): The Carolina defense is a pricey one as the most-expensive unit of the weekend. But the Panthers are playing stellar defense and will be at home against Ryan Lindley, the owner of a career 2:11 TD:INT ratio. Ever since Carolina cut CB Antoine Cason and settled on Josh Norman and Bene Benwikere at cornerback, the unit has taken off and managed a top-10 finish in overall defense. Lindley is bound to take sacks and commit turnovers.