For the playoffs, instead of breaking down the top four performers at each position, I will give you my “pay to play”, “stay away” and “value play” selections just like we feature on the Blitzed Podcast.
Quarterback, Running Back, and Defense are the thinnest this week. Tight end isn’t much better (especially if Ladarius Green cannot go.) There isn’t a ton of obvious value at WR, so getting creative at WR2 and WR3 is going to be the divining factor to winning the big money in a fairly even slate.
The Saturday only slate is simply put, Yuck! Oakland (Connor Cook) versus Houston (Brock Osweiler) and Matthew Stafford vs. Russell Wilson. Wilson is the best option of the four based on matchup, but he will also be the most owned. Brock could surprise at lesser ownership. I want nothing to do with Stafford in SEA or the untested rookie Cook. Latavius Murray and the “supposedly-healthy”, Lamar Miller will be asked to carry the offense for their respective teams making each a solid RB play. Both Thomas Rawls and Zach Zenner could have TD appeal but neither has any huge upside. At WR, I like Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins, but I don’t trust either of their QBs so neither is a sure-thing. I’m not going as deep as Will Fuller or Michael Crabtree. Golden Tate will get Shermanated, leaving Anquan Boldin as an OK WR2/WR3 play. With such suck-tastic options, I’m guessing, I’ll be forced to start Doug Baldwin, and hope that Darius Slay doesn’t shadow him. Both Jimmy Graham and C.J. Fiedorowicz are solid tight end options. Houston and Seattle are the safest defense plays. If you need a kicker, I’d be comfortable with either of the two in the SEA-DET game.
The Sunday only slate is much sexier. We get two high-powered offenses (even though one is facing a dynamic pass-defense) and both of those high-powered offenses are paired with rotten defenses that could allow their opponents to exploit them. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger at home is the safest play. Eli Manning also should produce quality numbers against a miserable, ransacked, Packers’ secondary. Aaron Rodgers is the easy dodge, at a high price versus a premier pass defense. Matt Moore could be a sneaky play, since he will be cheap, and he will have to throw to keep up with Pittsburgh. Everyone will be starting LeVeon Bell, and rightly so. After that it will be pick your poison between Jay Ajayi and Ty Montgomery. I doubt anyone would trust either Giants back, but if I did I would take a flier on Paul Perkins. The only WR I don’t trust is Jordy Nelson. I’ll likely have a lot of shares of Jarvis Landry, Geronimo Allison, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Stills, Odell Beckham, and Antonio Brown. At tight end, I want to use Ladarius Green if he plays. If he doesn’t, then I’ll be happy to punt with either Jesse James or Will Tye. Whichever defense you choose, you lose here, so be prepared to enter four lineups – one with each defense. The only kicker I like on this slate is Mason Crosby.
The big GPPs will feature both days so our rankings below are based on playing full-slate games. Of course, I highly recommend you dive in the deep end and play some one-day only slate games too. These have just so few combinations that a little wise aggression can pay off in spades.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly Strategy – I’ll consider Eli Manning, Matt Moore, Russell Wilson, and Brock Osweiler (in that order). That said, you have the money, so spend it on the surest thing Big Ben.
Pay to Play
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. MIA ($7600 DK, $8500 FD)
Ben Roethlisberger at home is house money. Miami, meanwhile, has allowed three or more passing TDs in five of their last eight games despite facing only two quarterbacks in Roethlisberger’s league. Big Ben could throw for 400-4 pretty easily here. Don’t be the guy who didn’t play him.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. NYG ($7900 DK, $8600 FD)
New York has allowed one or fewer passing TDs in ten of their last eleven games. I know Aaron Rodgers is super-human, but I can’t pay Big Ben money for Little Aaron production.
Matt Moore, Dolphins @ PIT ($5100 DK, $6900 FD)
Matt Moore will need to throw the ball a lot to keep up with Pittsburgh. It can be done since Pittsburgh’s secondary is just ‘aight. It also helps that he has several good WR options to throw to. I’ll do at least one stack with him, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills.
Weekly strategy – LeVeon Bell should be 100%-owned. After that, the question rises who do you trust more? Jay Ajayi went deliverance on the Pittsburgh run defense in their earlier meeting, but he has been hit-or-miss since, and the Steelers have gotten better. Lamar Miller has a good matchup, if you trust his health. He says he will play, but he is one hit away from a big line for Alfred Blue. Thomas Rawls’ matchup isn’t great and he has been unreliable. Ty Montgomery also isn’t safe after the Ripkowski-terrorism last week, paired with a decent Giants’ run defense. Latavius Murray also faces a pretty stout run defense, and he has to worry about DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Zach Zenner and Paul Perkins will be the two I consider for my DK-FLEX, as well as possible RB2 play. I don’t love either of them, but based on price they feel like the safest options.
Pay to Play
LeVeon Bell, Steelers vs. MIA ($10300 DK, $10300 FD)
Miami has allowed opposing RBs to top 100 rushing yards in each of their last five. This includes a taking to the shed by LeSean McCoy. LeVeon Bell is very comparable to McCoy – only healthier. His price is high, but 150-1 is guaranteed.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks vs. DET ($5700 DK, $7100 FD)
It’s not that I dislike this play, but he has just been so inconsistent. Meanwhile, Detroit has only allowed five RB rushing TDs all year. If I choose to pay up at RB2 (and I likely will), I feel more safe with Ajayi, Murray, or even Miller.
Zach Zenner, Lions @ SEA ($4500 DK, $6200 FD)
Seattle has allowed five running back rushing TDs over the last two weeks. This sets up nicely for Zach Zenner, who is the last man standing in Detroit. He proved workmanlike last week, and he definitely has a nose for the stripe. Plus, Detroit likes to throw the ball to the position. Zenner has a great chance to score a short TD and he should produce enough yards to make him a safe RB2 or DK-FLEX.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$9,100||$8,900|
|Will Fuller V||$4,400||$5,000|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$4,100||$5,500|
Weekly strategy – I’ll have almost complete exposure to Antonio Brown. Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, and Doug Baldwin will get some of my WR1 love, but very little. I may choose to do a roster with Zenner at RB2 and two of these top-tier WRs. Most of my lineups will have either Jarvis Landry or Sterling Shepard as my WR2. I will then throw in Kenny Stills, Paul Richardson, or Geronimo Allison as my WR3.
Pay to Play
Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. MIA ($9400 DK, $9100 FD)
I might as well make it a complete Steelers’ sweep. The Killer-B’s will be front and center on the vast majority of my rosters. Over the last five weeks, the Dolphins have allowed 178 or more WR yards four times. Antonio Brown has scored and/or topped 100 yards in every home game but one this year.
Jordy Nelson, Packers vs. NYG ($8000 DK, $8500 FD)
I was mildly-shocked last week when Jordy Nelson went on a Slay-ride and disappointed at the book. The matchup won’t be any easier this week against the Giants. The G-Men have allowed multiple WR touchdowns only twice all year.
Kenny Stills, Dolphins @ PIT ($3800 DK, $5000 FD)
What does Kenny Stills have to do to get some DFS respect. He has scored in four straight and six of his last eight. He is still priced in the punt-range. There will be very few of my lineups where he won’t be my WR3 or DK-FLEX. Over the last four weeks, Stills is second to only Jarvis Landry amongst Dolphins’ WRs in terms of both receptions and targets.
Weekly strategy – Ladarius Green would be an incredible play if he could get past the concussion protocol. Since he probably won’t, I will have to take advantage of a cake matchup with Jimmy Graham versus Detroit. If I can’t afford Graham, I am very happy with starting C.J. Fiedorowicz. If I need to go deeper, I might punt with Jesse James, Dion Sims, or Will Tye.
Pay to Play
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. DET ($5300 DK, $6600 FD)
This matchup is almost too obvious. The Lions have allowed 70 or more yards to the position eight times. They have also given up the third-most TDs to the position. Jimmy Graham’s price isn’t even that high. If Green doesn’t play, I will be over-exposed to Graham, that might not be a bad thing.
Eric Ebron, Lions @ SEA ($3900 DK, $5700 FD)
The Seahawks have allowed only three TE touchdowns all year, and ten times they have held opponents’ tight ends under 40 yards. Eric Ebron has been more active of late, but his price is too close to Fiedorowicz to consider starting him over C.J.
Will Tye, Giants @ GB ($0 DK, $4600 FD)
This is a deep dive since Tye only has one score all year. He does have the fourth-most targets amongst all Giants’ skill-position players over the last four weeks. Meanwhile, Green Bay has allowed 50 yards or more to the position seven times in their last ten games, and an average of six catches per game over that span.
Weekly strategy – Seattle and Houston are the only two safe options here. I really want nothing to do with any of the other plays.
Pay to Play
Seattle Seahawks vs. DET ($3700 DK, $5100 FD)
Matthew Stafford has not been nearly as accurate since sustaining his hand injury. He has been picked five times in the last four weeks. He also has multiple sacks in six of the last seven games. Seattle is impossible to score upon at home. They also have ten sacks over the last three weeks. It will be a long day for Jim Bob Cooter’s offense.
Green Bay Packers @ WAS ($3200 DK, $4600 FD)
Green Bay has had troubles with Eli Manning in the postseason before. It won’t be any easier this time around with the musical chairs they are playing in their secondary. This defense has been very opportunistic of late, but even if Eli channels his inner Eli-face, it won’t be enough to encourage me to start them over Houston or Seattle for nearly the same price.
Oakland Raiders @ HOU ($3000 DK, $4700 FD)
I don’t think I’ll stoop this low, but this is an interesting contrarian play against Brock Osweiler’s ineffectiveness. They do have multiple takeaways in seven of their last eight games, and Osweiler has failed to throw a pick only four times all year.