Fewer games, fewer combinations of players, better odds for you to cash in. This is just the start of the playoff DFS fun. During 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 @BlitzedPodcast. We also break down each game on the docket.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans:
This game is my favorite matchup for this weekend. Houston and Indianapolis both have quality offenses and each have some holes in their defenses. On the Full Slate, I’ll be targeting this game heavily. So, for Saturday-Only, expect the same. Andrew Luck gets to throw at will against an injury-ravaged Houston secondary. This team is actually worse than the team that Luck destroyed back in Week 4. Of course, this means that T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron and Dontrelle Inman are all huge plays here as well. Ebron is actually the best play of the weekend (yes better than Zach Ertz). The Texans run defense is actually pretty good, but they have struggled some with pass-catching backs. Marlon Mack does catch some passes, but that role is more defined for Nyheim Hines. I love Hines this week as a cheap FLEX play on both Saturday-Only and Full Slate. As for Mack, he’s playable but I feel his price is a little prohibitive. As for Houston, Deshaun Watson has been an absolute stud the last few weeks since he has been allowed to run more. One of these two will more than likely be my Full Slate QB. No matter who you choose at QB, seriously consider both DeAndre Hopkins and Hilton at WR. If Keke Coutee plays (that’s a big if), he could be a reasonable WR3 on either slate. If Coutee doesn’t play, then consider DeAndre Carter or Vyncint Smith as deep WR3 options or FLEX. Lamar Miller is a decent RB2/FLEX option, but I’m not rushing to get him in my lineup. Houston has three TEs, none of whom do very much. Of course, Indy is rotten against TEs, so feel free to throw a dart at one of the three for a Punt play at TE. I’d go Ryan Griffin if I had to choose. I’m not playing either of these defenses.
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys:
This game features two of the better pass defenses in the league locking horns. If I had to choose one offense with an advantage it would be Dallas because they are at home. That said, I’m not hyped for either Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott at QB. Neither has a ceiling higher than 225-2. I mean, I like them both better than Philip Rivers (based on his price) and Nick Foles (based on his opponent) this week, but that isn’t saying much. With disdain for the QBs, it should be no surprise that I’m not going to recommend Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, or Michael Gallup. The only WRs I’ll consider are Cole Beasley as a PPR-option at WR3 and David Moore as a TD-dependent option also at WR3. Blake Jarwin burst onto the scene last week when Dallas faced a defense that shut down their outside receivers. That could happen again here, even though Seattle has been strong against TEs too. Nick Vannett has the better matchup, but you are only starting him if you are seriously pinched financially. The Seahawks have struggled all season with pass-catching backs, making Ezekiel Elliott a must-start on every slate. Dallas had been very good against the run, but the last three weeks they struggled. This means that Chris Carson is probably the best RB2 option on the Saturday-Only slate. He is more of a pivot on the Full Slate. Seattle will be my defense choice on Saturday-Only, but Chicago will get all my Full Slate love.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens:
Both of these teams have solid defenses against the pass. That said, Baltimore has been a bit more generous of late to opposing #1 WRs. I’m still scared to play Philip Rivers or the Chargers’ WRs against Baltimore. If I had to choose, Keenan Allen is always the best bet. Nevertheless, I hate to pay full price for Keenan Allen on a less than appealing spot. In addition, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams are both priced higher than I want to pay for them. On the Sunday-Only slate, I’m probably buying one of them, but not on the Full Slate. As for Rivers, he is unplayable on either slate at QB. I like Lamar Jackson as a pivot on the Full Slate (thanks to his legs) and I will choose between him and Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday-Only. Just two weeks ago against the Chargers, Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Chris Moore combined for four catches. That sucks. If I choose any of them it will be Willie Snead, and then only at a deep WR3 or FLEX play. The Chargers have been mediocre against TEs this year, including watching Mark Andrews destroy them two weeks ago. Andrews is definitely a FLEX option this week as is Hayden Hurst. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been downright rotten against opposing TEs. With the return of Hunter Henry (even on a snap count), I want him in as many lineups as possible at TE or FLEX. You can’t run the ball against the Ravens (particularly at home). Melvin Gordon becomes a TD-dependent play this week, making him unstartable at his price. I’d almost rather roll the dice on Austin Ekeler and his pass-catching ability. As for the Ravens, both Kenneth Dixon and Gus Edwards are solid plays. One will be on every Sunday-Only team for me. Even Ty Montgomery gets some love at FLEX if you get tight for spending dollars. Both defenses are good, but I’d rather play the Bears.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears:
Philadelphia gets to travel to face a stiff Bears’ defense with a banged up QB. Ouch! Yes, Nick Foles has some magic in his hands. He also may have rib fragments floating in his chest. I’m going to avoid most of this offense. Foles is clearly on the bench, as are all the many changing parts of the Eagles’ rushing attack (except for maybe Darren Sproles). Zach Ertz may have some success here, as Chicago has struggled at times with quality TEs. Plus, Philly just throws him the ball a ton. Still, with his cost being so high, and better Sunday-Only options at TE. I’m probably going to pass. Alshon Jeffery has the Revenge Game factor in play. I will start him as a pivot on the Full Slate and he is a must-start at WR1 on the Sunday-Only. Nelson Agholor and Golden Tate are both WR3/FLEX options on either slate, but neither excite me. Starting the Eagles defense is kind of like going for a root canal. You don’t like the prognosis, you don’t like the process, and you won’t like the result. As for Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky is arguably the third-best QB option on the Full Slate (making him a fun pivot). As for Sunday-only, he will split roster slots with Lamar Jackson. Jordan Howard is woefully underpriced on DK, making him my favorite RB2 on the Full Slate and the best RB1 on Sunday-Only. Tarik Cohen is in play at FLEX on either slate, but I don’t love his price or his usage recently. If Allen Robinson plays, he is a must-start against a bad Philly secondary. Both Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller would be in play if they suit up. The problem is both guys got hurt last week in an unnecessary game. If either one plays, he is your WR3 on both slates. If neither one plays, then Kevin White becomes a deep FLEX option. The Eagles are elite against TEs. You can do better than Trey Burton anyways. Repeat after me, “I will play the Bears defense this week”.
Here are my Full Slate recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.4K for Andrew Luck, $13.6K for Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard, $20K total for DeAndre Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton, and Cole Beasley, $2.5K for Hunter Henry, $4K for Kenneth Dixon at FLEX, and $3.4K for the Bears defense.
At FD: $8K for Luck, $15.2K for Zeke and Lamar Miller, $19.7K total for Hopkins, Dontrelle Inman and Beasley, $6.6K for Eric Ebron, $4.9K for Henry at FLEX, and $5.5K for the Bears defense.
At Fanball: Luck, Elliott, Howard, Hopkins, Hilton, Taylor Gabriel, Henry, Beasley and the Bears defense.
At Fantasy Draft: Luck, Elliott, Howard, Hopkins, Hilton, Henry, Gus Edwards, Ebron and the Bears Defense.
Weekly strategy – Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson are the top two options. Mitchell Trubisky is my pivot play. Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott are also in play on DK based on their prices. In general, the FD prices are too high making Luck and Watson the only certain winners.
Pay to Play:
Andrew Luck, Colts @ HOU ($6400 DK, $8000 FD)
Houston is short-handed in their secondary due to injuries. Three of the last five teams to face them have thrown for more than 390 passing yards. One of those teams was Indianapolis. In that Week 14 game, Andrew Luck finished with 399-2. That seems like a remarkable line, but it pales in comparison to Luck’s line versus Houston in Week 4. In that game, Luck finished with a 464-4 line. If Luck finishes with the average of the two, that puts him at 432-3. That will win you this slate. Just make sure you stack Luck with Ebron and Hilton or Inman. Or heck, all three.
Philip Rivers, Chargers @ BAL ($5900 DK, $7600 FD)
The Ravens passing defense has been a tad bit more vulnerable recently, but not enough to trust Philip Rivers here. Rivers started the season really consistent, however over the last four weeks he has thrown only four TDs. One of those games was against Baltimore. In that one, Rivers finished with only 181 passing yards and zero touchdowns. I really think 230-2 is the ceiling here.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. SEA ($5500 DK, $7500 FD)
I like Mitchell Trubisky more than Dak Prescott this week, but I don’t really consider Trubisky a value. Dak, on the other hand, has a safe floor this week, and based on his price (and being at home), he has some upside. I’m not going to have a lot of exposure to him, but I’ll throw out a couple lineups stacking him and Cole Beasley. I’m most confident that he could throw a couple of scores to Ezekiel Elliott, since Seattle is foul against pass-catching backs.
|Melvin Gordon III||$7,700||$8,400|
Weekly strategy – Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard are the two best options. I like Lamar Miller, Chris Carson, Kenneth Dixon and Gus Edwards as single-day options and as pivots from the big two. Behind those guys, consider Darren Sproles and Nyheim Hines as cheap FLEX options.
Pay to Play:
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. SEA ($9000 DK, $8800 FD)
As I just mentioned above, Seattle has no clue how to cover a pass-catching RB. This year, they have allowed the fifth-most receptions, the third-most receiving yards, and the most receiving TDs to the position. Since Week 10, Ezekiel Elliott is second only to Christian McCaffrey in targets, receptions, and receiving yards among RBs. Not to mention, that he is second only to Amari Cooper on his team among all of those same categories over that span. If Zeke isn’t in every one of your lineups, you might as well just set your money on fire.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers @ BAL ($7700 DK, $8400 FD)
Melvin Gordon should be close to 100% for this game. I’d prefer to hear that he was 100% for this game, since he is facing an elite defense. Gordon played against the Ravens back in Week 16, and he scored a TD. That saved an otherwise putrid line. In that game, Gordon didn’t even have to worry about Austin Ekeler stealing touches. Ekeler is limited right now as well, but he should suit up this week. This will only further cut into the meager line that Gordon will likely produce. The best you can hope for here is 60-70 yards and a TD. That would be fine, if his price was under $6.5K. Here, you are begging for two short TDs to carry value.
Gus Edwards, Ravens vs. LAC ($4200 DK, $7200 FD)
I’m happy with either Gus Edwards or Kenneth Dixon as a value play this week. Dixon is cheaper on FD, but both should hit 3x on DK. I’m trusting that Edwards is the better play, since he has more than 1.5 times more touches than Dixon, since Dixon’s activation. Edwards won’t do jack in the passing game, but his final line will be roughly the same as Melvin Gordon’s at $3.5K less on DK. Either Dixon or Edwards is a great FLEX play on the Full Slate, and both are RB2 plays on Sunday-Only.
|Allen Robinson II||$5,600||$6,500|
|Willie Snead IV||$3,700||$5,000|
Weekly strategy – You need at least two WRs from the HOU-IND game. Obviously T.Y. Hilton and DeAndre Hopkins would be the optimum pair. That said, if finances don’t work, take one of them paired with their opponents’ number two option (Keke Coutee or Dontrelle Inman). Allen Robinson and Alshon Jeffery are my pivots at the top two spots. If I don’t take one of the #2’s from the HOU-IND game, then Taylor Gabriel or Cole Beasley would be my alternates at WR2. One of those two could also be my WR3. If not, I might go with Willie Snead, David Moore or Nelson Agholor.
Pay to Play:
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. IND ($8700 DK, $8800 FD)
DeAndre Hopkins posted 14-205-2 versus the Colts in their two meetings this season. Most of that came back in Week 4, when Hopkins had Will Fuller and Keke Coutee to keep defenses honest. Coutee should return this week, giving Hopkins a little more room to operate (and serving up himself as a possible WR3). Don’t be fooled by Indy’s numbers against opposing WRs. They haven’t faced very many true #1 WRs. The few they have faced have fared well against them (including Hopkins twice).
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks @ DAL ($6200 DK, $7200 FD)
Only two teams have allowed fewer WR touchdowns than Dallas. At home, Dallas has given up only 7 WR touchdowns all year. Two of those touchdowns came against Seattle back in Week 3, but they went to Jaron Brown and Tyler Lockett because Doug Baldwin missed the game. Baldwin could haul in a TD this week, but I cannot fathom him posting huge yardage numbers. I’d label him no better than a Saturday-Only pivot play, and a TD-dependent one at that.
Cole Beasley, Cowboys vs. SEA ($3500 DK, $5400 FD)
Cole Beasley hauled in a gorgeous TD pass last week. This was his first score in a few weeks, but he was posting reasonable lines. The last three weeks, Beasley has averaged 5-62. That is a reasonable PPR-forward line for next to nothing financially. Seattle is solid at shutting down outside receivers, allowing several Slot and interior WRs to post strong lines against them. This could be Beasley’s week to join the fun. At this price, Beasley doesn’t even need a score to return value. If he does get into the end zone, go directly to the bank and cash that check.
Weekly strategy – It’s hard to ignore Zach Ertz. That said, his price is prohibitive and the matchup isn’t great. Plus, Eric Ebron has the matchup of the season and Hunter Henry is back in an easy matchup too.
Pay to Play:
Eric Ebron, Colts @ HOU ($5200 DK, $6600 FD)
Houston has allowed the third-most receptions and TDs to opposing TEs. They have also given up the fifth-most yards to the position. Eric Ebron scored in both their earlier meeting. He will score here again. The real question is, “How many times will he score this week?”
Trey Burton, Bears vs. PHI ($4400 DK, $6200 FD)
Philadelphia’s secondary is injury-riddled, but they have given up only two TE touchdowns all season. Trey Burton has not topped 40 receiving yards since Week 7. He also only has two scores during that stretch. Simply put, he has become TD-dependent and TD-inconsistent. Those aren’t the adjectives you want on a high-priced TE, versus a TE-shutdown defense.
Hunter Henry, Chargers @ BAL ($2500 DK, $4900 FD)
Baltimore has one weakness on defense. It is a GLARING weakness. Ten different teams have topped 50 receiving yards with their TEs versus this group. Hunter Henry will certainly be on a snap count, but all he needs is one TD to hit 3x on DK. If Henry is held out of this game, Antonio Gates basically becomes a must-start. As is, if Henry plays, that cheap salary frees you up to spend like a teenager with their mom’s credit card at the mall.