With an extra team added to both conference’s playoffs, we have two different slates for Wildcard weekend. I will break down each of them game-by-game and give you my Pay-To-Play, Stay Away, and Value Play for each position for each of the two split slates. However, before we do that allow me to give you my favorite plays on the combined slate at each site too!
Full Wildcard Slate:
Here are my Full Wildcard Slate recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.1K for Ben Roethlisberger, $14.5K for Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins, $5.5K for JuJu Smith-Schuster, $7.7K for Stefon Diggs, $5.4K for Marquise Brown, $3.4K for Tyler Higbee, $4.9K for J.D. McKissic at FLEX, and $2.4K for the Washington defense.
At FD: $7.5K for Big Ben, $15.6K for Taylor and Dobbins, $7.1K for McLaurin, $8.7K for Diggs, $6.5K for JuJu, $5.4K for Higbee. $5.4K for McKissic at FLEX, and $3.7K for the Washington defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Josh Allen, Big Ben at SF, Taylor, and McKissic at RB, Dobbins at FLEX, Diggs, JuJu, and Brown at WR, and Higbee at TE.
Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills
Philip Rivers has a solid matchup here, but he is not the best QB among the playoff teams. Fortunately, his price tag is amenable to usage and he makes a nice option if you want to fit in all the studs at the other positions. Josh Allen is the highest-priced option on the slate and deservingly so. He is the best combo of talent level and opposition pass coverage-deficiency.
Buffalo is middle-of-the-pack against the run, but have given up more rushing TDs than receiving TDs to the position. This means that the highest-priced RB, Jonathan Taylor is borderline safe to play, but his cheaper backup Nyheim Hines (who is more involved in the passing game) is less likely to find success here. Indy has the best defense against the run on the slate. Plus, Zack Moss and Devin Singletary tend to vulture each others’ values. You can ignore both of them this week.
Buffalo has actually been fairly stingy against opposing WRs. Still, WR1s have posted solid lines against them periodically this year and particularly possession-style WR1s have had success. This puts T.Y. Hilton into WR2 consideration, but I won’t dive deep for Zach Pascal or Michael Pittman as anything more than a punt-WR3. Indy has been rotten against WRs for a little more than a month now. Stefon Diggs is the easy WR1 on this slate. Cole Beasley (if he plays) and John Brown are also both great WR2 options if you choose to fade Diggs. I’m probably not going to dig as far as Isaiah McKenzie except in Showdown games.
The Bills have one of the league’s worst defenses against the TE position. Unfortunately, Indy uses a trio of TEs limiting their individual value. Jack Doyle has actually out-targeted, out-caught, and reeled in more receiving yards than Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton combined over the last four games. So, if I was going to reach for a bargain bin TE, it would be Doyle. As for Dawson Knox, I love the talent that he has but Indy has been elite against TEs this year. I wouldn’t waste dollars on him with the Buffalo WRs all being safer plays against this defense. Of course, this also means ignore TD-dependent vulture Lee Smith as well.
Indy’s defense is very good, but they are facing the top QB on the slate. You can find a better option. Buffalo faces an immobile QB in Rivers and they have a reasonable price on DK and a great price on FD. I like them very much.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Assuming that Jared Goff plays, he makes a so-so start against a Seattle defense that he has already struggled against twice this year. Seattle supposedly has this bad defense but Goff has not thrown for a TD against them in either contest. Plus, there is a legit threat that Goff doesn’t play because of his thumb. John Wolford did little through the air last week with Cooper Kupp out. Wolford did however have success running the ball and that is something that Seattle has struggled with this year. At his price (and assuming a return for Kupp), I’d almost rather play Wolford than Goff. After a meteoric start to the season, Russell Wilson has accounted for two or fewer TDs in seven of his last eight games. This included two games against the Rams during which he posted a total of just two TDs and an average of 237 passing yards. At his price, he is an avoid for me.
Cam Akers is clearly the lead back for the Rams as long as he is healthy. He played last week, but not very well. Still, assuming his value and volume, he is a near must-start at RB2 or FLEX. Darrell Henderson is out and Malcolm Brown is nothing more than a C-O-P back, who is TD-dependent. You can avoid him here. Chris Carson is the top option for Seattle. He is always a threat to lose carries due to the coach’s whim, but he is no worse than RB4 on the slate. Carlos Hyde missed last week due to a non-COVID illness. Plus, he has fallen behind the returned Rashaad Penny on the touch chart. Even if Hyde plays, he belongs on your bench. Penny (and Alex Collins) could have some value in Showdown, but avoid them in the big tourneys.
Cooper Kupp was out last week due to COVID. With the short week, he may not be fully ready to go for this game (although he did get activated on Wednesday). Even if he does play, I’d be wary of using him as more than a WR2 at his price. Robert Woods is a much better WR2 option and even Josh Reynolds makes a safer per-dollar play at WR3. Van Jefferson was targeted eight times with Kupp out and with Wolford at QB. If Goff is out again, Jefferson could be a punt-WR3. However, if Goff starts, I believe he trusts Woods and Reynolds more. Last week was a Tyler Lockett week. That means he can be completed avoided this week. He has never had consecutive big games. Typically following one of his big games he posts a line of 4-36-0. Jalen Ramsey has held DK Metcalf in check for the first two games this year. Maybe the third time is the charm. I still don’t love the idea of playing him at this price. He is a contrarian play at best. David Moore is probably the best choice among Seattle WRs this week. At his price, he is a decent punt-WR3. Freddie Swain is too deep of a dive for this game.
Tyler Higbee fared well in both of the earlier meetings between these teams. He also has outproduced Gerald Everett over the last four weeks. On the thin slate, he is no worse than TE3. Everett can probably be avoided except in Showdown games. Greg Olsen missed Week 17 due to his foot injury. He didn’t do much when he returned in Week 16 either. I’d pass on him here. Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly have split the workload for the Seahawks. Hollister has seen more targets recently so he is a safe choice at TE4 or TE5. Dissly is also a usable punt-TE.
The Rams’ DK price is much more appealing than their FD price. They are still facing Seattle for the third time this year, so I would be a little hesitant counting on a huge game from them. The Seahawks are much cheaper, and if Wolford gets the start, they will be very popular. Making them hard to fade.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Football Team
Tampa Tom Brady has looked like an absolute stud the last couple of weeks. He must have found the Fountain of Youth. This, however, will be a solid test for the old man. Washington has arguably the best defensive front in football. They also have a pass defense that has allowed the fewest passing yards and five more INTs than passing TDs. Brady has faced only three top-10 pass defenses this year (Carolina, the Bears, and the Rams). In those three games, he has thrown for a total of only 686-4. I hate to say it but I will have less exposure here than I probably should. Alex Smith gets to face a team that is much easier to throw against. At his price, I like him a lot. Although the team says they may rotate in Taylor Heinecke.
Running the ball should be easier for Tampa than throwing it. That said, Washington is no slouch against the run either. Ronald Jones is still a pretty solid RB2 option, even though he wasn’t used at all in the passing game last week. Leonard Fournette is once again just a passing-down back. I don’t expect TB to be far behind at any point in this game, so he will be virtually useless unless Jones coughs up a fumble early. Tampa is also elite against the run. This should scare Antonio Gibson owners. He isn’t a rotten option, but J.D. McKissic is the stud play here. He is nearly a must-start this week since Tampa has allowed the most RB receptions this year. At his price, he is basically a cheat code.
Mike Evans’ MRI showed no major damage, so he may return this week. I’m not counting on it. That looked much more severe. If he plays, it may just be as a decoy. Thus making him TD-dependent. At his price, that is useless. I almost hope he doesn’t play. Then at least Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown would be safer plays. It still isn’t a great matchup for any of them. Based on prices, Brown is the safest as a WR2 pivot. If Evans is out, you could also see Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson get some play. Neither has done much since Brown’s arrival, so I would leave them for Showdown play. Terry McLaurin will battle Stefon Diggs for WR1 on this slate. I firmly support playing both of them. Both of the Simses are options at WR3, but I wouldn’t use either of them if I am also using McLaurin.
Rob Gronkowski has been TD-dependent most of the second half of the year. If Evans is out, that makes him a goal-line threat this week. Even if Evans plays, Gronk gets to take on a Washington defense that has been very TE-friendly. I love his DK price much more than his FD price, but I have zero issues with playing him on either of them. Logan Thomas looks like the next great TE stud. It is a shame that he is already 29 years old. Tampa Bay has actually been worse against the position than any other team on this slate except Buffalo. His price isn’t egregious, if you can afford it do it.
Most weeks, I’d support Tampa’s defense. This week, I don’t love their price point. At their price, the WFT defense might be the smart play, even against a QB that the league’s refs don’t allow to be sacked.
Here are my Saturday-Only Slate recommended lineups.
At DK: $7.5K for Josh Allen, $13K for Jonathan Taylor and Cam Akers, $6.3K for Terry McLaurin, $7.7K for Stefon Diggs, $3.1K for Van Jefferson, $4.9K for Logan Thomas, $4.8K for J.D. McKissic at FLEX, and $2.4K for the Washington defense.
At FD: $9K for Allen, $14.9K for Taylor and Akers, $7.1K for McLaurin, $8.7K for Diggs, $4.8K for Josh Reynolds, $6.4K for Thomas. $5.4K for McKissic at FLEX, and $3.7K for the Washington defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Allen, Philip Rivers at SF, Akers, and Taylor at RB, McKissic at FLEX, McLaurin, Diggs, and T.Y. Hilton at WR, and Thomas at TE.
Saturday strategy – Josh Allen, Philip Rivers, and Alex Smith (if he starts) will be the three I play the most. If John Wolford gets the start, I’ll throw out a couple of lineups on DK.
Pay to Play:
Josh Allen, Bills vs. IND ($7,500 DK, $9,000 FD)
Over the last month, Indianapolis has been the worst team of these six against the pass. Josh Allen is riding high going into the playoffs after torching an otherwise very strong Miami pass defense in Week 17.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. LAR ($6,600 DK, $7,400 FD) Russell Wilson has done very little in the two earlier meetings between these teams. He also has been cold in general since midway through the year. If I wanted a pivot from Alen, I would use Tom Brady for just a few bucks more.
Alex Smith, Football Team vs. TB ($5,100 DK, $6,500 FD)
Alex Smith is my favorite stacking option at QB. I intend to get as much access to Terry McLaurin, J.D. McKissic, and Logan Thomas as my bank account will allow. Rostering those three, it only makes sense that I use their QB too. Running against TB Is hard so this game will fall onto Alex’s shoulders. Of course, right now it is possible that Smith might not start. If that is the case use, Philip Rivers, instead.
Saturday strategy Jonathan Taylor is the easy RB1, but RB2 is a little closer between Chris Carson, Ronald Jones, and Cam Akers. J.D. McKissic is the easy FLEX play this week, and he could be your RB2 if you use a fourth WR.
Pay to Play:
Jonathan Taylor, Colts @ BUF ($7,900 DK, $8,800 FD)
The price is high for Jonathan Taylor this week following his blow up in Week 17. Still, he is the safest option on the docket and the Bills are just so-so against the run. You have money to spend. This is the obvious place to spend it.
Antonio Gibson, Redskins vs. TB ($5,700 DK, $6,200 FD)
Tampa is very hard to run the ball against, and there is little chance that the WFT will lead significantly at any point in this game. This means most of the Washington running game will go through our Value Play and not Antonio Gibson
J.D. McKissic, Football Team vs. TB ($4,800 DK, $5,400 FD)
Tampa has allowed the most RB receptions this season. That is J.D. McKissic’s role for the Football Team from Washington. There is a very real chance that he hauls in double-digit passes here.
Saturday strategy – Stefon Diggs and Terry McLaurin should be your top two WR choices. If possible roster them both. Robert Woods, Antonio Brown, and T.Y. Hilton would be my WR2 pivots. I could see using Cole Beasley or John Brown at WR2 as well (but only if you don’t use Diggs). Choose between Josh Reynolds or Van Jefferson at WR3, or consider one of the Football Team WRs, if you don’t use McLaurin.
Pay to Play:
Stefon Diggs, Bills vs. IND ($7,700 DK, $8,700 FD)
Indy is abysmal against WRs. They are particularly bad against WR1s. Stefon Diggs has become one of the most reliable WRs in football. Take advantage of the most obvious stack on the slate and hook Diggs up with Allen to lock up some money.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks vs. LAR ($6,900 DK, $6,800 FD) Tyler Lockett has never had a blowup performance in back-to-back games. I have zero reasons to think it will start here against the elite Rams’ pass defense. I don’t like DK Metcalf shadowed by Jalen Ramsey either, but I have more faith in Metcalf’s natural ability. Better yet just avoid both of them.
Josh Reynolds, Rams @ SEA ($3,600 DK, $4,800 FD)
Even prior to Cooper Kupp’s COVID diagnosis, Josh Reynolds was starting to become more involved in the Rams’ offense. Now he gets to face the worst defense in the league in terms of receptions allowed to WRs and the third-worst in receiving yards allowed to WRs. If Kupp is a no-go this further boosts both Reynolds and Van Jefferson’s chances to have a big game.
Saturday strategy – The decision should likely come down to Logan Thomas or Rob Gronkowski. The only other players I feel safe using are Tyler Higbee or Jack Doyle.
Pay to Play:
Logan Thomas, Football Team vs. TB ($4,900 DK, $6,400 FD)
Since Week 13, Logan Thomas ranks second in TE targets and third in TE receiving yards. Meanwhile, Tampa is allowing an average of 8-52-0.75 to the position over their last four contests.
Dawson Knox, Bills vs. IND ($3,200 DK, $4,900 FD)
Dawson Knox has the worst matchup of any of the TE1s on the docket. I actually like him in reality, but there is no chance I am actively playing him over Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Higbee, or Jack Doyle.
Jack Doyle, Colts @ BUF ($2,900 DK, $4,500 FD)
Buffalo has allowed eight TE scores, but more importantly, they have given up the second-most receptions and second-most receiving yards to the position. Jack Doyle has been the clear leader in the Indy TE room over the last month, so if you need to shave some money consider him on DK.
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
There are four very good pass defenses on this slate. Tennessee isn’t one of them. They are just as bad against the run too. Lamar Jackson is better with his legs than his arm, but he is no worse than QB2 on this slate. Ryan Tannehill has lit up bad defenses, but his numbers versus good defenses are pedestrian. This included a 259-2 line earlier this year versus Baltimore.
Baltimore has been using J.K. Dobbins as more of a feature RB recently and against this defense, he should be penciled in as one of your starters. Gus Edwards can be used as a money-saving FLEX option if you don’t use Dobbins. Injuries have played a part, but Mark Ingram is mostly out of the playbook. Over the last 12 weeks, he has 30 touches. Don’t even look his way, unless both Dobbins and Gus are ruled out before Sunday. For Tennessee, the RB position is Derrick Henry. In their earlier meeting, the Titans didn’t hold back on giving Henry carries. In fact, they just kept feeding him (29 total touches) until he had a reasonable stat line. In that game, the rest of the RB room totaled two touches. His price tag is very high, so it will be tough to fit in budget-wise. Still, he has slate-breaking potential anytime he plays. I’m not putting any stock in Jeremy McNichols this week.
With the exception of Marquise Brown, all of the other Ravens’ WRs are TD dependent. Miles Boykin has three TDs over the last five games on exactly five catches (one per game). Dez Bryant has two catches over the last three games and both went for TDs. Devin Duvernay has two catches total over the last five games. None of those three is worth more than a dart throw in Showdown contests. Brown, on the other hand, has six or more targets in all but four games. He has been counted on even more recently as Lamar Jackson has started to get on the same page as him. He has six scores over the last six weeks, so at this price (and against this ghastly defense), it would be stupid to not use him as a WR2/WR3. Tennessee has two reliable WRs in A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. Davis bested Brown in every category in the earlier meeting, but Brown got the sole WR score. Basically, one of the two has blown up each week, but there have only been a couple of weeks all season where they have both put up huge numbers. Brown has 11 scores over the last 13 games, so he is definitely the safer option, but considering the price difference, I tend to favor using Davis here.
The Titans have only allowed two TE scores in the six games since they faced the Ravens. That said, in that game, Mark Andrews went off for 5-96-1. Unfortunately, Andrews has only one TD since that game. Still, he has put up reasonable receptions and yardage numbers. He is far and away the most talented TE on the slate. His DK price is low enough to consider, but I cannot go $7K on FD. Coming into the season, Jonnu Smith was a favorite sleeper among fantasy analysts. He scored in their earlier meeting, but he also had only four catches. In fact, he has only topped four catches one time since Week 5. I feel there are better options in this price range. Neither Anthony Firkser nor Geoff Swaim has done much the last five weeks, so you can fade them.
The Ravens’ defense is elite, but I feel there are better matchups to target. Using the Titans’ defense is financial suicide.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints
Since returning to the starting role, Mitchell Trubisky has three games where he has netted three touchdowns in each. In the other three games, he has a total of just two scores. New Orleans’ pass defense is markedly better than when they started the year, so I’m not overly excited for Trubisky here. Still, Nick Foles netted 272-2 against them earlier this year, and I’d fathom that most fantasy analysts would trust Mitchell more than Nick right now. Drew Brees has three scores in two of the three starts since returning from injury. In the other start, he topped 300 passing yards but he didn’t throw a score. Of course, that was because Alvin Kamara went ham versus the Vikings that week. It is definitely easier to beat the Bears through the air than on the ground, plus Brees may get Michael Thomas back. I would rank him QB3/4 on this slate. Taysom Hill is the wildcard here. His price is cheap enough to use in SF, but you cannot throw away your QB slot on him in single-QB lineups.
David Montgomery has been a beast the second half of the season. Only one player in all of football has more scrimmage yards since Week 12 (that is Derrick Henry). Montgomery is cheaper than Henry this week making him a decent pivot. That said, New Orleans is elite against the run. In their earlier meeting, Montgomery just barely topped 100 total yards. The Saints should get their RB room back this week after missing all of them last week. Alvin Kamara may be the biggest risk to return, and against a tough run defense, his play isn’t elite. He had a ton of targets and receptions in their earlier meeting, but that was without Michael Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders. If I was gonna choose a high-priced guy this week, I prefer Henry. Latavius Murray is officially off the COVID list, so he will get the biggest boost if Kamara misses another game or is limited. Plus, he has standalone value even if Kamara plays. At his reduced price, I love him as a FLEX play. Ty Montgomery should move back to WR this week, but if Kamara cannot go he might be a sneaky Showdown play.
Allen Robinson is a very good WR but he will face a tough assignment going up against Marshon Lattimore. He scored in the earlier contest, but his price is too high considering the player pool. Darnell Mooney scored in the earlier game and had a huge performance last week, but he is dealing with an ankle injury and may not play. If he cannot go, both Anthony Miller and Javon Wims enter the WR3 conversation. I wouldn’t recommend either of them though if Mooney plays. If Darnell is healthy enough to go, he makes a real serious consideration for WR3 as well. Cordarelle Patterson is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. Unfortunately, he is not on the field much if David Montgomery is healthy. I’ll pass on him here. Michael Thomas is always an elite play when he is on the field. He hasn’t been there a lot this year, but when he has, he has fared well. In a blase field of WRs, you can consider him as a WR1 pivot. If Thomas plays he will steal targets from Jared Cook and Kamara, not Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders makes a safe WR2 play whether Thomas suits up or not. Marquez Callaway can be considered as a WR3 if Thomas is a no-go. I’m not going any deeper though.
It seems as if when I play Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham scores – and vice/versa. This weird convergence has cost me a couple of thousand dollars this last month. My money is on Graham this week in the revenge game, so everyone else should load Kmet into your lineup. Jared Cook has a great matchup and a more reasonable FD price than Mark Andrews. I’m just concerned that if Thomas returns, Cook fades into oblivion again. Adam Trautman will be very good…next year.
Chicago’s defense is a sneaky play here in that I feel they will be under-owned. Meanwhile, New Orleans will likely be the most popular play. I don’t like that price on a slate with lots of solid defenses to choose from.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Baker Mayfield in his first post-season start at Pittsburgh isn’t an optimal play. He gets the benefit of no Joe Haden, but he did nothing last week versus Pittsburgh and even less in their prior meeting. In fact, Baker has never topped 200 passing yards or 2 passing TDs against Pittsburgh. Mason Rudolph looked like a stud against Cleveland last week. I expect Ben Roethlisberger to go bonkers here. Ben didn’t have to do much in their earlier contest as Pittsburgh ran wild on Cleveland. Since then, the Browns have evolved into a team that is considerably better against the run than the pass. I actually feel with the week off, Big Ben may finish as QB1 on this slate. At worst he will end up as Qb3.
Pittsburgh hasn’t been good against the run for nearly two months now. Meanwhile, Nick Chubb has scored eight times in the last eight games. Much like David Montgomery, the price for Chubb makes him slightly more appealing than Kamara or Henry. Also, much like Latavius Murray, Kareem Hunt is a near-perfect FLEX play. James Conner hasn’t topped 100 yards rushing since his Week 6 contest against the Browns. Part of this is due to injury, and a part is due to COVID, unfortunately, most of it is due to Pittsburgh thoroughly abandoning the run. Cleveland is good against the run, so this is a hard pass for me, as is Benny Snell.
Jarvis Landry has been a jack of all trades recently. He can run a TD in. He can catch a bunch of passes and reel in a TD reception. He even has been known to throw the occasional TD pass. The matchup isn’t perfect (even without Haden), but his volume always puts him in play at WR2. Rashard Higgins has been a solid producer since Odell Beckham’s injury. His price is also really appealing. I like him as a pivot at WR2/3. Donovan Peoples-Jones is nearly site minimum, but his usage is middling and I don’t think that Mayfield will produce enough passing offense to make him relevant this week. Plus, he is battling a concussion and might not even play. Even if Jones doesn’t play, I’m not digging deeper here. I love Pittsburgh’s receiver corps this week. The only hard part will be deciding which one to use. Based on price and recent usage, I am leaning Diontae Johnson or JuJu Smith-Schuster. That said, I wouldn’t blame anyone using Chase Claypool here or even James Washington. JuJu and Diontae are both in the WR1 range and Claypool is a WR2 possibility. Washington is more of a punt-WR3. It can be noted that Claypool has scored in both games versus Cleveland this year.
Austin Hooper has three TDs in his last five games. This includes a score versus Pittsburgh last week. He is a great option at TE on both sites if you don’t pay up for Andrews. I don’t like David Njoku because he isn’t used enough. I’d have more interest in Harrison Bryant but he may miss the game due to COVID. If Eric Ebron returns from the COVID list to play this week I love him on DK at his price. Vance McDonald was serviceable in his stead last weekend, but he doesn’t have the upside of Ebron.
The Browns’ defense isn’t the worst option, especially if Big Ben is rusty or still dinged up. I am buying Ben for a big game though, so I hope that the Browns’ defense ends up being a bust. Pittsburgh’s defense is my favorite play of the week (even though they are a little pricier). Baker will get a hard playoff introduction, especially with the team’s coaches dealing with COVID.
Here are my Sunday-only Slate recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.1K for Ben Roethlisberger, $15.8K for Derrick Henry and J.K. Dobbins, $5.5K for JuJu Smith-Schuster, $5K for Emmanuel Sanders, $3.9K for Darnell Mooney (if he plays – otherwise Anthony Miller), $3.7K for Eric Ebron, $6.9K for David Montgomery at FLEX, and $2.8K for the Bears’ defense.
At FD: $7.5K for Big Ben, $17K for Henry and Dobbins, $6.5K for JuJu, $6.3K for Marquise Brown, $5.4K or less for Mooney or Miller, $5.1K for Jimmy Graham. $8.4K for Montgomery at FLEX, and $3.7K for the Bears’ defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Lamar Jackson, Big Ben at SF, Henry, and Dobbins at RB, Montgomery at FLEX, JuJu, Brown, and Mooney/Miller at WR, and Graham at TE.
Sunday strategy – Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger are my top two choices on Sunday. Plus, I’m concerned about low points in the Chicago vs. New Orleans game. You can consider Taysom Hill in SF contests but not in regular 1-QB contests.
Pay to Play:
Lamar Jackson, Ravens @ TEN ($7,800 DK, $9,300 FD)
Tennessee has allowed the fourth-most passing yards and the second-most passing TDs. Now, Lamar Jackson is never going to be confused for an elite passer, but against this defense, he should throw for 275-2. Then the 75-100 rushing yards and any rushing scores are gravy.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. BAL ($6,600 DK, $8,200 FD) Ryan Tannehill has fared well versus bad pass defenses but he has been mediocre against quality defenses. Baltimore definitely qualifies as quality. In their earlier meeting, Tannehill finished with 259-2. That’s decent but not $8.2K worth.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. CLE ($6,100 DK, $7,500 FD) The FD price hardly qualifies as a value but his DK price is right in that range. Plus, it doesn’t matter what his FD price is if he is going to achieve 3X. Cleveland has the second-worst passing defense on this slate. They even allowed Ben Roethlisberger’s backup Mason Rudolph to look legit last week. Unless the weather becomes an issue, I have Ben at 325-3.
Sunday strategy I don’t blame you for playing Derick Henry. Even in a subpar matchup, he will likely post 125-1. Still, that price is so high. David Montgomery and Nick Chubb also have just ‘aight matchups, but their salaries are considerably better. Then we have J.K. Dobbins, who is the best value on the slate even though he is among the higher-priced guys. You are going to use two of that foursome in some combo. If you take your FLEX from this position consider Kareem Hunt or Latavius Murray.
Pay to Play:
Derrick Henry, Titans vs. BAL ($9,200 DK, $10,200 FD)
The price is higher than I would like for Derrick Henry. Baltimore has an elite run defense, but they can be beaten by repetition. That is what Derrick Henry did to them last time. He got so many carries that volume alone carried him to 2X value. Expect a repeat here with 125-1. If you are going to pay up know that this is what you are probably going to get. Then you can be pleasantly surprised if he rips off a second long score. In reality, I personally prefer to pay up for David Montgomery or Nick Chubb, cause they are both cheaper. Still, their final numbers won’t be decidedly higher than Henry’s.
Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. CHI ($8,500 DK, $9,000 FD)
Alvin Kamara missed last week due to COVID. His best hope is that he clears COVID protocol on Sunday prior to the game. That means that he will have gotten zero contact work in at least two weeks. He even has to practice this week virtually. There is also the chance that he doesn’t clear on Sunday. If that happens, Latavius Murray becomes an easy-peasy FLEX play. In their earlier meeting, Kamara saved a mediocre rushing line with an absurd amount of targets because both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were out. Both will likely suit up this week. Combine that with the regular workload share with Murray and the goal line vultures from Taysom Hill, then throw in this ridiculously high-salary and no practice. There is no chance that Kamara returns a sizeable value.
J.K. Dobbins, Ravens @ TEN ($6,600 DK, $6,800 FD)
Tennessee is bad against the run, bad against the pass, bad against everything. J.K. Dobbins’ price tag doesn’t read like your typical value play, but he has the greatest legitimate opportunity to return 3X+ without any outside considerations. He needs to be at one of your RB slots on both the Sunday slate and the Full slate.
Sunday strategy – This is not a great slate for WRs. Choose one of the Steelers (I recommend JuJu Smith-Schuster and pair him with two of Marquise Brown, Jarvis Landy, Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Corey Davis, Anthony Miller, or Darnell Mooney.
Pay to Play:
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers vs. CLE ($5,500 DK, $6,500 FD)
Obviously, it is hard to determine which Steelers’ WR(s) will go off each week. Fortunately, both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster have been getting it done over the second half of the season. JuJu is a few bucks cheaper so, he is my choice between the two, but both are great pay-up options this week.
A.J. Brown, Titans vs. BAL ($7,000 DK, $8,400 FD) A.J. Brown’s salary outweighs his potential return this week. On a slate with several decent WR plays but no true studs, it doesn’t make sense to pay up for Brown against the Ravens’ defense. His ceiling just isn’t that much higher than any of the second-tier guys, despite his price being considerably higher especially on FD. Brown will probably score a TD here. He has been on a scoring heater all year, but I just don’t see the volume or yardage numbers being there this week.
Darnell Mooney, Bears @ NOS ($3,900 DK, $5,400 FD) or Anthony Miller, Bears @ NOS ($3,300 DK, $4,700 FD) One of these two will benefit from Marshon Lattimore shadowing Allen Robinson. Anthony Miller looked great down the stretch last year and Darnell Mooney has looked great down the stretch this year. Mooney sustained an ankle injury late last week. If he is good to go, he is the play. If he is questionable up until the game time, then Miller is the play. Both are cheap enough to produce 3X value, but Mooney is the preferred option.
Sunday strategy – Mark Andrews and Austin Hooper are the best plays on the slate. Jared Cook is a reasonable pivot based on the matchup, but he may lose targets to a returning Michael Thomas. Eric Ebron also has a decent matchup but he is questionable. Jimmy Graham gets the revenge game narrative, but he has to share looks with Cole Kmet. If Ebron is out you can use Vance McDonald as a punt play.
Pay to Play:
Mark Andrews, Ravens @ TEN ($5,200 DK, $7,000 FD) Tennessee has been decent against TEs, but Mark Andrews actually posted a very good line against them back in Week 11. Andrews is clearly the safest play at the position this week, but his FD price is a little higher than I would like.
Jared Cook, Saints vs. CHI ($4,600 DK, $5,900 FD)
This is actually a good matchup for Jared Cook. He just falls into the category of the most expensive player on the list with a reason for concern. The concern being the return of Michael Thomas. In the six games mid-season when Michael Thomas previously returned from his injury, Cook had a total of only NINE catches.
Jimmy Graham, Bears @ NO ($3,300 DK, $5,100 FD)
It is a revenge game for Jimmy Graham against a NO defense that has been among the leagues’ worst at allowing TE scores. Of course, Graham will probably split touches with Cole Kmet, so don’t expect a huge statistical line. That said, you know that Chicago will do everything in their power to get Graham a score here.