Now that we have gotten past the “Super” wildcard weekend, we can get down to real brass tacks. Eight teams are left. Four games this weekend. Will there be another big upside this week or will the favorites prevail? Does it even matter which team wins? We are here to help you win money regardless of which NFL team cashes the victory check.
Los Angeles Rams @ Green Bay Packers
Who will start at QB for the Rams this week? John Wolford was decapitated early last week. Jared Goff played the rest of the game despite his throwing hand thumb being surgically repaired less than two weeks prior. It was clear to anyone who watched the game that he is not 100%. Green Bay is among the ten-best in terms of holding an opponent’s passing offense out of the end zone. They are also top-ten in passing yards allowed to the opposition. Obviously, a 90% Goff is historically good. a better play than a 100% Wolford. Still, with so many solid QBs on this slate, it is hard to justify using either of them. Whoever goes under center will likely be handing the ball off a lot anyway as Green Bay is rotten against the run. Aaron Rodgers is hardly an optimal play this week either. I mean he is Aaron Rodgers, and he does seem to succeed even where others fail. That said, the Rams defense is historically good. Rodgers has thrown for three or more scores twelve times this year, but Los Angeles has given up multiple passing TDs only five times. Aaron’s DK price is ok, but his FD price is too high considering the prices of better options around him.
Cam Akers has overcome the Rams’ desire to use an RBBC. His talent (combined with an injury to Darrell Henderson) forced the Rams to give him the touch load that he rightfully deserved. On this slate, he is no worse than RB4 and his price is very inviting against a bad run defense. The biggest issue Akers may face is a negative game script if the Packers jump out to a big lead early. Malcolm Brown is TD-dependent at this point. He can be saved for Showdown slate usage. Aaron Jones’ usage has been devoid of reason in the last few weeks. It is no surprise that he is anxious to depart via free agency. The Rams are nearly as good against the run as they are the pass. So, Jones will be no more than a pivot play for me. Jamaal Williams returned Week 17, but he didn’t get enough touches to be relevant here. Both he and AJ Dillon can remain on your bench.
Assuming that Cooper Kupp’s knee is good to go (And reports are that it is), He should be one of the top WR2 options this week. Jaire Alexander will likely shadow Robert Woods this week. This isn’t a death sentence for Woods, but it definitely gives a bump in potential targets towards Kupp. Josh Reynolds wasn’t even targeted last week (in a great matchup spot). I put most of that blame on the Goff injury. Either way, I’m not ready to trust him again here. Van Jefferson can be left to Showdown slate play. Davante Adams versus Jalen Ramsey is the storyline this week. Last week, DK Metcalf got a few licks in on Ramsey. Fortunately for DFS players, Metcalf had a mildly reduced salary. Davante does not get a Ramsey discount. That is because he has gotten it done all season regardless of defensive shadow. Still, if there was ever a week to fade Adams, this is it. With Adams busy hand-checking with Ramsey, expect Aaron Rodgers to throw more passes towards Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both are elite WR3 options. I wouldn’t go as deep as Equanimeous St. Brown though.
Tyler Higbee has outproduced Gerald Everett of late. Neither is a great play here against a Green Bay defense that has stymied opposing TEs. It should be noted that in Wolford’s earlier start, Everett received nearly twice as many targets as Higbee. Meanwhile, the Rams’ stats against opposing TEs look very good. Still, at a closer look, you will see that they have faced only one elite TE since Week 6. If you fade Travis Kelce’s salary, using Robert Tonyan is not a bad thought. I wouldn’t bother with any of Tonyan’s backups though.
The Rams defense is very good and their price is ridiculously low because of the perceived matchup. Take advantage of this fiscal miscalculation by the sites. As for Green Bay, their price is the highest but I want nothing to do with them unless Wolford gets the start.
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills
A second Saturday game featuring a top-tier defense versus an elite offense. At least Lamar Jackson has a better chance of hanging with Buffalo’s offense than Jared Goff would have of staying with the Pack. Buffalo is among the best at stopping passing TDs, but they are among the worst at keeping QBs from rushing for TDs. This game could be a sneaky “over” game. Everyone and their sister will be on Patrick Mahomes, so using either Jackson or Josh Allen here may be a worthwhile pivot. Allen’s matchup isn’t ideal either, but both should produce a couple of TDs, and each will score on the ground.
J.K. Dobbins scored last week to save a mediocre line where he split touches with Gus Edwards. Still, both of them paled in comparison to the ground numbers put up by Lamar. The matchup is decent here but I think I prefer Akers at RB2. Edwards gets enough touches to have a role here. He could be a cheap punt FLEX option. Count me as one of the analysts that were shocked that Buffalo sought out Zack Moss this offseason. I loved what we saw of Devin Singletary last year, and now he gets to be the man again. Obviously, Josh Allen (and all of his TEs) are vultures to Devin’s scoring chances, but at least he doesn’t have to worry about not being on the field in the red zone anymore.
Marquise Brown had another big week last week. I like him as a WR2 option this week. Meanwhile, Miles Boykin and Dez Bryant did nothing effectively taking them out of my consideration. The only other Ravens’ WR to consider is Willie Snead at punt WR3. John Brown killed my DFS mojo last week with his goose egg. As did Corey Davis, who also ate a big plate of nothing as WR2 going against Baltimore’s defense. I cannot fathom back-to-back zilches for Brown, but I’m still not overly excited to play him. At WR1 last week, A.J. Brown got it done versus this defense. A.J.’s success bodes well for Stefon Diggs here. He isn’t my favorite play of the weekend, but I don’t hate him as a pivot from Adams or Tyreek Hill. Cole Beasley has developed into a reduced-price Cooper Kupp (with who he will split ownership shares). His value is much higher in PPR, so I’m more likely to use him at WR2 on DK. If you don’t use Diggs or Beasley, I’d definitely consider Gabriel Davis at WR3.
Mark Andrews is the best per-dollar matchup among all of the TEs on the slate this week. Obviously, Kelce is a great play, but you can get big numbers for $2K less with Andrews against one of the league’s worst defenses against TEs. Dawson Knox’s matchup isn’t horrible but he is still no better than TE3 on Saturday-only and no better than TE5 overall.
Both of these defenses are pretty good, but both of these offenses are high-end. I’ll fade both of them here.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs
Baker Mayfield got it done last week versus the Steelers. He finished the day with 263-3, but the Browns’ defense put him into the position to be this successful. It just didn’t feel like he was doing that much to cause the final score. Despite playing from ahead most weeks, Kansas City hasn’t allowed a ton of passing yards or TDs. They are at the worst in the middle of the pack on defense against opposing passing games. The Chiefs are however amongst the best at picking off the opposition, so garbage time may mean INTs here. The one thing that the Chiefs have struggled with is QBs rushing for TDs. That won’t help Mayfield anyway since he has only four rushing TDs for his career and only one this season. Realistically, the only QB that I would rank below Baker this week is Goff/Wolford. As for Patrick Mahomes, he is the top option this week, and his price (while high) is not obnoxious compared to the other higher-priced QBs.
Nick Chubb is probably my favorite RB play this week. His price is reasonable. The Chiefs have been sieve-like against the run and Cleveland will need to run a lot to try and keep the ball away from KC. Even WHEN the game script eventually goes to pot, Chubb will be used in the passing game too. Kareem Hunt makes a great FLEX option as well since his price provides you the flexibility to fit in all the Chiefs’ studs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is still questionable for this week. Cleveland is better against the run than the pass, but KC doesn’t run the ball much anyway. In what would be his first game back, I wouldn’t use him as more than a FLEX option. If CEH doesn’t play, I may consider Le’Veon Bell for an RB2 slot, but he still is probably best suited for FLEX usage. I like Darrel Williams a lot, but if both Bell & CEH are on the field there just won’t be enough touches for him.
Much like Cole Beasley and Cooper Kupp, Jarvis Landry is a PPR beast. Unlike both of them, Landry has been catching TDs/running in TDs/throwing TDs often as well. We know Cleveland will eventually have to throw the ball here making both Landry and Rashard Higgins great run-it-back plays at WR2 and WR3 respectively. You can consider Donovan Peoples-Jones for your Showdown lineup, but there won’t be enough scoring here to make him a solid full slate play. Tyreek Hill is your WR1 overall (Yes, even over Davante Adams). Cleveland is bad against the pass, and we just saw Ben Roethlisberger dissect them in the second half last week. Sammy Watkins will likely return from his calf injury and he makes a decent WR3 option. If Watkins suffers a setback and doesn’t suit up, you can then consider Demarcus Robinson. Mecole Hardman did not have as huge of a Week 17 as I would’ve liked. He is still a more intriguing WR3 option than either Robinson or Watkins since he has the ability to score from anywhere on the field.
Kansas City is actually quite crappy against opposing TEs. They have been particularly picked on the last couple of weeks of the season. Austin Hooper has four scores in his last six games, including last week. I like him to score again here. David Njoku is more of a TD-dependent shot in the dark right now. He can be left for Showdown play. I feel like a broken record but Travis Kelce is also the top option at the position this week. Cleveland has struggled against the TE position since the Obama administration was in office. His price is high, but if you take some risks at WR3 and Defense, you should be able to fit him in.
The Chiefs are going to be the most-owned defense on the slate – and deservingly so. I will probably look elsewhere to diversify but don’t blame you for eating the chalk here. If you are thinking of using the Browns’ defense, just Venmo me your money and save us all some time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
We finally get the QB-Retirement Bowl we all deserve. Tom Brady claims he is coming back next year and Drew Brees is rumored to be walking away. Of course, the results of this game could alter the space-time continuum for either of them. Brady is facing a Saints’ passing defense that is starting to turn things around after a poor start to the year. Brees is facing a Tampa pass defense that has just been bad all season long. Brady struggled in their two earlier meetings throwing for an average of 224 yards per game while passing for only two TDs and throwing five INTs. Brees did much better throwing for six scores with no picks, but he averaged only 191 passing yards per game. You can throw all of that out the window today though. This will be pinball football. Outside of Mahomes (and even above Rodgers), I want all the exposure to this passing game that I can get.
Ronald Jones ruined many DFS lineups last week with an NBA-esque after the game had started late-scratch announcement. If he suits up, he may be used sparingly, so he will likely ride my pine. Plus, in a game that figures to have a lot of points – but that also features two studly run defenses – I want the passing back Leonard Fournette instead. If Jones doesn’t play Ke’Shawn Vaughn could have marginal FLEX value, but not enough to go crazy. Latavius Murray left last week’s game with an injury. It doesn’t sound too serious but watch out for updates. If by chance he doesn’t play Alvin Kamara becomes even more of a must-start. If they are both active, Murray gets FLEX consideration and Kamara is still a top-2 RB1 choice. One wrinkle to consider is that FD has decided to move Taysom Hill to the running back position so you can take a chance on him outside of the QB position (Note he still only qualifies at QB on DK). Obviously, you cannot play him at QB on DK – that would be insane. I would certainly consider him as a FLEX play on FD though.
Antonio Brown has been a monster of late. He also won’t have to worry about Marshon Lattimore who will be assigned to either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. Brown is a borderline WR1, but he makes an even better WR2 slotted next to Tyreek in your lineup. I can appreciate using either Evans or Godwin but will concentrate my interest on Brown at a cheaper price. Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson are not seeing enough targets to consider outside of Showdown contests. Michael Thomas returned for New Orleans last week and immediately scored. His first two games against TB were meh but you cannot argue with his massive target share most weeks. Emmanuel Sanders scored in each of the two earlier games. Against this defense, a hat trick is not out of the question. Deonte Harris had a huge game last week. He has been trending the right way, and I could see using him as a punt WR3. I won’t go any deeper on the Saints’ receiver tree though.
Cameron Brate actually outperformed Rob Gronkowski last week. Gronk did nothing in the earlier two games either. You can avoid him here. Considering the price (and the big game last week), you could play Brate. Still, there are so many solid plays at the position this week, that he is no more than a dart throw punt play. Jared Cook had a huge Week 1 against this defense and then a pedestrian Week 9. He actually tied for the team lead in targets last week, but he didn’t do much with them. There are just better options at this price point to choose from.
Normally, these two defenses are solid choices. Not this week. Points will be scored here. If you have to choose one of them, consider TB on FD where their price is extremely low.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $8K for Patrick Mahomes, $10.2K for Cam Akers and Devin Singletary, $8K for Tyreek Hill, $3.8K or $3.9K for either Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen Lazard, $3.5K for Deonte Harris, $7.8K for Travis Kelce, $5K for Mark Andrews (or $4.8K for Kareem Hunt) at FLEX, and $3.6K for the Chiefs’ defense.
At FD: $9.2K for Mahomes, $12.7K for Akers and Singletary, $8.8K for Tyreek, $6.4K for Antonio Brown, $5.2K for Harris, $8.5K for Kelce. $5.1K for Taysom Hill at FLEX, and $3.8K for the Rams’ defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Mahomes, Josh Allen at SF, Hunt, and Akers at RB, Singletary at FLEX, Tyreek, Antonio, and Cole Beasley at WR, and Andrews at TE.
Weekly strategy – Patrick Mahomes is pricy but he also poised for a huge game. I’m going to get him into as many lineups as I can. Lamar Jackson is an ok pivot. If I choose to pay less at QB, I will use one of the Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady matchup. Taysom Hill qualifies only at RB on FD, he might make a sneaky FLEX or RB2 play there.
Pay to Play:
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. CLE ($8,000 DK, $9,200 FD) Among the teams still alive in the playoffs, only Tampa Bay has allowed more passing yards and no team has allowed more passing TDs than Cleveland. Enter Patrick Mahomes and his 38 passing TDs this year. Stack away Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, and then finagle the rest of your lineup in around them.
Josh Allen, Bills vs. BAL ($7,400 DK, $8,800 FD) This isn’t the best matchup for Josh Allen, but he has been successful against various good defenses already this year. Still, only the Rams have allowed fewer passing TDs all year. Plus, snow is in the forecast along with winds up to 25 MPH. Allen has the benefit of being adept with his legs, and with Zack Moss out Allen may be even more prone to vulture a TD run. That said, if I use him it will be on DK or FB, but his FD price is too close to Mahomes.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. TB ($5,600 DK, $7,300 FD) As I mentioned above, Tampa has allowed the most passing yards of any team still alive in the playoffs. This game has shootout written all over it. I want a lot of exposure to both Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Brady has a better arsenal of weapons, but New Orleans is also much better against the pass than Tampa. In the end, they will both produce solid lines, so I will take Drew Brees for a few bucks less.
Weekly strategy Alvin Kamara is in a potential blowup spot if Latavius Murray cannot go this week. His price tag however makes him very hard to roster if you want to stack the Chiefs’ passing attack. Nick Chubb, J.K. Dobbins, and Cam Akers are my three favorite plays. They are all more moderately-priced than Kamara. Kareem Hunt and Gus Edwards are valuable cost-saving FLEX plays. That said, my favorite FLEX options are Leonard Fournette who could see more work if Ronald Jones is out, and Devin Singletary who will see more work with Zack Moss out.
Pay to Play:
Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. TB ($7,900 DK, $9,000 FD)
Tampa Bay is elite against the run. They also allowed the most receptions to opposing RBs of any team this season. Alvin Kamara led all backs in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs this year. This includes ten catches against TB in their two earlier meetings. I don’t love the FD price, but if Latavius Murray misses this game, Kamara may still reach 3X there.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs vs. CLE ($5,500 DK, $6,100 FD)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on track to return this week, but don’t get too excited to play him here. First off, Kansas City prefers to throw the ball on most downs rather than run, and Helaire has fallen behind Le’Veon Bell as the pass-catching back for KC. Secondly, Helaire has only scored in four games all season and only once since Week 10. Third, he is coming off of a major injury. Fourth, Cleveland is very good against the run. Only seven teams allowed fewer rushing yards this year. If you have to use a KC back this week, I’d go with Bell.
Devin Singletary, Bills vs. BAL ($4,500 DK, $5,700 FD)
At this price, it would be crazy to not use Devin Singletary. Singletary looked to be en route to fantasy stardom down the stretch last season. Then the Bills went out and got Zack Moss. Moss and Josh Allen have capped Singletary’s value all season by stealing all of the TD love. This week Moss is out of the equation, so Devin only has to deal with Allen’s vultures. Baltimore has allowed the fewest RB rushing TDs this season, but the combo yardage and the threat of score easily equate to 3X potential for Singletary.
|Equanimeous St. Brown||$3,000||$4,700|
Weekly strategy – Tyreek Hill versus Cleveland is the WR1 that makes the most sense. Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams are both studs, but they each face dominating defenses. Realistically, Michael Thomas would be the closest thing to a pivot for me. I love Antonio Brown at WR2, but possession WRs like Jarvis Landry, Cooper Kupp, and Cole Beasley are also in play. WR3 for me will be one of the Packers, Rashard Higgins, Josh Reynolds, or my favorite choice Deonte Harris.
Pay to Play:
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. CLE ($8,000 DK, $8,800 FD)
Only five teams allowed more WR receiving TDs this season than Cleveland. They have struggled with every breed of WR (field stretchers, tall possession guys, WR1s, WR2s, slot machines). Tyreek Hill is the only safe option among the highest-priced WRs, start him and watch him score on the Chiefs’ first play from scrimmage.
Davante Adams, Packers vs. LAR ($8,600 DK, $9,000 FD) Jalen Ramsey proved this season that he is the best CB in football. This week he faces Davante Adams, who proved this season that he is the best WR in football. Adams’ elite-level talent will permit him to post 6-75-1 here. That would be WR1 territory in most leagues, but it is nowhere near enough to justify that FD salary.
Antonio Brown, Buccaneers @ NO ($5,400 DK, $6,400 FD)
Tom Brady and Antonio Brown are finally vibing just in time for a lengthy playoff run. We know that this will be a high-scoring game, so you want as much exposure as possible. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are also great plays, but they are both more expensive than Brown. Plus, Marshon Lattimore will be guarding one of Evans or Godwin leaving lesser coverage for Antonio. Whenever possible I want to use him at WR2.
Weekly strategy – There is zero reasons to sweat playing most of the top options this week. Travis Kelce is a stud on a top offense. Mark Andrews is the WR1 on a team facing a team that is rotten against TEs. Robert Tonyan is the new-age Gronk standing alone in the endzone catching TDs from the league leader Aaron Rodgers. Then there is Austin Hooper who is cheaper than all of them and facing a KC team that has decided that covering TEs isn’t worth it recently. The punt options would include Dawson Knox, Cameron Brate, and Gerald Everett, but you shouldn’t need any of them. With so many great options up top, this may be the week to break out the Double-TE play.
Pay to Play:
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. CLE ($7,800 DK, $8,500 FD)
Only three teams allowed more receptions or receiving TDs to opposing TEs. Meanwhile, only one player in all of football had more receiving yards than Travis Kelce. Kelce also scored and/or topped 70 receiving yards in every game except one this year. The price is high, and that is the only possible reason to fade him (especially with great options right below him). Still, 10-120-1 will more than makeup for the expense.
Jared Cook, Saints vs. TB ($4,000 DK, $5,600 FD) Jared Cook had a good game last week, and one of his two earlier games against TB was solid. Still, Cook has become a bit TD-dependent and the return of Michael Thomas and the advancement of Adam Trautman and Deonte Harris do not help his overall target share. Plus, he is now dealing with a back issue at practice this week. His DK price isn’t absurd, but I trust the others in that price range more.
Austin Hooper, Browns @ KC ($3,800 DK, $5,500 FD)
The Chiefs have allowed 23-284-4 to the TE position over their last four games. This propelled them to allowing the fifth-most yards and the seventh-most TDs to the position for the season. Meanwhile, Austin Hooper scored last week giving him TDs in four of his last six games. We know Cleveland is going to be playing from behind, so Hooper should be peppered with targets this week.