Wild Card Round: FanDuel Sunday Slate Breakdown
Unlike the Saturday slate of games, the two Wild Card games on Sunday seem like sure bets to be low scoring.
First, the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Baltimore Ravens in a rematch of a Week 16 game won by the Ravens 22-10. Although the Ravens won, the Chargers did hold Lamar Jackson to his lowest rushing total (13 carries, 39 yards) in his seven starts.
|Matchup (Implied Team Total)||Game Total|
|Los Angeles Chargers (19.5) at Baltimore Ravens (22.5)||41.5|
|Philadelphia Eagles (17.25) at Chicago Bears (23.75)||41.0|
Wrapping up the Sunday slate, the surging Philadelphia Eagles, winners of five of their last six, look to repeat their 2017 championship run, although they won't have homefield advantage this time around. The Chicago Bears are 6.5-point home favorites against the Eagles, who have the lowest implied total (17.25) on the slate. The stingy Bears defense finished the season as the top-rated unit, per numberFire metrics.
Among the tournaments listed on FanDuel for the Sunday slate, the $800,000 NFL Playoff Special costs $9.99 to enter and pays out $200,000 to first. The $35,000 NFL Spike is a $5 single-entry tournament that pays $4,000 to whomever tops the 8,333-entry field.
Now, let's break down the top plays and values on the slate.
Lock: Lamar Jackson ($8,400) - Since becoming the starter seven weeks ago, Jackson has scored no fewer than 16.06 FanDuel points in any start. He flashed his ceiling last week against the Cleveland Browns when he rushed for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns, finishing with 26.16 FanDuel points. Over his seven starts, Jackson has averaged 17 rushing attempts and 79.4 rushing yards per game. In what could be a low-scoring slate across the board, Jackson's rushing upside makes him a top play at quarterback.
Sleeper: Nick Foles ($7,600) - The Bears finished the season with the top-overall rated defense, including top-three marks in both passing and rushing defense. So, the matchup is awfully tough for Foles, but without a run game to lean on these past three weeks, Foles is averaging 37.6 pass attempts per game. He's yet to throw fewer than 31 passes in a game since replacing Carson Wentz, and if the Eagles are to have any success against the Bears, it's unlikely to come in the run game. The Bears' run defense held opposing running backs to just three rushing touchdowns this season and the fourth-fewest rushing yards (1,045).
Lock: Gus Edwards ($7,200) - In recent weeks, Kenneth Dixon ($6,800) has been cutting into Edwards' workload, and Week 17 was the first time over the second half of the year that Dixon actually out-touched Edwards (13 to 12). But in the previous matchup between the Chargers and Ravens, it was Edwards' running style that was more effective. Edwards finished with 14 carries for 92 yards, while Dixon had 8 carries for 28 yards. Since Dixon returned to the lineup five weeks ago, Edwards has averaged 16.6 touches per game compared to 10.7 for Dixon. With Melvin Gordon ($8,400) in a tough matchup and coming off a game in which he didn't finish due to injury, there's really no clear top play at running back. But Edwards is in a nice spot against a Chargers' run defense that gave up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this week.
Sleeper: Darren Sproles ($5,500) - In three of the Eagles' past four games, it's been Sproles who has led the Eagles backfield in playing time. Over those four games, he is averaging nearly eight touches per game, including at least three targets per game through the air. Sproles' role in the passing game could be beneficial against a Bears defense that has shut down opposing running games all season.
Lock: Keenan Allen ($7,700) - The Ravens' defense is a brutal matchup. They ended the season ranked as the top pass defense in the league, per numberFire metrics, but Allen has been locked into a huge target share over the second half of the season. Notwithstanding the Week 15 game where Allen left early with an injury, he hasn't seen fewer than seven targets in a game since Week 7. In the game against Baltimore, Allen caught 5 of 8 targets for 58 yards, and in the rematch he'll be one of the top receiver plays with his volume locked in opposite Philip Rivers.
Sleeper: Taylor Gabriel ($5,000) - Predicting Bears wide receivers is difficult since each week it could be any of Allen Robinson, Gabriel, or Anthony Miller who posts a big game. But over the past six weeks, it's been Gabriel playing ahead of Miller. Gabriel has out-snapped the rookie in every game over that span, and he's out-targeted Miller 25-10 in the four games in which he was available to play. Now in the Wild Card round, the matchup is good for every Bears receiver, as the Eagles allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
Lock: Zach Ertz ($7,600) - Despite the matchup, Ertz is always a top play on the slate as he is the Eagles' top pass-catcher. In the last three games started by Foles, Ertz has 27 targets, even though 16 came in the game against the Texans. Still, that's nine more than Alshon Jeffery, who is second on the team in targets over the past three weeks. The Bears have given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but in a position with few options, Ertz is the top play at the position.
Sleeper: Hunter Henry ($4,900) - Just a little over seven months removed from tearing his ACL, Henry may make his season debut Sunday. Even if he does, Head Coach Anthony Lynn said Henry would most likely be on a pitch count, but that may include critical situations, such as red zone opportunities. While the Ravens' defense has been one of the league's best this year, tight ends have found some success against them. The Ravens have given up the 10th-most receiving yards (965) to tight ends and the 8th-most receptions (83) on the season.
Blair Ames is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Blair Ames also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Bames31. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.