Wild Card Round: FanDuel Saturday Slate Helper
The Wild Card Saturday NFL DFS slate on FanDuel has two matchups, with the Buffalo Bills versus the Houston Texans kicking off at 4:35 p.m. EST, and the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots doing battle at 8:15 p.m. EST. The Patriots are the heaviest favorites on the slate, sitting at -5.5 with a game total of 44.5. Meanwhile, the Texans are 2.5-point favorites in the other contest with a total of 44.0.
Our NFL DFS matchup heat map will be referenced for all implied totals and spreads throughout this article, so be sure to check it out.
Here's how you should attack this short postseason slate.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills ($8,200)
Josh Allen should be the favorite quarterback on the slate. While he is a road underdog, he easily has the softest matchup through the air. The Texans rank 24th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, while the Patriots, Bills, and Titans all rank 14th or better.
Allen also has a key weapon working in his favor: his legs. Allen finished second among quarterbacks in rush attempts and third in rushing yards. He also had 22 red zone rush attempts that led to nine scores, which was the highest at his position. While the Texans give up plenty of production through the air -- allowing the fourth-most passing yards and touchdowns this season -- they have also surrendered the seventh-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks.
Josh Allen was made for playoff footballpic.twitter.com/ZWpv3vY9J8
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) January 2, 2020
If Allen can't find an open receiver against this poor secondary, look for him to simply take off and get free fantasy points with his legs. Allen has plenty of paths to finishing as the top quarterback on this slate.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans ($9,500)
Being able to roster Christian McCaffrey every Sunday has spoiled us. The Saturday slate has zero running backs who are true bell-cow backs. Every single one either cedes work in the passing game or splits carries with another in their backfield. Derrick Henry would be the closest thing to McCaffrey on this slate, as he at least sees over 20 carries per game. He also left 2019 with a bang, overcoming Nick Chubb's 125-yard lead to secure the rushing title in Week 17. He'll look to kick off 2020 with a massive upset over the Patriots in the playoffs.
That likely won't happen with Ryan Tannehill dropping back 50 times against New England's top-ranked schedule-adjusted pass defense. Tennessee should feature Henry heavily to control the game and let their pass rush put Tom Brady into uncomfortable situations. Seeing as how Henry averaged 23.1 touches in the second half of the season, they'll likely continue that approach. Our projections have him with the most rushing yards with the highest likelihood of finding the end zone.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Houston Texans ($6,700)
The best way to attack this slate is by taking a stand on the outcomes of the games. If you're confident that Houston will take this one down, then Carlos Hyde should be a lock for your lineup. In eight of their 10 wins this season, they've given Hyde at least 16 touches in order to kill the clock in the second half. That would be a good strategy in this game, as the Bills rank 19th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play.
Rushing Yards Leaders For The 2014 NFL Draft Class:
1. Carlos Hyde - 4357
2. Devonta Freeman - 3914
3. Jeremy Hill - 2898
4. Alfred Blue - 2407
5. Jerick McKinnon - 1918
6. Terrance West - 1816
7. Blake Bortles - 1766
8. James White - 1115
9. Andre Williams - 1090
— Russell Clay (@RussellJClay) December 27, 2019
Hyde doesn't offer much upside as a pass-catcher with just 10 receptions on the season, but he has more than doubled Duke Johnson's red zone touches and has seven goal line carries to Duke's two. As a running back at home on a favored team, Hyde's probability of scoring a touchdown is pretty high.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills ($6,500)
If you're going for an optimal lineup based on fantasy points per dollar, Devin Singletary is an obvious choice. Not only is he the cheapest of the four lead backs on the slate, but he also had 29 receptions in the regular season as a rookie. That was more than Henry, Hyde, and Sony Michel. If the Bills find themselves down in this game, Singletary's receiving volume will offer him a solid floor that other backs won't hit.
The Texans are also the worst run defense on the slate, ranking 22nd when adjusted for strength of schedule. That should lead to plenty of open running lanes for the rookie running back, who ripped off gains of 15-plus yards at the third-highest rate in the NFL. Our projections have Singletary getting the second-most touches and total yards among running backs.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($8,700)
The two best cornerbacks this season have easily been Tre'Davious White and Stephon Gilmore. Of course, they both project to shadow the two best receiving options on this slate in A.J. Brown and DeAndre Hopkins.
Unless you want to play a lineup centered around Mohamed Sanu and Cole Beasley, you're going to have to eat one of these bad matchups. Hopkins, who ranks second among receivers in target share and receptions this season, is the best bet to beat this matchup based on volume alone. Will Fuller is also trending in the wrong direction, which would only bump up Hopkins' volume as the only reliable receiving option for Deshaun Watson.
DFS gamers should be able to leverage Nuk's low ownership if most people avoid Hopkins based on his price and matchup. Talent-wise, he's still one of the best possession receivers in the game and should be able to produce regardless of who is covering him. Pay up to be contrarian, and roll with the best wide out on the slate.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots ($7,200)
The Patriots are going to be without a bye week for the first time since 2009. That week of rest would have been huge for Julian Edelman, who has been dealing with shoulder and knee issues. Those have taken a toll on him, as he didn't reach 30 receiving yards in two of the final three games to close out the season.
He'll likely play through his injuries and act as Brady's top target in this offense despite his injuries. That role led to 154 targets in the regular season, which finished third among receivers.
How would Julian Edelman describe the mood in the locker room?
“Hungry,” he says. pic.twitter.com/iFjT07Qg7M
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 2, 2020
Adoree' Jackson is due back for the Titans, which would boost the overall composition of their secondary, but Jackson traveled to the slot on just 6.4 percent of his snaps, per PlayerProfiler. Edelman would get to run the majority of his routes against former Patriot Logan Ryan, who has been exploitable in recent weeks. Our projections have Edelman seeing the second-most targets behind only Hopkins.
DeAndre Carter, WR, Houston Texans ($4,500)
DeAndre Carter will be the key to unlocking this slate. With Fuller being deemed a long shot to play this week, Carter should operate as the Texans' slot receiver with Kenny Stills moving into the field-stretcher role.
Today Bill O’Brien said WR Will Fuller (groin) will be a game time decision on Saturday. I’m told by multiple sources that it’s going to be a real long shot for Fuller to play. Obviously they’ll keep working him to see if there’s a chance he can go.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 2, 2020
For those who don't know him, Carter is a 26-year-old undrafted wide receiver from Sacramento State. In his final two seasons there, he totaled 163 receptions for 2,255 yards and 31 touchdowns. He's also a monster athlete with a 97th-percentile SPARQ-x score, giving him a solid prospect profile.
He has also played ahead of Keke Coutee all season, and in Week 17, he played 100 percent of snaps and caught six of his seven targets for 65 yards. At the minimum price on FanDuel, Carter should hit value with ease.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New England Patriots ($4,700)
It might be hard to not take a zero at tight end on this slate. Jonnu Smith ($6,700) seems like the best play, but he wasn't even targeted in a must-win Week 17 game. Do you really want to pay up and still have the possibility of no receptions?
The likely best way to attack this position is by punting it. Seeing as how the Patriots have the highest implied total on the slate, Ben Watson has a decent enough chance at catching a goal line touchdown. Paying down for him gives you just as good a chance at scoring a few fantasy points, but don't expect much from any tight end on Saturday.
Jonathan Taylor Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Jonathan Taylor Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jtsmittyyy. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.