Wild Card Round: FanDuel Sunday Slate Helper
The Wild Card Sunday NFL DFS slate on FanDuel has two matchups, with the Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints game kicking off at 1:05 p.m. EST, and the Seattle Seahawks facing the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:40 p.m. EST. The Saints are 7.5-point favorites with a game total of 49.5, while the Seahawks are 1.5-point road favorites in Philly with a total of 45.5.
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.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks ($8,700)
While Russell Wilson is one of the two quarterbacks on the road, his matchup should outweigh that. The Eagles rank 23rd in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, which is the worst on the slate. They are also very stout against the run, ranking fourth in schedule-adjusted rush defense. Pair that with the fact that the Seahawks are down to Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch, who came off the couch just a week ago to sign with Seattle, and they'll probably come up with a game plan that actually attacks Philadelphia's weakness.
Wilson also has the highest rushing upside of any quarterback on this slate. His 75 rush attempts and 342 rushing yards rank fifth and sixth, respectively, among quarterbacks this season. In the off chance that he can't find Tyler Lockett or D.K. Metcalf streaking down the field, he should be able to pick up a few cheap rushing yards.
Our projections have him as the best point-per-dollar quarterback on the slate.
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints ($8,400)
Speaking of value, Alvin Kamara is priced up as the most expensive running back on the slate. Recency bias may have played a factor here -- as he's found the end zone four times in his final two games of the regular season and looks like his old dominant self -- but his price is likely justified based on this game environment.
Alvin Kamara drafters watching him score all these TDs all of a sudden. pic.twitter.com/oIUUrMdWiY
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) December 29, 2019
The Saints are massive home favorites with the highest implied team total on the slate at 28.5 points. Given Kamara's resurgence at the end of the regular season, he's the best bet to score at least one touchdown here. Plus, he's highly involved in the passing game, and his line creates the most adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders.
Our models give Kamara the highest projected fantasy output among running backs and also have him as the best value. Fade him at your own peril this Sunday.
Travis Homer, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($6,100)
As previously mentioned, Marshawn Lynch was out of football for months, and there is a very slim chance he is in game shape. In Week 17, he put up just 34 rushing yards on 12 carries while the rookie running back out of Miami, Travis Homer, stole the show.
Homer looked explosive, averaging 6.2 yards per carry on his 10 totes while also catching all five of his targets. That second part is very important for FanDuel's 0.5-point PPR format, as he will have a solid receiving floor in a matchup with Philadelphia's strong front seven. The only real issue is his Body Mass Index, which ranks in the 22nd-percentile of NFL running backs, according to PlayerProfiler. That could hinder him from ever seeing a massive workload, but Homer is more of a tournament option based on his big-play ability.
It will be very hard to project how this backfield will be split, but Homer is undoubtedly better than Lynch at this stage of their careers. Assuming rational coaching is a slippery slope, but Homer is the better play.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($9,200)
Michael Thomas averages 22.66 fantasy points in the Superdome this season and scored below 20 just twice at home. With a 33.2 percent target share and a ridiculous Target Success Rate of 70.43 percent (easily the highest among receivers who have seen at least 50 targets), he possesses the best combination of floor/ceiling on the slate at any position.
Michael Thomas 2019 catch rate: 80.5%
Xavier Rhodes 2019 catch rate allowed: 84.3%
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) January 2, 2020
He also has a matchup with Xavier Rhodes, who has looked like one of the dustiest cornerbacks this season. He has fallen a long way from his "Rhodes Closed" days and is now someone to target in fantasy football. Thomas faced this same playoff matchup on the road two seasons ago and he dropped 85 yards and two scores on Rhodes.
Our projections have Thomas as the highest-scoring wideout and best point-per-dollar value receiver this weekend.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks ($6,600)
D.K. Metcalf should be the preferred stacking option for Wilson. Week 17 showcased their connection, as Wilson targeted his big-bodied rookie 12 times for a 30 percent target share -- easily the highest on the team. According to airyards.com, these were also high-value deep shots that totaled 150 air yards. The rest of the team combined for 66 air yards, so that should help paint a picture on who they go to for a big play.
Eagles defensive ranks against outside WRs:
Yards allowed: 32nd
Explosive receptions: 29th
Yards per target: 27th
How would I attack the Eagles if I were the Seahawks? A 7-step blueprint: https://t.co/fR1anEEv6s
— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) January 2, 2020
The Eagles have allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to wide receivers and are particularly susceptible to outside receivers. And with 4.33 speed at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, Metcalf obviously presents a mismatch for anyone attempting to guard him. That unfortunate soul projects to be Sidney Jones, who weighs 40 pounds less and runs 0.14 seconds slower.
Metcalf hasn't broken a slate yet, but he all the tools to do it this week.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings ($6,200)
One of the forgotten superstar receivers this year has been Adam Thielen. When healthy, he's been a dominant force out of the slot for the Vikings over the last few seasons. This year has been no different, as he ranks 14th in Reception NEP per target among receivers who have at least 40 targets.
The Vikings are projected to see negative game script throughout this contest, which would raise Kirk Cousins' pass attempts. Thielen also gets the added benefit of being shielded from the top cover corner, as he runs out of the slot more often than Stefon Diggs does. That usually leaves Diggs to fend off tough shadow coverage, which would be Marshon Lattimore this week.
Thielen draws the combination of Eli Apple, P.J. Williams, and Janoris Jenkins. Apple and Williams have been the weak links for the Saints all season, while Jenkins was struggling before he was released by the New York Giants. Thielen should be well over his hamstring injury, so expect him to dominate these lesser cornerbacks.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,600)
Again, as you stated previously and it's really what people need to understand: It's strictly a medical decision. Not how the person feels. https://t.co/kkuHy9Ooe7
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 2, 2020
While Philly is desperate for playmakers, they don't strike me as a franchise that would risk the long-term health of one of their best assets, especially when they have a stud tight end in Goedert. Even if Ertz did suit up, Goedert saw 12 targets with him also on the field in Week 16. That makes for 22 looks over the last two weeks of the season for Goedert with 156 yards and a score.
The best reason to play Goedert is this matchup. The Seahawks have been doing their best Arizona Cardinals impression this season by not covering tight ends. They have allowed the second-most receptions and yards to the position, so look for Carson Wentz to funnel production there this game.
Taysom Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints ($5,300)
If you really want to get crazy, Taysom Hill has had tight end eligibility all season on FanDuel. While he rarely gets more than a few touches in a game, Sean Payton gives him snaps all over the field. He's shown the ability to take a direct snap to the house as well as haul in a bomb from Brees down the field. There is also the chance of him throwing the ball on a trick play or a fake punt. Don't be surprised if Hill is on a tournament-winning lineup this Sunday.
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.