DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Wild Card Weekend
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Wild Card Weekend offers up an extremely unique slate to the DFS masses similar to that of Christmas or Thanksgiving. Four excellent games with four excellent match ups highlight the action this weekend. While we would typically have a number of good plays to dial in and discuss on a normal week, this week's article is going to focus on two players at each position to give you the help you need to start building out your lineups for Saturday's slate. One play will be a "chalky" play; a player who I think will be one of the most owned at the position among the eight teams playing. For the other, I'll try to go off the board a little bit to help give your lineups a more contrarian look that might give you more leverage on the field in both cash games and GPPs. With that being said, let's dive in:
Drew Brees ($6,600): Brees, at home, in the "Coors Field" environment of the NFL has been a money spot for years in DFS, and this weekend will be no exception. The total of this game is up close to 50 and the Saints are a 7.5-point favorite, per FanDuel Sportsbook, which means lots of implied points for the Saints -- 28.5 to be exact. While the Minnesota Vikings has been relatively solid on defense this year, there are a few areas where they struggle, and those areas happen to be where the New Orleans Saints excel. The Vikings are 21st in DVOA to opposing number-one wideouts (*ahem Michael Thomas ahem*), and their stud defensive line, one that is ranked fifth in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate, should be neutralized by New Orleans third-ranked offensive line. In the game with the most shootout potential, Brees is going to be popular, but he could go off in this spot.
Josh Allen ($6,500): With the lowest game total on the slate (43.5), Allen may go overlooked a bit, but you could argue that he might have the tastiest matchup of all the quarterbacks on the slate. The Houston Texans have allowed the second most points to opposing quarterbacks this season, at 23.3 DraftKings points per game. While Allen's output has been relatively stifled in recent weeks, he's faced some outrageously difficult defenses since Week 12 -- Denver, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and New England. Now he gets to go up against a pass defense that is bottom 10 by our schedule-adjusted metrics, and he has the likes of John Brown to throw to for chunk plays. Allen also adds rushing upside that few other quarterbacks on the slate offer.
Dalvin Cook ($7,800): Dalvin nursed shoulder and chest injuries the latter half of the season and his production fell accordingly. He hasn't eclipsed 20 DraftKings points since Week 10 and sat out the past two weeks just trying to get healthy. But by all reports (himself included), he's 100% and ready to be let loose in a game with awesome shootout potential. He is facing a Saints defense that has been tough on opposing running backs, allowing the seventh fewest points to the position over the season. But the Minnesota offensive line isn't the bunch of slouches they were last year as they rank top seven in adjusted line yards this season. On top of that, the Saints have given up an average of 8.2 targets per game to running backs, and Cook sets up as a nice pivot off of what will likely be a chalky Alvin Kamara.
Devin Singletary ($6,000): Another Buffalo Bills player makes the list this week, and while the first was the contrarian play, Singletary will likely be a bit chalkier. The matchup is obviously sweet, with Houston allowing the sixth most points to opposing running backs this season. The concern with Singletary all year was his timeshare with Frank Gore, but that has been pretty much put to bed since Week 11 -- a span in which he's averaged 78.5% of the running back snaps. The rookie even clocked a whopping 96.3% of snaps in the Bills' contest important against New England in Week 16. Singletary's pass-catching ability adds to his upside and floor as he's seen single-game target spikes as high as eight in certain weeks. As cheap as he is, he will likely be one of the higher-owned running backs this weekend.
Stefon Diggs ($6,600): Diggs likely won't be the most owned wide receiver on the slate (that honor will go to Michael Thomas), but Diggs will likely draw some decent ownership due to a variety of factors. Diggs is the perfect boom-or-bust wide receiver for playing on these types of small slates, especially in GPPs. And New Orleans has been abysmal against wide receivers in the last four weeks, allowing the third most DraftKings points to the position over that span. Also, if you take a glance at Diggs' game log against New Orleans in previous contests, it's pretty dang good. He's tallied point totals of 28, 29, and 31 in games against the Saints since 2017. He makes for a great run-it-back play with a Saints stack, or he can be part of a contrarian Minnesota stack with Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen.
Corey Davis ($3,800): While Davis' game log for the season is a bit underwhelming, he's certainly flashed moments of ceiling, with two separate games of 20 points in Week 4 and Week 7. It's dumb to try to project what the Pats will do on defense, but I'll try anyway. It's not hard to see a plan in which Bill Belichick aims to neutralize Derrick Henry by stacking the box and leaving all-world corner Stephon Gilmore to cover A.J. Brown. This would leave Davis with the best matchup of the bunch. If you want one more tiny reason to fire up Davis, take a peek at the game logs for his previous games against New England -- 23 points in 2017's Divisional matchup and 29 points in 2018 Week 10's contest. Davis could be one of the better lower-owned wideout plays this round.
Zach Ertz ($6,000)/Dallas Goedert ($5,200): We're going to have to monitor this one like we did last week, but either one of these guys is going to be a good play against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. But if Ertz, who drew the questionable tag today for Sunday, is declared inactive, then Goedert becomes a virtual lock on slate devoid of many real tight end studs. Seattle has been a giving tree of fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, allowing the third most points to the position. And the Philadelphia Eagles' tight ends have been extremely involved since the depletion of their wide receiver core. Goedert has averaged 8.3 targets in the past four weeks, and when Ertz has played, he's averaged 8.9 targets per game on the season. The 12 personnel set has become the Eagles go-to grouping, and we should look for that to continue to be the case this weekend.
Jonnu Smith ($3,800): This is about as low as you can go at the tight end position in salary before it starts to get reeeeeeally ugly. But if you follow the same logic as the Corey Davis play we talked about earlier, Jonnu might not be a bad option this weekend. New England has been a bit leaky against tight ends in the last four weeks, allowing top-12 production to the position over that span. They let Michael Gesicki go for four catches and a touchdown last week, and Smith presents a similar athletic profile to that of Gesicki's. Jonnu put up a dud last week against Houston, but before that, he had games of 12, 17, and 15 DraftKings points. He can be part of a contrarian Titans stack or a way to run it back if you're stacking the Pats.
New England D/ST ($3,400): Despite the cases that I've made for a couple of Titans players as contrarian plays against the Patriots, the Pats' D/ST lines up pretty well against the Titans' offense. New England's elite secondary should be able to contain the receiving threats, and as long as they don't let Derrick Henry get rolling, they should have the advantage. Still relatively inexpensive, the Pats' D offers a big-time ceiling, one they showed multiple times this season.
Buffalo D/ST ($3,100): The Bills' D/ST has been a stellar unit all season, and while they will face a tough task in containing Deshaun Watson, I believe they have the defensive firepower to limit the explosiveness of the Texans. Buffalo has given up the fewest explosive pass plays (6%, per Sharp Football Stats), which bodes well for them whether or not field-stretcher Will Fuller plays. If Buffalo can contain the likes of Carlos Hyde, then they should be able to tee off against Watson and Houston's offensive line, which ranks 27th in adjusted sack rate. Defense ownership should be relatively spread out this weekend, so this unit will work in both a cash and GPP build.
Justin Manuel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Justin Manuel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JMIZZLE08. 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.