NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Wild Card Round

In this DFS preview, I'll cover the full Wild Card slate of games and group players into two categories based on their DraftKings salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive players on the slate.

Although this primer covers the full weekend schedule, salaries are the same for the individual three-game Saturday and Sunday slates, so these tips are relevant for each of those sets of games as well.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($7,800) vs. TEN

The Tennessee Titans have been a defense to exploit all season, as they're allowing opposing quarterbacks to score 3.2 fantasy points above their average, the third-highest rate in the league. After an inconsistent start to the year, Lamar Jackson elevated his fantasy production back to an elite level down the stretch, posting 26.1 fantasy points per game since Week 10. This game carries the highest total on the slate (54.5 points) and also has the smallest spread (Baltimore Ravens favored by 3.5) making it the most likely shootout of the weekend and a strong candidate for stacks.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans ($6,600) vs BAL

As mentioned in the Lamar Jackson write-up, this game is a clear frontrunner as the most likely shootout on the slate, which makes Ryan Tannehill an obvious target. Tannehill's fantasy production has been all over the map this year, but he's been consistently strong in Titans' wins and competitive losses. Excluding the three games Tennessee lost by double-digits, Tannehill has averaged 24.1 fantasy points per game and reached at least 30 points in four of those 13 games. These numbers make him look like a solid option in both cash games and tournaments.

RB Derrick Henry, Titans ($9,200) vs. BAL

Derrick Henry deserves a mention here because we know what his ceiling looks like and he's already proven his ability to run against the Baltimore defense, as he posted 23.2 fantasy points against the Ravens in Week 11. However, it should also be mentioned Henry's production has been game-script-dependent this year. In Tennessee's five losses, Henry averaged only 13.4 fantasy points per game. Be prepared for the possibility Baltimore takes an early lead and Henry gets phased out of the offense. Given this plausible scenario, Henry is probably a better suited for tournament lineups than cash games.

WR A.J. Brown, Titans ($7,100) vs. BAL

When the scoring margin is less than a touchdown, A.J. Brown has a 28.7 percent target share in the Tennessee offense this season. With this likely to be a high-scoring, close game, Brown could be in line for a big day. Although the Ravens' defense is strong, Brown already posted 16.2 fantasy points against them earlier this year.

WR Mike Evans, Buccaneers ($6,500) vs. WSH

Mike Evans is dealing with a knee injury, so monitor his status closely this week before adding him into your lineups. If he suits up, he'll likely draw coverage from Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller, who has struggled during the second half of this season. According to Sports Info Solutions, Fuller has allowed 7.5 yards per target in coverage since Week 10. During that same time span, Fuller is allowing a 50 percent completion rate on targets 10 or more yards downfield -- 52 percent of Evans' targets come at least 10 yards downfield.

Value Plays

QB Mitchell Trubisky, Bears ($5,300) vs. NO

It's tough to make a strong case for any quarterbacks on the lower end of the salary scale, but if you really want to save cap space at the position, Mitchell Trubisky looks like the guy to target. Since reclaiming his role as the Chicago Bears' starter, Trubisky has topped 20 fantasy points in three of six games. The New Orleans Saints are a tough matchup -- they're holding opposing quarterbacks 3.5 fantasy points below their average -- but Trubisky will likely have an opportunity to rack up some second-half stats with the Bears trailing (New Orleans is favored by 9.5 points).

RB Ronald Jones, Buccaneers ($5,500) vs. WSH

During the 14 games he played, Ronald Jones had a 33.1 percent usage rate while the Buccaneers were playing with a lead. With Tampa favored by 8.5 points over the Washington Football Team, the game script should allow for Jones to see a heavy workload.

RB Kareem Hunt, Browns ($4,800) vs. PIT

Kareem Hunt complied 46 percent of his fantasy points while the Cleveland Browns were trailing this season, compared to 31 percent of Nick Chubb ($6,700). It's clear that Chubb is the preferred workhorse in the backfield, but Hunt's value in the passing game allows him to get on the field more in negative game scripts. With the Pittsburgh Steelers favored by six points, Hunt is probably the more playable option of the two Browns' running backs, when accounting for the substantial salary difference. Hunt's negative game script usage also makes him a nice stack with some of the Steelers' offensive weapons.

WR Marquise Brown, Ravens ($5,400) vs. TEN

Marquise Brown has been lined up in the slot on 57 percent of his targets, according to Sports Info Solutions. His slot usage puts him in a good position for Sunday's showdown with Tennessee, which is allowing 8.4 yards per target and 138.7 yards per game to receivers in the slot. This potentially also bodes well for tight end Mark Andrews ($5,200) who also lines up in the slot on 67 percent of his targets.

WR Cole Beasley, Bills ($5,300) vs. IND

The Indianapolis Colts boast one of the top defenses in the postseason, but they've been vulnerable against slot receivers. Indy is allowing 8.6 yards per target to slot receivers, the highest rate among the postseason teams, according to Sports Info Solutions. Cole Beasley almost exclusively lined up in the slot this year (93 percent of his targets) and saw 6.6 targets per game in that role. Unfortunately, Beasley missed Week 17 with a knee injury and is uncertain for Saturday's contest. If he's unable to go Gabriel Davis ($4,000) and Isaiah McKenzie ($3,300) have both seen action in the slot and would likely take on a larger role in the offense.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. 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.