NFL Super Wild Card Weekend DFS Preview
The NFL Playoffs are here, and so is playoff DFS! This year it kicks off with the newly-branded “Super Wild Card Weekend”, which features six matchups spread over three days. This presents us with a plethora of DFS opportunities. Some slates range from a single day to the entire three-day weekend and everything in between. This article is here to provide an overview of each game from a DFS point of view, giving you context as you build your lineups for this weekend. Let’s dive in!
Raiders at Bengals (-5)
Super Wild Card Weekend kicks off with Las Vegas headed to Cincy in a game with a healthy 48 expected points. Both teams enter the playoffs hot; the only loss between them over the last four weeks was the Bengals backups falling to Cleveland in the nearly meaningless Week 18 game.
Joe Burrow ended the season on fire. Over his last two starts, he compiled 971 passing yards and eight touchdowns, then got to sit it out and rest in Week 18. He’ll likely be a popular quarterback play, as will be his number one wideout, Ja’Marr Chase. Stacking Burrow with Tee Higgins is more affordable and comes with nearly the same ceiling. Tyler Boyd and C.J. Uzomah can also be considered stacking pieces with Burrow, especially given the Raiders have allowed the fourth-most touchdowns to tight ends this season.
Joe Mixon makes an interesting pivot off popular Burrow stacks. Before the end of the season stretch, the Bengals were more of a run-based offense. Given they’re five-point home favorites and the Raiders have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs, Cincy may feed Mixon all game long in a positive game script.
On the Vegas side, the Raiders have been playing great football on their way to four straight wins. Derek Carr has led the way but hasn’t been putting up strong fantasy numbers. Hunter Renfrow has scored four touchdowns during the win streak, but Zay Jones has compiled more targets, catches, and receiving yards than Renfrow over that span. Darren Waller underwhelmed in his return to action last week, but the fact that he saw nine targets and played 78% of the snaps is a good sign. Building a Derek Carr stack is a way to have a contrarian lineup if you think the game shoots out or the Raiders compile garbage time stats.
If you think Vegas can pull the upset, you’ll want to take a look at Josh Jacobs. He’s been dominant over their four-game win streak, racking up 442 yards and two touchdowns over that span.
Patriots at Bills (-4)
The Saturday night game features a matchup between division opponents with the lowest expected point total of Super Wild Card Weekend. Each team beat their division rival on the road earlier this year, including the windy Monday night game when Mac Jones infamously threw only three passes on the way to a 14-10 victory in Buffalo.
It’s going to be frigid in Buffalo, but nowhere near as windy as the last time these teams faced off there. Josh Allen, the QB1 on the season, carries the highest salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel. His rushing floor and touchdown upside make that salary feasible on FD where those qualities are more valuable, but it’s tougher to stomach on DK. Stefon Diggs is always a DFS option, but the Buffalo pass-catchers get cloudy after that. If I’m taking a shot on another one, it’s going to be the most affordable. That means Gabriel Davis on FD ($5,200) and Emmanuel Sanders on DK ($4,000). It’s been over a month since Dawson Knox scored double-digit fantasy points, but I don’t mind taking a shot on him here either if I don’t want to pay up for an elite tight end.
Devin Singletary has been crushing it lately and should be safe enough in cash games, but he has limited touchdown upside against a Patriots team that’s allowed a league-low six rushing touchdowns during the regular season.
Given the Patriots low implied point total and the chilly conditions in Buffalo, the Bills DST is a strong DFS option, especially in cash games.
There isn’t much offensive fire ower on the New England side, especially considering the formidable Buffalo defense. I’m staying away from Mac Jones and most of his pass-catchers, but I don’t mind taking a shot on the touchdown upside of Hunter Henry.
Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are tournament options at running back. Stevenson is way underpriced on both sites, especially on FD, where he comes in at the same $5,200 salary as Jerick McKinnon. He can break the slate if he finds the end zone multiple times, which he’s already done twice this season.
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Eagles at Buccaneers (-9.5)
The Bucs are big favorites in this game, but the weather could play a role in the outcome. The forecasted rain is likely why the expected point total has been dropping all week.
Tampa Bay has the second-highest implied total of the weekend at 27.8 points as Tom Brady begins the journey to secure his eighth Super Bowl ring. The Eagles are a middle-of-the-road matchup for QBs, but the Bucs led the league with a 66% pass rate on the season. As long as the rain doesn’t hamper TB12, I don’t expect them to ease off in the playoffs. Mike Evans could see plenty of receiving work, as Tampa has lost Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Cyril Grayson in recent weeks. He could also see shadow coverage from Darius Slay, who effectively shut him down in Week 6. This makes Breshad Perriman and Tyler Johnson viable tournament options, as they’ll be on the field running routes away from Slay. Rob Gronkowski is my favorite play against a Philly defense that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season.
One way or another, Leonard Fournette should get lots of work in his first game since Week 15. He’s been involved in the passing game all season, pacing for over 100 targets before missing the final three games. If the rain forces the Bucs to keep it on the ground, he’ll see a large majority of the rush attempts with Ronald Jones doubtful to suit up.
The Buccaneers are also a solid DST option as big home favorites in what could turn into a sloppy game.
There aren’t many players to target on the Philly side of the ball, but we know Jalen Hurts can compile plenty of fantasy points, even if they come in garbage time. Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert are worth consideration in tournaments, especially if stacking with Hurts, but the Eagles’ passing game is too inconsistent to trust in any cash format.
The Eagles’ offensive scheme is the exact opposite of the Bucs. They run the ball at a 52% clip, the only team in the NFL over 50% on the season. It makes sense, as Philly has one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the league. If Miles Sanders can return from his hand injury, he deserves consideration in all formats, especially given his affordable salary.
49ers at Cowboys (-3)
Not only do these teams have a storied playoff history, but they also have the highest expected point total and lowest point spread of Super Wild Card Weekend.
Let’s start with the Cowboys, where Dak Prescott ended the season red hot. He finished the regular season by racking up 851 yards and 12 touchdowns over the final three games. Surprisingly, neither CeeDee Lamb nor Amari Cooper had any blowup games over that stretch. Dalton Schultz, on the other hand, scored more points than any tight end not named Mark Andrews over the final three games. Dak is in play for cash game lineups, and stacking him with multiple pass-catchers is a viable strategy in tournaments. Cedric Wilson can be added to the mix as well as a salary-saving option.
Ezekiel Elliot has been far from elite this season, but there’s always a chance he falls into the end zone a few times on the high-powered Dallas offense. He’s costlier to roster on FanDuel, but I prefer to play him there where touchdowns are more valuable.
On the San Fransisco side, Deebo Samuel is the most obvious play. He’s averaged 108 total yards and scored ten total touchdowns over the last six games of the season. Brandon Aiyuk has seen the most receiving volume for the 49ers recently, averaging over 100 receiving yards over the past two games. George Kittle, however, is my favorite 49er to roster in tournaments. He’s been in a bit of a rut lately, but he’s one of the few players this weekend with the potential to completely break the slate with the massive ceiling he’s shown at the tight end position. Even with these talented pass-catchers, it’s tough to find a reason to trust Jimmy Garoppolo in any DFS lineups.
Elijah Mitchell deserves tournament consideration as well. He’s seen 98% of San Fransisco’s rushing attempts since returning in Week 17, and if the 49ers can get an early lead, they’ll surely try to keep the ball away from the Dallas offense by running the ball and eating up time of possession.
Steelers at Chiefs (-12.5)
The Sunday slate wraps up with what nearly everyone expects to be Ben Roethlisberger’s final game. The Chiefs are massive favorites at home against a Pittsburgh team that barely eked their way into the playoffs.
The Steelers have gotten thrashed by running backs lately, so it would make sense to target the running back on the favored home team. Both Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Darrel Williams have been limited in practice this week, so there isn’t an obvious choice as of this writing. Either would make a strong play if the other is ruled out, so it’s worth leaving a flex spot available for a potential late swap.
As usual, rostering Patrick Mahomes is going to be a popular option. He’s the second-most expensive player on both DK and FD but is probably worth the cost in cash games. In tournaments, he’ll need to be stacked with a pass-catcher or two. Tyreek Hill is my favorite option. He’s been in a slump lately and has been limited in practice with a heel injury, but he has slate breaking upside every time he steps on the field. Travis Kelce is always an option, but I prefer several of the more affordable tight ends mentioned elsewhere in this article.
There aren’t many Steelers worth considering this weekend. Najee Harris sees enough volume on the ground and through the air to have a safe enough floor, though he checks in as the second-most expensive running back on both sites. He needs to find the end zone to pay off his salary, which is far from a guarantee against a Chiefs team that’s only allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the season.
Diontae Johnson is likely to continue getting peppered with targets and makes a great cash game play, especially on DK with its full-PPR scoring. Chase Claypool, on the other hand, is a strong tournament option on FD, where touchdowns are more valuable. There’s even a chance that JuJu Smith-Schuster returns to play in this game, which would throw a wrench into the gears of the Pittsburgh pass-catchers. Either way, Ben Roethlisberger is unplayable. He hasn’t thrown for 300 yards or multiple touchdowns since Week 14.
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Rams (-4) at Cardinals
If you’re playing a slate that features all six Super Wild Card Weekend games, rostering players on the Rams and Cardinals could be worth the wait. The matchup features a near 50 point over-under and a small four-point spread.
The favored home team is led by Matthew Stafford, who was relatively disappointing in some good matchups down the home stretch of the regular season. I still like the idea of stacking him with Cooper Kupp, who we all know as the most dominant wide receiver in fantasy football. Kupp has a dream matchup this week with an Arizona defense that allowed a league-high 27 touchdowns to wide receivers in the regular season. This also puts Odell Beckham and Van Jefferson in play if you’re looking to build a super-stack of Rams. Also, let’s not forget about Tyler Higbee, who is fresh off a two-touchdown game in the regular season finale last week.
Sony Michel is an interesting contrarian play. He’s lost some luster after last week when he put up his worst performance since taking over the lead role for the Rams, but he still saw over 20 opportunities for the sixth straight game. He could be in store for a big game against an Arizona team that just got steamrolled for 190 rushing yards by Rashaad Penny in the regular-season final.
As of this writing, both James Conner and Chase Edmonds are trending towards being game-time decisions Monday night. Thankfully, there are enough viable options in this game to open up multiple late swap options while we wait for their status to be revealed. Either one makes a great play if they get the backfield to themself.
As for the Arizona passing attack, Kyler Murray will be without DeAndre Hopkins again this week. Murray is averaging slightly fewer passing yards (23) and touchdowns (.67) per game without Hopkins this season. If you dare to stack Murray with a pass-catcher, I prefer Christian Kirk, who comes with some big-play and touchdown potential. Zach Ertz feels underpriced on both sites. He leads the Cardinals in targets (43) and catches (28) over the past four weeks.
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