Wild Card NFL DFS Picks & Advice
Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of RotoExperts.com deals out his NFL DFS picks for the Wild Card playoffs on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Aaron Rodgers ($7900 DK/$8600 FD) – The most expensive quarterback of the week is priced as such for a good reason, although, against the Giants, that reason might not matter as much. Rodgers has been playing at an MVP level since Week 8. While we can debate the merits of Rodgers winning the award over Matt Ryan (we shouldn't, as Ryan deserves it), there is nothing to debate when it comes to touchdowns and interceptions. Rodgers has 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions since Week 11 (seven games). That deserves a high price tag, but the Giants defense is second only to the Broncos in fewest FPPG allowed to quarterbacks and allowed zero or one passing touchdown 13 times and only two in each of the other three games.
Ben Roethlisberger ($7600/$8500) – If I'm paying up at quarterback, Roethlisberger is my pick. Not only is Roethlisberger averaging 30.1 FPPG, 339.9 yards and 2.9 touchdowns at home compared to 17.1, 269.9 and 1.1 on the road over the last three years, there is a bigger gap this year. At home: 31.2, 319.2 and 3.3. On the road: 16.3, 238.0 and 1.1. The Dolphins allowed the fourth most FPPG to quarterbacks this year with Tyrod Taylor and Tom Brady each throwing for three touchdowns in the last two games.
Russell Wilson ($7000/$7700) – Wilson's home/road splits are not as egregious as Roethlisberger's are, but he still performs better in Seattle. Wilson averaged 23.4, 272.6 and 1.6 at home versus 17.3, 254.0 and 1.0 on the road. In fact, the entire Seahawks offense functions better at home, averaging 28.4 points with a +11.4 scoring margin and 54.6 red zone touchdown conversion percentage versus 15.9, -3.6 and 34.8 on the road. For comparison, the Steelers are 28.2, +7.0 and 73.1 at home and 21.6, +2.0 and 43.5 on the road. That's a lot of numbers, but it clearly shows that Wilson is a better bet with the home cooking.
Others – Eli Manning hasn't hit 20 points since Week 10, and that includes a three-touchdown game against the Browns. Manning had four touchdowns in the last four games and only one game with more than 201 passing yards since Week 11. The Packers pass defense is among the worst, but it's hard to bet on Manning simply flipping the switch. Including the game against the Bears when Matthew Stafford injured his middle finger, he's completing just 60.2 percent of his passes, which is well under his 65.3 season mark. The Seahawks allowed the third lowest completion percentage (56.4) and eighth fewest passing YPG (203.9) at home. Don't go near Brock Osweiler, Matt Moore or Connor Cook… please.
My Favorite Plays: Roethlisberger, Wilson, Manning
Le'Veon Bell ($10300/$10300) – In the Dolphins last five games, every team rushed for at least at least 106 yards, and the while the 49ers only had 80 rushing yards, they added another 79 receiving. In fact, only the Bears allowed more rushing yards per game than the Dolphins did over the final three weeks (186.0 to 169.3). Sure, LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee combining for 219 in Week 16 skew that a tad, but it shows how susceptible their run defense is. Although, as if you needed more reasons to use Bell anyway.
Second Level Options – That's right; every other running back is down a level from Bell. Jay Ajayi will intrigue some, but given his shoulder injury and that the Dolphins could be behind early, I'd look elsewhere. People will say the Steelers run defense is soft, but it's actually their inability to stop pass-catching running backs, as only Isaiah Crowell topped 57 rushing yards against them since Week 10 (Ezekiel Elliott). And we know that the Dolphins like Kenyan Drake in the passing game. The Texans should lean on Lamar Miller a decent amount against the Raiders. Miller is a solid option, but he carries risk given his health and is near impossible to pair with Bell. If Thomas Rawls couldn't get it going against the 49ers, well… forget him! Ty Montgomery has boom or bust potential against the Giants, as does Zach Zenner for the Lions now that Theo Riddick is officially done for 2016.
Others – Paul Perkins is clearly the Giants best running back, and he was the only one to top 100 rushing yards for them this year. In fact, Perkins averaged 4.8 yards per carry in the final three games. The only problem is that the team might lean on their veteran running back given the stage, and that means more work for Rashad Jennings. Still, Perkins is worth a flier play in case the Giants realize that he's their best weapon out of the backfield. The Raiders backfield is a mess again, and with Cook at quarterback, the entire offense is likely to struggle. Jalen Richard carries some intrigue with his big-play ability and likely usage for dump-off passes. As mentioned, Drake is enticing at bottom-level pricing if the Dolphins play catch-up the entire game and are passing a lot.
My Favorite Plays: Bell, Miller, Perkins, Richard
Antonio Brown ($9400/$9100) – Not only did the Dolphins run defense fall apart down the stretch, the team allowed the third most passing yards per game over the last three weeks. As mentioned, Taylor and Brady threw for three touchdowns each against the Dolphins, and if Roethlisberger throws even one, there is a good chance it's going to Brown. In those three games, the Dolphins let Robby Anderson finish with 80 yards and a touchdown, 154/1 for Sammy Watkins and 151/1 for Julian Edelman. Do whatever you can to squeeze in Brown.
Odell Beckham ($9100/$8900) – The only downside to Beckham is that if you play him, you have to go without Bell or Brown. There is just no way to get all three in your lineup without killing your team, but man, that would be great. After all, the Packers allowed the most FPPG to receivers this year, and it was even worse over the final four games. The Packers actually gave up 346.3 passing yards per game over their last three, and the second closest team was at 297.3 (Saints). Only three teams failed to have a receiver score on the Packers, and Beckham had 56 yards and touchdown in the first meeting, which was a quiet game, considering.
Jordy Nelson ($8000/$8500) – You won't find Nelson in many of my lineups, but if you are rostering Rodgers, it only makes sense to use Nelson as well. The risk here is that the Giants defense has been terrific, and Janoris Jenkins has been worth every penny, as one of the league's best shutdown corners. Nevertheless, if Rodgers keeps rolling into the playoffs, no defense is stopping him, and Nelson accounted for 35 percent of Rodgers' touchdown passes.
Second Level Options – Doug Baldwin makes a lot of sense if you are using Wilson, but Darrius Slay is still a tough matchup, and the Lions haven't given up a 100-yard receiving game since Week 7, despite eight touchdowns in the last three games. And to be fair, those games were the Giants, Cowboys and Packers, so there is upside but still some risk. On the other side of the ball, Golden Tate can always put up a big game, but your willingness to use him will all hinge on your confidence in Stafford's effectiveness with that finger. Davante Adams is the obvious pivot off Nelson if you want a piece of the Packers passing game. Jarvis Landry will find his way on to a few of my teams with four of his last five games going for at least 76 yards with two touchdowns as well. I can't trust DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree given their quarterbacks. Roster at your own risk.
Third Level Options and Others – With those Dolphins, if I'm diving deeper, Kenny Stills grabs my attention with his big-play ability, Matt Moore's deep-ball throwing and the need for the Dolphins to be aggressive. If Eli Manning does turn on his playoff switch, Sterling Shepard could provide nice value. Not only is the Packers secondary the worst in the league, they're battling injuries with Quinten Rollins in concussion protocol. Marvin Jones hasn’t scored or topped 76 yards since Week 8, and those 76 yards were against the Packers last week. Eli Rogers is just $4000 and $5000 and worth a look as a flier. He had 15 receptions, 220 yards and a touchdown in the last three games. DeVante Parker, Jermaine Kearse, Anquan Boldin and the rest are just above being punt plays.
My Favorite Plays: Brown, Beckham, Baldwin, Landry, Shepard, Stills, Rogers
Jimmy Graham ($5300/$6600) – Graham is the only high-end option in the Wild Card round. The Lions weren't as bad down the stretch as earlier this year when you started any tight end against them. Part of that was due to the competition though, and even so, Jared Cook had 56 yards, Jason Witten 33 and a touchdown and Coby Fleener 86 yards in the final four games. Graham was touchdown reliant most of the season with only one double-digit game coming without a score, but the Lions did give up 10 tight end touchdowns this year, and Wilson needs more help from Graham with Tyler Lockett out.
The Rest – Before getting hurt again, Ladarius Green had 25 targets, 13 receptions, 207 yards and a touchdown in Weeks 13-15. Roethlisberger has a propensity to utilize his tight ends, and the Dolphins gave up three touchdowns in the last two games to tight ends (two to Martellus Bennett, one to Charles Clay). Big risk, big reward potential with Green. C.J. Fiedorowicz was more touchdown reliant than Graham this year, but Brock Osweiler trusts him. The problem again is trusting Osweiler. Any decent tight end has done well against the Giants, which makes Jared Cook a strong option if you can afford him. Dion Sims and Ryan Griffin are pure touchdown chasing plays.
My Favorite Plays: Graham, Cook, Sims
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