NFL Wild Card DFS: WILD CARD ROUND
With the Wild Card Playoff round upon us, many fantasy football loyalists can’t help but get in on some playoff action despite a slate that features only four games. Your friends at DraftPros are committed to seeing this through with you, no matter what your interest level, as long as the NFL season lasts. The question on a smaller NFL slate remains the same as it does a larger slate: where can we extract value? Here are a few strategies with which I have experienced a great deal of success. I have used them on two game Monday-Thursday slates which have been my security blanket to comfort me between Sundays. These by no means are rocket science or the law of the land in the DFS world. They are simply preferences I’ve had for the last four months that have manifested positive DFS results.
GPPs or Cash
With a four game slate, I’m playing both. With a two game slate, which will happen again in under three weeks, I’m playing just GPP and taking my shot, but there’s enough there this week to build a solid cash line up. I’m going to break down my GPP approach below and extract my cash lineup from bits and pieces of my GPP lineups. I’ll cover my cash game approach later in the week.
Addition by Subtraction at the QB Position
The math is simple. You have four games and eight starting QBs, but the majority of these QBs are unplayable for various reasons. I’m going to play 15-16 GPP lineups in one tournament, and choose how many QBs I want to roster and divide them equally amongst my rosters. If there are three QBs I like, I’m building five lineups with each QB. I’m not Mr. Moneybags over here, so you’re free to play as many lineups as your bankroll will allow, but my cap is always 16, because each lineup gets exponentially worse the more you continue to build. Two things to note here: if you decide to play only a fraction of the options at any position, especially QB, you have to really nail it. Secondly, when I’m playing GPPs, I play predominantly on DraftKings, mostly because I hate rostering kickers and loathe depending on them to round out what I hope to be a winning fantasy lineup.
QUARTERBACK PRICE (ON DK) AVG. FPPG
Ben Roethlisberger $7200 22.3
Russell Wilson $7000 21.9
Aaron Rodgers $6400 20.1
Kirk Cousins $5900 20.5
Brian Hoyer $5400 16.2
Alex Smith $5300 17.6
AJ McCarron $5200 8.3
Teddy Bridgewater $5100 13.7
You are probably not even touching the bottom four quarterbacks, though in GPP, anything goes, but just not for me in this instance. I’m still trying to build quality lineups and because I can’t decide which QB will be the top dog, I’m going to pick three this week. Keep in mind, if I thought just one was going to be the clear-cut, top producing QB, I would play that signal caller in all 16 of my lineups and I don’t need to tell you that if I’m dead wrong, my money is dead.
This week, I’m rolling with Wilson, Rodgers and Cousins. Before Big Ben apologists get all up on me, know that game flow is among many things that concern me with the Steelers at Bengals matchup. Big Ben has been held in check by the Bengals this season to the tune of one touchdown and four interceptions in two games. This game is going to be super conservative, at least on the Bengals side of the ball, and with a diminished threat of a running game, the Cincy secondary will be cherry picking all day. This season, Roethlisberger has averaged more fantasy points per game than Captain Kirk, but in the last five games, Cousins has averaged more than four points more per game, which is astronomical with a smaller slate. Cousins has more touchdowns, fewer interceptions and more yards. Cousins is at home, has an easier matchup, and is $1300 cheaper, which allows you to extract value somewhere else. I’ll never count Aaron Rodgers out, so this is more of CYA thing, because he could go off at any time. Washington is only winning this game if it’s a shootout, so I expect the Redskins more so than the Packers to start off throwing the ball all over the field. Russell Wilson has been more productive than Cousins, but not by much, averaging less than one point more than Cousins in his last game. The lesson: don’t be deceived by season long stats when you should be considering recency.
Same Stuff Different Position
I’m going to breakdown every position the same way, but I’m not going to overwhelm you with all of the analysis, as I don’t want to be the cause of you needing a stiff drink after reading a bunch of stats and analysis. Instead, I’m going to recap the positions and who will be a lock on the majority of my rosters, who I’m leaving off, and who could be a flex play.
I’m tempted to tell you that you are on your own, but that would defeat the purpose of this article. The player pool at the running back position is UGLY.
I’m fading – Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Jordan Todman.
I’m rotating – Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch, Charcandrick West and Jeremy Hill.
I will put a combination of these four ploughshares on all of my rosters at the RB position, and may play a third RB in my flex spot, most likely an RB2 like James Starks, Spencer Ware or Christine Michael. The Redskins ranked 26th against the run this season and have given up five rushing scores in the last five games, so I’m locking in either Lacy or Starks onto almost every roster. I am thoroughly uninspired by every RB this week.
I’m not fading anyone here, as roster construction and budget may force you into rostering someone on the cheap like Nate Washington, Davante Adams, Jamison Crowder, or Albert Wilson (eww). There are several receivers to choose from that will see their share of targets, but you should keep an eye on the weather, which unquestionably factors in this time of year. I love Antonio Brown every week, but I think Randall Cobb and DeSean Jackson match up well against opposing secondaries. Don’t forget about DeAndre Hopkins, but you can’t roster them all, so you’ll have to mix and match.
I’m going with Jordan Reed, who has led all TEs in receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns in the last five games. He will hit 50% of my GPP lineups. Richard Rodgers and Travis Kelce will each be represented on 25% of my lineups. Both Rodgers and Kelce have decent matchups, as their respective QBs are going to have to take the ball to the air early and often. Both Rodgers and Kelce make for decent GPP plays only, as either could go off.
Just because Seattle is the most expensive on DK doesn’t mean they will score the highest. The Chiefs have actually averaged a full fantasy point more than the Seahawks and are a bit cheaper. I will roster both, along with the Bengals equally, as Big Ben can be a turnover machine if things aren’t going right. Also, if it rains in Cincy like the forecast is calling for, it could be a nice, messy game.
Hit me up on Twitter @boxscoreprophet or @DraftPros for additional GPP and Cash insight as the weekend approaches. Only 11 games left in the NFL season, so your time to play is running out.