NFL DFS: Wild Card Weekend Breakdown

Jan 1, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) pumps his fist after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Packers won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports NFL DFS

NFL DFS: Wild Card Weekend

The playoffs are upon us!  I hope everyone had a good Holiday Season and are ready for some great NFL DFS playoff action.  I hope you all had success in your season long leagues and are ready for the playoffs.  We had some surprises over the past couple weeks as both Super Bowl teams from last season did not make the playoffs this year.  We saw the Atlanta Falcons jump to the 2 seed in the NFC which forces us to wait to grab some of their players for DFS.  We also saw Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers live up to his premonition to run the table and enter this weekend hosting their game against he Giants.

This weekend has 1 ugly match-up when you look at the Raiders visiting the Texans, but I still think there are a lot of good plays to make this an exciting weekend.  I’m going to go game by game and break down the NFL Wild Card weekend DFS slate.

We have some great story lines as well, with the Miami Dolphins heading into Pittsburgh as a 10.5 point underdog, despite handily defeating the Steelers in October.  The Giants and Packers has Instant Classic written all over it.  Is there any chance we see more than 40 points in the Oakland/Houston game?  And how in the world will the Lions find a way to stay competitive against the Seahawks in Seattle with the 12th Man?  Get your popcorn ready, it’s going to be a fun weekend.

Fantasy Football

Sep 18, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller (26) runs onto the field during pregame introductions prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

NFL DFS: Oakland at Houston -4 Total 36.5

The first game of the weekend is the Oakland Raiders heading to Houston to take on the Texans. This game is pretty ugly in terms of the fantasy options.  Houston is favored by 4 and the total is at 36.5 right now.  This game is featuring the Raiders’ number 3 QB in Conner Cook who will make the start against Brock Osweiler for Houston, who was benched a couple of weeks ago but his replacement, Tom Savage, suffered a concussion and has not cleared the concussion protocol.

Lamar Miller is a nice option at running back for Houston.  He will be a nice complement to either Ajayi or Bell and should see the most work in the Houston backfield.  He scored 18.3 FD points the last time these two teams met in the Monday Night Football game played in Mexico City.  I don’t trust Osweiler, and neither does his coach, which makes it tough to take any WR for Houston.  Fiedorowicz would make for a nice play at TE should you choose to not use Jimmy Graham.  The Houston D will be pretty popular and could be used in your cash games.

On the Oakland side of the ball I really don’t have much interest in anyone.  Conner Cook is cheap for a starter, and they will likely have to throw, but on a short slate like this you need not go this far down for your QB.  There are also much better WR’s to choose from for the price than Cooper and Crabtree, who I don’t see doing much against this defense with Cook at QB.  The Raiders really attacked the Texans with passes to their RB’s in the last match-up, but I wouldn’t bank on that happening again tomorrow.

NFL DFS – Detroit at Seattle -8 Total 44

The late game tomorrow features the Detroit Lions heading west to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.  This game has a lot more options to choose from, especially on the side of the home team.  Russell Wilson is in a nice spot and should have some success throwing the ball against a Lions D that has really dropped off the past few weeks.  If you use him you should pair him up with Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, or both.  At the beginning of the year the Lions were flat-out awful against TE’s and they could be in for a long day tomorrow if Russell and Graham hook up.

On the Lions side of the ball Zenner will be a popular cheap option but I don’t see the need of taking him in this spot to save some money, there are plenty of ways to build a great roster without him.  Golden Tate will be a popular play at WR, and I think he can be used in both cash games and GPP’s.  The Seattle D makes for a nice option considering that Stafford has thrown 5 Int’s in his past 4 games.  I look for the home crowd to be too much for the Lions and the Seahawks will roll in this one.

FanDuel NFL

Oct 16, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-15. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NFL DFS – Miami at Pittsburgh -10.5 Total 46

If you are playing the full slate this weekend, I am going to assume most of your players will be in Sunday’s games.  In the early game we have a rematch of the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Jay Ajayi ran all over the Steelers in the first matchup, and I think the Dolphins keep that game plan in place for this one.  He ran for 200 yds in 3 games this season, twice against the Buffalo Bills and once against the Steelers.  I think Miami feeds him, and I think he has a nice game tomorrow against a D that is still surrendering a ton of yards to running backs, Crowell had 150 yards against them last week.  Ajayi is my favorite play of the weekend.  As for the rest of the Dolphins, the only other player I feel good about is Jarvis Landry, who could also see some punt return opportunities in this one due to Jakeem Grant being fumble prone.

On the Pittsburgh side of the ball you have the big 3 of Big Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown.  If you any of these 3 Le’Veon Bell has the most appeal to him.  The Dolphins give up a ton of rushing yards and Bell should be able to rack them up.  If Byron Maxwell can’t go for Miami that will be huge for the Steelers passing game, which both Ben and Brown will benefit.  The Steelers are by far the biggest favorites of the weekend, this game has the highest total of the weekend, and will be the most popular stack of the weekend.

The one thing I would keep in mind is the last meeting between these two teams.  Miami was able to shut down the big 3 and dominated the Steelers behind the 200 yds rushing of Jay Ajayi.  Miami D coordinator Vance Joseph has a history of shutting down the Steelers going back to his days as the secondary coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.  With Joseph in line to interview for a bunch of head coaching jobs once Miami’s season is over, he could add a notch to his resume should he find a way to shut down this red-hot Steeler offense.

NFL DFS – New York at Green Bay -5 Total 44.5

The final game of the weekend could be the best as the New York Giants travel to Lambeau to take on the Green Bay Packers.  Aaron Rodgers backed his words of running the table and has the Packer offense rolling as they head into this game.  They will get a Giants D that could be the best defense heading into the playoffs.  This game is going to be cold, and neither team can run the ball well so I think both QB’s will be throwing in this one.  Rodgers is my favorite QB of the weekend.  I think he continues his hot streak and finds a way to beat the Giants.  You have a lot of options to pair Rodgers with in this one.  Jordy Nelson is by far his favorite target and should be able to contribute nicely in this one.  Devante Adams has had a nice season and seems to find the end zone a lot in this offense.  Randall Cobb will also be back for this game and that gives Rodgers another option he hasn’t had in a few weeks.  I would avoid the running game of both teams in this one as I think Ajayi with either Bell or Miller is the way to go.

On the Giants side of the ball it’s hard to not like Odell Beckham.  The Packer secondary is still a mess, they will have to throw to keep up with Green Bay, and Beckham is the obvious choice to use on the Giants side of the ball.  Manning could be a sneaky option as well as I think Rodgers and Big Ben will be the most popular QB’s on the slate.  If you think the Giant’s defense stays hot, they could make for a sneaky play as no one will likely take them against Rodgers and this Green Bay offense.

Because of the short slate I am going to mostly play tournaments this weekend and likely stack teams according to the QB I use.  I’m not going to try to get cute at running back as Ajayi, Bell, and Miller will be the 3 I use the most.  Wide receiver for me will depend on the QB I use as I will pair my QB up with a pass catching option or two in the same lineup.  The only QB I would consider playing naked would be Rodgers.

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Best of luck to everyone this weekend, enjoy all the NFL DFS action and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR each day for all your DFS analysis!

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