There’s nothing like playoff DFS! Options are limited and there’s even less margin for error. You need to take risks on bargain bin players and hope the studs you pay up for deliver in the clutch. Here are some picks to make Wild Card Weekend a little more lucrative for you.
I use the DraftKings salary cap as my basis for picks, which operates on a 50k salary but I know we have many FanDuel players as well. For reference, Fanduel operates on a 60k salary, so prices will appear higher on that platform.
QB- Andrew Luck vs. Hou @ $6,400
Andrew Luck is the second-highest-priced QB on the slate this week. Normally I would hunt for the bargain, but with so few games you go with the sure thing. Last time Luck faced off against the Texans he torched them for 399 yards passing and two touchdowns. That’s 27.56 fantasy points. Deshaun Watson is the only QB priced higher, but the Colts defense has been better as of late. Plus, I try never to pay for the most expensive player at any position, unless the numbers beat me over the head.
When you look at the other QBs in the slate, none pop out as players who will boom. Since it is playoff time, most teams in the playoffs have a good, in some cases even great, defense. Some teams are run-heavy and the QBs don’t get enough volume. Luck is a safe bet to air it out — especially considering the Texans pass defense is ranked 28th against the pass, surrendering 260.4 yards a game. For me, Luck is a safe option without paying the top price. He’s got the right matchup to deliver another big game.
RB-Chris Carson vs. Dal @ $6,800
Look, I know how tempting it is with the slate so small to want to spend the absurd $9,000 on Ezekiel Elliott. But resist. Last time Zeke squared off against the Seahawks he scored less than 20 points. Even if he repeated that performance, at that price tag, it’s a lot to fork over. That’s where Chris Carson comes in. Let’s take a gander at Carson’s last three games. Against the Niners, he had 22 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. Add in a rare six-catch performance for 29 yards. That’s 29.8 fantasy points. Next game against the Chiefs he had 27 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Chalk up another 26.6 fantasy points. In the season finale against the Cardinals, he had 19 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. That clocked in at 22.9 fantasy points.
Are you getting the picture? Carson is a legitimate stud running back on a team that has no problem handing it off to him 20+ times a game. This is the example of not being enticed by the high-priced stud in Zeke and instead opting for the less “sexy” pick in Carson. It’ll save you $2,200 to spend somewhere else in your lineup.
WR-Dontrelle Inman vs. Hou @ $4,300
You may remember Dontrelle Inman had some mild success as a Charger with Philip Rivers. He’s got another great QB and he has excellent size and speed to make an impact. Beyond T.Y. Hilton, the Colts pass catchers are mostly young and inexperienced. Hilton is a bit banged up but will play. The last time he faced the Texans he scorched them for 9 catches and 199 yards, so you can bet the Texans are going to pay extra attention to Hilton so he doesn’t repeat that performance.
This leaves a great opening for Inman, who has put up 18.7 and 14.6 fantasy points the last two weeks, catching a touchdown in both games. He has 9 catches for over 120 yards the past two weeks and played 62 percent of the snaps last week. That was only second to Hilton between the wide receivers. He’s a cheap option that may yield some productivity. It may make sense to stack Luck, Inman, and our next contestant…
TE- Eric Ebron vs. Hou @ $5,200
Yeah, that Eric Ebron. The one who was a bust with the Lions, but has 14 touchdowns this year. Zach Ertz has been amazing, but his price tag is just too high, especially when you consider his matchup. The Bears defense is for real and as much as I think Ertz could still have a good game, I can’t overpay.
Ebron has already faced the Texans twice this year and piled up 105 yards on nine catches, including two touchdowns between the two contests. He has prior success and the Houston pass defense is vulnerable. I think the best stack of the week is Luck, Ebron, and Hilton (if you can afford him and feel good about his health) or Inman if you’re going the bargain route. I feel there’s plenty of passes to go around and fantasy points to be scored.
Flex- Jordan Howard vs. Phi @ $4,600
Jordan Howard started the year ok, then lost a lot of work to Tarik Cohen. Now he’s still splitting work, but the Bears offense is predicated on short passes and the run. Howard has carried the ball 21, 13, 19, and 19 times in the last four games. His volume is there. His production has been solid, but unspectacular. He racked up 27.4 fantasy points last game by punching in two touchdowns. The three games prior he hovered around 14-15 points a game.
It’s not a slam dunk, but the volume is there in a game where I think the Bears try to control the ball. The defense is constantly creating turnovers, setting the offense up in good field position, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Howard were to fall into the end zone again this week.
DST- Seahawks vs. Dal @ $2,600
This is the bargain defense pick. There are others out there I think are better plays, but I would rather put more capital into my position players and not overpay for my defense. The Seahawks and Cowboys met earlier this season and the Hawks D was stingy. They scored 15 fantasy points by intercepting Dak twice and forcing a fumble. And throw in five sacks for good measure.
Granted, this was Cowboys B.C. (Before Cooper) so the offense has become a bit less one-dimensional. The Seahawks are masters of creating turnovers, so even if they surrender more points, I think they make for a good play.
Best of luck to everyone and here’s to hoping your squad shows out — and you cash out.