Fantasy Football: Who to play on Wild Card Weekend

Pete Davidson
January 04, 2020 - 11:59 am

"Playoffs?!  Playoffs?!"

It's nice to be working a small slate for a change.  I actually got some extra sleep this week, but now we get to play our little game in the shadow of the games that mean everything.  Playoff football is fun in that we know every team will be playing fully in the now.  No more keeping player X fresh by giving him periodical rest.  These are the games you rested him for.  In the words of Bill Parcells "this is what you worked for all season!  This is why you lift all them weights!"

So we know teams will be playing their stars.  The Week 17 nonsense is over.  What we have this week is a four game slate over two days.  In my view, there should be more raw offensive stats available with the two Sunday games, so a high percentage of my rostered players will be playing tomorrow.

A quick word on strategy.  When playing small slates such as this one, you want to consider game flow with every player you roster.  For example, my projection for the most rostered player this week is Michael Thomas.  I think as much as 65% of the teams in DraftKings GPPs will have Thomas active.  So there's certainly strategical merit in fading Thomas, though he is also a fabulous play.  The key is to think about why you are doing it, and, more importantly, where that omission should lead you with your roster construction.  Let me put a finer point on this.  The Saints have the highest Vegas implied team total on the slate.  If you are fading Thomas, you will want to lean into a scenario where he fails to perform relative to cost.  In such a scenario, some other player on the Saints should end up being a value.  If I kept Thomas off my roster, you can bet that I'd have Alvin Kamara in there, and probably a receiving option as well.  Probably either Jared Cook ($4,900) or Tre'Quan Smith ($4,000.)  

With that, let's look at a few of my favorite Wildcard Week options.

All pricing in this article was sourced from DraftKings.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints vs. Vikings, $9,300

It's hard to make an argument against Thomas.  From a game theory perspective, fading him due to exceedingly high projected ownership makes sense, but it is very likely that he will perform as expected.  The safe play is to roster Thomas and find your unique elements elsewhere.  I plan on having about 10 GPP lineups today, and I should have Thomas on 7-8 of those rosters.  The Vikings are not equipped to cover Thomas and have some injuries in the secondary.  In addition to Thomas, Alvin Kamara ($7,400), Tre'Quan Smith and Jared Cook are all good plays, so consider double-stacking, especially if you are making multiple lineups.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots vs. Titans, $4,500

This is a play for GPPs (tournaments), but less so for cash games, unless you are just fitting in his 4,500 unit price.  The Patriots' backfield is too volatile for fantasy purposes--with three backs making regular contributions.  This makes them a bit too risky for cash play.  My basic rationale here is that you get a solid cost-saver at a relatively weak position (for this slate) and Rex is a player the Patriots tend to use in big spots.  He and James White are both good bets to make some plays in the pass game, because the Texans are super weak defending running backs in the pass game.  The reason I lean to Burkhead is because I save 1,200 units off of White's $5,700 price tag.  Basically, Burkhead has a shot at making big plays and is priced low enough where he won't hurt you a ton if he has a light outing.  I expect to have roughly 30 percent exposure to Rex this week.

The Seahawks Receivers at Eagles

  • Tyler Lockett, $7,200
  • DK Metcalf, $6,100
  • David Moore, $3,400

The Eagles secondary can't stop anybody.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks are playing with street-level running backs who are not even in football shape save for Travis Homer.  There is a good chance that Russell Wilson will be throwing more than normal.  The real beauty here, and the reason I posted them as a group is that you can really mix and match this unit.  I like each one of these receivers for the price, so finishing out your lineup with a Seahawks receiver is very doable in that we have three cost levels we can tap into.  If you decide to create a Russell Wilson ($6,800) lineup, which I think makes sense in GPPs, you can stack him with any two of the three and you are in good shape.  Stacking with a single receiver is fine too, in fact it makes just as much sense with so many great WR plays on this weekend's slate.

The Bills Receivers at Texans

  • John Brown, $6,000
  • Cole Beasley, $5,600
  • Isaiah McKenzie, $3,500

The Texans are a great matchup for a receiver and I really like Brown and Beasley here.  If you are creating a bunch of Josh Allen ($6,500) lineups, you might add some McKenzie exposure as well, but I'm mostly focused on the big two.  In GPPs, Allen is one of my guys this week and I will be using at least one of his receivers in most of the Josh Allen teams I create.

Lastly, please remember to play within your comfort level.  You can have loads of fun playing DFS without spending more than a few bucks a week, so please play responsibly.  

If you want to get deeper into lineup construction, you can check out my quick podcast on the slate.  It will be available right here at about 10am.  Thanks out to you all for supporting the Fantasy Football Hour this year!  Jim and I had a lot of fun.  I hope you did too.