The Wild Card Playoffs have arrived and we have 3 teams duking it out on Sunday for the chance to meet the Chiefs and the Packers in the Divisional round next weekend. For the fantasy purposes, we have changed the format of our NFL content this week to two separate articles highlighting strategy and matchups for the Saturday and Sunday NFL slates. As always, we will include a “Cash-Ready” CORE on DPA Slack before each slate which you can revert to on either site, but since this is the playoffs, and we are dealing with short slates, don’t be afraid to rotate players in that you find in the article if you want to find ways to get different in tournaments. In this article, we will go position by position, highlighting important notes on each team’s usage of their skill position players, and their corresponding matchup for the Sunday 3 game slate. Let’s dive in!
Lamar Jackson | BAL – Lamar gets the nut matchup here against Tennessee, who have given up 22.1 FPPG to QBs (ranking 28th in the NFL). Over the last 5 weeks, Jackson has tallied no less than 22 DKP in a single game. With a 29 point total for the Ravens, I have no problem getting to Lamar naked, or with Marquise Brown or Mark Andrews in a stack against the Titans.
Ben Roethlisberger | PIT – Roethlisberger and the Steelers welcome the divisional rival Browns and their 23rd ranked DST vs QBs to town. After playing somewhat inconsistently in the middle stages of the season, I like backing Ben here in conjunction with the Steelers receiving core of Johnson, Juju, and Claypool after rebounding in a big way against Indy in Week 16 (28.48 DKP).
Drew Brees | NO – With a healthy Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas back in the lineup, we should get to see Drew at his best on Sunday. The Bears defense ranks 19th against opposing QBs, and Brees had his way with this same Chicago team back in Week 8 when he put up a 280 yd – 2 TD performance up against them. His price tag stands out on both DK and FD as the 3rd highest priced QB.
Also Consider: Ryan Tannehill | TEN
Alvin Kamara | NO – Kamara announced that he’ll “See you on Sunday” on his Twitter this past Thursday, indicating that he will be good to go for the Wild Card round after being ruled out due to COVID-19 last week. The Saints have a healthy 29 point total in the Superdome against the Bears, and Kamara will have his best friend Drew Brees checking down to him against slow Bears coverage linebackers all game. Over his last two playoff games, Kamara has 19 receptions on 22 targets and a TD, and if history repeats itself, he should provide a great floor with significant upside against the Bears.
Derrick Henry | TEN – King Henry looks to build off his incredible 2,000 yard season after already trampling this same Ravens team 28 times for 133 yards and a TD in Week 11 (23.2 DKP). The Ravens are a top ten unit against the run, but I can’t imagine that stops the Titans from going this route as a run first team that likes to set up the play action. Game script could result in a problem here however, as the Ravens are currently -3.5 road favorites.
Nick Chubb | CLE – With all the ownership treading towards Kamara and Henry this week, Nick Chubb appeals to me as this slate’s forgotten man. Chubb finished the 2020 season 7th in rushing yards (1,067), and put up 7.7 YPC for 108 yards and a TD against Pittsburgh last week. This performance was no fluke either, as Pittsburgh’s rushing defense has somewhat surprisingly surrendered the 6th most yards on the ground in the NFL over its last 3 games (157 YPG).
J.K. Dobbins / Gus Edwards | BAL – Up until Week 17, Baltimore had essentially been splitting snaps between Dobbins and Edwards. Both players should come in relatively low owned on a slate that features both Henry and Kamara, and knowing Baltimore’s run-first tendencies, both should see solid opportunities here. The Titans rush defense ranks bottom 10 in rush yards allowed over their last 3 games, so I’m intrigued by both options. Dobbins is the safer of the two, but I wouldn’t hesitate to include Edwards in my player pool if playing more than 10 lineups in GPPs.
Also Consider: David Montgomery | CHI, James Connor | PIT, Kareem Hunt | CLE
Michael Thomas | NO – Thomas has been sidelined for much of the season, but looks 100% just in time for the playoffs. When healthy, Thomas has a 9-10 target floor with upside for 15 looks in an vital playoff matchup. He is way too cheap at his current price on both sites with a full arsenal of weapons around him to avoid drawing too much attention to himself.
Allen Robinson | CHI – While the Saints boast a sufficient pass defense, the Bears should be in negative game script here, forcing more drop backs for Trubisky. A-Rob ranked 3rd in the NFL in total targets with 151, and should see 9-10 looks even against Marshon Lattimore if the Bears get behind. Over three games against the Saints in his career, Robinson has scored in each game, with 325 yards receiving on 22 rec for 325 yds over three outings against New Orleans.
Diontae Johnson | PIT – If you’ve been following me on twitter, you would know I am president of the Diontae Johnson fan club. Johnson is the 5th most targeted receiver in football at 9.6 looks per game, and has scored in 3 of his last 4 outings not including a rest week in Week 17 where he had less opportunities to play. I still feel as though he is too cheap given his week to week production, and plan to have a lot of exposure to him again on Sunday.
Marquise Brown | BAL – The former Oklahoma product profiles as a high owned tournament value play against this miserable Tennessee secondary. Brown was inconsistent for much of the season, but the matchup is tough to ignore against a Tennessee team that has been throttled through the air, ranking 26th against opposing WRs, while giving up 294 passing yards per game over their last 3 games (T-5th most in NFL).
Corey Davis | TEN – While I see many people going to AJ Brown this week, he is pretty expensive and going up against one of the better CBs in football in Jimmy Smith. Davis draws an easier matchup against Marcus Peters who hasn’t played quite as well as his counterpart Smith, allowing a 63% catch rate and holding a 64.4 PFF rating. Corey Davis provides significant savings off of AJ Brown this week, and actually had one of his best games of the season against Baltimore when he caught 5 passes for 113 yards. I like the savings on price and ownership on Davis here, as must game log watchers won’t be keen to play him despite coming off an 11 target game in Week 17.
Also Consider: AJ Brown | TEN, Rashard Higgins | CLE
Mark Andrews | BAL – Absolutely prime matchup here for Mark Andrews against the Titans 24th ranked DST vs TEs. This game has all the makings of a shootout, which should have Baltimore resorting to the pass game more than usual, of which Andrews would be a direct beneficiary. Prior to Week 17, Andrews had 12+ DKP in 5 straight games.
Austin Hooper | CLE – Hooper has taken up a more voluminous role in the Browns passing game of late, with three straight games tallying 14 DKP. He should be lesser owned than other options in his price range, as people are typically afraid to target skill players against the Steelers DST. We can get behind his price tag as well, especially considering he found the end zone against this same Steelers team just last week.
Also Consider: Jared Cook | NO, Eric Ebron | PIT, Jonnu Smith | TEN
New Orleans Saints – The Saints defense has become a fierce unit at times this season, scoring 14+ DKP on 6 occasions this season. Despite Mitch Trubisky’s solid play of late, we know he is susceptible to turnovers, and this Saints defense forced 5 INT’s and only allowed 7 points last week.
Also Consider: Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears
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