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John Daigle

Last Minute Decisions

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Injury Report: Wild Card Round

Sunday, January 6, 2019


The playoffs are finally here, which leaves ample opportunity to squeeze in everything from fantasy football to tournament pools and betting props. Fortunately, the Rotoworld crew has everything you need in order to leave Wild Card weekend and the postseason with a win. This is an add-on to the previous betting pieces the team has cranked out throughout the week, including Renee Miller’s Early Lines, Rich Hribar’s Wild Card Round Fantasy Rankings, Raymond Summerlin’s Wild Card Betting Preview, and Evan Silva’s award-winning Wild Card Matchups Column.

 

As for me, I am here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy players and bettors heading into Sunday. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also tweet last-minute lineup and betting thoughts at @notJDaigle.

 

Chargers at Ravens (-2.5) — Total 42 points

 

Key Injuries: Just from an injury standpoint, the Chargers are worse off than the last time they faced the Ravens. Austin Ekeler (groin, questionable) is expected to play and actually wasn’t available when these two squared off in Week 16, but NT Brandon Mebane (personal) is closer to doubtful. That’s significant since DT Corey Liuget (quad) remains on IR and LB Jatavis Brown (ankle) has already been ruled out. Hunter Henry has also been ruled out.

 

Betting/DFS Outlook: The Chargers have already received 71% of the public bets this week, far and away the most money taken on any of the four Wild Card contests. This is still admittedly the worst possible first-round matchup for fantasy/futures implications on both sides. If the Ravens continue their league-high 62% run play rate in neutral game script (and they will), don’t the Chargers simply stack the box? Los Angeles is, after all, the first team to re-match Baltimore since the rookie went under center (and the offense in turn changed entirely). And on the other side of the ball, don’t the Chargers scale back their 93% pass play rate from 11 personnel since they averaged a miserable 4.6 YPA through the air the first time they tried that against Baltimore? Rather than forcing a side (even though the Ravens are the more optimal choice to move on and make a Super Bowl run), reside in the fact that being a bettor (rather than a book) means you don’t have to bet. Either tease the Chargers (+8.5)/Colts (+7.5) together through the key number of 7 or avoid this one altogether.

 

Pick: Ravens -2.5

Eagles at Bears (-6.5) — Total 41.5 points


Key injuries: The Eagles can immediately upgrade their secondary if they get back S/CB Avonte Maddox (oblique, questionable). CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) and Mike Wallace (ankle), however, remain out. Meanwhile S Eddie Jackson’s injury (ankle, questionable) remains the only one of note for Chicago since all of Allen Robinson (ribs), Taylor Gabriel (ribs), and Anthony Miller (shoulder) were left off the Bears' final injury report.


Betting/DFS Outlook: The Eagles have performed well of late, eating W’s in five of their last six games. Context is important, though. Those five victories include one over the tanking Giants at home, two over the injury-riddled Redskins to close out the year, one against the Rams in a Sunday night trap-spot that included an outright unprecedented double-digit road win, and another against Houston’s shoddy secondary (see Colts-Texans preview). Philly’s victory over the Texans wasn’t shocking in hindsight since the Eagles have morphed their offense entirely with Nick Foles, utilizing 11 and 12 personnel (read: Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert together) at even-keeled rates (48%) the past three weeks. With Carson Wentz under center, Philadelphia rolled out 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) just 35% of the time. Having said that, Chicago’s suffocating defense has permitted a strict 4.6 and 5.2 YPA to quarterbacks in 11 and 12 personnel over the last month. The Eagles will likely continue throwing at a top-ten rate (as they have even with Foles under center), allowing more opportunity for turnovers and sacks. Foles and the Eagles have depended on explosive passes (10% rate) since Week 15 whereas the Bears simply don’t allow them (7% rate allotted the past month). Note that Mitchell Trubisky has totaled 21 touchdowns at home (where the Bears went 7-1 ATS) compared to just six on the road this year.


Pick: Bears -6.5



You can follow John Daigle on Twitter @notJDaigle.
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