Wild Card weekend is here, and we have a nice four-game slate on tap for daily fantasy purposes!
One key difference between a short-slate like this one and a 15-16 game slate is the fact that we put less emphasis on the matchup itself and more emphasis on overall volume/price points. In other words, the playoffs are usually full of quality defenses, so optimal matchups are pretty much non-existent.
This is why we’ll look to move the slider towards “volume”, deciding which players will have to shoulder heavy responsibilities this weekend.
Now onto the FanDuel Must Plays for NFL Wild Card Weekend:
Ben Roethlisberger – QB – PIT (FanDuel Price: $8,400)
Big Ben falls perfectly into the strategy listed above. His overall matchup with the Bengals appears challenging on paper. However, with DeAngelo Williams ruled out, the Steelers will likely go into “pass-heavy mode”, leaving Roethlisberger with a heightened opportunity to put up numbers. On top of that, the quarterback position is pretty questionable this week, as Wilson, Rodgers, and Cousins don’t exactly elicit the same level of confidence as Big Ben.
Antonio Brown – WR – PIT (FanDuel Price: $9,500)
Even though his price tag much more cumbersome than other top-end wide receivers (Hopkins and Green), Brown still earns “must play consideration” this weekend. Most of that derives from the previous points outlined in Roethlisberger’s write-up. The running game may be non-existent for Pittsburgh on Saturday, meaning Brown will see an unbelievable amount of targets. Even though the matchup against Cincy is no cakewalk, Brown has dominated some stingy draws throughout the season (16-189-2 vs Denver comes to mind).
Marshwan Lynch – RB – SEA (FanDuel Price: $7,800)
Beast-mode will be unleashed for the first time since mid-November, and I’m recommending you take advantage of that on FanDuel. Lynch was able to practice in full this week, and it appears Seattle was making sure he was fully healthy for the playoffs, keeping deactivated down the stretch. Well, the time has come to give the well-rested running back a good chunk of carries, and the Seahawks will undoubtedly need to rely on the running game while experiencing frigid temperatures in Minnesota. This is another “volume over matchup” type of play that should work to your advantage.
Jeremy Maclin – WR – KC (FanDuel Price: $7,200)
Let’s face it, Maclin is the only real pass-catcher Kansas City can rely upon. Sure, Travis Kelce sometimes factors into the mix, but his targets are more of the “change of pace” variety. Considering the constant stream of targets, mid-range price point, and six touchdowns in the last six games, Maclin seems like an obvious WR2 play this weekend.
James Jones – WR – GB (FanDuel Price: $5,700)
Jones has been seeing a ton of targets for Green Bay, racking up a combined 33 looks over the past three games. That type of volume makes him an excellent, cheap, WR3 option in this abbreviated slate. Actually, the matchup isn’t too bad either, as Washington has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Jones is a pretty easy selection for just $5700.
Tyler Eifert – TE – CIN (FanDuel Price: $6,400)
Pittsburgh’s secondary has been very suspect this season, and that has translated to a bottom five mark in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. Even though you could easily rationalize A.J. Green for your lineups, I’m looking at Tyler Eifert as a cheaper way to gain exposure to this matchup. He has been a solid tight end all season, coming back from a two-game absence to post a healthy 4-51-1 line vs Baltimore last week … If you can’t quite squeeze him into your lineup, pairing Heath Miller ($5,600) with Big Ben isn’t a bad situation to fall back on.