Deeper, Cheaper, & More Contrarian: Wild Card Round (Week 18)
We’ve made it to Wild Card Weekend. Congrats on making it this far and still firing off DFS lineups. Not everyone is.
When we look at the games and find the highest point total at 45.5, titling (that’s titling, not tilting, at least not yet) this slate “Mild Card Weekend” fits far better. We could be in for some ugly games, and we’ll sift through the match-ups to find the big hits, as they may be scarce, and attempt to identify ways to differentiate our lineups from the field. Read on for my Week 18 Fantasy Aces GPP picks.
OAK @ HOU
This game has an incredibly low total for a playoff game, 37 points, so the options it offers are few. Both quarterbacks are not even scratching the surface of in-play, Connor Cook especially. As for pass catchers, both Deandre Hopkins ($4900) and C.J. Fiedorowicz ($3800) are viable on their target volume, but neither are high end options. Both good in a handful or your lineups, but not as core players.
The runners on both sides are certainly in play. Lamar Miller ($4950) is probably a better cash play than tournament play, as he projects to be top-three in ownership at running back. Latavius Murray ($4800) is a little bit pricier than we’d like, but he should be the focal point of the offense, far less owned than Miller, and the preferred tourney play. If there’s a player in this game who could find multiple touchdowns, it’s Murray.
Both the Houston DST ($2750) and the Oakland DST ($2600) should be among your DST variance in tourneys.
DET @ SEA
We’ll start with the Detroit side of the ball. On the outside, Marvin Jones has been somewhere between inept and ineffective. He is not in play. Golden Tate ($5200) will see plenty of Richard Sherman, and is therefore only a middling to low end tourney play. The inside pass catchers should see the bulk of the targets for Detroit. Eric Ebron ($4450) and the friendlier priced Anquan Boldin ($4240) are middling to strong GPP plays. If there are any passing touchdowns to be had for the Lions, they are nearly certain to be the recipients.
On the ground, Zach Zenner ($4550) is severely underpriced for his recent workload and is the best value on the entire slate. Although he will be top-three in running back ownership, the gross output comparative to salary should make him one of the core players in a high percentage of your lineups.
On Seattle’s side, the passing game is their most likely route to scoring points, as Thomas Rawls’ UDFA status has bled through of late. He has been nothing short of putrid and isn’t worth playing. Russell Wilson ($6800) seems to sport too high of a price tag. I think there are better options at quarterback for tournaments, but the floor is there, and he does have an attainable ceiling. He is a player for a handful of lineups, not a cornerstone.
On the other hand, no pass catcher has a sweeter situation than Doug Baldwin ($5100) this week. The Lions will be using ________ in slot coverage. The blank space means I really don’t have a good guess. It could be a combination of linebackers, safeties, and/or street free agents. Baldwin has the safest floor and highest ceiling of any pass catcher this week, will be severely underowned (per usual), and is still severely underpriced. He is a core player for your lineups.
Jimmy Graham ($4900) is your leverage play if you fade Doug Baldwin, but the tight end isn’t a core player. He’s pricey and only worth consideration in a handful of lineups. Luke Willson ($3300) seems to finally be healthy, has scored in each of the past two weeks, and is very much in play as a punt tight end to make your lineups fit. Neither of the outside wide receivers on the Seahawks merit consideration.
MIA @ PIT
This game has the most potential for a shootout. The viability of that shootout rests squarely on the shoulders of Matt Moore ($5700) and his ability to keep pace with the Pittsburgh offense. I believe Jay Ajayi is overpriced at $5800, as he faces a very unfavorable game script. If not paying up for Ben Roethlisberger, Moore is my go-to discounted quarterback.
Jarvis Landry ($4900) is reasonably priced and should see a mammoth target load. Damien Williams ($3500) could be your running back punt play in Moore stacks. Williams is also a leverage play on Ajayi, assuming Miami is trailing and chucking it.
On the Pittsburgh side, we’ve got the usual suspects of super-expensive studs. I project Ben Roethlisberger ($7300) as the highest gross scoring quarterback of the week. He should be your highest-owned quarterback, even if not severely overweight. Le’Veon Bell ($6800) will be the highest-owned player on the slate by a considerable margin, but you can’t fathom fully fading him. Owning him in 50% of your lineups will likely keep you well behind the field in ownership.
Antonio Brown ($6600) is always the top candidate to be the highest scoring receiver of the week. Fit him in as often as possible. With Ladarius Green likely to sit, Eli Rogers at just $4400 should become a major player in your lineups. He’s a great value with a likely large target load on the projected highest-scoring team of the week.
This will be the most popular game for game stacking and for good reason. Don’t hesitate to use stacks, but throw the less popular options in there, like Rogers and Damian Williams.
NYG @ GB
This game is likely to disappoint those waiting for Aaron Rodgers fireworks and a shootout type of game. I was ignorant to it for at least a month, but the Giants defense is currently the best in the league. While Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers ($7750), his salary is higher than Roethlisberger’s in a much worse spot. Green Bay’s quarterback is only worth a look in a handful of lineups.
The stacks I’d eye for those lineups are Jordy Nelson ($6300) because there’s no match-up he can’t beat. In a game with no favorable match-ups, he’ll see a hefty target load. Also consider Jared Cook ($4000), as the Giants aren’t quite as good handling tight ends as they are wide receivers.
I’m not considering any running backs in this game. On the Giants’ side, Odell Beckham Jr. ($6700) should be game-planned to the right side of the formation early and often, so count on a hefty target load. I’m not considering any Giants outside of him.
As always, good luck!
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