Week 18 Game Flowbotics (Wild Card Round)
TwoQBs.com has gone into hibernation for the winter, but some hibernating mammals “must awaken every few days to raise their body temperature, move around, urinate, and eat.” I’m not sure if posting the Week 18 Game Flowbotics matchups spreadsheet is the equivalent of moving around, urinating, or eating. I’d rather not think about it, to be honest, so let’s jump straight to the link:
If you follow @GameFlowbotics on Twitter, you may have seen this already, but I’ve also been posting a matchups page specific to receiver types on occasion. Here’s the Week 18 #RcvrRprt, with Adjusted Target and Adjusted Yardage numbers from FootballOutsiders.com compared to NFL averages:
I hope these tools are useful to you in your playoffs leagues and playoffs DFS. I haven’t had the time to go overboard with either, but here are some brief notes on the betting lines for each matchup:
Three of the Wild Card Round’s four games project to be close. Only Philadelphia at Chicago features a spread of greater than three points. That makes it tough to project winners and forecast which players will advance for extra games in playoffs leagues. For what they’re worth, here are the picks I locked in the BettingPros accuracy competition:
- IND (+2.5) over HOU… This line has moved to IND (+1), and I still like the Colts to win outright.
- SEA (+2.5) over DAL… I expect Seattle to win outright, as well.
- LAC (+3) over BAL… Probably the toughest game to pick, I think. And, while I’m taking the points, I think Baltimore wins this one.
- CHI (-6) over PHI… This has moved to CHI (-6.5), and I would consider flipping to Philly under the new line. I think the Bears win, but not by a full touchdown. Maybe winning by six isn’t all that different, but I try not to tinker with my picks after I’ve made them.
We like to target high-total games with our fantasy plays, but only one of this week’s matchups fits the bill. Indianapolis at Houston has an over/under of 48 points, while all the other contests sit at 43 or below. Forecasting winners therefore takes on extra importance, as we want to target the teams likely to score more points. We also want to consider which teams might exceed expectations set by the lines. Based on my picks above, here are some angles I’m attacking:
- As noted, I like Seattle to win in Dallas. I simply trust Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll in a big game more than Dak Prescott and Jason Garrett (not shocking, I know). With that in mind, I don’t want to use many players from the Dallas offense aside from Ezekiel Elliott. On the Seahawks’ side, I drafted Wilson in my playoffs league because the Cowboys are softer against the pass than the run. Yes, I have volume concerns about Wilson, but he’s been smashing those types of concerns all season with ludicrous efficiency.
- The Colts have excelled against wide receivers this season. That’s no reason to steer away from DeAndre Hopkins, but it could be a reason to steer into the Texans’ running backs and tight ends. Those tertiary receiving pieces may need to step up if Houston is going to win. Ryan Griffin, Jordan Thomas, and Jordan Akins look especially appealing against an Indy defense allowing 9.6 adjusted yards per target to tight ends (most of any team in the playoffs) on above average adjusted targets per game. But how are we supposed to pick the right guy? Over the final five weeks of the season, Griffin led the group with only 2.2 targets per game. Throwing a one-off dart at one of these guys in DFS seems fine, but they’re only worth a pick in playoffs DFS if you think Houston will win and give you a second spin at the tight end touchdown roulette table.
- With most of the playoffs’ best running backs on bye, we have to dig a little deeper for rushers to use in the Wild Card Round. What better team to target than the Ravens, who have virtually no interest in passing with Lamar Jackson under center. Gus Edwards was the better play when Baltimore faced the Chargers in Week 16, but Kenneth Dixon appears more explosive by the ol’ fashioned eye test. Both players should see healthy workloads, regardless, so I recommend mixing both into your fantasy portfolio for the playoffs.
- The most effective offensive attacks against the Bears this season have used quick-hitting routes in the short and intermediate areas of the field. I wouldn’t go overweight on any Eagles players, but sprinkling in Darren Sproles, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor makes some sense.
- On the other side of the Eagles-Bears matchup, I like a lot of Chicago’s receiving options. Of all the teams in the playoffs, Philadelphia allows the most adjusted yardage per game to No. 1 wide receivers (90.2) and the most adjusted targets per game to running backs as receivers (8.8). Those stats bode well for Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen.