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Daily Fantasy Football Game by Game Breakdowns for FanDuel and DraftKings Wild-Card Round - SaturdayAlso take a look at our preview for Sunday's Wildcard games
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Buffalo Bills (2.5) vs. Houston Texans (-2.5)Both the Bills and Texans had the luxury of resting their starters for week 17, and both return with a (mostly) clean bill of health for their wild card clash. If this were a normal week of DFS this isn't likely a game we'd be targeting. The Bills ranked 6th in overall defense this season, and while Houston ranked 26th, the Bills haven't exactly been a team we've turned to for a lot of DFS value. On a two game slate, though? It will be impossible to not have a few plays from this game. Let's take a look and see what we can find.
There is a path to playing the big pieces in the Houston passing game this week, but it is certainly going to require concessions at other positions. With Derrick Henry sitting alone atop the running back charts, though, you will want to spend up somewhere, and neither is a bad bet. Watson and Hopkins are the next two most expensive plays on the slate after Henry, and the big decision here is whether you want to run them against the Bills 6th ranked defense or run Henry against the Patriots and their top ranked defense. With a gun to my head I'd guess we don't wind up playing Watson because the savings you can get going down to Tannehill are too enticing, but that Hopkins winds up making the cut. Hopkins gets an extra boost from Will Fuller returning here, as defenses have been a lot more prone to shadowing him when Will Fuller was absent.
Will Fuller FD 5600 DK 4900
Proj Points FD - 10.82 DK - 13.03
The cheaper Texans. I'd guess Will Fuller winds up being close to a unanimous play this week simply because he's so darned cheap. This is a guy who has plenty of disappearances on his resume this season, but most of those were injury related, and with a few huge games on the resume this season (including arguably the best performance for any WR this season against Atlanta) he'll easily find a home in lineups on a two game slate.
Hyde is an interesting one, though. I have not played him in a single DFS lineup all season long, but on a slate where you must play two running backs I don't see how he can be ignored. When you take a high level look at the position you basically have to play two of the following: Derrick Henry, Devin Singletary, Carlos Hyde, and Sony Michel. While Hyde is nothing special, his game logs suggest that he is at least Sony Michel's equal, and getting him at a discount against a Buffalo defense that's actually been worse against the run than the Titans this season seems like a totally reasonable play.
Tight end is just terrible on this slate, and as a result Jordan Akins and his 7 week 16 targets get the "playable" tag by default.
The Buffalo Bills
Devin Singletary FD 6500 DK 6000
Proj Points FD - 13.33 DK - 14.96
As I mentioned above, running back is pretty dicey for the Saturday slate, and I think Singletary will wind up in most of my lineups as a result. Critics will look at Singletary's production as a starter and feel concerned, but I think there's more context there. Singletary's easiest match-up in his last five weeks was against Baltimore, a tough defensive team that was merely slightly above league average against the run this year. He also had match-ups with 3 of the top 9 rushing defenses in Dallas, New England, and Pittsburgh. This week he'll go up against Houston, who has the lowest ranked defensive DVOA against the run of any team playing this weekend. Frank Gore has been bad in his touches this season, and if a time ever existed to unleash Singletary, it would be now. Throw in the fact that he's the cheapest starting running back on the slate and you have a great cash game play.
John Brown FD 6800 DK 6000
Proj Points FD - 13.62 DK - 16.29
John Brown has been under-priced all season, and now his price has risen toward something like a fair place. His production waxed and waned throughout the season, but if you look at the game logs those were largely based on the opposing defenses. Josh Allen seemed to really struggle against tougher defenses, but was excellent in good match-ups, and I this one with the Texans qualifies. The Texans had the 7th worst passing defense of the year, which as you can imagine is by far the worst of any team playing this weekend. You'll need some savings if you want to run any expensive players at all, and I like Brown as a part of that package.
Let's talk about Josh Allen: In spite of a tough end to the season, I'm still a believer. He should be totally unleashed to run as much as he'd like, and he shouldn't be as overwhelmed against this Texans defense as he was against New England or Pittsburgh. He's a fine cash game inclusion with a lot of upside for big tournaments with the potential for his rushing touchdowns.
I also think you can keep an eye out for Cole Beasley, who was coming on strong toward the end of the season.
Tennessee Titans (4.5) vs. New England Patriots (-4.5)Now here's a juicy match-up for real life football, but where does it slot into our DFS plans? Let's break it down.
The Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill FD 7900 DK 6300
Proj Points FD - 18.61 DK - 19.3
A.J. Brown FD 8300 DK 7400
Proj Points FD - 15.59 DK - 18.43
The other premier QB/WR duo on this slate after Watson and Hopkins, which would have been absolutely shocking to anyone two months ago. That said, Tannehill and Brown have a real connection, and we can confidently say that when the stakes are high these two have a special connection. In their last three games that mattered Brown and Tannehill have connected for 17 receptions, 391 yards and four touchdowns. And you know who they remind me a lot of? Sort of a more talented Ryan Fitzpatrick and Devante Parker, right? Parker had his way with the vaunted Stephon Gillmore in a must-win game for the Pats last week, if the Dolphins laid the blue print for attacking him last week I believe that Tannehill and Brown can capitalize here. It's going to be close when picking between the Titans QB/WR pair and the Texans QB/WR pair, but given how much the savings matter I think prioritizing them (and then filling Hopkins in if you have the cash) makes sense.
Derrick Henry FD 9500 DK 8200
Proj Points FD - 16.91 DK - 17.63
So let's talk about Derrick Henry. He's incredible. He's had an historic season. The Titans employed him for 32 carries in their must win game with the Texans that week, and it's clear that he's at least plan A for the Titans in games they need to win. The big question is what the game script might be. Vegas has the Pats as 4.5 point favorites, and while that's not overwhelming, it should be at least cause for the Titans to keep passing after the first half (which they sort of different against the Texans). I think a better proxy for Henry's opportunity might be the Oakland, Indy, and Jacksonville games, where you saw him sitting between 20-25 carries (but notably, no targets). If that's what we're looking at here, is he really worth the highest overall price on the slate against the league's toughest defense? As of now, our answer is no.
The New England Patriots
So bear with me for a second, but are there any playable Patriots in cash games, even on a two game slate? I'm honestly not sure. Tennessee had the 11th ranked rushing DVOA this season, and Sony Michel is both A) not that cheap and B) sort of unproven as a fantasy commodity.
And what am I supposed to do with this passing game? In a game they would have been absolutely thrilled to win, Tom Brady managed just 221 yards passing while completing just 16 of his 29 passing attempts. Phillip Dorsett led the team with 50 yards receiving on a single catch. Julian Edelman looked like a shell of himself.
Could this team get hot and win you a big tournament? Absolutely. I'm just not going to be dipping my toes in for cash games.