The Cruncher List and Core Four for Wildcard Weekend: Game-By-Game Analysis

The Cruncher List and Core Four for Wildcard Weekend

This week, we will do a game by game breakdown, highlighting some of the best options when it comes to building line-ups for Wildcard Weekend!  Our Core 4 piece will be focused on the Main Slate for DraftKings, which encompasses all four games this weekend!  With that said, let’s dive in and break down the first round of NFL Playoff action!

Buffalo @ Houston (-2), Projected Total: 44 points

Buffalo – Projected total: 21 points

The Bills check in this week with a low projected total, playing on the road in Houston.  As has been the case for most of the season, there are four Bills worth considering rostering, QB Josh Allen, RB Devin Singletary and WR John Brown and WR Cole Beasley, due to the short slate.

Allen is a dual-threat QB, who should be relied upon heavily by the Bills to put points on the board when they get into the red-zone.  As is the case with most QB’s that run, I expect him to see a few more carries this week in a playoff atmosphere.  I think he’ll fly under the radar in terms of ownership levels, and think he is an excellent option with a high floor and ceiling this week, even though he does have challenges from an accuracy standpoint.

WR John Brown has been pretty quiet of late, seeing 4 or less targets in three of the past five games for Buffalo, which does give some cause for concern.  With that said, he is clearly the #1 option down the field for Allen, and I expect Allen to look Brown’s way plenty this weekend.  He is priced affordably, and is an excellent choice to pair with Allen in your builds.

WR Cole Beasley has hit at least 14.9 DKP in four of the past five games, giving him a nice floor.  He is a little more expensive than I’d like him to be, but I do think he’ll see 8+ targets from the slot in this one.  He’s a high floor option this week, but I do think he lacks a high ceiling at this price point.

RB Devin Singletary should approach 20 touches in this one, putting him in line for a heavy workload.  His ceiling is hurt by the fact that Allen runs so often inside the 10 yard line, but he is worth keeping in your player pool this weekend due to the fact that he should see heavy usage in the Bills backfield.

The Texans OL has had some struggles protecting Watson at times, and I think the Bills DST is a suitable option this week, though they aren’t my favourite option on the board.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Josh Allen
  • WR John Brown

Good Plays

  • RB Devin Singletary
  • WR Cole Beasley
  • Bills DST

Houston – Projected total: 23 points

I know that the Texans are favourites in this one, but I really don’t love them from a DFS standpoint this week.  RB Carlos Hyde should clear 20 carries in this one against a run funnel defence from Buffalo, putting him in a nice spot this week at a reasonable price.  He is TD dependent, but I think he can find paydirt in this one and approach 100 yards given how Buffalo structures their defence, making him an elite option this week…something I can’t believe I am uttering.

QB Watson and WR Hopkins are worth keeping in your player pool this week, though I haven’t made a habit of targeting the Bills secondary, and I don’t plan on starting this week.  I’ll likely be under-weight both, but I do note there is risk to such a stance…I do like taking a flier on WR Kenny Stills at his price point though, I wouldn’t be shocked if he wiggled loose deep in this one, and I think White will be on Hopkins most of the afternoon.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Carlos Hyde

Good Plays

  • WR DeAndre Hopkins
  • WR Kenny Stills

Tennessee @ New England (-5), Projected total: 44 points

Tennessee – Projected Total: 19.5 points

The Titans have the lowest projected total on the board and limited fantasy appeal this week.  I will say this – RB Derrick Henry and WR A.J. Brown have the ability to break the slate based on their ceilings – and they are both worth keeping in your player pools in my opinion, even at their elevated price points in this match-up – which will help keep their ownership levels down.

With that said, I’m not going to go nuts with exposure here.  I do think that Henry is an elite option in this one.  I think that he’ll clear 20 touches in this one, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him post one of the best lines of all the RB’s during WildCard Weekend.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Derrick Henry

Good Plays

  • WR A.J. Brown

New England – Projected Total: 24.5 points

The Patriots haven’t been too involved in many DFS relevant performances this season on the offensive side of the ball (the defence has been a well documented different story) – and I don’t envision this being a week where they are heavily involved for any slate that encompasses the entire weekend.  The backfield remains a committee, and while that could change at a moment’s notice – I have no problem waiting a week to see how it’ll play out.

WR Julian Edelman has been hurt for the past three weeks, making him one of the more difficult players to evaluate this week.  If he is close to 100% healthy, he would be on the Cruncher List as a high floor option who should see double digit targets.  I tend to think this will be the case this week, but I do note that there is risk here.

Outside of Edelman, I don’t have much interest in the passing game.  The Titans have a solid pass defence, and while I think that NE will put up points, I don’t envision a high probability that they have too many options that will be a part of large field GPP wins this weekend.

The Pats DST is an elite option this week.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Julian Edelman
  • Patriots DST

Good Plays

  • RB Sony Michel

Minnesota @ New Orleans (-8), Projected Total: 50

Minnesota, Projected Total: 21 points

The Vikings are the largest dogs of the week, checking in as eight point dogs on the road, playing in a tough environment.  The game has the highest total on the board, making it an attractive option to stack with various combinations if you think that both teams will light up the scoreboard.

The Vikings will likely give RB Dalvin Cook all of the volume he can handle, despite the tough match-up against the Saints front seven that has been excellent all season against RB’s.  Look for the Vikings to utilize the screen game early and often in this one, and even though there is risk of re-injury for Cook – I think he’s worth keeping in your player pool this week.

As for the passing game, I don’t have a lot of interest in Cousins.  I’d be surprised if he was a part of large field GPP winners this weekend.  With that said, I do think that WR Stefon Diggs and WR Adam Thielen are worth consideration, though I do prefer other options on the board and will likely only use them in game stacks (especially with Thielen).

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • RB Dalvin Cook
  • WR Stefon Diggs

New Orleans, Projected Total: 29 points

There are no shortage of elite options here, as you could probably imagine based on the highest projected total of the week by a rather wide margin.  Don’t overthink this one – Brees, Kamara, Michael Thomas and Jared Cook are all among the best options on the board at their respective positions this week.  The only drawback to rostering them is the fact that they will all likely be chalk (with Cook being the likely lowest owned of the 4).

The Saints DST is an elite option in this one, especially if you se them playing with a near double digit lead as the line indicates.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Drew Brees
  • RB Alvin Kamara
  • WR Michael Thomas
  • Saints DST

Good Plays

  • TE Jared Cook

Seattle (-1) @ Philadelphia, Projected Total: 45.5

Seattle, Projected Total: 23.25 points

I am curious how Pete Carroll and company will approach this game.  The Seahawks love to run the ball.  The Eagles are elite at defending the run.  The Seahawks are without their top two backs, leaving Comer and Lynch as a committee.  You’d think that this would all but guarantee an uptick in pass attempts for QB Russell Wilson, but we’ve been fooled by this before.  I expect the Seahawks to continue to use a balanced approach, running a little more than we all wish they would, keeping a cap on fantasy production in this one.

With that said, I do like the spot for Wilson and Lockett, and I think they are both great options this week against a Eagles secondary that has been pretty poor for the vast majority of the season.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Russell Wilson
  • WR Tyler Lockett

Good Plays

  • None

Philadelphia, Projected Total: 22.25 points

Will update when we get more clarity on RB Miles Sanders and TE Zach Ertz.  As of now, there is too much up in the air to make an educated decision, though I do think that if Goedert is the lone TE – he is an elite option (and a suitable option even if Ertz does suit up).  WR Greg Ward is a great value play at WR this week, worthy of putting him on The Cruncher List.

If RB Miles Sanders plays, I worry about his ability to cut, and with the likelihood that he will likely be on a snapcount, I prefer RB Boston Scott, even if Sanders does suit up.  Scott would be an elite play if Sanders is ruled out, and is downgraded to a good play if Sanders does play, though the upside is immense as Sanders being active would help keep his ownership level in check.

I’ll update the below as more news becomes available….

The Cruncher List

  • TBD

Good Plays

  • TBD

Core Four: Providing 4 Strong options when building line-ups for this weekend’s Main Slate on DraftKings….

QB Josh Allen, $6,500

The price point is a little higher than I would have liked on Allen – but I love the upside here for the Bills QB.  He is a dual-threat option who excels at red-zone efficiency, largely due to his ability to find the end-zone via the ground game.  I expect him to see a few more carries than he normally would in a must-win playoff game, helping to boost his floor a little higher, which is a nice boost.  While I wouldn’t argue with anyone that wanted to lock and load Brees here, I am intrigued at the upside for Allen, and I think he has a big game on Saturday from a fantasy standpoint.

RB Carlos Hyde, $5,100

There is no shortage of high-priced RB’s this week that are quality options (Kamara and Henry are my two favourites) – but if you are looking to compliment them with a value play, I like the spot for Hyde, even though he is TD dependent.  The Bills have utilized a run funnel defence for the vast majority of the season, allowing teams to run the ball on them while completely shutting down the passing game.  I expect Hyde to clear 20 touches in this match-up, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him score and approach the century mark on the ground, which would pay off at his price point in spades.

WR Michael Thomas, $9,300

There are a lot of questionmarks for many of the high priced WR’s this week.  Edelman – is he healthy?  Hopkins – can he beat White consistently?  AJ Brown – will Belichek and company focus on the rookie WR to shut him down?  Lockett – will he be targeted more than once?  Thomas has none of those questions and should be a great bet to finish the week as the WR1.  I think he’s well worth the price point, and is worthy of a high spend this weekend.

TE Dallas Goedert, $5,200

At this point, even if Ertz does suit up, I think he does so at less than 100%, and that Goedert will still be in a great spot for this Sunday.  He should continue to see plenty of looks from Carson Wentz as the Eagles lack healthy bodies that are suitable targets for Wentz at this point in time.  He doesn’t break the bank from a pricing standpoint, and is my favourite of a very week position for Wildcard weekend.

Best of luck to you and your line-ups this weekend!  We hope you enjoy the first round of NFL playoff action!



About Brad

Brad hates the term fantasy sports expert, so instead he is someone who specializes in NFL, NHL and MLB DFS notes and analysis. He had a 68.2% win rate in 2015 NFL cash games to go along with a 83.5% win rate for the 2014 season. For NHL he had a 58.7% win rate in the 2015-16 season for cash games and a 66.2% win rate for the 2014-15 season. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy.

Check Also

The Cruncher List and Core Four for the Conference Finals: Game-By-Game Analysis

The Cruncher List and Core Four for the Conference Finals This week, we will do a …