NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Wild Card Round
In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up formats in which half of the entries win and half of the entries are a little downtrodden) and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs) where somewhere between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Wildcard Weekend NFL contest period beginning with Saturday’s 4:35pm game and continuing through Sunday afternoon.
Wild Card Weekend Strategy and Advice
With just four games to choose players from this week, there will not be nearly as many bargain bin plays as we are used to seeing on a normal slate of games. This makes things very tricky and there will be a lot of player overlap with the limited overall number of selections.
This week the analysis will focus on 1) safe plays, which are also likely going to be the most popular options at each position, 2) upside potential plays, or players that could reach lofty levels, or whiff big time because they carry added risk of either a high price, tough matchup or both, and 3) lower-priced plays that can enable us to get more top talent into are lineups.
With an overall in-game salary cap on FanDuel of $60,000, and a roster format including 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST, it will be tough to love every option on our team, especially when utilizing the regular season rosters as a benchmark. The key thing to remember is that everyone is going to feel that way.
Now for the fun part, let’s look at a few players at each position that should be able to “return value” on their FanDuel in-game salary. These will be players that I will be using myself on various iterations of my FanDuel lineups this week.
Russell Wilson – SEA at MIN – $8,600: Wilson has been phenomenal in his last six games with a 69.1% completion rate, 300+ combined yards, 21 passing touchdowns against just one interception. There is a chance that RB Marshawn Lynch is back this week and while he most likely won’t see more than a dozen touches, it will give the Vikings one more thing to worry about.
Ben Roethlisberger – PIT at CIN – $8,400: While we do not know the status yet of RB DeAngelo Williams, there is a good chance he is limited or even out with his foot injury. That would leave the cupboard bare at the running back position and once again the Steelers offense will have to be carried by Ben Roethlisberger. These two teams are familiar with each other as division rivals, so there is no real advantage to either side in the passing game matchup. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 25 years and Big Ben has thrown 16 passes at home against just five on the road.
Kirk Cousins – WAS at GB – $8,000: The Washington fanbase seems to have completely dismissed QB Robert Griffin III and have embraced Cousins as “their guy” after he led the team to a late season rally and a playoff berth. He set franchise records this season for both passing yardage and by throwing at last one touchdown in all 16 games. While several of those were single touchdown games, he has had 11 over his last three weeks, including three last weekend in Dallas in limited duty. Most gamers will not want to pay this price tag with Roethlisberger just $400 more, making Cousins a fine differentiation option.
Jeremy Hill – CIN vs PIT – $6,700: Over his last six games, Hill has 16+ carries in five of them and it sounds like the Bengals would like to use him as much as possible in this matchup to help ease the burden on their young signal caller A.J. McCarron. There definitely are no sure options at running back this weekend, heck there are actually few appealing choices. I will be casting my lot with Hill in all formats.
Adrian Peterson – MIN vs SEA – $8,600: This is not an easy matchup and at the end of a long season, we have seen Peterson forced out of action before the end of the last two Minnesota games. This game is a rematch of a the Week 13 pairing when Seattle topped the Vikings 38-7 in a dominating road victory. In that game, Peterson had 12 total touches for just 24 yards. In the four games since, he has been held under 70 rushing yards three times, however, that has been offset by his three touchdowns during the same time frame. ADP will be a popular option, just know that he is not the phenomenal talent he was a couple years ago in this, his age 30 season.
Pittsburgh Steelers: If we get word that DeAngelo Williams – $8,100 has the green light to play, then he is definitely in the mix for the top running back option. If he is out, it becomes a coinflip between Jordan Todman and Fitzgerald Toussaint who are both priced at $5,700.
Antonio Brown – PIT at CIN – $9,500: This is like deja vu, with Brown in a similar spot to last year’s playoffs when he was the last offensive option standing after the injury to Le’Veon Bell. In five of his last eight games he has topped 29+ FanDuel points. There is not much else to say other than be sure to have him on at least a couple teams.
Jermaine Kearse – SEA at MIN – $6,000: Yes, WR Doug Baldwin has been masterful, however, if we want to get a top quarterback, Antonio Brown and another premium option in our lineups, we need to find some discounts. Kearse has been solid over his last five games with either seven receptions or a touchdown in five of them for a 13.3 FanDuel point average. The lone poor showing was in Minnesota where while he did play 44 snaps, he saw just one target. I am willing to chalk that up as an outlier.
James Jones – GB vs WAS – $5,700: This is a fantastic price point for Jones, who is the receiver that seems to be the most reliable option on the Packers at this point in the season. He has averaged 5.0 receptions and 76.7 yards with a touchdown in his last three games for 12.8 FanDuel points and it would not be a surprise to see him in that range against Washington who has struggled against the pass.
Tyler Eifert – CIN vs PIT – $6,400: Eifert has double digit FanDuel points in six of his last nine games, however, he has been dealing with injuries so he has not had much opportunity to gel with new quarterback A.J. McCarron, though they did look good together last week combining for 51 yards and a
Nick Novak – HOU vs KC – $4,600: If you need a discount option, then I like Novak who is at home this weekend in Houston’s NRG Stadium which does have a retractable roof.
Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)
The two options that are the most appealing are the Houston Texans – $4,600 who will be hosting the Kansas City Chiefs and their deafens has been amazing the last three week allowing just 22 points while accumulating 12 sacks, 4 interceptions, 6 fumbles and scoring two touchdowns. Opposing quarterback Alex Smith usually does a good job managing the game and avoiding turnovers and sacks, however, the playoff stage is an entirely different kind of pressure. The other choice is of course the Seattle Seahawks – $5,100 who have already had one good game in Minnesota and they have been one of the best defenses for a fourth straight season by most metrics.