Wild Card Weekend and what to do? Arguably, three of the four games on tap belong on an “Undesirables” poster. Do you need a way to spice up an otherwise unwatchable Houston/Oakland game? Solution! Play daily fantasy! Whether you are a first-time, small-stakes player or an experienced high-roller, you will find a contest to suit your needs.
Heading into the weekend, Oakland, Houston, and Miami are all starting QBs whom they would rather see on the bench. With the dearth of talent at quarterback, offense will be at a premium, and you can bet tickets will be filled with Pittsburgh Steelers as they look to have drawn the match-up of the week.
Daily fantasy players will pay dearly for the likes of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, forcing them to sacrifice elsewhere on the roster.
Is that the best play, nonetheless? Time will tell, definitively, but here’s how I’m setting my DraftKings lineup for Wild Card Weekend. (Point per reception scoring is in effect. Lineups consist of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST. You have $50,000 to spend on those nine roster spots.)
Daily Fantasy Lineup
Pos Player/Team Opponent Salary
QB – E. Manning/NYG @GB $6,100
RB1 – L. Bell/PIT MIA $10,300
RB2 – L. Miller/HOU OAK $6,100
WR1 – G. Tate/DET @SEA $6,300
WR2 – D. Adams/GB NYG$5,600
WR3 – A. Boldin/DET @SEA $4,000
TE – J. Cook/GB NYG$3,600
Flex – L. Murray/OAK @HOU $5,000
DST – Oakland Raiders $3,000
Deciding I’d rather bet with Le’Veon Bell then against him was a relatively easy choice for me this week. His matchup against Miami is great; the Steelers are also at home, which is also great. But the real reason I can’t get away from Bell is the fact that, with David Johnson watching from home and Ezekiel Elliott getting ready for the Divisional Round, there is no one that comes close to Bell on a points-per-game basis, not even teammate Antonio Brown. Sure, I’m spending a fifth of my salary on one player, but with the 30th-ranked Miami run defense coming to town, I like my odds.
Following a fantasy season which saw running backs steal back some recently lost fantasy value, I decided to ride the wave. Lamar Miller’s Texans and Latavius Murray’s Raiders go head to head in Houston. With both teams’ preferred quarterbacks injured, we should see plenty of ground-and-pound playoff football. After getting a couple maintenance weeks down the stretch, Miller returns fresh and ready to go. He piled up seven 20-plus carry games this year and should find some room against a weak Oakland run defense. Murray should be fresh as well after just five carries in Week 17. Jack Del Rio stated Murray (12 TDs in the regular season) will see the ball more this week. The price was right as a flex option in my running back-heavy lineup.
After selecting the backs to build my team around, I turned my attention to fantasy’s highest-scoring position, quarterback. Eli Manning offers good value against a Packer defense ranked 30th against the pass. Green Bay has allowed opposing QBs to post at least 347 yards through the air over the last three games. Eli is not on fire, by any stretch of the imagination, but he has proven to be a clutch performer in the past and, oh yeah, he has some guy named Odell Beckham Jr. catching his passes.
With over half my budget gone but the core of my roster set, I headed to wide receivers, looking for moderate-cost, high-upside players. I love Golden Tate against a reeling Seahawk defense that’s sorely missing leader Earl Thomas. Though Tate can get deep, it’s his potential usage that sells me. Since teammate Theo Riddick went down in Week 13, Tate has had no fewer than six catches for 58 yards. That’s a floor I will gladly take.
Davante Adams has a tough matchup against one of the league’s best group of corners. His price tag makes him to hard to pass up when considering his potential upside (four 100-yard games, 12 TD’s) in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense.
Knowing I had to go cheap with my third wide receiver, Anquan Boldin stuck out like a sore thumb – in a good way. I hate grabbing two Lions receivers against the Seahawk defense, but Boldin has been here before; he knows what it takes to win in the playoffs; he is tough as nails; he’s one of Matt Stafford’s favorite red zone targets (eight TDs); and he’s played his best late in the year, averaging 4.5 catches over Detroit’s last seven games.
I couldn’t afford a tight end I liked, so Jared Cook was my pick. The position offers minimal upside as a whole. Going with Cook, who has 13 catches for 178 yards over his last three games, isn’t as bad as it originally feels. I promise.
Most of us know investing too much in a DST is a bad strategy. The unpredictability of DST scoring is rivaled only by kickers. (Thankfully, DraftKing gets rid of them.) Since I only had $3,000 left to spend, taking a Raiders team featuring Khalil Mack rushing an interception-prone Brock Osweiler was the obvious play.
Like most, I will be entering multiple contests, but if I could only play one roster, this would be it. Bank on Bell and pray for volume with your low-cost fill ins.
Enjoy Wild Card Weekend! See you for the Divisional Round.