NFL Wild Card Week DFS Contests and Best Player Picks

Image credit:
Giovanni Arteaga

Well, the last week of full game slates is behind us as we enter the 2016-17 NFL playoffs. We will be limited to smaller Sunday slates from here on out, but that does not mean the daily fantasy season has come to an end. The big daily fantasy sites will continue to host big guaranteed contests all the way through to the bitter end.

Things will be a bit different from here on out, though. This weekend, for example, we will only have four games on the slate with a much smaller pool of players from which to draft our lineups. This will make it more difficult to find solid contrarian plays, but at least it should make it easier to do research and get the full scoop on every viable player.

Let’s start today with a brief overview of the biggest GPPs of the week at FanDuel and DraftKings and then continue below with some early analysis of the best plays at each position.

Biggest NFL Wild Card Round DFS Contests

The smaller selection of games this week has done little to change the basic setup of this week’s biggest guaranteed prize pool contests at FanDuel and DraftKings. There will be fewer entries and reduced prize pools this week, but there is still a significant amount of money to be had. You will also find the usual assortment of cash games (heads-up and double-up or 50/50s).

Remember: The weekend slate begins on Saturday this week, not Sunday. Make sure you get your lineups finalized and tournaments entered before the games kick off on Saturday afternoon.

FanDuel: $800K NFL Playoff Special

  • Entry: $25
  • First Place: $150,000
  • Total Entries: 37,647
  • Places Paid: 4,752
  • Enter Now:

FanDuel: $500K NFL Rush

  • Entry: $5
  • First Place: $50,000
  • Total Entries: 117,647
  • Places Paid: 23,950
  • Enter Now:

FanDuel: $350K NFL Monster

  • Entry: $300
  • First Place: $50,000
  • Total Entries: 1,303
  • Places Paid: 261
  • Enter Now:

FanDuel: $200K NFL Snap

  • Entry: $2
  • First Place: $20,000
  • Total Entries: 117,647
  • Places Paid: 23,010
  • Enter Now:

DraftKings: $2M Quarter Millionaire

  • Entry: $27
  • First Place: $250,000
  • Total Entries: 85.6K
  • Places Paid: 23,435
  • Enter Now:

DraftKings: $1.1M Wildcat

  • Entry: $333
  • First Place: $150,000
  • Total Entries: 3,670
  • Places Paid: 900
  • Enter Now:

DraftKings: $350K Thunderdome

  • Entry: $5,300
  • First Place: $100,000
  • Total Entries: 70
  • Places Paid: 14
  • Enter Now:

DraftKings: Casual NFL Flea Flicker

Note: This contest is for casual players only; players with experience badges are not accepted.

  • Entry: $5
  • First Place: $10,000
  • Total Entries: 47K
  • Places Paid: 12,670
  • Enter Now:

Player Picks in Each Position for the Wild Card Slate

The good news this week is that your job of researching players for each position will be made easier as there are way fewer viable players to consider for each position in your lineup; your lineup building will be a simpler process. The bad news is your opponents will also have an easier time constructing their own lineups.

There are still enough possible combinations between all active player this week that coming up with a unique lineup is very much a possibility. However, there will still be some active players that you absolutely should consider even if you don’t end up drafting them for your fantasy team. Today, we’ll be looking at the top players and their matchups to help you decide where to spend and where to save.

Fantasy Quarterbacks

There are not a ton of quarterback options this week. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh), Russell Wilson (Seattle), Eli Manning (New York), Matthew Stafford (Detroit), Brock Osweiler (Houston), Matt Moore (Miami) and Connor Cook (Oakland) are the likely starters for the eight teams playing this week.

There is still some question regarding the Raiders’ quarterback situation this week, so stay tuned to the news if you plan on starting one of the Raiders QBs. Having said that, I don’t see much upside to starting either Connor Cook or Matt McGloin. Choosing either one of them would be an outright gamble for the sake of taking the contrarian play.

Things could also change in the quarterback position for the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill is out with a knee injury but the Dolphins have not yet ruled him out.

Matt Moore ($6900 FanDuel / $5100 DraftKings) still looks like the likely Miami starter and he has been a fairly consistent performer over the last three games, throwing for at least 200 yards and 2 touchdowns in each (and 4 TDs in week Week 15 against the Jets). If you’re really determined to spend big elsewhere, Moore is your best bet as a cheap quarterback.

The biggest drawback here is he has a tough matchup on the road against the Steelers defense. On a positive note, the Dolphins/Steelers game has the highest projected points total of the week with the Steelers favored by 10. The Dolphins quarterback, whoever it ends up being, might be forced into a pass-heavy effort if the Steelers start to run away with the game.

Brock Osweiler ($6700 FanDuel / $5100 DraftKings) is the other cheap quarterback that you could consider as scary as that thought may be. Yes, he has had some pitiful performances this year and could very well blow up in your face.

On the other hand, he will be playing at home against an Oakland defense that does not fare well against the pass. Osweiler also played a very serviceable half-game in his last outing after taking over for Tom Savage who went out with a concussion. In that half-game, Osweiler went 21-of-40, for one touchdown, zero interceptions and another rushing touchdown. Just know that Tom Savage could still return.

Ben Roethlisberger ($8500 FanDuel / $7600 DraftKings) looks like the safest big-spend option. He’ll be playing at home in a game with the highest project points total that also favors the Steelers by a full 10 points. Everything looks good about this matchup.

The downside is your opponents will all be thinking the same thing. A high ownership percentage is guaranteed this week considering the matchup and the lack of many other options. There’s also that Week 6 Miami game in which the Dolphins held him to 189 yards and fewer than a dozen fantasy points at both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Aaron Rodgers ($8600 FanDuel / $7900 DraftKings) looked absolutely spectacular last week and has done so much to turn Green Bay’s fortunes around this season. He is also the most expensive quarterback of the slate. Against the Lions last week, Rodgers went 27-of-39 for 300 yards, 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That was the second straight game in which Rodgers has thrown for 300+ yards and 4 TDs. And speaking of interceptions, Rodgers hasn’t thrown one since Week 10.

The obvious downsides here are his pricing, popularity and a tougher matchup against the New York Giants. On the upside, this matchup fares a little better for Rodgers with cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive end Jason Pierre Paul both dealing with injuries.

Running Backs

His ownership percentage is sure to be absurd, but it would be remiss not to mention Le’Veon Bell ($10,300 at FanDuel and DraftKings). He is rested, healthy, capable of racking up 50+ fantasy points in a single game and faces a Miami squad that ranks 30th in the league in average rushing yards conceded per game.

The only reasons not to draft Bell for your team are salary reasons and to be contrarian. If he has a merely average game and you spend your money better elsewhere, you’ll find yourself in a prime spot to break through the crowd and place high in your leagues. If he has another big game and you miss out, you will be hard-pressed to make up the difference elsewhere.

One step down from Le’Veon bell is Jay Ajayi ($8300 FanDuel / $6800 DraftKings) of the Miami Dolphins. He plays a key role in Miami’s offense having logged three separate 200+ yard games so far this season. One of those 200+ yard games came against the Steelers.

You’ll want to keep an eye on any news relating to Jay Ajayi this week. He was seen going into the X-ray room after their game against the Patriots but insisted he was fine when asked about it half an hour later. The team has had nothing to say on the matter since and Ajayi says he is excited to play in his first playoff game, but still… Keep an eye on him if you have him on your lineup.

Paul Perkins ($5900 FanDuel / $4100 DraftKings) of the New York Giants has potential as a value pick in a week where value picks are hard to come by. His targets have steadily increased each week through the season to culminate in last week’s 21-touch, 102-yard game against the Washington Redskins. Perkins’ role is also expected to grow as the Giants head into the postseason.

Wide Receivers

There are some big-name, expensive options available for the wideout slot this weekend between Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jordy Nelson. Of these three, Antonio Brown ($9100 FanDuel / $9400 DraftKings) is the most attractive and the most expensive. Antonio Brown got to rest last week and will return on Sunday to a favorable matchup against Miami.

Antonio Brown also stacks nicely with Ben Roethlisberger against the Dolphins. The one area of concern is Miami’s ability to shut down the Pittsburgh passing game back in Week 6. Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell had a lot to do with that defensive effort, but he might still be out with an ankle injury come Sunday.

Doug Baldwin ($6900 FanDuel / $7000 DraftKings) of the Seattle Seahawks is another obvious choice who will probably see fairly high ownership numbers, but he does have a high upside and a favorable matchup against the Detroit Lions.

Baldwin’s production numbers were low last week, but remember the Seahawks went to resting their starters early against the 49ers last week. The previous week he was targeted 19 times for 13 receptions and 171 yards to put up 30+ points at FanDuel and 39+ points at DraftKings.

Sterling Shepard ($5100 FanDuel / $4800 DraftKings) of the new York Giants is a viable low-cost option who routinely accumulates double-digit fantasy point totals. He gets less production working behind Odell Beckham Jr., but is used often enough to make him worth considering. This is especially the case if the Green Bay Packers focus their iffy secondary on limiting Beckham Jr.

Tight Ends

The tight end slot is always a challenging one to fill even when we have a full slate of games. This week the job is made even more difficult for anyone looking to avoid the highly-owned players.

It is no surprise that Jimmy Graham ($6600 FanDuel / $5300 DraftKings) is the most expensive tight end this week considering he has more receptions than any other active tight end this week and has a favorable matchup against the Detroit Lions. We expect him to be one of the more popular picks, although a fair number of owners will skip him as they spend on the big running back and wide receivers.

C.J. Fiedorowicz ($5300 FanDuel / $4200 DraftKings) of the Houston Texans is also likely to be a popular pick, but his upside is decent with Brock Osweiler back in as Houston’s quarterback. Fiedorowicz was targeted seven times last week for 12 yards and a touchdown. If he gets more time with Osweiler at the helm, he has a shot at putting up better numbers than in his past few games. Furthermore, the Raiders are not the best against tight ends this year.