Saturday DFS Strategy & Picks – Holiday Edition – 3 Games to Glory!

I took a holiday from pretty much everything yesterday minus family, food and Santa Claus. What a game for Alvin Kamara and the Saints. They needed that win almost as much as my. Daughter needed a new Barbie Dream Closet.

Today we have three games and with people’s Season Long Fantasy Championships on the line, there certainly is a lot of drama going on this weekend. So maybe you need a break from it all or perhaps your own season long fantasy dreams have gone up in smoke. Thankfully we have our old friend DFS to get us through! Today when 3 games on tap should provide some fun and fantasy points and where there is fantasy points there can be DFS Winners. So let’s see what we can do about making YOU one of those!

Arizona Cardinals – San Francisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals Favored by 5.5 points

This game has an over/under of 48.5

If this was a healthy 49ers team I could see this total pushing 60 however this is anything but a healthy 49ers team. Most recently, back up QB Nick Mullens went on IR which only adds to the woes of the gold and red. Jimmy G will not be walking on that field. Nick Bosa will not be walking on that field. Deebo Samuel … you get the picture. BUT YOU KNOW WHO WILL BE? GEORGE KITTLE IS ACTIVE!

Meanwhile you have a surging Arizona Cardinals team that need a win to keep playoff hopes alive… so I don’t Cliff Kingsbury taking his foot off the gas pedal today.

Quarterback:

Kyler Murray played like the Kyler Murray at the beginning of the Season last week. 406 Passing Yards, 3 Touchdown Passes plus 29 yards on the ground and a rushing score. Now admittedly, the 49ers Defense poses a little more threat than the banged up Eagle’s secondary, but I have little doubt that Kyler will be able to move the ball today. He will be the most popular QB play on both sites today but perhaps also the safest, so he makes for an excellent Cash Game option. I don’t mind him for tournaments too, but at close to 40% ownership and a hefty price tags I have other options I will be looking at.

One of those options believe it or not is CJ Beathard the expected starter for the Niners with Nick Mullens on IR. When he stepped in for Mullens last week he threw for 100 yards and a touchdown and I don’t hate the matchup with the Cardinals 30th in the league against QBs. With the Cards favored by over 5 Points the expectation is that the Niners will be playing catch-up which means Beathard will be throwing and at $5,000 on DK an $6,800 on FD he can really help make your lineup come together nicely. Do I expect him to break the slate – NO – but I do like the options Beathard at QB can give you. Currently right now only 4% of DFSers agree with me, so take advantage of low ownership if you got the guts.

Wide Receiver

Deandre Hopkins is the logical pick here as the Alpha and Omega on the Cardinals offense. He makes a great pairing with Kyler naturally but I also like the game stack of Beathard and Hopkins. While the Niners are Top 10 overall against the pass, they are middle of the road against Wide Receivers and a talent like Hopkins should be in line for a big performance. Hopkins will be the Chalk Wide Receiver today, so being different and game stacking with the 4% owned Beathard is a way to gain leverage on the field. I think you can also take a look at Christian Kirk who has developed into the #2 for Kyler and a real deep threat as well. With a lot of other Stud receivers on this slate, I could see Kirk being overlooked. The guys I am looking at most however outside of Hopkins is Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz may be playing for his swan song this year and was targeted in the red zone and caught a touchdown, but I also like the volume that Fitz is seeing for a Cheap Low Owned Play. Last week he saw 4 targets, but earlier in the season Fitz was averaging 6 per game and I don’t mind taking a shot there. He is only $3,400 on DK.

On the 49ers side – it should be the Brandon Aiyuk show. With Deebo sidelined, Aiyuk is has seen 16 and 13 targets over the last two weeks and has gone for 73 or more yards over the last 3. If Beathard is going to have success he will need to lean on this shifty player, who also sees some work in the run game. Aiyuk will be popular today and he could see a fair amount of Patrick Peterson but I think he is still in play. It may sound like a cop out, but I really don’t have a lot of interest in any other San Fran wide receivers. You have Richie James and Kendrick Bourne available and I am ok with taking a flyer on one or the other but I don’t know if I am building a team with more than one of them on there…I may have no exposure to either. I do have a little interest in River Carcraft however. At the minimum salary on DK he is more of a price play for me, but he should see a few targets today and he is so cheap, kinda like Beathard, I don’t mind taking the shot.

Running Back

Kenyan Drake could be in store for a very heavy workload if Chase Edmonds (Currently Questionable) can’t go. Even if Edmonds can’t go, I think Drake is in play especially if you believe the Cardinals will be playing with a lead. The 49ers have been ok against running backs but with Kyler himself running, I believe it opens up the lanes for Drake and we have seen him make use of his opportunities over the last month. There is always the threat of Kyler taking the goal line work himself, but especially if Edmonds can’t play Drake is a volume play for me. I don’t know how much interest I will have in Edmonds if he can go. As the Pass Catching back, I could see him being eased into the game as if the Cardinals can get into a lead his services may not need to be employed the way they were last week against the Eagles and the Cardinals may want to rest him as he could be very useful in the playoffs. Drake is in my player pool and if Edmonds can go, I don’t mind taking a shot with him as a flex but I won’t be very heavy on Edmonds in lineups.

On the other side of the ball it looks to be the Jeff Wilson Jr show with Raheem Mostert out. Wilson is a dynamic runner and we also know the 49ers like to run Wilson on the goal line. The Cardinals have been tough on Running Backs – top 5 against the position, so it may be tough sledding – but I think you have to take a look at Wilson again as a volume play. I could see the Niners going very run heavy in this game with the backup to the backup under center. Believe it or not though, I think the 49er Running Back to own here is Jerrick McKinnon. The 49ers like McKinnon a lot and I expect him to get solid work today as the pass catching running back. Again if you think the Cardinals go out ahead – McKinnon could be the guy on the field and he is cheap and is going very underowned, surprisingly.

Tight End

Dan Arnold has been a great DFS Tight End in the back half of the season. With 4 Touchdowns over the last 5 games and seeing 3 plus targets he is a cheap option with upside every week. But he is questionable today and if he can’t go, I think taking a shot on Max Williams isn’t a crazy idea. Kyler likes targeting his tight ends on 3rd downs and in the red zone and while not popular plays, I will have some shares of a Cardinals Tight End – either Arnold or Williams.

GEORGE KITTLE IS ACTIVE. He is potentially going to go a little underowned with the news breaking this morning. Currently projected at 20% ownership vs Darren Waller at 42%. George Kittle is also only $5,000 on DK and $6,000 on FD. Play George Kittle. #Analysis To be fair however, it isn’t 100% Green Means Go here. The Cardinals are top 5 against tight ends and you have the backup to the backup throwing to him. So could Kittle bust? For Sure. But I will be playing a lot of George Kittle.

(Here is what I wrote about the other SF Tight Ends, before the Kittle News if you are interested) Jordan Reed still plays football. He is seeing 5 targets per game and has 2 touchdowns over the last 3 games. I could easily see Beathard targeting his tight ends today so while there is risk here, I also don’t mind taking a shot on Reed or Ross Dwelley (the other 49er Tight End) as both are being targeted and if Beathard is throwing to play catchup, I think his tight ends are viable. I prefer Reed to Dwelley but like the Cardinals guys – Reed and Dwelley are cheap and no one is playing them.

Many say Defense Doesn’t Matter … I tend to agree as I usually just play the cheapest defense I don’t think will kill me and with the Backup to the Backup under center for the 49ers under center The Cardinals DST is in play for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions

Tampa Bay is favored by 4 Points

This games projected total is 54 points

Tom Brady gets to play the second worst defense against the pass and he has all of his pass catchers healthy. Good Luck Charlie. (Charlie being the Detroit Lions) Brady is the second highest owned QB on the slate behind Kyler, but it is with Good Reason. Just like the Cardinals, the Bucs are playing for the playoffs and I don’t see Brady slowing down. Without sounding like a homer for Brady, I think he is an excellent play today.

Matthew Stafford is a questionable today with a thumb injury and of course his rib injury from a week or so back. If Stafford can play, I don’t mind taking A shot but I am not going to be very heavy on him. First, the Bucs have a solid defense. They rush the passer and are stout against the run. Which means Stafford will need to be throwing and will need to be likely rolling outside the pocket a lot, I don’t see him just standing back there with a ton of time on his hands. His injuries give me pause because of this. Coupled with over the last two weeks in arguably much better matchups against the Titans and Packers, Stafford has barely cracked 15 fantasy points. I think that is injury related. So if he plays, I don’t mind taking A shot, but not multiple. If he doesn’t play, I have no interest in a Lions QB.

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones Jr will be the second highest owned WR on the slate behind Hopkins. With Kenny Golladay out Jones is seeing close to 10 targets per game and has gone for over 100 yards to 2 of his last 3 games. In both of those games he also scored a touchdown. He will be a popular run back play on a Brady Bucs receiver stack. I also don’t mind taking a shot on Danny Amendola. Amendola has not seen the volume he was earlier in the season, recently – but if the Bucs are able to key in on Jones, Stafford could lean heavy on Amendola particularly on third down. I think you can also take a shot on Qunitez Cephus. At the minimum salary on Draft Kings he makes for an interesting pivot from Jones and in a matchup with a similar tough defense recently (the Bears), Cephus had his best game of the season with 63 yards and a score. He is a pricing play, but he is in play for me.

I’m just going to say it – I like Mike Evans a lot today. He will be the 3rd highest owned of the Bucs receivers but I just like the report that Brady has built with Evans and I like the chances of Evans finding the Endzone. The most popular play of the Bucs will be Chris Godwin who against the Lion’s 28th ranked passing defense, Godwin should eat. He has been a volume target option for Brady in the past. Then there is the boy of the hour – Antonio Brown who found the last week for the first time since 2019. The Lions are terrible against wide receivers and I don’t need to spend a ton of time telling you that. Nearly 280 yards per game over the year and giving up close to 30 fantasy points to the position. Who is you favorite Buc Wide Receiver today? Mine is Evans, but if you like Godwin or Brown more – play ‘em. I think an interesting way to attack this game is to game stack one or two Bucs pass catchers with Marvin Jones and not stack with Quarterbacks. It is an upside leverage play to consider in your lineups.

Running Back

I am not planning on playing a Detroit running back against Todd Bowles stout run defense that is holding opposing running games to league high average of under 90 yards. I’m just not going there. If you believe that the Buccaneers will focus solely on stopping Stafford and that will open up some lanes for Deandre Swift, more power to you. I make a hard rule to not play a running back against the Bucs. #Analysis

Leonard Fournette however may be my favorite Running Back on the slate however. The Lions are ranked 31st against the run and are giving up nearly 140 yards per game to running backs. He will be the highest owned running back on the slate but I don’t mind eating the chalk. With Ronald Jones out last week, Fournette carried the ball 14 times and had 2 rushing TDs. He also caught 3 of 5 targets for 16 yards. I like Fournette a lot today.

Tight End

TJ Hockenson will be the second highest owned Tight End on the slate behind Darren Waller. Hockenson certainly has become a target for Stafford but after a couple costly fumbles and drops over the last 3 games we saw his target share plummet from 11 in Week 14 to 4 in Week 15. The Bucs are middle of the road against Tight Ends so I don’t mind taking a shot on Hock here, but he is far from my favorite Tight End play today.

GRONK SMASH. BRATE CATCH. Both Gronk and Cameron Brate should be in your player pool and Tom Brady loves his tight ends. Gronk makes an excellent pivot from Hockenson on the other side of this game and Cameron Brate is a sneaky play who will see targets and may even see a red zone target now and again. I actually prefer the Bucs Tight Ends more than I do Hockenson.

Defenses don’t matter, but I don’t mind taking a shot on the Buccaneers against Stafford and the Lions.

Miami Dolphins vs Las Vegas Raiders

Miami is favored by 5

This game has a projected total of 49 Points

This should be the main event of the day. Two AFC Teams not only playing for respect but also the playoffs. The Miami Dolphins are close to a playoff berth and a win here will only help to solidify their hopes of a wild card. Meanwhile the Raiders are all but eliminated with only a slim chance of making a wild card. A loss here would close that window for good this season. So both teams have a lot to play for.

Quarterback

Tua Tagovailoa has been good, recently. In fact he certainly has cemented himself as the starter in Miami. He has topped 20 Fantasy Points in 3 of his last six and has been using his legs to his advantage including 2 rushing scores last week. I like Tua’s upside in this matchup with the Raiders who rank 20th against Quarterbacks and are giving up close to 275 yards per game through the air. Especially with a must win situation I could see Big Game Tua taking over here. I think Tua is going underowned here with Brady and Kyler also on this slate, coming in around 13% and I think he could for sure be a slate breaker here in a prime time matchup against an AFC rival.

Derek Carr has been cleared to play, but Jon Gruden is not saying who is starting – Carr or Marcus Mariota. So without having a solid answer on who will start I can’t recommend either. Blame Gruden for that. I am hoping that we will have more clarity tonight so look for my take on a Raiders QB in the Showdown Article on the game. But if you are playing the all day slate, I think locking in one or the other is a fools mission without Gruden confirming who will start. I am sorry. My gut says it will be Carr but again, I would avoid Raiders QBs in the all day slate of games. We just don’t have an answer from Gruden to go off of.

Wide Receiver

Davante Parker and Jakeem Grant are in a prime position to deliver today against the Raiders 21st ranked defense. The problem is both Parker and Grant are listed as questionable. If they do not play Lynn Bowden and Mack Hollis should open up as value plays and Isiah Ford should see a continued up tick in targets. With both Parker and Grant game time decisions the strategy I may suggest is to roster one of them. The Game is late, so you will be able to late swap if need be. Or avoid a Dolphins receiver all together. Again – with no real guidance to say who will play, it is tough to give analysis. Isaiah Ford may be the safest of any of them at the time of this writing as the #3 he will see snaps and targets no matter who he is running alongside.

For the Raiders, I think Nelson Agholor will go unowned in the all day slate and will be a popular play in Showdowns. Over the last 5 games Nelson has dipped below 8 targets only once. However the Dolphins defense has been tough against Wide Receivers ranking 11th in the league. So it comes with risk to target Agholor, Henry Ruggs or Hunter Renfrow especially without knowing who is throwing to them. I will be staying away from Wide Receivers in this game in general in the all day slate.

Tight End

Mike Gesicki got practices in on Thursday and Friday but still carries a Questionable tag. If he plays he will be a sneaky start at Tight End seeing under 15% ownership and coming off back to back Monster performances against Kansas City and Cincinnati. If he doesn’t play Durham Smythe seems to be the Tight End in Miami with the most upside, seeing 5 targets from Tua last week. I don’t mind taking a flyer on Smythe. The issue is that the Raiders have been stingy against tight ends – top 10 against the position. So if Gesicki doesn’t play, I don’t have a ton of interest in Miami Tight Ends. Even if he doesn’t play I likely will only play him stacked with Tua.

Darren Waller is the highest owned tight end and at nearly 45% ownership one of the highest owned plays on the entire slate. I think Waller is the ONLY safe pass catcher in this game that you can lock in for the all day slate. The Miami Defense has been good, yes, but Waller is a special athlete and no matter who is under center you know he will get the majority of targets from the Raiders. I don’t mind Waller at all as a late game hammer in the all day slate – but I do prefer Kittle if you are paying up for Tight End.

Running Back

Josh Jacobs, along with Waller, is a safe play in regards to if he will be on the field and playing. He also is very likely to be the focal point of the Raiders offense as I believe that the offense will run through him especially early in this game. Volume alone puts Jacobs in play and we have seen even in tough matchups, Jacobs excel especially near the goal line. He is the second highest owned Running Back on the slate behind Fournette so it isn’t a sneaky play, but a safe play. He is the most expensive running back on the slate however so keep that in mind as you build your team. The Dolphins are allowing over 120 yards on the ground, so Jacobs could be in line for a big day and the volume of touches should be there.

On the other side of this game you do have a bit of a guessing game. Myles Gaskin is back and healthy and ready to go. Gaskin has been fantastic for the Dolphins in the second half of the season with double digit fantasy points in 7 of the games that he has played in. He last played in Week 13 amassing 90 yards on the ground and 51 yards through the air. He should be a smash against the Raiders who rank 28th against running backs and also are allowing over 120 yards on the ground. The issue is the layoff and if the Dolphins will ease Gaskin in – which means you could see a lot of Salvon Ahmed who had a monster performance last week running for 122 yards and a score, plus Matt Brieda who also had a good game taking 12 carries for 86 yards. Even Patrick Laird had a target last week. So the Dolphins backfield is a bit of a mess … my gut says it’s Gaskin’s show but be mindful of the committee. Gaskin makes an interesting pivot from Jacobs at half the ownership.

Again Defenses don’t matter and without a lot of knowledge on the particulars of this game… I am staying away from both sides, defensively.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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