What a long strange trip it has been to get us here. 2020 was at best unpredictable and at worst, well the worst. Between positive Covid-19 tests (outbreaks in some cases) and real injuries t key players, the teams in the Wild Card hunt today have has a tumultuous 2020. They are ready to put that behind them however and go for glory. So should you. With only 5 NFL DFS Slates left for this season (counting tomorrow’s) this is where the rubber meets the road – the cream rises to the top. So let’s try and cash today ok?
I am excited to announce that Real Deal Fantasy has a new member to the team! Lee will be joining me each week next season breaking down the DFS slates … and you may even see him pop up a few times before this season ends. Give Lee a follow today @MatechLee on Twitter. And if you have been reading Real Deal DFS all season long and not following me – what’s up with that? @DelRayBoston.
I will break this slate down by position and who I like and do not like today. At the end my new partner in crime Lee is going to provide a Draft Kings lineup for you to check out. Maybe I will too..
I think everyone likes Josh Allen today, and why not. Allen is the highest projected point getter at QB today and playing at home in front of a partial Bill’s Mafia – a home game playoff game something Buffalo hasn’t seen in 20 years… you have to think that the Gunslinger will be coming out firing. The Colts Defense by the way is living off a bit of an early season rep too when you break it down. Prior to meeting the first round draft pick earning Jaguars in Week 17, the Colts were on a streak of 5 games where they gave up 350 yards or more to opposing offenses including a back to back against the Raiders and Texans where the Colts allowed 425 Total Yards. However it is Week 16 against the Steelers that stand out to me. This was the game where the Steelers came all the way back in the second half to win all while dropping 354 Total Yards on the Colts. The reason why I look at this game is that Big Ben and the Steelers Pass at a higher clip than any other team in the league. This should play into Allen’s hands nicely who only 4 Times this season attempted less than 35 passes. Allen is the most popular Quarterback but on small slates like this, ownership matters especially regarding stacking. In this case Stefon Diggs for example, which he and Allen will be the highest owned and highest projected stack on the slate. Diggs by the way is Questionable with an Oblique injury but expected to play. I am in no way say fade that Allen – Diggs stack but I think you may gain some leverage if you look at a Bill’s 3 man and include Tight End Dawson Knox or John Brown – or even Gabriel Davis. This is the first game of the 3 game slate, so I wouldn’t go much further than a 3 man as you don’t want your entire lineup in the first game, logically speaking you may miss a player going nuclear in the 3rd game for example. It should also be noted that Cole Beasley has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable so keep and eye on that. If Beasley plays he makes an excellent pivot from the uber chalky Diggs and depending on when his eligibility is announced you may be able to catch Beasley at all time low ownership.
No one is going to tell you to play Philip Rivers and I am not really going to suggest it, well kinda. Rivers is shaping up to be a pretty solid leverage play today if you are looking to go that route however. Here is why. First his running back Jonathan Taylor is the second highest owned player (behind Stefan Diggs) on the entire slate. So first leverage play Rivers represents is if you want to play the Colts passing game over the run game. This includes explosive pass catching back, Nyheim Hines. The other leverage you could get from Rivers is to stack Rivers and Diggs vs Allen and Diggs. QB ownership aside, the stack ownership on a Rivers Diggs stack is in the basement. You can also build around that stack a little easier as Rivers is a lot less expensive than Allen. Now am I worried that Philip Rivers could blow up in my face after saying this, possibly. I would assume the Bills will stick star cornerback Tre’Davious White on comeback kid TY Hilton, so I may look at secondary options more like Hines, Michael Pittman or Trey Burton or Jack Doyle for stacking with Rivers and Diggs. But I’ll also have at least one Rivers TY Stack in my lineups too. The Bill’s defensive strength has been their secondary this season so it may be tempting fate but since the Colts’ bye in Week 7, Rivers has failed to score 17 or more fantasy points only twice and as a cheap pivot play that can help you build a stronger lineup around it … works for me.
Russell Wilson – at home today and facing the #1 defense in the league … with glory on the line and an MVP nod within grasp. I do like a warm and fuzzy story don’t you? Remember the Titans after all. But here’s the thing, in week 16 the Rams limited Wilson to 225 yards and 1 touchdown. He did run for 52 yards however finishing with 19.9 Fantasy Points … but what else are you going to do with a team in the Rams ranked #2 against the Pass, #2 against QBs, #2 against the Pass and #1 against Wide Receivers? Me thinks you run the ball. But back to Wilson. He is the 3rd most popular quarterback play but what makes me so interested in him is the stack. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are literally HALF the ownership of Stefan Diggs and for the first time all season – DK Metcalf is the cheaper on on Draft Kings! Tyler Lockett finally broke out of his slump in Week 17 with a monster performance and with Jaylen Ramsey likely doing what he can to slow Metcalf down I like the Lockett-Wilson play as a contrarian stack. It isn’t to say that the Rams are a one trick pony with Ramsey by the way as Troy Hill has been a stud in the second half of the season. But I think Russ may be looking at the Hot Hand in Lockett. I also love to use David Moore as a cheap contrarian piece to Seahawks stacks. Moore is good for a Touchdown when you don’t expect it and at 1% ownership, those touchdowns can come in very handy. Additionally tight end Greg Olsen made his way back in Week 16 but on a pitch count. With 2 weeks rest we could see Olsen return to when he was averaging 5 targets a game earlier in the season. Tight End Jacob Hollister additionally is a favorite target of Russ’ when Russ needs a bail out. I think many will shy away from a Seahawks stack due to Ramsey in the secondary and Aaron Donald in the trenches. But if Russ can scramble for 50 more yards, it may be enough to keep the Rams pass rush at bay and I like Russ and his hawks as am upside Pivot from the Chalkier Bills.
Tom Brady needs to make a statement. The issue here is the Washington Football team has one of the most lethal pass rushes in the NFL led by Chase Young and Brady historically has had a lot of trouble when being hurried in the pocket. However now you have Tom Brady on a new team in the playoffs with the team he left at home on the couch. You have Tom Brady chasing history and you have Tom Brady with WEAPONS. We have not seen Tom Brady facing a wicked pass rush in the playoffs with actual WEAPONS since Randy Moss wore a Patriot jersey. I think we are on the verge of seeing Big Game Tom do it one more time and at literally 60% of the ownership of Allen, I like the play. Much like the Seahawks too, the Buccaneers receivers are at most half the ownership of Stefan Diggs and at least under 20% ownership for Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. I like ’em all. I don’t think any fantasy analyst will tell you to stack Brady with Evans, Chris Godwin and Brown but to be honest – if you happened to have done that last week you would have been happy. Seriously though, Mike Evans intends to play in this game and I have loved the Brady-Evans Stack all season long. BUT the question is will he be a decoy or only in on half his normal snaps? We don’t know. The safest I think is the Brady – Godwin stack which has the second highest projection behind Allen and Diggs. But I like Antonio Brown too who in the last quarter of the season has really come on as a favorite target for Brady in the Red Zone. If you are multi-entering I think it would be wise to stack Brady with 2 of the 3 in a few lineups. I would prioritize it as (1) Brady – Godwin – Brown, (2) Brady – Evans – Brown, (3) Brady – Evans – Godwin. However you can’t ignore Rob Gronkowski‘s connection with Brady either. The Football Team ranks 20th against Tight Ends and at under 20% ownership Gronk also makes a fine inclusion on a 3 or 4 man Bucks stack. I kinda like this game as a SHOWDOWN Tournament pick. If Evans can’t go, I’d take a flier on TE Cameron Brate or WR Scotty Miller especially if you do play a Showdown on this game – but on the main Saturday slate I think you have to play the studs.
I also want to give you additional plays that I am looking at, that I haven’t mentioned already by position. These will be quick hits as time is of the essence, but the above should be looked at as building blocks for your lineups while these picks will help round the lineup out and bring you some green!
Running Backs –
Cam Akers – the CHALK Running Back today and only $5,100 on DK. I’d expect the Rams to lean on the run with Jarod Goff potentially being limited with his finger injury. The Seahawks are 16th against running backs and that is enough for me…
Chris Carson – Carson went 16 for 69 and caught all 3 of his targets against the Rams in Week 16. The only difference between that game and this game is that Carlos Hyde is probable and it is unknown how much that will effect Carson. I mention him here as he is the 2nd highest owned Running Back behind Akers by only .5%. I am as good with playing Carson as I am fading him.
Jonathan Taylor – Has been Lights Out over the last month. Since week 13 he has 7 touchdowns and twice he has gone over 100 yards including last week’s 253 yard performance. At 35% ownership he is very chalky (which is why I like Rivers and the passing game) but the Bills rank 23rd against running backs and are allowing nearly 120 yards on the ground. In competitive games over the last month Taylor is averaging 17.5 carries per game and I’d expect that here.
Ronald Jones – If you are to believe that the Bucs are up in this game than you should believe in the volume that RoJo should see. Additionally, with a high powered offense around him the touchdown upside is always there in this backfield. At nearly 36% ownership again, he is chalky – BUT it is a slight pivot from the Rams/Seahawks guys and I’ll be honest, I like RoJo today better than Akers or Carson – but maybe that is me. Uncle Lenny will be hanging around but I think this is RoJo’s time to shine.
JD McKissic – the Tampa Bay Run Defense is no joke. We know that. However interestingly, as good as the Bucs have been between the tackles – did you know that they give up the 2nd most passing completions to running backs out of the backfield? Do you know who Alex Smith targets more than anyone else? Do I need to keep going here? He is moderately priced and going underowned in my opinion at sub 20%. I like McKissic. I should mention, it isn’t that I don’t like Antonio Gibson at all today (anything can happen and Washington is at home) I just think McKissic has more upside in this matchup.
Nyheim Hines – as much of a Pivot Play from the Chalk Jonathan Taylor as it is a game script play with that script being the Colts are playing from behind. At 15% ownership the elusive pass catching back should be in your player pool.
Cooper Kupp – just because I don’t like Jared Goff today doesn’t mean I don’t like his receivers. Kupp is back and is playing the historically worst team in the league against wide receivers. Don’t over think it. The Rams receivers are going overlooked today and I think that is an error I do not plan to mirror.
Robert Woods – see Cooper Kupp above. Rinse Wash Repeat #Analysis
Cam Sims – I think you’d expect to see Terry McLauren here and while I like Scary Terry, too I want to highlight Cam Sims for a second. Over the last 3 weeks Sims has averaged 7.5 targets per game and while he has topped out at only 63 yards, last week he should have had 2 touchdowns that Alex Smith just missed him on. If the Bucs are keying in on Scary Terry, Sims may be the outlet. He is cheap and at less than 5% ownership he is a contrarian play I do not mind playing.
Van Jefferson – I know I am talking a lot about Rams here but they are playing the Seahwak’s defense and who have we not liked against the Seahawks all season long. Jefferson stepped up last week with most Rams sitting taking 4 targets for 50 yards and it does make me wonder if he found his way into the playbook for this game. Like Sims he is cheap and no one is playing him, I don’t mind a contrarian dart throw with upside on a 3 game slate.
Zach Pascal – This is another contrarian play here and low owned and cheap, but I mention him because he is the Wide Receiver 3 in this offense and if the Bills do key in on TY Hilton it may cause Rivers to look elsewhere – to Pittman and Pascal. Again this is a contrarian play with low ownership. Not one to build from but one to finish a lineup off with.
Logan Thomas – the CHALK tight end of the day, Thomas is the most likely WFT player to catch a pass or a touchdown not named McLauren. He has seen 6 or more targets his last 3 games and had a touchdown last week. I am just as easy play Logan Thomas as I am fade him due to his ownership, but he should be a key to this offensive game plan today so I understand the attention.
Tyler Higbee – Again, Rams Pass Catchers against Seattle. Higbee has averaged 4.5 targets all season long and I don’t mind taking a flier here. Thomas, Gronk, Knox are all popular plays today and Higbee is going unowned for a player on the field nearly every snap. Don’t be surprised if Higbee gets a TD today when no one but me is playing him. Hey it could happen.
I like the Rams and Seahawks Defenses today. I think of the 3 this will be the lowest scoring games and so from a Defense standpoint, I don’t mind rotating these two in my lineups. For what its worth the Seahawks are the CHALK defense today.
The Buccaneers Defense has the best overall matchup and are the most likely optimal play here. They are projected at 25% ownership but they are also only $3,300 on DK. I’d take a shot here.
The Bill’s Defense is also going very overlooked. The Bills are at home and 25% of the Bil’s mafia will be in the house. From an emotional standpoint of the historical significance of this game for this franchise – they are in play.
The ultimate pivot is to roll with the Colts Defense and leave Stefon Diggs out of your lineup. It takes bravery and guts, but I’ll have a lineup like that. Anything can happen on any given Sunday.
And NOW my buddy Lee’s Saturday Lineup for you to review:
QB: Josh Allen
RB: Ronald Jones
RB: Jonathan Taylor
WR: John Brown
WR: Stefon Diggs
WR: Robert Woods
TE: Gerald Everett
FL: JD McKissic
I like this lineup don’t you? He is using Allen and Diggs but offsetting the chalk with John Brown. He is also using JD McKissic as an upside flex that helps to offset the chalk with RoJo and JT. Lastly he has a unique strategy attacking the Rams and Seahawks that I don’t think many will play.
Good Luck LEE and Good Luck in YOUR Contests!