Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
When writing DFS fantasy football articles, we use DraftKings’ values. For the wild card round of the playoffs, I set 9 line-ups.
Best Value: Alex Smith ($6,300)
Smith is the QB4 on the season, but is priced as the 4th highest this week; Cam Newton is the only quarterback playing this week that had more fantasy points this week. In Weeks 15-16, Smith threw 48-78 (61%) for 535 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Smith has only thrown 2 interceptions total since Week 12. Don’t forget that Smith is playing a Titans team that limped into the playoffs and allowed 4 passing touchdowns to Goff in Week 16. I have Smith in 4 line-ups this week.
High Upside: Tyrod Taylor ($4,700)
Tyrod makes an excellent tournament play this week, at just $4,700 he’s the cheapest quarterback on the week. He may be playing the Jaguar but since Week 15, he’s thrown for 709 yards, rushed for 93 yards, has 3 total touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Tyrod, in fact, has only thrown 4 interceptions all season. He’s leading a team with huge momentum, and if McCoy sits Tyrod will get more scoring opportunities. I have Tyrod in 2 tournament line-ups.
Safe Play: Jared Goff ($6,700)
Goff is the most expensive quarterback option this week for a reason. Since Week 12, he’s thrown for 239 yards, 2.4 touchdowns, and .6 interceptions a game. The Rams are likely to engage in a shootout and if Goff looks anything like he did in Week 16, he’s going to be a difference maker. In head to head or double up games, you should feel good playing Goff. I have him in 2 line-ups this week.
Worst Value: Drew Brees ($6,400)
Brees is the third most expensive quarterback this week. Contrary to popular belief, Brees has little upside. He’s thrown for more than 300 yards just 3 times this season, and hasn’t done so since Week 11. He has just 1 game with more than 2 touchdowns this season, and has thrown for just one touchdown in his last two games, and in 4 of his last 6 games. Kamara and Ingram are nabbing all the touchdowns, leaving Brees as a trap for fantasy players living in the past. I have 0 shares of Brees this week.
Best Value: Leonard Fournette ($7,400)
I’m all in on Fournette this week; he’s the 4th highest priced running back but is playing the defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The Bills have allowed 112 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards, and 1.2 touchdowns per game to opposing running backs this season. Fournette is RB8 on the season, despite missing 3 games. Fournette is a high volume back, and that can expand greatly if the Jaguars jump to an early lead against the underdog Bills. I have Fournette in 8 of my 9 line-ups this week.
High Upside: Derrick Henry ($6,000)
Henry has great value this week. The reason he’s cheap is because he averaged just 1.8 yards/carry in Week 17. Henry, however, was facing the toughest run defense in the league (Jacksonville) and got 28 carries. Henry also broke off yet another huge play; a 66-yard receiving touchdown; which gave him 117 total yards. There’s no real value cheaper than Henry, so if you’re looking to save money at this position, he’s your choice. I have 3 shares of Henry this week.
Safe Play: Todd Gurley II ($9,700)
I get it, Henry costs a lot of money. I also don’t care; he’s too good to not play. In his last three games, Gurley has 366 rushing yards, 225 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns on 56 carries and 16 targets. I don’t feel it necessary to expand more on why you should play the should-be MVP, there are enough cheap, upside plays to offset Gurley this week. I managed to work Gurley into 8 of my line-ups; this man is worth paying up for.
Worst Value: Mark Ingram ($6,900)
Ingram is very touchdown dependent, and there are a lot of other weapons that can take those touchdowns from him. Since Week 14, Ingram is averaging just 50 rushing yards, and 40 receiving yards per game. I’m willing to pay-up for running backs this week, but if you’re going to pass on Gurley, Kamara, Hunt, and Fournette; you should bypass Ingram at $6,900 and drop right to Freeman at $6,300.
Best Value: Albert Wilson ($3,300)
At $3,300 Wilson is an absolute steal. He has 19 targets over the last 2 weeks, and has caught 13 of those (68%). In those games, Wilson has 183 yards; making him the clear WR2 for the Chiefs. This week, I suggest saving money at the wide receiver position, in order to pay-up for running backs Wilson is the best way to do this; I have him in 5 line-ups this week.
High Upside: Brenton Bersin ($3,000)
If you’ve never heard of Bersin, don’t worry; you’re in the majority. Bersin has emerged as the WR2 in Carolina with Byrd falling to injury and Shepard being phased out. Bersin has caught 5 of his 8 targets since week 16, and is averaging 40 yards a game. That alone makes him worth the minimum cost, but if he gets a touchdown in what could be a high scoring game, he’s a huge upside play in tournaments. I have Bersin in 4 line-ups.
Safe Play: Tyreek Hill ($6,800)
If you’re going to pay up at wideout, I wouldn’t go much past Hill. He’s got a safe floor; with at least 75 yards in each of his last 4 games. Hill also has 3 touchdowns and 2 games over 100 yards in that span, including a 185-yard game in Week 13 against the Jets. With a week off and a beat-up opponent, Hill has the chance to be a difference maker in your line-up this week. Even though I’m not really paying up for wide receivers this week, I snuck Hill into 3 line-ups.
Worst Value: Michael Thomas ($7,800)
Thomas is the second most expensive wideout this week, just $200 cheaper than Julio. Thomas hasn’t seen the end zone since Week 15. Thomas also has no eclipsed 100 yards since Week 14. There are too many other options in the New Orleans offense to pay-up for Thomas this week. I bought zero shares.
Best Value: Charles Clay ($4,000)
The tight end position is tough this week, but Clay makes for a solid cheap play. Clay has at least 8 targets in his last three games. Clay has translated those targets into 56 yards/game. With Shady potentially out this week, Clay becomes a much more relevant red zone target for Tyrod. I have 6 shares of Clay this week, which is risky but if he connects with Tyrod for one score, it’ll pay off big.
High Upside: Austin Hooper ($2,700)
Listen, I get it; you don’t want to play Hooper and frankly neither do I. Hooper, however, is cheap and he has at least 2 targets in every game since Week 8, and has 3 targets in both of his last two games. At such a cheap price, it’s worth playing Hooper; if Ryan finds him in the end zone just once, he’ll pay off big time. I have 2 shares of Hooper this week.
Safe Play: Travis Kelce ($7,100)
In his last 4 games played, Kelce has 35 targets, 261 yards, and 3 touchdowns. This makes Kelce awfully tempting, however, he’s $2,100 more than the next most expensive tight end. In a week where I’m suggesting you pay up at running back, there’s not much money left to drop it on the top tight end. I did manage to squeeze Kelce into one line-up, though, because I expect him to connect with Smith for at least one touchdown this week.
Worst Value: Greg Olsen ($5,000)
Greg. Olsen. Is. Not. A. Good. Fantasy. Option. This. Season. I say it every week but he’s not smart play. Since coming back from injury, he’s totaled more than 27 receiving yards just once and has caught just 48% of his passes. In Week 17, Olsen caught just 1 of his 9 targets. Unless you feel like throwing away money this week, avoid Olsen.