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DraftKings NFL Value Plays: Wild Card Sunday Slate (1/10)

by Isaiah Sirois | @is_sirois | Featured Writer
Jan 7, 2021

The playoffs are here! That means it’s fine for high-pressure football, weekend-long action, and, unfortunately, smaller DFS slates. Oh well, I suppose you can’t have it all.

If you want to fire up some studs in your DFS lineups, you’ll have to find cheaper options somewhere who can return value. By “value,” I mean a player who offers some upside but won’t bust for zero points. To hit value, a player should get between three to four times their salary in fantasy points. I’ll look at quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers under $6K, and at tight ends under $4.5K.

Check back next week for another slate of picks — and for my results from the week before!

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Last Week’s Picks

Quarterback
Mason Rudolph (PIT): 22.7 points (5.28x)

Running Back
Nyheim Hines (IND): 12.7 points (2.59x)
Malcolm Brown (LAR): 2.8 points (0.65x)

Wide Receivers
Sterling Shepard (NYG): 36.6 points (7.03x)
Kendrick Bourne (SF): 12.6 points (2.93x)

Tight Ends
Eric Ebron (PIT): 0 points (0x) — Declared out before the game.

Nice! Week 17 went pretty well, as all but one of my active picks hit value or came very close to doing so. Shepard had slate-winning upside, and Rudolph turned out to be an absolute steal at his low-end pricing. With the playoffs now underway, let’s see if I can keep this momentum rolling!

This Week’s Value Plays: Sunday Slate 

Quarterback

Mitch Trubisky (CHI): $5,300 at NO
Only three starting quarterbacks qualify as value plays this week: Drew Brees ($5,700), Baker Mayfield ($5,400), and Trubisky. Of those three, I like Chicago’s signal-caller the most. Unlike Brees, his fantasy success doesn’t hinge on his receivers’ ability to turn short-yardage throws into long gains. Unlike Mayfield, his head coach and a key member of his offensive line aren’t currently unavailable due to COVID-19. More importantly, the Bears actually played pretty well against the Saints earlier this year, as Nick Foles scored 17.9 DK points against them in Week 8 in an overtime loss. While the Saints will probably beat the Bears again, garbage-time heroics should be enough for Trubisky to hit value. It helps that he’s averaging 16.4 DraftKings points per game (DKPPG), too, which is above his value threshold at this price (15.9).

Running Back

James Conner (PIT): $5,000 vs. CLE
The running back market is quite top-heavy this Sunday. Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, David Montgomery, Nick Chubb, and J.K. Dobbins are priced way out of value range. The only starter in the value play range is James Conner, and he earns a spot on this list by default. Conner was solid, if unspectacular, in his two games against the Browns, as he scored 20.2 and 11.2 DraftKings points against them. He has hit value relative to this price point in six of his 13 games. That makes him a solid option here, especially if Pittsburgh can get out ahead of a depleted Browns squad and run out the clock.

Gus Edwards (BAL): $4,400 at TEN
As for the non-starters at running back, Edwards makes a lot of sense as a value play. Of course, he only scored 0.6 DK points against the Titans earlier in the year, but I’m optimistic about him nonetheless. Edwards leads the Ravens in rushing attempts inside the five-yard line (9), and while J.K. Dobbins has out-produced him on fewer red-zone carries, you get what you pay for in this price range. Edwards is a low-end, touchdown-or-bust punt play who could easily disappoint you on Sunday, but if you need to use him to fit everyone else on your roster, he has more upside than running backs at similar price points.

Wide Receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT): $5,500 vs. CLE
Smith-Schuster posted an impressive 18.5 DK points against the Browns last week. While he busted against Cleveland back in Week 6, that was with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger under center; Big Ben’s depleted arm strength has led him to target shorter-yardage weapons like Smith-Schuster as the year has progressed. The fourth-year wideout has averaged 16 DKPPG over his last four games, and he’s a safe bet to hit value — if he suits up.

NOTE: Smith-Schuster failed to practice on Thursday with a knee injury, and if he can’t play on Sunday, I would roll with James Washington ($3,000) instead.

Darnell Mooney (CHI): $3,900 at NO
I have featured Mooney in this column frequently. He appeared in Week 9, Week 15, and Week 16, and he hit value (or came within 1x of value) each time. The speedy playmaker is here again this week because New Orleans’ strong rushing defense — and the likely game script — will lead to plenty of opportunities for him. He just posted career-highs in targets (13) and receptions (11) last week en route to 20.3 DK points. He’s averaging 12 DKPPG over his last six games, which is more than enough for him to hit value. Unfortunately, he left last week’s game with an ankle injury, so you should monitor his status as Sunday approaches.

NOTE: Mooney failed to practice on Thursday with an ankle injury, and if he can’t play on Sunday, I would roll with Anthony Miller ($3,300) instead.

Tight End

Jonnu Smith (TEN): $3,200 vs. BAL
Smith has had an up-and-down fantasy season. He started the year by averaging 17.5 DKPPG over his first four appearances, but he’s since cooled off for a 9.3 DKPPG average after six games with 4.9 DK points or fewer. Fortunately, he didn’t bust in his prior game against the Ravens, as he caught four passes for 20 yards and a score. Smith boasts a team-high share of targets inside the 20-yard line (26.6%) and the 10-yard line (29%), and he is a fantastic touchdown-or-bust punt play at tight end.

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.

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