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DraftKings NFL Wild Card Sunday DFS Lineup Advice (1/16)

Jan 15, 2022
Tom Brady

Turn around. Yes, that is the NFL and Fantasy Football regular season back there. After a tumultuous and interesting fantasy season, few things that can satisfy the continued fantasy craving quite like DFS. Smaller fields of games get equalized by an influx of players who are looking to scratch that itch, keeping the slates competitive while still offering plenty of chances to cash out big.

Sunday’s Wild Card set kicks off with the Philadelphia Eagles flying south to face the Buccanneers. Followed by the 49ers dueling the Cowboys. Lastly, the Steelers saunter into Arrowhead to face the Chiefs. It’s a three-game slate that offers a lot of potential without the comfortability of spacious amounts of margins for error. Let’s get into it.

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Cash Game Targets

Tom Brady (QB – TB) $7,200
Let’s start right at the top of the points per game food chain. Tom Brady is a solid, foundational piece to build with for this slate. He leads the position in DK points per game with a 24.5 average. Despite offering little to no value with his legs, Brady continues to put up regular solid performances. Coupled with his playoff mode killer instinct, he offers both a safe floor and high ceiling.

Brady averages 25.9 points in home games versus 20.7 when on the road. His home-to-road TD splits are 3.1 to 2.0. Brady finished the regular season with a league-leading 43 passing touchdowns. Hosting an Eagles defense that has been middle of the road in points allowed to the position sets up for Brady to have another high-scoring affair in a game the Bucs are projected to win handily.

Najee Harris (RB – PIT) $6,600
If volume is king, crown Najee Harris the fairest back in the land. The Steelers’ shell of an offensive line may have kept him from having a gaudy final stat-line for his rookie campaign, but not for lack of volume. Harris finished with the second-most rush attempts (307) and tied Austin Ekeler for the most targets (94) among the running back position this season. It resulted in 1,200 rushing yards, 467 receiving yards, and ten total touchdowns.

The Chiefs defense was right in the middle of the pack defending the run this season. In their last meeting, Harris totaled 110 scrimmage yards but failed to hit paydirt. Expect Harris to be involved early, often, and have some goal-line work in this contest. Sitting at the top of the running back salary column, he remains the most trustworthy based on volume making him an ideal cash game target.

Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) $7,900
When it comes to Deebo Samuel‘s success this season, it’s not just his talent that led him to a WR2 overall finish. It is the usage. Give an electric play-maker the ball and let him dazzle off into the big-play land. Struggling to pass the ball? No problem, let Deebo take some carries. Run game struggling against stacked fronts? No worries. Short screen to Deebo and let him showcase his yards-after-the-catch skills. Samuel finished with more rushing touchdowns (8) than receiving touchdowns (6) and still finished with over 1,400 yards through the air.

Giving credit where it is due, the Cowboys’ defense has played above expectation this season. However, the versatility that Samuel represents is difficult, if not impossible to plan for and he gets flipped all over the formation. Of the top 12 receivers in fantasy scoring, Deebo had the highest yard-per-reception average of 18.2. Head coach Kyle Shanahan will find creative ways to get Samuel the ball and DFS players that include him in their cash games should reap those benefits in their lineups.

Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB) $6,400
I’m not going to mince words here, Rob Gronkowski is going to be in winning lineups. Period. There are a few reasons for this declarative proclamation. First, he has played like vintage Gronk all season, when healthy, of course. He finished the season as the TE5 despite missing five games. Only Gronk and Dallas Goedert finished with 800 or more receiving yards on less than 94 targets.

Secondly, the Philadelphia Eagles defend the tight end position like Shaq shoots free throws. Hysterically bad. Here’s a shortlist of tight ends who have scored touchdowns against the Eagles this season. Jody Fortson, Tommy Tremble, Stephen Anderson, Chris Mayarick, and Ryan Griffin. Raise your hand if you knew everyone on that list. Exactly.

Thirdly, the Bucs are missing some weapons. Chris Godwin is done for the season. Antonio Brown did…well…some Antonio Brown kind of things. Breshad Perriman being healthy is just a pre-injured condition. The ball has to go somewhere, as they say, and somewhere is located near Gronk-land.

Lastly, Gronk smash.

GPP Targets

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL) $6,700
If I am being honest, this game could end with the 49ers upsetting the Cowboys. There are enough weapons on the 49ers to keep running a score and the defense has played well enough to warrant a challenge for the Cowboys.

Dak Prescott has had some ups and downs this season in terms of fantasy production creating an air of volatility that renders fantasy players a little hesitant to roster him in tournaments. This is not the game for hesitance. Prescott is a competitor and this game offers enough of a challenge to reasonably expect him to have to be aggressive throwing the football. The 49ers bottle up the run, allowing the 10th-fewest points to the position. This leaves Prescott in heave-it mode.

Here are the facts, Prescott has five games this season of one passing touchdown or less. He has thrown for two or more touchdown passes 11 times this season. He is averaging 278 passing yards per contest. After three straight weeks of under 12.5 DK points, Prescotts followed up with three straight performances of 24 DK points or more, over 30 in two of the three. With an evenly matched rival, pieces of this game should be sprinkled throughout lineups, but Prescott will be leading the charge.

Darrel Williams (RB – KC) $5,200
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out, Darrel Williams has another opportunity to provide good ROI in some GPP contests. When given the volume, Williams has produced for fantasy. He has finished with double-digit DK points in nine contests this season and is facing a Steelers defense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. Honestly, when Williams has been the lead dog, he’s been getting the workload that Edwards-Helaire managers were craving all season long and to add some insult to injury, producing with it.

Here are the ingredients; a modest salary, an explosive offense led by a great quarterback, a cupcake matchup, and playoff experience. Sign me up.

Cedrick Wilson Jr. (WR – DAL) $4,300
Since the season-ending injury to Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson Jr. has returned to fantasy relevance with a few exclamation points. Over the last two games, Wilson has 50.64 DK points on six targets per game. In a game where Prescott is expected to be slinging the football, Wilson is the sneakier name to slide into lineups with an expected lower roster percentage.

At $4300, the risk is minimal compared to the potential scoring ceiling. While he may not rack up high yardage totals, the target volume helps in PPR formats and a score blows his ROI up. Defensive attention will be primarily focused on Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. For multi-lineup users, Wilson needs to be sprinkled in as a low-cost flier.

Cameron Brate (TE – TB) $2,800
This is the long-shot call for players looking to punt the position. Cameron Brate offers touchdown appeal in the most attractive game for tight ends and frees up cash to spend on other positions. There is not a boat-load of stats to throw out here, aside from the random tight ends that have hit pay-dirt against this offense. That is enough to make him a viable dart-throw option in larger field tournaments.

This one is risky for single entry contests but much more attractive for multi-lineup players.

Value Plays

Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) $6,100
Jalen Hurts sat out last week, allowing Gardner Minshew to get some reps under center. However, he has logged full participation in practice reports this week and seems likely to suit up in their tilt with the Bucs. Hurts offers the coveted rushing floor that keeps his value above his risk line. Yes, he only has 16 passing touchdowns this season, but he also added 10 more on the ground, two of which came in a game against these same Bucs back in week six. Hurts is a competitor. While it remains unlikely they walk out of Tampa with a win, he won’t go quietly.

Hurts is averaging 21.9 DK points per game and scored 26.0 in their last tilt and is likely on the lower end of the rostered spectrum for this slate.

Tony Pollard (RB – DAL) $5,300
The matchup with the 49ers front is admittedly somewhat daunting. The sparkle at the end of the tunnel is how smart the Cowboys played their cards and handled Tony Pollard to close out the regular season. Trying to heal through a torn fascia in his left foot, the ‘Boys reduced Pollard’s workload before allowing him to rest through week 18.

Heading into a Wild Card matchup, it appears to be all systems go for the more explosive back in this offense. First carry belongs to Ezekiel Elliot but Pollard has a role and the juice to exploit what holes he can find.

He finished the regular season with six games of double-digit DK points and seemingly found ways to excel when Zeke struggled. If he gets the hot hand, watch out.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) $5,200
Brandon Aiyuk‘s redraft and dynasty managers experienced every possible emotion that can be caused by football players. From anger to disappointment, from hope to happy, and finally a sense of peace as his role developed over the season.

The value does not fully show up in just perusing his seasonal stats. The value is in the trend. He is averaging six targets per game over the last five weeks and hit double-digit DK points in four of those five.

Let Dallas try to bracket cover Deebo or George Kittle and Aiyuk becomes the open hitman. While not as versatile as his counterpart, all three top receiving options in this offense have one very important thing in common; YAC ability.

Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT) $4,200
There are those who believe the Steelers have no business in a Wild Card game. Largely because they don’t. But that is completely irrelevant because here they are. There are some great options at tight end on this slate. Rookie Pat Freiermuth belongs in this conversation from a volume to salary ratio. Over the last eight games, he is averaging 5.8 targets and has three touchdowns and a two-point conversion grab. The talented big man has grown into this offense steadily throughout the season and finished with seven touchdowns on the season.

He will be on the lower side of roster percentage and represents a good red zone option for Big Ben’s final hurrah.

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John Hesterman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from John, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @John_Hesterman.

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