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The Primer: Super Wild Card Edition (2022)

Jan 13, 2022
Deebo Samuel

The NFL Playoffs offer such a different viewing experience than a typical regular-season Sunday. Obviously, the matchups tend to be better across the board. But I’m talking more about watching one stand-alone game after another, as opposed to mainlining 13 games over a 6.5-hour span.

I welcome the change of pace. Regular-season NFL Sundays are wonderful, but I’m looking forward to savoring the games one at a time. Having to sit through commercials won’t even bother me.

Also, there’s more time for elaborate food prep. I’m serious. During a regular-season Sunday, there’s no time to make homemade pizzas or grill chicken wings. I’d miss too much. So I typically settle for some chips and guacamole or something similarly low-maintenance. Not this week. The playoffs demand something more elaborate.

The playoffs also demand a different sort of Primer.

A lot of you are in fantasy playoff leagues. You’ve probably drafted already. Typically, there aren’t lineup decisions to be made in those leagues, so you probably aren’t seeking start/sit advice. The main focus of this week’s Primer and every other Primer throughout the playoffs will be DFS, although the information here might also be useful for betting player props.

If you’re trying DFS for the first time, let me give you two quick definitions …

Cash games: Contests in which you try to beat half the field, whether it’s head-to-head against one other player or a game with a larger field.

GPPs: Large contests with guaranteed prize pools.

Please note that the prices listed here are for DraftKings contests. Good luck with all your playoff endeavors, and enjoy the games (and the food).

LV vs. CIN | NE vs. BUF | PHI vs. TB | SF vs. DAL | PIT vs. KC | ARI vs. LAR |

Create Optimal FanDuel lineups using our DFS Lineup Optimizer tool >>

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Date/Time: Saturday January 15, 4:30pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Bengals -5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 48.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Bengals 26.75, Raiders 21.75

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr ($5,500): The fact that Carr hasn’t thrown more than two TDs in any of his 17 starts this season forces us to acknowledge the limited ceiling we get if we choose him as our quarterback. Perhaps it could be argued that the ceiling isn’t that low because of the big yardage totals Carr has piled up in some games. He’s thrown for more than 300 yards on six different occasions this season, and in four of those games he exceeded 370 yards. The thing is, five of his 300-yard games came in the first seven weeks of the season. Carr has gone six games without a 300-yard performance, and he’s averaged 231.7 yards over that span. It could also be argued that Carr is a different QB when he has TE Darren Waller at his disposal. Going into Week 18, Carr had averaged 309.1 passing yards and 1.5 TD passes in games Waller played, 254.5 passing yards and 0.8 TD passes in games Waller missed. The good news is that Waller returned from a knee injury in Week 18. The bad news is that Carr threw for a season-low 186 yards in the Raiders’ 35-32 overtime victory against the Chargers, though he did have two TD passes – his first multiple TD game since Week 10. In the wild-card round, Carr faces a Bengals defense that held him to 215 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception in Week 11 (a game the Raiders played without Waller). Even at an affordable price, Carr is a fade.

Joe Burrow ($6,800): When the Bengals faced the Raiders in Week 11, they ran 38 times and threw 29 times in a 32-13 Cincinnati victory. The score suggests a blowout, but the Bengals only led 13-6 going into the fourth quarter before pulling away. Burrow completed 20 of 29 passes for 148 yards (his lowest yardage total of the year) with one touchdown and no interceptions. That result doesn’t necessarily portend bad numbers for Burrow in Saturday’s rematch. The Raiders have a statistically middle-of-the-pack pass defense, and Burrow has been on fire, with 971 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and no interceptions the last two weeks in wins over the Ravens and Chiefs. Burrow has gone four straight games without an interception, and the Raiders have a league-low six interceptions this season. It’s possible the Bengals go run-heavy in this game, too, but Burrow is a solid value even as the fifth most expensive QB on the board this weekend, and he’ll be in at least one of my lineups.

Running Backs

Josh Jacobs ($6,500) and Jalen Richard ($4,000): There’s a pretty reasonable case to be made for Jacobs going into your lineups, whether it’s a cash game or a GPP. The Raiders won their last four regular-season games to squeeze into the playoffs, and Jacobs played a workhorse role during that run, averaging 21 carries a game. Jacobs has elevated his weekly fantasy floor this season by playing an expanded role as a pass catcher, finishing with 54 receptions for 348 yards. The Bengals’ run defense is decent but nothing special. Cincinnati allowed the fifth fewest rushing yards in 2021, but that was largely due to opponents throwing against the Bengals 64% of the time – the third-highest rate in the league. Jacobs’ heavy workload in recent games could largely be attributed to positive game scripts during a four-game winning streak. If they fall behind by more than one score in a game where they’re five-point road underdogs, Jacobs’ odds of getting 20-plus carries fall dramatically. Still, the floor here is pretty sturdy. Jacobs is a good cash-game value, and he’s a decent GPP option, too. There’s less of a case to be made for Richard. His 30% snap share and 27 yards from scrimmage in Week 18 were both season highs. If that’s the ceiling, you can guess how unappealing the floor is.

Joe Mixon ($6,800) and Samaje Perine ($5,000): Mixon might be the best RB value on the board in DFS contests this weekend. (He’s also an appealing option in fantasy playoff leagues since he plays a workhorse role and is a strong bet to play at least two postseason games.) Mixon enjoyed a fine regular season, establishing new career highs in rushing yardage (1,205), receiving yardage (314) and touchdowns (16). He finished as the RB3 in fantasy scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game (0.5 PPR). The one knock on him for DFS was that he wasn’t catching many passes, but suddenly Mixon is seeing more action as a receiver. He had 6-70-1 receiving against the Ravens in Week 17 and 7-40-0 against the Chief in Week 18 on a combined 14 targets. Through the first 16 weeks of the season, Mixon was averaging 2.4 targets a game. With the Bengals favored by five points at home, chances are good that Mixon will get a run-friendly game script. Opponents have run the ball against Las Vegas 44% of the time, slightly above the league average of 42%. Unless something happens to Mixon, it’s unlikely that Perine with get more than 6-7 touches, so it’s hard to see any DFS appeal with him.

Wide Receivers

Hunter Renfrow ($6,000): Renfrow’s breakout season has taken some interesting turns. Over the first 11 weeks of the season, he was a high-floor, low-ceiling fantasy scorer who checked in with at least four catches and between 30 and 77 receiving yards in every game during that stretch. His production spiked in Weeks 12-14, when he rattled off three consecutive 100-yard games and averaged 11 targets and 10 receptions. Since Week 15, Renfrow has averaged 5.5 targets, 4.3 catches and 40.3 yards – a clear dip in volume – but he’s scored four touchdowns in his last three games. TE Darren Waller was back in the Las Vegas lineup last week for the first time since Week 12. Renfrow had two TD catches in the Raiders’ playoff-clinching win over the Chargers, but he was targeted only five times and had four catches for 13 yards. Waller’s return is an undeniable threat to Renfrow’s target count, and Renfrow has a tough individual matchup with Bengals slot corner Mike Hilton. I’m wary of Renfrow even at an affordable price.

Zay Jones ($4,200): Jones has been surging late in the season. Over his last five games, he’s averaged 8.4 targets, 6.0 catches and 57.8 receptions. Those numbers make him seem like a steal at only $4,200. But Jones hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1, and Darren Waller‘s return from a knee injury could spread the targets thin. The uncertain floor makes Jones a risky cash-game play, although I can understand using him in a cash game if you’re trying to pinch pennies at wide receiver. Jones is a more compelling play in GPPs, though I suspect a lot of people will jump on him, robbing him of any contrarian appeal.

Ja’Marr Chase ($7,400): Chase’s big-game potential is certainly alluring. He’s gone over 100 yards five times, which includes a 201-yard game and a 266-yard game. He’s scored 13 touchdowns and has had three multiple-TD games. Chase has 81 catches for 1,455 yards, averaging 18.0 yards per catch and an eye-popping 11.4 yards per target. Not bad for a rookie, eh? Chase has been a big-play receiver, and the Raiders have given up a lot of big plays through the air. Las Vegas has yielded a league-high 16 passing plays 40 yards or more, and they’ve given up 68 passing plays of 20 yards or more (tied for fourth most). When Chase faced the Raiders in Week 11, he had only three catches for 32 yards but did have a 6-yard TD catch. At $7,400, Chase is the third most expensive receiver on the board in DraftKings, and he’s well worth the price of admission.

Tee Higgins ($6,300): Higgins has been on a roll since Thanksgiving, with four 100-yard performances and four touchdowns over his last six games. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say Higgins has been boom or bust this season, but his target counts have been inconsistent. Higgins is averaging 7.9 targets a game, but he’s had four games with double-digit targets and four games with five targets or fewer. So it goes for a receiver who has to share the ball with Ja’Marr Chase (and Tyler Boyd, too). The Raiders allowed 19.4 fantasy points per game to wide receivers during the regular season, the fourth-lowest total in the league, and they held Higgins to a season-worst 2-15-0 game back in Week 11. I still think Higgins is a good value at $6,300, though I like him a bit more in GPPs than in cash games.

Tyler Boyd ($5,000): After scoring only two touchdowns in his first 13 games, Boyd has scored a TD in each of his last three. For the season, he’s compiled a solid 67-828-5 stat line, which is no small feat when you’re sharing targets with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. This week, Boyd will be up against fifth-round rookie Nate Hobbs, who’s been surprisingly effective this season. (Hobbs was recently arrested for DUI but is expected to play.) When the Bengals played Las Vegas in Week 11, Boyd had 6-48-0 on eight targets. He’s a money-saver at only $5,000, but the ceiling here is pretty low despite Boyd’s recent TD binge. He’s gone over 100 yards only once all season.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller ($5,700): After missing five games with a strained iliotibial band in his knee, Waller returned to action last week against the Chargers and had 2-22-0 on nine targets. It’s been a strange and disappointing season for Waller on the heels of his 1,196-yard, nine-TD campaign in 2020. He opened with 10-105-1 on 19 targets against the Ravens in Week 1, but in his other 10 games, he’s had only one touchdown and one 100-yard performance. The good news is that Waller’s most recent 100-yard game was against the Bengals in Week 11. He had 7-116-0 on eight targets against Cincinnati. The Bengals have given up 9.3 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season, the sixth-highest total in the league. Some people will view Waller’s $5,700 price tag as a value. I think it’s hard to justify paying for Waller when you can have Travis Kelce for $1,000 more or Rob Gronkowski for $700 more.

C.J. Uzomah ($3,200): Uzomah had a 5-95-2 game against the Jaguars in Week 4 and a 3-91-2 game against the Ravens in Week 7, but there was only one other game all season in which he had more than 36 receiving yards. The chances of an Uzomah splash game increase against a Las Vegas defense that’s giving up 10.3 fantasy points per game to tight ends, although Uzomah had only 2-9-0 when the Bengals played the Raiders in Week 11. If you want to take Uzomah for a spin in a GPP, fine. Leave him in the garage for cash games.

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

Date/Time: Saturday January 15, 8:15pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Bills -4
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 44 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Bills 24, Patriots 20

Quarterbacks

Mac Jones ($5,100): Jones’ numbers are modest, but he’s been a capable game manager in his first tour of the NFL. That may seem like faint praise, but Jones has been exactly what the Patriots needed this year: a steady helmsman who could move the offense and wouldn’t drown a playoff-caliber roster in a torrent of turnovers and sacks. Jones hasn’t turned in many big games, however, and it seems unlikely he’ll produce one against a top pass defense. The Bills’ pass defense ranks first in DVOA and opponent passer rating, allowing a league-low 56.0% completion percentage and 5.7 yards per pass attempt. Buffalo has yielded only 12 TD passes all season. Not even the loss of ace CB Tre’Davious White to a torn ACL has kept the Bills from making life miserable for opposing QBs. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is bound to call a conservative game in this one. In Jones’ first game against the Patriots, he attempted only three passes in a wind-swept Monday-night affair in Week 13. He completed two of them for 19 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 14-10 Patriots win. In a Week 16 rematch, Jones completed 14 of 32 passes for 145 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 33-21 loss. Don’t bother with Jones in DFS this week.

Josh Allen ($7,800): Allen is the most expensive quarterback on the board this week. That isn’t surprising when you consider that he was fantasy football’s highest-scoring quarterback this year. The question is whether to spend up for Allen when he has a tough matchup against the Patriots. New England’s pass defense is second in opponent passer rating and third in DVOA. The Pats have allowed 21 TD passes and have recorded 23 interceptions. The first time Buffalo and New England met this season, windy, inclement weather in Buffalo limited Allen to 150 passing yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for 39 yards. When the two teams squared off in New England in Week 16, Allen completed 30 of 47 passes for 314 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 64 rushing yards. The second game demonstrated that the Patriots aren’t necessarily a prohibitive matchup for Allen, but with his price so high this week, I’m pulled in other directions with my DFS lineups.

Running Backs

Damien Harris ($6,400) and Rhamondre Stevenson ($4,700): It makes sense for the Patriots to go run-heavy against a Buffalo defense that’s much better against the pass than the run. But how do we parse this backfield? Harris is the starter, and last week he outsnapped Stevenson 30-9. Things haven’t been that clear-cut over the last eight weeks, however. Harris and Stevenson split work fairly evenly in Weeks 11 and 12. Harris then injured his hamstring against the Bills in Week 13, right before New England’s bye, and missed Week 15. He was back in Week 16, a game that Stevenson missed because he was on the COVID-19 list. In Week 17, Stevenson played 40 snaps while Harris played only 16, but that was largely because the Patriots blew out the Jaguars 50-10. Stevenson has come on in the second half of the season, but Harris is likely to get a majority of snaps and carries. My best guess is that it will be about a 60/40 split in Harris’s favor. He had 10-111-1 rushing against the Bills in Week 13 before tweaking his hammy, then had 18-103-3 against the Bills in his Week 16 return. Despite his success against Buffalo, Harris isn’t an especially good value relative to, say, Joe Mixon, Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs, who are only slightly more expensive and don’t have serious in-house competition for carries. Stevenson is an interesting pivot at $4,700, but as the No. 2 man in this backfield, he’s more of a GPP flyer than a sturdy cash-game building block.

Devin Singletary ($5,700): The Bills rotated backs for most of the season but have turned their backfield over to Singletary in recent weeks. His snap shares in Buffalo’s last five games: 82%, 93%, 68%, 80%, 76%. Singletary has racked up 80-375-4 rushing and 14-110-1 receiving over those five games, making him the RB2 in half-point PPR fantasy scoring over that stretch behind only Rashaad Penny. Singletary faces a New England defense that has given up the 11th most rushing yards but has allowed only nine TD runs all year, tied with Denver for fewest in the league. Splitting work with Zach Moss in Week 13, Singletary had 10-36-0 rushing against the Patriots and wasn’t targeted in the passing game. In Week 16, Singletary had 12-39-1 rushing and 5-39-0 receiving vs. New England. The usage trend and an affordable $5,700 price tag make Singletary one of the more appealing plays at the RB position this week and a worthy selection in either cash games or GPPs.

Wide Receivers

Jakobi Meyers ($4,500): The good thing about Meyers is that his usage is predictable. He’s had eight or more targets in each of his last five games – and exactly eight targets in four of them. He’s had at least four catches in each of his last seven games, averaging 5.3 catches over that stretch. The bad thing about Meyers is that he offers virtually zero splash-play potential and very little big-game potential. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game all season, and he’s scored two touchdowns in 46 career games. Meyers also draws a tough individual matchup on Saturday against Bills slot corner Taron Johnson, who, according to PFF, has only allowed a 55% completion percentage on throws into his coverage. That’s a remarkably low number for a slot corner, and Johnson is only yielding 0.17 fantasy points per route run against him. Don’t bother with Meyers this week.

Kendrick Bourne ($4,500): Through the first 12 weeks of the 2021 season, Bourne was the WR22 in fantasy scoring (0.5 PPR) thanks to some unsustainably high efficiency numbers. In the five games since, Bourne has been the WR69, with 13-238-0 over that stretch. Not coincidentally, Bourne’s five-game dry spell includes both of the Patriots’ regular-season games against the Bills. Bourne played only 15 snaps in New England’s weird, windswept victory at Buffalo in Week 13, seeing zero targets in a game where Patriots QB Mac Jones attempted only three passes. In Week 16, Sanders had 2-33-0 against the Bills on four targets. The buy-in is low, but Bourne doesn’t offer much bang for the buck in a tough matchup.

Stefon Diggs ($7,200): The Bills and Patriots have two of the better pass defenses in the league, if not the two best, and the DraftKings pricing on some of the quarterbacks and receivers in this game doesn’t reflect it. That’s certainly the case with Diggs. Yes, he’s $600 cheaper than he was against the Jets last week, but the price reduction isn’t enough to make Diggs appealing. Over his last eight games, Diggs has averaged 59.4 receiving yards and only 6.1 yards per target. He had 4-51-0 on seven targets in his first game against the Patriots (the infamous Week 13 Wind Bowl), then 7-85-1 on 13 targets in a Week 16 rematch. Diggs is probably going to see a lot of Patriots CB J.C. Jackson, one of the league’s best cover men. I’m fading Diggs this week.

Gabriel Davis ($4,800): Playing any of the WRs in this game feels like sailing into a strong headwind, but Davis is the one receiver in this matchup who tempts me. His snap shares in Buffalo’s last four contests: 83%, 90%, 87%, 91%. Davis had 16-207-3 on 32 targets over that span. He has an average depth of target of 13.3 yards this season, he’s averaging 15.7 yards per catch, and he’s scored 13 touchdowns on 70 career catches, so there’s no denying the big-play potential here. It’s a bit risky to plug Davis into your cash-game lineups against a tough New England pass defense, but I really like him as an inexpensive GPP play.

Cole Beasley ($4,300): Beasley hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 6 and hasn’t topped 64 yards in a game since Week 8. His dwindling snap counts are another reason to stay away. Beasley’s snap share has hovered around 50% over his last three games. There are better options in the bargain bin this week.

Emmanuel Sanders ($4,000): There isn’t much of a case to be made for a receiver who hasn’t topped 27 receiving yards in a game since Week 9. Sanders scored four TDs over the first five games of the season, but he’s been a complete nonfactor over the last two months. Pass.

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry ($3,700): In Week 18, Henry tried to dispel the notion that he’s a TD-or-bust fantasy option by catching five passes for a season-high 86 yards against the Dolphins … with no touchdowns. Henry is dirt cheap for a player who’s scored nine TDs, but he’ll be facing a Bills defense that’s been murder on tight ends this season, holding them to an average of 4.7 fantasy points per game. In two games against the Bills this season, Henry has one catch for nine yards.

Dawson Knox ($4,800): Normally, this would be an attractive price point for Knox, but not against New England. No team has been stingier against tight ends than the Patriots. In two previous meetings, New England held Knox to a combined 4-25-1 on nine targets. The touchdown came on a little flip pass that was 99% Josh Allen magic. There are better values at tight end this week.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Date/Time: Sunday January 16, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Buccaneers -8.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 46 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Buccaneers 27.25, Eagles 18.75

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts ($6,100): Hurts makes his playoff debut in a road game against the Buccaneers, whom he faced back in Week 6. He didn’t fare all that well as a passer in that game, completing 12 of 26 throws for 115 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but he ran 10 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns, making him the QB5 in fantasy scoring that week. How have the Buccaneers fared against other running quarterbacks this season? Well, Buffalo’s Josh Allen rocked them for 308 passing yards, two TD passes, 109 rushing yards and a TD run in Week 14, with the Bucs prevailing 33-27 in overtime. They fared better against the Saints’ Taysom Hill in Week 15, holding him to 154 passing yards, 33 rushing yards and no touchdowns, but the Saints prevailed 9-0 in a game where the Bucs lost WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to injuries. Overall, the Buccaneers allowed the ninth most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season. Hurts finished the regular season as the QB9 in overall fantasy scoring and the QB6 in fantasy points per game. He led all quarterbacks in rushing yardage (784) and rushing touchdowns (10). He finished as a top-12 QB in fantasy scoring in 11 of his 15 games. The Eagles love to run the ball, but Hurts is a big part of that running game, and his rushing ability makes him nearly immune to negative game scripts. At $6,100, he’s one of the best values on the board at quarterback this week.

Tom Brady ($7,300): Fading Tom Brady in the playoffs seems like a terrible idea, but he enters the postseason without two of his top three wide receivers. Chris Godwin tore his ACL in Week 15, and Antonio Brown left the team midgame in Week 17 after a sideline spat. It also appears that speedy WR Cyril Grayson will be unavailable after sustaining a hamstring injury last week. But Brady still has WR Mike Evans and his TE Rob Gronkowski, and it’s not as if Brady always had an embarrassment of pass-catching riches when he was with the Patriots. Brady gets a reasonably friendly first-round matchup against the Eagles, whose pass defense ranks 25th in DVOA and 23rd in opponent passer rating. When Brady squared off against the Eagles in Week 6, he completed 34 of 42 passes for 297 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 28-22 Bucs victory. Brady isn’t necessarily a bad value, but there are better QB values on the board this week.

Running Backs

Miles Sanders ($5,100), Boston Scott ($4,500), Jordan Howard ($4,300): Sanders is back at practice this week after breaking his hand in Week 16. He’ll presumably regain his status as the lead back in an Eagles offense that has run the ball on 61% of its offensive snaps since Week 8, but Howard and Scott will be in the mix, too, and Philadelphia will be facing a Tampa Bay run defense that’s among the best in the league. The Buccaneers are giving up only 92.5 rushing yards per game and have yielded 11 TD runs. Sanders had put together two straight 100-yard rushing games before his injury, with 24-120-0 against the Jets and 18-131-0 against the Washington Football Team. But Howard missed the first of those two games, and Scott didn’t play in either. Sanders is mildly intriguing because his price is so reasonable, but the tough matchup and the uncertainty of the workload split in the Philadelphia backfield are problematic. Scott and Howard simply aren’t worth it as junior members of a backfield by committee.

Leonard Fournette ($5,900), Le’Veon Bell ($4,600), Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($4,500): Fournette is expected to return from a hamstring injury this week, and unless we hear any talk about a snap count or a curtailed workload, he’s the only member of this backfield worth considering. Fournette has been terrific this season, with 180-812-8 rushing and 69-454-2 receiving in 14 games. The setup for Fournette is pretty juicy. He’s been heavily involved as a pass catcher all season, and he’ll be needed more than ever with WRs Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown out of the picture. As Jared Smola of Draft Sharks noted on Twitter, Fournette averaged 4.9 catches a game this season, and the Eagles are giving up 6.7 catches per game to RBs, second most in the league. I like Fournette in both cash games and GPPs. The rest of the Buccaneers’ backfield is murky. Ronald Jones is doubtful with an ankle injury. Giovani Bernard might be back from knee and hip injuries. Late-season fill-ins Bell and Vaughn figure to get very little work, and possibly none if both Fournette and Bernard are fully fit.

Wide Receivers

DeVonta Smith ($5,500): The rookie finished the regular season with 64-916-5 receiving – not bad numbers when you consider how absurdly run-heavy the Eagles have been for much of the season. The shift toward extreme run-heaviness began in Week 8. Since then, Smith has averaged 5.1 targets a game and has seen more than six targets in a game only once. Smith chimes in with at least a couple of catches every week, but he hasn’t topped 80 receiving yards since Week 9, and he’s scored only one touchdown in his last seven games. The Buccaneers are allowing only 19.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers and have a pretty good pair of outside cornerbacks in Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis, so this doesn’t look like a great spot for Smith. He’s affordable, but his ceiling may be limited.

Quez Watkins ($3,900): Watkins is coming off a 5-84-1 performance in a blowout loss to the Cowboys. He scored his first touchdown of the season with less than two minutes to play, taking a short pass from Gardner Minshew and racing 36 yards for the score. Watkins finished the regular season with 43-647-1. The Eagles’ run-heavy attack gives Watkins an unstable floor, but he’s cheap. He also has the best individual matchup of any Eagles receiver this season, drawing Buccaneers slot corner Sean Murphy-Bunting, who’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Watkins is an intriguing budget play in GPPs.

Mike Evans ($6,900): It’s hard not to like Evans this week with Chris Godwin out for the season with a torn ACL and Antonio Brown released from the team. Last week, in the Buccaneers’ first full game since Brown’s bizarre midgame departure in Week 17, Evans had 6-89-2 in a 41-17 win over the Panthers. The 89 yards gave Evans his eighth straight 1,000-yard season, and the two TDs gave him 14 for the year, a new career high. Evans will be facing an Eagles defense that held him to 2-27-0 in Week 6. The Eagles allowed the third fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Philadelphia has a good trio of cornerbacks in Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox and Steven Nelson, and the Eagles will probably try to get Slay on Evans’ side of the field as much as possible. It’s not an easy matchup, but it seems a safe bet that Tom Brady will endeavor to get the ball to Evans as much as he can. Evans is a sound cash-game play.

Tyler Johnson ($4,000): Not only will the Buccaneers be without WRs Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, but they’re also likely to be without WR Cyril Grayson, who tweaked his hamstring last week. Johnson played 52 snaps last week, more than any other Buccaneers receiver. He finished with 5-22-0 on seven targets. There have been seven games this season in which Johnson has played 48 or more snaps, and he’s averaged 4.1 targets, 2.9 catches and 23.3 yards in those contests – not very impressive. He hasn’t scored a touchdown this season either. But even if Johnson hasn’t been very impactful to date, he looks like a value based on his low price and the expectation of a robust snap count. I’m going to have him in at least one of my lineups.

Breshad Perriman ($4,700): Perriman played 37 snaps last week, 15 fewer than Tyler Johnson, but was slightly more productive, finishing with 5-44-0 in a win over the Panthers. With a rash of injuries and defections at receiver, Perriman figures to play an expanded role for the Buccaneers this week. He had a big finish for the Bucs at the end of the 2019 season, with 25-506-5 over his final five games. Perriman has a career average of 16.1 yards per catch, so there’s splash-play potential here. However, he’ll be facing an Eagles defense that has allowed only 38 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season, tied for the second fewest in the league. I suppose there’s an argument to be made for taking a chance on Perriman in a GPP, but I don’t think I’ll be investing in him.

Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert ($4,500): Since the mid-October trade that sent Zach Ertz from the Eagles to the Cardinals, Goedert has been the TE6, averaging 9.6 fantasy points per game. Goedert has been on a roll of late, averaging 14.1 fantasy points a game since Week 13, with 21-339-2 over that four-game span. He’ll be facing a Buccaneers defense that’s had trouble with tight ends at times this season. The Eagles played the Buccaneers back in Week 6, but Goedert missed that game because he was on the COVID-19 list. Goedert looks like a rock-solid value this week as only the eighth most expensive tight end on the board.

Rob Gronkowski ($6,400) and Cameron Brate ($2,800): As thin as the Buccaneers have become at wide receiver, with Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown out of the picture, and with Cyril Grayson unlikely to play due to a hamstring injury, Tom Brady may be forced to lean heavily on his longtime tag-team partner. Gronk has seen 10 targets in each of his last two games, finishing with 7-115-0 against the Jets in Week 17 and 7-137-0 against the Panthers in Week 18. Gronk faces an Eagles defense that has been battered by tight ends all season, most recently giving up a pair of TD catches to the Cowboys’ Dalton Schultz in Week 18. At $6,400, Gronk isn’t cheap, but he looks like a sturdy anchor for cash-game lineups, and he has GPP appeal as well.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Date/Time: Sunday January 16, 4:30pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Cowboys -3
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 50.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Cowboys 26.75, 49ers 23.75

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,300): The three cheapest starting quarterbacks on the board this week are Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger ($5,200) and Mac Jones ($5,100). I think Jimmy G. is by far the most appealing member of that trio if you’re looking to pinch pennies at quarterback. Garoppolo missed Week 17 with a thumb injury, but he returned in Week 18 and completed 23 of 32 passes against the Rams for 316 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Jimmy G. has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his last two starts and five times this season. He’s averaging 254.0 passing yards in his starts this season, and he’s averaged 293.6 passing yards since the beginning of December. Jimmy G. faces a terrific Dallas pass defense that ranks second in DVOA and third in opponent passer rating. Dallas can apply heat with the pass rush and cover effectively on the back end. But Garoppolo has a terrific set of pass catchers with TE George Kittle and WRs Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers also have one of the best running games in the league, which should help slow down the Cowboys’ pass rush. The San Francisco offense vs. the Dallas defense should be a fascinating matchup, and I think Jimmy G. will be able to do some business against the Cowboys on Sunday. He’s averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt this season, second only to Joe Burrow. I’ll have Garoppolo in at least one cash-game lineup on Sunday and maybe in a GPP, too.

Dak Prescott ($6,400): Prescott has broken out of the mini-slump that plagued him in Weeks 13-15, a three-game stretch in which he threw as many interceptions as TD passes (three of each) and averaged just 5.7 yards per pass attempt. In the three games since, Dak has thrown 12 TD passes and zero interceptions, averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt. He opens the playoffs with a matchup against a middling 49ers pass defense that has been prone to coverage lapses. Dak no longer has the services of WR Michael Gallup, who tore his ACL, but the Cowboys still have a pair of aces in CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, and Cedrick Wilson has stepped up in Gallup’s absence. Dak offers strong value in both cash games and GPPs.

Running Backs

Elijah Mitchell ($5,500): As long as Mitchell is able to answer the bell, the 49ers are going to feed him all the carries he can handle. He missed Weeks 14-16 with a knee injury and a concussion, but Mitchell has had 21 or more carries in each of his last five starts dating back to Week 10. He’s racked up 118-494-2 rushing and 10-64-1 receiving over that span. Mitchell has topped 100 rushing yards five times in 11 games. The Dallas run defense is average, ranking 16th in DVOA and giving up 112.8 rushing yards per game. It would be nice if Mitchell caught more passes, but it’s hard to quibble with his value at a very reasonable $5,500.

Ezekiel Elliott ($6,100) and Tony Pollard ($5,300): Elliott has scored 12 touchdowns this season. I suppose the TD potential is why some people will invest in him at this price point, but I think there are 4-5 other running backs who have better outlooks and cost less. Elliott had 18-87-0 rushing against the Eagles last week, and the 87 rushing yards were the most he’s had in a game since Week 5. Zeke has averaged just 58.9 rushing yards per game this season and 45.8 rushing yards per game since Week 6. He’ll be facing a 49ers run defense that ranks second in DVOA and has allowed the seventh fewest rushing yards. I want no part of Zeke at $6,100. Nor am I especially interested in Pollard, who offers little TD potential and might get fewer than 10 touches. Elliott has averaged 75.8 yards from scrimmage per game this season. Pollard has averaged 70.4 yards from scrimmage. But Zeke has reached the end zone a dozen times, and Pollard has scored only twice.

Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel ($8,100): What an incredible weapon this guy has become. He piled up 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in the regular season, averaging 18.2 yards per catch and 6.2 yards per carry. Elusive and powerful, Deebo is a nightmare for defenders when he gets into the open field – and he manages to find the open field more often than not. The 49ers’ recent usage of Deebo has been fascinating. Over his last eight games, he’s seen more than six targets only once, averaging 5.0 targets a game over that stretch. But the 49ers really ramped up Deebo’s usage in the running game at the midpoint of the season. He had only six carries in his first eight games. In his last eight games, he’s had 53 carries, or 6.6 per game. It’s all working out swimmingly, with Deebo becoming one of the most unique offensive threats in recent memory. He’s become a luxury item in DFS contests, and it’s easy to see why. Cooper Kupp is the only wide receiver more expensive this week, and I actually think Kupp is a better value than Deebo, even though you’ll have to pay an extra $900. But there’s no way I’m going to talk you out of paying for Deebo. He can easily earn that $8,100 and then some – and he has a bunch of different ways in which he can do it.

Brandon Aiyuk ($5,400): Aiyuk has come on after a slow start to the season. He’s had 43-685-4 receiving over his last 10 games, making him the WR13 in fantasy scoring since Week 9. Over his last three games, he’s had 14-241-1. When the 49ers face the Cowboys on Sunday, Aiyuk figures to run the majority of his routes against Trevon Diggs, who has a league-high 11 interceptions but has given up more than 1,000 yards into his coverage, according to PFF’s Steve Palazzolo, the most in the league. I’m bullish on Aiyuk this week and will have him in multiple lineups.

Jauan Jennings ($3,800): Jennings had a big day against the Rams last week in a must-win game for the 49ers, with 6-94-2 on seven targets. Since Week 10, when the 49ers expanded his role, Jennings has consistently been playing about half of the Niners’ offensive snaps. His big Week 18 performance drew attention, but up until that point, his season high in receiving yardage was 46 yards. If you need to find a cheap receiver, there are better options than Jennings.

CeeDee Lamb ($6,200): Lamb is an abundantly talented young receiver capable of making us feel foolish for not grabbing him at this price, but … well, I’m not grabbing him at this price. Lamb hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 10 and hasn’t had a 100-yard day since Week 8. Just before Christmas, Amari Cooper said on a radio show that he wanted to get more targets. In the three games since Cooper went public with his frustrations, he’s seen 25 targets, and Lamb has seen only 11 targets. Maybe Lamb needs to petition for more targets, too?

Amari Cooper ($5,900): As noted above, Cooper has seen a recent spike in targets. From Week 9 to Week 15, he averaged 4.6 targets per game. After saying on a radio show that he wanted to get more targets, Cooper has averaged 8.3 targets over his last three games, racking up 15-182-2 over that stretch. Maybe the squeaky wheel really does get the grease. Cooper will probably run most of his routes against Ambry Thomas, and that’s a matchup he should win. I think Cooper is a good value at this price.

Cedrick Wilson ($4,400): Michael Gallup tore his ACL in the first half of the Cowboys’ Week 17 loss to the Cardinals, and Wilson has stepped into the breach, with 6-35-1 against the Cards in Week 17 and 5-119-2 against the Eagles in Week 18. Wilson should get a healthy snap count this week, and the price is right. He’s a good cost cutting option at the WR position.

Tight Ends

George Kittle ($6,000): From Week 13 to Week 15, Kittle had 28-425-3, making him the TE1 in fantasy scoring over that stretch by a wide margin. From Week 16 to Week 18, Kittle had 8-60-0, making him the TE34 over that stretch. Wow, what gives? Well, it’s not clear what happened to Kittle in Weeks 16-17, but in Week 18, the 49ers were without stud left tackle Trent Williams (elbow), so Kittle was needed more as a blocker than as a pass catcher. Williams wasn’t practicing as of Wednesday but says he’s going to play Sunday. If Williams plays, Kittle becomes an appealing option at $6,000. If Williams remains out, don’t use Kittle in any of your DFL lineups.

Dalton Schultz ($5,000): Schultz thrived over the first half of the season, when Cowboys WR Michael Gallup missed seven games with a calf injury, and now Gallup is out again, having torn his ACL in Week 17. In Week 18, Schultz caught three passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns – his second multiple-TD game of the season. Schutz has scored four TDs over his last four games, racking up 25 catches for 224 yards over that stretch. On Sunday, he’ll be facing a 49ers defense that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. Even with the touch matchup, Schultz still looks like a decent value at $5,000 (though I like Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz more, and they’re both $300 cheaper).

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Date/Time: Sunday January 16, 8:15pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Chiefs -12.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 46 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Chiefs 29.25, Steelers 16.75

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger ($5,200): Over his last four games, Roethlisberger has averaged 168.5 passing yards per game and 4.5 yards per pass attempt, with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s wheezing his way to the finish line. Don’t feel obligated to invest just for old time’s sake.

Patrick Mahomes ($7,400): After some uncharacteristic struggles earlier this season, Mahomes seems to have his mojo back. Over his last five starts, he’s averaged 291.0 passing yards per game and 8.1 yards per attempt, with 12 TD passes, one interception and a 70.6% completion rate. Mahomes has also averaged 26.2 rushing yards per game over that stretch. Mahomes and the Chiefs face a Steelers defense that had a league-high 55 sacks during the regular season. Kansas City was pretty good at sack prevention, however, allowing only 28 sacks, third fewest in the league. When he faced the Steelers in Week 16, Mahomes completed 23 of 30 passes for 258 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He took only two sacks in that game. At $7,400, Mahomes is the second most expensive quarterback on the board behind only Josh Allen. I think he’s a better value than Allen, though I don’t think Mahomes is necessarily a must-have in DFS this week.

Running Backs

Najee Harris ($6,600): After trampling the Browns for 118 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 17, Harris had only 28 rushing yards on 11 carries against the Ravens in Week 11. It was the fourth time in Pittsburgh’s last eight games that Harris has rushed for fewer than 40 yards. His weekly rushing totals have been all over the map, but Harris has been a steady contributor as a pass catcher. Those receiving numbers raise Harris’s floor in weeks when rushing yardage is hard to come by, and they lift his ceiling in the weeks when the Pittsburgh running game is working. Harris had 19-93-0 rushing and 5-17-0 receiving when he faced the Chiefs in Week 16. The Kansas City run defense hasn’t been particularly strong this season. The Chiefs allowed 117.6 rushing yards and 4.8 yards per carry during the regular season, and their run defense ranks 20th in DVOA. Harris is a rock-sold cash game play this week, and he’s not a bad GPP play either, though I suspect he’ll be widely rostered.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,600) and Darrel Williams ($5,500): Edwards-Helaire practiced on Wednesday and is expected to return from a shoulder injury after missing the last two games. CEH has been the Chiefs’ starter whenever he’s been healthy, and that should continue to be the case. Edwards-Helaire will probably get a majority of snaps and touches, too, as has been the case for most of the season. But Williams has been effective whenever CEH has missed time this season, and this could be close to a 50/50 split. I’d like to be able to play a Chiefs running back against the soft Pittsburgh run defense, but I’m not feeling especially confident in either Edwards-Helaire or Williams at their respective prices.

*Editor’s Note: Edwards-Helaire was declared inactive for Sunday’s game.

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson ($6,700): The Steelers have averaged 168.5 passing yards in their last four games, and Johnson has averaged just 42.8 receiving yards over that stretch. He’s seen 39 targets over those four games but has averaged just 4.4 yards per target. With the Pittsburgh passing game in such a sickly state, shelling out this much for Johnson just doesn’t make sense, especially not against a Kansas City defense with a pretty good group of cornerbacks. Johnson is likely to get a lot of face time with Chiefs CB Rashad Fenton, one of the NFL’s most underrated cover men.

Chase Claypool ($4,800): Claypool finally scored a touchdown last week, his second of the season and his first since Week 5. Over his last four games, Claypool has just 12-107-1 on 24 targets. Claypool has been a hit-or-miss proposition this year, with far more misses than hits. The Steelers’ passing game has been stuck in the muck for the last month, so I want no part of Claypool this week against the Chiefs.

Ray-Ray McCloud ($3,700): Since the start of December, McCloud has been playing about two-thirds of the Steelers’ offensive snaps. He’s seen eight or more targets in four of his last five games, but he’s had no more than 37 yards in any game over that span. The targets are nice, but targets from Ben Roethlisberger simply aren’t worth that much these days. Pass.

Tyreek Hill ($7,100): After erupting for 12-148-1 against the Chargers in Week 15, Hill has been quiet in the three games since, with 9-61-0 over that stretch. Hill bottomed out with just one catch for two yards against the Broncos in Week 18, but he sustained a heel injury in pregame warmups that limited him to just 14 snaps in that contest. Hill has been practicing this week and is expected to be full go against the Steelers. He’ll frequently be matched up against Steelers CB Arthur Maulet, and that’s a matchup Hill should be able to win. I think Hill is a decent value for the money, but $7,100 is a lot to spend on a player who may or not be fully healthy.

Mecole Hardman ($4,100): With Tyreek Hill playing only 14 snaps last week due to a heel injury, Hardman stepped up and had a season-best 8-103-0 performance on 11 targets. Hill is expected to be fine for the Chiefs’ wild-card game against the Steelers. If he’s not, then Hardman should probably go into your lineups – he’s the closest thing to a Hill clone that the Chiefs have. If Hill plays, Hardman might be an option in a GPP, where his big-play speed gives him a puncher’s chance to make a big impact at a low price.

Byron Pringle ($3,900): Pringle has been playing 60% to 70% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps most weeks, but that doesn’t mean much on a team where TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill tend to hog carries. For the season, Pringle has 42-568-5 on 60 targets. It’s intriguing production from this 28-year-old late bloomer, who’s had 14-166-2 over Kansas City’s last three games. I’m not eagerly trying to get Pringle into my lineups, but he’s one of the cheap options I’ll consider this week if I have to skimp on salary a bit at one position to make everything else fit.

Tight Ends

Pat Freiermuth ($4,200): The Steelers’ passing game has been anemic in recent weeks, which is why it’s worth shying away from Freiermuth in DFS this week. The rookie from Penn State has scored seven touchdowns this season, but he hasn’t scored one since Week 14, which was right before the Pittsburgh passing game went into the deep freeze. Freiermuth is averaging 31.1 receiving yards per game, 8.3 yards per catch and 6.3 yards per target. There’s TD potential here but not a lot of yardage upside. There are better values at tight end this week.

Travis Kelce ($6,700): Kelce has been held to 34 yards or fewer in four of his last five games. Should that be cause for alarm? Meh. The one exception to the low yardage totals over the last five games was a 191-yard eruption against the Chargers in Week 15. (Kelce missed the Chiefs’ Week 16 game against the Steelers because he was on the COVID-19 list.) Kelce has scored four touchdowns over his last three games, so no worries there. Yes, it’s an unusual yardage drought for Kelce, but it doesn’t appear to be an indication that he’s starting to slow down at age 32. I’d prefer to go cheaper at tight end this week, but as explosive as Kelce is, he’s at least worth considering at $6,700.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams

Date/Time: Monday January 17, 8:15pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Rams -3.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 49.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Rams 26.5, Cardinals 23

Quarterbacks

Kyler Murray ($7,200): Murray’s weekly fantasy finishes over the last five weeks of the regular season: QB13, QB15, QB6, QB6, QB15. Murray hasn’t been at the top of his game over the last month, and he’s about to go up against a foe that’s very familiar with his strengths On Monday night, Murray will face the Rams for the third time this season. The first time, in Week 4, he completed 24 of 32 passes for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had 6-39-0 rushing. Facing the Rams a second time, in Week 14, Murray completed 32 of 49 throws for 383 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 7-61-0 rushing. The Rams’ pass defense may not be quite as good as it’s been in recent years, but it’s still good. L.A. ranks fifth in opponent passer rating, sixth in DVOA vs. the pass. The Rams have recorded 50 sacks this season, the third highest total in the league, and they’re one of four teams with more interceptions (19) than TD passes allowed (17). Murray hasn’t been sharp, the Rams are a tough matchup, and there’s not much of a discount on the price. Thanks but no thanks.

Matthew Stafford ($6,300): The last time Stafford faced the Cardinals, he picked them apart in a 30-23 Rams win in Week 14, completing 23 of 30 passes for 287 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Earlier in the season, in Week 4, Stafford completed 26 of 41 passes against the Cardinals for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 41-26 Rams loss. In his first regular season with the Rams, Stafford finished with 41 TD passes, more than anyone except Tom Brady. Stafford has topped the 300-yard passing mark on seven different occasions this season. The Cardinals have been getting torched through the air lately, giving up three TD passes to the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson in their last regular-season game and three TD passes to the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott the week before. Stafford is a good value at $6,300 and well worth considering in cash games, where his stable floor is an asset.

Running Backs

James Conner ($6,300) and Chase Edmonds ($5,000): You’re going to have to monitor the injury situation with these two backs if you hope to use either of them. Conner injured his ribs in Week 18. Edmonds missed Week 18 with injured ribs and an injured toe. If Conner plays and Edmonds remains out, Conner will be a compelling play even against a good Rams run defense that’s giving up 103.2 rushing yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry. Ditto for Edmonds if he plays and Conner is out. If both play, I’ll consider Edmonds at the cheaper price but not Conner. When the Cardinals played the Rams in Week 14, Conner had the backfield to himself and finished with 13-31-2 rushing and 9-94-0 receiving. In Week 4, both Conner and Edmonds steamrolled the Rams. Edmonds had 12-120-0 rushing and 4-19-0 receiving, and Conner has 18-50-2 rushing and 2-16-0 receiving.

Sony Michel ($5,400) and Cam Akers ($4,200): Last week against the 49ers, Michel played 52 snaps and had 21-43-0 rushing and 1-6-0 receiving in the Rams’ 27-24 loss. Akers played 13 snaps and had 5-3-0 rushing and 3-10-0 receiving. Michel is the target here. Over his last six games, he’s averaged 21.5 carries, with no fewer than 18 carries in any game. Michael has racked up 129-540-3 rushing and 10-66-0 receiving, making him the RB8 in half-point PPR scoring over that span. Akers, who tore his Achilles over the summer and came back shockingly early, isn’t a threat to poach to much of the workload from Michael. At a modest $5,400 Michel is a terrific value even against an Arizona defense that allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk ($5,300): In the four games the Cardinals have played without DeAndre Hopkins, who went on IR after Week 14, Kirk has had 24-264-1 on 33 targets, making him the WR17 over that period. Kirk faces the Rams on Monday night, and in two games against L.A. this season, Kirk has had 1-5-0 and 3-86-0. Hopkins played in both of those games, so the dynamic will be different this time. It’s hard to tell which Rams cornerback Kirk will see in coverage more – Jalen Ramsey or Donte Deayon. I’m somewhat interested in Kirk at his cheaper price, but if I roster him, I’ll want to balance him out with some safer options.

A.J. Green ($4,900): The absence of DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t really spiked Green’s numbers. In the four games since Hopkins landed on IR, Green has compiled 12-194-0 on 26 targets. Green is averaging a robust 15.7 yards per catch and 9.2 yards per target this season. The problem is that he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 6. What’s encouraging is that Green has produced against the Rams this season. In two games against L.A., Green has had 5-67-1 and 7-102-0. But as much as I’d like to believe that Green is some kind of Ram slayer, I’m not that interested in rostering him.

Antoine Wesley ($3,300): Wesley has averaged 53.8 snaps per game since DeAndre Hopkins went on IR with a torn MCL. In four games with Hopkins out of the lineup, Wesley has had 11-95-3 on 21 targets. Scoring three touchdowns on 11 catches is fluky, but it’s encouraging that Kyler Murray keeps looking for Wesley when the Arizona offense is closing in on the end zone. Wesley isn’t the first guy I’m penciling into any of my lineups, but I think he’s a viable money-saving option if you’re looking to squeeze a bunch of higher-priced players into your lineup.

Cooper Kupp ($9,000): Kupp capped off a remarkable regular season with a 7-118-1 performance last week against the 49ers. He finished with 145 catches, 1,947 yards and 16 TD catches, leading the NFL in all three categories. With Kupp averaging 114.5 receiving yards and nearly a full touchdown per game, he’s a buy at almost any price, and that’s how I feel about him at $9,000. Plug Kupp into your lineup first, then figure out the rest from there. If there’s one concern with him – and it’s a small concern indeed – it’s that Kupp has seen “only” seven targets in each of his last two games. There have been only three games all season in which Kupp hasn’t seen double-digit targets, so back-to-back seven-target games are a little unusual. But again, it’s not a big deal. The last time Kupp faced the Cardinals, he scorched them for 13-123-1 on 15 targets.

Odell Beckham ($5,100): The good news is that Beckham has scored five touchdowns in eight games with the Rams. The bad news is that he’s had fewer than 40 receiving yards in four straight games and five of his last six. OBJ is no longer a volume receiver, but his flypaper hands making him an inviting target inside the red zone. Is the TD potential worth $5,100? He had a season-high six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown the last time he played the Cardinals, but I’m inclined to fade him.

Van Jefferson ($4,700): Jefferson was the WR28 through Week 14, but he’s had only 9-123-0 in the four games since, so he’s dropped to WR35. I’d rather spend on Jefferson than Beckham. Jefferson is averaging 16.0 yards per catch and 9.0 yards per target, so you get some big-play potential for your buck. Jefferson has found the end zone in each of his two previous games against Arizona this season, finishing with 6-90-1 and 2-58-1.

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz ($4,700): Since joining the Cardinals in Week 7, Ertz has been the TE4, averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game. His poor 2020 season has largely been forgotten now that he’s rebounded with a 74-763-5 campaign. Ertz has seen no fewer than nine targets in the four games the Cardinals have played without DeAndre Hopkins, which is why Ertz is my favorite TE value on the board this week. At only $4,700, he’ll go into both cash-game and GPP lineups for me.

Tyler Higbee ($4,100): Higbee has surged in recent weeks. He had a pair of TD catches in a 27-24 loss to the 49ers in Week 18 and has had 22-213-2 on 29 targets over his last four games. The Cardinals have been tough on tight ends, however, giving up the fourth fewest fantasy points to TEs this season. Higbee had 4-36-0 when he faced Arizona in Week 4 and was on the COVID-19 list during the second Rams-Cardinals game. He’s an interesting GPP flyer, but I don’t think he’s a prudent play in cash games.

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