DFS punt plays for Wild Card weekend
The regular season has wrapped, which means the NFL DFS playoff action is in full swing starting this Saturday. With only eight teams to choose from, DFS sites know that they have to keep prices more affordable than normal to allow for playoff roster constraints. This week, we’ll take a look the top running back and wide receiver punt options for Wild Card weekend.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals- FanDuel $6,700, DraftKings $5,000, Yahoo $28
Head coach Marvin Lewis has made it clear that Hill is the running back to own in Cincinnati, giving the 2nd-year tailback 19 or more touches in four of the last five games. Hill found paydirt five times during that stretch, with three of those games coming on the road for the Bengals. Expect the Bengals to employ more of a ball control, run-based offense to help control the clock and keep Pittsburgh heavy passing attack off the field.
Pittsburgh checks in as the second worst defense on the slate this weekend, grading out 25th against the run and 22nd in overall defense according to PFF this season. Look for the Bengals to exploit that advantage at some this weekend. Hill is a value RB2 option on DraftKings.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins- FanDuel $5,500, DraftKings $3,700, Yahoo $16
With Matt Jones limited in practice again on Thursday due to a hip injury, expect Morris to be the bell cow again this Sunday at home against the Packers. Head coach Jay Gruden really began to lean on Morris down the stretch as his number of carries increased each week through the last five games of the season. He capped off the season with a 19-carry, 100-yard performance in Week 17 against Dallas.
The matchup for Washington is about average overall, with the Packers finishing the regular season ranked 16th versus the run and 16th in overall defense. The opportunities in the running back may come from the fact that Green Bay will need to focus on the hot hand of Kirk Cousins, who has thrown for 11 touchdowns in the last 2 ½ games (Cousins sat out the second half in Week 17) and passed for 300 yards or more in four of the past six games. Morris is a solid bargain RB2 option on all three sites this weekend.
Alfred Blue, Houston Texans – FanDuel $5,700, DraftKings $4,200, Yahoo $14
Blue was consistent DFS fade through the first 3 quarters of the season, only managing to crack the 100-yard mark once while producing just two rushing touchdowns. He finally seemed to break through for Houston down the stretch, cracking the 100-yard mark and averaging over five yards per carry in two of the past three games.
The matchup for Houston figures to be a tough one, with Kansas City finishing the season ranked 3rd in run defense and 5th overall defensively. The Chiefs did struggle a bit against the run down the stretch, allowing the Raiders, Browns, and Bills each gain over 100 yards rushing on them over the last six weeks of the season. If DeAndre Hopkins is able to get off to a fast start for the Texans, that could open the door for Blue to do damage in the running game.
Desean Jackson, Washington Redskins – FanDuel $7,000, DraftKings $4,500, Yahoo $21
After missing the first half of the season due to injury, Jackson helped catapult the Redskins to the top of the NFC East division down the stretch, catching four touchdown passes in a five-game stretch while scoring 14 or more DraftKings points in that same stretch. Jackson checks in as the top projected wideout for either team, and is listed with the No.8 overall wide receiver/cornerback matchup on PFF this week.
Jackson may also get a boost in his defensive matchup with Packers corner Sam Shields listed as doubtful due to a concussion. This could mean that rookie corner Quinten Rollins may be forced into a larger role covering the slot against Jackson for Green Bay. Jackson is a solid GPP flex play on DraftKings.
James Jones, Tennessee Titans – FanDuel $5,700, DraftKings $4,100, Yahoo $22
Jones enters the playoffs with the eighth-highest wide receiver projection according to PFF’s lineup optimizer this week, but is $1,700 cheaper, and projected for just .01 points fewer on DraftKings that his teammate. Randall Cobb. Jones also seems to be the current go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers, leading the Packers with 33 targets over the past three games.
The matchup for Jones and the Packers are as good as it gets this week, as the Redskins finished 2015 ranked 28th in pass coverage and 26th in overall defense. The Green Bay running game took a significant step back this season with Eddie Lacy eating his way out of a starting job and failing to produce when they did feature him. This means we can likely expect another heavy passing attack from the Pack. Take advantage of the discount price tag for Jones on DraftKings this Sunday.
Tyler Lockett, Green Bay Packers – FanDuel $6,200, DraftKings $4,400, Yahoo $14
It’s like the old saying goes: “If you play with fire, you will get burned.” The Vikings seem like they’re willing to play with fire by matching up 37 year-old Terrance Newman in the slot against Seattle’s best deep threat in Lockett. Minnesota has ranked fairly well defensively all season long, but may have trouble keeping Lockett from taking the top off of the Viking’s defense with Doug Baldwin destroying defenses in the middle of the field during the entire second half of the season.
In his last game against Minnesota, Lockett caught all seven of his targets for 90 yards, then followed that performance with three touchdowns in the next two games. Consider Lockett a strong value play on DraftKings and Yahoo on Sunday.
You can reach Josh on Twitter @JoshHayesFS and find him hosting the Daily Slant each week on the Pro Football Focus Fantasy channel on YouTube and on BlogtalkRadio.com. You can also find him talking fantasy football on the Rotowire DFS Podcast at Rotowire.com and at thefantasyfootballinsider.com.