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Hi RotoBallers! Welcome to a special playoff edition of Power Pivots. We have four games on the Wild Card slate, two that will be played on Saturday, with the other two on Sunday. With only four games to work with, there will be lots of duplicate lineups in tournaments this weekend. A huge part of being successful on short slates is differentiating your lineup from the rest of the field. We are going to discuss some ways to do just that in this Wild Card Weekend edition.

On this four-game slate the Colts vs. Texans matchup sticks out like a sore thumb. With a Vegas Over/Under of 49 points, this game carries a projected total that is head and shoulders above the three remaining games. So...we are going to break this slate down a little differently than normal. In this edition of Power Pivots, I will identify plays that offer us leverage outside of the Indy/Hou matchup.

Let me be clear, I'm not advocating a full fade of this game, but as I mentioned above, we are looking for ways to differentiate our lineups this week and mixing in some players from outside of this game will help us do that. You can pick your spots and still work in some Colts and/or Texans players, but stacking this game will be an extremely popular strategy this weekend. And remember, while it is perhaps the best spot of Wild Card Weekend, it's not a "can't miss" spot by any means, as both the Texans and Colts have exhibited their competence on the defensive side of the ball. Another little tip...leave some salary on the table this week, you'll be surprised how much it can help your lineup stand out from the pack on short slates.

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Wild Card NFL DFS Power Pivots for DraftKings GPPs

All ownership projections in this article are courtesy of the awesome folks at UFCollective. They provide the most accurate ownership projections that I have found in the DFS industry and now offer their content directly to the public. It is a premium product that is worth every penny and available here. They offer NFL, NBA, and MLB content for both DraftKings and FanDuel. You can follow them on Twitter @UFCollective.

As I mention every week, ownership considerations should come at the end of your weekly research process. Ownership projections change throughout the week, and I highly recommend that you refer back to this column before finalizing your lineups. I will update ownership projections and add injury notes with additional strategy thoughts on Saturdays.

 

QB CHALK: Deshaun Watson ($6,700) & Andrew Luck ($6,400)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 22% & 30%

POWER PIVOT: Mitchell Trubisky ($6,200)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 8%

I know, I know...it's really hard to click on Mitchell Trubisky's name when you can grab Andrew Luck or Deshaun Watson for just a few hundred dollars more. However, a closer look at Trubisky reveals a lot of things to like.

It's easy to forget the type of upside the Bears QB possesses. Trubisky has been very quiet since suffering an injury and missing Weeks 12 and 13 of the regular season. He's failed to top 20 DK points in a game since his return from that injury. Despite the North Carolina product's failure to log a big fantasy outing recently, he's in a sneaky good spot against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend.

Philly's injuries on the defensive side of the ball have been well documented, as they were practically signing players off the street a few weeks ago. They have solidified things in the secondary to a degree (playing the Redskins in two of their last five games has helped), but this is still a unit that is operating at less than full strength. This is an Eagles defense that, by its nature, forces opponents to throw the ball. This scheme has led to Philly allowing 269 passing yards per game to opposing QBs, a mark that ranks 30th in the NFL. I fully expect the Eagles to sell out on stopping the run in this game and force Trubisky to beat them through the air.

The young QB may very well be up to that challenge. Though the Bears have leaned on their defense and run game over the last several weeks, Trubisky has shown that he can put up numbers when called upon. Chicago's offense has quietly averaged 26 points per game this season. Trubisky's floor is lower than we would like, but he possesses upside that rivals that of Watson and Luck. He has shown the ability to produce both with his arm and his legs. Trubisky is capable of throwing the ball deep against this Eagles secondary, which can create big-play opportunities and he's proven to be a very capable runner, averaging over 6-yards per rushing attempt for a total of 421 yards and 3 TDs on the ground this season.

Sure, it's been awhile...but Trubisky is a QB that posted consecutive DK outings of 46.5/31.3/36.4 over a three-week stretch earlier this season. That upside hasn't went away, it's simply been throttled back by Chicago's recent gameplans and while the Bears will once again attempt to run the ball and play defense, there's a decent chance they will be forced to turn to Trubisky more frequently as the game wears on against an Eagles defense that allowed the eighth-most DK points to opposing QBs in 2018.

 

RB CHALK: Marlon Mack ($6,000) & Lamar Miller ($4,900)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 32% & 20%

POWER PIVOT: Tarik Cohen ($5,400)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 14%

The elephant in the room this week at RB is Cowboys stud Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the position in both price...$9,000 and projected ownership...a massive 66%. While a Zeke fade is a scary thought, it is a shortcut to gaining leverage in GPPs.

One of the slate's most explosive back's will be largely forgotten this weekend. Chicago's Tarik Cohen doesn't come without risk, as his workload is fairly limited while splitting work with Jordan Howard.

Despite Cohen's limited usage, he has still demonstrated a double-digit DK point floor, going over 10 points in six of Chicago's last eight outings. That type of steadiness has been possible due to Cohen's pass-catching role out of the backfield. That role should play a part in this matchup, as Philly will be intent on stopping Chicago's ability to run the ball between the tackles.

Cohen is an explosive player that has demonstrated tournament-winning upside this year. While the matchup and game script doesn't scream "blow-up" spot, Cohen brings a solid floor of around 10-points, but does have the talent and ability to break the slate. At a reasonable price and moderate ownership, I'm willing to give Cohen a long look this weekend.

 

WR CHALK: T.Y. Hilton ($7,800) & DeAndre Hopkins ($8,700)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 60% & 36%

POWER PIVOT: Alshon Jeffery ($5,900)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 13%

The receivers in the Hou/Indy matchup will soak up tons of ownership on this slate, with both Hilton and Hopkins expected to be hugely popular. Once again, we are looking for possible leverage plays outside of this game.

Philly's Alshon Jeffery has actually performed better since Nick Foles stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz. Since St. Nick entered the Eagles lineup in Week 15, Jeffery has tallied 16 catches for 301 yards and a TD, for an average of 18.36 DK points per game.

While no one wants to target offensive players against the "Big Bad Bears" defense, on a four-game slate like this one, we are forced to take some chances. The Bears are tough, there's no doubt about that, but their effectiveness in stopping the run almost always leads to opposing offenses throwing the ball.

Jeffery is the clear-cut top receiver in this Philly wide-out corps. He has a guaranteed workload of five to eight targets, with the potential for more usage if this game goes outside of the scripted scenario.

 

TE CHALK: Eric Ebron ($5,200)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: %

POWER PIVOT: Blake Jarwin ($3,300)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 1%

Eric Ebron will be one of the more popular options on this slate and he has a nice combination of talent and matchup. If you want to pivot away from the Colts TE, take a look down the salary scale at the Cowboys' Blake Jarwin at just $3,300.

Saving money at the TE spot is a strategy that I regularly employ throughout the regular season and I'm comfortable taking that line this weekend. I'm really intrigued by Jarwin on this slate, as he offers three things I'm always interested in: leverage in tournaments, salary savings, and solid price-considered expected usage. It might feel like we are chasing points after Jarwin's explosion against the New York Giants last week, when he grabbed seven of eight targets for 119 yards and 3 TDs. But since Geoff Swaim's season-ending injury in Week 11, Jarwin has established himself as the Cowboys top pass-catching TE. His volume as been sneakily-good, as he's garnered seven or more targets in three of Dallas' last four games.

The matchup isn't a great one. The Seahawks have a funnel defense that effectively stops the pass, but allows teams to pick-up yardage on the ground. We know that the Cowboys will try to get the ball to Ezekiel Elliott early and often in this one. We can take a little solace in the fact that Seattle tightens up against the run in the red zone and Jarwin encouragingly saw two targets inside the 20-yard line last week.

This obviously isn't a slam-dunk spot, but we can project Jarwin to get five to seven targets at $3,300. His big game last week should go a long way towards earning him the trust of Dak Prescott. It's not likely that Ebron lays an egg this weekend, but it's also not unimaginable, as we've seen him disappear in games both this season and throughout his career. Jarwin is a nice, affordable way to differentiate lineups at TE in an attempt to gain leverage in GPPs.

 

D/ST CHALK: Chicago Bears ($3,400)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 17%

POWER PIVOT: Indianapolis Colts ($2,300)

Projected DraftKings Ownership: 9%

While we've spent this entire article looking for ways to pivot away from the Indy/Hou matchup, at the DEF/ST spot we might want to jump into this game.

With the majority of DFS players targeting the offensive players in this matchup, we can grab one of these defenses at minimal ownership. I prefer the Colts unit, because they are cheaper and have a lower projected ownership share.

The Colts don't come to mind as a great defense, but they have been very good at shutting down opposing WRs, limiting wideouts to the second-fewest catches and yards in the NFL. I also like their ability to get after the QB, as Houston's Deshaun Watson has a tendency to both take sacks and make ill-advised throws under pressure. Indy sacked Watson five times the last times these teams met in Week 14, I wouldn't be surprised if they match or exceed that total this weekend.

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