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NFL Wild Card Week Daily Divide DFS Lineup Picks: Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Giovani Bernard

Daily Divide: Wild Card Playoff Weekend

If you don't already know, Playoff DFS is super fun. Short slates can offer less choices and sometimes dicier options, but people who make good choices still put themselves in a good position to win. (Plus, football is always more fun with DFS involved.) As usual, Nathan and Matt will each make picks for every position, our arguments debates hopefully providing enough information to make help people make good decisions for their DFS lineups.

You can follow the Matt "I'll try to not eff this up for you" Rittle on twitter @ffrittle, and the the Nathan "I just learned how to make mashed potatoes" Powell on twitter @npowellff.

Nathan: Playoffs? Talking about playoffs? Okay, I know that was cheesy, but Playoff DFS is a great way to get excited about the playoffs if your favorite team is not in the playoffs (Like Matt and I). Let's get to it!


Nathan’s DFS Picks for Week Sixteen

QB: Russell Wilson at MIN
The Seahawks are the biggest favorites of the weekend at 5.5 and the Seahawks still have no semblance of a running game. There is an outside shot that Lynch returns to play this week, but I don't think that will stop them from the torrid pace Wilson and the passing offense have been on in the 2nd half of the season. Wilson has been a high floor play since the Seahawks week 9 bye with 20+ fantasy points in every game with a minimum of 27 pass attempts in each of those game.

Stacking: Both Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are solid stacking options as I think both will see plenty of action this weekend.

Matt: Short slates sometimes put you in strange positions, but deally Lockett is more of a tourney play. Completely down with Russell and/or Baldwin.

RB: Jerick McKinnon vs SEA
This week’s slate of running backs is gross. Like really gross. (Matt note: as gross as the time your Mom puked on your shoes?) DeAngelo Williams is day to day with an injury and Adrian Peterson faces a Seahawks defense that has surrendered the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Every other team is a running back by committee or something formerly known as an Eddie Lacy, so I'm going with my favorite punt play RB of the slate with Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon started getting more involved in the Vikings offense in the last 3 weeks with 50.1 PPR points. I expect the Seahawks to be able to limit Peterson and if the Vikings are trailing as projected, I think they will be looking to use McKinnon in the passing game. Using McKinnon allows you to spend your cap at the other 3 positions, which is where you are going to want to spend this weekend.

Matt: I don’t hate this in theory, but the pricing (at least on Fanduel and Draftkings) doesn’t lend itself to this play in my mind. McKinnon likely projects in that five to ten touch range, and there are other similarly priced RBs who figure to land in that 10-15 touch range. I’m fine with paying down for RB on a slate devoid of your typical cash game level options, but I think guys with higher projected touch volumes are “more likely” bets. (McKinnon may work out in tourneys, but it’s all about likelihood outcomes.)

WR: Jeremy Maclin at HOU
Jeremy Maclin was one of the most consistent wide receivers in the 2nd half of the season, scoring at least 12 PPR points in every game since week 11. Maclin has been a target magnet for Alex Smith all season long, and was targeted six or more times in 12 out of 15 games, including nine or more targets in eight of those games. The Chiefs are three point road favorites in the only dome game of the weekend, so we know weather will not play a factor. Maclin is my favorite mid tier wide receiver on the slate and I expect him to continue his excellent play where he has reached the end zone 6 times in as many weeks.

Stacking: On the road against JJ Watt and company, I think Alex Smith is an easy fade.

Matt: Continues to be underpriced relative to his target volume and recent play. I’m always a little irrationally nervous about playing Maclin, but that doesn't make for a great counter-argument, especially in a short slate

TE: Tyler Eifert vs PIT
This play looks a lot better if Andy Dalton is able to play for the Bengals, but either way, I think Tyler Eifert is a solid play this weekend for those aren't willing to spend all the way up on Jordan Reed. Eifert goes up against a Pittsburgh defense that allowed the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends in the regular season and even with McCarron at quarterback, Eifert showed signs of being back to 100% with 4 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown in week 17, in a plus matchup with only one or two other legitimate options, I like Eifert a lot this week.

Stacking: If Andy Dalton goes, yessir. If AJ McCarron starts, no sir. .

Matt: Dipping back into one of your most successful and unique wells of the season I see. No issues here. Redzone monster. McCarron makes an interesting debate in my mind. The worst QB playing this weekend faces the only generous passing defense on the slate. I could see it in tourney lineups, but is a "leap of faith" cash game play.


Matt’s DFS Picks for Wild Card Weekend

QB: Kirk Cousins vs GBP
Filed under “things I never thought I’d be writing, Kirk Cousins is one of the hottest QBs coming into and playing this weekend. He is QB5 on a points per game basis since his Week 9 bye, and QB2 (second only to likely MVP Cam Newton) over the last month. What a time to be alive. (Sidenote: I’ve been working that into conversation lately. Super hilarious to me, and I'm not totally sure why.) The matchup against the Packers secondary isn’t ideal on paper, ranked sixth in FootballOutsider’s DVOA. Over the last four weeks, the Packers surrendered fewer than six fantasy points to Matt Cassell and Teddy Bridgewater, combined(!), but more capable QBs have fared better, with Carson Palmer and Derek Carr both throwing for over 250 yards and 2 TDs. In terms of floor, Cousins has at least one touchdown pass in every game this season, and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of nine games since the bye. It’s impossible to make a lineup this weekend without taking some sort of “leap,” with every Vegas team projection lower than that team’s scoring average on the season. This GBP at WAS game, though, features the two lowest differentials (in projected team total to average seasonal scoring) on the slate, possibly indicating this is a nice game to target. I admit I’m nervous, but Cousins is playing at home with a nice price and a nice track record of both floors and ceilings.

Stacking: Jordan Reed may be the premier tight end play on this slate, and DeSean Jackson is definitely in play.

Nathan: I think Cousins is a solid play this weekend, and where I am playing him I am definitely stacking him with Jordan Reed.

RB: Giovani Bernard vs PIT
Adrian Peterson and Fitzgerald Toussaint are the only backs we can reasonably project for 15+ carries on this slate. Peterson makes a fine play, but may be tough to fit in, and the matchup is pretty tough on the road in Seattle. Toussaint may define “cheap carries” this weekend, but only if he doesn't split the backfield with Jordan Todman or someone else. Even so, he'd have to dramatically improve upon his two YPC clip rate from last weekend in relief work to come through for owners. Removing those two from the conversation here, we’re left with as many as six to eight RBs we can project in that 10-15 carry range. So which do you play? After some consideration, I’m leaning towards the Italian Stallion, or whatever we’re calling him these days, Giovani Bernard. Giovanni finished in the top ten on the season in overall targets and targets per game. In three of his last four games versus Pittsburgh, he received between five and eight targets. Pittsburgh, in their last four games, surrendered four, ten, one, and six receptions to RBs. Most of this speaks to a likely floor for Giovanni in the passing game. Of course the concern is that Pittsburgh's one catch game versus Denver repeats, or that Jeremy Hill is featured in this one, but you’re just not going to feel great about any RB on this slate. Note to Nathaniel: Only $100-$200 more than McKinnon on the main sites!

Nathan: As I said above, I'm perfectly fine going as low as possible at the RB positions and Bernard is closer to the minimum than the mid tier on most sites, so I'm a fan of this play. 

Matt: I actually considered writing up Christine Michael in this slot. What a time to be alive.

WR: Antonio Brown at CIN
In two games this season versus the Bengals, Brown put up floor games of 6-47-1 and 7-87. That type of fantasy output be considered his worst case scenario this weekend, and the chance for a big game is always there. Ben Roethlisberger has struggled on the road and in playoff games in recent years, so it’s not completely ideal that this is a road playoff game… But nonetheless, Brown is easily the highest floor and ceiling player on a slate full of nervousness and question marks. 

Stacking:With his road and playoff struggles of late, I’m leaving Roethlisberger more for tourneys than cash, where he makes a fine play.

Nathan: Antonio Brown is my favorite expensive wide receiver play on the slate, and he will probably be everyone else's, but that shouldn't stop you from playing him in cash.

Matt: Yeah I'm not getting cute here, especially on this awful slate. He'll be my first player in every lineup.

TE: Jordan Reed at GB
It’s a middling matchup for one of 2015’s top tight ends, in a slate full of tougher matchups for lesser tight ends. Not going to belabor this one. He is one of the best players at his position this weekend, in one of the best (even if a middling) matchup of the weekend, in one of the highest projected point total games of the weekend.

Stacking: See above for my Cousins writeup.

Nathan: Reed is the safest tight end with the highest upside on the slate, just about finding where you want to save cap and where to spend all the way up.


Watch The Pricing, But We Also Like

Nathan likes: Kirk Cousins, Jeremy Hill, Pittsburgh starting RB, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Doug Baldwin, Jordan Reed

Matt likes: Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Christine Michael, Marshawn Lynch (if reports are positive), A.J. Green, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Eifert, Heath Miller


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