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Wild Card Round DFS GPP Stacks For FanDuel And DraftKings


Happy New Year RotoBallers! With the start of the NFL playoffs, fantasy gamers can finally shift their focus away from their season-long endeavors and focus on setting DFS lineups. Both DraftKings and FanDuel are offering a Saturday-Sunday main slate which features all eight teams in action during the Wild Card Round. Vegas expects this slate of games to be low-scoring, with all over/unders set at 43.0 points or below, outside of a 48.5-point over/under for the Colts-Texans game.

The goal of this weekly column will be to locate some of the best DFS stacks each week. Stacking, or pairing a quarterback with one of his pass-catchers, is a great way to maximize point scoring. This method is generally viewed as a strategy in tournaments, but I also have no problem using safe, high-floor stacks in cash games, as well.

The top Wild Card Round DFS stacks will be listed below, loosely sorted by salary. As there are only eight teams in play, the focus will be solely on my three favorite quarterback plays along with two recommended pass-catchers to stack with him. You can choose the stack pairing you like the best or roll out a three-man stack if desired. All references to team defense DVOA come from Football Outsiders while cornerback and wide receiver matchups and grade references come from Pro Football Focus.

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High-Priced Wild Card Round DFS Stack

Houston QB Deshaun Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. Indianapolis

Watson and the Texans have the highest implied team point total (25.0) and are home favorites in the game with the highest over/under. These two AFC South rivals met twice in the regular season, with Watson turning in one great game with 375 passing yards and three total touchdowns, and one average one where he passed for 267 yards and one score. The Colts have been much improved against the run on defense this season but they still rank just 20th in pass defense DVOA while ranking just fourth against the run. This sets up as a game where the Texans will have to throw frequently if the Colts shut down the run as they are likely to do.

Hopkins is the top wide receiver play on the slate, coming into the game with three straight 100-yard games where he caught 31 total passes. In these teams' two meetings this season, Nuk caught 14 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. With Demaryius Thomas lost for the season and Keke Coutee questionable with a hamstring issue, Hopkins will remain the team's primary means of the moving the ball if they want to move on to the Divisional Round.

Houston QB Deshaun Watson and TE Ryan Griffin vs. Indianapolis

If you can't quite make Hopkins fit or if you are looking for a more unconventional stack partner, Griffin is on the map as a deep GPP play. While the veteran tight end didn't have a great season, partially due to some injury issues, his best game of the year came against the Colts in Week 14, when he caught five passes for 80 yards. The Colts have been one of the worst defenses in the league when it comes to slowing opposing tight ends, ranking 29th in pass defense DVOA against the position and allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position.

 

Moderately-Priced Wild Card Round DFS Stack

Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck and WR T.Y. Hilton @ Houston

Luck is likely to be the highest-owned quarterback on the slate this week and with good reason. With many games projected to be low-scoring, defensive struggles, this game has the most potential to develop into a shootout. The Colts head into this one as 1.5-point road dogs, meaning they should be throwing often to keep up on the scoreboard. The Texans have been dominant against the run this season, ranking first in DVOA, but they are just 18th against the pass, so look for some extra pass attempts to funnel Luck's way. Luck was exceptional against the Texans in their two meetings this season, racking up 863 passing yards, six touchdowns, and throwing just one pick.

For much of the past few weeks, Hilton has been regularly missing practice before ultimately playing on the weekend. That is likely to be the case again in the Wild Card Round as he gets ready to take on the Texans in Houston. The end of that last sentence is really all you should need to see as Hilton has absolutely owned the Texans in Houston over his career. In his past two games in Texas, he posted five catches for 175 yards and two scores (catching balls from Jacoby Brissett in 2017) and nine catches for 199 yards in Week 14 this year.

Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck and TE Eric Ebron @ Houston

Ebron was one of fantasy's biggest surprises in 2018, finding the end zone 14 total times in his first year with the Colts. Operating as Andrew Luck's de facto No. 2 receiver, Ebron should be busy against a Texans defense that was horrid against tight ends in 2018. The Houston pass defense ranked 23rd in DVOA against the tight end position and allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to the position in 2018.

 

Bargain-Priced Wild Card Round DFS Stack

Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky and WR Allen Robinson vs. Philadelphia

Trubisky draws an excellent matchup against a banged-up Eagles secondary for his playoff debut. The Eagles are allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position while ranking 15th in pass defense DVOA. Trubisky has cooled since his late-season shoulder injury but his rushing upside keeps him on the map as a solid play in DFS contests. Trubisky gained 421 yards and scored three times on the ground this past season.

Robinson was up-and-down in his first season with the Bears but he remains the team's No. 1 receiver and a player who certainly has a chance to go off given his matchup. The Eagles will attempt to slow Robinson with Avonte Maddux and Rasul Douglas. Maddux is a converted safety while Douglas is a second-year player who entered the year as a backup. Both have grades of 67.9 or lower over at Pro Football Focus.

Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky and WR Taylor Gabriel vs. Philadelphia

Gabriel will be the other Bear who gets to take shots at Rasul Douglas as he should run just over 40% of his routes on the left side. While it has been a while since Gabriel has turned in a big game, he remains an elite deep threat who possesses the ability to rip off a long score any time he is on the field. Big-play threats such as Gabriel have slate-changing upside if they hit their ceiling.

 

Contrarian Stack

Philadelphia QB Nick Foles and WR Alshon Jeffery @ Chicago

Foles wound up saving the Eagles' season, taking over for an injured Carson Wentz and ripping off three straight wins to sneak his squad into the playoffs. His reward? A road matchup against a fearsome Chicago defense. That being said, Foles has made it routine to remind fantasy gamers never to count him out. The veteran signal-caller is worth teeing up in a few GPPs, just to see if he has any magic left in that right arm. To be clear, this is not a recommended cash play.

None of the Philly pass-catchers have a particularly enticing matchup as Chicago has shut down all components of their opponents' passing games. The first inclination would be to pencil in Zach Ertz but if you are going for a contrarian lineup, consider Philly No. 1 wideout Alshon Jeffery. Sure, his matchup is bad, but Jeffery will be low-owned and, as the Eagles' top red-zone weapon, and he has a chance to pull down a short touchdown or two this weekend.

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