The road to Super Bowl LVII will officially be open this weekend as Wild Card Weekend kicks off on Saturday afternoon. Twelve teams will square off and put everything on the line in six games of gut-wrenching football. A few appear to be somewhat lopsided, but all will be full of entertainment, especially for DFS. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and chew the fat on each team, game by game. Who to target? Where’s the value? All this and more will be right here so keep scrolling for our locks in DFS, and remember to check in on our Discord channel and use our Projection Model to help guide you into the pay lines. It’s go time…Let’s get it started for the playoffs! Wild Card Weekend Breakdown here we go!
Geno and the Seahawks will have their work cut out for them on the road, and it could get ugly. Seattle struggled to move the ball and put points on the scoreboard in both meetings with the Niners in the regular season. Only 20 total points with just two touchdowns against San Fransisco’s number one ranked defense in total yardage and points allowed in Weeks 2 and 15. But on the brighter side, one Seahawk has kept his fantasy value for the matchup, Tyler Lockett. He’s been the apple of Geno’s eye all year long and profited from opposing defenses bracketing DK Metcalf all season. In the two meetings, Lockett has scored over 13 and 22 DK fantasy points, forcing major ownership in his direction for only $6,000 on Draftkings.
Although Seattle depicts to be trailing a ton in this game, they will have to run the ball and keep the Niners honest. Stud rookie running back Kenneth Walker III has been a machine in his past three games, seeing a boatload of volume. He had 23, 26, and 29 rushing attempts, and scored well over double-digit fantasy points in those recent games, making him quite the contrarian play at $5,900 on DraftKings.
Winners of seven straight games, the Niners are well on their way to making it eight by hosting a Seahawks team limping into the playoffs as the seventh seed. Third-string rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has looked flawless leading San Fransisco’s electrifying offense. As far as DFS purposes, he will not be motivated to do much against such an inferior opponent. Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle have exploded onto the scene since Purdy took the reins, and should continue to rack up fantasy value in this matchup. Seattle’s DVOA of 30th to running backs and 32nd to tight ends will be set-it-and-forget-it for fantasy managers on Saturday.
One other Niner took to take a gander at is Deebo Samuel. His price tag has fallen to $5,700 on DraftKings and in my mind is a bargain. He’s been a receiver who’s fully capable of lighting it up, and this weekend may be a get-right game returning from a hamstring injury. Consider him off the radar of DFS ownership, separating yourself from the field in GPPs.
Justin Herbert will make his playoff debut on the road and look for his first win as a 2-point favorite in Jacksonville. His salary is a bargain at $6,600 on DraftKings in a high-volume passing offense that is anticipated to be a high-scoring event. But he will be without receiver Mike Williams, who suffered a back injury in Week 18. This incident will force Herbert to look for wideout Keenan Allen and running back Austin Ekeler, even more, this Saturday night. All three will be viable for DFS in this fantasy-friendly atmosphere, four when you count Josh Palmer (Williams’ injury replacement).
We do need to get different in these mini-game slates in order to cash, so take a peek at the Chargers’ tight ends to do so. Gerald Everett and Donald Parham Jr. will go unnoticeable in this game, giving you an edge against the field. The Jags rank 25th among opposing tight ends, a single trip to the endzone for either of the two would pay off their affordable salaries ($3,800 and $2,700 on DraftKings).
Duval County, Florida will host their first playoff game in five years, led by sophomore sensation quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I personally will be all over him as a steal at $5,700 on DraftKings in most of my Saturday lineups. Pairing T-Law with Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram would all be a legit way of building a nice stack, who are also all under $6K on DraftKings.
Running back Travis Etienne by far has the best matchup on paper for this Wild Card matchup though, as the Chargers have given up the second-most rushing yards for the 2022-23 season. At $6,000 on DraftKings, he’s a lock for production in a must-win battle at home.
Well, not much to anticipate for Miami but walking out with their pride and an “L” on Sunday. It’s highly unlikely third-string rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson will be able to lead this high powered offense on the road in Buffalo. It’s sad to say the likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle can be compared to Lambos with flat tires with the current quarterback situation. So it’s a fade for me in any cash formats for Dolphins in my builds.
For tournaments, Jeff Wilson Jr. may be stepping into a larger role on Sunday. Fellow running back Raheem Mostert broke his thumb and is listed as questionable. Wilson would own the backfield and be heavily leaned on by rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson in Buffalo if Mostert does not suit up. Sign me up for only $5,400 on DraftKings.
The Bills are on cloud nine after the news of cornerback Damar Hamlin recovering from a heart attack at home and blowing the doors off the Patriots to close out the season 35-23. We’ve like quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs all season, why stray away in this playoff cake walk? Their stats speak for themselves, so using them for DFS is a no-brainer against Miami. Tight end Dawson Knox has also shined, scoring a touchdown in his last four games. He’s viable against a Dolphin’s defense that is 29th in DVOA to opposing tight ends.
As I mentioned about Miami possibly struggling to move the football on Sunday, the Bills DST is another lock for the slate. Potential turnovers and three-and-outs all may be in the forecast for the Fins on Sunday.
Big Blue enters the playoff picture as road dogs, but an argument can be made to see the Giants pull off a win on the road this weekend. Quarterback Daniel Jones has been severely under rated this year, having only turned the ball over 8 times compared to last season’s 17 turnovers. He’s a tremendous value at quarterback for DFS ($5,600 on DraftKings), in a matchup only a few weeks ago scoring close to 25 DK points in Minnesota.
If we love Danny Dimes, we’re feeling his receivers too this weekend. Darius Slayton, Richie James, and Isaiah Hodgins all hold water in a receiving core who punched the Vikings’ secondary in the mouth in Week 16 combining for 52 DK points.
Last but not least, we will never forget the engine of the Giants’ offense, Saquon Barkley. He keeps the men in blue running on all cylinders, rushing for over 1,300 yards and finding the endzone on 10 visits in 2022-23. His salary will stun your cap, but it’s money well spent on a running back who refuses to leave the field averaging over 18 fantasy points per game.
Minnesota will be put to the test again in the playoffs for consecutive season after season, can they advance? Kirk Cousins has had more ups than downs so far for the year, throwing well over 4,500 yards and 29 touchdowns. Like Jones, Cousins too had a solid game in Week 16 against the Giants with 24 DK points, throwing for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Justin Jefferson and tight end TJ Hockenson exploded for a combined 74 DK points in that Week 16 home victory. Expect heavy ownership of the duo, and rightfully so. If you’re looking to get uncomfortable and different in this game, check out Irv Smith. He started the season as the Vikings tight end one, but quickly was forgotten after an injury and the acquisition of Hockenson. He made his return in Week 18 and saw an equal snap share of Hockenson of 48%. I’m in on Smith for $2,500 on DraftKings with very low ownership in my GPPs.
Baltimore will be in the same boat as Miami this weekend for the playoffs, without a solid quarterback. Lamar is out, Huntley is questionable, leaving Anthony Brown as their only healthy signal caller. What makes the Ravens’ offense even worse is their lack of offensive firepower. When you have Demarcus Robinson on the top of your receivers’ depth chart, you know you have issues moving the football. Mark Andrews is the only true weapon for Baltimore, but that all depends on how his quarterback performs.
The Ravens are a run-first team, but will most likely see a ton of stacked boxes in Cincinnati, but J.K. Dobbins should be considered a roster spot for DFS. He’s had the most rushing yards in the league since Week 14 with 397 yards. In order to slow down the Bengals’ offense, Baltimore will need to run the rock, but by all means start that Bengals DST up and call it a night.
We could be in for an encore presentation of last week’s Bengals blow out. Joe Burrow was a surgeon at home against the Ravens’ secondary, throwing for 215 yards and one touchdown by halftime. His weapons are at full strength and clear from any injuries. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon will thrive on Sunday Night for the Bengals.
Now if we want to be different in Cincinnati, Tyler Boyd is your man. In three of his last four games he’s racked double-digit fantasy points, which will pay off his $4,000 salary on DraftKings easily. Boyd is the forgotten man in stripes as opposing defenses focus most of their attention on Chase and Higgns.
Dem Boyz fly into Tampa as 2.5 point favorites facing a crippled Buccaneers offensive line. It’s all on the line in Dallas, as coaches and players’ jobs are at risk if they lose this one. Dak will attack a banged up Buccaneers secondary with Pro Bowl caliber receiver Cee Dee Lamb, who will feast. Dalton Schultz will also crush, as Tampa’s 27th DVOA to opposing tight ends will be exposed by the Cowboys on Monday Night.
If the Cowboys want to win this tough game on the road, it has to be done on the ground and with their defense. Tony Pollard has been electrifying with the football, but the matchup is not ideal (6th in DVOA). Pollard should see lower ownership and could break the slate if he goes on one of his explosions, making him a stud in GPPs.
Tom Brady is at home stewing over Vegas placing his team as 2.5 point underdogs at home. The seven-time Super Bowl winner thrives for these moments, and is impossible to fade in these game scenarios. Since the Bucs’ running game has been nonexistent and has only reached 100 yards once in their last five games, Brady will be throwing a ton. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and even running back Leonard Fournette could be in line for plenty of check-down passes from the GOAT.
Brady also loves his tight ends, and the rookie Cade Otton has certainly warmed up to him this season. In Showdown Slates, he’s a dirt cheap $1,800 on DraftKings, so flex him in as one of Brady’s favorite targets.
Thanks for reading my NFL DFS Game by Game Breakdown for the Wild Card Weekend. You can reach me on Twitter @JoeDiCarlo78 or in our Discord tag me @JDiCarlo78 for any lineup build opinions or questions, always here to help! Be sure to sign up for an ALL-ACCESS GOLD ACCOUNT here at Win Daily Sports. Gain access to our Projection Models and jump into our Discord where we will have our experts and myself talking plays across every sport.
Capper Steve is our featured handicapper. He is a former professional poker player and highly successful DFS cash game competitor. His career highlights include winning 10 of 13 wagers during the 2018 NFL playoffs and correctly predicting and successfully wagering on the last three CFB National Champions. He is also very profitable in NBA and NHL wagering and is a dedicated MLB handicapper.
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