I had a decent showing with my Week 18 daily fantasy (DFS) football picks as some guys, such as Rob Gronkowski and Devin Singletary, really delivered. However, Jonathan Taylor did not. The good news is that Taylor (or the Colts for that matter) can't disappoint this weekend. But the DFS slates and picks for "Super Wild Card Weekend" take on a totally different flavor.
First off, the biggest potential slate you can play has only six games on it. Secondly, even if you play that slate, it includes the first-ever Monday night playoff game. My guess is that many DFS players will split their efforts. They will likely start with a Saturday only or even just a Saturday/Sunday slate and then depending on how that goes, they will then attack the Monday nighter.
However, for the purposes of this article, I'm going to look at the whole slate. And one of the other changes in flavor is that the "rules" for assembling DFS entries for "Super Wild Card Weekend" shift a little bit. For example, an "onslaught" — maxing out the number of options from one team, is both more common and advisable. That is especially the case in GPPs.
With a max of 12 DSTs, you also will see more lineups in which the DST chosen is squaring off against some of the selected skill position players. A cheap WR can make you a profit when he scores his team's only TD and hauls in six passes for 80 yards and that opposing DST still gives you 15 to 20 points. That is just one possibility.
Speaking of possibilities, let's get to some of the players I prefer.
Safe Quarterback Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (DK $7300, FD $8400)
When you get to the playoffs, nearly every QB option is a good one. There is a reason teams with lousy QB situations typically miss the playoffs. I don't think I need to go into detail about why Brady is a good quarterback, but I will point out that he led the entire NFL in both passing yards and touchdowns this season, at 44 years old.
Another reason I like Brady for DFS is that Philadelphia gave up more fantasy points to quarterbacks this year than any other NFC playoff team. I wouldn't fault you for spending up and grabbing Patrick Mahomes, but I'll take the small savings and go with old man Brady.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $6100, FD $7700)
Tom Brady's counterpart on Saturday is Hurts, an interesting option in his own right. The half dozen or so quarterbacks ranked above him will likely each garner double-digit percentage ownership and probably 80 percent or more combined. But I think Hurts will be under 10 percent owned, making him a high-leverage play... if he produces.
But I think he will. I know it's a minority opinion, but I think the Eagles can keep this game close and allow Hurts to add to his league-leading 10 rushing TDs as a QB. Even if I'm wrong, it means the Eagles might abandon their running game and put the offense solely on Hurts' shoulders.
I remind you that last time Hurts played the Buccaneers (Week 6), he accounted for three TDs, albeit in a losing effort (28-22). Tampa Bay's defense seems to struggle with scrambling quarterbacks, having allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game to the position. The Bucs also are right behind the Eagles in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Safe Running Back Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $6800, FD $8500)
Mixon did not play in Week 18 because he was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Yet even during this current Joe Burrow hot streak, Mixon continues to be an integral part of the game plan. His last time out (Week 17), he got just 12 carries, tying for the fewest in a game this season, but he was targeted eight times.
I also suspect he will get a lot more than a dozen carries against the Raiders, who allowed the third-most fantasy points to RBs in the regular season. He also went for 123 yards and two touchdowns when these two teams played out in Las Vegas back in Week 11. Mixon may lack the ceiling of some of the other RB options this week, but his floor is by far the highest.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots (DK $5700, FD $6900)
While Joe Mixon has one of the best matchups, Singletary's might be a little rough. New England has allowed running backs to gain yardage, but only surrendered six rushing touchdowns to the position during the regular season, tying with Arizona for the fewest.
But Singletary is coming in hot with five TDs in his last four games. And a good thing too, given how the forecast is shaping up for this game.
Of course, that could lead to both offenses staying grounded. However, the winds are not as high as they were in the Week 13 game on Monday night in which the Patriots' Mac Jones attempted a total of three passes. And Bill Belichick's defensive game plan will probably focus on Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs, not Singletary. So that could lead to more opportunities for Singletary, and I'm saying he'll rise to the occasion and help the Bills move on.
Safe Wide Receiver Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals (DK $9000, FD $10,000)
I know he's expensive, but Kupp is heads and shoulders the best fantasy WR this season. With Arizona giving up more touchdown catches to the position (27) than any other team, fade Kupp at your own risk.
High Risk/High Reward Wide Receiver Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Ben Skowronek, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals (DK $3000, FD $4600)
Skowronek is nothing more than a "punt play" or if you prefer the term, "Hail Mary option." But I promise you that the entry that takes down your GPP is the one that nails this type of option.
Skowronek is one of my preferred bottom-of-the-barrel wide receivers given that he has at least two targets each of the last two weeks and was targeted five times in his game previous to that. Add in the matchup stats I alluded to with Cooper Kupp and you could scrape far worse options.
But in some ways, Skowronek is simply a "placeholder" to tell you that you are going to have to find a cheap option like him to win your GPP. Some other super-cheap options who could do similar to what I hope/expect are Jaelon Darden, N'Keal Harry, and Josh Gordon. Follow me on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) as I will likely post some additional cheap options this weekend.
Safe Tight End Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (DK $6400, FD $7400)
So we don't have the luxury of personal incentives as a reason to grab Gronk this week.
But his floor is much higher than all the TEs playing in the Wild Card Round, even the most expensive option on the board, Travis Kelce. Kelce is facing Pittsburgh, a top-10 defense when it comes to fantasy points allowed to the position. Philadelphia on the other hand was the most generous this season. Kelce also will have to share targets with all-everything wide receiver Tyreek Hill, among others as Patrick Mahomes is plenty capable of spreading the ball around.
Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, Chris Godwin is out with a torn ACL, Antonio Brown made his most glorious exit, and Mike Evans has been limited in practice with a hamstring injury. Gronk should see at least half a dozen targets on Sunday, maybe twice that.
Plus, I love the idea of stacking Gronk with Brady.
High Risk/High Reward Tight End Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $3200, FD $5200)
This is where things get very interesting. There are a ton of great TE options across the six games and I could make a strong argument for at least eight of them, maybe more.
But I just can't fade Cooper Kupp in any slate that includes the MNF game, so I need to save some salary. Therefore, Uzomah is one of my favorite options. He gives us the most opportunity for profit given his comparatively bargain price on both sites.
Don't let his affordability however misconstrue what he can do. He's seen 29 targets over his last five games. He has nearly 50 catches this season and has scored five times. The Raiders are nearly as bad as the Eagles when it comes to tight ends and fantasy points. Las Vegas is the easiest matchup for the position among the six AFC playoff teams. I will have quite a few entries that include Uzomah.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (DK $3300, FD $4800)
Kansas City finished the season as the eighth-best DST. Three of the teams ahead of the Chiefs didn't make the playoffs due a lack of offensive firepower. Kansas City has that in spades. Meanwhile, the books have the Steelers with a projected point total of around 17. That is by far the lowest of any team this weekend. Don't make this complicated.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Pick for "Super Wild Card Weekend"
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (DK $2800, FD $3700)
The risk here is obvious. The Cowboys were the highest-scoring team in the league with 530 points, 19 more than Tom Brady's Buccaneers. But unlike Brady, Dallas got to face the swiss-cheese defenses of Washington and the New York Giants twice.
But let's ignore how good (or bad) the Dallas offense is. San Francisco sports a pretty good defense. The 49ers were the 11th-best defense over the last three weeks and have been solid all season minus a few hiccups against some of their division rivals. They tied for ninth in scoring defense (21.5 ppg). The 49ers also were top 10 in the league in sacks (48, tied for fifth) and fumble recoveries (11, tied for sixth).
Don't be surprised if the 49ers pull off the upset in Big D, and their defense is part of the reason.
Good luck with your "Super Wild Card Weekend" DFS entries!
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.