Many fantasy football fans think this weekend is the best weekend of the NFL postseason since there are still four games on the slate, but now the top two teams in each conference are back in action after a bye last week. It’s the final week of this season with more than two games, and by the end of the weekend, the conference championship games for next weekend will be set.
The first week of the playoffs was definitely full of drama, and the Titans, Texans, Seahawks and Vikings moved on to play again this week. Hopefully, your daily fantasy team helped you get a win as well, and you’re gearing up to jump back into action. As you build your squad for this week, take a look at these options if you need to find some options at the more affordable end of the salary spectrum.
DIVISIONAL ROUND RB CHALK PLAYS
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs. MIN, $5,600 – Garoppolo played better than his low fantasy production at the end of the season indicates since he was hurt by a lack of touchdown passes. In his most recent game, he completed 18-of-22 passes for 285 yards but no scores as the Niners held off the Seahawks in Week 17. When he is connecting for touchdowns, he has an extremely high ceiling as he showed with his four TDs and 32.06 DKFP against the Saints in Week 14. Jimmy G finished the season averaging 17.1 DKFP per game on 3,978 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
The Vikings’ defense went on the road and slowed down Drew Brees enough to pull off the upset, but I don’t think they’ll be able to sustain that success in San Francisco. Garoppolo isn’t consistently on the same level with the elite options like Patrick Mahomes ($7,500) and Lamar Jackson ($8,400), but he can play at that level at times producing over 30 DKFP in three of his past nine matchups. If the gameflow leads to him throwing a lot against Minnesota, he can save you big-time salary and still give you top-shelf production.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Carlos Hyde, HOU at KC, $5,000 – Hyde spent the preseason with the Chiefs before being traded to the Texans when rosters were being cut down. He already had one revenge game against Kansas City, running for 116 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and finishing with 22.0 DKFP when the Texans faced the Chiefs in Week 6. Hyde caught a touchdown in the Wild Card round and finished with 12.3 DKFP on 16 carries for 48 yards and his five-yard touchdown catch. Hyde has double-digit DKFP in three of his past four games and has taken over 15 carries in each of those contests with the only exception being Week 17 when the Texans rested most of their starters. Hyde definitely has touchdown upside, and the Texans will rely on him if they go with a ground-heavy attack like they did to beat the Chiefs earlier this season.
Gus Edwards, BAL vs. TEN, $4,900 – If Mark Ingram ($6,700; calf) isn’t able to play this week, it’ll be time to hop back on and ride the Gus Bus. Edwards finished the season with a starring role in the Ravens’ 28-10 win over the Steelers, piling up 130 yards on 21 carries and posting 16.2 DKFP. He has stepped up with over 50 yards in every game he has received double-digit carries and would be the next man up if Ingram suffers a setback. In that scenario, Justice Hill ($3,900) would also get some work after posting a touchdown and double-digit DKFP in each of the final two games of the season. Edwards’ role is uncertain enough to make him high-risk if Ingram is at full strength, but he does definitely have upside if he is lined up for a good workload against the Titans.
Jamaal Williams, GB vs. SEA, $4,600 – Of the options under $5K, Williams is the secondary RB who is usually the most involved in his team’s offense. Williams typically shares time with Aaron Jones ($7,400) and usually gets at least 6-to-10 touches a game. He was forced to sit out Week 17 with a shoulder injury, but should be available against the Seahawks. He reached double-digit DKFP in eight of his 15 games this season, averaging 10.7 DKFP per contest. If you have to spend less than $5K on a RB, Williams is the safest play of the bunch since at least he’ll get some touches and at can provide some solid usage in a good passing game at times.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Allen Lazard, GB vs. SEA $4,500 – The Packers were extremely thin at WR at one point earlier this season, but that opened up the opportunity for Lazard to emerge as a solid option for Aaron Rodgers ($6,500). When everyone returned, he was pushed back to the background, but came on strong again as the season wound down. In the final two games of the season, Lazard was targeted a total of 17 times, catching nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season with an impressive 16.9 DKFP against the Lions. He has emerged as the Packers’ second WR, so it’s surprising to find him at this affordable a salary.
Mecole Hardman, KC vs. HOU, $4,100 – If you’re going to swing for the fences, take a look at home run threat Hardman, who gives the Chiefs’ offense big play ability every time he touches the ball. He only had one target in the season finale, but caught it for 30 yards and also returned a kick for a touchdown for a total of 10.0 DKFP. He hasn’t gotten a ton of touches on offense since Tyreek Hill ($7,600) returned, but the Chiefs may come up with some creative ways to get the ball into his hands especially with Sammy Watkins ($4,300) struggling to be effective. Hardman is a high-risk play but has a sky-high ceiling if he gets touches against a vulnerable Houston secondary.
David Moore, SEA at GB, $3,900 – While his teammate D.K. Metcalf ($6,800) rightfully got all the love after the Seahawks’ win in Philadelphia, Moore also had a solid game catching a pair of passes for 57 yards. He was targeted four times, matching his season high. He has locked himself in as the team’s third WR and brings big play potential like Hardman. Moore is a little less known than Hardman and comes in under $4K, so he makes sense as a high-upside, high-risk option if you’re trying to pay up for elite plays at other positions.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Darren Fells, HOU at KC, $3,500 – Fells is usually the top tight end for the Texans, but sometimes gives up targets to Jordan Akins ($3,000). With Akins out last week against the Bills due to a hamstring injury, Fells played 66 of 69 snaps and caught 4-of-5 targets for 37 yards and a decent 7.7 DKFP. He had six catches for 69 yards against the Chiefs in Week 6 and should get enough targets to be a solid value play in the rematch. He also has a touchdown-dependent high ceiling.
Jimmy Graham, GB vs. SEA, $3,300 – While I like the Seahawks’ defense (more momentarily), they have been very beatable through the air this year, especially by TE. They allowed the third-most DKFP in the NFL to TE during the regular season, so Graham could be set up for success against his former team. He finished the regular season with a seven-target game against the Lions in which he hauled in four catches for 49 yards and 8.9 DKFP. It was his best performance since Week 7, and he’ll try to build on that as a cheap option this week.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
SEA at GB, $2,600 – The Seahawks have been road warriors all season especially on defense. They didn’t force any turnovers against the Eagles last week, but still had 11 DKFP since they allowed just nine points and picked up a whopping seven sacks. They have posted at least 9.0 DKFP in eight of their past nine road games. They have a tough matchup against the Packers, but Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been that unstoppable lately even on their winning streak. They only managed 20-23 points in wins over the Redskins, Bears, Vikings and Lions to close the season. Seattle’s defense is a solid unit to get at this bargain price.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.