Wild Card Weekend is one of my favorite weeks to play daily fantasy football. If you can identify one or two players you really like more than the public, I love the idea of going all-in on those guys and maximizing the benefit if you hit on them.

Because of the short slate, this weekend will be more about ownership than normal. I believe the smaller the player pool, the more incentive there is to be contrarian. One way to be contrarian is to stack a bunch of guys from a single offense. That’s normally probably not that smart, but there’s reduced opportunity cost that accompanies stacking an offense when there are just four games from which to choose.

QUARTERBACK

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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at WAS) – $6400

Rodgers is underpriced here after his price dropped $1000 from just three weeks ago. With how Washington has been throwing the ball, this has the potential to turn into a high-scoring game with a lot of plays. I like the idea of pairing Rodgers with receivers other than Randall Cobb because 1) I think that will be the “obvious” stack and 2) Cobb just isn’t that good.

VALUE OF THE WEEK

AJ McCarron, Cincinnati (vs PIT) – $5200

McCarron has been pretty efficient in his limited action, and I think this game has as good of a chance as any to turn into a shootout. The Steelers are decent against the run, but awful on the outside; they’ve allowed 5.0 points per game above expected to opposing passers this year. There’s an obvious stack here with A.J. Green, and I also like double-stacking quite a bit in short slates, meaning Tyler Eifert could be added as well.

RUNNING BACK

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Charcandrick West, Kansas City (vs HOU) – $5700

I think West will be under-owned because this matchup looks worse than it is. The Texans have actually allowed more points above expected to running backs than any defense playing this weekend. The Chiefs are also favorites and West should see a decent workload. Plus, running back is completely bare.

VALUE OF THE WEEK

James Starks, Green Bay (at WAS) – $3600

There’s really not much available at the running back position, especially for cheap. I have Starks listed here just because he occasionally racks up receptions. The Redskins are decent against the run, so Starks could end up getting a little more work than Lacy. This is 100% not the week to play a running back in the flex.

WIDE RECEIVER

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A.J. Green, Cincinnati (vs PIT) – $7500

Is Antonio Brown overpriced now at $9600? I’m not sure we can say that’s the case, but either way, I expect his ownership to still be through the roof, especially in a short slate. Green is somehow $2,100 cheaper against a defense that really struggles covering wide receivers. The Steelers have allowed 3.9 points per game above expected this year.

VALUE OF THE WEEK

James Jones, Green Bay (at WAS) – $4100

I think DeSean Jackson is the obvious value this week at $4,500, which is a cheap price tag. However, I think his upside is sometimes overstated because he basically needs to get deep twice in a game to provide a really high ceiling, which is rare. Because of that and the ownership, I’m fading in tournaments and targeting Jones, who has 24 targets in the past two games and hasn’t received fewer than seven in a game in a month.

TIGHT END

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Jordan Reed, Washington (vs GB) – $6300

I just don’t think you can fade this guy right now. I like him outside of a Cousins stack.

VALUE OF THE WEEK

Travis Kelce, Kansas City (at HOU) – $4500

The Texans have allowed 2.3 points above expectation to opposing tight ends this year. I actually really like the Chiefs’ offense this weekend because I think their strengths line up well with the weakest parts of the Texans’ defense. I wouldn’t be opposed to playing West and Kelce together.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

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Kansas City Chiefs (at HOU) – $4000

As you’d expect, there aren’t really many quality matchups for defenses since 1) there are just eight from which to choose and 2) good offenses tend to make the postseason. Kansas City has the best chance of forcing turnovers.

VALUE OF THE WEEK

Minnesota Vikings (vs SEA) – $3000

Again, there’s not much available. The reason I’m listing the Vikings as a potential play is that Russell Wilson can sometimes take a lot of sacks. If Minnesota can stop Seattle on the ground and force Wilson into bad passing downs, I could see a scenario in which they halt the Seahawks offensively.


Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.

Follow him @BalesFootball.