It’s mind boggling to think that the regular season for the NFL has come to an end. Seriously, where in the world did this season go? Lucky for us, DraftKings offers us plenty of contests to play during the playoffs, so all is not lost just yet. Let’s get to all the information to get you set for Wild Card Weekend! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
The Vegas Lines
Highest Scoring Games
Below are the projected over/under and lines for all four games this weekend.
1) Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Over/Under: 47 points
Line: Steelers -2.5
This is the game I’m most looking forward to this weekend. Two teams that certainly seem like they aren’t a fan of one another, doing battle to advance in the playoffs. Now it’s just a matter of which team is going to show up here.
It’s been shown numerous times the splits that Ben Roethlisberger owns on the road compared to at home. Quite frankly, it’s crazy how much they differ. The most expensive quarterback of the week, Big Ben had the following DraftKings points on the road this season: 22, 6.7, 27, 10.9, 6.5 and 28.8 At home, 33.7, 11.5, 25.4, 31, 36.9 and 27.9. Notice a glaring difference here? Even more so, Ben averaged one touchdown per game on the road and 2.6 at home. His passing yards were pretty even averaging 370 on the road and 393 at home per game. Regardless, a team that has Antonio Brown is always going to have an edge. If Browns 17 targets from week 17 are any indication, Roethlisberger should be going in his direction early and often, even more so if DeAngelo Williams can’t go in this contest.
Flipping over to Cincinnati, AJ McCarron has been starting at center for the Bengals for five weeks now and has surprisingly been performing well. McCarron is averaging 213 passing yards per game throwing at least one touchdown in all of his four starts. McCarron had his best game of the season against these Steelers where he completed 22/32 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers are certainly struggling against the pass and McCarron is in a perfect spot to expose that. AJ Green should be a huge factor in this one where he also had his best game with McCarron against the Steelers. Green caught 5/6 targets for 132 yards with a touchdown. With the highest projected total of the week according to Vegas, target this game with confidence.
2) Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
Over/Under: 46 points
Line: Redskins -1
I can’t help but love the Redskins in this game. Yes, they matchup with one of the best overall quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers, but does anyone feel confident that he can pull off a victory here? Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins for the Redskins looks to be getting better and better every week. Over his past three weeks, Cousins has thrown for 11 touchdowns and over 300 yards twice. His final contest only saw him throw for 176 yards, but that was with getting pulled early in what was a meaningless game. Even so, in his limited time, Cousins was able to connect for three touchdowns. At just $5,900 this week, Cousins looks to a potential steal. At home this season, Cousins is averaging 271 passing yards per game with 2 touchdowns.
Ah yes, now the Packers. Even in a “disaster” season for Rodgers, he’s still thrown 31 touchdowns on the season. But when he look at his past four weeks, it hasn’t been very pretty. During those four weeks, Rodgers is averaging 216 passing yards per game with a 5:3 TD:INT ratio. Even more so, Rodgers has been unimpressive on the road. Rodgers is averaging 212 passing yards per game with 14 of his 31 touchdowns. Honestly, it’s hard for me to say how this game is going to go down. I have a feeling the Packers might be playing catch up in this one, which is crazy to think that Rodgers throwing might be their weakness. But hey, any given Sunday, right?
3) Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Over/Under: 42 Points
Line: Seahawks -6
If you told me at the beginning of the season that the Seahawks would be playing the Vikings AT Minnesota, I would have called you insane. Well, who looks like the crazy one now? What isn’t crazy though, is to think that the Vikings don’t have much a chance here in this one. These two teams met in week 13 and saw the Seahawks dismantle this team to a tune of 38-7. Granted, the Vikings were missing some key players in their defense, but the offense wasn’t generating much in that game either. Teddy Bridgewater completed 17/28 passes for 118 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Adrian Peterson was also having an uneventful week with just 18 yards on eight carries. Vegas has this game as the biggest margin of victory with the Seahawks winning just shy of a touchdown. I honestly can’t say I like much in this game for the Vikings.
For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson had a fantastic game in this one, feasting for 21/27 completed passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Add in the fact that the Seahawks should have a healthy Marshawn Lynch in this one and the whole dynamic of the Seattle offense looks even better. Truly, I feel like this game might get out of hand quickly and we could see a ton of Lynch in this one. Even with the high margin for the Seahawks, aside from Lynch, I think it’s a bit risky to go with anyone on Seattle. We have plenty on the board that are safer and more solidified.
4) Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Line: Chiefs -3
Projected as the lowest scoring game of the week, and rightfully so, the Chiefs and Texans matchup in another surprising playoff matchup. This is another one that I feel could be a bit hard to decide how this one will play out. I don’t see a lot of fantasy goodness in this one, besides the defense. I fully expect Seattle to run away with the highest owned defense of the week, but these two teams should be neck and neck in terms of being highly owned. While Alex Smith might not be the most attractive option on the slate, he’s been using his legs much more in the second half of the season that has certainly boosted his value. Since their week nine bye, Smith is averaging 37 rushing yards per game. At $5,300, he certainly is in a nice price range, but comes with a ton of risk. Smith hasn’t thrown more than two touchdowns in a game all season with the exception of week one which coincidently, came against these Texans. Don’t be fooled though, this Texans D has VASTLY improved since the beginning of the season.
Brian Hoyer makes his first playoff start in his career and it won’t be an easy one. The Chiefs defense has been fantastic this season, allowing on average 12.3 points per game since their week nine bye. Add on the fact that the Texans best weapon in DeAndre Hopkins could be lined up with Marcus Peters, who is being talked about as a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. In his first start since being diagnosed with a concussion, Hoyer completed 25/40 passes for 294 yards with a touchdowns and interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Again, this is not full of a lot of great options fantasy wise, but the defense could certainly be a prime target.
Worst DvP Matchups – QB
1) Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings – The Seahawks were a brick wall against opposing quarterbacks this season. In the regular season, the Seahawks allowed only 14 passing touchdowns, which was the lowest amount in the league. The Seahawks managed to grab 14 interceptions along the way while allowing a 60% completion rate on all passes. The 3619 passing yards were the least amount in the league besides the Denver Broncos.
2) Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Bengals defense has a tough matchup ahead of them, but they’ve been fantastic against opposing quarterbacks this season. The Bengals allowed 18 passing touchdowns while grabbing 21 interceptions. The passing yards were fairly high at 4264 with a 64% completion rate.
3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans – The Chiefs are another great defense that will be in the way of Brian Hoyer in his first playoff appearance. The Chiefs allowed 25 passing touchdowns this season but also managed to grab the second most interceptions in the league with 22. Not only were the 3988 passing yards allowed on the lower end of the league, the 57% completion rate was one of the best.
Best DvP Matchups – QB
1) Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers – When it comes to these playoff teams playing this week, the Redskins have been the most generous to opposing quarterbacks. In the regular season, the Redskins allowed 30 passing touchdowns on the season while grabbing only 11 interceptions. The 4392 passing yards allowed was the sixth highest in the league on a 62% completion rate.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers certainly have their weakness when it comes to the pass. On the season, the Steelers allowed 29 passing touchdowns while grabbing 17 interceptions. The 4664 passing yards allowed were the third most in the league and the most out of all the teams playing this week. The 64% completion rate certainly doesn’t help matters much.
3) Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks– We’re entering the zone where the Vikings may be the third worst team against the quarterback position this week, but overall they landed in 18th. The Vikings allowed 24 passing touchdowns during the regular season while grabbing 13 interceptions. The Vikings gave up 4024 yards on a 63% completion rate.
Worst DvP Matchups – RB
1) Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings – I wouldn’t say the Vikings have a stellar run game to being with, but nonetheless, the Seahawks ended the season as the best team at defending against the run. The Seahawks allowed only five rushing touchdowns on the season. Opposing running backs averaged 3.5 YPC on 296 attempts.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – The way to beat the Steelers is certainly not going to come from the ground game. The Steelers allowed four rushing touchdowns on the season while holding running backs to an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Running backs did catch 73% of their passes out of the backfield on 107 attempts, a vital piece of their offense for the Bengals in this one.
3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans – The Chiefs allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the season while holding running backs to an average of 3.8 YPC. Opposing running backs also caught 68% of the passes out of the backfield while scoring three touchdowns through the air.
Best DvP Matchups – RB
1) Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers – The Redskins may be the “worst” against the run in the playoffs, but in the regular season, along with the other two teams in this section, they were in the middle of the league. The Redskins allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the season while opposing running backs were ripping off an average of 4.6 YPC.
2) Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins – This matchup could feature a decent amount of running plays, as both teams were in the middle of the road at defending against it. The Packers allowed 12 rushing touchdowns on the season, which was tied for the sixth-most in the league. Opposing running backs were rushing for an average of 4.1 YPC.
3) Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are in a decent spot for the run in this game, but it is all contingent on the health of DeAngelo Williams. The Bengals allowed only six rushing touchdowns on the season while running backs were averaging 4.1 YPC. Passing out of the backfield is a problem for the Bengals, as they allowed five touchdowns and 77% completion rate on 127 targets.
Worst DvP Matchups – WR
1) Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings – This is sounding worse and worse for this Vikings team. The Seahawks only allowed six passing touchdowns this season, which was the lowest in the league. Opposing wide receivers caught only 56% of their 301 targets for 2123 yards, which is was ranked as the third lowest amount in the league.
2) Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs -The Texans defense was a disaster to begin the season, but after straightening things out, they ended up being one of the best against the pass. On the season, the Texans allowed 16 passing touchdowns and a 56% completion rate on 316 targets. The 2201 receiving yards is ranked as the fifth-best in the league.
3) Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Bengals allowed 12 passing touchdowns on the season while holding opposing wide receivers to a 59% completion rate on 355 targets.
Best DvP Matchups – WR
1) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers are by far the worst against the pass this week and about as bad as you can get defensively for any of the teams against any position. The Steelers allowed 19 passing touchdowns on the season with 63% of 368 targets getting completed. The 3088 receiving yards ended up being the most allowed in the league.
2) Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers – Make no mistake about it, while the Steelers certainly had issues against the pass, the Redskins aren’t far behind them. They allowed 23 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, which was the fourth-most in the league. The Redskins gave up a decent amount of yards with 2818, but only allowed 58% of 317 targets to be caught.
3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans – For as good as the Chiefs defense was this season, they still had some issues against the pass. The Chiefs allowed 19 touchdowns to wide receivers, but only allowed 56% of the 373 targets to be caught. The 2844 receiving yards ranked as the seventh-most in the league.
Worst DvP Matchups – TE
1) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans – The Chiefs had a stranglehold on the tight end position all season, as they come into the postseason ranked number one. The Chiefs allowed three passing touchdowns to opposing tight ends with a 54% completion rate on 121 targets.
2) Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Bengals is the only team to allow just one touchdown to opposing tight ends this season. It’s quite amazing when you figure the Bengals allowed a 67% completion rate on 149 targets and 1009 receiving yards, which is the third-most given up this season.
3) Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs– The Texans allowed five passing touchdowns to opposing tight ends with a 58% completion rate on 124 targets.
Best DvP Matchups – TE
1) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals – Once again, the Steelers faltering when it comes to defending against the pass. Opposing tight ends caught eight touchdowns, which is ranked for the fifth-most in the league. 60% of the 144 targets were completed for 914 yards.
2) Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings – Finally, a position the Seahawks are weak at defending. Opposing tight ends caught eight touchdowns this season with a 67% completion rate on 109 targets.
3) Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins – Kirk Cousins favorite target in Jordan Reed has a decent matchup against the Packers. Tight ends caught seven touchdowns this season, but only completed 54% of their 136 targets for 803 yards.
Last Week’s Leaders
Last 3 Weeks Leaders
Lineup Quick Hits
QB To Build Lineups Around…
Kirk Cousins ($5,900) – I can’t believe it myself, first week of the playoffs and I have Kirk freaking Cousins as the quarterback I like the most. Cases can be made for any quarterback this week (ehhh, maybe not Bridgewater) but I think Cousins has the best opportunity to go off this week. As I mentioned earlier, no one feels locked in as much as Cousins right now. Throwing 11 touchdowns in his last three games and completing 65/89 passes, or 73%, Cousins is in a great spot against a relatively average Packers defense. I really don’t think the Packers will have an answer if the Redskins will start pouring it on. At just $5,900, Cousins is my guy this week.
WR To Pair Him With…
Jordan Reed. ($6,300) – Yes, Reed is a tight end, but I’m allowed the break the rules in my own article. Reed at $6,300 feels cheap for the production he’s done this season. Reed has caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. Most of his damage has come with Cousins hot streak, which is no coincidence. Since week 14, Reed has caught 29/31 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns. To say Reed is Cousins favorite target is an understatement. This QB/TE stack is only going to run you for $12,200, leaving you an average of $5,400 per player to fill out the rest of your lineup.
The Top RB Will Be…
UPDATE: Marshawn Lynch is OUT for Wild Card Weekend. Christine Michael and Bryce Brown will likely start in his place
Marshawn Lynch ($6,500) The only problem with these playoff games, is that the picks for who to roster aren’t really that sneaky. Quite honestly, they’re mostly obvious. With that being said, I give you Lynch as the top RB of the week. As I mentioned above, I think this one will be over quick and resorted to the Seahawks winding down the clock. It’s been an injury plagued season for Lynch, but on average with the Seahawks, he’s averaging 17.8 carries per game. It is completely not out of the realm to think Lynch will reach that and maybe even provide some decent garbage time points. I also believe that Lynch coming back brings down the value of Russell Wilson, as he won’t be pressured to throw as much in this contest.