Every week, we as DFS participants, have choices to make. Do we want to go contrarian? What high-level player are we paying for? Who is someone we are staying away from? What’s the best value this week? Lastly, what stack is the one to consider this week? What I’ve done is answered all those questions in one article. Below you’ll find the top player for each of the questions above.
High-Level Must Start: Tom Brady $7800
When you look at this week’s quarterbacks, almost all are in play, but not all are must starts. Since Aaron Rodgers is not fully healthy, the next quarterback I’m comfortable rolling with is Tom Brady. He has thrown 19 touchdowns and three interceptions in Gillette Stadium this season. In his career, Brady has thrown 43 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in the post season. He’s one of these quarterbacks who elevates his game in the playoffs. The Ravens allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season. They also allowed 249 passing yards per game. They closed out the season strong, but didn’t face any strong quarterbacks. The Ravens weakness is defending the pass, I’m expecting the Patriots to take advantage of that and throw plenty. The game is in Foxboro where it’s expected to be below 20 degrees, this is Brady’s type of game. Look for him to be able to dissect this defense.
Great Value: Joe Flacco $6900
Just like Brady, Flacco is another quarterback who steps up his game in the post season. In his last seven post season games, Flacco has thrown 17 touchdowns and just one interception. He has five touchdowns and one pick in the last two playoff games against the Patriots, both of which were in Gillette Stadium. He’s the second cheapest quarterback of this week’s games and has been successful against the Patriots before. This game doesn’t have shootout written all over it, but a couple of touchdowns and 250+ yards isn’t out of reach for Flacco.
Contrarian Play: Jonathan Stewart $4800
I’m not a huge fan of Stewart this weekend and neither is the general consensus, but that’s exactly why he makes a good contrarian play. The Seahawks are stout against the run. In the last six weeks of the season, they didn’t any 100 rushing yard games and gave up just one touchdown. For the season, they yielded just eight touchdowns. On the Brightside, earlier this season, when the Panthers played the Seahawks, Stewart averaged 4.9 yards per carry. You can also take into account that you’re getting a volume back at a low price. If you do start Stewart, temper your expectations, but know that not many other people will have him in their lineups. Therefore, if he hits, you are golden.
Player to fade: Cam Newton $6700
Newton heads to Seattle to play the best defense in the NFL and the most hostile environment. There’s really not much to like about this matchup for Newton. The Seahawks gave up just 17 passing touchdowns this season. Only one quarterback threw for more than 300 yards against their defense. In fact, they only allowed two touchdowns and held all quarterbacks they face below 250 passing yards since Week 11. They didn’t surrender a rushing touchdown to a quarterback this season, so what could have been Newton’s advantage, is not so much of an advantage against this defense. In their last meeting, Newton threw for 171 yards and one interception, and scored just 7,24 fantasy points. My expectations for the Panthers offense are low; therefore, I’m steering away from Newton.
Stack Play: Tom Brady $7800 to Julian Edelman $6400
As I mentioned above, I’m high on Brady this week. With that said, he has to connect with someone on his team. Most would probably steer towards pairing him up with Rob Gronkowski, which is fine. However, I like Julian Edelman a lot. The Ravens have a strong pass rush, so there’s a good chance that the Patriots throw a lot of quick and short passes. Edelman is usually the player that receives those targets. Since Week 9, Edelman has five or more receptions in every game he played. He’s also scored three touchdowns in that time frame. The Ravens have been generous to opposing receivers. They allowed 23.8 fantasy points per game, 15 touchdowns, and 271.3 receiving yards per game. At $6400, this could be a steal. Brady will likely look at Edelman’s way often on Saturday.
Defense: Carolina Panthers $2700
This game is the lowest over/under of all games this week. The Panthers defense played much better in all aspects towards the end of the season than they did early on in the year. In the last three games these two teams have played in, there have been 69 points scored total. No team has scored more than 16 points in any of the matchups. This could be another defensive battle and the Panthers are the third cheapest defense. I’m saving the money and rolling with them this week.