There are a lot of different ways to handcuff players in fantasy football but in the world of DFS, there’s no method more valuable than pairing a quarterback to his stud receiver. It’s always better to get double the points from two players on the same team having a big game. Now that the playoffs are underway, here are the Top 5 QB/WR handcuffs to consider for your DraftKings lineups:
#5) Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb
The Packers’ offense woke up in the Wild Card round…sort of. Some of that has to do with the Redskins’ defense, while Green Bay’s running game was a big factor as well.
Obviously, Rodgers and Cobb will be stepping up in competition when they face Arizona Saturday night. One only has to look back three weeks ago when the Cardinals’ defense smothered Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. Rodgers was held to 11 fantasy points in that game; Cobb only scored 4.7 points.
Cobb didn’t have a huge game against Washington. He caught three passes for 38 yards but he did manage to score. Cobb was also used some in the backfield; carrying the ball five times for 24 yards. Cobb’s 15.2 points last week was only the second time since Week 9 that he scored 15+ fantasy points.
Rodgers scored 18 fantasy points. It was his best game since Week 14. Rodgers still hasn’t topped 20 fantasy points since Week 13 against the Lions and he needed a last second Hail Mary for a touchdown to get it in that game.
Rodgers exploited a favorable matchup last week. It won’t be nearly as easy this time but the duo is still worth a look in what could be a high-scoring game.
#4) Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are both dealing with injuries, so they’re not in the Top 5 this week. Instead, look at the opposing QB/WR tandem of Manning and Thomas.
Update: Antonio Brown has been downgraded to OUT this weekend.
The draw here is Thomas. The Steelers were terrible at defending receivers this season. Pittsburgh’s defense allowed the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers. The first time these two teams met in Week 15 Thomas scored twice and put up 23.1 fantasy points with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. Thomas has topped 18 points nine times this year.
Manning replaced Osweiler in the season finale against the Chargers and was efficient. He completed 5-of-9 passes for 69 yards. The Steelers get to the quarterback but their secondary can be exploited. The Steelers gave up the 12th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Manning has only scored 15+ fantasy points in four games this year with the last one coming in Week 9 but he should do enough against Pittsburgh this weekend to warrant a start.
Manning and Thomas have by far the best matchup of the weekend. If Manning can make a couple of throws against man coverage, this handcuff has a shot to put up big numbers against the weakest defense left in the playoffs.
#3) Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin
Wilson was red hot before he went up against the Vikings’ defense and frozen conditions in Minnesota last week.
Wilson was shut down for much of the game and only finished with 10.8 fantasy points. Baldwin didn’t have a big game either but he did catch Wilson’s only touchdown pass. The score helped Baldwin finish with 15.2 points.
Baldwin has lived in the end zone over the second half of the year. Baldwin scored 12 touchdowns in his final eight games of the regular season. Only five receivers in the NFL had as many touchdowns all season as Baldwin had in his final eight games. He only had three catches for 23 yards when Seattle played Carolina in Week 6 but that was before Baldwin became a bigger part of the Seahawks’ offense.
Baldwin will see his share of Josh Norman on Sunday but beyond Norman the Panthers’ secondary is thin. Because of injuries, Carolina is down to Cortland Finnegan and Robert McClain. Baldwin plays a lot in the slot though, so he’s not likely to see shadow coverage from Norman.
Wilson scored 18 points the first time the two teams met. He’s going to need a big effort again from both his arm and legs. Back in Week 6, Wilson threw for 241 yards and rushed for 53 more.
The Panthers are rested but injuries in the secondary have made the defense more susceptible late in the year. Wilson and Baldwin will be a tough test for them this week.
#2) Carson Palmer and Michael Floyd
The Cardinals dismantled the Packers 38-8 back in Week 15. Carson Palmer didn’t have to throw a lot in that game but he was still a solid 18-of-27 for 265 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Palmer spread the ball around against the Packers. Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown each caught a touchdown pass but his favorite receiver was Floyd. Floyd caught six balls for 111 yards. He scored 20 fantasy points and over the second half of the year Floyd recorded 20+ points five times.
Palmer averaged 9.81 yards per attempt in his first meeting against the Packers. That was his fourth best average of the year. The Packers’ secondary has struggled giving up big plays all year. It’s a bad matchup for them versus Palmer and his trio of talented receivers.
Palmer can be paired with any of his receivers this week but Floyd comes in at a salary of $5,100, compared to Fitzgerald’s $$6,500 and Brown’s $5,200. Given Floyd’s success against Green Bay his first time out and his lower price tag, we’ll go with him as the best handcuff option with Palmer this week.
#1) Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
Edelman will be returning from a broken bone in his left foot Saturday night. It’s a tough matchup against the Chiefs but having Edelman back is a big boost to Tom Brady and New England’s offense.
Brady was held in check at the end of the regular season when injuries to his offensive line and receivers limited the Patriots’ offense. Brady hasn’t scored 20 fantasy points since Week 13 against the Eagles. He sprained his ankle in the season finale versus Miami but is expected to be 100 percent for Saturday’s game.
Edelman won’t have any limitations either and his return couldn’t come at a better time for the Patriots. Edelman is so good at running underneath routes that it allows Brady to get rid of the ball quickly. Having Edelman back not only gives Brady his top receiver, it also helps solve some of New England’s offensive line issues. Edelman should easily top double-digit targets in this game.
The Chiefs have been tough against receivers all year but as we saw in last year’s Super Bowl, Edelman is really matchup proof because New England moves him all over the field. Edelman has scored at least 17 points in five of the eight games he’s completed this year.
Weather could be an issue Saturday night. Heavy rains and winds are a possibility by kickoff. Brady is one of the best bad weather quarterbacks in NFL history and Edelman does a lot of his damage running underneath routes. No matter how you slice it, the Brady/Edelman handcuff is one of the top plays on the board this week and worth their combined salary of $14,500.