This is the playoffs people! That means predictions are a must! Here’s what I got:
Falcons 31 Seahawks 20
Patriots 38 Texans 6
Steelers 23 Chiefs 20
Packers 31 Cowboys 27
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Aaron Rodgers vs DAL, $8,800
I’m really proud of my Wild Card weekend picks. I nailed a lot of the plays. However, upon further review, not writing up the best QB in the league was in fact a horrible mistake. I’m not doing that again and I don’t believe this is an overreaction because Rodgers has been balling out for months now. Yes, losing Jordy Nelson (I don’t believe he plays) is not a positive. However, all eight of Rodgers’ TD passes over the past two weeks have gone to other players and now Randall Cobb is healthy and back in the lineup. With no running game to speak of in Green Bay, Rodgers has continually gotten it done on his own for months now and I believe that continues this week against a Cowboys defense that gave up the 7th most passing yards in the regular season.
Matt Ryan vs SEA, $8,300
Matt Ryan threw only two fewer pass TDs in the regular season than Aaron Rodgers. He had an unbelievable year quarterbacking the Falcons as a team to 540 points in the regular season. That’s 99 more than any other team on this slate. Ryan is my favorite QB playing at home this weekend. If you fade him due to the matchup, just remember that was the mistake many made (Myself included) last week with Aaron Rodgers. Sure, Ryan has a tough test against Seattle but why can’t we also say Seattle has a tough test against Matt Ryan? That’s exactly the kind of question I will be asking myself more often moving forward. Plus, Seattle’s pass defense hasn’t been as stout since Earl Thomas was lost for the season.
Tom Brady vs HOU, $8,600
Tom Brady is playing at home in the playoffs. I really don’t care what defense he’s going up against. He’s in play no matter what. Just go back and check his numbers against Seattle in his last Super Bowl if you’re worried about this matchup with Houston. I fully expect this game to be a blowout one way or another and if it comes in the form of a Brady 3-4 TD game, you could be sitting pretty near the top of your GPP leaderboard come Sunday morning. LeGarrette Blount missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to illness could end up being a positive for Brady as well.
Dak Prescott vs GB, $7,700
Dak Prescott is fully in play if you’re looking to save a bit of salary cap space at QB this week. He’s playing at home in my favorite DFS game of the week against a Packers defense that gave up the 2nd most passing yards and tied for the 3rd most pass TDs allowed in the regular season. I believe Aaron Rodgers stays in the flames and gets another W which should force Dallas to throw more in this one, ultimately improving Prescott’s final game numbers.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Le’Veon Bell vs KC, $9,900
Le’Veon Bell is once again the best RB play on the slate. I believe the Steelers win in a close one and Bell will be the major reason why. The Steelers would be wise to give Bell 30+ touches in this one just like they did last week as the Chiefs defense gave up the 7th most rushing yards in the regular season. Bell will have no problem turning high volume into production on Sunday.
Devonta Freeman vs SEA, $7,600
Devonta Freeman is the #1 RB on a team that tied The Greatest Show on Turf for the 7th most points scored in regular season history. Playing at home in a game I believe the Falcons win somewhat comfortably, Freeman should benefit from positive game flow. However, he’s also plenty active in the passing game as well as he averaged 4 targets per game while finishing 3rd on the team in targets in the regular season. Freeman is a dual-threat back with multi-TD upside in this one. His matchup against the Seahawks doesn’t look great on paper, yet I believe talent, opportunity and situation are the more important factors to pay attention to here.
Ezekiel Elliott vs GB, $8,500
Ezekiel Elliott is a fine play at home in my favorite DFS game of the week. Green Bay’s run defense looks good on paper but Elliott has already proven he is matchup proof this season. Look no further than the 157 rushing yards he put up on this same defense back in Week 6. If Dallas is able to get the win, positive game flow could help Zeke have a monster game. However, I believe Green Bay wins in a close one. If that ends up being the case, game flow could cause Lance Dunbar to be on the field in passing situations more than you would like in the second half. Elliott has not been involved in the passing game as much as Devonta Freeman has which is why I give the slight edge to Freeman. Ultimately, how you believe these games are going to play out should help you determine who your plays are going to be.
LeGarrette Blount vs HOU, $7,300
I’ll keep this simple. LeGarrette Blount has three TD upside playing at home in a game I believe is going to be a blowout. Just monitor his status as he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to an illness.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Plays
Dion Lewis vs HOU, $5,400
In the Patriots’ last three games Dion Lewis has seen 45 carries which is only 6 fewer than LeGarrette Blount. He has seen 50 total touches which is only 1 fewer than Blount. He has ran for 63 more yards than Blount. Obviously Blount has been the TD scorer all season but if Lewis keeps up this production and is able to find the end zone, you’ll be rising up your GPP leaderboard rather quickly.
Tevin Coleman vs SEA, $5,900
Tevin Coleman also sees plenty of run on a team that tied The Greatest Show on Turf for the 7th most points scored in regular season history. He has seen double-digit touches in every game since he returned from injury back in Week 12 and is a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Davante Adams vs DAL, $7,400
If Jordy Nelson misses this game like I expect him to, Davante Adams will be my favorite WR play of the week. Adams has produced all season proving his poor 2015 campaign is well in the rearview mirror. Despite Randall Cobb having the game of his life last week, it was Adams who actually led the Packers in targets with 12. As Rodgers’ #1 WR, Adams should have no problem taking advantage of a Cowboys defense that gave up the 7th most passing yards in the regular season.
Julio Jones vs SEA, $8,300
After having two more weeks to rest his toe/foot, I don’t expect to see Julio Jones limited in any way on Saturday. That’s bad news for a Seattle pass defense that has struggled with Earl Thomas out of the lineup. Jones finished 2nd in the league in receiving yards despite only recording a stat in 14 games, is at home in this one, and plays on a team that tied The Greatest Show on Turf for the 7th most points scored in regular season history. As far as Jones’ individual matchup, Richard Sherman has not historically been a shadow corner and he did not shadow Jones in their meeting earlier this season. I expect Jones to have a big game.
Dez Bryant vs GB, $7,600
Dez Bryant essentially scored 9 TDs in 12 games this season (excluding Week 17 when he hardly played). He’s been very good when healthy and for the most part, has produced in games where the Cowboys have needed him. In a game I believe is going to be close, Dez will certainly be needed to help keep pace with Aaron Rodgers. Game flow should help Bryant have a very good game against a Packers defense that gave up the 2nd most passing yards and tied for the 3rd most pass TDs allowed in the regular season.
Julian Edelman vs HOU, $7,000
In games where Tom Brady played and Rob Gronkowski did not, Julian Edelman averaged 12.8 targets. That’s 2.5 more than Antonio Brown, who leads all players in this slate with 10.3 targets per game over the course of the entire season. In a game I expect to be a blowout, the Patriots will be scoring a lot of points. Volume and situation make Edelman a very juicy play this week.
Randall Cobb vs DAL, $6,500
If Jordy Nelson misses this game like I expect him to, Randall Cobb will be the #2 option for the hottest QB in football right now. We all saw how that played out last week for Cobb.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Mohamed Sanu vs SEA, $5,400
Mohamed Sanu finished 2nd on the Falcons prolific offense in targets this season despite missing a game due to injury. He had a solid game against Seattle earlier this year seeing 10 targets and catching 5 balls for 47 yards and a TD. I expect the Falcons offense to have plenty of success on Saturday and if Sanu benefits from that, he could end up being a fine GPP play.
Jermaine Kearse vs ATL, $4,900
Absolutely no one is going to play Jermaine Kearse this week after he did nothing in the Wild Card round. That makes him a very good GPP play. In the final two games of the regular season, Kearse saw 16 targets. His uptick in usage correlated with the injury to Tyler Lockett. Paul Richardson obviously filled in for Lockett remarkably well last week, but I’m not putting too much weight on just one game. Kearse is still a starting wide receiver and he has a favorable matchup this week against a Falcons defense that gave up the 5th most passing yards and the 5th most pass TDs in the regular season. Don’t forget, Doug Baldwin stole a TD that was intended for Kearse last week. If that corrects itself on Saturday, your GPP lineup will be off to a great start.
Jeremy Maclin vs PIT, $5,500
I don’t love this Steelers at Chiefs game from a DFS perspective. However, Jeremy Maclin does make for an interesting GPP play. We know he has the talent and with Andy Reid having two weeks to prepare for this game, there’s a chance Maclin is more involved in the offense than he was at the end of the regular season.
Terrance Williams vs GB, $4,500
In a game I believe Dak Prescott is going to have to throw a lot in order to keep up with Aaron Rodgers, I don’t think it makes sense for Terrance Williams to be minimum priced. Sure, Williams is extremely volatile but that’s exactly what we’re looking for in a GPP play. Williams has proven he has big play potential in the past and has a chance to get deep on a Packers defense that gave up the 2nd most passing yards and tied for the 3rd most pass TDs allowed in the regular season.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Jared Cook vs DAL, $5,400
If Jordy Nelson misses this game like I expect him to, Jared Cook will once again be my favorite TE play of the week. Cook has seen at least 8 targets in three of his past four games and he saw 9 targets last week with Nelson out for the majority of the game. That’s a healthy amount of targets for a guy catching passes from the hottest QB in football. Plus, Dallas has struggled to defend the TE position all season long.
Travis Kelce vs PIT, $7,100
Of course Travis Kelce has to be in consideration. Kelce led all TEs in receiving yards this season and now we’re only talking about a four game slate. He averaged 7.3 targets per game on the year and in a must win game where I believe the Chiefs lose in a close one, I can see Kelce exceeding his season average on Sunday.
Jimmy Graham vs ATL, $6,800
I expect Jimmy Graham’s ownership percentage to be somewhat low this weekend. That’s rather interesting when you consider Graham has a decent shot to finish as the TE1 on this slate. He gets a matchup with a Falcons defense that gave up the 5th most passing yards and the 5th most pass TDs in the regular season. Plus, there’s a chance Graham proves to be the biggest beneficiary of Tyler Lockett’s injury from a fantasy standpoint in this one.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Play
Jason Witten vs GB, $4,900
Dak Prescott will be making his first playoff start in the NFL on Sunday. In a game I believe Prescott is going to have to throw a lot in order to keep up with Aaron Rodgers, the reliable veteran Jason Witten could prove to be his best friend. Witten has never caught a TD pass in the playoffs and that just doesn’t seem right to me. I can see him catching one this week.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Dan Bailey vs GB, $4,800
Dan Bailey has the benefit of playing in a dome, at home, and in my favorite DFS game of the week. I see him getting multiple field goal opportunities in this one.
Matt Bryant vs SEA, $5,200
Matt Bryant finished the regular season tied for 4th in made field goals and is tied to a team that has scored 99 more points than any other on this slate. He also has the benefit of playing in a dome and has made 6 kicks from 50+.
Top Defense Play Of The Week
New England Patriots vs HOU, $5,100
This slate really just contains the Patriots defense and then everyone else. The Patriots gave up the fewest points on this entire slate, 42 fewer than any other team. Meanwhile, the Texans scored the fewest points on this entire slate, 75 fewer than any other team. Fantasy scoring for defenses isn’t just about points scored though, you need some sacks and turnovers. That’s where Brock Osweiler comes in. Osweiler finished the regular season with more INTs than TD passes and I believe we see more of the same on Saturday in Foxborough.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Defense Play
Atlanta Falcons vs SEA, $4,300
I really just don’t think Seattle has anyone that can block Vic Beasley. It’s really that simple. Beasley led the league in sacks by finishing the regular season with two more than anyone else and we know Seattle’s offensive line is not very good. Plus, while the Seahawks averaged 28.4 points per game at home this season, they only averaged 15.9 points per game on the road. That’s a dramatic split right there. I believe Atalanta wins this game and Seattle’s offense does not look as good as it did last week in the process. All of these factors should benefit the Falcons defense making them a very interesting GPP play.