DraftKings.com NFL DFS Wild Card Round Picks and Plays for Cash Game and GPP Lineups
The 2018 NFL Wild Card Round is here, and everyone is looking to play for the big daily fantasy football money at DraftKings. Throughout the playoffs, we’ll bring you our top NFL DFS picks at each position, separating them into Cash and GPP plays.
As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and various other factors. This is important to remember when constructing a roster at any of the daily fantasy sports sites.
Weather will play a key factor in NFL games going forward, so make sure to check the forecast for each Sunday. Wind is our real enemy on the daily fantasy football front.
Best Wild Card Round NFL DFS Quarterback Plays
Drew Brees vs. CAR ($6.4K DraftKings) – Cash
While I prefer Drew Brees in Cash over GPP, either works. The veteran finds himself on a contender with home field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. In two meetings against Carolina this season, Brees scored 20.8 and 14.46 DraftKings points, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. But he’s always been an elite quarterback at The Superdome. Plus, the stakes are high enough that we should see peak Brees. What’s more, in the past 10 years, Brees has thrown for eight touchdowns in three home playoff games. He’s also undefeated at home as a New Orleans Saint in the playoffs. With Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram all having terrific years, and with a legitimate defense, Brees may have the best opportunity at another Super Bowl run that he’s going to see in his career.
Cam Newton @ NO ($6.5K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
Though the Saints are six-point favorites, Cam Newton is an intriguing Cash option this week thanks to his rushing upside. In the final 10 weeks of the season, Newton rushed for at least 50 yards in eight of them. That’s worth more than a passing touchdown. With a solid floor and two 20-point DK performances against New Orleans this year, and with the likelihood that he’ll be playing from behind, Newton gives you strong upside in both Cash games and GPPs.
Jared Goff vs. ATL ($6.7K DraftKings) – GPP
Though I prefer Newton and Brees, Jared Goff is a close third, mostly due to his upside. The Atlanta Falcons don’t have a bad defense by any means, but they rank 19th in passing DVOA and are playing on the road as 5.5-point underdogs. Of course, the LA Rams will hope to run their offense through Todd Gurley. Yet the Falcons aren’t terrible against the run, allowing the ninth fewest yards per game. I don’t think they can stop Gurley, but the Falcons have racked up just eight interceptions on defense this season and rank 21st in opponent passer rating. The Rams would be foolish not to get Goff involved. He’s a GPP-only play in my book.
Alex Smith vs. TEN ($6.3K DraftKings) – GPP
Alex Smith has never really been the focal point of this offense, but he manages the game so well. And he has, this season, flashed upside on numerous occasions. I’m terrified of an Andy Reid blowup spot here where the Chiefs’ promising season somehow ends against the Titans, but any logic suggests otherwise. The Titans barely found their way into the playoffs, and they have losses in three of their last four. Smith, meanwhile, is just a month removed from a 40-point DK outing against the Jets. Honestly, I’m not sure the current Titans are that much better than the Jets. They’re 28th in passing DVOA and seventh in rushing. Smith is an intriguing GPP play since he may be tasked with more of the workload should the Tennessee defense limit Kareem Hunt.
Best Wild Card Round NFL DFS Running Back Plays
Leonard Fournette vs. BUF ($7.4K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
The Bills can’t stop the run; they rank 29th in rushing DVOA. However, the rest of their defense is pretty good. They’ve allowed the second fewest passing touchdowns, are tied for sixth in interceptions, and have allowed the sixth-lowest passer rating. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette is a workhorse back with some upside. And I haven’t even mentioned how the Bills have allowed a league-worst 22 rushing touchdowns this season.
Todd Gurley vs. ATL ($9.7K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
I outlined above how Atlanta’s defense isn’t terrible, and how they have been better than average against the run. But they also rank 22nd in DVOA against RBs catching passes out of the backfield. Gurley is a freak athlete, multi-faceted, and expensive to roster. But I don’t see how, on a short slate, you don’t force him into as many lineups as you can. Given his raw point upside, I think you might need him in all formats, but especially in Cash.
Charcandrick West vs. TEN ($4.2K DraftKings) – GPP
A true shot in the dark, Charcandrick West is merely a flyer on a GPP lineup or two. But given that Andy Reid is in another playoff game, anything’s on the table. The Titans aren’t a good football team, but I don’t expect this game to be a blowout. I just expect it to be fairly lopsided and sloppy. Kareem Hunt isn’t a lock to perform against a Titans defense that ranks seventh in rushing DVOA (second-best on the slate). The weather is expected to be clear, but it’s also going to be cold. I expect a tight Chiefs offense that gets West worked into the passing game. The Titans rank 31st vs. RBs receiving out of the backfield.
Mark Ingram vs. CAR ($6.9K DraftKings) – Cash
While he’s in committee, Mark Ingram is having the best season of his career by a wide margin. On a short slate, I can’t believe he’s just $600 more than Devonta Freeman, who I think has a very unappealing road matchup across the country. Ingram has scored 24 or more DraftKings points in four of his last seven games, and three of those games were at home. Guess what? The Saints are at home against the Panthers, upon whom Ingram dropped 24.2 DK points in early December. He has 30+ DK-point upside and is nearly $3K cheaper than Gurley. Ingram nets out very nicely when considering floor, ceiling, home field advantage, -6 point spread, and his reasonable salary.
Best Wild Card Round NFL DFS Wide Receiver Plays
Albert Wilson vs. TEN ($3.3K DraftKings) – GPP/Cash
If he’s in, you should at least consider playing him. Albert Wilson is questionable as it stands midway through the week, but he has 19 targets in the past two games (granted Tyreek Hill and Alex Smith didn’t play in the last game). The Titans have a defense ranking 25th in DVOA. With focus on Hill, Travis Kelce, and Hunt, I expect Wilson to be a nice under-the-radar option who actually has upside for eight targets at just $3.3K. Oh, and last week he caught 10 of 11 targets for 147 yards. He’s not Tyreek Hill, but Wilson is a high-upside option for this salary range.
Corey Davis @ KC ($3.6K DraftKings) – GPP
It’s tough to feel great about Corey Davis. After all, I’ve spent most of the season being wrong about him. However, in Week 16 he showed signs of life with six catches on nine targets for 91 yards against the Rams, who struggle against wideouts. The Chiefs also struggle against wideouts. Their defense ranks 29th in DVOA, and Davis has upside at this price, though I don’t see much of a floor. GPP only for the rookie.
Michael Thomas ($7.8K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
As with his quarterback, I prefer Michael Thomas in Cash. The Saints’ top wideout has racked up 157 yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions in two matchups against the Panthers this year. History suggests his floor in this matchup is probably the highest of any other wideout on the slate not named Julio Jones. With just two single-digit games this season, Thomas is a remarkable bedrock of stability. He’s a very good option in Cash this week, as the Saints boast the second-highest implied total on the slate.
Julio Jones @ LAR ($8.0K DraftKings) – GPP
On the road as 5.5 point underdogs? That spells trouble for a Falcons team that is very particular in the way its offense operates. This week, against a Rams team eager for a long-awaited return to contention, the Falcons will likely not be afforded the opportunity to run the ball much. As much as they don’t want Matt Ryan forcing passes, Atlanta’s best route to victory is getting Julio Jones involved as much as possible. That’s easier said than done. But Jones provides DFS players with the highest upside at the position. He’ll have a gameflow that likely forces Ryan to go to work early and often in the passing game.
Secondary options: Kelvin Benjamin, Robert Woods, Tyreek Hill, Devin Funchess
Best Wild Card Round NFL DFS Tight End Plays
Greg Olsen @ NO ($5.0K DraftKings) – GPP
Though he managed just one catch on nine targets in Week 17 against the Falcons, Greg Olsen must move the chains in this game for Carolina to have a shot. This certainly isn’t an ideal matchup, as the Saints rank fifth in TE DVOA, but that’s not enough to scare me off Olsen. He’s a vital cog in this offense, as was displayed against Green Bay last month when he caught nine passes for 116 yards and a score. He seems to be in playing shape and, for what it’s worth, hasn’t had to endure a season’s worth of on-field wear. If the Panthers do anything on offense this week, I expect it’ll be Olsen and Newton doing it.
Travis Kelce vs. TEN ($7.1K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
There’s merit in fading Travis Kelce in GPPs if you want to be ultra-contrarian, but the Chiefs’ tight end really does have a plum matchup this week. The Titans rank 24th in TE DVOA, and Kelce has been a monster all season. His 30+ point upside is a rarity at the position, which means, if Kelce goes off, you’re dead in the water if you don’t have him. I think he’s a near-lock in Cash, but I highly recommend him in a two-TE set on DK in GPPs.
Best Wild Card Round NFL DFS Defense Plays
Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST vs. BUF ($4.4K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
The Buffalo Bills barely limped into the playoffs. With no real passing game outside of Charles Clay and a battered LeSean McCoy, they could be in trouble. Meanwhile, the Jags have the best secondary in the NFL. And I don’t think McCoy (currently questionable to play) will be in good enough condition to be the threat he normally is. The Bills also have the lowest implied total on the slate of 16.25, making the Jags D/ST an excellent play in both Cash and GPP.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST vs. TEN ($4.0K DraftKings) – Cash/GPP
The Titans have the second-lowest implied total on the slate, and, even in a must-win game last week that they ultimately did win, Tennessee just couldn’t muster any offense. Honestly, I’m not sure this team belongs in the playoffs, but they’re here. Kansas City found a late-season push to put away the AFC West and appear to be back on track. I think Tennessee is out of their league here.