NFL Wild Card Value Picks

Quarterback

With a small slate of games this weekend you’re quarterback choices are limited. So let’s run through the matchups. Houston and Kansas City has all the makings of a low scoring game. These are two defensive dominated teams and this matchup should be low scoring and slow paced, not places of high value for Fantasy NFL contests. Same can be said about Minnesota and Seattle. While Seattle’s offense is explosive, we saw what they did against the strong defensive front of the Cardinals last weekend, I’m saving my quarterback pick for an easier matchup.

The weakest pass defense of the weekend is by far the Steelers, but with the Bengals current quarterback situation, its hard to say anything for sure. In all likelihood AJ McCarron will be taking the field, but there is the small chance Andy Dalton will return for the game. Either way, they both should be able to provide great value with this matchup, just make sure you keep your eye on the injury report and you get the right one in.

Although the Bengals have a strong pass defense, it seems like nobody is able to stop Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown this year. I expect them to have a big game, but I also expect ownership to be very high on these two, so I’m playing the contrarian strategy and avoiding the Steelers stack.

Last we have Washington and Green Bay. This has all the makings for a classic shootout and I think there will be value on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers has been very subpar this entire season, but he has been to the playoffs before and I think he will perform. Kirk Cousins on the other hand has been red hot and putting up big numbers, and that does not look to be stopping anytime soon. You’re probably going to find lower ownership with Rodgers so I’ll give him the edge in a tournament, but based on his performance this year, that may be a risky play.

Running Back

Our premium running backs for the week are Adrian Peterson, Deangelo Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Jeremy Hill, Characandrick West, and Eddie Lacy. As of now Williams looks to be out for this weekend so lets rule him out now (even if he were playing I don’t love the matchup). Marshawn Lynch will be returning but with the offensive efficiency of the Seahawks lately, its hard to say they will need to make much use of him so I am staying away from Beast mode as well. The Vikings may find it hard to pass against the dominating defense and will certainly run the ball a lot to Peterson, but he has not been as dominant this year as in years past and the Seahawks may shut him down. West as well is facing a tough defense, especially recently, so my recommendation is stay away from any Chiefs back.

So we are left with Hill and Lacy, both on the cheap end as far as premium running backs go. The way the Bengals use Hill and Bernard is very dependent on the matchup. They utilize Hill to run the ball up the middle while Bernard is valued more highly for his speed in screen passes and short drops. This matchup may be better for Bernard than Hill, and Bernard comes at a much cheaper price. Not a bad pick for this week. Lacy is the only premium back I like for this week. Like Hill, he could take a backseat position to Starks but I think Lacy has asserted himself as the primary back after early struggles in the season.

If you are looking for value at Running back however, there is a lot to be found. Starks and Bernard, as previously mentioned, will both only cost you less that $4000 on Fanpicks. Alfred Morris and Pierre Thomas both are a threat to accumulate fantasy value with their run and pass threat. The real value pick of the week is Jonathan Grimes, who put together a big game last weekend and comes at only $2700.

Wide Receiver

The same analysis on Quarterbacks applies to receivers as well. We want to stick with the good matchups: Steelers/Bengals and Packers/Redskins. Skipping out on Antonio Brown may just cost you a win, but I think there is more upside potential on fading Brown, especially for NFL Daily Fantasy Tournaments type contests. AJ Green should be able to put up some big numbers this week regardless of who gets the starting position at Quarterback.

I also like Desean Jackson or Pierre Garcon if you are looking to save a little money at the position. We know Cousins is going to throw the ball and we know he is going to throw it a lot. He may throw a couple interceptions but that doesn’t hurt his fantasy value too bad. It all just depends on which receiver can manage to get open between these two and Reed.

A good contrarian stack is Rodgers and either Cobb or Jones. They haven’t done much this year and are not on many people radar, but like I said before, the Packers know the playoffs. Cobb should get more targets but Jones is more of a long threat. The choice is up to you, I’m going Cobb.

Tight End

For me, the viable tight ends for this week are Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert. While you can make the argument for Heath Miller and Richard Rodgers, I think you will find much more value with Eifert and Reed. Reed is an obvious pick as he has had some very big games lately and is arguably the top tight end in the league. However, that also means he is going to come with a high ownership level, bad news for a tournament play.

That’s why I’m going with Eifert. I can’t stress enough how weak Pittsburgh is against the pass as all of their games end up turning into a shootout. Eifert will especially benefit if Dalton returns this weekend as there is usually great synergy between the two.

Posted in NFL

Wild Card Stacks to Look Out For

Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger

STAY AWAY FROM THIS STACK. At least for tournaments. This has been the most valuable stack all this year and in most likelihood, will be the best stack this weekend as well. But everybody is thinking that, and I expect the ownership on both of these players to be upwards of 50 percent. For those of you who aren’t DFS experts out there, high ownership is a bad thing. Think about it this way. If you stack the Steelers, just like all of your opponents, and they do well, then your still on the same level as 80 percent of your opponents and not guaranteed to win much money. However, if they have a bad game and you avoid that stack, they you are already ahead of 80 percent of your opponents and in the running to win some big money. So take my advice here, and avoid the Steelers if you are playing in a tournament type of contest.

Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed

This may be another highly owned stack, not quite as high as the steelers but Reed and Cousins have shown how dangerous they can be together with multiple games this season with 2 receiving touchdowns by Reed. The Skins are facing the struggling Packers as well. Cousins’ aggressive play gives him a very high fantasy upside.

Aaron Rodgers and James Jones/Randall Cobb/Richard Rodgers

Its hard to figure out who is going to be Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target each game. From week to week it can be any of the three, personally, I give the edge to James Jones since he always seems to get the long balls and red zone threats. Nobody is expecting much from Rodgers after a lackluster season so far but he has been here before, and he will show up for the playoffs. This is my favorite stack for the weekend, you just have to decide for yourself which receiver you think is going to get the targets.

Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin

This stack could be valuable as the synergy between these two has been very solid as of late. Maclin seems to have taken over as Smith’s favorite receiver. However, facing the Houston defense may be a difficult task and it seems like the Chiefs have taken on a run first offense. You can guarantee the ownership will be lower on this stack than most other stacks so there is a high upside, but the matchup is not great. If you are entering multiple lineups, maybe throw this stack in one of them and roll the dice.

Posted in NFL

Week 15 Stacks to Watch Out For

Carolina Panthers versus the Giants

No need to tell you how unstoppable the Panthers have been this year. Newton is the frontrunner in the MVP race and their winning record speaks for itself. However, they may be missing their star tight end Greg Olsen, who left the game early with a knee injury. Weather he plays or not, he may be a risky pick. If Olsen is limited that will mean more targets for Ginn and Funchess, especially Ginn who has shown he has the speed to separate from defenders and get open for a long ball.

The primary reason this stack looks so promising however is more about their matchup. The Giants have by far been the weakest at against defending the pass this year allowing an average of 314.5 passing yards per game this year, far more than the second place on this list (Steelers at 279 passing yards per game).

Packers Stack

If you are looking for a stack that may be less owned (more upside in a tournament) the Packers may be your choice. While Aaron Rodgers has been struggling lately and the Packers were all run game last weekend, we all know what Aaron Rodgers is capable of with that offense. The Raiders, while weak against both, are better at defending the run than the pass, allowing an average of 271 passing yards per game this year (putting them 5th on that list) but are 12 on lowest rushing yards allowed with just over 100 per game.

James Jones and Randall Cobb are the best picks as far as receivers go. Cobb is a definite favorite target of Rodgers’ and he always seems to be able to find Jones for a long ball. While Richard Rodgers is a red zone threat, I doubt he will be able to match his 2 touchdown performance from 2 weeks ago and he doesn’t get many targets otherwise.

Cardinals Stack

Another matchup that has serious potential is the Arizona Cardinals against the Eagles. The Eagles have been struggling to stop the pass this year and Carson Palmer and his receivers have been red hot. While Larry Fitzgerald has been quite as of late, he is the veteran of this team and always shows up in the clutch. However, the Eagles real weakness lies in their secondary, typically leaving the long ball open. This is where John Brown and Michael Floyd generate their value. Each had a long touchdown last week against the Vikings for over 40 yards and with their speed, they will have no problem getting open down the field against Philly’s pass defense.

Posted in NFL