Remember how tough it was to put together Saturday and Sunday DFS lineups for the first round of the NFL playoffs? If you don’t, you’ll be reminded next week, but from now on, wild-card weekend will feature two three-game slates. That one extra game makes a big difference when hunting for potential value sleepers, and our FanDuel tournament lineup takes advantage.
Our central strategy revolves around trusting the Steelers’ high-volume passing game and paying up for one of the most automatic players in all of fantasy. From there, we’re taking a few chances with a disappointing WR, backup RB, and contrarian D/ST, but you have to do that with at least a few roster spots on a three-game slate.
Wild Card Sunday DraftKings Picks: NFL DFS tournament playoff lineup
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Browns ($6,100). Since the start of Week 7, Roethlisberger averaged 44.3 pass attempts per game. The Steelers can’t run, so Big Ben will likely air it out often again. Cleveland is a below-average pass defense that just allowed 315 yards and two TDs to Pittsburgh’s backup QB, so you know Roethlisberger can put up numbers.
RB Derrick Henry, Titans vs. Ravens ($9,200). It’s tempting to fade Henry on DraftKings because of the full-point PPR scoring, but when a back is running for 100-plus yards and scoring almost every week, it doesn’t really matter if he’s catching just one pass. Henry is a machine, and he had no problems running all over the Ravens back in Week 11 (133 yards, TD). Baltimore’s defense is healthier now, but it’s still a major risk to fade Henry, who always has multi-TD upside even if he’s being limited on the ground.
FULL-SLATE WILD CARD DFS: DraftKings | FanDuel
RB Gus Edwards, Ravens @ Titans ($4,400). This is definitely a contrarian pick, as Edwards isn’t a lead running back, nor does he catch many passes. But the Baltimore bruiser still gets his touches, shown by his 27 carries over the final two weeks of the regular season. He totaled 145 rushing yards and actually had three catches for 47 yards in that span, too. He didn’t score, but he has the potential to pop in a touchdown (or two) in any game. Against a Tennessee defense allowing the fifth-most DK points per game to RBs, he’s an especially good value option.
WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers vs. Browns ($6,200). Even as the fourth highest-priced WR on the slate, Johnson will be highly owned in DraftKings full-point PPR format. He’s caught at least eight passes in five of his past seven games, and he’s scored in three of his past five. It’s always tough to predict which Steelers wideout will have the biggest game, but Johnson has the highest floor.
SATURDAY WILD CARD DFS: DraftKings | FanDuel
WR Marquise Brown, Ravens @ Titans ($5,400). Brown loses a little value in DraftKings full-point PPR format, but after scoring in five of his past six games and averaging 56.3 yards per contest in that span, he still has plenty of value in this highly favorable matchup. Given his mid-tier price point, he’ll likely be heavily owned, but a little chalk is fine when you’re talking about a big-play receiver like Hollywood.
WR Rashard Higgins, Browns @ Steelers ($4,100). Speaking of receivers nicknamed “Hollywood,” we’re also getting the underrated Higgins on our squad. He’s quietly been a solid-floor player down the stretch, averaging 4.5 catches and 73.5 yards per game in his past four outings. Pittsburgh has steadily improved throughout the year against wide receivers, but Cleveland could have a tougher time running and be forced to air it out more, which means Higgins will be busy as both a deep and intermediate threat. At just $4,100, he’s an excellent value for a WR3.
SUNDAY WILD CARD DFS: FanDuel
TE Eric Ebron, Steelers vs. Browns ($3,700). This is a fairly deep TE slate, but we’ve decided to go with a mid-priced, boom-or-bust guy in a favorable matchup. Cleveland allowed the fifth-most DK points per game to TEs this year, and Ebron has shown the ability to rack up catches and find the end zone. In his past five games, he had three outings with at least five receptions, including two seven-catch efforts.
FLEX Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Bears ($6,300). Thomas is set to return from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the final three games of the regular season. Despite failing to score all year, he had started to heat up prior to his injury, posting 7.5 catches and 85.8 yards per game in his final four outings. It’s unclear how much he’ll be slowed by his injury, but Thomas remains one of the best WRs in the NFL. Getting him at anything less than top dollar on DraftKings is a value.
D/ST Chicago Bears @ Saints ($2,800). Many will opt for the Saints or Steelers D/STs, and while they’re solid, they’re also high priced and chalky. The Bears don’t have an easy matchup, but Drew Brees has thrown some bad picks down the stretch. If Chicago can get some pressure, they could make a big play or two, which is all we need for this contrarian pick to pay off.
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