The regular season is over but for those fantasy junkies out there, you still have some opportunities to make some money the next three weekends.
We have four games to choose players from so we will basically use process of elimination and focus on the players that are worthwhile in helping you build a profitable roster.
Here is a breakdown of players to eliminate and consider, categorized by position.
Forgot about Connor Cook or Brock Osweiler. Our model has that game as the lowest scoring game of the week and you are not going to invest in a rookie QB making his first NFL start or an overpaid and overrated QB like Osweiler.
Also, we will caution you against Aaron Rodgers. He is on fire but the Giants defense is very strong, especially the pass rush. You would need Rodgers at least 24 DK fantasy points to realize 3x his price of $7900. That would equate to 300 yards and 2 TDs with 0 INTs. It's possible but anything less is not good value. Given that the temperature will be 11 degrees F by kickoff and will only get colder, it will be tough for Rodgers to hit the 300 yard mark and he could throw his first INT in a while.
Eli Manning is cheaper but he has really done nothing lately. He has thrown for under 200 yards in 4 of his last 6 games and the one game he did throw for a lot of yards (356 against Philly), he had just 1 TD and 3 INTs. The other game he surpassed 200 yards in that 6 game span was just 201 yards against Detroit and apparently Detroit is awful against the pass. Secondly, Eli has a huge disparity in home and away splits this season where his QB rating drops about 16 points and his completion % by more than 6 points. He will be hard pressed to getting 18 - 20 DK points which is what you need to get 3x value.
That leaves us with 4 more QBs. Matt Moore is interesting. He was brilliant against the Jets but that was the Jets. He did OK against Buffalo and New England. His price is super cheap at $5100 and he will most likely have to play catch up against Pittsburgh. He should hit 250 yards and 1 - 2 TDs if you wish to save money at QB.
Don't waste your time with Matt Stafford. He is not as effective on the road as he is at home and the Seattle pass D is something not to be trifled with at Century Link Field. Also, for the last 10 games, Stafford has just 10 TDs with 6 INTs. He is cheap at $5700 but he could have a single digit DK game on Saturday night so we will pass.
Big Ben is expensive at $7600 but he is very capable of blowing up in this game. However, Roethlisberger hasn't been all that dominant lately and in fact has conceded the offensive production to Le'Veon Bell. Plus Big Ben hasn't done much in his last few postseason games and with frigid conditions, the Steelers may opt to run the ball more frequently, especially with Miami having such a poor run D.
This leaves us with Russell Wilson and he is our favorite QB for this weekend. The Lions allow the highest QB rating and the highest completion percentage. In fact those numbers are eye popping at 106.5 and 72.7%, respectively. Wilson also has a favorable home and away split with significantly better numbers at home this season. He could put up 250 passing yards, 2 - 3 TDs (maybe one of those on the ground), and 40 - 50 rushing yards. That could equate to 22 - 30 DK points which would yield 3x or 4x value given his $7000 price tag.
Wilson is definitely the play this weekend with Moore as a cheaper option if you wish to pay up at other positions.
There are several options here since some of the playoff teams like to use multiple RBs.
Let's start with the three headed monster with the Raiders. Murray is a bit pricey at $5000 and has struggled lately. He also couldn't run the ball well against Houston earlier in the season. Richard is hit or miss so we think DeAndre Washington is the play at $3300. His YPC is solid and he is a dynamic back.
You could roll with Lamar Miller with the Texans at $6100. He is back from injury and the Texans will need to lean on him if they are going to win. The problem is that he does nothing in the receiving game and for Miller to get full value, you need about 100 yards and a TD. Miller did do that against Oakland earlier this season but he has had only 3 such games like that all year. It is risky to use him this week.
Stay away from the Seattle backfield. We love Alex Collins but it's hard to tell if Carroll is going to use him. We feel if the Seahawks advance to the next round, then Collins will be unleashed since you need to hog the clock and keep the Atlanta offense on the sideline if you are going to beat such a prolific offense. Rawls has struggled lately and if you read the analysis on QBs, Seattle seems poised to beat Detroit through the air on Saturday night.
Also, the Detroit backfield is shaky. It's the worst run offense in the league. Zach Zenner has been decent but the Seahawks allow the lowest YPC in the NFL. You might get good value if Zenner continues to be used as a receiver but you have been warned.
That leaves us with 4 more teams and the two strongest RBs this week belong in the early Sunday game. Le'Veon Bell is very, very expensive but he is well rested and faces one of the worst run defenses in the league. The game will be cold so Pittsburgh will look to run, If this game gets out of hand for Miami, which it can, then that is even better for Bell. It is also Bell's first playoff game so he could be amped up for a big day. Getting 30 DK points is what you hope for and Bell has been able to do that in 5 of his last 7 games. You will want to build your roster around him.
Ajayi was quiet for a good portion of the 2nd half of his season and then busted out for 200 yards for the 3rd time this season in his Week 16 game against Buffalo. He is a bit pricey at $6800 though and if Miami is down early, it will be tough for Ajayi to get 100 rushing yards and a TD. He is also not used much as a receiver and center Mike Pouncey is still out. You might be better staying away.
Paul Perkins is interesting. His number of carries per game has increased over the last three weeks and he is a very talented back. If the Giants offense is to wake up, they need to run the ball and that is going to happen with Perkins, not Rashad Jennings. We love his price at $4100 and in frigid conditions, it will make sense to run the ball. The times when the Packers got crushed, they allowed some big numbers to opposing RBs so the Giants would be wise to use the same blueprint.
As for Jennings, stay away. He is too much of a hit or miss RB and lately he has been missing.
Ty Montgomery is true wild card at $5500. He was great at Chicago in Week 15 but has been quiet since. He is an integral part of the Packers offense but that may not translate to big numbers. The Packers are still a passing team and even in frigid conditions, the Packers may still opt to air it out. Still, Montgomery could be leaned on more heavily since the Giants have a good pass rush and Montgomery's incredible game in Chicago was in similar weather conditions to the conditions in Green Bay on Sunday.
OK, there are even more options here and it will be hard to sift through all of them.
We will start with the two most expensive options: OBJ and Brown. They both could up 30 DK points or they both could go slightly under 20. The floor is high so they might be better for a cash game. Eli Manning has been awful lately and the Steelers might be more apt to run than throw this weekend. You could probably make a roster with Bell and one of these WRs but then you are stuck with low priced options elsewhere.
Jordy Nelson has been very solid lately but the Giants pass D is very good. The Giants will probably devise a game plan to limit Nelson's impact but Nelson has been match up proof for a better part of this season. He has great hands which is something you need in cold weather conditions and Rodgers does trust. Still, the price of $8100 is a bit much since Nelson is more likely to score 20 DKs points and not hit 3x value.
Doug Baldwin is one of our favorite options this week. He is much better at home than away and the Lions pass D is awful. Darius Slay might cover him but we can see the Seahawks moving Baldwin around to avoid Slay. He is Wilson's most trusted weapon with an average of over 9 targets per game for the last 6 games and Baldwin has performed well in the postseason. You can probably pair him with Wilson and Bell and still have some money to spare on other decent players.
Stay away from DeAndre Hopkins. He is a great WR but unfortunately he has a poor QB.$6700 is way too high of a price and he rarely has hit 20 DK points this season which is what you need to realize his value.
You may also want to stay away from any of the Raiders WRs even though they are on the cheaper end. Cooper might be the better option than Crabtree but Houston does have decent corners and the Raiders would be wise to not have Cook throw it all that often.
Golden Tate, like Ty Montgomery is a true wild card. He may want to step up his game against his former team but if Stafford struggles, Tate will too. There is a good chance Detroit will be in catch up mode which can help Tate but if you are assuming that kind of game flow, the Marvin Jones or Anquan Boldin might be better options since they are cheaper and can each put up good number. Still, going with anyone on Detroit for WR is unpredictable but Tate can be a nice tournament option. Just be careful since Richard Sherman may cover Tate.
The Miami WRs could be a good play since they will most surely be in catch up mode. If that is the case, Landry is your safest bet and he is good value at $5100. The guy is a PPR machine and should realize his value pretty easily. Parker and Stills are boom or bust options but they are cheap for a reason. Stills has been the better of those two with a TD in each of his last 4 games. Still, the frigid conditions will make it tough for long pass plays so you might be better off with relying on Landry.
There are still several other WRs to consider such as Will Fuller, Davante Adams, Sterling Shepard, and Eli Rogers. They are all rising stars and could surprise this weekend. It's just too hard to tell how these guys will do so just roll the dice and hope they come through or use several lineups with at least one of them in there.
Then we have the cheap options like Paul Richardson and Geronimo Allison. They may not get enough targets but if they do and they get to double digit DK points, you are sitting well. Again, taking one or both of these players is rolling the dice.
OK, if you made it this far, good for you!
This is a tricky position to project. Jimmy Graham is the most expensive option but for good reason. He has stronger home numbers than road ones and he is facing a soft defense. He has done well in the postseason and is a big game player.
The rest of the TEs is an absolute crapshoot and some teams may wind up using 2 - 3 TEs. Ladarius Green, CJ Fiedorowicz, and Eric Ebron are the next best options and should at least hit 2x value but Ebron might be the safest of those three since he does get targets and Detroit might be in catch up mode. In fact, Ebron leads all playoff tight ends with 30 targets over the last 4 weeks of the regular season.
After the 4 highest priced tight ends, you really are throwing darts in the dark. You could go with a super cheap option like Richard Rodgers and just pray he gets a touchdown or two but you could also get a goose egg.
Ebron seems like the best option at $3900. Not too expensive and he has a decent floor.
We end off with defense/special teams. The model we use has the Raiders as the best value. They face a super soft offense. In fact, the GE model has the Texans as the 4th worst offense. The Raiders D is nothing to write home about it but there are playmakers such as Khalil Mack and Karl Joseph. You could go with Houston, Seattle, or Pittburgh but you are probably better off saving your money. Also, it's hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers so forget about the Giants. The Packers defense has several injuries and going with the Lions or Dolphins can yield negative points.
If you wish to pay up, then consider the three most expensive options but if you are going to invest in some high priced players like Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, or OBJ, you may want save some money and go with the Raiders.
Here is a couple of potential lineups based on our analysis.
QB: Russell Wilson
RB: Le'Veon Bell
RB: Paul Perkins
WR: Doug Baldwin
WR: Jarvis Landry
WR: Davante Adams
TE: Eric Ebron
FLEX: Eli Rogers
QB: Russell Wilson
RB: Le'Veon Bell
RB: Lamar Miller
WR: Doug Baldwin
WR: Anquan Boldin
WR: Kenny Stills
TE: Eric Ebron
FLEX: Paul Perkins