In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.
This article focuses on the 3-game slate Sunday and PlayPicks also provides a breakdown of the 3-game slate on Saturday.
Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats that require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risk in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.
For those interested in the DFS Single-Game Slate contests, here’s a quick recap:
In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are five utility spots and a “Captain” slot, who receives 1.5x multiplier for all DK points accrued. Pricing differs for players when selected in the Captain spot versus the FLEX spots, with all players required to fit under a $50k salary cap. All options are in play from QBs, RBs and WRs, to kickers and D/ST from each team.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
NFL DFS SUNDAY WILDCARD BEST CONTESTS
DraftKings: Wild Card Millionaire (Sun): $25 entry, $2.25M guaranteed – $1,000,000 to 1st!
DraftKings: Play-Action (Sun): $3 entry, $600k guaranteed – $50,000 to 1st!
FanDuel: Sunday Million: $4.44 entry, $1.5M guaranteed – $300,000 to 1st!
FanDuel: Sunday Rush: $9 entry, $200k guaranteed – $40,000 to 1st!
Top NFL DFS Plays for Sunday Wildcard Slate
On a slate where several QBs have scary low floors, Jackson offers security and the potential to wind up as a must play if he can pile up rushing stats. Since returning from the COVID/Reserve List, Jackson has a 112.4 passer rating with 15 total TDs and 430 rushing yards over 5 games. His volume is still down as a passer, but the Ravens should feature Jackson in read-option sets against a Titans team that ranks 29th in total DVOA defense and coughed up 5.6 YPC over their last 3 games this season. Baltimore will be out for playoff revenge and Jackson can basically do whatever he wants against the league’s least dangerous pass rush.
Brees averages 289.6 passing YPG with 19 TDs and a 70% completion rate over 9 playoff games at home. His price tag is depressed because the Saints have used a run-heavy approach over the past month and Taysom Hill is a threat to steal his production by running in the red zone. Yet the Bears allow the second-lowest TD rate (26.8%) on the ground this season. And the Saints are converting 86.7% of red zone possessions into TDs over their last 3 games. The only team converting a higher rate is the Packers, and we just saw Rodgers pick apart Matt Nagy’s defense in an important Week 17 showdown.
We’re going to be fading the Steelers-Browns game for the most part on this slate, aside from their defenses. The Browns coaching staff will be shorthanded with Kevin Stefanski unavailable due to COVID protocols. Roethlisberger might have a little more time in the pocket with Olivier Vernon (Achilles) injured, but he stills rank 33rd among QBs with a 68.6% completion rate when given a clean pocket. Big Ben has 17 TDs and 17 interceptions over 11 career playoff games at home. He leads a predictable offense and the Browns will be ready for the Steelers one-dimensional attack.
Henry is quite obviously the best RB play on a short slate and he’s worth sacrificing salary at the WR or TE position. The Titans are the second-most efficient team in the red zone (75% TD rate) and 61.5% of their TDs have come on the ground over the last 3 weeks. Henry is averaging 154 rushing YPG with 5 TDs over his last 5 games and rolled the Ravens for 195 yards on 30 carries in an upset last postseason. Baltimore is allowing the third-highest YPC average (5.2) and coughing up 119 rushing YPG on the road this year.
Dobbins is arguably a better play than Henry on a per-dollar basis this Sunday. And he’s probably going to wind up in a better situation if the Ravens experience positive game flow. Baltimore’s averaging a league-high 191.7 rushing YPG and has been unstoppable lately with Dobbins averaging 8.2 YPC over his last 5 outings. That level of production has him clearly ahead of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in the Ravens run-heavy offense. Dobbins played on 66% of offensive snaps when these teams met in Week 9. He’s a capable receiver who should see a similar workload regardless of how this game plays out.
The Browns are going to try and keep this game grounded by feeding Chubb. Even with their Pro Bowl LG Joel Bitonio out due to COVID, the Browns can run on anyone, including the Steelers top-ranked defense. Chubb churned out 108 yards on just 14 carries (7.7 YPC) in Week 17 against Pittsburgh and he’s third in the NFL at 5.1 YPC this season. With 12 TDs on 39 red zone touches, Chubb has upside regardless of the matchup.
The Saints are incredibly stout against the run and have only allowed 9 rushing TDs to RBs all year, which is the main reason they give up the fewest FD PPG to the position. Montgomery maintained his hot streak by catching 9 balls for 63 yards and scoring another TD against the Packers last week, but he only managed 3.1 YPC in that contest. The Saints hold opponents to a league-low 3.6 YPC in home games and 75% of TDs scored on them in the Superdome have come through the air.
Can Thomas simply turn it on for the playoffs after missing the bulk of the reason? At this price tag, it’s worth taking the chance. He’s still fourth among WRs in target share (27.8%) when he’s been out there and he leads the position in Air Yards share (42.5%). Brees and Thomas have plenty of chemistry to build upon from last season and Thomas has caught 38-of-53 targets for 493 yards and 3 TDs over 5 playoff games with Brees.
Mooney has progressively become more involved for the Bears and he caught 11-of-13 targets for 93 yards in a loss to the Packers last week. Chicago (+10) should be in comeback mode in this contest and DC Dennis Allen is likely to shade coverage towards target hog Allen Robinson. Mooney has drawn 23 deep targets this season and has the 10th-most unrealized Air Yards (723) among WRs, so he has GPP appeal in a mathcup with Janoris Jenkins, who allows 13.6 yards per catch.
It’s no secret the Browns will take a run-heavy approach in an attempt to upset the Steelers on the road. Yet when Baker Mayfield drops back to pass, he should be looking towards Landry a high percentage of the time. Rashard Higgins faces disciplinary action for his drag racing escapade and Donovan Peeples-Jones remains out on the COVID/Reserve List. Regardless, Landry draws the best individual matchup for any WR against Steelers slot CB Mike Hilton. The weakest link in Pittsburgh’s tough secondary, Hilton has been burned by Randall Cobb, Cole Beasley, and other slot WRs who aren’t necessarily as talented as Landry.
Brown has been banged up all year with a lower leg injury and now he’s limited with a knee issue. At less than full strength, it’s hard to pay up for A.J. in a matchup against Jimmy Smith, the sixth-ranked CB in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Smith allows just 3.7 FPPG this season and gives up a 59 passer rating when targeted. The Ravens can also switch Marlon Humphrey onto Brown, and he grades as the No. 16 corner in football.
Andrews is the logical pairing with Lamar Jackson in GPP formats and the best stand-alone play at TE on this slate. He’s second among TEs in red zone target share (32.7%) and first in Air Yards share (28%) this season. Andrews logged an 87% snap rate and caught 5-of-7 balls for 96 yards and a TD when he faced the Titans in Week 9. Tennessee ranks 30th in DVOA pass defense and gives up 52.5 receiving YPG to TEs.
Eric Ebron was placed on the COVID/Reserve List last Saturday and might not be cleared in time for Sunday’s game. That would allow McDonald to maintain his starting role after he produced 5 catches for 33 yards in that role last week. McDonald is freakishly strong at 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, and he can create YAC against any defense. The Browns have allowed the fourth-most receptions (90) to TEs this season and Pittsburgh has a league-high 70% pass-play rate over the last 3 weeks.
Facing the Saints defense is never ideal, but Kmet is a solid value to consider with upside if he happens to score. Or he could pile up receptions in a late comeback bid, which is what he did against the Packers last week. While Jimmy Graham has been used sparingly, Kmet is rocking a 92.4% snap share over his last 5 appearances. The Bears have the sixth-highest pass-play rate (62.3%) this season and Kmet creates an average of 1.75 yards of separation per route.
The Bears have been burned by TEs all year, but you could get burned by Cook if you roster him in this matchup. Chicago’s most susceptible to TEs that block and leak out in the red zone and that’s not how Cook usually produces. He has the fourth-highest average target distance (11.1) among TEs and owns a modest 12.4% target share. His floor doesn’t justify this price tag.