DraftKings Wild Card Slate Breakdown with Cash and GPP Picks
The Wild Card round brings us an interesting slate featuring a lot of the top fantasy plays of 2017. These studs combined with limited value at the lower price ranges make this a challenging slate that calls for balanced roster construction and will likely come down to hitting on the right mid-range plays.
Cam Newton ($6,500) tops all QBs in our cash odds model, but I think Alex Smith ($6,300) is just as good of a play. Smith is a home favorite with an implied team total of 26, and averages 322 combined passing and rushing yards per game in four games with Matt Nagy calling plays. The biggest worry with Smith is a lack of TDs, as the team has become more run-heavy in scoring position under Nagy. Newton has not thrown for more than 254 yards since Week 5, but has run at least 11 times for 52 yards in each of his past four games. The biggest worry with Newton is an implosion similar to last week’s 14-of-34, three-interception effort.
Given Carolina’s struggles versus wide receivers, the Saints' slate-high 27.75-point implied team total at home, and the fact that he throws at least a half-dozen passes per game to Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees ($6,400) is my favorite GPP play. Despite not flashing the ceiling we’re used to, Brees has at least 14 DraftKings points in 12-of-16 games and is cash-viable as well.
Jared Goff ($6,700), who has the slate’s second-highest implied team total (27.5) and a matchup with the No. 2 QB funnel in the league, is not far behind, though. As usual, Goff is stackable with Todd Gurley.
Matt Ryan ($6,100) deserves to be more than $100 more expensive than Blake Bortles ($6,000). Ryan has been a victim of TD variance, failing to throw for more than one in any of his last six games, despite passing for at least 288 yards in three of those games. Bortles helms the team with the most rushing attempts per game in the league (32.9) against the league’s No. 2 run funnel. Only Tyrod Taylor ($4,700) is less appealing, and barely, as Taylor is more likely to get some garbage-time passing (or rushing) production.
Marcus Mariota ($5,500) is an interesting contrarian play. The Chiefs rank 23rd in QB aFPA, are the No. 3 QB funnel, and could force the Titans, who attempted the fifth-fewest passes per game in the league (31.0), into a pass-heavy script if they’re able to jump out to a lead early.
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