Wild Card Sunday Single-Game DFS Breakdown: Eagles at Buccaneers

Jan 15, 2022
Wild Card Sunday Single-Game DFS Breakdown: Eagles at Buccaneers

One quarterback looks to start his legacy, while another looks to add to his. Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles head south to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players that can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players that could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

Tampa Bay is an eight-point home favorite with an over/under of 46 points. The Buccaneers have an implied team total of 27 points, while the Eagles have an implied team total of 19 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

Wind and precipitation can/will be factors. Wind is projected to be 20 miles per hour with wind gusts higher. There is also a Gale warning until kick-off. Rain is projected for Sunday morning but we all know that can change.

The Buccaneers could use some good news regarding Leonard Fournette (IR-Hamstring, $7,400 on DraftKings/$13,500 on FanDuel) and Giovani Bernard (IR-Hip, $200 DK/$5,000 FD). If one/neither are activated from IR, the backfield for the Bucs will be Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($2,000 DK/$9,500 FD) and Le’Veon Bell ($1,600 DK/$8,500 FD). That is less than ideal against an Eagles defense ($3,200) that finished the regular season third in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to opposing running backs. While both being active is preferred, the Buccaneers need Fournette more because Vaughn and Bell are capable pass catchers and can allow Fournette to focus on running the ball in his first game back.

The injuries extend to the passing game as well. Beyond Chris Godwin, the Bucs will be without end-of-season breakout WR Cyril Grayson (hamstring), leading to a wideout group of Mike Evans ($9,800 DK/$14,500 FD). The rest are ancillary pieces. Tom Brady ($11,400 DK/$16,500 FD) will be focused on Evans and hetero lifemate Rob Gronkowski ($9,200 DK/$13,000 FD). That is where the Bucs can do damage. The Eagles are 32nd in tight end aFPA and allowed O.J. Howard ($400 DK/$6,500 FD) to have his only relevant game when these two teams played Week 6.

Jalen Hurts ($10,600 DK/$16,000 FD) has a good matchup against the Buccaneers defense ($5,000 DK), especially in less than ideal conditions. Tampa could be without two of their top cornerbacks and are susceptible on the ground. The Bucs defense finished the 2021 season allowing the fifth-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing offenses and finished no higher than 13th against any position. Tampa Bay also ranked 30th in explosive run plays allowed, which is great news for Miles Sanders ($8,000 DK/$12,000 FD) and the crew lined up behind him to get carries.

The wind is a concern for the deep passing attack for the Eagles, but with DeVonta Smith ($8,400 DK/$10,500 FD) and Dallas Goedert ($5,800 DK/$11,000 FD) being two of the better options at their positions in the NFL, there should not be much concern about either losing targets or being game-scripted out of the passing game.

Close, low-scoring game

Close, high-scoring game

Blowout for home team

Blowout for road team

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

Miles Sanders ($8,000 DK/$12,000 FD), Rob Gronkowski ($9,200 DK/$13,000 FD), and Cameron Brate ($3,400 DK/$8,500 FD)

Targeting Sanders is ideal because a lot of DFS players still have the mindset that the Bucs' run defense is still elite. It is good, but not where it was. Playing Sanders with two passing options also lends to the Eagles keeping the game close/winning, which will be unique.

Playing two Bucs tight ends is unique (and risky), but exploiting a team that is the worst against a position group is a priority. Brate has averaged three targets per game the past month and only trails Mike Evans and Gronk in expected touchdowns over that span.

Low-Priced Volatile Plays

Jordan Howard ($2,800 DK/$7,500 FD)

Howard led all Eagles' backs with 24 red zone touches and trailed only Jalen Hurts (31) in rushing red zone touches.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($2,000 DK/$9,500 FD)

Vaughn is the salary-saver on DraftKings if Leonard Fournette is not active. He out-carried Le’Veon Bell Week 18 10-3, but neither was very productive.

Le’Veon Bell ($1,600 DK/$8,500 FD)

Do we really think Bucs head coach Bruce Arians trusts Ke’Shawn Vaughn to start in a playoff game sans Fournette? Arians trusts veterans and a backfield with no Fournette gives Bell an opening.

Jaelon Darden ($200 DK/$5,000 FD)

When injuries plagued the Bucs receiver room earlier in the season, Darden stepped in and produced some as a rookie. Teammate Scotty Miller only recently saw work after falling down the Bucs depth chart, and if Bruce Arians wants to show a different look with a speedy wideout, Darden is the guy. He also returns kicks and punts, an added bonus.

Captain/MVP Picks

Miles Sanders ($12,000 DK/$12,000 FD)

DFS players will be scared to roster Sanders because of his hand injury/depth in the backfield, but if the Eagles have any chance of exposing the Bucs' run defense, he is the player to do it. Sanders was not on the final injury report heading into Sunday’s game.

Rob Gronkowski ($13,800 DK/$13,000 FD)

The only romances that rival Tom Brady and Gronk are in Disney movies. Target players in superior matchups.

Mike Evans ($14,700 DK/$14,500 FD)

This pick loses some shine with the wind concerns, but Evans is the unquestioned alpha receiver for Tampa and could be in for a double-digit target game.

Jalen Hurts ($15,900 DK/$16,000 FD)

Any player that can reach the double bonus on DraftKings is in play, even with weather concerns. The Eagles pass catchers have some of the best players in space and the backfield has up to three players that are trusted pass-catchers. We have seen players that have never played in the playoffs go off in less than ideal conditions as underdogs.

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