Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for this week’s DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to be focusing purely on high-upside plays and stacks that are likely to be lower-owned in the largest tournaments on the slate. There will be a lot of bust potential found here most weeks too, but big GPPs are generally not won by making the popular moves.
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DraftKings is hosting two fantasy football Millionaire contests for Wild Card Weekend, one for Saturday’s slate and one for Sunday’s slate.
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Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts
Josh Allen ($7,500) – Jonathan Taylor ($7,900) – John Brown ($4,700)
There’s no doubt that Josh Allen will be one of the more hyped-up QBs for daily fantasy purposes this week, but that doesn’t mean you should be looking for reasons to fade him. The Bills QB has hit 34 or more DKFP three times in his last fives games (despite sitting for a lot of Week 17) — a total that no other QB on this six-game slate has hit more than once in that same time frame. The Colts have also turned into one of the best matchups possible for higher-volume passing offenses. Indy has a dynamic rush defense and held opponents to just 90.5 rushing yards per game in 2020, but have been flooded by passing yards from opposing QBs of late, allowing 300-plus passing yards in five of their last seven games.
Allen’s additional upside as a rusher — eight rushing TDs — makes him the clear-cut number one for me at QB. The only question with him is, do you want to stack him with his favorite target in Stefon Diggs ($7,700), who will likely be the highest-owned WR on the slate, or go with the cheaper version in John Brown ($4,700), who looked solid last week coming off injury. Using both here is certainly an option, but Brown may offer the better value. He’s seen 10 or more targets three times this season (all with Diggs in the lineup) and is likely better categorized as a WR1-A than a true WR2. Brown seems even more likely to challenge Diggs for targets in this matchup, too, given the injury issues hampering Cole Beasley ($5,300; quad) who’s questionable to suit up this week. There’s no doubt you should have exposure to both Bills WRs if making multiple lineups, but fading Diggs and using Brown is an intriguing way to create single-entry GPP lineups this week.
On the other side, we should almost expect another monster game from Jonathan Taylor at this point. The light finally went off on the Indy sideline that Taylor is clearly their best back, which has led to the rookie averaging 22.75 touches times over the Colts’ last four games. The Bills have been vulnerable to the run all year, allowing 4.6 YPC (seventh worst in the league). Taylor is a great correlation play, given a big day on the ground by him will likely lead to more late-game passing by the Bills — which could push Allen and company to monster totals.
Just Missed: Lamar Jackson ($7,800) – Derrick Henry ($9,200) – Marquise Brown ($5,400)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns ($6,100)
It may surprise some people, but nobody threw the ball more per game than the Steelers. In 2020, Pittsburgh QBs averaged 41.0 pass attempts per game. The Browns are a better-than-average opponent for a high-volume passing offense, giving the eighth-most DKFP and eight-most passing touchdowns to opposing QBs this season. While the Browns held the inaccurate Mason Rudolph to a 56% completion percentage last week, they also gave up 315 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Overall, Cleveland has ceded five games of 300 or more yards and two or more touchdowns this year to QBs, and saw their opponent throw 39 times or more against them in each of those games . With those stats in mind, it seems like more is more against Cleveland — at least for fantasy purposes — and with Roethlisberger coming off a week of rest, you have to like him and his crew of elite receivers to potentially go off for a big game here.
Just Missed: Mitch Trubisky ($5,300)
Ronald Jones Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team ($5,500)
Jones returned to action last week for Tampa and made an immediate impact. Despite playing less snaps than Leonard Fournette ($4,500), Jones’ 12 carries were still seven more than the vet, averaging 6.5 YPC while also finding the end zone once. The difference in production between Jones and Fournette this year has been stark, and with an extra week to heal from a finger injury, you have to figure the Bucs plan is to increase Jones’ snap share here. The Bucs sit as -8.5 favorites with a 26.75 implied team total right now, so the lead RB for the Bucs is in a potentially great spot for a bigger workload, too, with added late game carries. A run-heavy game plan from Tampa wouldn’t be shocking either given the injury to Mike Evans ($6,500) and Washington’s elite pass rush. Jones is a nice pivot this week off what could be a chalky Chris Carson ($5,900).
JD McKissic, Washington Football Team vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,800)
While there’s chatter about the Football Team potentially rotating QBs or even starting Taylor Heinicke ($4,100), you have to figure that, regardless of who plays QB, McKissic is going to be a busy man vs. the Bucs. Tampa had the league’s best run defense this year, allowing just 3.6 YPC, but they also ceded a lot of passes to players out of the backfield as RBs caught 101 passes vs. them this year, the most in the league. McKissic averaged 9.5 targets over his last three games — two of them were Washington losses — and with the Football Team coming in as +8.5 underdogs, he should have a big role here given the likelihood Washington is behind at some point in this game in the second half. At under 5k, if you’re fading some of the higher price RBs here — and some have major question marks around them right now — McKissic is a great pivot and way to save cash.
Just Missed: Nyheim Hines ($4,700)
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team ($6,100)
Brown took over the game last week against Atlanta when Mike Evans ($6,500) went out with an injury, finishing with 14 targets, 138 yards and two touchdowns. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that kind of fantasy production from Brown, but it came at a great time for Tampa given this week’s matchup with Washington. Brown’s ability to get open on quick screens should be a major asset against a pass rush like Washington’s, and you have to expect that even if Evans plays (he’s questionable) he might be limited to red zone looks or relegated to decoy usage. It’s a tough matchup, but Bucs WRs have now caught at least one TD in seven straight games, and Brown’s target share seems unlikely to decrease too much given the injury situation with Evans. If he continues in his role as the Tampa alpha from last week, Brown’s price will be way too cheap given the kind of fantasy upside he brings when in a starring role.
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,100)
The Browns enter this week’s game with the Steelers as +6.0 underdogs, a number that has climbed throughout the week. As such, targeting their passing game here makes some sense for fantasy purposes since there’s a strong chance they’ll be in some heavy passing situations late into this game. The Steelers defense still makes their WRs risky targets, which is why I like targeting the cheaper of their two starters here. Higgins has also morphed into a legit big-play receiver for Cleveland as he ended the regular season ranked second in yards per target and registered a 16.2 yards per catch average. Despite featuring a great D-Line, Pittsburgh’s defense has been vulnerable to the big play all season and also gave up 17 touchdowns to the WR position this year. For this cheap a price, Higgins is a great upside play here — and one that could strike against the Steelers’ funnel defense.
Just Missed: Tyler Lockett ($6,900)
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears ($4,600)
Cook only averaged 4.5 targets over his last four games of the season, but his penchant for big plays puts him on the radar this week at a thin TE position. Cook averaged 16.22 yards per catch over his last four games and comes in having seen three red zone targets over the last two games — while also leading all Saints non-RB receivers in red zone targets this season. The Bears have also been a great opponent for opposing TEs, allowing the second-most DKFP to the TE position this year and ceding 12 touchdowns to the position, overall — second-most in the league. There’s rumblings Michael Thomas ($6,400) might return here, but Cooks’ ceiling is based more on red zone usage and big-play ability rather than volume — so Thomas may only help keep his ownership down. If you can spare the salary, the Saints TE looks like a great GPP pivot in a fantastic matchup this week.
Just Missed: Trey Burton ($2,800)
Baltimore Ravens ($3,300) at Tennessee Titans
The Ravens come into this game playing some of their best football of the year and with a score to settle. Their defense has been roughed up a couple times now by the Titans —mainly Derrick Henry ($9,200) — but Baltimore’s rush defense has firmed up considerably of late, not allowing a single rushing touchdown over the final three games of the regular season. In fact, the Ravens had allowed just 3.5 YPC in Week’s 15 and 16, before the Bengals compiled some garbage-time yards against them in Week 17, which skewed their stats a bit. Baltimore’s also flashed better upside in their pass rush towards the end of the year, recording 11 sacks in their last two games. This allowed them to average 10.33 DKFP in their final three games of the year as a DST, despite not recording any defensive touchdowns. This play has some risks (as do all DSTs) given the Titans offensive prowess, but this unit played their best ball towards the end of the season and is coming in with little fanfare in DFS, which should mean low ownership in big GPPs.
Just missed: Seattle Seahawks ($2,700)
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