Hello all and welcome back to my breakdown of this weekend’s NFL Wild Card slate on DraftKings. This is the final edition, in which I’ll be focusing on the Washington-Green Bay game.
I’m not gonna sugar coat it, this particular slate is pretty gross. There are some elite defenses, some struggling offenses, and some injury situations that make it hard to trust very many options. As Mike Clay from ESPNsaid, “In terms of FF pts allowed to QBs, the best defenses over the past 6 weeks are CIN, GB, HOU, SEA. All 4 play this weekend.” RB is also atrocious this week, with potentially six of the eight teams utilizing a RB by committee approach. I will do my best to decipher these matchups and give you the optimal plays at each position. Each team will be listed followed by their team total, the date and time of the game, and any significant weather or injury concerns. Also listed will be a each team’s defensive metrics (low numbers indicate a tough matchup, high numbers indicate an easy matchup) against each position to give you an idea of what each defense does well. With that in mind, I’ll take you through this slate game by game and hit on every possible play.
Matt Jones put in a limited practice yesterday, but is looking unlikely to give it a go this weekend with a lingering foot injury. DeSean Jackson(knee) put in a full practice and looks good to go.
Green Bay defense:
DVOA: (Pass – 6) (Run – 19) (WR1 – 22) (WR2 – 2) (TE – 4) (Pass catching RBs – 4)
DVP: (QB – 16) (RB – 12) (WR – 13) (TE – 22)
The Packers have allowed 100 yards rushing in six straight games.
Washington ranks 30th in pace while Green Bay ranks tenth in pace, so I am giving a tiny boost to all Redskins players, as they should see a few more snaps than usual.
Finally we can talk about my favorite QB of the weekend, Kirk Cousins. “You like that?!?!” I do like that, let me tell you why. Cousins ($5,900) was on fire down the stretch for Washington, with a 73% completion rate and an 11:0 TD:INT ratio in Weeks 15-17. He carved up the Cowboys last week for 19 DK points and didn’t even finish the first half. Since Week 10 Cousins has a TD:INT ratio of 19:2. Per Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis, Washington threw the ball just 55% of the time in one-score games during the first three months of the season. They abandoned their ineffective rushing attack and threw the ball 65% of the time in one-score games during the final month of the season, the biggest increase of any team. He now gets an up-tempo game against a Green Bay defense that was average this year and may be without their best CB. To put the cherry on top, this game will be played in Washington, where Cousins averaged 23.4 DK PPG this season. Cousins is clearly the optimal play in my opinion this weekend, as he pairs nicely with the most obvious play on the slate (Jordan Reed) and he allows you to fit in two elite WRs too. Let others chase Roethlisberger or Russ in more difficult spots for over $1k more.
Well I got to write about a player I actually like, so it’s only fitting I have to follow that up with possibly the least appealing RB situation of them all this weekend. With Matt Jones unlikely to play, Alfred Morris ($3,700) appears poised to handle early-down work with Pierre Thomas ($3,400) handling passing downs. Thomas has overtaken Chris Thompson, out snapping and out touching him over the past two weeks. The only way I’d play Thomas is as part of a contrarian game-stack in which I started Aaron Rodgers and James Jones, hoping Green Bay got up early and this turned into a shootout with Washington played from behind. Morris is the safer play, especially if you expect Washington to win this game, which I do. He saw consistent work over the last three weeks of the season, averaging 17 carries per game. Morris also averaged 4.7 YPC during that span, which is much improved from the 3.7 mark he averaged for the season. If you play Morris you’re hoping for a TD, because he hasn’t caught a pass since Week 12. You’re more likely better off avoiding this situation as a whole, but that is how I’d handle these RBs if I had to play one.
Redskins target totals since returning from their Week 8 Bye (excluding Week 17 in which they sat players): Reed 63, Garcon 50, Jackson 48, Crowder 29. Red-zone targets over the past that span: Reed 13, Garcon 7, Jackson 4, Crowder 3.
Over that span Jackson has been the most volatile, with three games of 19+ DK points and four games with eight or less DK points. Garcon, on the other hand, has had double digit DK points in each game except for a bad stretch from Week 10-12. He finished strong with five straight games of 10+ DK points, but only had one game all season in which he topped 19 DK points. Jamison Crowder has shown some upside this season, but more often than not has been easily ignored as the fourth option in this passing game. That should be the case again this week as he draws a tough matchup with Green Bay’s top graded CB, Casey Hayward. DeSean Jackson ($4,500) and Pierre Garcon ($4,200) are worth a look at their discounted price tags. Jackson’s volatility should come as no surprise considering he is eighth in aDOT (average depth of target) and is third on the team in targets and red-zone looks. He does possess game-breaking ability though, and Green Bay’s top CB Sam Shields is still in concussion protocol. Jackson is the clear top tournament play of the bunch, while Garcon would be the preferred play if you are playing 50-50s this week due to his consistency. Garcon would also benefit from the absence of Sam Shields, so keep an eye on that situation and give him an appropriate bump if Shields is declared out. Of the three WRs, I expect Jackson will easily be the highest owned, as everyone is aware of his big-play ability and people will bank on him hitting it big to separate their lineups from the field on a small slate. I prefer James Jones in this game, but Jackson isn’t a bad option either. Jackson is also a nice way to get exposure to this passing game if you feel comfortable fading Jordan Reed, who will likely be the highest owned player on the slate. If you think that another TE has a similar projection to Reed, you could roll with Jackson and hope he gets two scores and Reed has an average game.
Green Bay has allowed a TE to score a TD against them in six of their past nine games. They allowed the 11th most catches and 12th most TDs to TEs, while ranking 22nd in defense-adjusted DVP. Not that Jordan Reed($6,300) needs a good matchup, as he’s been as matchup proof as they come this season, but it’s hard not to be excited to see what he can do in a plus matchup this week. Reed had an incredible season, making 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 TDs, and he is heading into this matchup absolutely on fire. He caught all four of his targets for 45 yards last week in a quarter and a half, but Washington was more concerned about getting him through that game unscathed. Before that, he was on a three week stretch in which he averaged 31.43 DK PPG. Reed is the premier play at TE this weekend. On a week where it’s pretty easy to fit in the players you like, it’s hard to imagine fading Reed when you consider his high floor/ceiling projection compared to the other options at his position. He will be extremely highly owned, and for good reason. Reed is a fade at your own risk player this weekend.
The Redskins ($3,300) have one of the worst defenses on the slate, but they have enjoyed their fair share of big plays this season, with five defensive TDs. Rodgers has an interception in each of his last three games and the Green Bay offense has been a mess lately. You could do worse than taking a gamble on Washington’s defense, but you could do better too. I prefer Cincinnati as a risk/reward cheap defense.
Currently six O-Lineman on the injury report, something to keep an eye on. Eddie Lacy (rib) put in a limited practice yesterday, but appears on track to play. CBs Sam Shields and Damarious Randle are both listed as questionable and missed practice yesterday, which could open things up for Washington and in turn result in Green Bay needing to throw more aggressively.
DVOA: (Pass – 19) (Run – 22) (WR1 – 28) (WR2 – 30) (TE – 21) (Pass catching RBs – 5)
DVP: (QB – 19) (RB – 14) (WR – 23) (TE – 12)
Quick Notes: Washington shadows opposing WRs as infrequently as any team in the NFL, so while we can’t project any Green Bay WR to run a definite amount of routes against any specific CB, it is nice to know that if GB finds a matchup they can take advantage of, Washington likely will not adjust coverage. Bashaud Breeland, who has emerged as clearly the most competent CB for Washington, lines up at left corner, which makes things easier for us from a DFS perspective, because that is where DaVante Adams runs the majority of his routes.
Washington’s individual positional defensive numbers don’t jump out at you, but it is worth noting that they have sacked opposing QBs the 14th-most in the NFL this year, with 17 over the past four weeks. Green Bay has allowed the fifth-most sacks this season.
It’s hard to imagine Aaron Rodgers ($6,400) is going to continue to struggle to the extent he has, and if you want to believe a bounce-back is in store, this matchup could very well be the get-right game. Washington has been an above average matchup for opposing QBs all year, and have allowed the ninth most TD passes. Rodgers has been horrible to close out the season though, topping 20 DK points only once since Week 10. He’s actually performed worse since McCarthy took over the offense, and has completed only 58.56% of his passes over the past three weeks, averaging just 12.28 DK PPG over that span. It’s a nice spot to hope for a bounce-back, but I’m having a very hard time investing in Rodgers when Cousins is $500 cheaper. Give him a look if you’re a multi-entry player, but otherwise you’re probably best avoiding Rodgers this weekend.
What was already a frustrating situation has now morphed into a disgusting three-way RBBC, featuring Eddie Lacy ($4,500), James Starks($3,600), and John Kuhn ($3,000). Kuhn took over as the lead back for Green Bay in the fourth quarter of their last game and before that the snaps were split pretty evenly before Lacy (32%) and Starks (35%). Kuhn played the final 26 snaps as Rodgers’ preferred pass-blocker, but he only turned that time into one carry for three yards and two catches for 14 yards. You’re probably best off not getting cute and avoiding Kuhn this weekend. I’d like to say just write off the entire situation, but the matchup against Washington is good, so we’ll examine the other two options too. Lacy has alternated good weeks with horrible weeks for six straight weeks now, with DK totals of 25.9, 1.1, 24.8, 2.3, 15.8, and 6.1 since Week 12. He’s the most talented of the bunch and is the guy that the Packers want to be the lead back. Starks has had his share of big games as well, most of which have been boosted by his involvement in the passing game. With the Packers opting to use Kuhn as their passing back last week, I am comfortable passing on Starks in this one. If I had to choose a RB from this backfield it would be Fat Eddie, who has more upside than any similarly priced RB.
The Green Bay WR situation has been frustrating for owners all season, but has been a bit more predictable as of late. In the four games since Mike McCarthy took back playcalling duties, the target share is as follows: James Jones 40, Randall Cobb 30, Davante Adams 23, Richard Rodgers17. Jones’ targets have increased each of those weeks, from 7 to 9 to 11 and finally 13 last week against Minnesota.The Redskins have allowed their opponent’s most targeted WR to reach 98+ yards in nine of their past 11 games. Jones has four 98+ yard games this season, including last week’s 102 yard performance. He also led the team in TD receptions with 8. He’ll also have the easiest matchup of any GB WR this weekend, as he’ll primarily draw the coverage of Quinton Dunbar, who has a PFF CB grade of 60. At only $4,100 Jones is clearly the best play on paper of any Green Bay offensive player, and arguably the best value at any position on this slate. I love pairing him with Cousins and/or Jordan Reed as part of a game stack if you expect this to turn into a shootout. If you don’t believe in Jones and want to go with a lower owned option, Randall Cobb likely won’t be overly popular after capping off his disappointing season by averaging 31 receiving yards over his past three games. He does have the second-easiest matchup of the GB WRs against Will Blackmon, who has a PFF CB grade of 72. The Redskins have also been burned by slot WRs lately, allowing Jordan Matthews to put up 104 yards and a score in Week 16 and then giving up 53 yards and two scores to Cole Beasley in Week 17. He’s not someone I will be rostering this weekend, but he’s not a horrible contrarian option.
Richard Rodgers ($4,000) has had some big games this year, but he’s almost entirely TD dependent, as evidenced by his final line of 510 yards (31.9 per game) and eight TDs. The good news is the Redskins are not great against TEs and have allowed three big performances in their past four games. They gave up a 5-85-1 line to Zach Miller in Week 14, then followed that up with a 13-122 game to Zach Ertz in Week 16, and finally a 6-58-1 line to Jason Witten last week. Rodgers is always a risky option due to inconsistent targets (8, 2, 4, 3, 8 over his past five games), but his TD upside makes him slightly interesting considering the plus matchup, especially if you want a pivot off of James Jones.
The Packers ($2,800) have the cheapest defense despite being an above average defense this season, but I am not interested in them against a red-hot Captain Kirk who has thrown just two picks since Week 10.
My favorite plays from an exposure perspective. This doesn’t mean I think AJ McCarron will outscore Russell Wilson necessarily, it just means I prefer to play him this weekend for the reasons I hit on previously.
Kirk Cousins ($5,900)
Ben Roethlisberger ($7,200)
AJ McCarron ($5,200)
Aaron Rodgers ($6,400)
Russell Wilson ($7,000)
Alex Smith ($5,300)
Brian Hoyer ($5,400)
Teddy Bridgewater ($5,100)
Can I just say none? Ok fine…
Marshawn Lynch ($6,500)
Spencer Ware ($4,000)
Eddie Lacy ($4,500)
Adrian Peterson ($7,300)
Alfred Morris ($3,700) (Assuming no Jones)
Giovani Bernard ($4,000)
Jeremy Hill ($5,000)
Charcandrick West ($5,700)
Alfred Blue ($4,000)
Fitzgerald Toussaint ($3,900)
Pierre Thomas ($3,4000
James Jones ($4,100)
A.J. Green ($7,500)
Antonio Brown ($9,600)
Jeremy Maclin ($6,400)
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,400)
Tyler Lockett ($4,400)
DeSean Jackson ($4,500)
Doug Baldwin ($6,700)
Martavis Bryant ($5,600)
Randall Cobb ($5,800)
Markus Wheaton ($4,000)
Stefon Diggs ($4,300)
Jordan Reed ($6,300)
Tyler Eifert ($5,000)
Richard Rodgers ($4,000)
Travis Kelce ($4,500)
Kyle Rudolph ($3,500)
Heath Miller ($3,300)
That’s all I’ve got for you guys, I hope that you found it helpful. While this slate is kind of gross from a DFS perspective, it should be a very appealing weekend from an NFL fan’s perspective and DFS is a nice way to make it more fun. I hope that this breakdown makes it a little bit more fun to watch as your lineups climb to the top of the leaderboards! As always, please leave any comments you have, I love feedback and enjoy talking DFS with other players. Thanks for reading!
NBA | MLB | NFL | NHL
As an athlete in his younger years, Shane Kilgore developed a deep understanding of what it takes for a player to produce at the top of their game. Using that knowledge and an obsessive research habit has led to player picks and insights that many other writers would miss. As a daily fantasy sports player, Shane uses those picks and insights to win! Follow Shane on Twitter @Lineupzone