The NFL playoffs are here and this special time of years means two things. First, some of the most intense, physical and fun football games are about to take place as we all sit down and watch the win or go home drama of playoff time. Second, FanDuel comes up in the clutch and delivers some great cash-game and GPP contests for everyone to get involved in to add that extra playoff excitement.
So be sure to check out FanDuel this week for their various slate of contests and of course, we're here to help provide you with potential lineup variations you can use in those contests. Let's get started for this wildcard round.
Quarterback - Matt Ryan, ATL @ LAR, ($7,500)
Jared Goff is the most expensive quarterback on the slate and while it's a good matchup for him in a game that should be pretty high scoring, the better investment is to save $1K and ride with Ryan. Los Angeles lacks a cornerback who can really matchup with Julio Jones and this is a deep Falcons' receiving corps that can look to exploit the Rams' secondary. While Ryan dealt with inconsistency throughout the season, he strung together three solid performances to end the season and now the Falcons will look to him in a projected shootout this weekend.
Running Backs - Todd Gurley, LAR vs. ATL, ($10,000) and Derrick Henry, TEN @ KC, ($6,500)
Gurley is the natural pick that many will ride in the playoffs and for good reason. He is everything to the Rams' offense, an MVP candidate who carried Los Angeles to the postseason and whose work as a running back and pass catcher elevate him into the type of player that can drop 40 FanDuel points on any given week. His matchup against an Atlanta Falcons defense that ranks 10th versus the run makes things a little tougher, but the Falcons are prone to allowing targets to running backs and exploited via the pass with 51 targets allowed to RBs over the past six games.
As for Henry, he becomes one of our favorite plays amongst all positions with the increasing chance that DeMarco Murray misses the wildcard round. While Henry struggled against Jacksonville with an ugly 1.82 yards per carry on 28 attempts, a 66-yard receiving touchdown elevated his day and helped him finish with a total 117 yards and a score. Now he faces the Kansas City Chiefs, who enter the weekend 25th against the run.
Henry should once again get a heavy workload in this matchup as Tennessee aims to take pressure off of Marcus Mariota. The Titans could incorporate some more RPOs in the game and get Henry more involved in the passing game after his big play last week. Henry is a top-10 talent at the position and with a good matchup and heavy workload, this is an extreme value play for the wildcard round.
Wide Receivers - Julio Jones, ATL @ LAR, ($8,500), Robert Woods, LAR vs. ATL ($7,400), Rishard Matthews, TEN @ KC, ($5,500)
Jones pairs with Gurley as the elite plays we want to center our lineups around. His price is pretty affordable and he faces a Rams' defense that ranks outside the top 10 in Football Outsiders' DVOA against No.1 wide receivers. Jones is drawing 10-plus targets per game as of late and with his big play ability and consistency to produce 20-plus yard plays, it puts him well in range of a 100-plus yard game. The touchdowns might be harder to come by, but Jones is the top receiver play this week.
We'll pair Jones with a wide receiver from the other side in a game we project to feature plenty of points. Falcons' cornerback Desmond Trufant can match up with Sammy Watkins, but Atlanta doesn't possess the secondary cornerback who can match up and contain Woods. Atlanta's secondary ranks 25th in Football Outsiders' DVOA against No.2 wide receivers and Woods consistently receives WR1 volume with the attention drawn by Watkins.
Lastly, we'll complete the trio with our value play. Matthews was shut down last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but should find it much easier to run his routes this week against Kansas City. As Mariota's favorite target, Matthews should be peppered with volume in this playoff matchup as Tennessee looks to stay in this game offensively and exploit a bad Chiefs' defense.