- Alex Smith and Leonard Fournette are two players you need to consider when building DFS lineups for Wild Card Weekend.
On a short slate, owners should strongly consider cutting back heavily on their overall money in play compared with the regular season, and allocate a larger portion of their games to large-field tournaments. With so few options in the player pool, there will be massive overlap in lineups, leading to much more variance in short-term results.
The key to this slate is going to be where owners decide to pay up for big-name players. Some of the most expensive players on the slate are the top overall values, meaning many owners will have to find a true punt play to make lineups work.
The following will highlight the most notable values from the 4for4 Lineup Generator for both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Editor’s note: “Value” doesn’t necessarily mean inexpensive, but rather the best bang for your DFS buck. These players, regardless of price tag, project to give you the most production per dollar this week.
Alex Smith ($7,800) vs. Titans
Since Matt Nagy took over play-calling duties for the Chiefs, Smith has been one of the most efficient passers in the league—over the final four games of Smith’s season, he ranked third among quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt, one of the best indicators of a passer’s overall efficiency. One other noticeable shift in Kansas City since Nagy took over the headset is the recommitment to Kareem Hunt, but the Titans are a team that should be attacked through the air near the goal line. This season teams threw 57% of the time in the red zone against Tennessee, the sixth-highest rate that any defense faced in 2017.
Leonard Fournette ($8,100) vs. Bills
The most likely road to a big day on offense for the Jaguars this week is on the shoulders—and legs—of Fournette. Jacksonville faces a Bills defense that ranks dead last in fantasy points allowed to running backs, when adjusted for strength of schedule, but is a top-10 defense against all other skill positions. In Week 17, the Jaguars may have offered a glimpse into their playoff game plan, affording Fournette 87% of the snaps, his highest snap share of the season. As 9-point home favorites, this game sets up perfectly for Jacksonville to ride Fournette for four quarters (and to hide Blake Bortles against an outstanding secondary).
Michael Thomas ($7,800) vs. Panthers
4for4 projects Michael Thomas as the top non-running back value of the week against a Carolina defense that ranks last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Only one team allowed more receptions to the position this season than the Panthers and they were especially woeful in the second half of the year, with four receivers scoring at least 20 DraftKings points in a game against them over the final six weeks. Additionally, only two defenses faced a higher red-zone passing rate than Carolina, and all five of Thomas’s touchdowns came from inside the 10-yard line this year. In a game where the Saints are projected for more than 27 points, Thomas has multi-touchdown upside to go along with his reliable target numbers.
Albert Wilson ($3,300) vs Titans
When playing short slates, it’s virtually impossible to top a large field with a team full of well-known plays because there is so much overlap among lineups. Wilson is my favorite differentiator this week. Over the final six games of the season, Wilson saw at least five targets in a game five times, including seven or more in four of those contests. Only four teams have allowed more touchdowns to wide receivers this year than the Titans, but Tennessee has allowed the sixth-fewest completions on deep balls (passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air). This sort of conservative pass defense limits a player like Tyreek Hill, but struggles mightily against the short passing game and in the red zone. Wilson is the only Chief besides Travis Kelce with at least 10 red-zone targets this season, and he is a fantastic arbitrage play off of his more popular teammates.