2019 Wild Card NFL DFS Advice: Sleepers, Busts and More

NFL DFS Advice Wild Card - Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

Daily fantasy football as we know and love it is gone until August of 2019. While the regular format we play each week isn’t here, that doesn’t mean we can’t still play at FanDuel and other DFS sites and try to win some cash.

FanDuel inexplicably won’t be offering full four-game daily fantasy football slates (at least from what I’ve seen), so the next two weeks will be broken up into separate two-game slates. They’re still worth playing and there are ways to exploit them, though, so I personally will continue playing.

My weekly breakdown will change slightly, as the overall volume in options you’re considering understandably has decreased. Regardless, there are studs to consider, sleepers to lend cursory glances toward and other options to fade.

Let’s see where my head’s at and perhaps where yours should be as we break down the NFL DFS Wild Card slate at FanDuel:

Wild Card NFL DFS Studs to Target

The hard work will be deciding which cheap players to use around your favorite studs. You can’t use every elite option on Saturday and Sunday, though, so perhaps pointing to my favorites will help you in your NFL DFS lineup building process.

Usually, we have a full slate to work with, but you’re instead working with four games on some sites and just two per day on FanDuel.

Either way, check out my favorite studs and adjust as needed:

  • Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts ($8.4k)
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($8.8k)
  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($9.5k)
  • Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts ($6.6k)
  • Los Angeles Chargers Defense ($5k)
Andrew Luck:
Luck is easily my favorite fantasy quarterback this weekend. A road date with the rival Texans could still end poorly, but he put up 24+ fantasy points against them in both meetings this year. Luck has been en fuego throughout 2018 as well and Houston got torched by Nick Foles just two games ago. Everyone has a less than ideal matchup come playoff time, but Luck has the best shot at overcoming his this week.
Ezekiel Elliott:
Zeke was a monster in 2018 and happened to drop 127 rushing yards on the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year. He’s in a good spot at home and will see a monster workload with the season on the line for the Dallas Cowboys. It won’t be easy, but he should still ultimately feast. That, and he’s simply the most talented stud at the running back position this weekend.
DeAndre Hopkins:
I don’t love the idea of investing almost $10k into Nuk this week, but he still gets targeted like crazy and he’s shown well against Indy this season. His role and talent can’t be touched, so the only way I’m fading him is to get really contrarian in GPPs.
Eric Ebron:
Zach Ertz is the best overall tight end in this slate, but he’s also got one of the worst matchups. I’d rather vouch for Ebron, who has enjoyed a career year and is $1k less. His chemistry with Andrew Luck is off the charts and he also has scored both times he’s faced Houston. The Texans (31st) also have had major difficulty against tight ends.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense:
I’ll hear a case for just about any team defense, but I love the value associated with the Chargers. L.A. has the talent to stifle anyone and they already got a crack at Lamar Jackson and this one-dimensional Ravens offense. Unless Baltimore shows us something we haven’t seen and takes the top off of the Bolts’ defense, I’m favoring Joey Bosa and company in meeting number two.

Players to Avoid

While there are undoubtedly some studs worth paying up for during the first round of the NFL playoffs, you will want to fade a few. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re with me on my stud calls and if you’re going to fade the same guys I’m steering clear from.

For the wild card weekend, the following players aren’t on my “must have” list:

  • Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens ($8.4k)
  • Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers ($8.4k)
  • Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers ($7.7k)
  • Blake Jarwin, TE, Dallas Cowboys ($5.8k)
  • Dallas Cowboys Defense ($5.5k)
Lamar Jackson:
Lamar Jackson has successfully pieced together a very Tim Tebow-like rookie campaign and it’s still possible he parlays that into a brilliant NFL career. Right now, however, the Ravens don’t throw much and they’re relying way too much on their defense and running game. Jackson can do damage on the ground, but if he fails there he could quickly be a DFS bust. I’m not paying top dollar to hope he comes through in a tense playoff setting.
Melvin Gordon:
Melvin Gordon is a stud in terms of talent and role, but he is not cheap and everything works against him. While I don’t love the Ravens offensively, it’s still hard to go against them too much on the other side of things. Baltimore is not easy to run on and finished 2018 as the second-best defense at containing fantasy rushers. Gordon also isn’t healthy, which doesn’t help his chances.
Keenan Allen:
Keenan Allen is another Bolts player I’m not overly excited to pay up for. He did catch five balls a few games ago against the Ravens, but Baltimore kept him out of the end-zone and contained him overall. The Ravens rank 7th against wide receivers and don’t give up a ton of big plays. If I’m using a Chargers passing game weapon, it’s probably a red-zone factor like Mike Williams.
Blake Jarwin:
Tight end isn’t too crazy to start the playoffs, but Blake Jarwin is priced as a reliable option. I don’t think we can trust him just yet, as the DFS sites appear to be giving him a bit too much credit thanks to his three-touchdown explosion in week 17. History doesn’t help him here, while the Seahawks also happen to rank 5th against tight ends on the year.
Dallas Cowboys Defense:
Pretty much every defense is on the table in playoff games, but you still want to play matchups. While I like Dallas at home in a pace-down game, I still don’t love the idea of using a defense against Russell Wilson. I’m also trying to save cash with my defense this week if at all possible.

Contrarian Options

It’s going to be awfully difficult to be truly contrarian on such a small slate. Getting high-level players that are also low-owned will even be tougher if you play the two-game slates at FanDuel.

Still, the following guys project to be relatively contrarian (at least logically) and might be solid plays worth rostering this weekend:

  • Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles ($7.6k)
  • Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers ($6.6k)
  • Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($7.5k)
  • Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens ($5.4k)
  • Philadelphia Eagles Defense ($4.5k)

On such a small slate, the best way to go, contrarian, is to use the guys facing the biggest point spread. That’s Foles and the Eagles, who look to defend their title against the Bears. Chicago is a nightmare matchup, but they do have problems stopping plays down the field. That’s Foles’ specialty.

Melvin Gordon is not a guy I want to pay for, and a big part of that is because he could be limited or share his workload. Whether he vultures a score or is more involved in the passing game, Ekeler figures to be a solid GPP flier this week. He’s risky and not necessarily cheap, but he’s a solid try.

If you’re trying Foles in tournaments, you might as well go pay for Jeffery. Based on price alone, I doubt many people will be on him. Still, Chicago probably won’t completely shut him down in this one and there’s even the revenge narrative for him to take it to the team that originally drafted him.

Andrews isn’t a sexy name, but he’s actually had a solid role lately. If Lamar Jackson throws the ball, it’ll be short to intermediate passes for the most part and this gives you a guy who can be active in the red-zone. More than anything, he’s one of the least likely viable TE options to be high-owned.

The Bears are strong favorites at home, but it’s tough to completely trust their offense against a talented Eagles defense. Philly looked very good defensively last week against the Redskins and if they keep the positive momentum going they could be a fine DFS play during the wild card round.

Wild Card DFS Sleepers

The actual label for a lot of these guys could be similar. The player pool is just so thin. You might run into several players who could end up being contrarian, bouncing back from a bad week and technically qualify as sleepers, all in the same breath.

I’m trying to divide it up as appropriately as possible and this week these cheap options look like solid salary savers:

  • Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys ($7.7k)
  • Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles ($5.5k)
  • Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans ($5.6k)
  • Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers ($4.9k)
  • Indianapolis Colts Defense ($4k)

Dak went off for four scores in week 17 and enters the playoffs in a nice groove. Seattle is not a great matchup on paper, but he’s confident and he’s at home. I wouldn’t be that shocked for him to put up solid numbers in a win.

There isn’t much enticing value at running back, but Sproles fits the bill as a shifty weapon the Bears might not be ready for. He can run the ball or make an impact as a receiver. Depending just how much Philly plans on using him, he could be an extremely sneaky (and cheap) DFS sleeper.

Please Note:
I really like some of the cheaper wide receivers this week, but a previously banged-up Coutee takes the cake for me. He’s developed a nice chemistry with Deshaun Watson and specifically torched the Colts (11 catches, 109 yards) earlier this year. He’ll be needed in this one.

Henry makes his long-awaited return from a May ACL tear that nearly robbed his entire 2018 campaign. How involved he ends up being in his first game back is up in the air, but if active he’s too cheap to ignore on a bad tight end slate.

The Colts are the cheapest defense you can use during the wild card weekend, but they might be my favorite. Not only do I think Indy wins this game, but the Texans are a mouth-watering matchup based on how horrible their pass protection can be. The Colts should give up some points, but they’re bound to get sacks and a turnover or two.


The biggest thing to consider for these small slates is that you want to be a little flexible. If you think the Bears and Cowboys dominate at home, that’s totally fine (and I agree), but you still will want to factor in some Eagles and Seahawks plays.

Playoff games tend to be pretty tense and unpredictable, so you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner too much. That being said, take stands where you feel confident and don’t be afraid of fading popular names in brutal spots.

For me, I’m not really on the Chargers offense, but I also am really not into Lamar Jackson this week. I also will be 99% off of the Eagles, but I do think that a team with Foles/Jeffery as it’s base looks very fun for tournaments.

Overall, just try to make the best team possible. Figure out who your top plays are and start there and slowly try to figure out the right mixture of value plays and deep sleepers.

That perfect team is very difficult to find during the regular season and on small playoff slates, the dreams get even harder. It’s not impossible, though. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

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