Wild Card #4: Seattle @ Philadelphia
I think this ends up being the best game of Wild-Card Weekend, and is the only regular season rematch this weekend. Seattle won 17-9 back in Week 12.
- Russell Wilson (11,600) has not been putting up many big games as of late. Seattle seems content on running the ball as much as possible, relying on Wilson only when needed. He has only gone for 3+ touchdowns in three games all year. I don't think he's a must use in this slate, though if you think this has some offensive points, then use him by all means. Philadelphia can be had in the pass game as their secondary, which has improved throughout the season, still isn't great. With the Seattle receivers, I feel like Tyler Lockett (9,600) is the big play upside guy with a higher ceiling and lower floor than rookie D.K. Metcalf (8,800). In the first matchup, Metcalf saw six targets compared to the two for Lockett. I never get Tyler Lockett right, so I will probably go with Metcalf if I play one of the Seattle receivers. Jacob Hollister's (6,600) production has slowed down after a hot November. He feels a bit overpriced here. David Moore (3,000) was the clear #3 WR last week, seeing over 75% of the snaps. He's not a bad punt option if you want to go there.
- While Marshawn Lynch (6,400) may be the "starter" by name, it was Travis Homer (6,800) who started the game and outsnapped Lynch 50 to 23. I haven't heard anything on an early Friday afternoon if Lynch will get more snaps this week. If it stays the same, I would take Homer as the play, though I don't hate playing both in the same lineup. Though Philadelphia ranks #4 against the rush, Rashaad Penny had a 14/129/1 line against them earlier this year, while Chris Carson went 8/26, and added four catches.
- Carson Wentz (10,600) has had at least 40 pass attempts in every game since coming off their Week 10 bye. In Week 12, he threw for 256 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He's been playing much better the past month or so and is someone I will likely be using. The Week 12 game was where we saw this current offense without Jeffery or Agholor. Nelson Agholor (6,000) is Questionable but doesn't sound like he will play. Greg Ward (7,400) is the #1 WR for them right now, and has seen at least 5 targets in all but one game since he emerged in Week 12. The price is a bit higher than I want to pay, but would consider it. In the first matchup, Wentz targeted Zach Ertz (8,600) 14 times and Dallas Goedert (8,000) 8 times. Ertz went 12/91/1 and Goedert went 7/36. Seattle is 17th against the TE, so this is a spot to target again. Ertz may not play, and if he doesn't, Goedert is on the short list of captains in this game. This would also be a chance to look at Josh Perkins (2,600) who did see six targets and a touchdown last week with Ertz out.
- Miles Sanders (9,000) is looking Questionable at best. Even if he goes, unless word prior to the game has him looking good, I would be concerned about a limited snap count. If that's the case, Boston Scott (7,600) could see a repeat of his 19 carry game from last week (3 TD performance would be hard to replicate). There is also talk that Jordan Howard (3,600) could have a role this week. I would need to hear a usage report from the coaching staff and for Sanders to be ruled Out before I would even think about using Howard.
- I don't have much interest in either kicker, but could use either defense if you think this is a repeat of the Week 12 game. They would be more of a last roster spot type of play, but I don't think I want to use either defense.
Seahawks Players I am Considering: Wilson, Homer, Metcalf, Lockett, Lynch, Moore
Eagles Players I am Considering: Goedert, Wentz, Ward, Ertz/Perkins (Perkins only if Ertz is out. Ertz moves up if he's not limited), Scott (if Sanders misses or is limited)
Wild Card #3: Minnesota @ New Orleans
This is a tough game to play a Showdown Slate for. Both teams have a pretty limited distribution of touches. New Orleans does spread the ball out more, but they all tend to be highly variant. So if playing this showdown slate, embrace even more variance than usual.
- The obvious captain choice in this game is Michael Thomas (12,800). He's only had two games since Week 7, and only one home game all year where he hasn't gotten to 25 fantasy points. Minnesota ranks 21st against WR1s, so the matchup is great. Game Theory would say to avoid him at captain and hope that a cheaper play becomes a better point/$ move or that someone outscores him. For me, it's hard to imagine someone beating him on points, so unless you are playing multiple entries or just looking to be completely contrarian, play Thomas at Captain. If you do play Thomas at Captain, it does makes sense to pair him with Drew Brees (11,600). If you can't afford Thomas at Captain, Brees could be used in that spot, as he has averaged 27.7 fantasy points at home and a repeat of that could put him above Thomas.
- Outside of those two, it gets a little dicey. Alvin Kamara (9,600) is starting to finally see the positive TD regression that we've been waiting for in his past two games, scoring 2 TDs a piece. But he's doing this on limited touches. He certainly has the talent to hit value, but I do worry about his opportunities. I don't have any interest in Latavius Murray (5,600), as his increased touch count in Week 17 was due to the blowout in Carolina. Minnesota is #1 vs the TE position, and Jared Cook (6,800) has been very touchdown dependent on his scoring. This feels like a spot to avoid. You can always take a chance on any of the secondary receivers for the Saints. But, perhaps the best value play in this game lies in Taysom Hill (2,000). He is the value that opens up your salary cap to afford higher end players. And if you look at his recent game logs, he has touchdowns and at least six fantasy points in the last three games. His floor is pretty low; but with how much he is used and the savings he gives you, I think this is a risk that you should consider. And if he scores a touchdown, he will very likely be in the winning lineup.
- The value we have had with Minnesota appears to be gone, as both Dalvin Cook (10,000) and Alexander Mattison (4,800) are expected back. There is already talk out of Minnesota that they plan on giving Cook at his normal level. This increases his floor especially as the Saints are average against pass-catching backs. However, they are 5th against the run. I would rather use him over Kamara, but not sure I'm forcing him into my lineups. Mattison would have to be efficient to hit value, but I have no problem using him as a last player in your lineup scenario.
- The question for the Vikings is how much can we trust Kirk Cousins (9,400). He has only thrown for five touchdowns in the past four games. Everyone is expecting the Saints to be up early in this game, and if you believe that is the case, Cousins should have to throw a lot to stay in or get back into the game. He's also been better on the road than at home. Cousins is definitely worth a look. It appears that Stefon Diggs (8,400) will see Marshon Lattimore, which makes me want to look more towards Adam Thielen (7,400) at a cheaper price and easier matchup against Eli Apple. Bisi Johnson (3,200) has been seeing about 40-50% of the snaps since Thielen came back, so you would be betting on a touchdown if playing him. We are still seeing a pretty close distibution of snaps for the tight ends, with Irv Smith (1,400) seeing slightly more snaps than Kyle Rudolph (4,600). Rudolph is still being priced high from his touchdown run a couple months ago. Irv Smith offers really nice value, and a Taysom Hill/Irv Smith pairing allows you to get whoever you want in the captain spot and a couple other expensive pieces.
- I don't think I have any interest in either defense here. Both Will Lutz (4,000) and Dan Bailey (3,800) are viable here. I would rather pay for Lutz in the better offense if going here. However, you should not play both kickers in a lineup.
Vikings Players I am Considering: Cook, Thielen, Cousins, Smith, Diggs, Bailey
Saints Players I am Considering: Thomas, Brees, Kamara, T. Hill, Lutz, Cook, Ginn/Smith/Harris (1 at most)