Is there anything better than playoff football? Last weekend’s expanded Wild Card slate gave us roughly 20 hours of football between the two days. While there are two less games this weekend, the quality of these matchups should be really good. When doing my early research, it’s clear to me that you will need to dig a little deeper this week to find the smash plays on the slate. As expected, there are eight really good teams left in the playoffs. Outside of the Chiefs and Browns game, I expect some lower scoring games this week.
Before I give you my plays, I want to dig into the strategy of building lineups for smaller slates like this. For this weekend’s games, the first thing I will look at is the weather. That is something you are going to want to monitor all the way up to kickoff. As of now, it is supposed to snow one to three inches in Buffalo on Saturday. You need to take into account how these two high-powered offenses will do when they are slowed down a bit by the snow. Another strategy I implemented last week and will do again this week, is expanding my stacks. Instead of starting my lineups with a QB/WR stack and bringing it back with a WR from the other team, I will expand my stacks to three or four players on the same team. This is a great way to differentiate your lineups from others. Finally, the most important piece of advice is, do not fall in love with your lineup. Depending on what happens in the early games, you will want to have the flexibility to make changes to your lineup on Sunday. If you are down and need to make up points, you will need to get off the chalk plays, and switch to some lesser owned options. Remember, low-owned does not always equal value. You want to choose wisely when plugging in your value plays. You can still play chalky players, as long as you have one or two guys in your lineup that make it unique. Don’t be afraid to leave a few hundred dollars on the table either, as that is something that most people will not do. Having said all of that, here are my favorite plays for this weekend’s games:
TB @ NO: Projected team total of 23 points. (TB)
1. Tom Brady - $6300
2. Mike Evans - $6400
3. Antonio Brown - $5400
4. Rob Gronkowski - $3600
**This leaves you with $5660 per player to build the rest of your lineup.
Photo courtesy of bucsnation.com
CLE @ KC: Projected game total of 54.5 total points.
1. Baker Mayfield - $5300
2. Jarvis Landry - $5600
3. Austin Hooper - $3800
4. Tyreek Hill - $8000
**This leaves you with $5460 per player to build the rest of your lineup.
Photo courtesy of forbes.com
1. Aaron Jones - $6800 vs LAR
2. Cam Akers - $5700 @ GB
3. Stefon Diggs - $7300 vs BAL
4. Michael Thomas - $6700 vs TB
5. Marquise Brown - $5200 @ BUF
6. Cole Beasley - $4900 vs BAL
7. Travis Kelce - $7800 vs CLE
8. Robert Tonyan - $4200 vs LAR
Photo courtesy of profootballnetwork.com
1. Ronald Jones - $5200 @ NO (Currently questionable and limited in practice)
2. Gabriel Davis - $4000 vs BAL
3. Deonte Harris - $3500 vs TB
4. Dawson Knox - $3100 vs BAL
5. Cameron Brate - $2900 @ NO
Photo courtesy of yourerie.com
On paper, TB has a tough matchup against a good NO defense that shut them down twice in the regular season. However, I think this is a different TB team that has been clicking on all cylinders lately. The emergence of Antonio Brown has really helped this offense reach new levels. I think TB comes out and wins this game, so I love this stack. For my second stack, I like the KC side of this game much more, however, stacking Mahomes with Hill and Kelce has become almost impossible with their current salaries. I want to make sure I get a piece of this game, so starting the lineup with Baker, Landry and Hooper, frees up some money to get to those Chiefs weapons. CLE is going to have to score a lot of points if they want to keep this game close.
Remember, hold off on building your lineups until Friday night/Saturday morning, so you can monitor injuries and the weather. You don’t want to be stuck with bad conditions that make it harder for your teams to put up points. Find the guys you think are smash plays, but make sure you remain flexible in case you need to make up some ground later in the weekend. As always, if you have any questions about building your lineups, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @jsulli2121. Good luck and enjoy a great weekend of football!