NFL Cheat Sheet: Wild Card Weekend

WATCH: CLEAN SLATE WILD CARD WEEKEND


It’s hard to believe the regular season is over. Here we are at Wild Card Weekend, which will feature four games, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Let’s get into all the information for this slate, and, as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Highest Scoring Game

Miami Dolphins vs.Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected Point Total – 47.5 points

The Steelers are projected to win, and it should come as no surprise with how dominant Ben Roethlisberger and company have been at Heinz Field this season. In six home games, Big Ben is averaging 319 passing yards per game, with 20 of his 29 touchdowns, while averaging 27.2 DK fantasy points per game. Having rested their big three in Week 17 (Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell), the Steelers should be ready to go in this matchup.

It will likely be Matt Moore starting for the Dolphins (barring a surprise Tannehill return), and he will make just his fourth start of the season. In his limited play, Moore has been somewhat effective, averaging 18.6 DK fantasy points with a 8:3 TD:INT ratio. However, with a very effective Steelers’ defense on tap, he certainly is going to be challenged in this one. I think Jay Ajayi is an attractive option as he has averaged 22 carries per game in the three games that Moore has started.

Lowest Scoring Game

Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans

Projected Point Total – 37 points

It’s the battle of a third string, and second (first?) string quarterback in this one. Connor Cook and the Raiders visit Brock Osweiler and the Texans. While there isn’t a ton to love here, there are playmakers on both teams, but I don’t feel good about who’s throwing to them. For what it’s worth, Cook did look decent in relief of Matt McGloin last week, connecting on 14 of 21 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Of course, in games like this, the defenses are certainly great considerations on both sides.


DvP Matchups

Quarterback

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Worst QB Matchups

1. Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants – The Giants are holding opposing quarterbacks to an average of 264 passing yards and have only allowed 15 passing touchdowns. In Week 5, Rodgers went 23/45 for 259 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

2. Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans – Connor Cook will be facing a Texans’ defense that allowed an average of 214 passing yards per game and 20 touchdowns to opposing QBs. 

3. Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks – Matt Stafford matches up against Seattle this weekend, a defense that’s allowed an average of 242 passing yards and only 16 touchdowns on the season.

Best QB Matchups

1. Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions – During the regular season, the Lions allowed an average of 257 passing yards per game and 32 passing touchdowns, the second most in the league. 

2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins – A well rested Ben Roethlisberger will take on the Dolphins, who allowed opposing QBs an average of 254 passing yards per game with 30 touchdowns thrown.

3. New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers – The Packers have been quite generous to opposing quarterbacks, allowing an average of 287 passing yards per game and 31 touchdowns thrown. It should be noted however that Green Bay has snatched 17 interceptions on the season, which is good for a tie between five teams for second-most in the league.


WATCH: JAY AJAYI AS A PIVOT PLAY AWAY FROM LE’VEON BELL


Running Back

Worst RB Matchups

1. Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants – A Ty Montgomery led Packers’ backfield will face a Giants’ defense that allowed opposing RBs and average of 3.6 YPC and 10 rushing touchdowns on the season.

2. Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks – The Lions have a tough matchup ahead against a Seahawks’ defense that allowed an average of 3.4 YPC and 12 rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs.

3. Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions – Detroit has been pretty solid against the run as well, holding opposing running backs to only five rushing touchdowns on the season. With that being said, RBs are gaining 4.4 YPC against them.

Best RB Matchups

1. Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers allowed 14 rushing touchdowns on the season and an average of 4.3 YPC. In Week 6, Ajayi scored 36.7 DK points against this defense, rushing for 204 yards with two touchdowns.

2. Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders – The Texans should have Lamar Miller back for this game against the Raiders. He produced one of his best games of the season against this Oakland defense, rushing for 104 yards with a touchdown. The Raiders allowed an average of 4.5 YPC and 13 rushing touchdowns.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins – Miami have allowed an average of 4.5 YPC but only 7 rushing touchdowns. For what it’s worth, opposing running backs caught 90/116 passes out of the backfield.


Wide Receiver

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Worst WR Matchups

1. Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have limited opposing WRs to just 10 touchdowns on the season, but they have given up an average of 152 receiving yards per game. In their previous matchup, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker combined to catch 14/19 targets for 131 yards. 

2. Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans – The Texans held opposing wide receivers to an average of 137 receiving yards per game and just 13 touchdowns scored.

3. Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants – The Giants only allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, which is the third lowest mark in the league. For what it’s worth, the Packers go to their wide receivers 85% of the time in the red zone, which is tied for most in the league with the Giants.

Best WR Matchups

1. New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers – This is a great spot for Odell Beckham and company. Opposing wide receivers have ripped the Packers’ defense apart, scoring a league-leading 26 touchdowns and averaging 189 receiving yards per game. As I mentioned, Manning targets his wide receivers 85% of the time in the red zone. 

2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are another team that have struggled against opposing wide receivers as we head into the playoffs. Allowing 18 touchdowns on the season, opposing WRs are also averaging 162 receiving yards per game.

3. Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions – The Lions allowed 20 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and an average of 160 receiving yards per game.


WATCH: C.J. FIEDOROWICZ’S SEEMINGLY HIGH FLOOR AGAINST THE RAIDERS


Tight End

Worst TE Matchups

1. Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans – The Texans rank as the best defense against tight ends this playoff weekend. On the season, the held opposing TEs to three touchdowns and an average of 35 receiving yards per game.

2. Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks – Eric Ebron received 18 targets over the last two weeks of the season, as he was heavily involved in the Lions’ game plan. That could take a backseat this week as he faces a Seattle defense that allowed three touchdowns and an average of 43 receiving yards per game to opposing TEs.

3. Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Besides the Texans and Seahawks, no other team on this slate was particularly good against opposing tight ends. The Steelers were the best of the bunch having allowed five touchdowns and an average of 56 receiving yards per game.

Best TE Matchups

1. Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions – A weak spot for the Lions that was exploited many times over the course of the regular season – Detroit allowed 10 touchdowns and an average of 54 receiving yards per game to opposing WRs.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins check in as the second worst defense against the tight end position this weekend, having allowed 10 touchdowns and an average of 57 receiving yards per game to the position.

3. Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders – The Texans are certainly a team that utilizes their tight ends often, as they accounted for 47% of their touchdowns on the season. Oakland allowed seven touchdowns and an average of 64 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends.


Target Report

Last Week’s Leaders

NameTeamLast Week’s OPPTargets
Demarcus AyersPITCLE12
Jarvis LandryMIANE12
DeAndre HopkinsHOUTEN11
Golden TateDETGB10
Davante AdamsGBDET9
Marvin JonesDETGB9
Jared CookGBDET8
Amari CooperOAKDEN8
Michael CrabtreeOAKDEN8
Odell BeckhamNYGWAS7

Last Three Week Leaders

NameTeamLast 3 WeeksAvg. Targets
Odell BeckhamNYG3511.7
DeAndre HopkinsHOU3411.3
Doug BaldwinSEA299.7
Golden TateDET299.7
Jordy NelsonGB279
Michael CrabtreeOAK268.7
Eric EbronDET258.3
Davante AdamsGB227.3
Jarvis LandryMIA227.3
Jared CookGB217

Lineup Quick Hits

QB To Build Lineups Around…

Ben Roethlisberger ($7,600) – With Big Ben’s stellar numbers at home, it’s hard to go against him in this spot. To recap, Big Ben is averaging 27.2 DK fantasy points at home in six home games compared to the 14.5 in eight road games this season. Against a Dolphins’ defense that was one of the worst ranked against opposing quarterbacks, Ben is my choice here.

WR To Pair Him With…

Antonio Brown ($9,400) – Brown will be fresh, along with Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell, after taking Week 17 off to rest. Brown was coming off another solid game against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense, catching 10 of his 11 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown. Brown has pretty similar numbers across the board home and away this season, so I’ll just enjoy the matchup for what it is.

The Top RB Will Be…

Le’Veon Bell ($10,300) – It’s going to be tough to fit all three players into your lineup this week. Combined, these three guys will run you for $22,700, leaving you with an average of $3,783 for your remaining players. Not necessarily ideal, but I have a hard time believing Bell won’t be the top RB this week. Bell is that two-headed monster that eats up the rushes and averages almost eight targets per game. He’s easily my top RB on this slate.

 


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