DFS with Doug: Wild Card Edition

If you are new to DFS, a Primer is available here: https://dynastyfootballfactory.com/the-dff-dfs-primer/

Full Appendix available at the bottom of the primer for any terms not understood. 

Welcome to the NFL playoffs everybody! The slates get smaller, but the money up top stays just the same. There are multiple different slates you could play this weekend; I will be playing the full 6-game slate, the Saturday 2-game slate, the Saturday Night Showdown slate, the Sunday 3-game slate, the Sunday Night Showdown slate, and the Monday Night Showdown slate. I will only be discussing the full weekend slate here. Be careful generalizing this article for any of the smaller slates, as it may not apply even if it is talking about the same player. 

Small Slate Strategy

Small slates create different sorts of lineups so these are slates that I am not afraid to break some rules in. I’ll play a quarterback against a defense. I will stack a quarterback with a skinny stack or an overloaded stack. I am also much more willing to play a guy with an even more swingy range of outcomes because I have to find some way to make my lineup different than all the other lineups in the contest. You can play more 3rd WRs and change-of-pace backs on these styles of slates, especially as you get smaller and play the single-day slates with only two or three games on them. 

Highest Totals

Los Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions (51.5)

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys (50.5)

Defenses are in general a bit better in the playoffs, so it’s nice to have two games north of 50 points in total for the first weekend. I think the Rams and Lions game will be a bit more high-scoring than the Packers and Cowboys, but I’ll heavily stack the quarterbacks on both sides of both of these games. It is not a bad way to get contrarian by simply playing more players from games like the Steelers and Bills game to fade some ownership and make your lineup unique. I am not sure I will play much of that game, but it is a viable strategy to try and fade ownership playing a gross football game.

Top Stacks

Josh Allen (BUF): $8,000 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The matchup is very gross and I may not get to a ton of this game, but you are getting Josh Allen at home as a 10-point favorite and projected as the 5th most-owned QB on a 6-game slate. His ownership is likely being held down by tight pricing all across the board—it is hard to fit in much once you drop 8K on a quarterback. Figuring out where you can squeeze the extra salary will be tough and if you play just the chalky salary relief, you likely have a higher combinatorial ownership of people that had Josh Allen plus value play x lineups. 

Jalen Hurts (PHI): $7,700 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Eagles are a complete mess right now so this is hard to say. I love this game environment though. The Eagles’ defense has been shaky as of late and the Buccaneers’ defense has been one we have attacked all season long in DFS. I could tell you about the rushing touchdown upside but I think we are all already aware of that. I also love having players from this game because you get the best late swap equity possible. You can see how the weekend is going, and if some of your lineups have bombed, you can always go nuts with them to give yourself some outs. I could see myself switching both off of Hurts and onto Hurts in different scenarios. 

Dak Prescott (DAL): $7,600 vs. Green Bay Packers

Dak being the cheaper player is the thing that will hurt the ownership of the two above players more than Allen and Hurts on a slate where there isn’t much salary relief. Dak has been an absolute house this season and could easily torch this Packers’ defense. I haven’t started building cash lineups yet, but he is the guy if a spend-up at quarterback configuration lines up better than playing a value quarterback. It could depend on how much value we can find in other position groups.

Top Plays

CeeDee Lamb (DAL): $9,000 vs. Green Bay Packers

If we mention Dak then we gotta mention Lamb—the single most expensive player on the slate for good reason. In the playoffs, most of the defenses are pretty good so even any neutral matchup is a smash spot in the playoffs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander could also miss the game after rolling his ankle in practice, making things even more difficult on the Packers’ secondary.

Tyreek Hill (MIA): $8,700 @ Kansas City Chiefs

This is the cheapest we have seen Hill in a while. This matchup against a tough KC defense is keeping his ownership down despite the cheap price tag. There is a very real chance the Dolphins get beaten down and Hill is not great, but he can also torch you in two plays with a level of game-breaking speed that only he possesses. 

Kyren Williams (LAR): $7,300 @ Detroit Lions

I’m gonna stick with Kyren here even in the tough matchup against a Lions defense that usually gives it up through the air while holding it down on the ground. A lot of Kyren’s upside comes from goal line work and passing game work, both of which are still very viable even if efficiency struggles a bit. 

Value Plays

Jaylen Warren (PIT): $5,100 @ Buffalo Bills

I imagine more people will play Warren than Najee Harris with the game script favoring the Bills, and therefore the pass-catching back. He is also $300 cheaper than Harris and we are gonna be kinda strapped for cash this week as is. While there are some viable plays below Warren, he is the cheapest option that isn’t super thin. The guys below him in price are players I am only playing because of the small slate while Warren would likely be viable even on a normal slate.

Demarcus Robinson (LAR): $3,600 @ Detroit Lions

He’s a lock for cash games but I would use him selectively in tournaments. Robinson has taken over the WR3 role with 29 targets in the last four games he played—scoring touchdowns in four of the last five. He will be extremely chalky in tournaments so I recommend using him as a cheap piece to an already pretty contrarian lineup or as a correlated piece to a primary game stack. If you just play him as a one-off, you have increased the likelihood of your lineup being duped by a significant amount of others, so just try to be mindful of that.

Cade Otton (TB): $3,100 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Even if he doesn’t get there, having Otton in your lineup may unlock the pieces you need to win a DFS tournament. There are a few other viable tight ends in this price range, but Otton is my favorite at this stage of the week. Due to the high probability of this game becoming a shoot-out, an upside exists with Otton—all we need is for him to fall into the end zone.

Value Stacks

Joe Flacco (CLE): $6,100 @ Houston Texans

I cannot believe that I am writing about Joe Flacco as a DFS play in January of the year 2024. Flacco has absolutely smashed in this Browns offense since he took over as starting quarterback. The turnovers are the only problem for the Browns, but we couldn’t care less. Anyone who has used Jameis Winston in any form of fantasy back when he was a Buccaneer can attest. Just go out there and let it rip. While everyone remembers that this Texans’ defense got eaten alive by Amari Cooper ($6.8K) earlier this season, you also have to remember who was feeding Amari that game.

Baker Mayfield (TB): $5,800 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

I have written about Baker in this column so much this year as a value stack, so we gotta get bold this time. I’m gonna be writing about him again next week when the Bucs pull the upset and beat the Eagles. That’s right, Baker is going to light up this Eagles defense then walk out with a win and sign a deal this offseason that has a lot of zeros behind another number. The Eagles’ vibes are bad right now y’all. Book it.

Low Owned Guys

Two big things with low-owned guys this week. Firstly, this is applied to a full 6-game slate and definitely will not apply to a single-day slate where you will need to get a lot more in the weeds to find those plays this week. Secondly, on a 6-game slate, ownership will be much higher across the board, so my threshold for low ownership is a bit higher, but I will also make my lineups have more of those guys than normal. On a normal slate, one guy under 10% would be a good start. On a smaller slate, I want two guys under 15% or three under 20% if it’s really small.

David Montgomery (DET): $6,200 vs. Los Angeles Rams

A gross matchup and sharing a backfield with the more explosive Jahmyr Gibbs ($6.5K) is keeping ownership down. The Lions love to run the ball near the goal line and are likely without star tight end Sam LaPorta. It feels on brand for Dan Campbell to try and run the ball to grind out wins in the playoffs. The Rams are tough against the run, but the Lions have one of the better offensive lines in football—we aren’t worried about some potential inefficiency if he falls into the endzone twice.

Gabe Davis (BUF): $5,300 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I think the best time to play Davis is in the worst possible game environment ever so his ownership is a bit lower. Davis can completely break a slate on any given weekend and famously wrecked an entire Divisional weekend with a four-touchdown performance against the Chiefs. Everyone is going to avoid playing this game due to the weather, so Davis could be a nice way to stack with Allen. Draw up a game script where Davis catches one long touchdown, a second shorter touchdown, and Allen rushes in two. A skinny Allen/Davis stack is fantastic there and not too cost-prohibitive for the rest of the lineup.

Gut Play of the Week

Mike Evans (TB): $6,900 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

If the Buccaneers put up 30+ points, I am going to likely be a happy man. I plan on being overweight on every part of the Buccaneers offense and none more so than Evans. One of the reasons the Buccaneers are still playing at this point of the season is because of how good Mike Evans has been. This is also as good of a matchup as you can have for a WR in fantasy football. 


Be prepared to make some chaotic lineups, especially if you play the smaller single-day slates. On the full six-game slates, your lineups will probably look fine. On the smaller, single-day slates, you should have at least one play that makes you uncomfortable. If this isn’t the case, you are likely being duplicated. If you have a hunch or a feeling of some role player that might be super critical in a game this weekend, now is a great time to take a stand somewhere and jam them into some lineups. Good luck everyone!

Thanks so much for reading. If you want to discuss more, you can reach me on Twitter @DougHarrelson. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our Dynasty Football Factory Membership to get all things Dynasty, DFS, Sports Betting, Devy, and IDP. Annual subscribers also get access to our discord server, where you can talk to our entire staff!