NFL Daily Fantasy Advice, wild card Saturday DFS Picks

Cam Akers of the Los Angeles Rams
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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email

The NFL playoffs are here, and with the expanded format we’ve got three wild card games on each day this weekend. We’ve been bringing you the best plays each and every week this season, including some guys who are flying under the radar that might be low-owned with tournament winning potential. We’ll also be letting you know about a couple of popular players you should avoid at all costs.

Without further ado here are our Saturday wild card picks, using pricing from DraftKings and FanDuel. We’ll of course have picks for Sunday as well, so check back later for those.

QB – Josh Allen – DraftKings $7500, FanDuel $9000

I usually advocate being a contrarian in daily fantasy, but I don’t think you can fade Allen here given the rest of the quarterback options. Tom Brady is the second most expensive passer, and he’s playing in a game with a total in the low 40s against a tough defense. Russell Wilson has really struggled against the Rams this year, and none of Philip Rivers, John Wolford, or Alex Smith are particularly appealing fantasy options.

Allen played at an MVP caliber level down the stretch, and he enters the playoffs on fire. In just *one half* against a solid Dolphins secondary last week, he passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns, so obviously his upside is off the charts. He had at least 35 fantasy points in each of his final two full regular season games.

RB – Cam Akers – DraftKings $5100, FanDuel $6100

Jonathan Taylor makes a lot of sense here as well but that one is a bit obvious, and I think Akers makes a lot of sense from a value perspective. He got 21 carries last week, so clearly his ankle isn’t bothering him too much. He’s had at least 15 carries in each of his past four games, and you very rarely can get that much volume at this low of a price.

He also had four catches for 52 yards in Week 17, and if he can stay involved in the passing game here then he’ll have a very high floor as well. Assuming Jared Goff isn’t ready to go that means Wolford will be making his second career start here, and Sean McVay will want to lean heavily on the run if at all possible.

WR – T.Y. Hilton – DraftKings $5000, FanDuel $6200

I think Hilton is being underpriced here as well. In Week 17 he still had 13.7 PPR points in what was a down game for him recently. Right before that he’d put up at least 60 yards in five straight games. Hilton came on strong down the stretch after a slow start, and had five touchdowns in his final six games. The Colts are underdogs of almost a touchdown, which means they project to be passing a lot in this spot.

I’m not scared by this Buffalo defense, as it was Allen and the offense carrying the team this season. This game has by far the highest total of the three games on this slate, so it makes sense to have your quarterbacks and receivers from this one.

TE – Logan Thomas – DraftKings $4900, FanDuel $6400

The tight end cupboard is just too bare here to not play Thomas. The converted quarterback has been a great story for Washington this year, and he’s become a bigger part of the offense with each passing week. Over his past three games, Thomas has a ridiculous 34 targets, and he managed to put up 12.7 PPR points last week even in a game where Washington’s offense did absolutely nothing. Tampa Bay’s defense has been relatively strong overall, but they’re just middle of the pack against tight ends.

Guys to avoid – Tom Brady, Chris Carson, D.K. Metcalf

Like I mentioned Brady is the second-most expensive quarterback, and I don’t see any way you could play him here. He finished the season hot, but his last four games came against lifeless Falcons, Lions, and Vikings defenses. He struggled all year long when under pressure, and he should see a lot of it here from Chase Young and co.

I also can’t roster Carson. He’s the second-priciest running back behind only Taylor, but he hasn’t topped 11 PPR points in three straight games. In Week 17, he got only 11 carries. The Rams are very stout against the run, so I don’t see him breaking out. I’m not paying up for Metcalf either, given how he has struggled against Jalen Ramsey in both meetings with Los Angeles this season.

Want more NFL advice all season long? Visit our ‘NFL picks‘ page for breakdowns and picks of every game each week.

What is NFL DFS

NFL DFS is an NFL Daily Fantasy Sports contest.

So what is a Daily Fantasy Sports contest you may ask?
The main difference between a Daily Fantasy Sports contest and a more traditional fantasy football contest, as the name suggests, is the length in time in which it is played over. NFL DFS contests are accelerated, fast-paced contests typically played over either a day or an NFL game week, rather than the season-long contests you may be accustomed to.  

You’ll enter a contest, and draft a team, within a set budget, with each player’s price set depending on their week’s matchup and recent performances. Point scoring is fairly traditional with touchdowns, yards, and receptions to the fore.

How to Win DFS NFL

As with sports betting, there are many different strategies and ways that can improve your chances of winning. Here’s a couple of strategies to try out in your next NFL DFS contest and improve your chances of winning.

  • Correlated Plays

    Most people will start their contest by picking a QB they like and build a team around the position. Chances are if he has a great game, one of his targets will do too. By picking two correlated players, for example, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, you can score off both players on the same play if they hit for a big touchdown. Its a higher risk high reward option because it can go either way, but by correlating your picks, the chances are, if one hits, they’ll both hit.

  • Understand the Scoring Systems

    It may sound obvious, but some contests will score differently. The most notable difference being PPR contests – Points Per Reception – In this instance, you’ll want to look player target stats, with a player catching 10 passes for 100 yards being way more valuable than a player that catches two passes for the same yards.

    In certain teams, schemes, and matchups this can add considerable value to a slot receiver, for example. Julian Edelman has been a prime example over the last decade, who, while he won’t always go off with 100+ yard games, he’ll always be picking up additional points per reception.

  • Pay attention to the weekly team and player news

    Unfortunately, injuries are part of the NFL, and it’s important to keep tabs with the week’s team and player news, particularly if a big name is lost to injury. The dollar values of players are very rarely updated after injuries so the next man up can we worth his weight in gold.

    While it varies by position, the running back spot can be particularly fruitful in this instance and you can find yourself a bargain pick, freeing up space for those top players at other positions.

How to Analyze NFL week to week for DFS 

Matchups are everything in NFL DFS contests and fortunately, there is a wealth of information available for you to use to find the best ones.

Team stats are always a great starting point. Some teams will defend the pass better than the run and vice versa, make the most of these to find players in matchups with plenty of upsides.

You also want to look at the team they play for, there’s little point picking up a receiver in a team that patently likes to run the ball more than they like to throw it.

Use the sportsbook lines to your advantage. The sportsbook lines have an incredible level of accuracy in predicting how a game will go and whether you’ll see a shootout or a low scoring game. While it’s no exact science, and yes, the sportsbooks can get it wrong, it’s a good way of gauging which games could see the most points and focusing on some players from that matchup.

How to Find Value in NFL DFS

Value in a DFS contest is quite simply how many points a player can get vs how many dollars he costs to draft. One great way of determining value is to utilize the various player stat projection tools out there, including our very own NFL computer picks, and compare it to the player’s draft price.

Our NFL computer picks use a wealth of statistical data to simulate scenarios and provide the best player and team projections that can be used for your NFL DFS contest and sports betting.

You can simply take players’ projected stat lines and divide it by his price to determine a projected DFS value.

For example, if a QB is projected 300 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 20 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown this would equate to 31 DFS points. If the QB costs $10,000 you can divide his price by his projected points, in this case, $322 per point, and get a metric you can use to compare players to determine their value.

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