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Wild Card Round DraftKings Targets

By Jared Smola 4:25pm EST 1/13/23

The Wild Card slate on DraftKings is unique for a couple of reasons.

For starters, it’s a 6-gamer. So it’s far from a full slate – but it’s also not as condensed as, say, the 3-game Thanksgiving slate.

What makes it more interesting is that all 6 games kick off at different times. That gives us 5 opportunities to make lineup swaps.

And you should be making lineup swaps in most cases. Make a contrarian play in a Saturday game that delivers? You can afford to go with more optimal, chalky plays the rest of the way. Play chalk that fails in the first game? You’ll need to get more weird with the rest of your lineup.

Here are the plays I’ll be focusing on – at least before I start making those lineup swaps.


Josh Allen, Bills ($7,900)

I don’t need to make the case for Allen, especially in this matchup. He’s already smoked the Dolphins for 30.7 and 39.9 DK points this season. Buffalo’s 28.5-point implied total is nearly 3 points higher than any other team on the slate.

Allen is an even better play this week, though, because the pricing is so soft. He’s at his cheapest price since Week 8 – and the salaries on most other players are also down.

That means we don’t need to sacrifice as much at the other spots as we usually do when playing Allen.

Daniel Jones, Giants ($5,600)

Giants-Vikings is our best chance at a shootout this weekend. The linemakers agree, slapping a 48.5-point over/under on this game – highest on the slate.

These teams combined for 51 points just a few weeks ago. Jones went for 24.8 DK points in that one – 1 of his 4 games with 24+ points over his last 10 outings.

The Vikings finished the regular season 25th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs and 26th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.

Jones is an even more attractive tournament play because all 3 of his top WRs are so cheap: Darius Slayton ($4,200), Isaiah Hodgins ($4,100), Richie James ($3,900)

Also consider: Kirk Cousins ($5,900)


Saquon Barkley, Giants ($8,300)

While it’s possible to fit 2 of Barkley, Christian McCaffrey ($8,900) and Austin Ekeler ($8,300) into a lineup, you’ll generally be picking just 1 of these elites. I prefer Barkley’s combination of value and upside.

In the Giants’ last 3 competitive games, Barkley tallied 23, 26 and 24 opportunities on 88%, 86% and 91% snap rates. Now in a win-or-go-home situation, look for the G-Men to lean on their best player.

The Vikings enter the playoffs ranked 19th in both adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs and Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA. When these teams met a few weeks ago, Barkley scored 27.3 DK points, averaging 6.0 yards per carry and catching 8 of 10 targets.

Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6,300)

If Jaguars HC Doug Pederson is smart – and I think he is – he’ll attack the Chargers defense on the ground. From Week 13 to 17, Los Angeles ranked 3rd in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA but 23rd against the run.

Etienne, of course, has dominated work in Jacksonville’s backfield since the James Robinson trade. That includes 5 games of 17+ carries. He has a good shot to reach that territory again on Saturday night.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers ($4,700)

If you’re fading McCaffrey, you can double-down on the bet by playing Mitchell.

In 3 full games alongside CMC, Mitchell has tallied 18, 9 and 7 carries. And that doesn’t include last week, when Mitchell scored twice while McCaffrey was still in the game.

The 49ers are 9.5-point favorites in Saturday’s game vs. the Seahawks. If this game goes according to script and the ‘Niners are nursing a big lead, we could see a lot of Mitchell in the 4th quarter.

Seattle, by the way, ranks 27th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.

Also consider: Tony Pollard ($6,400), Leonard Fournette ($5,300), James Cook ($4,800)


Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($8,400)

Perhaps we’ll get Jefferson at slightly depressed ownership after he closed the regular season with 2 duds. Even if that’s not the case, I’m likely playing him on every lineup I build.

Jefferson smoked the Giants for 34.3 DK points back in Week 16. That was 1 of 3 straight games of 30+ DK points. Jefferson turned in an absurd 8 games of 30+ points this season.

Now in a do-or-die scenario, the Vikings figure to get Jefferson the ball early and often on Sunday.

Keenan Allen, Chargers ($7,000)

Outside of Jefferson, there might not be a better target bet on this slate.

Over his last 5 games, Allen has averaged a massive 10.8 targets, parlaying that volume into 8.8 catches, 89 yards and .4 TDs per game. With WR Mike Williams out for Saturday’s game vs. the Jaguars, Allen is a strong bet for double-digit looks.

He gets a Jacksonville defense that ranks 22nd in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.

Mike Evans ($6,900) and Chris Godwin ($6,400), Bucs

Dealing with a few injuries, the Cowboys’ secondary has struggled lately. Dallas ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA from Week 13 to 17. They allowed 3 different WRs – Chris Moore, Zay Jones and DeVonta Smith – to score 25+ DK points over that 5-game stretch.

That makes both of these Bucs WRs interesting.

Godwin is clearly the better value. He finished 10th among WRs in targets and 6th in catches this season. And he started to flash more upside down the stretch, topping 22 DK points in 2 of his final 4 games.

Evans had a more volatile year – but turned in huge games of 33.3 and 51.7 DK points. Priced $500 higher than Godwin, Evans figures to come in much lower owned.

Also consider: CeeDee Lamb ($7,700), Stefon Diggs ($7,600), Tyler Lockett ($6,000), Deebo Samuel ($5,700), Darius Slayton ($4,200), Isaiah Hodgins ($4,100), Richie James ($3,900)


T.J. Hockenson, Vikings ($5,100)

I’m gonna fade the red-hot George Kittle this week and play Hockenson instead. Both guys have awesome matchups: Kittle vs. Seattle’s 32nd-ranked TE defense; Hockenson vs. the Giants’ 22nd-ranked TE defense.

Kittle has racked up his fantasy points lately via an unsustainable TD rate: 7 scores over his last 4 games. He’s averaged a modest 6.8 targets per game during that stretch – and now faces more target competition with WR Deebo Samuel back.

Hockenson, meanwhile, averaged 9.4 targets in his 9 full games with the Vikings. I like the chances of Hockenson’s game shooting out more than Kittle’s. And, of course, Hock smashed the Giants for 38.9 DK points a few weeks ago.

Dawson Knox, Bills ($4,000)

Knox saw just 2 targets last week but scored for the 4th straight game. He tallied 5, 8 and 7 targets in those previous 3 games.

Knox opens the playoffs with a pristine matchup against the Dolphins, who sit 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and 30th in Football Outsiders’ TE coverage rankings.

Knox has posted 4-25-0 and 6-98-1 lines in 2 games vs. Miami this season.

Cade Otton, Bucs ($2,800)

The Bucs finally did the right thing and sat Cameron Brate, who’s been 1 of the least efficient TEs in the NFL the past couple of seasons.

That’s meant a very valuable role for Otton, who’s registered 84% and 85% route rates and 7 and 6 targets in his last 2 games.

If you’re looking to save salary at TE, Otton is your guy.


Bills ($3,300)
Buccaneers ($2,600)
Ravens ($2,500)

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