NFL DFS – Main Slate Optimizer Groups & Stacks + Game Notes – Wildcard Weekend

This article focuses on building lineups with a quality foundation by utilizing the powerful Groups and Rules/Limits tools within the industry’s optimization tools. All of the concepts and pairings included below can be applied to hand-building as well. The goal is to create lineups that have high-scoring correlation and take advantage of combined outcomes within stacks while limiting the likelihood of building inefficient or negatively correlated entries for a full slate of NFL DFS lineups.

This video was made in a former life and features a detailed demonstration of how to apply these concepts in one leading optimizer tool: Fantasy Cruncher – How-To Video

All references to Sims were done via friends of the site:

Don’t miss the new Above/Below feature article for a few of our top picks, coming Sunday morning


Wildcard Weekend DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Stack Rankings

See individual slate content.


Wildcard Weekend DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Stacks & Optimizer Groups


Rules and limits are powerful tools for lineup creation for NFL DFS where our primary focus is creating highly correlated lineups via stacking players from the same game. Lineups will typically be coordinated around the quarterback selection, which informs at least one pass-catcher choice, establishes a budget, eliminates a defense, and sets the tone for the lineup. We will typically look to correlate a quarterback and at least one of his pass-catchers in every lineup, with most of those including a skill player from the opposing team who will have a chance to support the stack in a high-scoring game that drives offense on both sides to create additional correlated scoring potential. Stacking multiple pass-catchers in the same lineup is a sound approach as well, though there are typically overall ceilings on how much volume is available at any given position. We do not typically include running backs who are not pass-catchers as priorities in NFL DFS groups, they typically stand alone with the selection of the quarterback-based stack informing remaining salary which then informs the running back selections. High-volume backs and pass catchers out of the backfield can be included in the groups utilized below, but it is frequently not necessary to do so with the very best players, they arrive in lineups without help.

The following rules and limits are typically applied in an optimizer’s Advanced Options menu. Notes are included to elucidate the reasons behind each rule and to explain what it does during the lineup creation process. These settings can typically be saved for re-use, which is highly recommended. Saving the Week 1 groups that will be created below is also a very good idea to save time with updates instead of recreation each week. These groups are created manually, but most optimizers include automated group creators that can help accelerate the curation process.

DraftKings + FanDuel Settings & Advanced Options

Unique Players Per Lineup– This setting forces the optimizer to utilize at least X new players who were not in Lineup 1 when it creates Lineup 2, and so on. It is recommended to utilize at least two, and more can be applied depending on the degree of differentiation desired within lineups.

Team Salary– a minimum or maximum salary spend can be applied here as needed, though this is not a part of the recommended process in this space as leaving salary on the table is an easy path toward creating unique lineups while not necessarily making a negative expected value play.

FLEX position– allows restrictions on what positions can be rostered at the FLEX spot. The only position to consider in this case is tight end, but that is something to be restricted at the individual level via Groups, rather than at the global level.

Global Exposure Settingallows caps on the maximum percentage of lineups a player can appear in within a given pool of lineup construction. This is a powerful tool for shaping lineups but if settings are too low attempts to build a full set will fall short due to a lack of available players, one of the most common errors in optimizer building. Most optimizers include the ability to calculate ownership caps continuously or at the end of the pool creation process. If caps are calculated continuously, a player with a 25% cap who is utilized in Lineup 1 will not be available for use again until Lineup 5 , we recommend turning OFF continuous calculation.

Randomness – provides a random multiplier to each player’s projected point total based on the set values. This is a valuable tool that helps differentiate lineups instead of simply creating them in order of highest median projected scores. Using some randomness for lineup generation is strongly recommended but the degree to which it is applied is down to personal preference, but 15-25% is fine to get started. We suggest heavier randomness to more event-based players like wide receivers while tracking volume-based positions like running backs more toward their median or ceiling projections.

DraftKings + FanDuel Team Stack Rules

This set of rules will force optimizers to build lineups with certain combinations. We are looking to stack at least one skill player, almost always a pass-catcher, with his quarterback while also playing a skill player from the opposing team in the lineup. The theory behind this build is that a high-scoring stack will require some response from the opposing team to deliver a ceiling score in most situations. When that is not the case, the team that is winning will simply slow down and run out the clock. Most optimizers utilize a “complete the sentence” approach for rule creation with selections from drop-down menus following a very straightforward logic. Exceptions to these rules can be added for specific teams and players on most optimizer products.

  • QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (note: It is fine to set this to two or to utilize two versions of this rule, one with WR/TE and one with RB/WR/TE, but we refine this via Groups)
  • QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from the Opposing Team (we typically prefer the pass-catchers but high-volume running backs can be effective here)
  • QB with at most zero DST from the Same Team (this is a personal preference; high-scoring teams and quarterbacks tend to leave their defenses on the field, exposing them to simple point-scoring negatives)

Limits & Custom Rules and Requirements

Limit rules can be applied to restrict certain combinations from coming together. This is powerful for limiting multiple running backs from the same team or getting overweight to a certain stack within a lineup.

  • Limit QB/RB/WR/TE from Same Team to three
  • Limit RB/WR/TE from the Same Team to one unless paired with QB from the Same Team OR the Opposing Team
  • Limit RB from Same Team to one (we also do this with WR in a separate rule that adds an “unless paired with QB or opposing QB” but it’s a personal preference for NFL DFS, we typically do not want two pass-catchers from the same team without their quarterback)

We will maintain the list of rules and limits throughout the season, with occasional tweaks, if needed. Each week sees yet another fresh crop of value plays as situations change and injuries create opportunities around the league. These changing roles and emergent value plays are accounted for in the process of creating these groups from week to week. After a large pool of lineups is created utilizing these groups, it is still of critical importance to filter them for factors including ceiling projections and leverage potential. These groups should help ensure that a highly correlated premium set of options that rotates through a variety of combinations is utilized to create the full lineup pool.

Sunday Updates

Any changes and recommended boosts to specific players will be provided in an early morning update each Sunday.

NFL DFS Wildcard Weekend Features & FREE Projections

  • Wildcard Weekend FanDuel & DraftKings Projections – FREE
  • Wildcard Weekend Above/Below – Key Picks
  • Wildcard Weekend Quarterback Scoring & Value Rankings
  • Wildcard Weekend Running Back Scoring & Value Rankings
  • Wildcard Weekend Pass-Catcher Scoring & Value Rankings
  • Wildcard Weekend Defense Scoring & Value Rankings


Construction Concept

Team groups are built by utilizing the quarterback as the KEY player in group settings. The quarterback decision in each lineup is the driving factor in which stack is utilized in that lineup and which corresponding plays are then made to work within the structure and requirements. Built to specification, each team will have two groups, a team group, and an opponent group, both of which utilize the same quarterback as the key player. Each game will have a total of four groups. This is the best approach to truly capture the requirement of playing individual “run-back” plays from the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to include all of the skill players from a game in each quarterback’s group and rely on rules and limits to restrict any potential overflow. It is highly recommended to save the Week 1 groups as a foundation that will be updated for the rest of the season. The recommended groups will include skill players who have an active role in their offense and provide significant correlation with their quarterback’s scoring, often bell-cow running backs who do not specialize in the passing game will not be included in groups as they are projected highly and appear on their own in basically correct distributions, while also not always providing the strongest positive correlation plays. Stacking quarterbacks with pass-catchers and allowing running backs to fall into the lanes then created by settings, available salary, and randomness should create a well-distributed set of quality lineups. These groups are updated weekly to account for changes in utilization, schemes, injuries, target shares, and more.

Team Groups for DraftKings & FanDuel – Wildcard Weekend

The goal is to create a large pool of well-built lineups that can be utilized in any large-field GPP contest. Our approach is to build far more lineups than needed and utilize a sorting table or sim process to filter to the best set of lineups for entries. The lineups created in these crunches should provide a broad distribution that includes some of the lower-owned high-upside skill players from each stack. Applying boosts is critical in pushing and pulling ownership to individual players within their team’s stacked lineups if they are appearing too much or too little.

The groups below are designed so that each quarterback will have two groups to create, one with his skill players and another with the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to add them all to one large group with an “at least three” and let rules and limits set things, but there is a more granular level of control in creating them separately.

Utilizing two groups also allows us to place running backs into the “run-back” position in certain teams while not including them in the primary stack for their team. This is useful when there is a situation with an extremely highly projected running back who does not necessarily fit into his team’s passing game. These players are threaded throughout the following construction recommendations.

Note for the Rotogrinders optimizer, we recommend trimming the automatically created groups that can be accessed under Team Groups, Opponent Groups, and Max Position Groups to match these groups for lineup building. We typically utilize the Stacks tab to enforce constructions as well, but a key requirement is missed in the automated groups. The Max Position groups need the manual addition of the running backs and tight ends to the group that is created with the wide receivers with a setting of max 1 and the team’s quarterback selected as a key player with the designation of using that group when the quarterback is NOT in the lineup. This is done to eliminate the possibility of three skill players from the same team appearing at running back, tight end, and wide receiver together without their quarterback involved. A simple limit of three players per team will keep things to just a quarterback with two skill players in stacks after that. Update: if one were to reset their saved settings on RG’s optimizer new options will reveal themselves, including thankfully a toggle to take care of this from the main build rules page. There is also a non-QB group with a max-1 setting that works better for this purpose because the toggle on the main page will limit stacks to just a 1-1 combination, seemingly as a bug.

Note for all optimizers the rules can be utilized to force bring-back plays in some sets of crunches and turned off for others as a global function instead of changing each group to “exactly one” bring-back play, wherever applicable, but it will apply to all teams.

Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: at least one

Team Group: James Cook, Stefon Diggs, Dalton Kincaid, Khalil Shakir, Dawson Knox, Deonte Harty (large field), Trent Sherfield (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth

Lineup Notes: This game will be played in brutally bad conditions. Temperatures will be in the low 20s or lower, and there will be ongoing heavy snow throughout the game, as well as heavy winds that are sustained in the mid-20 mph range with gusts into the 40 or higher range with potentially limited visibility. These are awful conditions for passing and the Steelers are severely downgraded on that side of the ball, leaving their running backs as the primary bring-back options if they are used at all. The Bills are also downgraded by the same conditions across the board. The team will also be without wide receiver Gabe Davis but they are otherwise mostly healthy. Josh Allen maintains most of his projection but we have him several points below his season-long average numbers. The quarterback added scoring through rushing touchdowns this season, which he could do again given the atrocious passing conditions. Allen may be forced to tuck and run multiple times simply for lack of being able to spot receivers down the field on a low visibility day, if the team gets close he will be very likely to get a few cracks at pushing the ball into the end zone on the ground. When the Bills do take to the air they will be battling 40mph (or more) wind gusts and snow but Allen will at least be working with Stefon Diggs and his high-end tight end tandem. Gabe Davis’ absence will be felt, but perhaps not as significantly as it would on a typical passing day. James Cook could see an uptick in volume, the running back wound the year down with 1,122 yards on the ground and another 445 through the passing game, but he managed just a pair of rushing touchdowns. Cook was better at scoring in the passing game, posting four receiving touchdowns on the season, he is a good option for stacking with the team’s quarterback. Leonard Fournette has not done much since signing with the team midway through the season, the veteran carried the ball a total of 12 times for 40 yards but this is what he was brought in for. Fournette has touchdown-based upside on this slate as the team’s number two running back. The Steelers are very difficult to trust in this situation, all expectations should be that Mason Rudolph will struggle to the point of hampering the team’s chances to win this game, given the generally low-end nature of Pittsburgh passing overall. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are the more appealing bring-back options with the ground game and defense looking to lead the way in the snow.

Update: This game has been moved to Monday due to the weather, further updates are pending.


Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Joe Flacco

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Amari Cooper, David Njoku, Elijah Moore, Jerome Ford, David Bell, Marquise Goodwin (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Nico Collins, Devin Singletary, Robert Woods (Q), Dalton Schultz, Noah Brown (Q), John Metchie III (large field)

Lineup Notes: Cleveland has one of the best defenses in the NFL but the Houston passing game has been targetable for stacking all year and they will be easily the more appealing game environment on the two-game Saturday slate with lousy conditions in the Dolphins vs Chiefs game. The Texans are two-point underdogs at home in Houston in a game with a 44.5-point total, and both teams have quality skill players with a fair spread of opportunities across positions. This is a good game for stacking and utilizing the bring-back options on full slates, while the two-game Saturday-only slate will of course dictate plays from all teams landing in lineups together. Browns quarterback Joe Flacco has set the NFL on fire over the past few weeks with his fantastic performances after taking the reins late in the season. In his five games, Flacco threw for 1,616 yards on 123-204 (60.3%) passing with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions while posting 21.7 points per game on FanDuel and 24.7 on DraftKings with four straight 300+ yard performances from Week 14 through 17. Flacco will have plenty of opportunities to connect with Amari Cooper against a Houston defense that was near the bottom of the league with 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt but also ranked first overall in the league with only 17 passing touchdowns (one per game) allowed on the season. Houston was in the middle of the pack with 46 sacks but they have a fairly aggressive 25.7% pressure rate that was fifth in football. Flacco should rack up yardage and fantasy points, finding the end zone more than once will be the critical challenge between a good day and a great day for the quarterback. If Flacco succeeds he should bring Amari Cooper and David Njoku along for the ride. The wide receiver and the tight end have the best touchdown upside and are the primary targets in the passing game ahead of a few looks each for Elijah Moore, David Bell, and Jerome Ford. Cooper had a monster game in Week 16 with 265 yards and two touchdowns on 11-15 receiving. He had 109 yards and a touchdown on 4-8 the week before and he caught seven of 14 targets in Week 14. Njoku had six catchers for 134 yards but did not score in Week 17, he had been in the end zone at least once over each of the previous three games and he had four total touchdowns in the stretch. The lead running back option will be Jerome Ford, but both he and Kareem Hunt are more like touchdown-dependent dart throws, neither running back has been a major weapon for fantasy scoring this season and Houston was second with just 3.5 yards allowed per rush attempt this year. The Texans offer premium bring-back options with their elite passing game with Devin Singletary functioning as the bell-cow running back.


Dallas Cowboys

Key Player: Dak Prescott

Setting: at least one

Team Group: CeeDee Lamb, Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks, Tony Pollard, Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert (large field), KaVontae Turpin (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Aaron Jones, Christian Watson (Q), Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Romeo Doubs, Tucker Kraft, Luke Musgrave

Lineup Notes: The Cowboys are 7.5-point favorites against a frisky Packers team in a very appealing game for DFS scoring with a 50-point total on the board. The game between the Lions and Rams has a 51.5-point total, there should be more fireworks on the Sunday slate than on Saturday. The Cowboys ended a great fantasy season with the expected strong performance that we were forecasting against the Commanders in Week 18. Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes with one interception while completing an elite 31 of 36 attempts for 279 yards to post another excellent fantasy score across the industry. Prescott finished the season with a league-leading 36 touchdown passes while racking up 4,516 yards, the second-highest total of his career. Primary receiver CeeDee Lamb had two of the four touchdowns, hauling in 13 catches for the second straight week. He caught 13 of 17 for 227 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 and was a perfect 13-13 to close out the year. Lamb finished the season with a tremendous 1,749 yards and 12 touchdowns, catching 135 of 181 targets for 9.7 yards per target, he is a top option on any given slate. Tony Pollard scored a touchdown in the last game of the year to frustrate season-long fantasy owners just a little bit one last time. Pollard had a notoriously awful year after starting as a popular early selection, he finished 2023 with 1,005 yards and six touchdowns, posting 4.0 yards per rush attempt. Brandin Cooks quietly scored eight touchdowns this season, putting up 657 yards on his 54 catches, he had drawn eight targets in back-to-back games and he has scored in three straight weeks and in six of the team’s last nine games. Cooks will be a far less popular play than Lamb on Sunday, he is well worth a few shares on both sites. Michael Gallup is the nominal three, but Jake Ferguson out-targets him on a weekly basis and has far more touchdown upside. KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Tolbert are large field dart throws. The Packers should provide excellent bring-back options, Jordan Love was second in the league in touchdown passes this season and he has an elite cadre of young wide receivers who seemingly come one after another at the same high level regardless of who is hurt. Jayden Reed should be the top option but close 1A Christian Watson is questionable, if he does not go the team will rely on Dontayvion Wicks and Romeo Doubs to pick up the slack, with additional contributions from their tight end group and star running back Aaron Jones. Jones will have a heavy workload with AJ Dillon unlikely to play again, and he offers significant potential in both the rushing and passing attack in most games.


Detroit Lions

Key Player: Jared Goff

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta (Q), Josh Reynolds, Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery, Brock Wright (large field), Donovan Peoples-Jones (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Demarcus Robinson, Tyler Higbee (Q)

Lineup Notes: This game has the highest total of the weekend with a shootout anticipated in a battle between two quarterbacks who were famously swapped for one another. Jared Goff and his Lions are three-point favorites with 51.5 points on the board in Vegas, there are elite DFS options on both sides. The Lions have a high-end passing attack, Jared Goff averaged 35.6 pass attempts per game with his 605 total attempts ranking second in his career. Goff completed 67.3% of those passes for 4,575 yards and 30 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions on the season, he has been a high-end fantasy quarterback with two elite targets and a pair of premium running backs to support him. A portion of Goff’s ceiling could be dictated by the status of elite rookie tight end Sam LaPorta who seems to be trending toward being active for this game after getting a full practice in on Friday. LaPorta left the team’s Week 18 game with a hyper-extended knee but he has been moving in the right direction after initial pessimism. The tight end put up record numbers with 889 yards on 86 catches and 10 touchdowns this season. Top wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had 144 yards and a touchdown on seven catches in Week 18, giving him his fourth-straight game with a touchdown and his seventh in the team’s last nine games. St. Brown has an upside for double-digit targets with 100 yards and a touchdown easily in play in any given situation. The Lions’ passing attack will be facing a Rams defense that was in the middle of the pack this season with 6.5 yards allowed per pass attempt but a 22nd-ranked 1.4 touchdown passes allowed per game. The Rams were also a middling defense against the run, while they limited touchdowns to just 0.8 per game on the ground, they were 17th-ranked with 4.2 yards allowed per rush attempt, and they are facing one of the better dual-threat backfields in football. Both Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery have managed to provide value throughout the season, with both backs drawing their fair share of touches and opportunities to punch the ball into the end zone. Montgomery finished the year with 13 touchdowns and 1,015 yards on 219 carries but he was limited in the passing game and did not have a receiving touchdown this year. Gibbs, meanwhile, managed 945 yards on his 182 carries and scored 10 touchdowns on the ground. The running back was more of a fixture in the passing game, he drew regular targets in most weeks of the season and had several weeks with more than five opportunities. The running back had just one receiving touchdown on the year but he was above 35 receiving yards five times. Jameson Williams has an elite skill set but he has been mostly inconsistent this season. Williams saw a bit of an uptick in targets late in the season, with seven in Week 15 and six in Week 16, but he saw just three in Week 17 before skipping the final week with most of the starters. Williams finished 2023 with 354 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns on 24 catches with 42 targets, averaging 14.8 yards per reception as a dangerous downfield target with big-play potential at lesser popularity for DFS purposes. Josh Reynolds is worth a few shares for 150-maxers and large field players, he had five touchdowns on 40 catches with 608 yards this season. Kalif Raymond is out so Donovan Peoples-Jones is the low-end dart throw option. The Rams offer premium bring-back players with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua as a top 1/1A receiving tandem who could both post explosive games this weekend. Kyren Williams emerged as one of the best running backs in football and the team has capable veteran weapons in Demarcus Robinson and Tyler Higbee. This is a top-target game for the entire weekend.


Green Bay Packers

Key Player: Jordan Love

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Jayden Reed, Aaron Jones, Christian Watson (Q), Dontayvion Wicks, Romeo Doubs, Tucker Kraft, Luke Musgrave, Bo Melton (large field), Malik Heath (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: CeeDee Lamb, Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks, Tony Pollard, Michael Gallup

Lineup Notes: The other top-end game of the weekend lands at a 50-point total with the Packers 7.5 points behind the Cowboys on the board in Vegas. Green Bay had a solid offense throughout the season but the team really took off when Jordan Love fully found his form. Love threw three touchdown passes in each of the team’s first two games then had three total over the next three contests. After an early bye week, Love came back to post 180 yards with two touchdowns in Week 7, followed by another pair of single-touchdown games. From Week 10-18 he had just one game with only one touchdown pass and he threw three touchdown passes three times. Love only cracked the 300 yards passing mark twice this season, including in the team’s final game with a sterling 27-32 316 yards and two touchdown passes game. Love has a deep roster of wide receivers to work with, the team has done a fantastic job bringing the group along and they are capably stepping in for one another when injuries arise. Jayden Reed has risen to the top of the heap throughout the season, he had eight touchdowns and 793 yards on 64-94 receiving on the season. Reed and Christian Watson are a high-end pairing, but Watson comes in with a questionable tag after missing every game since Week 13. Watson got in just limited workouts and walkthroughs this week, he is truly questionable. If the team’s 1A option does not play that mantle will fall to either Dontayvion Wicks or Romeo Doubs, who both had strong years in their roles. Wicks scored four times and posted 581 yards on just 39 catches and 58 targets while Doubs was the more frequent target with 96 opportunities, 59 catches, 674 yards, and eight touchdowns while playing every week. Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft fill the tight end roles, the rookies should share opportunities this week making both DFS dart throws at the position as Musgrave returned to only limited action with nine snaps and a single target in Week 18 after missing Weeks 12-17. Aaron Jones should see the bulk of the touches at the running back spot with AJ Dillon doubtful. Jones carried the ball 142 times this season, posting 656 yards and a pair of touchdowns and he added 233 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game in his 11 outings. With top-notch options in play as bring-backs at every position this is a very targetable game for stacking on both sides.


Houston Texans

Key Player: CJ Stroud

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz, Noah Brown, Robert Woods, John Metchie III (large field), Xavier Hutchinson (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Amari Cooper, David Njoku, Elijah Moore, Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt

Lineup Notes: The Texans have been a strong option for both stacks and individual players, particularly in the passing game, throughout most of this season. Rookie quarterback CJ Stroud’s astounding performance on the field was a huge part of vaulting the team to fantasy success this year. Stroud threw for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season with six games of 300 yards or more and a 470-yard five-touchdown monster in Week 9. Stroud’s primary weapon is receiver Nico Collins, with whom he connected for seven of his eight touchdown receptions. The receiver had 1,297 yards on 80-109 receiving on the year with 16.2 yards per reception and 11.9 per target. Noah Brown and Robert Woods are both questionable to play on Saturday. Brown was in and out of the lineup throughout the season, he managed a total of 10 games and scored just two touchdowns on his 33 catches, but he has significant big play upside with 17.2 yards per catch and 10.3 per target with an 11.9 yard average depth of target. Woods played in 14 of 17 games but scored just one touchdown and had 426 yards on just 40-75 receiving. Woods’ output was somewhat disappointing overall, he had 11 red zone opportunities, 14.9% of the team’s passing volume inside the 20, and scored just once. Dalton Schultz was a premium tight end option throughout the season, he had five touchdowns in 15 games with 59 catches for 635 yards. Schultz was regularly targeted in the red zone, picking up 18.9% of the team’s volume in the passing game in that part of the field. He converted 60% of his five opportunities from inside the 10-yard line. Devin Singletary took over the lead role in the backfield late in the season, he had 24 carries in Week 18, 16 in Week 17, and 26 in Week 15, with a dip to just nine in Week 16. The running back scored just two touchdowns in the team’s five most recent games and he was over 100 yards only once despite the more reliable touches, though he did add a bit of volume and production in the passing game despite not scoring. For the season, Singletary had a mere four touchdowns and 898 yards on 216 carries, he will be facing a Cleveland defense that limited opponents to just 4.6 yards per play overall this season, tied with the Ravens and Jets for tops in football. The Browns have strong options, particularly in the passing game, to utilize for bring-back plays in the better game environment on the two-game Saturday slate.

Update: Noah Brown is active. 


Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Isiah Pacheco, Justin Watson, Noah Gray, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (large field), Mecole Hardman Jr. (large field), Kadarius Toney (Q) (very large field),

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle (Q), Raheem Mostert (Q), De’Von Achane

Lineup Notes: After scuffling his way to 4,183 yards and 27 touchdowns with 14 interceptions on the season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will not only have to battle his fairly low-end pass-catching group (apologies to Mr. Kelce) but also the bitter cold and fairly significant winds in the Kansas City area on Saturday night. The region will be locked in a Polar Vortex with standing temperatures falling below zero as the day goes on and “feels like” temperatures reportedly plummeting to bone-chilling 30 degrees below zero or worse. As the saying goes, it will be “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey” (which comes from the days of cannons and ships, the “brass monkey” held the cannon balls on deck). While cold weather is not the primary factor in downgrading opportunities in football games that fall into this range historically are few and far between, at a point, there will be an impact to some degree. Vegas agrees with this notion, while the game’s total remains quite a bit higher than the other bad weather game (just 33.5 points in Buffalo), one would expect that a contest between the Chiefs and Dolphins would yield more than the current 43.5-point total in a clean week. Mahomes has more than enough individual talent to overcome both the weather and a very good Miami defense but it is worth remembering that this was the second-lowest touchdown total of his career, beating his sophomore season by just one touchdown pass, and his yardage total was only 152 yards ahead of that season’s output which came in only 14 games. By most measures, this was the lowest-end season of Mahomes’ brilliant career but most of the blame probably belongs with his lousy group of receivers. Rashee Rice emerged from the pack to give Mahomes at least one fairly steady target with talent at the wide receiver position, he and Travis Kelce are far and away the top two options to pair with Mahomes. Rice trended upward as the season went along, finishing with a run of five or more catches in six straight games, a stretch that saw him score three touchdowns and post two 100-yard receiving games. Rice ends the season with 938 yards and seven touchdowns on 79 receptions despite just a 4.7-yard average depth of target. Kelce turned in 93 receptions on 121 targets, scoring five touchdowns and posting 984 yards which, as was widely discussed last weekend, was his first season below 1,000 receiving yards since 2015. His touchdown output was the lowest since 2019. Isiah Pacheco should lead the backfield once again, he carried the ball 18 times for 130 yards in Week 17 and caught seven of seven targets for an additional 35 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Pacheco had seven rushing touchdowns and a pair of receiving scores on the season. Justin Watson had three touchdowns and 460 yards on just 27 catches while being targeted 53 times in his 16 games, Kadarius Toney is questionable to play he was limited to just 27 catches and a single touchdown with 169 yards this season, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling also had only one touchdown grab with 315 yards on 21 catches. Those three receivers as well as anyone from further down the depth chart are dart throw options at varying degrees of volume at best. The Dolphins offer a pair of elite rushers and a pair of elite receivers for bring-back plays, though this game may ultimately stack better on the Miami side with one of Kelce, Rice, or Pacheco coming back.

Update: Kadarius Toney is OUT.


Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Demarcus Robinson, Tyler Higbee (Q), Tutu Atwell (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta (Q), Josh Reynolds, Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery

Lineup Notes: This game has the highest total of the weekend with a shootout anticipated in a battle between two quarterbacks who were famously swapped for one another. Jared Goff and his Lions are three-point favorites with 51.5 points on the board in Vegas, there are elite DFS options on both sides. Los Angeles has two of the top wide receivers in football, Cooper Kupp missed the first four weeks of the season and sat out Week 18, in between he had a very rough stretch in which he scored zero touchdowns and did not crack 50 yards receiving, getting over 30 yards just once in six games. Around the edges of that, the receiver still managed to total 737 yards with five touchdown catches on 59 receptions. Kupp did not have his best overall year by any measure but he did have four 100-yard games on the season. Of course, Kupp’s season in decline was greatly covered up by the outstanding emergence of rookie sensation Puka Nacua who burst on the scene with 119 yards on 10 catches in Week 1 then followed it up with 15 catches for 147 yards the following week. While we cannot completely say that Nacua “never looked back”, after all he had just three catches and 43 yards in Week 8, 3-32 in Week 9, 5-70 in Week 11, and 4-27 in Week 12 before roaring back to life down the stretch. When everything was counted at season’s end, Nacua had six touchdown catches and a rookie record 1,486 yards on 105-160 receiving with seven games of 100 yards or more. Demarcus Robinson popped onto the radar late in the season to lock in as the Rams’ third option at the position, he had a touchdown in every game from Week 13 through 16 while drawing consistent targets and a few red zone opportunities. Kyren Williams was another emergent talent for the Rams this season, the running back was a fantasy force with six 100-yard games in his 12 outings this year. Williams scored a dozen rushing touchdowns and had 1,144 yards on 228 carries while adding another three touchdowns and 206 yards in the passing game, he is an excellent option both on his own and in stacks. Of course, nothing happens in the passing game without quarterback Matthew Stafford, who will be returning to battle in Detroit in a massive spot. Stafford was a reliable quarterback on the season but he did not post gaudy numbers overall with just 24 touchdown passes and 3,965 yards. He was over 300 yards in each of the team’s final two games and he closed strong with a run of five straight over 250 yards with only one game with fewer than two touchdown passes.


Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle (Q), Raheem Mostert (Q), De’Von Achane, Durham Smythe, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Braxton Berrios (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Isiah Pacheco, Justin Watson, Noah Gray

Lineup Notes: The Dolphins will also be stuck in the brutal unforgiving cold on Saturday night in Kansas City. The elite offense from Flordia could run into some problems in this environment, but it is difficult to fully disregard options like Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, and De’Von Achane, given Oppenheimer levels of explosiveness. High winds will do no favors to the passing game, but this contest will not have the visibility and precipitation problems present in Buffalo, which is why Vegas is still showing some respect with an OK but not great point total. Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has a knack for finding Tyreek Hill regardless of the situation, Hill caught 13 of the quarterback’s 29 touchdown passes this year and accounted for 1,799 of Tagovailoa’s 4,624 passing yards. Hill drew an average depth of target of 10.7 yards this season after sitting at 12.3 last year but it only gave him more room to run, dynamite in human form always has a place in our DFS lineups whether in stacks or on his own. Jaylen Waddle is questionable to play, he missed the final two weeks of the season after posting 1,014 yards and four touchdown catches on 72-104 receiving this year. Waddle’s status will have an impact on this team, Raheem Mostert is also questionable which would take two of the team’s top four weapons off the field and relegate them to options including Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Braxton Berrios in the passing game. On the ground, the ball would fall into the steady hands of De’Von Achane if Mostert does not play. In either situation Achane is a good option with a significant fantasy point ceiling, he gains ground if Mostert does not play but both running backs can be utilized in lineups this week and there is an argument to be made that they can be played together in the same lineup if they both play. The Chiefs offer three strong bring-back options in Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, and Isiah Pacheco with anyone else landing as a total dart throw.

Update: Raheem Mostert & Jaylen Waddle will play.

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Jalen Hurts

Setting: at least one

Team Group: AJ Brown (Q), DeVonta Smith, D’Andre Swift, Dallas Goedert, Julio Jones, Quez Watkins (large field), Olamide Zacchaeus (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rachaad White, Cade Otton, Trey Palmer

Lineup Notes: “… and it was all going so well.” a phrase that could go down as the motto for this Philadelphia Eagles squad. The team in turmoil coming into this season’s playoffs still has a chance to pull it all together and go on a run to a Super Bowl title that they originally seemed much more likely to win. Between an erosion in team chemistry, a lousy overall defense that has not stopped the pass all year, and a reported loss of faith in coaching, the Eagles have issues. Added to that mess is reporting that, after missing practice all week, top receiver AJ Brown stripped his social media accounts of any mention of the Eagles. Brown has a lingering Q-tag on the injury report on Saturday morning, He did not practice all week after injuring his knee last weekend. Absent any reporting to the contrary, one has to expect the star receiver to be on the field if he is capable of taking it, assuming that is the case Brown will be every bit as playable as he has been throughout the season and he could even go under-owned. The Eagles’ top target drew 158 opportunities in the passing game, catching 106 of them for 1,456 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. Of course, if Brown cannot go, the Eagles could just opt to throw their quarterback himself into the end zone three or four times. Jalen Hurts was carried or pushed to a quarterback-record 15 rushing touchdowns this season, seemingly taking every opportunity within two or three yards that the team encountered. Hurts threw 23 touchdown passes but also had 15 interceptions on the season, totaling 3,858 yards and tying a previous career low with 7.2 yards per pass attempt. DeVonta Smith practiced in full to end the week after sitting out Week 18, he is a very good option in any situation and is typically under-owned by comparison to his teammate, but he will be the one to step into the top spot if Brown does not play, which would clearly draw more attention in his direction both by DFS volume and target volume. Smith had 1,066 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches on 81-112 receiving with a 12.2-yard average depth of target, he is an excellent big-play receiver. Julio Jones played 11 games for the Eagles this season, the former superstar played at least 10 snaps in each of those games, running routes on well over half of those snaps, he totaled 74 yards on 11-19 receiving but did manage three touchdown catches in the extraordinarily limited opportunities. Jones would see an uptick if Brown does not play, as would downfield receivers Quez Watkins and Olamide Zacchaeus. Tight end Dallas Goedert is another prime option in the Eagles’ passing attack but he managed just three touchdowns and 592 yards in his 14 games this season. Goedert is one of the better options at his position this week, he has touchdown upside and gains a bit of scoring potential if Brown does not play. The highly-targeted tight end is an up-and-down-the-field option rather than a touchdown-dependent player with limited volume, he had three games this season with nine targets, one with eight, and an additional three games with seven targets each. Goedert still drew 83 targets and caught 59 of them despite missing three games this season, he remains a good positional option. The Buccaneers offer three very good bring-back plays in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rachaad White, with Trey Palmer and more limited tight end Cade Otton as dart throws. When playing this game in Showdown format on Monday night, the options further down the depth chart are more appealing on both sides. Update: AJ Brown has been ruled OUT. 


Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Mason Rudolph

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, Allen Robinson II (large field), Calvin Austin III (very large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: James Cook, Stefon Diggs, Dalton Kincaid, Khalil Shakir, Dawson Knox

Lineup Notes: This is the least appealing team in the least appealing game of the week. Between their limited nature and the impacts of actual nature, the Steelers may be the worst option in the history of playoff fantasy football in any format. The Bills’ defense ranked 10th in football with 5.1 yards allowed per play on the season, they gave up 21 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing touchdowns on the season with a 28th-ranked 4.6 yards allowed per rush attempt. The Bills are a better pass defense, they ranked sixth with just 6.1 yards allowed per pass attempt and second overall with just 1.1 touchdowns allowed per game (18 total). A good pass defense meeting a bad quarterback in low visibility high wind and snowy conditions does not spell huge fantasy scoring in Steelers stacks. Pittsburgh has a slate-low implied point total of 11.75 in this contest and the game itself is carrying just a 33.5-point total, putting it 10 points below the next-lowest game. The Steelers tapped Mason Rudolph for another start after a few serviceable outings once he took the reins in Week 16. Rudolph threw 27 passes, completing 17 of them for 290 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals that week. He followed that performance with 274 yards on 18-24 passing against Seattle but he did not throw a touchdown in Week 17. The tiebreaking performance in Week 18 was disappointing as well, Rudolph completed 18 of 20 passes but had just 152 yards with one touchdown. A full 10 of those 20 attempts and, even more critically, 10 of the 18 catches went to running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, with a perfectly even split and both players catching all of their targets in Week 18. While they were involved in the passing game, both running backs were more productive carrying the ball. Warren had 33 yards on his nine carries after posting 75 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in Week 17. Harris has been the dominant option down the stretch however, he had another big day with 26 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown in Week 18 after putting up 122 and a pair of scores on 27 carries in Week 17. Harris was untargeted in the passing game from Week 15-17 but he is the clear top option on the ground in a game where the team will almost certainly be forced to focus on rushing the ball. If Pittsburgh chooses to take to the air they will be relying on George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, who combined for 10 touchdowns this season with an even split. Pickens posted more yardage, totaling 1,140 yards on 63-106 receiving while Johnson had 717 on 51-87 receiving after missing Weeks 2-5. Johnson has big play potential, he had a 12.3-yard average depth of target with 1,070 air yards on the season, but this is very unlikely to be a game that features many plays of that nature. Pat Freiermuth is a playable safety valve of a tight end in this contest but his big play ability is probably capped by the conditions, while Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin border on unplayability unless things improve dramatically. The Bills offer good bring-back plays in a bad spot, Stefon Diggs and James Cook should be the primary focuses but there is also room for the tight end plays.

Update: This game has been moved to Monday due to the weather, further updates are pending.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Baker Mayfield (Q)

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rachaad White, Cade Otton, Trey Palmer, Deven Thompkins (large field or Showdown), David Moore (very large field or Showdown), Ko Kieft (very large field or Showdown)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: AJ Brown (Q), DeVonta Smith, D’Andre Swift, Dallas Goedert, Julio Jones, Quez Watkins (large field), Olamide Zacchaeus (large field)

Lineup Notes: The second team in the Monday Night Football matchup brings plenty of talent to the board but their starting quarterback has a lingering Q-tag attached as of Saturday morning. Baker Mayfield is dealing with injuries in several places but he has not relented to this point and he should be expected to play. Mayfield has been limited in practice this week and he was fairly limited in the Week 18 game, completing 20 of 32 passes but doing so for only 137 yards and no touchdowns. Mayfield had a strong season overall, including a slate-winning 381 yards and four touchdown passes in Week 15. The quarterback finished the year with 28 touchdown passes and 4,044 yards with 10 interceptions. 13 of those touchdown passes went to wide receiver Mike Evans, who posted yet another fantastic season in what has been a fantastic career. Evans had 1,255 yards on 79-136 receiving with a 14-yard average depth of target and 1,890 air yards on the year. This was the fifth season in Evans’ 10-year career in which he scored a dozen or more touchdowns and he has been over 1,000 yards in every single season despite never cracking 100 catches. Evans is joined by Chris Godwin who had 83 catches on 130 targets this year with 1,024 yards but only two touchdown receptions. Running back Rachaad White was a very popular option in the second half of the season, he sees a ton of volume in the team’s passing and rushing attack and he had several very good points-per-dollar DFS games this year. White totaled 1,539 yards from scrimmage with nine touchdowns on his 272 carries and 70 targets. 342 potential touches is absolutely overwhelming volume these days, White finished the season with 19 carries for 75 yards while catching four of four targets and adding 18 receiving yards in Week 18, he looks like a playable piece once again this week. Trey Palmer scored three times this year. The third wide receiver on the depth chart had 385 yards on his 39 catches while drawing 68 targets and a 10.5-yard ADOT, he is a good dart throw who outranks teammates like David Moore and Deven Thompkins in the pecking order. Cade Otton caught 47 passes on 67 targets this season, turning it into 455 yards and four touchdowns, he is not bereft of upside in this spot and he is sure to go low owned in all but Showdown formats. The Eagles are an easy bring-back stack on full slates and they offer a very good range of options for Showdown slates with several playable options from down the depth chart.



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