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2020 Wild Card DFS – Daily Fantasy Football Picks and Lineup Advice

| January 2, 2020 10:17 pm PDT
Drew Brees, Stefon Diggs, Zach Ertz and Derrick Henry NFL Wild Card Weekend

The 2020 NFL Wild Card Weekend is finally here. There is a lot to be excited for, as the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints both play this week, you’re able to bet on the games in a variety of ways, and you can also win big in daily fantasy football, which is what this NFL DFS Wild Card overview aims to help with.

For betting, feel free to refer to our sports betting blog for the latest content, or just hit up my NFL Wild Card prop bets breakdown.

NFL fans get two games on Saturday with AFC teams facing off and then two more on Sunday for the NFC. It’s going to be a wild weekend — no pun intended — and there are numerous ways to potentially win some money.

To aid you in your NFL DFS research, I’m taking a broader look at the Wild Card daily fantasy football slate. You can also check out my Wild Card NFL DFS sleepers, while here I’m set to point out my favorite picks and my top lineup.

Top Wild Card DFS Picks

You can catch the NFL DFS value picks I prefer this week at the aforementioned link, but what about my favorite daily fantasy football picks in general?

Price aside, these are my top plays at every position. You don’t have to play them, but they’re core plays I’ll likely be using in most of my 2020 Wild Card NFL DFS lineups over at DraftKings. Let’s get to it.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints ($6.6k)

I’m not getting cute at quarterback. Michael Wynn and I both picked Philly in our Seahawks vs. Eagles betting preview, so I have reason to believe the more expensive Russell Wilson will be less than spectacular.

I also don’t want to pay a premium for Ryan Tannehill and Deshaun Watson in less than pristine environments. Josh Allen in his first playoff game on the road isn’t very appealing, either.

Tom Brady is honestly my favorite value play (and the cheapest quarterback) of this slate. That scares me to death, though, so for the majority of my lineups, I’ll just eat the Brees chalk (expected +20% ownership).

I also don’t mind going back the other way with Kirk Cousins, as I expect him to be throwing all day in what should be a shootout. My Wild Card lock of the week is the Over in this Vikings vs. Saints battle, after all.

There is a lot to love about Brees here.

First, note his home/road splits. He’s putting up +12 fantasy points at home per game this year compared to on the road. He’s also en fuego right now, putting up 22+ fantasy points in four straight games and 21+ in 8 of 11 contests.

Secondly, Brees also has a pretty good matchup in front of him. Minnesota’s defense isn’t nearly as imposing on the road, while their secondary is middle-of-the-pack in terms of passing yardage and touchdowns allowed.

Is Brees for sure dropping 300+ yards and 3-4 touchdowns here? No, but he has the best ceiling of any option, thrives at home, and is in a game with a high total. If someone is going to pop off at quarterback this weekend, the odds are good that it’s going to be Brees.

James White, RB, New England Patriots ($5.7k)

I am very intrigued by Sony Michel in his matchup against the Titans, but the way to beat Tennessee all year has been through the air. The production hasn’t been amazing, but the Titans have also allowed the third-most receptions to running backs on the year.

New England probably prefers to dominate on the ground, but it’s always possible White could thrive in both areas of the offense. He’s also traditionally a huge part of what the Pats do during playoff time.

When you factor in price, upside, the PPR boost at DK, and a better-than-advertised matchup, White feels like one of the best overall plays. Alvin Kamara is an easy stack with Brees here, but I can’t just tell you to stack Saints (totally still stack Saints).

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($9.3k)

Maybe I’m taking the easy way out here, but I don’t want DeAndre Hopkins against a stingy Buffalo Bills defense (5th vs. WRs), nor do I feel great about A.J. Brown facing off with Stephon Gilmore.

These guys could still wreck or post at least modest numbers, but if I’m paying a high salary, I expect great results. Ideally, I also feel really good about those options.

If I’m prioritizing plays, it’s MT over those guys, and it’s not even close.

MT has been an auto-play stud all year, and I don’t see the point of shying away from him now. If you’re with me on Brees, you should probably be with me on Thomas, who has safely topped 10+ catches in 9 of 16 games this year.

Thomas is matchup-proof in any setting, but like Brees, he has smashed at the Superdome and faces a Vikings defense that might be a bit overrated. More specifically, he’ll probably face a lot of coverage from Xavier Rhodes, who has been regressing all season long.

In Rhodes’ last big test, he got chewed up by Davante Adams to the tune of 13 catches and 116 yards. Thomas and his absurd 80% catch rate are a great bet to hit value here, and I’m not even sure he’ll need to score a touchdown.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($5.2k)

Zach Ertz has cracked ribs and a lacerated kidney and reportedly could still suit up for Philly’s first-round playoff game. I honestly hope he does, as it would take Goedert’s ownership way down, but it seems unlikely.

I’m fine eating that chalk, either way, as I do not trust an extremely banged-up Ertz if he does limp his way out onto the field, and there simply aren’t any other reliable options.

Jonnu Smith is a fine flier, and guys like Jared Cook and Jacob Hollister can be fired up in tournaments. The problem is their matchups don’t look that great on paper and/or they’re simply not reliable options in general.

Insert Goedert, who has been a pretty good DFS option even when Ertz has been healthy. He also happens to have the best matchup by a mile, with the Seahawks ranking 31st in points allowed to tight ends in 2019.

Does that mean for sure Goedert goes off here? No (and consider backup Joshua Perkins as a deep flier), but the odds favor him, and with guys like Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and probably even Nelson Agholor out for this game, Carson Wentz is running out of options.

Houston Texans Defense ($2.6k)

Welcome to the chalk defense of the Wild Card slate. The interest in the Texans is spawned by three logical reasons: Josh Allen has been a turnover machine in the past, J.J. Watt is back, and the Texans are a high-upside unit at a low cost.

Obviously, paying up for the Patriots or Saints is in play, while the Bills are heating up as a fun contrarian play, but Houston has the clearest path to success.

Josh Allen is dynamic and fun, but he’s also ridiculously reckless. His penchant for throwing jump balls into traffic, holding onto the ball too long, and taking off as a runner all could give way to a sea of turnovers.

Allen has also gotten incredibly lucky in 2019. He’s somehow been way better on the road than at home in just about every regard, but he’s managed to lose just four of a whopping 14 fumbles on the year. I can’t even begin to count the number of balls that didn’t get picked off that probably should have, either.

There is improvement here, and Houston’s defense isn’t exactly elite, but they could be good enough to give him problems. And if we get into a situation where the Bills are playing from behind and throwing the ball, sacks and more turnovers could be born.

My Favorite NFL DFS Lineup

It’s a four-game NFL DFS slate, so in one sense, there are only so many routes to winning a tournament. In another, the combinations still feel endless.

For me, I’m going to eat the chalk that makes the most sense. I’ll also be considering — for better or worse — just how much the playoff atmosphere and tough matchups are going to impact some would-be studs.

That old “start your studs” strategy applies to most regular weeks in a season-long league. The NFL playoffs truly alter how teams approach things and end up producing.

Bad matchups can end up being disastrous settings for some players, and right or wrong, we need to take some harsh stances. That has me fading some true superstars on this slate, as I am anticipating them to performing well below their price expectations.

Even if they don’t, I think there is enough value — or worthwhile contrarian options — to get me away from what I deem to be risky situations.

Again, it’s a four-game slate. And your process can change based on what kind of player you are. For me, I tend to cut things down to my favorite plays and stick to one lineup or maybe a couple of variations of that lineup.

Here’s what I have cooking for the Wild Card round over at DK.

  • QB: Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints ($6.6k)
  • RB: Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints ($7.4k)
  • RB: James White – New England Patriots ($5.7k)
  • WR: Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints ($9.3k)
  • WR: Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings ($6.2k)
  • WR: Deontay Burnett – Philadelphia Eagles ($3.1k)
  • TE: Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans ($3.8k)
  • FLEX: Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans ($5.1k)
  • DEF: Houston Texans ($2.6k)

I am eating some logical chalk in Brees, Kamara, Thomas, and the Texans. The Saints are involved in a high-total game and obviously are as explosive as anyone. I don’t see them struggling this week, so any and all avenues to their offensive weapons are viable.

I don’t want to load up on the Patriots, but I do think they win. White has been a big-time player for them in the playoffs, and the Titans give up catches to running backs.

Sony Michel is viable given the fact that the Pats should be leading in this one, but I’ll go with White as the guy who sets New England up for their success.

I don’t love Jonnu Smith, but he does have game-breaking speed. New England also is super stingy against wide receivers, so perhaps Smith gets a few more targets than usual. Whether he racks up points from more receptions than expected, a red-zone score, or a big broken play, I’d take any of it.

Goedert is my preferred tight end, but I won’t force it, especially with a high-upside option coming at vastly lower ownership.

Adam Thielen is a pivot away from teammate Stefon Diggs. Diggs is way more reliable right now given Thielen’s regression due to injury, but he has a far tougher matchup. Thielen should go overlooked and could be a great GPP pivot.

Burnett is probably my favorite GPP punt play.

Philly is so beaten up, it is absurd. He should get a few shots down the field and even hauled in a nice 41-yard catch last week. He is not a safe play, but the Seahawks also aren’t the feared secondary they once were.

Seattle isn’t going to be too concerned with someone like Burnett, but the guy made some great plays at USC and is a little more explosive than advertised. I like him at this price point in this matchup, and virtually nobody will be on him.

Carlos Hyde closes up this squad and is a nice correlation play with my Texans defense. I have Houston winning this game and expect Hyde to both close it out and be a big reason why. He has been incredibly underrated all year long, and Buffalo’s main defensive weakness is their run defense.

I don’t think Hyde goes nuts here, but 80+ yards and a score would do the trick at this price. His price may not make him all that low-owned, but I don’t really care.

Overall, I am fine with a few chalky plays, while differentiating with guys like Thielen, Burnett, and Jonnu Smith. I also still have interest in using a less chalky defense, dropping from White to Michel, and getting back up to Goedert.


The reality is that come playoff time, the best players on the best remaining teams will get the majority of the work. And with just four games to use, almost everyone will garner some ownership.

Keep in mind that this is my favorite NFL DFS lineup as of Friday morning, and these are my top NFL DFS picks right now. There is still time for some news to break or some matchups to impact how I see this slate.

I also may just keep tweaking this lineup into oblivion and then crying over my changes for the rest of time.

But I love this team, and I like the combination of chalk studs I think will smash, as well as some more contrarian plays that will be low-owned and still look like viable tourney darts.

Love or hate my Wild Card DFS picks? Let me hear it in the comments or tell me how we’ve helped you in the past. Either way, I hope you win big this weekend.

Not into DFS? Try winning big with our insight, updated odds, and experts picks by checking out our NFL Betting Guide.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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