Wildcard Week DraftKings Plays: Cooper Kupp, Leonard Fournette, and More

Wildcard Week DraftKings
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Week 18 is in the books and that is a wrap for the NFL regular season. One of my favorite parts is fantasy football. One of my favorite aspects of fantasy football has become playing on DraftKings. Every week is like a new puzzle to figure out. Whether you are more of a cash game player or a tournament player, each presents a unique challenge. Let’s take a look at the best Wildcard Week DraftKings plays for the entire weekend slate.

Wildcard Week DraftKings Plays

Week 18 Recap

It’s always good to be completely transparent and demonstrate accountability. That’s what I like to do with everything I do and that goes for fantasy football as well. Whether it’s bold takes or DraftKings recommendations, I always like to keep track of wins and losses. It’s not only good for the readers to know, but also helps me learn from mistakes moving forward.

Looking back at Week 18, it was better than last week. This week 48% of the recommendations hit the 2.5x value we look for in cash game lineups. This time the quarterback group led the way with an 80% success rate. Meanwhile, the tight end group brought up the rear this week with a 20% success rate. It was not a profitable week. The cash build lost all five double-ups and went 6-12 in H2H’s. We’ll look to do even better with the picks and get back into the profits in the Wildcard Week DraftKings plays.

  • Week 18 – $285 → $216 ($69 LOSS)
  • Year Total – $6,218 → $5,922 ($296 LOSS)

Wildcard Week DraftKings Plays

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes (KC) – $7,400 v PIT

Patrick Mahomes has had a bit of a down year by his normal standards. Most of that is due to opposing defenses playing more of a Cover-2 style scheme and taking away the big plays. That has certainly become very popular this season in terms of slowing down the elite quarterbacks. Even despite that, Mahomes still averaged 23.2 DraftKings points per game on the season. This week he has a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the combined total is not the highest on the slate, the Kansas City Chiefs have the highest implied team total at 29.5 points. They are also the 12.5-point home favorites. It seems very likely that the Chiefs will be able to move the ball early and often and that Mahomes will be a big part of that success. He is the second-most expensive quarterback on the slate but with the type of touchdown equity he has with the highest implied team total, it would be no surprise to see Mahomes as the highest-scoring quarterback of the weekend.

Jalen Hurts (PHI) – $6,100 @ TB

Jalen Hurts stumbled across the finish line a bit in 2021. Even still, he averaged 21.9 DraftKings points per game. That was good enough to make him the seventh-highest scoring quarterback on the season. For some reason, he is just the eight-most expensive quarterback on this slate. That is one of the cheapest quarterbacks of the weekend despite the fact he scored more QB1 finishes than any other quarterback all year.

Hurts still runs regularly which gives him such a massive floor. This week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he may need to do much more than usual to give the Philadelphia Eagles a chance to advance. The game script should be in Hurts favor for extra dropbacks with the Eagles sitting as 8.5-point underdogs currently.

The Buccaneers have also allowed the seventh-most DraftKings points to quarterbacks this year and have been getting run on regularly lately. The biggest concern here is the weather but that may just allow Hurts the ability to run even more. Hurts seems like one of the best values at quarterback on this slate.

Others to Consider: Dak Prescott (DAL) – $6,700 v SF, Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) – $5,300 @ DAL

Running Backs

Joe Mixon (CIN) – $6,800 v LV

Joe Mixon comes in as the most expensive running back on the slate and rightfully so. He finished as the RB4 in total points and the RB7 in points per game on the season. He averaged 18.6 DraftKings points per game. The only running back on the slate who averaged more was Leonard Fournette, who averaged just 0.1 points more.

Mixon finished the season strong with the most encouraging part being the passing-game usage. Over the final two weeks, he caught 13 balls on 14 targets and produced 110 yards and a score. That was on top of 30 carries between the two games as well. This week against the Las Vegas Raiders is a juicy matchup for Mixon.

The Raiders have allowed the third-most DraftKings points to running backs this year. The game environment looks good too as this game has a 48.5-point combined total and the Cincinnati Bengals check-in as 5.5-point home favorites. Everything is lining up for a big game from Mixon.

Leonard Fournette (TB) – $5,900 v PHI

It is the return of “Lombardi Lenny” in the opening week of these NFL Playoffs. Leonard Fournette is back and should resume workhorse duties for the Buccaneers with Ronald Jones ruled out with an ankle injury. As usual, when a player is first back from injury, he is usually very underpriced. That looks to be the case this week with Fournette.

Of course, the Buccaneers could very well scale back his workload in his first game back, especially if they jump out to a big lead, but they are already so banged up on offense that they will need him to play a significant role. This is true especially as a pass-catcher, which he has excelled at this season. Fournette averaged 18.7 DraftKings points per game this year which is the most among any running back on the slate. He is just the seventh-most expensive running back on the slate so that is something to take advantage of.

Others to Consider: Najee Harris (PIT) – $6,600 @ KC, Eli Mitchell (SF) – 5,500 @ DAL, Darrel Williams (KC) – $5,500 v PIT

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp (LAR) – $9,000 v ARI

Is there really anyone else that deserves to occupy this spot other than Cooper Kupp after the type of season he has had? Kupp is averaging an absurd 27.8 DraftKings points per game this season. He finished the year with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. Kupp only scored less than 16 DraftKings points just once all season and he only had less than 90 receiving yards just once as well.

It was the perfect storm of extremely high floor paired with extremely high ceiling. That should continue this week when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Arizona Cardinals. This game environment is extremely juicy. Both of these teams are two of the fastest-paced in the league.

This game is being played in a dome as well. Kupp posted 34.3 DraftKings points against the Cardinals a month or so ago and the Cardinals allow the fourth-most DraftKings points to wide receivers. This should be a fun, fast-paced, high-scoring affair and it seems very likely that Kupp will be a huge part of it.

Diontae Johnson (PIT) – $6,700 @ KC

If Cooper Kupp is a bit too expensive to get to, Diontae Johnson is the discount version of Cooper Kupp. He was one of the most consistent wide receivers this season as he caught at least five balls in every game this season except one. Johnson also scored double-digit DraftKings points in every game except one as well. He averaged 17.8 DraftKings points per game.

This game sets up perfectly for Johnson to see a bunch of targets. As previously mentioned, the Chiefs are the biggest favorites on the slate, therefore the game script should be in favor of the Steelers needing to throw early and often in what is likely Ben Roethlisberger’s final game. Roethlisberger cannot push the ball downfield at this point which benefits quick-hitting targets to Johnson. It seems likely that Johnson should see double-digit targets in this one and have another nice game.

Others to Consider: Tee Higgins (CIN) – $6,300 v LV, CeeDee Lamb (DAL) –  $6,200 v SF, Zay Jones (LV) – $4,200 @ CIN, Odell Beckham Jr. (LAR) – $5,100 v ARI

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski (TB) – $6,400 v PHI

What a year it has been for Rob Gronkowski. He has certainly turned back the clock as he has averaged 15 DraftKings points per game this season. Travis Kelce (17.2) is the only tight end on the slate that averaged more DraftKings points per game. Gronkowski finished the season in a particularly strong fashion with two straight games over 100 receiving yards and over 21 DraftKings points.

He has stepped up after Chris Godwin tore his ACL and Antonio Brown was kicked off the team. This week against the Eagles he will be relied upon again as a main weapon for Tom Brady. The Eagles have been one of the worst teams in the NFL in terms of defending the tight end this season. They have allowed the second-most DraftKings points to the position. Gronkowski is a solid bet to not only score more DraftKings points than any other tight end but be one of the best point-per-dollar tight ends as well.

Zach Ertz (ARI) – $4,700 @ LAR

Zach Ertz’s target share went through the roof after DeAndre Hopkins went down. Since that point, Ertz has averaged 10 targets per game. That is a massive number for a wide receiver, let alone a tight end. His price continues to stay low as just has not exploded for any touchdown production in that span.

With touchdown scoring being the most variant stat, Ertz could just as easily score two touchdowns any given weekend as most other tight ends, especially with the target volume he has been seeing. As previously mentioned, this game has a juicy game environment to target seeing as how both teams are high-scoring and fast-paced. With Ertz being such an integral piece of the passing game in such a great game environment, it is extremely hard to pass up such a great price here.

Others to Consider: George Kittle (SF) – $6,000 @ DAL, Dallas Goedert (PHI) – $4,500 @ TB

Defense/Special Teams

In terms of choosing a defense/special teams, it’s the last spot I fill in every week. It’s pretty random but there are a few areas to gain an advantage. I look to target the heavily favored teams as they usually are playing with a lead. This forces their opponent to throw it more often which can help lead to extra sacks and turnovers and hopefully a touchdown. Another aspect to target is turnover and sack-prone quarterbacks. My advice is to fill out the rest of your lineup first and then pick your favorite D/ST out of the remaining money.

My Tentative Cash Game Lineup

  • QB – Jimmy Garoppolo
  • RB – Joe Mixon
  • RB – Leonard Fournette
  • WR – Cooper Kupp
  • WR – CeeDee Lamb
  • WR – Zay Jones
  • TE – Zach Ertz
  • Flex – Darrel Williams
  • DST – Pittsburgh Steelers

Make sure to tune in next week to see the results from my Wildcard Week DraftKings plays and to see the best picks for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Best of luck to everyone and let’s all enjoy some football and win some money!

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