Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is a great way to get that fantasy football fix in the NFL playoffs. With just four weeks of football remaining, our time is limited. Fortunately, we have three separate days of football this week to get our fix. Let’s take a look at the Saturday DraftKings DFS slate and the fantasy outlook for Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones.
NFL DFS Picks: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow, or Zay Jones
Of these four AFC wide receivers, who has the highest upside in DFS formats for Wild Card Weekend? Let’s dive in.
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,800)
Chase is the most expensive wide receiver on the DraftKings Saturday slate. He finished the regular season as the overall WR5, averaging 18 PPR fantasy points per game. His 55.6 PPR effort in Week 17 likely won many people championships and is surely fresh in everyone’s mind. With that said, Chase is likely overvalued at his current price.
Joe Burrow ($7,300) is the second-most-expensive quarterback on the slate. It will be quite pricey to stack Chase with Burrow. Chase certainly has a super-high ceiling. He’s proven it multiple times. However, he hasn’t been that consistent on a week-to-week basis.
Chase had six games this season of 20 or more PPR fantasy points. He also had nine games under 14. Chase is being priced and viewed as an elite WR1. He undoubtedly has that in him, but he’s not there yet.
Chase had just 3 receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown the last time the Bengals played the Raiders, and Las Vegas allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Of course, Chase can explode in any given week, but given his cost, I’d be looking elsewhere to maximize my upside in Saturday DFS lineups.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,200)
One place to look if you want to pair Burrow with one of his receivers is Higgins. I never like to be the “but if you remove *insert player’s best game here*” guy. In this case, though, it’s warranted because a 55.6-point outburst is not indicative of how a player is performing on a weekly basis.
From Weeks 8-16 (the week before Chase’s mega-smash game), Higgins actually averaged more ppg (17.4) than Chase (17.1). The perception for much of the season was that Chase is the superior fantasy asset. In reality, they were quite similar. I view them as similar once again this week. Yet, Higgins is $1,600 cheaper than Chase.
Chase will likely be the highest-rostered Bengals wide receiver. If you are looking for a Bengals stack, it might be more advantageous to go Burrow-Higgins-Tyler Boyd (Boyd is $4,600). Should Chase end up having a down week, you will easily bypass all those lineups that have Chase in them.
There’s naturally a risk in fading the consensus top receiver because if he does have a big game, you won’t be able to overcome it. That’s just the game we play. If you want to win big against a large field of opponents, you have to differentiate yourself from the masses. Fading Chase in favor of Higgins and Boyd is a great way to do that.
Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders ($6,400)
For much of the season, Hunter Renfrow was merely decent. From Weeks 1-11, he averaged 13.3 PPR ppg. It was nothing special but certainly great value for fantasy managers that picked him up off waivers early in the season.
The last game before Renfrow’s season took off was Week 11 against the Bengals. In a blowout loss, Renfrow managed just 4 receptions for 30 yards. From Weeks 12-17, Renfrow averaged 18.2 PPR ppg. He was the WR9 amongst receivers that played at least four games over that span.
This week, Renfrow, along with Darren Waller ($5,700), will be the key pieces of most Raiders stacks with Derek Carr ($5,800). Stacking Raiders is already a contrarian position, so if that’s your prerogative, I will not try and push you away from Renfrow. I will merely present this.
From Weeks 15-18, Renfrow averaged just 5.5 targets per game. That led to an average receiving line of 4.25 receptions for 40.25 yards. Renfrow salvaged his fantasy value by scoring 4 touchdowns over that span. I would expect Renfrow to be the most heavily rostered Raider. This next guy might be a more intriguing pivot.
Zay Jones, Las Vegas Raiders ($4,000)
Using that same Week 15-18 span, Jones has clearly been Carr’s preferred target over Renfrow. Jones has averaged 8.75 targets per game. He’s caught at least 5 passes in each of those games and averaged 66 receiving yards. The biggest knock on Jones is he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1.
The Bengals allowed 15 touchdowns to wide receivers this season, the 12th-fewest in the league. PFN Fantasy Analyst Jon Helmkamp provided me with some nice research on Carr’s performances in cold weather. In five cold-weather games, Carr has gone 0-5 and has never thrown for more than 1 touchdown or 222 yards in any game. Meanwhile, he’s thrown 5 interceptions.
The Bengals are an average matchup. Carr struggles in cold weather. Renfrow’s production has been waning as of late, and Jones’ inability to score touchdowns is not just random — he’s seen just 3 red-zone targets all season. Between Jones and Renfrow, I still like Jones more at cost. By saving $2,400, you could afford a heavy Bengals stack.
However, I’m even less bullish on Jones’ chances of finding the end zone with Waller back. Despite his low cost, it’s difficult to see any real contest-winning upside in Jones stemming from purely yards and receptions, especially given Carr’s struggles in the cold.