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NFL DFS Sleepers and Busts Wild Card Weekend: Is Playoff Lenny back for Tampa Bay?

As DFS becomes the main way managers continue to play fantasy football, here are our picks for NFL Wild Card sleepers and busts.

As fantasy football managers polish their newly secured hardware, DFS takes over the conversation as each week presents an entirely new set of challenges to those looking to take down contests. With Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs on the horizon, here are our picks for DFS sleepers and busts for the opening round of the playoffs.

2022 NFL Wild Card Round DFS Sleepers

As lineups are set, who are the fantasy sleepers in the NFL Wild Card round of the playoffs?

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers ($5,300)

There are no true sleepers in the postseason. We know everyone’s name and what they bring to the table. What there are, however, are value plays. That’s where I would place Jimmy Garoppolo.

His ceiling is not as high as other QBs on the slate. But the stacking options with Garoppolo are about as good as it gets. Not only can you run with Deebo Samuel ($8,100), but there are pivot plays in Brandon Aiyuk ($5,400) or George Kittle ($6,000).

Garoppolo is only the 11th-highest-priced QB of the weekend, even behind Eagles backup Gardner Minshew ($5,600). At just $5,300, Jimmy G only needs to hit his average of 17.2 points per game for a 3x price return, something he has done in three of the last four games.

His thumb injury is certainly a concern. But given that Garoppolo just threw for 316 yards and a TD against the Rams on Sunday, we could see similar results in a win-or-go-home game.

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5,900)

DFS sites have to come out with pricing early in the week and are not afforded the chance to see if players will return from injury. This helps create massive value opportunities and cash savings.

At No. 8 in RB pricing, Leonard Fournette is a screaming value. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday that Fournette (hamstring) is expected to return from IR for Tampa Bay’s Wild Card game against the Eagles. That’s massive.

Fournette has scored double-digit points in 12 of his 14 games, including in six straight. Playoff Lenny is a different man on the field, and with questions surrounding the Bucs’ receiver room, Fournette’s pass-catching skills will be heavily used. He could easily 3x his price against an Eagles defense that is 31st in points allowed to RBs in their last four games.

Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys ($4,400)

It’s hard to overlook Cedrick Wilson when filling out DFS lineups for the Wild Card round of the playoffs. He will probably be a bit chalky. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the value.

Taking over last week for the injured Michael Gallup, Wilson caught 5 of 6 targets for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Eagles. At $4,400, Wilson is at his highest price of the season. But in his new role, that was to be expected.

San Francisco is 23rd vs. WRs in points allowed (35.5 per game). But if last Sunday was a sign of things to come for the Cowboys, loading up on pass catchers in this game could be the ticket to a significant return.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,500)

On Monday, the Eagles activated Dallas Goedert off the reserve/COVID-19 list after he missed Week 18. If Philadelphia hopes to keep it close against Tampa Bay, Goedert has to be heavily involved.

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In his last four games, Goedert has averaged 5.3 receptions on 6.5 targets for 84.5 yards per game while scoring 2 touchdowns. Since Week 7 (after Zach Ertz was traded to the Cardinals), Goedert leads the Eagles with 25.6% of the targets and 24.5% of the air yards. If you attack Tampa Bay, it has to be through the air. Thus, Goedert is one of the best values on the slate at $4,500 (eighth among TEs).

2022 NFL Wild Card Round DFS Busts

When the lights shine the brightest, some players cave under pressure. Which players are risky NFL DFS picks due to their likelihood of underperforming based on expectations?

Mac Jones, New England Patriots ($5,100)

Mac Jones is the lowest-priced QB on Wild Card Weekend, and I can see why. He offers little to no rushing upside. For as good as he is as an NFL player, his lack of mobility does not translate to fantasy success. Jones was the best rookie QB performer of the 2021 NFL Draft. But he averaged just 14 points per game and finished as the QB18.

While Jones did finish his rookie season with a 67.6% completion rate, 22:13 touchdown to interception ratio, and 3,801 passing yards, his two games against the Bills have been abysmal. However, I’m barely counting the Week 13 tornado game. In Week 16, Jones passed for 145 yards with 2 interceptions and scored 7.1 points. The Bills are No. 1 against QBs and — for the first time — face a Patriots team with a QB that has zero playoff experience.

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders ($6,500)

For the first time in his career, Josh Jacobs has seen the passing volume many have always wanted him to receive. Since Week 9, Jacobs has averaged 4.8 targets, 4 receptions, and 23.8 yards per game. His 48 targets over that time were No. 2 in the NFL among RBs. Add in three straight games of 20+ touches, and you can see where the optimism for Jacobs comes from. Yet, I will be staying away.

For one, Jalen Richard will cut into his receiving volume. In Week 18, Richard saw just as many targets as Jacobs (2) and ran 17 routes. We also have to consider the matchup. The Bengals are better than the Chargers against the run and allowed the 10th-fewest yards to RBs this season.

Also, the Bengals can and should put up points on Las Vegas, as they are currently 6-point favorites. If Cincinnati takes the lead by multiple scores, Jacobs’ volume will diminish, as will his DFS upside. Add in the third-highest price tag among RBs, and Jacobs is likely to be a DFS bust in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,800)

At $4,800, Chase Claypool is the cheapest he’s been all season. Yet, I still don’t want him in my lineups unless I am going for a contrarian play in a GPP. Claypool is as boom-bust as they come. In Week 18, Claypool hauled in 5 of 7 targets for 37 yards and a touchdown while rushing 3 times for 33 yards. His 18.1 points were his highest since Week 5, which was also the last time he’d been in the end zone.

Ben Roethlisberger is coasting to the end of his career on fumes, and the Steelers’ play-calling is protecting him. He’s getting the ball out of his hands quicker than any other QB at 2.38 seconds, and he has the second-lowest intended air yards per attempt among qualified QBs at 6.7.

Big Ben can’t tap into Claypool’s explosiveness as a vertical threat is gone. As such, he’s finished as a top-24 receiver in just four games. Last time out against the Chiefs, Claypool was held to 41 yards on 4 receptions. I see more of the same coming on Wild Card Weekend, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him in my lineup as anything but a pivot option.

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills ($4,800)

Since returning from his hand injury, Dawson Knox has averaged 3.1 receptions on 4.9 targets for 33.4 yards per game. In the first five games of the season, Knox had 5 touchdowns. Since Week 10, he has just 3 more, and he’s posted 60+ yards in only two games.

The Bills have plenty of pass catchers, so a low-volume player like Knox needs a score to return value. When Buffalo last faced New England, Knox had 2 receptions for 11 yards but saw his fantasy day salvaged by a TD. The Patriots are No. 1 vs. TEs, and among the options on Buffalo, Knox appears more likely to bust than boom.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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