DraftKings NFL: Wild-Card Saturday Breakdown

DraftKings NFL: Wild-Card Saturday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

Saturday's NFL DFS slate features two games. The Bengals play host to the Raiders at 4:30 p.m. EST. Cincinnati is 5.5-point favorites and that game has a 49-point total. Buffalo plays host to New England in the second game at 8:15 p.m. EST. The Bills are 4-point favorites in a matchup that has a lowish 44-point total. That total likely has something to do with the weather in Buffalo as temperatures are expected to be in the single digits and there's a chance of snow. 

The Bengals crushed the Raiders 32-13 behind a dominant performance by Joe Mixon and the running game in Las Vegas in Week 11. The Bills and Patriots split their season series. In Week 13, in a game that featured severe wind and weather, Mac Jones attempted only three passes as the Patriots leaned on the running game to win 14-10 in Buffalo. In Week 16, Josh Allen was spectacular as he carved up the Pats for 314 yards and three TDs, which helped lead the Bills to a 33-21 victory. 

So what should we expect Saturday? Cold temperatures and possible snow in Buffalo are a downgrade to the passing games in the Bills-Patriots matchup. New England already wants to run the ball as it is, and in tough conditions it's safe to assume a run-heavy attack from the Pats again. Expect the Bills to mix it up. Josh Allen will still attempt plenty of passes but the majority might be of the shorter variety. In Cincinnati, the Bengals likely will try to establish the run early after they were so dominant with that strategy in Week 11. Expect the Raiders to be playing from behind, which would put the game in Derek Carr's hands and favor his pass-catchers. 

QUARTERBACK

In Week 16, Josh Allen ($7,900) shredded the Pats in Foxboro for 378 total yards and three TDs in what was the biggest game of the season for both teams with the division title on the line. Even if the cold temperatures in Buffalo make the passing game slightly less appealing, Allen still projects as the top scorer on the slate. His rushing upside has been on full display recently as he's averaged more than 68 yards on the ground in his last five games. He had 12 carries for 64 yards in the Week 16 matchup and should run plenty Saturday. Joe Burrow ($7,300) ended the regular season as the league's hottest quarterback. He threw for a whopping 525 yards and four TDs in Week 16 followed it with 446 yards and four TDs in Week 17. The Bengals, specifically Burrow and the receivers, have played with confidence and swagger rarely seen in such a young group. Cincinnati is in the playoffs for the first time in six years and has the highest implied team total on the slate. I want plenty of exposure to Burrow. His counterpart, Derek Carr ($5,800), stands out as the best value at the position from a point-per-dollar perspective. The likely game-script projects favorably for the Raiders' passing game. His appeal is understandable based on the cheap salary, but it's worth noting that Carr topped 20 fantasy points in just one of 10 games to end the regular season. I have little to no interest in Mac Jones ($5,300). The Patriots will feature a run-heavy attack for as long as the game allows. The weather is also unfavorable. Jones really struggled in the Week 16 matchup, completing just 43 percent of passes with no TDs and two INTs. I'm not confident that he fares much better Saturday, against a tough defense, in cold temperatures. 

WIDE RECEIVER

Ja'Marr Chase ($7,800) is the most expensive receiver on the slate after he torched Kansas City for 11 catches, 266 yards and three TDs in Week 17. He looked unstoppable as he put up 58 fantasy points, the most in the league all season. His range of outcomes is wide, but he has the highest ceiling at the position based on his big-play ability as a deep threat. Stefon Diggs ($7,500) averaged 12 targets per game in his last three and has three TDs in his last four. He drew 13 targets in the Week 16 matchup against New England, and Allen should look his way often Saturday. He has the highest floor of any WR and plenty of upside too. The decision between him and Chase is tough. I plan on letting QB dictate who I roster as I'll look to correlate the two. 

Hunter Renfrow ($6,400) enjoyed a breakout season but seems a bit overpriced now considering he's drawn more than five targets just once in his last four games. The return of Darren Waller is also a downgrade for Renfrow. I'd rather roster Tee Higgins ($6,200) for a similar price. Higgins led the Bengals in target share this season and has flashed considerable upside recently, topping 25 fantasy points in three of the final six games. With Cincinnati in a favorable spot, he'll be popular, and rightly so. 

I don't have much interest in the Patriots WRs because the passing game projects poorly in Buffalo. If I were to roster one, it'd likely be Jakobi Meyers ($5,000). He's drawn at least eight targets in four consecutive games and led the Pats in that category throughout the season. I'd rather save $400 and roster Tyler Boyd ($4,600). The Bengals' offense, and specifically the passing game, is much more appealing and Boyd has caught a TD in each of his last three games. 

Cheaper options include the Bills' trio of Emmanuel Sanders ($4,300), Cole Beasley ($4,200) and Gabriel Davis ($3,900). Of the bunch, Beasley probably draws the most targets while Davis probably has the most touchdown equity. I'm not excited about rostering any of them, though. Zay Jones ($4,000) will be the most popular in this range. He's drawn at least eight targets in four consecutive games and the Raiders are likely to be trailing, which favors their passing attack. 

TIGHT END

Darren Waller ($5,700) drew nine targets last week as he returned from a five-game absence following a knee injury. He drew at least seven targets in all but two games this season. Assuming the Raiders are playing catch-up Saturday, Waller should be heavily involved. Dawson Knox ($5,100) is in a tough spot against a New England defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points in the league to tight ends this season. In five career games against the Patriots, Knox has never caught more than three passes. Hunter Henry ($4,500) is averaging more than six targets per game in his last four. He caught nine touchdowns this season as the favorite red zone target of Mac Jones. If I'm not rostering Waller, I'd prefer to save salary and take a chance on C.J. Uzomah ($3,500). He's drawn at least six targets in four of his last five games and caught five TDs this season. He seems slightly underpriced compared to everyone but Waller. The Bengals have the highest implied total and are a team full of confidence. 

RUNNING BACKS

Joe Mixon ($7,100) had 30 carries for 123 yards and two TDs in the Week 11 matchup against the Raiders. The Bengals' offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage in that game and likely will try to establish the run again Saturday. Mixon has been more involved in the passing game recently too, catching 13 of 14 targets his last two games. He stands out as the priority at the position for me. Josh Jacobs ($6,600) is expected to be popular as well. He's coming off his best game of the season last week when he rushed for 132 yards and a TD. What worries me is the potential game script. If the Raiders are trailing, the running game likely will suffer. With Waller back, Jacobs might not be as involved in the passing game as he was during the second half of the regular season. On the other hand, if the game stays close, expect the Raiders to lean on Jacobs throughout. Damien Harris ($6,400) rushed for 100-plus yards in both meetings with the Bills this season and he had four TDs in those games. The Patriots figure to feature a run-heavy attack again Saturday and will hope Harris can have similar success. As long as the game stays close, he'll be the focal point of their offense. Rhamondre Stevenson ($5,100) should also get some work but it's a bit concerning that he only had four carries last week. If the Pats fall behind and are forced to pass, Brandon Bolden ($4,800) could be busy catching balls out of the backfield. He has at least two catches in four consecutive games. On the Bills side, Devin Singletary ($5,800) has clearly established himself as the first-choice running back. He's touched the ball at least 17 times in four consecutive games. Considering the weather, I'd expect him to catch some dump-offs too. He caught five of six targets when the teams met in Week 16. Because I favor the Bills, I prefer Singletary to anyone on the Pats. 

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Defense is usually more of a priority for me on these smaller slates as it's easier to outscore the field. I'll target the two home favorites, Buffalo ($3,200) and Cincinnati ($2,900). The Bills picked off Mac Jones twice in Week 16 and that game is expected to be cold and lower scoring. The Bengals forced two turnovers and held the Raiders to just 13 points and 278 yards in Week 10. The Bills and Bengals project the best and it's likely that one of them is the highest scoring at the position.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
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