The Fantasy Football Matchups Column returns for Wild Card Saturday of the 2022 NFL postseason. The column will break down key matchups for the most important players each week to provide tips for NFL DFS and give the best NFL player prop bets. Let’s dive into the all the NFL DFS tips matchups and daily fantasy football lineup decisions.
NFL Wild Card Playoff Saturday NFL DFS Matchups & Props
Be sure to check out OddsShopper’s matchups page, breaking down all the data for each game on a given slate.
Quarterback: Josh Allen
The Bills and Patriots will meet for the third time night in Buffalo, and game-time feels-like temperature is trending towards negative-10 degrees. This means both Josh Allen ($7,900 DraftKings/$8,800 FanDuel) will likely have trouble passing, at least in certain circumstances. Allen still has a relatively high ceiling, as he has close to 50% of the team’s carries from inside the 10-yard line over the last six weeks and averaged the third-most carries per game of all quarterbacks this season. However, he will need chunk plays or a touchdown rushing to get a ceiling score in fantasy football. Allen has topped 60 yards rushing in four of his last five starts, which makes him a fine play in fantasy football, but based on the weather concerns and New England’s top tier defense, under 245.5 yards passing is a solid bet for Allen.
Quarterback: Derek Carr
Compared to Patriots – Bills, the Raiders – Bengals game is much more conducive to passing. Both defenses rank well below league average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points and are two of the three weakest defenses to have made it to the postseason. The Bengals have been particularly susceptible against the pass, ranking 19th in yards allowed per pass attempt and 25th over their last three games. Derek Carr ($5,800 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) will likely face a negative game script where he will be expected to mount a comeback effort. He could finish the Saturday slate with the most total pass attempts of any quarterback, and he was fifth in the NFL pass attempts this season. With that in mind, Carr is Awesemo’s top-rated quarterback for the Saturday slate on the Big Board, as his $5,500 salary is much less than Joe Burrow or Allen. Carr has a 57% chance of hitting the over on his modest 250.5 yards passing prop line.
Running Back: Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon ($7,100 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) is the top DFS option on the slate by a longshot. And while he is also supposed to be very highly owned, the attention towards Mixon is entirely warranted. The Raiders have been one of the worst defenses in the NFL against opposing running backs this season, ranking 10th-worst in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and Mixon has looked elusive as ever in his recent starts. Mixon finished the regular season ranked seventh in both evaded tackles per touch and in total rushes of 10 yards or more and maintained that efficiency on the third-most carries in the league. While the Bengals turned to role players like Samaje Perine ($4,900 DraftKings/$5,100 FanDuel) and Chris Evans ($4,600 DraftKings/$4,700 FanDuel) in certain situations during the season’s final weeks, expect Mixon to handle a vast majority of the backfield touches for Cincinnati. The best way to bet on Mixon is taking the over on his current rush yards prop of 74.5. Our projections find that number to be absurdly low.
Running Back: Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs ($6,600 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) has seen at least 19 total opportunities in each of his last four starts and has topped 25 total opportunities in two of those games. But Jacobs has been mostly inefficient on that massive volume this season, ranking outside the top-20 backs this season in evaded tackles per opportunity and in breakaway run rate. Despite earning 3.6 receptions per game this season, Jacobs ranked just 13th in fantasy points per game. And the projected game script, with Las Vegas expected to be playing from behind, does not bode well for Jacobs’ workload down the stretch. On a slate with just one other sure-fire workhorse back (Mixon), Jacobs might look like a solid consolation prize at a $500 discount on DraftKings, but Awesemo’s tools suggest that he is a contrarian DFS play at best, and from a projections standpoint, Jacobs appears poised to disappoint compared to salary-based expectations. Jacobs fails to reach his rushing yard prop line of 62.5 yards in 57% of Awesemo’s latest simulations.
Wide Receiver: Stefon Diggs
While the end-of-season totals were not as impressive as they were in 2020, wide receiver Stefon Diggs ($7,500 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) still ranked top five among receivers in total targets and total air yards, and saw 34 red-zone targets, more than all but one wideout in the NFL this season. He even topped 10 touchdowns for the second season in a row. And yet, there is an air of disappointment surrounding Diggs’ 2021 performance. While he torched the Jets in both matchups, in all other games, Diggs scored 20 or more fantasy points just two total times. He is failed to top 100 yards receiving in every game he is played since Week 10. This week, there are once again significant weather concerns, which could limit Diggs’ usage, but Diggs did have an encouraging seven receptions for 85 yards against this same New England defense in Week 16. In DFS, he is a contrarian play at best, as his salary is just too high for his expected production, but his receiving prop line, sitting at just 66.5 yards, seems extremely reasonable, even when adjusting the expected passing production for the entire Bills’ offense for the cold weather. Diggs has a roughly 53% chance of going over that mark.
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Wide Receiver: Tee Higgins & Ja’Marr Chase
The Raiders the second-worst defense of any playoff team according to PFF team defensive grades, and in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed, they do not fare much better, ranking third worst of all remaining teams. It should not be a surprise, then, that the Raiders are nearly touchdown underdogs in this relatively high 49.5-total games. While Awesemo’s projections suggests Mixon might be the best overall play on the slate, that does not mean Awesemo’s tools do not also have love for Tee Higgins ($6,200 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) and Ja’Marr Chase ($7,800 DraftKings), who could absolutely smash this weekend. Burrow is projected for just under 300 passing yards, by far the highest on the slate, and between the two of them, Chase and Higgins have combined for 45% of the team’s targets and a staggering 71% of team air yards over the last seven games in which Burrow has started. While Tyler Boyd ($4,600 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) will certainly mix into the passing attack, as he always does, and C.J. Uzomah ($3,500 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) could see four to six looks, expect the offense to center around the big three of Mixon, Chase and Higgins in this must-win game. Our projections are bullish on all Bengals’ receiving options compared to their respective prop lines, as Awesemo’s latest simulations show Chase exceeding his yards receiving prop line of 74.5 nearly 60% of the time, and Higgins topping 70.5 yards receiving 53% of the time. It looks like a great day to stack Bengals pass catchers.
Tight End: Hunter Henry
Darren Waller ($5,700 DraftKings/$6,300 FanDuel) is clearly the top option at the tight end position for DFS players. While two receptions for 22 yards, as he had in his return to action last weekend, is far from impressive, it was extremely encouraging to see Waller earn a team-high nine targets, instantly re-establishing himself as the primary weapon in the Las Vegas passing attack. Waller’s nine looks last Sunday were the most he is seen in a game since Week 1, where he led the NFL with 19 total looks in an overtime game against the Ravens. But Waller’s salary is tough to get to, which means looking to the Bills or Patriots rosters for alternative options. Dawson Knox ($5,100 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) is not a terrible play, but he is seen five looks or less in four straight games, making him a highly volatile option at the position. Instead, look to Hunter Henry ($4,500 DraftKings/$5,900 FanDuel), who continues to be peppered with targets near the goal line, as he has been all season. Henry ranked seventh in NFL in red zone targets this season and finished second among all tight ends with nine touchdowns. He averaged over 8 yards per reception this season and caught a touchdown on an absolutely absurd 12% of his targets, and while that rate is not sustainable long term, there is no reason to fade that number at this point in the season. Henry projects for 33 yards receiving, which means he might be a push when considering prop bets, as his current prop line sits at 31.5 yards.
option with a touchdown (or two) firmly in the range of outcomes.
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