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Trust In Trevor: NFL Wild Card DFS Preview

Trevor goes over every possible NFL DFS play from Wild Card weekend’s action!

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 24: David Njoku #85 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball after a catch during the second half in the game against the Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Saturday: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans 4:30 p.m. EST 

The NFL gets the playoffs rolling with a rematch from Christmas Eve, when the Browns defeated the Texans 36-22. If you recall, QB Joe Flacco threw for 368 yards and WR Amari Cooper had 265 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Both feats will be extremely difficult to duplicate because those are lofty numbers. On the Texans’ side, they were missing standout rookie QB C.J. Stroud, but he will be at the helm this week, which should make for a much more competitive game.

The Browns should continue to have success throwing the football. I don’t think the Texans can get enough pressure on Flacco to disrupt him consistently. They may have to blitz, which would leave the defense susceptible to big plays. Cooper figures to lead the team in targets and catches on his way to 100 yards. TE David Njoku is in a great spot as the Texans have struggled against the tight end all season. It’s feasible that he could be the top-scoring fantasy tight end of the week. WR Elijah Moore could be in a good spot if the Texans change up the defense and roll coverage Cooper’s way or play an even softer zone than normal. The Texan secondary was burned deep often in the first meeting and they may be content giving up the underneath to Moore. The Brown’s running game doesn’t scare anyone but I do expect RB Jerome Ford to reach the end zone. He would have to break a long one or get a handful of catches to be in winning lineups though.

As for the Texans, Stroud will have to have a huge game if they want to win this one. It is going to be difficult because I think the Browns can take away his favorite weapon, WR Nico Collins. That leaves TE Dalton Schultz as his second favorite target and a low-owned fantasy tight end. WR Noah Brown has yet to practice and is trending as if he won’t play. WR Robert Woods would be the third option, but he has been limited in practice. He is trending in the right direction, but the Texans are thin at receiver. I would prefer Brown if he were able to suit up. RB Devin Singletary is cheap but would have to both get into the end zone and have an increased role in the passing game to be fantasy-viable. I don’t think he can get there by only rushing.

I think the Browns find a way to win this game because they have a better defense. They will get enough pass rush to be disruptive. The Texans don’t have enough firepower and top options, whereas the Browns can be more balanced.  Browns 30-23.

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Saturday: Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs 8:00 p.m. EST 

Another rematch from the regular season, as the Chiefs beat the Dolphins 21-14 in Frankfurt, Germany in Week 9. That game that was decided by a fierce Chiefs pass rush that ultimately led to a defensive fumble return for a TD. Both teams enter this match struggling on offense but playing fairly well defensively. The Dolphins are a bit banged up on both sides of the ball, which should open the Chiefs’ offense a little more. This game will be played in zero-degree weather, which also figures to benefit the Chiefs over the warm-weather Dolphins.

The Dolphins’ once-explosive offense has surpassed 300 total yards just once over their final four games. I think we can attribute those numbers to the injuries that all of their playmakers have had; both WR Jaylen Waddle and RB Raheem Mostert have missed games, and Tyreek Hill has been banged-up. Both Waddle and Mostert are back practicing in limited capacity, and I think both will play. WR Tyreek Hill (ankle) and RB De’Von Achane (toe, ribs) both played the last few weeks, and I think they are close to 100%. Achane looked explosive on his touchdown run last week, and Hill was doing backflips after scoring his touchdown. I think Hill is very interesting because this is his first game back in Arrowhead after spending much of his career with the Chiefs. He is overlooked in DFS, and he is matchup-proof; he has the talent to break any slate. Waddle will be lower-owned, but I don’t trust his effectiveness. I think even with Mostert back, Achane needs to get more touches here. He has more moves and can do more with less. Mostert is a touchdown machine, though, but I don’t think he can get the yards to win a DFS tournament. I think Hill is the only player I trust in the Dolphins’ offense to rack up fantasy points.

The Chiefs’ offense has been sputtering. Outside of RB Isiah Pacheco and WR Rashee Rice, the Chiefs aren’t getting contributions from anyone on offense, including TE Travis Kelce. But all are in a great spot as the Dolphins’ defense suffered a string of injuries in their season finale vs. Buffalo. A defense that had already lost DE Bradley Chubb for the season will be without Andrew Van Ginkel, Jerome Baker, and Cam Goode. Plus, it is looking like they will be without starting CB Xavien Howard, so the Dolphins’ defense is ripe for the picking. Pacheco has the most upside; he had 25 touches in his last game and made the most of it with 32.5 fantasy points. I think he is a lock for at least 15 fantasy points with that 30-point upside. I prefer Kelce over Rice as the Dolphins struggle vs. tight ends, even with healthy linebackers. They can get exposed with a defense full of backups.

I can’t back the Dolphins in this game, even though the entire country likes the Chiefs. I do not like taking public plays but the injuries appear too much for the Dolphins. I think Kansas City will run the football effectively and hit Kelce in big spots. The Chiefs’ defense is good enough to contain the run and get pressure on QB Tua Tagovailoa. Chiefs 24-16.

Sunday: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills 1 p.m. EST 

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this game. The weather is expected to be snowy and extremely windy. Both team’s passing games should be severely affected by the elements and will avoid the passing game altogether. RB Najee Harris has been getting the majority of the carries for Pittsburgh with Jalen Warren giving him spells. Warren will most likely be the back if the Steelers fall behind. He can rack up a bunch of catches in this scenario and would be a long shot running back play. Ultimately, I am avoiding all the Steelers as I don’t think they will move the ball making the Bill’s defense a great play. On the other hand, I think Bill’s RB James Cook is a solid play and should have success running against a weak Steeler defense. In this weather he should receive 20 plus touches and has a chance for 30. I think the Bills will find a way to win this one 17-6.

Sunday: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys 4:30 p.m. EST 

What a story the Packers have become. Their season was looking bleak until they upset the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Now, winners of six of their last eight games, they face a Dallas team that is 8-0 and averages 37 points per game at home. The oddsmakers are predicting a high-scoring game, as the total is set at 50.5.

The Packers’ offense would like to get RB Aaron Jones going early, as he can set the tone. If they can establish the run, that will take pressure off first-year starting QB Jordan Love. I think Jones will be solid; he is coming off three straight 100-yard performances and does add value in the passing game. My only knock is that he doesn’t score much, which makes it difficult for me to put him into my lineups. If he doesn’t get the 100-yard bonus, then he most likely isn’t going to score 20 fantasy points. I do like the Packer passing game a lot. The Packers have an expected total of 21.5, so they will score. QB Love has been improving, and he is making all the throws. He might see a pass rush he hasn’t seen before, but the offensive line has been protecting him better and he is mobile enough in the pocket to improvise and make plays. His accuracy has been a night and day difference since earlier this season. Receiver Jayden Reed has benefitted the most and has scored at least 17 points in the last four games he has played. He finds a way to get open, and I think he should get at least six catches here. A sleeper could be WR Dontayvion Wicks, who has been sneaky good, scoring three touchdowns in his last two games. Receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson both have been limited in practice, but I expect them both to play this week. I fear that the ball could get spread around too much, making it so nobody stands out. If Doubs and Watson both play, then I think Love has to be considered as a low-owned play. I also haven’t mentioned that he has two solid tight ends in Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave.

On to Dallas: We all know that they score a ton of points at home, but I am not expecting a huge offensive performance. They have a big offensive line, and I think they can move the Packer front a little. RB Tony Pollard has been a tad slow for most of the season, but that could be from last season’s injury. I have noticed a bit of a burst from him over the past couple of weeks, and he should be effective here. I think he can get close to 100 yards and a touchdown, winning the possession battle and taking time off the clock. I have a hunch that WR CeeDee Lamb doesn’t have the gaudy numbers that he is accustomed to having at home. Packer CB Jaire Alexander is one of the best in the business, and the Packer secondary has been limiting opponents’ top receivers. Lamb will get some catches, but I don’t think I can pay his DFS price. I will look for WR Brandin Cooks and TE Jake Ferguson, who I love this week for DFS value.

I do think the Packers are a live dog, but I think they come up a little short. Dallas has a bit more experience, and their offensive line should wear down the Packer defense by the fourth quarter. Expect solid games from both Pollard and Ferguson. 27-20 in a lower-scoring game than most expect.

Sunday: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions 8:00 p.m. EST 

This should be the high-scoring game everyone expects. Both teams are similar as they both can stop the run and have prolific passing games. Points should be abundant as both teams attack each other through the air. Can either team set the tone and establish the running game?

The Rams have a dynamic set of weapons in receivers Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and running back Kyren Williams. All should be heavily involved, but I like Nacua the most this week. I think the Lions may pay extra attention to Kupp, leaving space for Puka. It is possible that both have solid games as the Lions’ pass defense is bad. QB Matt Stafford projects for 300 passing yards and is a top fantasy play. As for Williams, the Lions’ run defense has been solid all season which could limit him, but he does add to the passing game and has a nose for the end zone. His ownership will be lower than usual.

The Lions are also similar in that they have three big offensive weapons in WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, RB Jamhyr Gibbs, and TE Sam LaPorta. Unfortunately, LaPorta is dealing with a knee injury, and it is looking more and more like he isn’t going to play. His absence should open it up for players like WR Josh Reynolds and TE Brock Wright. Both could be fantasy sleepers. The gem, though, is St. Brown, as he should be targeted heavily and reach 100 yards easily. I like Gibbs, but he is going to have to be involved in the passing game. I haven’t yet mentioned RB David Montgomery, but at this point, he is a pass. He hasn’t reached 15 fantasy points in his last six games.

As for the prediction, the Rams are the public’s sweetheart. Everyone you talk to, the sports outlets, and pundits are all predicting the Rams, but I say “NO!” I think both teams will score, but I think the Lions’ defense can make the difference by getting to Stafford and creating some costly turnovers. Goff and St. Brown have excellent games and lead the Lions to a 34-27 victory.