This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
The postseason is here. We're fortunate to have four-game slates each of the next two weeks before the Championship Game weekend, along with two-game slates each day and single-game contests for each of the four games.
This piece will focus on the approach for the four-game contest, though some of the analysis might be useful if you're playing the other variations.
Here's a quick rundown of the Implied Totals based on the point spread and over/under total for each of the Main Slate matchups:
Andrew Luck, IND at HOU ($6,400) - Luck has posted two huge games against the Texans this season, with a 464-yard, four-TD performance at home in a losing effort back in Week 4, and a 399-yard, two-TD game in Week 14 when the teams last met in Houston. The Colts have done a great job protecting Luck all season, which makes the Texans' pass rush less of a concern than it would have been in the past for this matchup. Moreover, the Colts are only a one-point underdog on the road Saturday, and saving $300 off the price of Deshaun Watson will prove to be helpful as you put the rest of your lineup together this week.
Also consider: Deshaun Watson, HOU vs. IND ($6,700)
Russell Wilson, SEA at DAL ($5,700) - The Seahawks have yielded 4.9 YPC this season, which makes them particularly vulnerable against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys, though it should be noted that the line is very tight in this matchup with Dallas currently a one-point home favorite. If the Seahawks are playing from behind, they'll have to throw the ball more often than they'd prefer to by design, which would push his attempts total closer to the 30-range instead of the typical 25 or less. Over the last eight weeks, Wilson has topped 24 DraftKings points on four occasions, but he's failed to reach 10 points twice, and other than Luck and Watson, ownership rates on quarterbacks in the other games will likely be irrelevant in tournaments this week.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. SEA ($9,000) - As noted above, Seattle has struggled to stop the run, but even if they sell out to contain Zeke on the ground, his role as a pass-catcher is increased to the tune of 30 catches in his last four games and 77 through 15 games this season. Since the matchup for the other elite running back on the slate, Melvin Gordon, is extremely difficult, paying the premium for Elliott in cash games is necessary. Even at his slate-high price, Elliott is capable of returning 3x value in this matchup, but he's posted at least 15 points in all but one game this season.
Chris Carson, SEA at DAL ($6,500) - Carson has reeled off a stretch of three consecutive 100-yard games on the ground. The risk continues to be that he can become a ghost in the passing game, having just seven targets in the last four games with all but one of those coming in Week 15 against San Francisco, but with double-digit carries in every game since Week 17 and 19—plus each week for the last four, he's very safe at this price. The point spread is close enough where the game script risk is limited, and it's enough to make him a viable second RB option in a reasonably tough matchup as the Cowboys have allowed 3.8 YPC this season.
Jordan Howard, CHI vs. PHI ($4,600) - The low price and the bigger spread for this game (Bears -6) might drive up the interest in Howard this week. Additionally, Howard is producing at a steady clip in recent weeks, having posted at least 14 DraftKings points in four straight games on the strength of 19-plus carries in three of those contests and four TDs during that span. Meanwhile, the Eagles enter this matchup having allowed 4.7 YPC this season, putting Howard in a great position to do damage with another 17-20 carry workload Sunday.
Melvin Gordon, LAC at BAL ($7,700) - Gordon won't be low owned, but he's risky facing an elite Baltimore run defense for the second time in a span of three games. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points per game to running backs than the Ravens in 2018 (18.5 DKPPG). The first week in Los Angeles followed a three-game absence due to a knee injury, and Gordon picked up an ankle injury late in the Week 17 win over Denver. While I was concerned about Gordon's workload last week since the Chargers were positioned to know their seeding fate before the conclusion of their game against the Broncos, he should get back to the typical 20-touch workload given the circumstances.
Marlon Mack, IND at HOU ($6,000) - Mack was limited to 33 yards on 14 carries against the Texans in their last meeting in Week 14. He's scored in four straight games, however, and has managed to top 20 DraftKings points on four occasions this season, including in a tough matchup against the Titans in Week 17 (25-119-1). I like Mack as a lower-owned GPP pivot to steer away from being overexposed to Chris Carson, especially since the Texans' excellent run defense (3.4 YPC) will likely scare most people away, plus I expect Nyheim Hines ($3,500) to be the preferred Colts' running back for most given his steady role in the passing game and extremely low price.
T.Y. Hilton, IND vs. HOU ($7,800) - DeAndre Hopkins is the most expensive receiver on the slate this weekend, and the $900 drop to Hilton is critically important as you build the rest of a cash-game lineup, which makes Hilton my preferred play since jamming in both players will likely require a contrarian build for a tournament with some unusual low-owned cheap twists elsewhere in the lineup, or a very cheap pass-catching running back punt in the flex spot. Hilton's ankle is a concern, and he might not practice much leading into Saturday's game, but prior to Week 17, he was targeted at least eight times in each of his previous six games, while topping 20 DraftKings points in four of those contests and reaching 30 points on two occasions. Pay up for Hopkins if you can make the pieces fit, but Hilton should be an ample fallback option at this price if you can't make it work.
Allen Robinson, CHI vs. PHI ($5,600) - The rib injury that kept Robinson out of the Bears' Week 17 game against Minnesota doesn't appear to be a major issue, as he was fully participating in practice Friday. Over his last four games, Robinson has averaged eight targets per contest, and while the output has been underwhelming, it's a lack of TDs that has been making him a poor play throughout the second half of the season. Since finding the end zone twice on a 6-133 day against the Lions in Week 10, Robinson has gone six games without scoring. The Wild Card round matchup for Robinson is a great one, as he'll face an Eagles secondary that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2018 (42.3 DKPPG).
Keenan Allen, LAC at BAL ($6,900) - Allen returned from a hip injury for the Chargers' Week 16 matchup against Baltimore, and he was held in check by the Ravens' secondary, turning eight targets into five catches for 58 yards (10.8 points). Allen's floor was lower than usual this season in part because he scored just once in his first eight games before reeling off a stretch with a TD in five consecutive games from Week 10 to Week 14. He's been targeted at least seven times in every game that he's finished during the second half of the season, and the price has dropped to the second-lowest mark we've seen for him thanks to the difficulty of the matchup (the Ravens have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season). If the Ravens are able to get consistent pressure on Philip Rivers with their pass rush, Allen may be more heavily targeted than he was in their first meeting as the team's primary slot receiver running short and intermediate routes.
Tyler Lockett, SEA at DAL ($5,300) - Lockett's production on just 70 targets this season was ridiculous. He narrowly missed reaching the 1,000-yard mark, finishing with 57 catches for 965 yards and 10 TD. Thanks to 17 catches that went for 20-plus yards (and six that went for 40-plus), Lockett was the most efficient receiver in the league this season, closing out the year with a gaudy 13.8 YPT mark. Even in a game script that allows Seattle to go with a run-heavy approach, Lockett needs few targets to do a lot of damage, and even if he's matched up against shutdown corner Byron Jones, Lockett has the top-end speed necessary to beat Jones deep on any given play. He'll be popular, but as tournament builds go, this is a chalky play you can get away with while adding lower-owned wrinkles elsewhere in your lineup.
Zach Ertz, PHI at CHI, ($6,400) - Ertz's production has been less predictable with Nick Foles under center, but the Eagles may have to rely on quicker passes from Foles to avoid getting overwhelmed by the Bears' pass rush. I'm willing to write off the four-target Week 17 from Ertz to the Eagles never trailing en route to an easy 24-0 win over Washington. Prior to last week, Ertz averaged 10.25 targets per game from Week 13 to Week 16, and he's still the best overall play on the board at the position this week if your budget allows you to pay up for him. In the even that you avoid T.Y. Hilton, or if you're comfortable with two of the Colts' pass-catchers in your lineup (which is fine, given the Implied Totals), Eric Ebron is the alternative to consider, as the Texans have been the league's most generous defense to tight ends this season.
Mark Andrews, BAL vs. LAC ($3,500) - The interest around this price point will likely go to Blake Jarwin ($3,300), since he's been targeted at least seven times in three of the Cowboys' last four games. Since Lamar Jackson took over as the Ravens' starting quarterback, the pass-catchers in Baltimore have been very difficult to rely on. For lineups that already have exposure to the Eagles and Colts that might be looking to avoid Zach Ertz and Eric Ebron at significantly higher prices, Andrews has flashed big-play ability this season, with 20-plus yard gains on eight of his 34 catches. With Jackson at the helm, the offense is structured to reduce risk in the passing game. Subsequently, the 6-foot-5 Andrews should be on the short list of potential targets if Jackson gets an opportunity to throw the ball in the red zone.
As always, the defense that you're left with hinges on the amount of money remaining after you've made everything else in your lineup work.
I prefer the Bears and Ravens if you can afford them, while the Texans ($2,700) are playable in tournaments as the cheapest home defense, but the Colts have done an excellent job protecting Andrew Luck (18 sacks allowed in 16 games). I'm more interested in the Seahawks ($2,600) as a "safe" play than the Texans, since the Cowboys have also allowed a lot of sacks (56) this season.
The Colts ($2,300) are the best punt option, as Deshaun Watson gets sacked often when the Texans' offense moves the ball – no team playing on Wild Card weekend has allowed more sacks than Houston (62) this season.