While most daily fantasy players are more familiar with the usual salary-cap structure, DraftKings also has tournaments in a pick’em style: There are no player salaries. You simply select one player across each tier.
This style of game allows you to quickly create lineups because you don’t have to spend time weighing cap costs against points. Just choose the best player. For FantasyLabs readers, our Models — powered by Sean Koerner’s No. 1 in-season rankings — are a massive edge in choosing the best players and making weekly profits in Tiers.
Here’s a breakdown of the DraftKings Tiers slate for Wild Card Weekend.
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Tier 1: The Only High Total
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts & Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
The best quarterback play is most likely to come in Colts-Texans, which has a total (48) that’s five points higher than the other three games.
Watson and Luck are the only two passers with median projections higher than 20 points in our Models. Both were also fantasy gold in their previous two regular-season meetings: Luck averaged 33.6 points across the two outings and Watson scored 26.6.
Watson and Luck are the two standout passers in Tier 1. Players using multiple lineups should have exposure to both. In single-entry games, Luck has better stacking options, so he gets the slight edge.
Tier 2: Passers in Low Scoring Games
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson quietly put together an MVP-caliber season in 2018 and was as efficient as any passer:
- 8.2% touchdown rate (second in the NFL)
- 9.0 average yards per attempt (second)
- 110.9 Total QBR (third)
The only reason he didn’t shatter records was his attempts: Wilson finished the regular season 20th in passes.
He and the Seahawks travel to Dallas, where they’re two-point underdogs as of writing (see live odds here). If Vegas is correct, Wilson could be playing from behind, which would mean throwing the ball frequently.
Wilson has the most upside of any Tier 2 passer.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
In lineups without Ezekiel Elliott (Tier 3), going with Prescott is a high-leverage play.
He’s on the right side of his home/away and favorite/dog splits. As a home favorite, Prescott has historically done his best work (per our Trends Tool):
He doesn’t have the ceiling of Wilson, but if Prescott scores instead of Zeke, the contrarian pick will pay off.
Tier 3: Not Many Options
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy players might consider spreading out their ownership in this tier, too. Zeke and DeAndre Hopkins will likely dominate the ownership here.
Using standard DFS — where both are projected for to play more than 50% — as a proxy for Tiers, Hilton is a great pivot. He’s feasted on the Texans defense, especially on Houston’s home turf.
T.Y. Hilton career on the road vs. the Texans
2018: 9-199-0 pic.twitter.com/GkCeSlYTZB
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) January 1, 2019
Hilton and Luck have a .29 correlation in scoring, making them a viable stack.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Zeke led the NFL in rushing yards (1,434) and attempts (304) this season. He also improved as a receiver. Before his Week 8 bye, he was averaging 5.1 targets per game. Since then he’s averaged 7.4.
Stacking him with Wilson is the best way to correlate Tiers 2 and 3. Prescott has a .31 correlation with Zeke while Wilson’s scoring is twice as correlated with his opponent’s running back at .63.
Zeke leads all players in median projection this week and will be the chalk for good reason.
Tier 4: Continuing Stacks
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Since joining the Cowboys in Week 9, Cooper is sixth among receivers in scoring. This has come in extreme spikes, including 40- and 50-point games.
Cooper owns 32% of the team’s air yards and 24% of the targets. Against the Seahawks, who allow the third-most points to receivers, he could be in for another boom week.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Carson battled injuries in the first half of 2018 but bounced back in the second half. He averaged 19.4 carries and 1.7 receptions per game over this final seven games, scoring 19.4 points per game and one touchdown per game.
Carson has a volume-based floor but a lower ceiling than a player like Cooper.
Tier 5: All Bears
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
Cohen ended the regular season as a top-12 back by emerging as one of the best receiving backs in the league. He finished sixth in targets and second in air yards. His 3.7-yard average depth of target was first among all backs with 30 or more targets.
Cohen is a borderline slot receiver who is capable of dominating in DraftKing’s PPR scoring.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Robinson has been the Bears’ primary receiver when healthy. He owns a 22% target share and a 29% market share of air yards, and has been targeted at least seven times in four consecutive games.
At 23.5, the Bears have the third-highest implied team total. Tier 5 is the best way to get exposure to this offense.
Tier 6: Buy Efficiency
Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Because of a tough matchup — catch Sean Koerner calling a fade on the Action Network NFL Podcast — Zach Ertz is an easy fade while Ebron is the elite tight end of choice.
Ebron’s 21 red-zone targets are top 10 in the league and he leads the position with 12 receiving touchdowns. Ebron has also added a rushing touchdown on top of that.
Ebron is a good way to round out Watson-Hopkins stacks with a player who can score multiple times.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The Wilson-Lockett connection was historically effective this season.
Lockett had 70 targets this year — since 2002, the previous target high among receivers whose QBs had perfect ratings was 15. pic.twitter.com/MUSTOoxhuh
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) December 31, 2018
Baked into this stat is Lockett’s uncanny ability to find the end zone with a 14.1% touchdown rate, which ranks second among all receivers with at least 50 targets.
Lockett can break the slate any given week.
Tier 7: Digging Deep
Dontrelle Inman, WR, Indianapolis Colts
One week after signing with the Colts, Inman was handed the reins to the No. 2 receiver role. Over the eight games he’s played after his first week in Indianapolis, he’s second in air yards (372) and third in targets (37).
Watson also has an extremely high (.62) correlation with opposing WR2s. Outside of passers, this is Watson’s highest opposing team correlation.
Running Watson back with Inman is a contrarian way to tap into the highest scoring game.
Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Sproles returned from injury in Week 13 and became a cog in the team’s passing attack. He averaged four targets per game over that span and carried the ball seven then nine times over the final two weeks.
Sproles will be busy as the Eagles are 6.5-point underdogs and should be passing often.
Tier 8: Even Longer Shots
Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Henry is expected to make his season debut against the Ravens, albeit on a limited basis.
If the Chargers want to pass against the Ravens, he might be the best way to do so. The Ravens are top 10 in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA against all receivers and running backs. They are 22nd against tight ends.
No player has a floor in Tier 8, but Henry’s matchup gives him a ceiling.
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Beasley has been integrated into the offense more often over the past three week, having been targeted 18 times and averaging 60.7 yards over that stretch. In lineups with Prescott, Beasley is an intriguing option if his volume continues.
Pictured above: Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports