Daily Fantasy Football: Picks and strategy for wild-card Saturday Baller
Wild-card weekend kicks off Saturday with two games. The 49ers host the Seahawks at 4:30 p.m. EST, followed by Chargers-Jaguars at 8:15. Yahoo will be running daily fantasy contests every day that playoff football is on, including Saturday, Sunday and Monday on wild-card weekend.
Saturday's biggest NFL DFS contest on Yahoo is the NFL $75K Saturday Baller. This contest pays out a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000 to the top 1,175 entries, including a grand prize of $15,000 to first place. Each entry is $15, with a maximum of 5,875 total entries and 150 per participant. The Saturday Baller will still run if it doesn't fill, potentially providing you with enhanced odds of winning, also known as overlay.
Playing in guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests is about chasing upside, while lineups geared towards head-to-head, 50/50 or double-up formats should prioritize high floors. The players you want to target for these different contest types aren't mutually exclusive, but winning a GPP tournament usually requires finding a hidden gem or going against the grain in a spot or two, while building a solid base of the same chalk plays you would use anywhere. Against-the-grain plays typically consist of big-name players in tough matchups or boom-or-bust types with uncertain roles.
[Play in Yahoo’s $75K Wild Card Saturday Baller DFS contest]
Keep in mind that Yahoo DFS contests use 0.5 PPR scoring rather than full PPR, which lowers the comparative value of wide receivers and running backs (in that order) while especially affecting high-volume pass-catchers. Your NFL $75K Saturday Baller lineup for the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs will consist of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and one D/ST unit.
Suggested options include a star quarterback-receiver duo and numerous playmakers from Saturday's largest favorite.
Justin Herbert, LA at JAX ($31): Herbert will be making his postseason debut, but he's easily the most accomplished regular-season performer of the four quarterbacks taking the field Saturday. He has averaged 4,696 yards per season over his first three NFL campaigns while adding a 94:35 TD:INT in 49 games. Despite being significantly hampered by a rib injury in a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars, Herbert still came just three yards shy of 300. The Chargers will be counting on a big game from a healthy Herbert as two-point road favorites in what's expected to be the higher-scoring Saturday game (over/under: 47.5 points).
Brock Purdy, SF vs. SEA ($32); Trevor Lawrence, JAX vs. LAC ($24)
Christian McCaffrey, SF vs. SEA ($41): McCaffrey can get it done as both a runner and a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and he should get plenty of touches for a 49ers team that's favored by 9.5 against a Seahawks team that struggles to stop the run. Seattle allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (1,952) and fifth-most receiving yards (788) to running backs in the regular season. Meanwhile, McCaffrey produced 1,148 scrimmage yards with six rushing touchdowns, four receiving touchdowns and a passing touchdown during San Francisco's 10-game winning streak to close out the season.
Travis Etienne, JAX vs. LA ($22): In the regular season, the Chargers allowed the second-most rushing yards to running backs (2,164) and tied with Seattle for the seventh-most rushing touchdowns allowed to the position with 14. Etienne has played a workhorse role in Jacksonville's backfield, and he'll likely serve as the focal point of the offense as the Jaguars attempt to exploit the Chargers' weakness. The 2021 first-round pick took a few weeks to find his groove after returning from a Lisfranc injury that cost him his rookie season, but Etienne posted five 100-yard rushing performances in the last 11 games and caught multiple passes in each of the last four.
Austin Ekeler, LAC at JAX ($38); Kenneth Walker, SEA at SF ($23)
Keenan Allen, LAC at JAX ($26): Allen's a no-brainer addition if you're rolling with Herbert under center, and even if you aren't, the Chargers' No. 1 wide receiver makes for a strong choice. Mike Williams (back) is in danger of sitting out, and Allen's locked into a high target floor either way against a Jacksonville secondary that gave up the fourth-most touchdowns to wide receivers (18) despite facing the Texans, Colts and Titans twice each in the AFC South. Allen was thrown to 14 times in three of LA's last six games, and he produced at least 86 yards in five of those six.
DK Metcalf, SEA at SF ($20): At least one of Metcalf or Tyler Lockett will likely have to step up for Seattle to keep this one close. Metcalf is the more physically gifted of the two 1,000-yard wideouts, and he has been extremely productive in limited postseason experience, with 315 yards and three touchdowns in three previous playoff games. With the Seahawks likely to be playing from behind, volume shouldn't be an issue for the 6-foot-4, 235-pound super athlete.
Deebo Samuel, SF vs. SEA ($15): At this salary, the reward outweighs the risk with Samuel. He returned in Week 18 from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury, and the 49ers understandably limited Samuel to three touches so he could get his feet wet without much risk of re-injury. Expect a much more robust workload in this win-or-go-home scenario. The 49ers have another do-it-all player in McCaffrey, but Samuel remains among the game's elites with the ball in his hands, and he compiled 291 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on 37 touches across three games last postseason.
Christian Kirk, JAX vs. LAC ($18); Joshua Palmer, LAC at JAX ($15)
George Kittle, SF vs. SEA ($28): Kittle's yet another productive playmaker the 49ers can lean on, and he'll face a Seattle defense that allowed 1,115 receiving yards and eight touchdowns to tight ends in the regular season — just 15 yards short of Tennessee's league-worst mark. He missed the first meeting between these teams this season but made up for lost time with 93 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks in Week 15. That performance kicked off a stretch in which Kittle found the end zone seven times in the last four games of the regular season. The star tight end should be worth paying up for given his recent production and opponent.
Evan Engram, JAX vs. LAC ($17); Gerald Everett, LAC at JAX ($14)
Los Angeles Chargers at JAX ($10): As usual, defense is the spot to save cap space. This unit played well down the stretch, averaging 10.3 fantasy points over the final four weeks. The matchup isn't demonstrably worse than what other teams are facing either, as the Seahawks (23.9 PPG), Jaguars (23.8 PPG) and Chargers (23.0 PPG) were all bunched up as slightly above-average offenses, while the 49ers (26.5 PPG) finished just outside the top five.
San Francisco 49ers vs. SEA ($19); Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LAC ($16)