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Wild Card Sunday Daily Fantasy Football Matchups & Best NFL Player Props Picks

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The Fantasy Football Matchups Column returns for Wild Card Sunday 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.

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Best Wild Card Sunday NFL Player Props & Daily Fantasy Football Picks

Be sure to check out OddsShopper’s matchups page, breaking down all the data for each game on a given slate.

Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo

The Dallas Cowboys may have run away with the NFC East title this season, but they may have the toughest draw of any division winner this wild card weekend, facing a San Francisco 49ers team that has been battle-tested all season long just by nature of playing in the brutal NFC West. The third of three playoff teams from that division, San Francisco has found itself in playoffs-style game environments for much of the season, so this mid-January showdown in Dallas should be business as usual for the NFC’s sixth seed. Moreover, San Francisco has been on the most efficient offenses, at least on a per-play basis, in the entire league this year. PFF ranks the 49ers second among all playoff teams in PFF team offensive grades (the Cowboys are first), and the passing attack, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,300 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel), ranks second in the NFL in yard per pass attempt. Dallas ranks just league-average in yards allowed through the air and in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, but ranked seventh in points allowed per play. They aren’t a poor defense by any stretch, but they’re not unbeatable either. With two top-tier weapons in the receiving game, and playing in the highest-total game of the Sunday slate, Garoppolo makes for a quality stacking option in DFS this Sunday, and on top of that, betting the over on his 20.5 completions prop is the highest-ROI bet of any quarterback prop this Sunday on our player props tool.

Running Back: Leonard Fournette

The Buccaneers limp into the playoffs with a bevy of injury concerns on offense. The team is down multiple top wide receivers, both due to injury and off-the-field circumstances, and now even upstart prospect Cyril Grayson, the hero the Buccaneers’ last-minute victory over the Jets in Week 17, now looks doubtful to play as well. And in the backfield, things aren’t much better, as Ronald Jones has already been ruled-out, and their backup running back, Le’Veon Bell, joined the team in late December. That means all eyes will be on Leonard Fournette ($5,600 DraftKings/$7,300 FanDuel), who will play in his first game since suffering a knee injury himself in Week 15 against the New Orleans Saints. Fournette, who was phenomenal down the stretch last postseason, will once again be heavily relied-upon the Buccaneers backfield, especially on Sunday, where Tampa Bay is expecting heavy rains and winds, which could make slow the typically prolific Buccaneers’ passing attack. Fournette is a near lock to receive 20 total opportunities, and could crest 25 total looks if he remains involved in the receiving game, as well. Fournette is one of two running backs popping as top plays in our boom-bust probability tool, and is a no-brainer for DFS players participating in cash games this Sunday, and exploring our top plays tool, we’re much more bullish on Fournette’s receiving workload than his receiving yards prop line implies. We think he’ll smash his modest prop line of 30.5. In our latest run of simulations, Fournette crests that mark 64% of the time.

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Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t exactly have the toughest road to the playoffs this season. The Eagles played better than many expected this year, and absolutely earned the right to get smoked by a true contender in the Wild Card round, but it was the Cowboys who benefited most, coasting for much of the season, crushing under-.500 teams en route to a 12-5 record and the NFC’s third seed. Their opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, are far from the typical six-seed, however. San Francisco ranks at-or-better than league average in most defensive statistical measures, and ranks just above-average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. And while injuries have plagued their secondary for most of the season’s second half, San Francisco still ranks top-12 in yards allowed per pass attempt this season. But over the last three weeks, the 49ers have become arguably the league’s best rush defense, ranking first in the NFL in yards allowed per rush attempt. For DFS players, that doesn’t bode well for Ezekiel Elliott ($6,100 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel), who ended-up sixth in the NFL in total rush yards, but fell off dramatically from an elusivity standpoint compared to previous seasons. But the rushing yards prop line for Elliott, a starting running back on a team favored to win the highest-total game of the slate, is still irrationally low, as it currently sits at just 47.5. We have Elliott projected for nearly over 65, giving the over bet a 69% win rate in our player props tool.

Wide Receiver: DeVonta Smith

The Eagles face the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers this Sunday, and are massive longshots to escape the playoffs opening round. But, at the very least, it appears mother nature intends on keeping this game interesting, as rains and winds are expected to move through the Tampa Bay area during Sunday’s game. This might force the Buccaneers into a run-focused game plan, which could theoretically slow down their typically-prolific offensive attack and level the playing field for the underdogs. And while the Eagles would be thrilled to focus on rushing the ball, either with Miles Sanders ($5,000 DraftKings/$5,900 FanDuel), who is set to return after a three-week absence, or with their dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts ($6,100 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel), there’s likely to be a point in the game where Philadelphia will be forced to abandon their game plan and pass to keep pace, which is where DeVonta Smith ($5,400 DraftKings/$6,200 FanDuel) will have to step up. The Buccaneers have struggled against opposing passing attacks for much of the season’s second half, ranking third-worst in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Smith, therefore, makes for an intriguing tournament play in DFS, especially as a runback option when stacking Tampa Bay players. We can also take advantage of his receiving yards prop line, which is entirely too low. We have him projected for nearly 25 more yards than his middling 42.5 receiving yards prop line. He hits that mark 65% of the time in our latest run of simulations.


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Wide Receiver and Tight End: Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski

On the other side of the Philadelphia-Tampa Bay game, Tom Brady & Co., begin their march toward a second straight Super Bowl shorthanded on offense. Without the services of Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown, the team that for most of the season led the league in team fantasy points per game seemed to fall off as the season came to a close. But that fall off may have been greatly exaggerated. They fell all the way to fourth among playoff teams in PFF team’s offensive grades. They rank second in points scored per play, and first in the NFL in expected points added per play. And now, they’re favored by 9.5 points at home against an Eagles defense that ranks below average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing passing attacks. Put simply, the Buccaneers’ offense, from a production standpoint, is equally prolific as it was earlier in the year, and now we have the benefit of knowing the offense is even more concentrated than before. We know exactly who Tom Brady ($7,200 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel)’s top two targets will be in this contest. We should expect the duo of Rob Gronkowski ($6,400 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) and Mike Evans ($7,000 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) to command close to 50% of team targets, and likely well over 60% of the team’s air yards, which makes both players phenomenal tournament options in DFS despite their high salaries. Our projections love over 55.5 receiving yards for Gronkowski and over 53.5 receiving yards for Evans, who both have a 68% of hitting the respective prop lines in our latest run of simulations.

Tight End: George Kittle

The 49ers take on the Cowboys in the highest-total game of the Sunday slate, and many, including this article’s author, think an upset might be brewing in Dallas. The 49ers survived an onslaught of injuries on both sides of the ball, and one of the toughest schedules of any team in the league, and enter Sunday’s game at arguably the most healthy they’ve been all season. Dallas’ defense has improved dramatically year-over-year, and playmakers like Michah Parsons and Trevon Diggs have transformed the Dallas defensive unit into a top-five unit in terms of turnovers forced. But the Cowboys are also known for gambling on defense, which can sometimes leave them vulnerable when players guess wrong. Look for Kyle Shanahan to call plenty of play-action and misdirection plays to keep the Cowboys’ defense on their toes, and look for George Kittle ($5,800 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) to get peppered with targets all game long. Kittle has had a few down-weeks to end the season, but had a three-game stretch just a month ago where he topped 90 yards receiving in all three games, and topped 150 yards in receiving in two of them. He’s seen six or more targets in four of his last six starts, and despite spending a stint on injured reserve earlier in the year, ranked second in total yards after the catch. Kittle’s 4.6 yards after catch per target was second among all tight ends with 60 or more opportunities this season. In short, he’s a matchup-proof monster who has a chance to dominate the weakest part of the Dallas defense. Our player props tool suggests smashing the over on Kittle receptions prop line of 4.5, a number he hits over 70% of the time.

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We also have NFL DFS single-game projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections. Take a look at our NFL depth chart list, NFL starting lineups and inactives. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS strategy for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacks. View our DraftKings NFL ownership rankings and our FanDuel DFS NFL ownership rankings.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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