The NFL postseason always gives a platform for players to shine, whether as stars carrying their respective teams or unsuspecting heroes emerging. In the Wild Card round, specifically, we have an array of teams in action, as the options range from division winners to 9-7 squads who clinched playoff berths just one week ago. Of course, these teams have also crafted a gameplan over the last 17 weeks that will now need to be enhanced if the season is to extend another week.
Sporfolio’s NFL Daily Fantasy Sports game-by-game analysis columns are driven by expected game flow. Based on a combination of our Wild Card NFL picks against the spread and our expectations for a given game, we project the actions necessary to make these picks come to fruition. We aim to pinpoint players integral to our predicted game flow for each game of the week.
Luke May is Sporfolio’s NFL DFS expert, and Mario Mergola operates Sporfolio as the expert for NFL Picks Against the Spread.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
Luke’s DFS Take: The second game on the Saturday slate figures to be a much more exciting and competitive game than the first. The Falcons found a way to squeeze into a playoff spot despite their struggles this season, and hope to recreate some of the postseason magic they had last year. The Rams jumped out to a hot start to the season and really never looked back. Todd Gurley is in the race for MVP, and he absolutely deserves the recognition. After struggling for almost all of last season, he came out this year on a mission, and used his improved receiving skills to become one of the most productive offensive weapons in the league. The Falcons defense had a quietly good season as they ranked 12th or better in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game and points per game. That is the symbol of a well-rounded defensive group, and they should be able to keep Jared Goff and his receivers mostly in check. I don’t think they will be able to contain a well-rested Todd Gurley though as he should receive a bevy of touches and for him, when the volume is there, he almost always makes big plays. Gurley is far and away the most expensive player for the weekend, but there is no reason to steer clear of him. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons handle Aaron Donald and the pass rush of the Rams that has caused fits for opponents all season. The simple answer is they should lean heavily on Devonta Freeman as the Rams run defense has struggled for much of the year. The Rams finished the season at 28th in rushing yards allowed per game, and 30th in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. As much as the Falcons love to air it out, the game plan should point heavily towards a big game for Freeman, and he should be a top target on the weekend.
Mario’s DFS Take: I am fully on-board with the Rams suddenly finding themselves swimming in deep water without hope for a rescue, but it is a little trickier to pinpoint how they drown. By virtue of regression, Los Angeles’ offense should decline a bit, but it won’t be enough to warrant the risk of using Atlanta’s defense. In fact, Todd Gurley is just too valuable to ignore, even if the Rams do lose. The key is to focus on Atlanta’s offense as it propels the team either to a victory or a high-scoring back-and-forth affair. That makes Julio Jones a must-play with Matt Ryan close behind him in the pecking order. Devonta Freeman obviously splits touches with Tevin Coleman, but is so downright explosive that he could single-handedly take over the game. We also saw Mohamed Sanu receive a whopping eleven targets in an elimination game, last week, and there is no reason to think Ryan will turn away from the veteran wide receiver.
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