I know! I'm just as surprised to be here as you.
But even though season-long leagues are done, daily fantasy (DFS) is still going. With that in mind, here's a mini "Love/Hate" for wild-card weekend. There won't be a long intro, and this will be geared entirely toward daily. We'll do one of these through the conference championships, and we'll use the prices from DraftKings.com as our guidelines.
Some quick housekeeping: If you're reading this, I am guessing you are playing fantasy this weekend. So why not get the latest news, analysis and injury updates? We'll be doing Fantasy Football Now twice this weekend: On Saturday, we will be on at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2. On Sunday, we will be on at noon ET on ESPN2. Tune in. We also will have a weekend preview Fantasy Focus Football podcast with Field Yates, Stephania Bell and me.
Thanks to Jacob Nitzberg from ESPN Stats & Information with his help, and here we go:
Quarterbacks I love for wild-card weekend
Kirk Cousins, Redskins ($5,900): You're gonna accuse me of being a homer, but look at the numbers for Cousins and tell me I'm wrong. Dude is completing over 74 percent of his passes at home this season, averages 275 yards per game and has 20 touchdowns versus two interceptions, including an 11-to-0 ratio in his past three. I expect Green Bay to be able to score against Washington, making this a high-scoring game, and honestly, I like this matchup. Four of the past five quarterbacks to play at home against the Packers had multi-touchdown efforts, and the exception was Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for a season-high 339 yards. Sam Shields is still in the league's concussion protocol and may miss another game, and Green Bay's run defense was ranked 29th the past four weeks, so Washington will be able to run enough to keep the Pack honest and set up play-action. Cousins will be a popular play, especially at his price point, but he should be a solid pick.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($6,400): I know, he has been mortal. Actually bad, in some cases. And certainly not Aaron Rodgers-like. Now, Washington does get after the passer, and the Packers' offensive line is banged-up. So expect Rodgers to be on the move and under pressure. That said, this is the playoffs, and he's still Aaron Rodgers. (Hashtag "analysis.") Look, the Redskins are the only team playing this weekend that ranked in the bottom 10 in both passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed. In fact, since the Redskins' Week 8 bye, only two of the nine quarterbacks to face them failed to throw multiple TD passes: Sam Bradford and Matt Cassel. And Cassel was the only one not to reach double-digit fantasy points. Rodgers, even in a down year, is considerably better than Bradford or Cassel. (Hashtag "next-level analysis.")
So you're telling me there's a chance: I'm expecting AJ McCarron ($5,200) to play this week, but whether it's him or Andy Dalton ($6,100), I expect solid production, as both excelled in completion percentage on deep throws (more than 53 percent for both), while the Steelers allowed the second-highest completion percentage on deep passes (50.8 percent) this season. McCarron had 280 yards and two scores against the Steelers in Week 14, and trust me when I tell you Hue Jackson is very aware that the Steelers were 25th against the pass the past four weeks.
Quarterbacks I hate for wild-card weekend
Brian Hoyer, Texans ($5,400): Anyone who gets to throw to DeAndre Hopkins has a chance, of course, but Hoyer has been one of the least accurate quarterbacks in the NFL when under pressure this season, and he has to go against a Chiefs team that is fourth in sacks and is getting Justin Houston back. In the three games Hoyer has played against playoff teams this season, he has a total of one, count 'em, one touchdown pass. That was Week 1 against these same Chiefs, when he had 236 yards and the score along with two turnovers for nine fantasy points (and was replaced by Ryan Mallett in the game). The Chiefs are a lot better now than they were then (in fairness, so is Hoyer) and are the fifth-best pass defense in the past four weeks. Spend the extra $500 and go get Kirk Cousins.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings ($5,100): In case you were thinking of getting cute with the lowest-priced option, I, ahem, would not. In the final five weeks of the regular season, the Seahawks have allowed 33 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, 17 fewer than any other team. Not once did they allow a quarterback to reach double-digit fantasy points in any of those games, which is tied for the longest such streak this season. Bridgewater scored two fantasy points against Seattle in Week 13, and in what is expected to be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL history this weekend, he's easy to avoid.
Running backs I love for wild-card weekend
Jeremy Hill, Bengals ($5,000): I wish I didn't have to list him as a "love," as this is about as ugly as it gets for running backs in a weekend, but I gotta pick someone, so bank on volume. Of the players going this weekend, no one has more carries during the past three weeks (54 carries), and his snap percentage is up in each of those games (42.4 percent, 51.4, 58.5). Yes, it's not a great matchup, as the Steelers have a pretty good run defense. But they have allowed running backs to score 13-plus points in four of six games since their Week 11 bye. I feel better about him in a tournament than a cash game, but he won't be highly owned, and look around -- choices are ugly.
Eddie Lacy, Packers ($4,500): I like Lacy -- definitely a tournament play over a cash game consideration -- in an "I hate myself for suggesting this but . . . " kind of way. On the road, with a banged-up offensive line, facing a red-hot offense, the Packers will want to establish the run. Washington is 20th against the run in the past four weeks, and as frustrating as Lacy was this season, he has gotten double-digit touches in four straight games. Certainly risky, but, like I said, it's a wasteland out there.
Pierre Thomas, Redskins ($3,400): As of this writing, it looks like Matt Jones will miss the game, and Chris Thompson is banged-up. Which leaves Alfred Morris on early downs and Thomas as the pass-catching third-down back on a team that averaged 35 pass attempts a game this season. And as I said in the Cousins write-up, I expect this to be a high-scoring game. At just $3,400, he doesn't need to do much to return value in DraftKings' PPR format.
So you're telling me there's a chance: The Texans' running back rotation can be a true time-share some weeks, but if I had to pick one guy, how about Alfred Blue ($4,200)? Since the Texans' Week 9 bye, they have run the ball on 45.5 percent of offensive snaps, second-highest percentage in the league in that span, so we're hoping volume carries the day for Blue against the Chiefs' 14th-ranked run defense the past four weeks. . . . Say this for Fitzgerald Toussaint ($3,900), he's cheap and he's got fresh legs. Assuming DeAngelo Williams doesn't play, he'll be the guy against a good Bengals run defense that has given up just eight rushing TDs all season, but four of them have come in the past four weeks, including two by Williams in Week 14.
Running backs I hate for wild-card weekend
Adrian Peterson, Vikings ($7,300): A hate simply due to the fact that he is the highest-priced running back on DraftKings, facing the defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. including holding AP to a season-worst 8-for-18 in Week 13. Peterson gets the volume, of course, but is averaging a very pedestrian 3.6 yards per carry in his past five, and he has been held under 70 rushing yards in his five games against playoff teams this season.
Seattle was the only team not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season or to allow a receiving score by a running back. The Seahawks also gave up the fewest yards before contact per rush to running backs (1.52 per carry). Peaking at the right time, they have allowed just one rushing TD since Week 12 (and that includes games against Peterson, Todd Gurley and David Johnson). All Day may fall into the end zone, but he's gonna need to do a lot more than that to justify his price, and I don't like his chances to do it.
Charcandrick West, Chiefs ($5,700): After their Week 9 bye, the Texans allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, allowing just one rushing score and just one back to reach double digits (LeSean McCoy scored 11 points in Week 13). In fact, McCoy is the only running back to top 55 yards rushing against Houston in that span. Toss in the fact that West will split touches with Spencer Ware ($4,000) and I'd much rather look elsewhere.
Wide receivers I love for wild-card weekend
A.J. Green, Bengals ($7,500): So, um, here are Green's past four games vs. the Steelers: 36 receptions, 556 yards, three TDs. Oh, and he costs $2,100 less than Antonio Brown. I noted Cincy's tendency to pass deep in the McCarron paragraph, and that has led to Green having the seventh-most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards on deep passes in the league this season.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans ($8,400): We're taking the money we are saving at running back and putting it here. I've made this point before, but discounting the Chargers game (banged-up) and Browns game (lack of talent), the Chiefs have gotten crushed by No. 1 wide receivers this season to the tune of 84 catches, 1,246 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hopkins went for 98 yards and two scores (from two QBs) in Week 1 against these Chiefs.
So you're telling me there's a chance: Marvin Jones ($3,700) has 18 catches in the four games since Dalton's injury (Green has 16 in that same span) and is playing more than 92 percent of the snaps in the past four games. . . . James Jones ($4,100) has come on a little lately, with at least 17 points in DK scoring in two of the past three. The Redskins are tied for allowing the most receptions and the most touchdowns on passes of 20-plus yards downfield. Jones led the Packers in both categories, ranking top-10 in the NFL in both.
Wide receivers I hate for wild-card weekend
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs ($6,400): He has been held to under 60 yards in three straight, but you haven't cared because he scored. But he's now banged-up, he's likely to be at less than 100 percent, and he'll be spending a lot of time facing off against Johnathan Joseph, who shadowed Maclin on almost all of his routes when they played in Week 1. Maclin was 5-for-52 in that game with no score. Joseph grades out as a top-seven corner this season, per Pro Football Focus.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins ($3,800): Yes, he's cheap, but there are higher percentage plays if you're in that cheap range. Spending most of his time in the slot (78 percent of routes), Crowder faces a Packers defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest catches and fourth-fewest yards to opposing slot receivers this season. Crowder will see a lot of Casey Hayward (in the slot on 80 percent of coverage snaps), Green Bay's highest-graded corner in coverage by PFF this season (21st among all qualified corners).
Tight ends I love for wild-card weekend
Jordan Reed, Redskins ($6,300): Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true. The most expensive tight end this week, he's worth paying up for. One of four tight ends to lead his respective team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (Rob Gronkowski, Gary Barnidge, Delanie Walker), he's the only one playing this week. From Weeks 11 to 16 (he played only the first half in Week 17), Reed had at least seven targets in each game and at least six receptions in five of them. He scored five touchdowns from Weeks 14 to 16.
So you're telling me there's a chance: Heath Miller ($3,300) had 10 catches in each of his two games against Cincy, his most in a game this season. He had 105 yards in Week 8, his only 100-yard game this season. The Bengals coughed up the fourth-most receiving yards, and no team allowed more receptions to opposing tight ends this season.
Tight ends I hate for wild-card weekend
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings ($3,500): This is a poor matchup for Rudolph. After struggling against the position earlier in the season, the Seahawks gave up almost nothing to tight ends in the final six weeks. They've given up the third-fewest receptions, second-fewest receiving yards and only one touchdown to them in that span. All of it adds up to 18 total fantasy points, fewest in the league. The most receiving yards by a tight end vs. Seattle since Week 11? Forty-five yards.
Defenses I love for wild-card weekend
Cincinnati Bengals ($3,200): The price is right, as they are the third-cheapest defense this week. The Bengals have the third-most interceptions this year, and Ben Roethlisberger threw just five touchdowns against nine interceptions in six road games this season. With the running game hurting, the Steelers offense should be one-dimensional.
Kansas City Chiefs ($4,000): They averaged the fewest points per game of any playoff team (21.2) but allowed just 17.9 per game, third-fewest in the league. K.C. forced 29 turnovers this season, fifth-most in the league, including 22 interceptions (second-most). The Chiefs also are getting Justin Houston back, while the Texans will be without starting left tackle Duane Brown.
So you're telling me there's a chance: The Washington Redskins ($3,300) are more of a tournament play than a cash game consideration, as they could absolutely blow up in your face. But Rodgers and the Green Bay offense have certainly struggled, the offensive line is banged-up, and as KC Joyner notes, the Packers ranked last in sacks allowed in the past four weeks, while believe it or not, Washington led the league in sacks.
Defenses I hate for wild-card weekend
Houston Texans ($3,900): Listen, they're great, but they are the third-most expensive defense this week, and I expect them to be a much better NFL defense than a fantasy one this weekend. Kansas City turned the ball over just 15 times this season, second-fewest in the league. Only two defenses scored double-digit fantasy points against the Chiefs, and neither was the Texans, who scored just 2.0 points in DK scoring against them in Week 1.
Matthew Berry -- the Talented Mr. Roto -- can't believe he gets to watch a Redskins playoff game this weekend! He is a paid spokesman for DraftKings.com and the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price.