One-And-Done Strategy: 2023 Wild Card


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One-And-Done Strategy: 2023 Wild Card

I look forward to the playoffs every season. Not only is the best football played at this time, but for obvious reasons, my workload dwindles significantly, so I have more time to actually enjoy the football.

But I always have another itch to scratch… because fantasy football isn’t over.

Every year, I use MyFantasyLeague to run a one-and-done playoff contest for me and my friends (many of whom you know through Fantasy Points).

The rules are simple.

You pick a starting lineup of 10 players every week: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RWT FLEX, 1 PK, and 1 DST. PPR scoring with 4 points per TD and -2 per INT. You get 3 points per field goal and 1 per XP, and return TDs (but not yards) count.

You can pick any player from any team for your lineup every week… except you can only use a guy ONCE throughout the playoffs. So if you use Josh Allen this week, you can’t use him again. So you want to both maximize your score any given week… but make sure you have enough good players left for each subsequent week. And we dwindle from 14 teams available in Playoff Week 1… to just 2 for the Super Bowl.


In other words, you have to predict both this week’s games and next week’s games. So there’s a lot of strategy involved.

I also pay out weekly prizes in addition to the playoff-long grand prizes.

So I figured I’d talk through my strategy in this contest for a quick article, for those of you doing something similar. Some of the other guys on staff who participate will follow with their picks, as well.

Joe Dolan

As just a primer, holy crap is this week difficult. And by that… I mean it’s easy. Indeed, it’s really easy to build an appealing lineup, but predicting which teams move on is much more difficult. So it’s entirely possible I leave a ton of value on the board this week and ruin my chances of using some of the best players in the next round. I’m sick to my stomach with some of the players I’ve left on the board, because it’s a guarantee some of them will be eliminated.

I’m also trying to get a little bit unique with my lineup — with upwards of 50 competitors in this contest, you can’t be too chalky. We’ll see if I am.

Quarterback (Start 1, Max of 1)

I’m using Joe Flacco and stacking him with his two top targets. I don’t think the Browns play more than two games, and even if they lose to Houston, Flacco has such a massive ceiling — he’s averaged about 325 yards per game passing, with multiple TDs in his five starts in Cleveland.

I’m absolutely leaving value on the board — Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, and Jordan Love all project highly in great scoring environments. But Love is harder to stack, and I’m having trouble projecting that Rams/Lions game and I want to preserve optionality next week.

Also Considered: Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, Jordan Love

Running Back (Start 2, Max of 4)

Here’s where I’ll dive into the Rams and Lions game.

Kyren Williams is the biggest fantasy football bellcow this side of Christian McCaffrey. In a 14-team pool of players, I simply can’t avoid the chance to use a true factor back. So he’s in my lineup this week with the expectation he’ll get 20 touches, and he can catch the ball in the event the Rams are playing from behind. The 51.5 total suggests there should be plenty of scoring opportunities, as well.

The same goes for Rachaad White, who is a true bell cow against an Eagles defense that has either collapsed, quit, or both. The Eagles have allowed the 4th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+6.8) over their last five games.

I’m also using Devin Singletary, who played on 88% of the Texans’ snaps last week and ran a route on over three-quarters of CJ Stroud’s dropbacks. And I don’t think the Texans or Browns will play more than two games, so I won’t be too upset by using him in this round.

Also Considered: Aaron Jones, De’Von Achane, Jahmyr Gibbs

Wide Receiver (Start 2, Max of 4)

Tyreek Hill is the best wide receiver in fantasy. I understand that the Chiefs present a tough matchup and the weather is going to be brutal, but I don’t care. I’m using him because he might not get more than one chance.

I already mentioned I’m using Amari Cooper as a stack. As Jake Tribbey points out, “Cooper’s usage since Joe Flacco took over has been nothing short of absurd. In three healthy games together, Cooper averages a 34% first-read target share, 12.3 targets per game, 22.9 XFP/G, and 29.7 DraftKings FPG. Over the full season, those marks rank 5th, 1st, 1st, and 1st among slate-eligible WRs.

The Texans are the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (+8.5 FPG) since Week 12, allowing the 3rd-highest YPRR (2.44) and the most yards per reception (17.2) to outside WRs over that stretch.”

I’m bringing Cooper back with Nico Collins, who should be peppered with targets from Stroud, who excels against single-high coverage — which the Browns run at the highest rate in the NFL (67%).

Also Considered: Mike Evans, Jayden Reed, Puka Nacua

Tight End (Start 1, Max of 3)

Last year, I double-stacked Kirk Cousins with Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson, hoping for a Vikings’ Wild Card loss. Hockenson and JJ combined for 17 catches in Minnesota’s elimination game. I’m hoping for the same this week with Flacco, Cooper, and David Njoku. The Texans allowed 107 receptions to TEs this year, most in the NFL. I think Njoku will be the chalkiest player in the contest.

Also Considered: Travis Kelce

Kicker and DST (Start 1 Each)

Anders Carlson is kicking indoors as a touchdown underdog in a 50.5-point projected scoring environment. Lock him in.

I’m also using the Pittsburgh Defense. Last year, I followed the same logic, writing that “I think the Dolphins lose big, but Josh Allen is prone to sacks and turnovers, which is all I’m looking for at this stage.” Miami’s D/ST scored 17 fantasy points in a loss. Well, this year, I think the Steelers lose big, but Josh Allen is prone to sacks and turnovers, which is all I’m looking for at this stage.

Graham Barfield

Quarterback (Start 1, Max of 1)

Matthew Stafford – Give me a Rams stack in a dream matchup in a game with the highest over/under on the slate (51.5). Over the final 10 weeks of the season, the Lions allowed a league-high 291.7 passing yards per game and 8.55 YPA.

Also Considered: Jordan Love + Aaron Jones + Jayden Reed stack

Running Back (Start 2, Max of 4)

Kyren Williams – He’s the best RB play on the slate, and I’m rolling with Stafford.

Aaron Jones – With A.J. Dillon (neck) likely out again, Jones is the second best RB play on the slate. I think Green Bay can keep the game close – but #7 seeds have yet to win a playoff matchup since the expansion three years ago.

Also Considered: Rachaad White

Wide Receiver (Start 2, Max of 4)

There are at least 15 strong WR plays this week, and I’m leaning on that positional strength here…

Amon-Ra St. Brown – I’m going with a Rams-Lions game stack. This game just has the highest shootout appeal, by far. The Rams were destroyed for 40.0 fantasy points per game (Half-PPR) by WRs in the final five weeks of the season… and that was 2nd-most only to the Lions (41.5).

Puka Nacua – To pair with Stafford.

Amari Cooper – I have no idea who wins this Browns-Texans game. I picked Cleveland to win because they’re the better overall team, but it truly feels like a coin-flip game because of C.J. Stroud. I’ll just play a Browns-Texans mini stack in what could be a shootout if Stroud can crack Cleveland on a few drives.

Nico Collins – In four games without Tank Dell (and with CJ Stroud starting), Collins has earned a whopping 39.5% of the first-read targets.

Also Considered: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cooper Kupp, DeVonta Smith

Tight End (Start 1, Max of 3)

David Njoku – He’s the best TE play on the slate.

Kicker and DST (Start 1 Each)

Brandon Aubrey – Best kicker in the game as a massive home-favorite.

Bills D/ST – Easiest decision of my lineup.

Tom Brolley

Quarterback (Start 1, Max of 1)

Jordan Love (GB) — I’m going a little off the board with a Love stack to start my team. He enters the postseason with multiple TD passes in eight of his last nine games, and he’s thrown just 1 INT over his last eight contests.

Also Considered: Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Jalen Hurts

Running Back (Start 2, Max of 4)

Kyren Williams (LAR) — Kyren gets the league’s toughest matchup for RBs, but he’s totaled 100+ scrimmage yards and 22+ touches in each of his six games since returning from his ankle injury.

Isiah Pacheco (KC) — Pacheco has reached 20+ touches, 89+ scrimmage yards, and 21.3+ FP in three of his last four appearances. Jerick McKinnon is out for the postseason, and the Chiefs will lean heavily into Pacheco in frigid temps against a banged-up Dolphins defense.

Also Considered: Rachaad White, Aaron Jones, De’Von Achane, Raheem Mostert

Wide Receiver (Start 2, Max of 4)

Jayden Reed (GB) — Love isn’t the easiest player to stack with but Reed has emerged as his top option. He’s scorching hot heading into the postseason, reaching 15+ FP, 4+ catches, and 52+ scrimmage yards in his last four contests.

Amon-Ra St. Brown (Det) — St. Brown enters the postseason with four consecutive games with 6+ catches, 90+ receiving yards, 1 TD, and 22+ FP. He could have even more work on his place with Sam LaPorta injured this week.

Mike Evans (TB) — Evans won his first receiving TD crown with 13 scores and the Eagles are giving up the second-most receiving TDs per game (1.6) to WRs. Evans finished with 5/60/1 receiving on 10 targets when these squads squared off in Week 3.

Tyreek Hill (Mia) — Tyreek will make his much-anticipated return to Arrowhead Stadium in the opening round of the playoffs. He led the league with 1799 receiving yards, 112.4 receiving YPG, 13 receiving TDs, and 4.05 YPRR.

Also Considered: Puka Nacua, Nico Collins, Amari Cooper

Tight End (Start 1, Max of 3)

David Njoku (Cle) — Njoku has reached 6+ catches, 8+ targets, and 16.4+ FP in four consecutive games. The Texans are giving up the fifth-most receiving YPG (57.4) and the second-most receptions (5.9) to TEs.

Also Considered: None of note.

Kicker and DST (Start 1 Each)

Riley Patterson (Cle) — Should be low-owned and best odds to make 2+ field goals on the slate behind Brandon Aubrey, Brett Maher, and Michael Badgley.

Buffalo Bills D/ST — The chalk pick, but the Steelers have an implied total south of two touchdowns, and Mason Rudolph is a statue if the Steelers are forced to throw.

Joe Dolan, a professional in the fantasy football industry for over a decade, is the managing editor of Fantasy Points. He specializes in balancing analytics and unique observation with his personality and conversational tone in his writing, podcasting, and radio work.