Week 17 is a real bane to DFS prognosticators. Which teams are going to rest their players the entire game? Which teams are going to rest their players most of the game? How much of it is coach speak? Who do you really believe? What was really in that chipotle chicken burrito I purchased at the gas station? At least we have a full slate of games to choose from – so that just means more potential combinations. Aargh, Calgon take me away!
For those playing on FD, Check the weather before setting your kicker. Robbie Gould and Harrison Butker each at $4.8K seem like sound plays to me. If you have the money to spend up, Matt Prater at $5.1K is indoors making him even safer. I also don’t mind Justin Tucker and Matt Bryant at $5K apiece. Bryant is indoors, and Tucker can kick in conditions that would hinder Chuck Norris.
My top picks at defense this week are the Vikings and Ravens. They are also both over $5K at FD. To save money, I may target one of the “bench the starters games” and use the Broncos defense or the Cowboys. Both are cheap (the Cowboys are pennies on the dollar) and each will face an untested QB for at least half of the game, if not more. The 49ers could also come into play in that format, but their defense is far less intimidating than Denver and even the Cowpokes.
There are four quarterbacks I will target from Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and Drew Brees. I will also consider Jimmy Garoppolo, if St. Louis officially benches some of their defensive stars. That said, I am scared that Jimmy G. will be chalk after last week. The punt plays I like are Jacoby Brissett, Joe Flacco and (perhaps, if he plays) T.J. Yates.
With no LeVeon Bell, my alternatives are Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Christian McCaffrey, Kenyan Drake and the New Orleans’ duet. I’d love to get two of that six-some on to my lineup cards. However, I might have to punt away from one of them. That said, with so many WRs to choose from I may be more tempted to punt there. The cheaper running back options I like are Derrick Henry and Bilal Powell. One of those two may find their way into my starting pair if I am financially strapped. They could also find their way into my DK-FLEX slot. There are also seven players I would consider punting with or putting into that DK-FLEX slot if I decide to go all-in at WR: Malcolm Brown, Tion Green, Brandon Oliver (If Melvin Gordon doesn’t play), Charcandrick West, Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, Corey Clement or Kerwynn Williams.
I like the top of the WR-field. Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas would be a stellar pair to possess this week. I’m not going to go there, but one of them will be my WR1. I’m leaning Marquise Goodwin or Jarvis Landry at WR2. That said, to save money and pursue higher value RBs, I may choose my WR2 from this list: Jamison Crowder, Josh Gordon, T.Y. Hilton, Ted Ginn (if I don’t choose Michael Thomas), Mike Wallace, and the Jaguars duo. My WR3 could also come from that list, but I am leaning towards one of the following: Paul Richardson, Kelvin Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson, Roger Lewis, Josh Reynolds and Kenny Golladay.
Do not start Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz. Neither will play significant minutes (if at all) this week. If you want to spend up, go with Rob Gronkowski or Greg Olsen. Otherwise, go with a cheaper option like Jack Doyle, Antonio Gates, Charles Clay (Gasp!), Vernon Davis or (Double-Gasp!) Eric Ebron. If I don’t roll with one of these old standbys, I will trot out one of my favorite punt plays of the week either: Vance McDonald or George Kittle.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $6.2K to $6.8K for my choice of Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Kirk Cousins; up to $16.2K for two of: Kenyan Drake, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram; up to $4.4K for your choice of RB at DK-FLEX; up to $7.8K for Keenan Allen or Michael Thomas; $5.8K for Jamison Crowder; no more than $4.4K for your choice of WR3 (I’m leaning Josh Reynolds or Kenny Golladay right now); $2.8K for George Kittle or Vance McDonald; and $2.9K for the Broncos’ defense.
At FD: up to $8.5K for one of the four above-listed QBs; up to $17K total for two of the above six RBs; $7.2K for Jarvis Landry; $6.9K for Marquise Goodwin; $5.9K for Keelan Cole; $5.4K for Jack Doyle; and $9.5K or less for your kicker (leaning Robbie Gould or Harrison Butker) and defense (leaning Broncos or Ravens).
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
|Patrick Mahomes II||$4,700||$6,000|
Weekly strategy – I’d like to say that I was going to pound Tom Brady, but I will probably pivot from him and go with Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins. I will still have some Brady shares, but not as much as the chalk will. I also will do at least one lineup with Jimmy Garoppolo (stacked with Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle) – because he is white-hot. The two punt plays I will finagle at least once are Jacoby Brissett (Stacked with Jack Doyle and T.Y. Hilton) and Joe Flacco (stacked with Mike Wallace and Ben Watson). Neither is super-appealing, but each has a pathway to a huge ceiling.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots vs. NYJ ($6800 DK, $8500 FD)
Tom Brady also gets a cake divisional rival for Week 17. Over his last three home battles against the Jets, Brady is averaging 277-2.7. Both quarterbacks will top 325-3, over a full game. If they each only play the first three quarters, then each probably tops out at 275-2.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins @ NYG ($6200 DK, $7600 FD)
The Giants have allowed the most passing touchdowns this season. This includes nine over the past three games. Kirk Cousins has either passed for 300 yards and/or passed for multiple touchdowns 12 time this year, including five of the last six games. 300-2 certainly seems in play again.
Drew Brees, Saints @ TB ($6500 DK, $8200 FD)
The Buccaneers secondary has allowed fewer passing touchdowns recently because their run defense is being gouged instead. In their earlier meeting, Drew Brees threw for 263-2. That is a safe floor for him here. Brees loves to dump the ball off to Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. He could reach 200-2 just via that method.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers @ LAR ($6700 DK, $7700 FD)
The Los Angeles Rams have already declared they will bench their stars. This means more time for Jimmy Garoppolo to operate. We just witnessed him pick apart the best defense in football. He should do just as well here.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. CIN ($5700 DK, $7300 FD)
Cincinnati’s defense stood tall last week against an equally disinterested Lions’ offense. The fact remains, however, that they are short-handed and without a clear direction. Joe Flacco on the other hand has a clear direction – win and in. Flacco’s wide receivers are not very good, but he does have a pair of good tight ends (and two very good receiving RBs). If he plays his cards right he should finish with 275-2 or more.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts vs. HOU ($5500 DK, $6600 FD)
Houston has allowed three or more passing touchdowns six times this season. Jacoby Brissett only managed two touchdowns against the Texans in their earlier meeting. That said, Brissett did throw for over 300 yards. I could see that happening again, and don’t forget about Brissett’s legs. Houston has allowed three quarterback rushing scores, so that is in play as well.
|Todd Gurley II||$9,800||$9,800|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,700||$5,700|
Weekly strategy – I am excited to attempt to squeeze two of Ezekiel Elliott, Kenyan Drake, Christian McCaffrey, LeSean McCoy, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram onto my rosters. I will also have lesser exposure to Bilal Powell and Derrick Henry in my starting pair (or possibly at DK-FLEX). That said, most of my DK-FLEX options will come from this list: Tion Green, Malcolm Brown, Kerwynn Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Branden Oliver, Corey Clement and Charcandrick West. Ultimately, I’m spending up this week here. At DK expect to approach 41% and on FD and up to 29%.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ PHI ($8700 DK, $8700 FD)
For some absurd reason, Dallas refused to give Ezekiel Elliott green-zone touches last week. Maybe it was Jason Garrett’s penalty to him, for being at the root of the Cowboys’ hubbub all season. Elliott still had a very good line, just not the Gurley-esque line we expected. Elliott has already come out and said that he doesn’t need playoff motivation to want to destroy Philadelphia. Elliott has only faced Philly once (last season) and in that game, he posted 148 combo yards. With the Eagles resting some of their stars, the rushing yards will be easy to come by this week.
Alvin Kamara, Saints @ TB ($7900 DK, $8800 FD)
Tampa Bay has allowed the third-most running back rushing touchdowns this year. This includes seven over the last five weeks. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara has 12 touchdowns to go along with an average of 95 combo yards per game. He also has five or more receptions in seven of his last eight games. One of those games was versus Tampa. He finished that game with a total line of 152-2.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins vs. BUF ($7200 DK, $7000 FD)
Buffalo has allowed so many running back touchdowns recently that teams have stopped throwing the ball against them. In their earlier meeting, Kenyan Drake had 113 yards and a score. That should be easy to repeat in better conditions.
LeSean McCoy, Bills @ MIA ($8000 DK, $8200 FD)
LeSean McCoy has posted 241-3 versus Miami, over their last two meetings. Meanwhile, Buffalo has allowed eight running back rushing TDs over their last eight games. Shady should finish with a line of 150-1, as I expect Buffalo to lean heavily on their workhorse.
Derrick Henry, Titans vs. JAX ($5500 DK, $5800 FD)
Stop me if you have heard this before, DeMarco Murray is all-but-out for Week 17. Sure, I will believe it when I see his name on the inactive list come Sunday. If he does indeed sit, then Derrick Henry becomes a solid play at a reasonable price. Jacksonville is nearly impossible to throw against so Tennessee would be wise to pound the rock with Henry. The Jags did allow two running back touchdowns last week versus San Francisco. So, we know they can be bruised.
Charcandrick West, Chiefs @ DEN ($4400 DK, $4900 FD)
Charcandrick West has spent the first half of the practice week battling an illness. He will need to get ahold of some Robitussin and shake whatever is ailing him, so that I may roll him out as my DK-FLEX in all of my leagues. Denver has been mediocre against the run in the second half of the season. They also lead the league in running back receiving touchdowns allowed. If West is healthy enough to get the lions’ share of the touches, he should top 100 total yards and score.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,500||$7,300|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$5,100||$5,800|
|Will Fuller V||$4,300||$5,100|
Weekly strategy – My WR1 will come from among two choices: Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas. My WR2 will be Marquise Goodwin, Jarvis Landry, Jamison Crowder, T.Y. Hilton, one of the Jaguars or Josh Gordon. My WR3 is wide open. I may go with someone in the range of Keelan Cole or Paul Richardson, or I may punt with Kenny Golladay or Josh Reynolds. Keep both your DK and FD expenditures under 36% this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Keenan Allen, Chargers vs. OAK ($7800 DK, $8600 FD)
The Oakland Raiders have not allowed a WR to score in their last four games. Of course, one of those games came against Nick Foles and another came against Geno Smith. So, this is no ringing endorsement of their improvement. Prior to these last four games, Oakland had allowed eight wide receiver scores in their last five games. That is closer to the carnage we will see this week. The Chargers need this victory, and Melvin Gordon is questionable (at best). This means the team will lean even more on Keenan Allen. As if 9.8 targets per game wasn’t enough already.
Michael Thomas, Saints @ TB ($7700 DK, $8200 FD)
Passing stats against Tampa Bay have gone down the last couple weeks, mainly due to teams not needing to pass against them. The Saints won’t have to either, but that won’t stop them from throwing at least a few passes Michael Thomas’ way. With three scores in his last four games, Thomas is also safe to count on for a TD this week.
Adam Thielen, Vikings vs. CHI ($7600 DK, $7400 FD)
Chicago has allowed only six WR scores over their last seven games. They have however been burned by speed receivers akin to Adam Thielen recently (Marquise Goodwin and Nelson Agholor). Thielen has seen a slight downturn in targets the last two weeks, but don’t allow that to dissuade you from rolling him out in a must-win game for the Vikings.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers vs. CLE ($7300 DK, $7300 FD)
For a second consecutive week, Pittsburgh will be without Antonio Brown. In Week 16, JuJu Smith-Schuster led Pittsburgh in WR-snaps. He also posted a very nice 6-75-1 line. This gives him four touchdowns in the last seven games he has played. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes on 11 targets for 182 yards against Cleveland in Week 1. In that game, JuJu was used almost exclusively on special teams. A good portion of that target load will come his way this week. Even if it is Landry Jones throwing him the ball.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins @ NYG ($5800 DK, $7000 FD)
The Giants have allowed eight WR scores over the last five weeks. This included big games from fellow slot receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Nelson Agholor, Cole Beasley and Seth Roberts. One of those games also came against these very same Redskins. In that game, Jamison Crowder exploded for 7-141-1. Expect more carnage wreaked across the New York secondary once again. Crowder will almost assuredly be in every one of my DK lineups.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars @ TEN ($5700 DK, $5900 FD)
Fortunately, DFS algorithms don’t usually start jacking player’s prices up until three weeks after they get into their groove. That means this is the last week you will find Keelan Cole under $7K. Take advantage now, while he takes advantage of a rotten Tennessee secondary. Over the last four weeks, Cole has scored three times. He also has the second-most yards among all WRs during that stretch.
Weekly strategy – Jack Doyle, Charles Clay and Eric Ebron are the three safest plays (If you don’t want to pay up for Rob Gronkowski). I’d rather go with one of them or punt with Vance McDonald or George Kittle. Then pay for Gronk. That said, I can totally understand wanting to play Gronk.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs. NYJ ($7000 DK, $8500 FD)
Only two teams have allowed more than the nine touchdowns that the Jets have allowed opposing TEs. Two of those nine came from Rob Gronkowski back in Week 6. He finished that game with a line of 6-83-2. It was the third time in 12 career meetings that Gronk had scored twice against them.
Greg Olsen, Panthers @ ATL ($5600 DK, $6400 FD)
In every game since Week 10, that was not against New Orleans, Atlanta has either allowed a tight end to score and/or allowed them to have a very good yardage/reception day. Greg Olsen missed their earlier meeting, but he has scored in half of the 14 career games he has played against them.
Jack Doyle, Colts vs. HOU ($4700 DK, $5400 FD)
Houston has allowed seven tight end touchdowns over their last ten games. This stretch included a game versus Indy during which Jack Doyle did not catch a touchdown. He did, however, have eight catches for 63 yards. This was his third consecutive 50+ yard performance against Houston. Expect another 60-70 yards here, plus he’ll get the score to make up for last time.
Eric Ebron, Lions vs. GB ($4500 DK, $5600 FD)
I hate Eric Ebron. He has screwed me over far more times than I care to admit. That said, much like the victim that cannot leave the abusive relationship, I cannot seem to further myself from him. Ebron has scored in two straight and prior to that, he had a 10-94 day. Will I be able to live with myself, if I go back to this well again this week? I don’t know if I can stomach it, but maybe you should.
Vance McDonald, Steelers vs. CLE ($2700 DK, $4500 FD)
With Antonio Brown out last week, Jesse James was a popular sleeper. Unfortunately, he continued to have foibles completing catches, allowing Vance McDonald to both outplay and out produce him. Cleveland has allowed the second-most tight end touchdowns this season, including two to the Steelers in Week 1. James is also in play, but I think that Pittsburgh is starting to trust McDonald a little more (and he is cheaper).
George Kittle, 49ers @ LAR ($2800 DK, $4600 FD)
This is my favorite tight end play of the week. George Kittle combines low salary, a great quarterback, a coach that likes throwing it to the position and they are facing a defense resting a bunch of starters. Kittle posted 7-94-1 combined over the last two weeks. It is a good trend as he is about to face a defense that has allowed four tight end scores over their last three games.