For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. FootballGuys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
CASH GAME TIPS
READING THE TEA LEAVES IN WEEK #17: The last week of the season is chock full of trap doors and potential value, much like the preseason, where you are forced to interpret motivation and coachspeak. In terms of motivation, much of what we can glean is based on playoff scenarios and statistical thresholds (i.e., 1000-yard seasons, etc.) that serve to bolster a player's legitimacy within the NFL community. Rather than writing 1,000+ words on those playoffs scenarios as they relate to motivation, I am linking (HERE) you to Footballguy Ryan Hester's weekly "Trendspotting" article that outlines all of those scenarios and how they might impact playing time and overall offensive opportunity this weekend. When you get to the "Picks" section of my article, just know that my selections already have those considerations "baked into" that given analysis. For cash games this week, you are going to want to focus on known scenarios and try to avoid situations where player usage is in question due to motivation and/or playoff implications; for tournament play, it makes more sense to take a stand on certain players in risky situations to differentiate your rosters from the masses.
STANDARD BUILD: Cash games are going to have a lot of overlap at three positions this weekend: Quarterback, Running Back, and Tight End. At QB, you can expect to see most DFS players spending a lot of money with names like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. With RB, expect to see David Johnson owned at astronomical levels at $9.8K because of the immense amount of value available at other positions. At TE, Travis Kelce is going to be the chalk play because of the aforementioned value and due to his recent string of 100-yard performances. With these facts in mind, the difference between winning and losing cash games on DraftKings this Sunday is going to distill down to your choices of value players and how they perform. With the amount of uncertainty associated with playing time in Week #17, it is advisable to build multiple cash game rosters to diversify your exposure amongst those low-dollar players to ensure that you are not overexposed anybody whose situations you might have misread leading into Sunday.
HOW TO BE CONTRARIAN THIS WEEK: It is going to be difficult to be contrarian in tournament play this weekend because of how most people are going to build their lineups. As discussed above, there is so much value on the site that the majority of DFS players are going to be looking towards 2-3 players as their 'spend up' options and then slotting in value players around them. Those (non-QB) players are most likely going to be David Johnson, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Mike Evans, all of whom will utilize at least $8.0K of your salary on a week where other high-priced options like LeVeon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham Jr. will be extremely limited or not play at all. No matter what, you are going to have to consider each of those former options because they are in good situations and will help you spend money on a week where doing so is difficult; that said, resist the urge to comprise your roster entirely of 'stars and scrubs' this week because that is what most DFS players are going to do. Instead, choose your favorite QB-WR (or QB-TE) stack and build around it with moderately-priced options, a technique that will yield a differentiated roster sheerly due to how it is being constructed. That is not to say that you should fade a player like David Johnson or Jordy Nelson, but to conscientiously build your rosters knowing that an Aaron Rodgers-Jordy Nelson stack paired with David Johnson is going to be 20% (or more) owned, which means that you will have to nail every other portion of those rosters to have a chance to win your respective GPP (and that should be your ultimate goal when entering a tournament...not to just cash). Lastly, this is a week where you can leave salary on the table and not lose potential points because of it; my suspicion is that this week's optimal lineup will be composed of players who can be rostered for less than $49K.
END THE YEAR ON A HIGH NOTE: With all of the uncertainty surrounding player usage in this last regular season week of NFL football, it makes a lot of sense to take your winnings on the season and play more conservatively. Some will take the opposite route and try to play as much as possible, knowing that this is the last week of football until next September, but that is an extremely risky approach that could result in losing your hard-earned winnings from the previous 16 weeks. There is not much more to say here other than to use your head and proper bankroll management on a week where many will not follow that advice.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. There is little difference in terms of strength of selection between those players who have text to justify their appearance in this article versus those in the "also eligible" section; all are strong plays in their respective categories, but time and space restrictions do not allow for expansive written summaries of every player listed.
CASH GAME PICKS
Aaron Rodgers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,700). Arguably the hottest quarterback in the league right now, Aaron Rodgers enters Week #17 with multiple passing touchdowns in 9 of his previous 10 matchups and an incentive to win. The Packers could earn a first-round playoff game at Lambeau if they best the Lions on Sunday night in Green Bay, a situation that bodes well for seeing Rodgers invested in performing well on a week where other quarterbacks may already be thinking of their impending off-season exploits. The Lions will be without their best defensive back in Darius Slay, leaving the likes of Nevin Lawson, Johnson Bademosi, and Ava Jackson to lock down Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and either Randall Cobb (or Geronimo Allison); each of those personnel matchups represent mismatches for Rodgers to exploit throughout the night, particularly when one considers the Lions are working on a short week of preparation and on the road for their third consecutive week. If that is not enough, the Lions bring the league's worst DVOA pass defense into this game and were deftly carved apart by Rodgers for four touchdowns earlier this season.
Drew Brees (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,600). Earlier in the afternoon, Drew Brees will take the Saints to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in one of the highest total games of the NFL season (Vegas total of 56 points). Ordinarily, we might want to consider fading Brees on the road, but Atlanta plays indoors and Brees has surpassed 300 yards in five of his previous six games in the Georgia Dome. Unlike those previous seasons (or at least since 2013), Brees will not have to contend with shutdown coverage from Desmond Trufant, who ends his 2016 campaign on injured reserve due to an injury suffered in Week #10. That bodes well for Brees' excellent receiving corps, headlined by Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks, both of whom will finish the season with 1,000+ receiving yards and at least eight receiving touchdowns. If we consider that the Saints are touchdown underdogs with a respectable 25-point implied team total, Brees should get the ball into the air no less than 40 times against the Falcons and considering no team in the league (not even the lowly Cleveland Browns) allows more fantasy points to the quarterback position, he should easily finish this game with 22+ fantasy points with 30+ point upside.
Also eligible: Alex Smith ($5,000)
David Johnson (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $9,800). There is not a lot that needs to be said to justify recommending David Johnson in cash games after what he has done this season. Johnson enters his Week #17 matchup averaging 27.9 fantasy points per game and has dropped below 20 fantasy points only once (18.1 versus Miami) since the Cardinals' Week #9 bye. The matchup this weekend is not particularly intriguing, as the Rams, despite their 4-11 record, field a respectable rush defense that has allowed only two 100+ yard rushers all year, an incredible feat given that they have trailed for the majority of their season; FootballOutsiders ranks the Rams' rush defense as the 6th best unit in the league, which is further underscored by their stingy average of 3.9 yards per carry allowed (7th in NFL). All of this argues against using Johnson in cash games, but he has been matchup-proof all season and there is no reason to think that will change this weekend as touchdown favorites against the Rams, particularly as he chases multiple records to round out an MVP-caliber season. Despite the less than stellar matchup, rostering Johnson carries little risk because he will be heavily-owned in cash game formats, meaning that a disappointing performance should not put you behind the figurative 8-ball if you have him; however, if you fade him and he posts another 30-point game (which he has done in 4 of his previous 6 games), you are likely going to lose those contests. Get him into your cash games and beat your opponent elsewhere.
Jerick McKinnon (Primarily cash games, Salary: $4,000). To slot in an expensive quarterback, the aforementioned David Johnson, and Travis Kelce in your cash games, you are going to need some salary relief elsewhere and Jerick McKinnon is a prime option. McKinnon does not bring a lot of touchdown equity to the table, but he should see plenty of volume on Sunday without Adrian Peterson on the field and he continues to be heavily-targeted by Sam Bradford out of the backfield which bolsters his value on full PPR sites like DraftKings. Over the past month, McKinnon has been targeted at least six times in every game and has hauled in no less than five receptions in each of those contests; he will face a Chicago Bears defense that has largely mailed it in, having beaten only the 49'ers since the beginning of November. McKinnon will yield most, if not all, of his touches to Matt Asiata inside the 5-yard line, but his salary is too good to ignore for a running back slated to touch the ball 14-18 times on a 6-point home favorite team projected to score 3.5 touchdowns. He needs 12 points to justify his spot in your cash game rosters, a number that he has reached in every game over the previous month. His upside is probably capped due to Asiata's goalline duties, but McKinnon is squarely in play for cash games at his price point.
Doug Baldwin (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,200). Now that Tyler Lockett will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg, Doug Baldwin is going to have to pick up the slack in the Seahawks' passing game as they make their playoff push. Last weekend, Baldwin did exactly that, logging a season-high 19 targets, catching 13 of them for 171 yards and a score en route to a 39.7 fantasy point day against a much better secondary than he will face in Week #17. Baldwin will try to repeat his Week #3 performance against the 49'ers when he gashed them for 8/164/1 in his only other 30+ fantasy point day this season. He will benefit from lesser coverage this time around, as the Niners' best slot cornerback, Jimmie Ward, broke his collarbone two weeks ago and is now on the I.R. to end the season. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham has been underutilized in the passing game recently due to staying behind to help their poor offensive line with blocking duties and Jermaine Kearse is an afterthought in Seattle's gameplan, all of which bolsters the case for heavy Baldwin usage. With a team total approaching four touchdowns and few alternative receiving options elsewhere, getting Doug Baldwin into cash game lineups feels like a sound move.
Eli Rogers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,000). Head Coach Mike Tomlin has announced that Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, and Antonio Brown will be given the week off to rest up for the playoffs, which means that the Steelers' auxiliary players will have to pick up the slack against the league's worst team, the Cleveland Browns. Enter Landry Jones, who will never be misconstrued for a legitimate NFL quarterback, but who can easily hit Eli Rogers on the types of routes that he runs (i.e., short with an ADoT of 9.6 yards). Rogers should assume the WR1 role for at least two, if not three, quarters of this game and will get enough volume to make him fantasy-relevant at his modest $4.0 price tag. He gets a plush matchup against the Browns, who had allowed 23 or more points to opposing offenses in every game up until last week's surprise win over the visiting Chargers. If the Browns keep this game close, Rogers should see more playing time than if the Steelers build an early lead; either way, Rogers should easily get into double-digit fantasy points, which is basically all that he needs to reach cash game value. Over the past two weeks with Antonio Brown on the field, Rogers has compiled 13.0 and 18.5 fantasy points, respectively; it is difficult to envision him performing worse without Brown playing, which is why he makes a solid cash game play this Sunday.
Travis Kelce (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5,000). No tight end is hotter than Travis Kelce entering the last week of the season. Kelce now has strung together 100+ receiving yard performances in 5 of his last 6 games and will look to continue that streak against the Chargers, who gave up a 6/74/0 stat line to Kelce when the faced one another back on Opening Weekend. The Chiefs are in a must-win situation because a win, coupled with a Oakland loss to Denver (a likely event with Matt McGloin at QB), will result in a first round bye for Kansas City and the overall #2 seed in the AFC Playoffs. That should be enough to incentivize the Chiefs to lay it all on the line against the Chargers, who were embarrassed by the Browns last week, their fourth loss in as many weeks. The Chargers will send out Casey Hayward to lock down Jeremy Maclin on the flank and Tyreek Hill's weekly usage continues to dwindle, which leaves Kelce as the #1 volume and redzone receiver for the Chiefs, who are projected to score 24.5 points against San Diego. Coming off a huge 11/160/1 day against the Broncos, expect Kelce to continue to be the apple of Alex Smith's eye this Sunday.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,900). There was some question in DFS circles last week as to how Tom Savage would utilize C.J. Fiedorowicz in the Texans' passing game because the two had never played together prior to that matchup against the Bengals. Prior to getting injured in Week #15, Fiedorowicz was leading the Texans in passing targets from Brock Osweiler in the month of November and was accruing some legitimate fantasy value in DFS games because of his pedestrian salary; in the five games leading up to his injury, Fiedorowicz was averaging 7.4 targets and 10.7 fantasy points per game. In Savage's NFL debut start last Sunday, Fiedorowicz led (again) the team in targets (7) and finished the day with a 4/42/0 stat line. While that would not be sufficient to garner the 12 points needed to justify his Week #17 salary, Fiedorowicz faces a Titans defense that has bled both yardage (270.9 passing yards per game; 31st in NFL) and touchdowns (24; 19th in NFL) through the air this season. With the underperforming Alfred Blue leading the running back duties, it would not be surprising to see Houston try to score through the air and build some momentum with Tom Savage as they enter the AFC Playoffs locked into the #4 seed.
Also eligible: Charles Clay ($3,500)
Vikings (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,800). There are three teams slated to score 17 points or less this weekend (49'ers, Rams, and Dolphins), but all of them are at home, which dampers the value associated with taking the opposing defense for cash games. Certainly, all of their opponents could have solid fantasy days and merit GPP consideration for that reason, but if you are going to spend up for a defense this weekend, it should probably be on the Minnesota Vikings at home against Matt Barkley and the Bears. The Vikings boast a stellar secondary that should be able to contain Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith, leaving only Jordan Howard to beat them; if the Bears fall behind, as Vegas projects, Barkley will be asked to throw more often, which is a recipe for miscues and turnovers, as he has demonstrated over the previous two weeks with eight interceptions to the Redskins and Packers. Chicago has the 4th lowest implied team total on the board, which mitigates risk associated with paying up for a Vikings defense that has allowed 72 points over their previous two games. This opponent is far different and the outcome should follow suit; expect multiple turnovers and hope for a pick-six.
Cardinals (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,000). While we are considering defenses that have been shellacked recently, why not consider the Arizona Cardinals who have allowed 79 points to the Seahawks and Saints over their previous two weeks? That sounds laughable for cash game consideration, but Arizona should have no problems shutting down Jared Goff and the Rams on their home turf on Sunday. Los Angeles' anemic offense is dead-last in the league with only 14.5 points per game and will have their hands full trying to move the ball Arizona's 10th overall DVOA defense. Despite giving up 31 points to the Seahawks last weekend, Arizona sacked Russell Wilson six times and finished the day with 9.0 fantasy points, a hair over their season average (8.1). Considering the Rams allowed the 3rd most sacks in the league (2.8 per game), this would appear to be an ideal spot to roster the Cardinals' defense and capitalize on their somewhat soft pricing.
Carson Palmer (Salary: $5,700). The Cardinals' star running back, David Johnson, is likely to be owned in tournaments approaching numbers upwards of 40%. Any time a player, especially a player who is $9.8K, is owned at those percentages, you have to consider fading him and looking elsewhere. Johnson has been a model of consistency this year and is listed in the cash game section of this article for that reason, but tournament play dictates that you must consider fading him because of those massive ownership levels. If you roster his quarterback, you will be forced away from Johnson, which will differentiate you from 50-60% of the field with just that single decision. If asked, Palmer should have no problem carving apart this 21st ranked DVOA pass defense that has allowed five multi-touchdown games to opposing quarterbacks over their past six contests. The Rams will be minus their best slot cornerback, Lamarcus Joyner (ankle), which means that E.J. Gaines, ProFootballFocus' 115th (of 119) ranked cornerback, will line up across from Larry Fitzgerald, while the red-hot J.J. Nelson will get plenty of action against untested rookie Blake Countess on the perimeter. The matchups are there for the taking...the outcome will depend on how Bruce Arians decides to attack the Rams on their home turf.
Sam Bradford (Salary: $5,200). As discussed above, saving money at the quarterback position is the contrarian play this week and Sam Bradford is an interesting tournament option against the Chicago Bears. Bradford is averaging well over 300 yards passing over his previous three games and will face off against an uninspired Bears team that has lost six of their previous seven contests and remain winless on the road. With Adrian Peterson slated to miss this game, the Vikings should take a pass-heavy approach headlined by Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and the sure hands of Jerick McKinnon out of the backfield. Only the Giants have scored less touchdowns on the ground than the Vikings this season, which bolsters the sentiment that Bradford could be in store for a decent stat line on Sunday, particularly when Vegas oddsmakers project Minnesota to score 3.5 touchdowns. In smaller tournaments, a Bradford-Rudolph stack makes the most sense, but larger tournaments could employ a Bradford-Thielen-Rudolph "superstack" to achieve maximum roster uniqueness and upside. If Bradford is able to surpass 300 yards in this effort, he will secure 15 DraftKings points and need only a single touchdown to reach the requisite 4x multiplier value necessary to justify his presence on your GPP rosters at his modest $5.2K price tag.
Devonta Freeman (Salary: $7,000). No team on the Week #17 slate has a higher implied team total than the Atlanta Falcons at 31.75 points. As touchdown favorites, the implicit gamescript heavily favors the Falcon running game against the Saints' 20th ranked DVOA rush defense. If Devonta Freeman were the bona fide lead running back for Atlanta, he might be the highest-owned running back on the Week #17 slate; alas, Tevin Coleman continues to lurk, stealing about 30% of Freeman's touches, which is enough to temper enthusiasm about Freeman's fantasy prospects nearly every week. That said, Freeman has scored 20 or more DraftKings points in 40% of the Falcons' games this season, including three multiple touchdown efforts. Furthermore, Freeman has excelled at home, averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game versus only 14.7 on the road; football guru, Evan Silva, has also noted that Freeman seems to be the touchdown scorer at home (10 out of 12 scores in Atlanta), while Coleman has been successful in finding paydirt on the road (7 out of 10 on the road), an observation that may not hold statistical significance, but cannot be ignored nonetheless. With so many people wanting to get a piece of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones against that lackluster Saints' secondary, Freeman represents a solid leverage play that will help differentiate your rosters for tournament play, while still garnering a piece of the game with the highest total on the Vegas boards in Week #17.
Thomas Rawls (Salary: $5,800). Our expert projections here at Footballguys do not like Thomas Rawls on Sunday, so take that for what it's worth where this recommendation is concerned. Rawls will get the starting nod against the league's worst defensive rush unit, the San Francisco 49'ers in a game that has playoff implications for the Seahawks; in order to have any chance at a home-field game (or first-round bye), the Seahawks must win in San Francisco on Sunday. That said, Rawls is coming three consecutive disappointing games against the Packers, Rams, and Cardinals, which combined with a nagging shoulder issue, should be enough to drive down ownership of Rawls on Sunday. Those aforementioned teams, however, all boast top 12 DVOA rush defenses and the Niners enter this game having allowed over 170 rushing yards per game this season. The risk in rostering Rawls lies in the possibility that he will yield carries to Alex Collins at some point during this game, but Rawls practiced in full all week long and has a positive gamescript with the Seahawks entering this matchup as 9.5-point favorites. If Rawls does yield touches to Collins, it will likely occur due to the Seahawks building a sizeable early lead, which should mean that Rawls collected sufficient fantasy production prior to that point in the game for his reasonable $5.8K salary.
Davante Adams (Salary: $5,700). First things first: Jordy Nelson is largely unstoppable right now and is the WR1 in the Packers offense. With that said, there is sufficient reason to consider Davante Adams in tournament play this weekend. Why? Because Jordy Nelson is going to be at ownership levels approaching 30%, while Adams will be owned at less than half that level, yet both exhibit similar upside in the Packers offense. Furthermore, Jordy is priced at a 40% premium over Adams, which means that Adams has to do 40% less than Jordy to reach his 4x multiplier value; at only $5.7K, Adams needs ~ 20 points to reach value, a level that he has achieved or surpassed in 6 of 15 games (40%) this season. The matchup is pristine against the league's worst DVOA pass unit that allowed three passing touchdowns on only 20 attempts last Monday night against the Cowboys and Adams will get his share of routes against Lions' CB Johnson Bademosi, who has struggled in coverage all season, including his previous two games where he has allowed a score in each. Add in the gradual disappearance of Ty Montgomery in the ground game (12.8 touches per game over past month) and this would appear to be a great spot for Adams to pad his stats entering the NFC playoffs.
Anquan Boldin (Salary: $4,100). Matthew Stafford has not thrown a touchdown since injuring his finger midway through the Lions' Week #14 game against the Bears. He did, however, practice in full all week, which argues that his injury is not overly severe and that his recent poor performances may be more of a coincidence than due to discomfort. Either way, Anquan Boldin is in play as a GPP target because he runs shorter routes that should not be affected if Stafford is truly hampered by his finger issue. Likewise, Boldin will line up across from the Packers' Quinten Rollins, who has been dreadful in coverage this season, allowing a league-high seven receiving touchdowns and a completion percentage surpassing 70% that has resulted in opposing QB ratings of over 135.0; the Packers' accessory defensive backs are not significantly better, as evidenced by the league-leading 24 receiving touchdowns that they have allowed this season. Boldin should be in a nice position to find the endzone against this unit, particularly because he enters this game as the Lions' de facto redzone receiver with 19 targets inside the 20-yard line this season. There is no doubt that Golden Tate is the target monster in this Lions' offense, but he has only three touchdowns all season, while Boldin has quietly collected seven scores on 36 less targets and is offered at a significant $2.5 discount from Tate.
Jordan Reed (Salary: $5,100). Head Coach Jay Gruden said this week that Jordan Reed looked like a "ballerina" at practice and praised the 6'3" tight end for his toughness in coming back from a scary shoulder injury just a few weeks prior. While he was limited in practice, Reed should play on Sunday and has an excellent matchup against a Giants squad that has nothing to play for since they have the #5 seed in the NFC locked up, no matter this outcome of this game. Because the Giants have no stake in this game, expect them to sit their most important personnel after the first quarter, which means that the Redskins should have their way with the Giants' backups; Vegas oddsmakers agree with this gamescript and have posted the 'Skins as 7.5-point favorites over the visiting Giants, alongside a 26.5-point implied team total that is third-highest on the Vegas boards this weekend. Reed is the Washington's #1 threat inside the 20-yard line, which keeps him in play for tournaments every weekend. Recency bias, concerns about his playing time due to his injury and the fact that Travis Kelce can be had for $100 less will drive down Reed's ownership levels far too low for the type of upside that he brings to the table in this matchup. If he is active, ensure that you have at least some exposure to him because I suspect his ownership levels will be less than 5%.
Jared Cook (Salary: $3,100). While Richard Rodgers shoulders the blocking duties from the tight end position, Jared Cook has quietly taken over the receiving role from the tight end position in Green Bay. Cook is routinely running more than double the routes of Rodgers and has out-targeted him 13 to 3 over the past two weeks. Lest we forget that the Lions were the worst team in the NFL at defending the tight end position for most of the year and now rank 30th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. Inside the redzone, Cook is without question the Packers' biggest target at 6'6", although Aaron Rodgers' eyeballs instinctively look for Jordy Nelson first and everybody else second; that said, Cook is a bargain at $3.1K, where a touchdown alongside whatever baseline production he receives would be enough to legitimize his spot in your tournament rosters, if you have a need to save a bit of salary at the tight end position. Both teams have something to play for in this matchup, which means that we should see four solid quarters of football from all involved parties on a weekend where that might not be the case for over two-thirds of the league.
Also eligible: Jack Doyle (Salary: $3,200).
Seahawks (Salary: $3,700). In tournament play, you have to give serious consideration to Seattle, who will travel a few hours south to take on the 49'ers, losers of 13 straight until last week's 22-21 victory over the Rams. Simply put, Chip Kelly has done very little to improve this offense this season; the Niners' points per game is slightly improved (14.9 to 19.1 from last year to 2016), but they have managed to win three less games this season than they did under Jim Harbaugh. Entering Week #17, the 49'ers are allowing their quarterback to be sacked 2.8 times per game (30th in the league), including four times against the Rams last Sunday. Despite not practicing due to non-injury reasons, both Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett will take the field against San Francisco, who will be missing their most consistent offensive threat, Carlos Hyde, due to an MCL injury suffered last weekend. The Niners will be forced to move the ball with Shaun Draughn, Jeremy Kerley, and Rod Streater, which just is not going to happen; if Colin Kaepernick gets cute, the opportunity for defensive scores is certainly there.
Raiders (Salary: $2,800). Both defenses in Denver are squarely in play for tournament play on Sunday. While most DFS players will prefer Denver's defense at home over Oakland, do not forget that Demarcus Ware will not suit up due to back surgery and the Raiders' offensive line is the best in the league in protecting their quarterback with only 16 sacks allowed on the entire season. That means that any points from the Denver defense are going to have to come through the arm of Matt McGloin, which is entirely plausible, but the Raiders defense is also in play against Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, both of whom are expected to play on Sunday. Over the past three weeks, opposing defenses have scored double-digit fantasy points in every game against the Broncos; in fact, over their previous 10 games, the Broncos have rewarded opposing defenses with double-digit fantasy points 60% of the time. Trevor Siemian has not thrown a touchdown pass in over eight quarters and Paxton Lynch showed very little earlier in the season when given the chance. Meanwhile, the Raiders will be playing for the #2 overall seed in the AFC Playoffs, which should provide them with enough motivation to make these young quarterbacks make some mistakes in an otherwise meaningless game for Denver.
Also eligible: Eagles ($2,900), Jets (Salary: $2,300).