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.
WEEK #17 TIPS
NAVIGATING WEEK #17: I don't have hard data to back up this anecdotal hot take, but I believe that Week #17 is similar to opening weekend for DFS purposes. Why? First, we are guessing (to some degree) regarding how players will be used both on offense and defense. The uncertainty associated with playing time results in some speculation based on coach speak and practice involvement. Because of these personnel-based concerns, there is less of a need to incorporate statistical-based analyses into your decision-making process. For example, the Jaguars boast the best defense in the league, yet they are 3-point underdogs to the Titans, whose offense has not surpassed 24 points scored since their Week #8 bye; with situations like this, you have to decide if you believe Doug Marrone when he says that he is playing his starters throughout the game or if you side with Vegas, whose line obviously does not jibe with Marrone's edict. In other words, you are going to have to take sides based on your gut in certain circumstances, whereas there will be other situations where the chips are on the table and the stats absolutely matter (Carolina at Atlanta, where playoff implications for both teams rest on the outcome of that game). All of this results in an interesting week where an edge can be had if you interpret situations correctly and roster your players accordingly.
ANALYZING MOTIVATION: Related to the above discussion, one of the single most important factors to analyze for Week #17 is motivation. Some players (and teams) will be motivated because a strong performance will result in a ticket to the postseason, whereas others may find themselves more focused on their plans for New Year's Eve than on their respective games. Rather than rehash everything here, I am going to LINK my buddy Ryan Hester's Trendspotting article, where he has outlined (in table format) every NFL team's playoff situation and whether we can trust them to be playing for four full quarters. On the player level, we should be monitoring situations where players may be individually motivated to perform well to achieve financial incentives. Names like Rob Gronkowski, Mark Ingram II, Jermaine Kearse, Marshawn Lynch, and others find themselves in situations where solid Week #17 performances will financially reward them. Lastly, do not overlook the business end of football; teams that are out of the playoffs and are looking towards next season will be far more likely to get an additional look at their young investments (i.e., Paxton Lynch in Denver, Rod Smith in Dallas, Kenny Golladay in Detroit, etc.) than to run out players they have watched all season. Collectively, I hope you will agree that it is a precarious, but beatable, week of NFL football, assuming you put in the work to get a good read on these situations. See below for what I've gleaned over the previous five days and how I will be building my rosters based on that information...
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. A short summary follows each respective table to fill in the gaps that led to the respective recommendations; that text represents only an overview of the methodology and rationale that goes into each recommendation. Note that all projected ownership numbers are derived from fellow Footballguy Steve Buzzard's weekly ownership report.
|NAME||SALARY||OWNERSHIP||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Matthew Stafford||6300||6%||1||1||Four legit DET receivers vs. GB secondary that quit weeks ago.|
|Tyrod Taylor||5300||4%||2||10||Must-win game for BUF; Tyrod scored 23.2 in last matchup vs. MIA.|
|Russell Wilson||6900||8%||3||5||Playoff-motivated. SEA: 1 rushing TD by RB all season.|
|Tom Brady||6800||12%||-||9||Highest team total on Vegas board. Will he play all 4 Qs?|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||6700||8%||-||3||Excelled vs. stellar JAX DEF in last; Rams resting players.|
|Philip Rivers||6600||8%||-||4||Questions galore at RB = higher workload for Rivers?|
|Kirk Cousins||6200||5%||-||2||NYG DEF: Getting blasted by QBs over past 5 weeks.|
|Matt Ryan||5900||8%||-||8||Win & In. Cheapest price on DK all season.|
|Jacoby Brissett||5500||8%||-||7||25% more FPs/game at home. HOU pass DEF: 24th DVOA.|
|Sean Mannion||4500||1%||-||6||Gut call based on McVay's ability to extract most of his QBs.|
QB CASH OVERVIEW:
- Matthew Stafford (vs. GB): The Packers are battered and beaten entering the last week of football and could understandably be expected to mail it in with the vast majority of their playmakers shut down for the season. Even if they do not quit entirely, it may not matter for Matthew Stafford, as Green Bay has been horrendous against opposing quarterbacks in the latter half of the season, allowing an average of ~ 21 DraftKings points per game to the position (despite clunkers from Case Keenum and Joe Flacco along the way). An argument could be made against the Lions after suffering a season-ending loss to Cincinnati last week, but they have a slew of receiving weapons including Marvin Jones Jr, Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, and Eric Ebron, all of whom present poor personnel matchups for Green Bay's defense, which should mean that the Lions' passing game cannot help but be successful on Sunday afternoon.
- Tyrod Taylor (vs. MIA): Largely a salary-saving cash game play, Tyrod Taylor is interesting because he will be motivated by the Bills' outside chance of making the playoffs with a win against a Dolphins team that allowed him to score 23.2 fantasy points just two weeks ago. Taylor has 20+ rushing yards in 6 of his previous 7 starts, including 3 rushing touchdowns over that same span; if he can accomplish similar this weekend while mustering 200 passing yards and a touchdown score to the likes of Kelvin Benjamin or Charles Clay, he will easily exceed the 15 points needed to justify his spot in your cash game lineups.
- Russell Wilson (vs. ARZ): Playing in a late game on the west coast, Russell Wilson is somewhat risky, from a motivational standpoint, as the Seahawks only control their own destiny if the Falcons lose at home to the Panthers in an early game. If that were to happen, Wilson would become one of the premier quarterback plays on the week simply because the Seahawks offense flows almost entirely through him; throughout the course of the 2017 season, Seattle has but one rushing touchdown from their running backs...every other score has resulted from a Russell Wilson throw or scamper. The risk associated with rostering Wilson lies in an early Atlanta win, which would make the outcome of the Seahawks game meaningless; at that point, you are relying on his self-pride as a professional to bring home the fantasy production you sought when you rostered him on Sunday morning. **The Carolina-Atlanta game was moved to 4 PM (EST) to eliminate the concerns described above regarding the outcome of the early game affecting motivation for Seattle-Arizona. Because both games will be played simultaneously, the concerns about incentive/motivation are no longer valid. Roster Russell Wilson accordingly.**
QB GPP OVERVIEW:
- Kirk Cousins (vs. NYG): This week's revelation that the Giants basically hate their former first-round draft pick, Eli Apple, was the final nail on the coffin that was the 2017 New York Giants season. Almost everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong for the Giants and why should Week #17 be any different? No team in the league allows more fantasy production to opposing quarterbacks and 40% of those efforts exceeded 25+ fantasy points, a level that would put Kirk Cousins into the 4x scoring territory. With questions surrounding the effectiveness of Samaje Perine (3.5 yards per carry; 1 rushing touchdown), the Redskins could lean a bit more heavily on Cousins and the passing game in a last-ditch effort to finish the season with a non-losing record.
- Philip Rivers (vs. OAK): With some help from the early games on Sunday, the Chargers have a chance at making a post-season appearance despite a slow start marred by close losses. If that scenario (Jacksonville win plus a loss by either Buffalo or Cincinnati) occurs, we should expect Melvin Gordon III (ankle) to be active despite practicing limitedly late in the week; if they are eliminated (my expectation) by those early outcomes, it would not be surprising to see Melvin Gordon III benched in favor of Branden Oliver, in which case Philip Rivers could shoulder a heavy load against the Raiders' 27th ranked DVOA pass defense. Because Oakland has offensive firepower of their own, we should expect both teams to keep on the gas until 60 full minutes have expired.
- Sean Mannion (vs. SF): Admittedly a conjecture recommendation, Sean Mannion is an intriguing GPP flyer on a week where there is a lot of uncertainty. Despite being in the league for three years, the former third-round pick has yet to start an NFL game. He will get his chance this Sunday against a 49er defense that has allowed its previous three opposing quarterbacks to surpass 18 DraftKings points, the threshold at which Mannion would achieve a 4x multiplier on his $4.5K salary; it is worth noting that those quarterbacks were none other than T.J. Yates, Marcus Mariota, and Blake Bortles, three underperformers on the season. Add in what we have seen Sean McVay do with this offense in 2017 and Mannion becomes an intriguing GPP play at his projected 1% ownership.
|NAME||SALARY||OWNERSHIP||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Alex Collins||5600||14%||1||1||Matchup is pristine vs. generous Burfict-less CIN defense.|
|Marshawn Lynch||4400||7%||2||3||$850K worth of incentives at stake vs. 27th DVOA rush DEF.|
|Carlos Hyde||4900||13%||3||6||20 touches/game since Week #11 bye. Plus gamescript.|
|Frank Gore||4400||6%||4||9||Needs big, but doable, day to reach 10th 1K-yard season.|
|LeSean McCoy||8000||12%||-||11||Never out of play especially in must-win situation.|
|Alvin Kamara||7900||16%||-||5||Tweaked Michael Thomas hamstring = more Kamara?|
|Mark Ingram II||7500||10%||-||12||If NO builds a lead, Ingram will be asked to bring it home.|
|Dion Lewis||6800||26%||-||8||RB Chalk. Only deterrent is elevated ownership.|
|Christian McCaffrey||6700||9%||-||7||Loss of Damiere Byrd could result in more routes for CMC.|
|C.J. Anderson||6000||9%||-||4||While most RBs are slowing down, CJA is red-hot.|
|Jamaal Williams||5200||15%||-||2||Nothing behind him. Heavy-usage is almost assured.|
|Malcolm Brown||3900||13%||-||10||3rd year backup gets Gurley role at less than half the price.|
RB CASH OVERVIEW:
- Alex Collins (vs. CIN): With an average of 19.2 touches per game since the Ravens' Week #10 bye, Alex Collins has been the focal point of Baltimore's offense over that same period where they went an impressive 5-1. With a "win and in" scenario looking them in the eye on Sunday, there is little reason to think that Coach Harbaugh will skew far from what has placed them into playoff contention at the latter part of the season. The matchup is excellent against the Bengals' front seven that has bled yardage to running backs over the past month, including 24+ fantasy points to Jerick McKinnon, Jordan Howard, and Le'Veon Bell; with their best run-stopper, Vontaze Burfict (shoulder), shut down for the season, the Bengals represent nothing more than a door mat for Collins and the 10-point home favorites.
- Marshawn Lynch (vs. LAC): As the season winds to a close, the Raiders are out of the playoffs and only playing for pride. Marshawn Lynch, however, is playing for much more: $850,000 more, to be exact. Because of questions surrounding his age and durability after missing all of 2016, Lynch signed an incentive-laden contract this Spring. Lynch needs 10-rushing yards to hit a $600K bonus, 2-touchdowns to collect another $250K bonus, and if he were to have a career game (210-rushing yards), he could add another $600K on top of those numbers--suffice it to say that there will be at least one Raider ready to treat this game seriously on Sunday. The matchup against the Chargers is better than advertised, despite the negative implied gamescript: the Chargers funnel action towards the run (8th DVOA versus the pass; 27th versus the run) and have allowed three different running backs to surpass 24+ fantasy points over their previous five games.
- Carlos Hyde (vs. LAR): 150-rushing yards against a Rams defense resting starters would put Carlos Hyde at the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Given that Hyde has only surpassed that threshold twice in his career, it is an unlikely event, but he is still a viable cash game candidate because of his implied usage and the newly-discovered ability to sustain drives since Jimmy Garoppolo has become the 49ers' starting quarterback. Hyde's usage in the passing game has taken a hit since Garoppolo arrived, but his redzone usage is off the charts (20 redzone touches over the past month); as 4-point favorites projected to score 23.8-points (8th highest on the slate), Hyde could feasibly start converting those redzone opportunities into touchdowns at a favorable $4.9K salary.
RB GPP OVERVIEW:
- Jamaal Williams (vs. DET): The Green Bay Packers will be without backup running back, Aaron Jones (knee), for their season finale against the Lions. In the three games Jones missed and Jamaal Williams was the sole running back on the Packers, Williams enjoyed 22, 25, and 23 touches, respectively (the last of those efforts saw Aaron Jones get an overtime attempt, his first of the game, in overtime and take it to the house for a touchdown). Nonetheless, Williams will be the bellcow running back on Sunday against the Lions' 28th-ranked (DVOA) rush defense that has allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to the position; over the past month, the Lions have yielded big fantasy days to Giovani Bernard and Alex Collins (32.8- and 23.8-points, respectively). Because there is little-to-no depth behind him, the implied negative gamescript should not affect Williams' involvement in this game and he would appear to be a shoo-in for 4+ targets in the passing game.
- C.J. Anderson (vs. KC): While the Denver Broncos offense is sputtering into 2018, C.J. Anderson is literally carrying the load in the final month of the season. Over their previous four games, Anderson has collected 97 touches (24.3 touches/game), including 19 targets as a receiver. Over that span, Anderson has only found paydirt once, so his price is still somewhat reasonable at $6.0K despite his massive usage in the offense. The matchup against the league's 31st-ranked DVOA rush defense could not be better, particularly when we have already been told that the Chiefs will be resting their best players on offense and (presumably) on defense. As 4-point home favorites with Paxton Lynch making his first start since October of last season, the Broncos would be well-reasoned to continue to lean on Anderson as they head into the off-season.
- Malcolm Brown (vs. SF): Used solely to spell Todd Gurley throughout his three years in the league, Malcolm Brown will finally get his first NFL start on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. In a limited sample size, Brown has not impressed during the regular season (3.5 yards per carry on 71 lifetime attempts), but he was solid in preseason action in this Sean McVay offense just a few months ago. He has exhibited an ability to catch passes out of the backfield and is a bruiser of a back at 5'11" and 230-pounds; as such, he carries PPR value and a nose for the goalline if Sean Mannion can lead this offense into the redzone. Given the turnaround we have observed with Gurley upon McVay's arrival, we have to at least consider Brown in GPP formats at his $3.9K price point.
|NAME||SALARY||OWNERSHIP||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|T.Y. Hilton||5900||25%||1||2||Scored 37.5 DK points in November vs. HOU DEF.|
|Julio Jones||8200||28%||2||4||Must-win game. 6/118/0 on 12 targets vs. CAR in November.|
|A.J. Green||6300||10%||3||3||WR1s have killed BAL since Jimmy Smith went on IR.|
|Roger Lewis||3600||3%||4||15||Last man standing in NYG WR corps. 32 targets over last 3 games.|
|Braxton Miller||3000||1%||5||14||WR2 role. Routes fit better with T.J. Yates' skillset.|
|Keenan Allen||7800||23%||-||9||Banged up RB crew could restore action to Allen.|
|Michael Thomas||7700||15%||-||8||Ownership vs. TB would be higher if not for bum hamstring.|
|Marquise Goodwin||6600||11%||-||5||Awoken with Garoppolo under center. Rebound spot.|
|Marvin Jones Jr||6500||9%||-||7||Killed GB since arriving in DET. Excellent GPP play at 9% owned.|
|Doug Baldwin||6400||10%||-||10||Will avoid Patrick Peterson shadow in must-win spot.|
|Brandin Cooks||6300||12%||-||11||Only IND allows more 20+ yard passing plays than NYJ.|
|Josh Gordon||5800||3%||-||6||Expect PIT to sit Haden et al. Gordon could finally deliver here.|
|Robby Anderson||5000||3%||-||12||Tough defenses of late. Gamescript sets up well for rebound.|
|Josh Doctson||4400||12%||-||1||Breakout spot after games vs. LAC, ARZ, DEN secondaries.|
|Kenny Golladay||3300||3%||-||13||Playing more than Golden Tate at half the price. Plus matchup.|
WR CASH OVERVIEW:
- Julio Jones (vs. CAR): Likely the most popular wide receiver in cash games, just plug Julio Jones in and move onto your next decision. Jones represents one of the safest high-dollar prospects on this Week #17 mine field. He is playing for a team that is highly-motivated to win, with a quarterback who peppers him with targets, and has a history of success against his opponent. When these teams met in early November, Jones saw 12 targets and finished the day with 6 receptions for 118 yards without a score; that day could have been much bigger if not for a dropped pass on a post route and an injury that cost Jones playing time during the game. Having allowed their previous five WR1s to score an average of ~ 23 DraftKings points, the Carolina Panthers have struggled to contain receivers of Jones' caliber all season; that notion is supported by the fact that Carolina allows the 4th-most fantasy points to the position entering this weekend's games.
- A.J. Green (vs. BAL): Akin to what was described (above) with the Panthers struggling to contain opposing WR1s, the Ravens have been a mess in their defensive backfield since Jimmy Smith (Achilles) went on IR in November. Since their Week #10 bye, the Ravens have allowed opposing WR1s to score an average of 20.8 DraftKings points per game, a number that would be skewed higher if DeShone Kizer was able to hit Josh Gordon in space and/or the Lions did not split targets so evenly between their receivers. On Sunday, the Bengals are expected to score only 15.3 points and it is difficult to imagine that those points will come on the ground with a banged up Joe Mixon against a top-10 rush defense in a gamescript that should require a lot of passing; as such, getting A.J. Green at a near-$2K discount feels like a bargain for cash games and tournaments.
- T.Y. Hilton (vs. HOU): Back in Week #9, I recommended T.Y. Hilton as a cash/GPP selection in this same column against this same Texans secondary and he lived up to expectations, delivering a 5/175/2 stat line that led a lot of folks to DFS cashes. There is no reason to think that it cannot happen again this weekend when Hilton closes out the season at home, where he has historically outperformed his expectations. The speedster should get plenty of chances to burn the very beatable combination of Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, who have allowed the 12th and 1st most receiving yardage while in coverage this season. With Donte Moncrief off the field for the past month and highly questionable for Sunday's game, Hilton could be in line for another solid performance that would take him over 1,000-receiving yards for the 5th consecutive season.
WR GPP OVERVIEW:
- Marvin Jones Jr (vs. GB): Since putting together back-to-back big games against Chicago and Minnesota over a month ago, Marvin Jones Jr has mostly disappointed in plus matchups since then. A lot of that disappointment can be attributed to the uprising of Eric Ebron, who has 30 targets (and 60 DraftKings points) over the Lions' past four games; that might be enough to drive down ownership on Jones, but we should not expect Ebron to continue scoring touchdowns, especially given the fact that he has now scored 4-times as many in 2017 than he did last season. For his part, Jones has murdered the Packers secondary since arriving in Detroit last year, averaging 28.9 fantasy points per game over a trio of contests.
- Josh Gordon (vs. PIT): The Pittsburgh Steelers only chance of obtaining home-field advantage throughout the playoffs rests on the ability of Bryce Petty to lead the Jets to victory in Foxborough as 15.5-point underdogs on Sunday. In other words, the writing is on the wall and Pittsburgh is almost assuredly locked into the 2-seed in the AFC; as such, reports out of western Pennsylvania are suggesting that the Steelers will bench many of their starters and the Vegas line has dropped by over a touchdown since that news was released. This could bode well for Josh Gordon, who has tested the patience of many DFS players since he was reinstated back in Week #13. Since then, he has been targeted 36 times, but has only caught 14 passes for 220 yards and a single touchdown...mostly due to DeShone Kizer throwing inaccurate passes (42% of those targets were deemed "uncatchable"). If the Steelers rest key players on Sunday, Kizer could feasibly have more time to find (and connect with) Josh Gordon in lesser coverage; given Gordon's big play ability and the implied ownership (3%), it is a risk that we should be willing to take for tournament play.
- Josh Doctson (vs. NYG): At first glance, Josh Doctson's game logs have been overwhelmingly disappointing for much of the season. However, the path for Doctson's success has been paved and is leading to this Sunday's plush matchup against the Giants. First, Doctson was slow to return from an Achilles injury that cost him his rookie season. Upon his (intentionally) slow return, he was forced to compete with free agent signee Terrelle Pryor, breakout Chris Thompson, and the uber-talented Jordan Reed for targets; with all of those players now watching from the sidelines, Doctson's snap counts have risen and he is neck-and-neck alongside Jamison Crowder for targets. Coming off of tough matchups against Arizona (Patrick Peterson), L.A. Chargers (Casey Hayward), and Denver (Aqib Talib), Doctson should welcome the matchup against the defeated Giants secondary; last time these teams met on Thanksgiving, Crowder and Doctson combined for 9/169/2...a stat line that could certainly be skewed more in the direction of Doctson this weekend at a very reasonable price point.
|NAME||SALARY||OWNERSHIP||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Charles Clay||3700||8%||1||4||19 targets over past two. Plus matchup vs. TE-friendly defense.|
|Delanie Walker||4400||6%||2||2||Rarely lays an egg. JAX funnels pass action to interior.|
|Rob Gronkowski||7000||22%||3||1||No higher upside. Kelce's inactive status will skew ownership.|
|Greg Olsen||5600||7%||-||10||Hit-or-miss, but will be underowned due to price point.|
|Jack Doyle||4700||11%||-||5||DFS favorite w/5+ catches in 2/3 of games this season.|
|Eric Ebron||4500||12%||-||9||15+ FPs in last three contests. TD-dependent play.|
|Vernon Davis||4300||2%||-||7||NYG DEF: 2nd most FPs allowed to opposing TEs.|
|Ben Watson||3800||1%||-||6||Jeremy Maclin to miss another = Increased usage.|
|Stephen Anderson||3100||1%||-||8||10+ targets will be redistributed w/out Hopkins. Cheap.|
|Rhett Ellison||2700||1%||-||3||Most veteran receiver on NYG this week at $2.7K.|
- Rob Gronkowski (vs. NYJ): A ill-fated wager against friend and fellow Footballguy, Devin Knotts, led me to paint my face like our FBG mascot, Blackeyed Joe, on this week's episode of the PowerGrid. Briefly, I bet that Travis Kelce would yield a better points-per-dollar return on investment than Rob Gronkowski last week and while it was close, I lost (and paid up). With Kelce likely watching from the sidelines this Sunday, Gronkowski is the luxury tight end against a Jets defense that allows the 9th-most fantasy points to the position, including a 20+ point performance to the decrepit Antonio Gates just last weekend. The only thing working against Gronk is that his ownership for tournament play will be extremely high, which makes him a possible fade candidate, but the lack of receiving options for the Patriots makes that a difficult pill to swallow.
- Charles Clay (vs. MIA): Now 100% healthy, we are seeing Charles Clay's usage (snap counts and targets) creep to more historical levels; he leads the team in targets over the past three weeks (24), but has not scored since Week #3...two observations that would appear to be inversely correlated and, therefore, subject to change in the near future. The one most likely to change is the lack of scoring, as only the Browns and Giants allow more normalized fantasy production to the tight end position than the Miami Dolphins (+ 26% over league average). That statistic bodes well for Tyrod Taylor's primary receiving weapon, Charles Clay, in a must-win game in southern Florida on Sunday.
- Rhett Ellison (vs. WAS): Not a name-brand tight end, Rhett Ellison is a GPP punt play that needs to score a touchdown against the Redskins on Sunday to reach GPP value; the prospect of him scoring a touchdown is not out of the realm of possibilities, as Washington allows the 6th-most fantasy points to the tight end position and have allowed more than half of opposing teams' tight ends to score against them this season. Ellison should get plenty of opportunity as the most veteran receiver on a Giants team that will run out some combination of Roger Lewis, Travis Rudolph, and Hunter Sharp as their primary receivers. In five years with the Vikings, Ellison was rarely used as a receiver, but he has displayed modest success in limited action in his first season with the Giants (19/172/2 on 26 targets). At 1% (or less) ownership, he is a roster differentiator that could pay dividends if Eli Manning finds him inside the endzone.
|NAME||SALARY||OWNERSHIP||CASH RANK||GPP RANK||NOTES|
|Vikings||3900||9%||1||3||3 of previous 4 opponents scored < 10 points.|
|Patriots||3500||6%||2||1||Bryce Petty has done nothing; Hackenberg could play too.|
|Jaguars||4000||3%||-||4||If JAX does not rest starters, 3% is ridiculously low.|
|Ravens||3800||10%||-||7||Playoff-motivated at home. Only A.J. Green poses threat.|
|Lions||3700||2%||-||5||GB: Benching most offensive stars = plus matchup at home.|
|Redskins||3500||6%||-||6||Giants are defeated. Davis Webb could see action.|
|Bills||3000||4%||-||8||Underrated defense will be motivated for playoff action.|
|Broncos||2900||7%||-||2||Too cheap for star-studded DEF at home vs. rookie QB.|
- Vikings (vs. CHI): The Cleveland Browns somehow managed to sack Mitchell Trubisky five times last week, a number that has to have the rookie shaking in his cleats prior to this week's matchup against the league's 4th-best (DVOA) defense, the Minnesota Vikings. We can expect the Vikings to come out fired-up as they look to lock down the 2-seed in the NFC in front of their home crowd. With double-digit points in each of their previous two games and having allowed less than 10 total points in all games but one over the previous month, this is a prime spot to pay up at defense, if your remaining salary allows it.
- Patriots (vs. NYJ): It is difficult to know if the Patriots will play their starters for the entire game (I suspect they will not play all four quarters), but it is difficult to envision a scenario whereby the Jets are able to put together an impressive performance on the road against the Super Bowl favorites after scoring an average of 9-points per game since Bryce Petty took over at quarterback. In those three games, opposing defenses have scored an average of 12.7 fantasy points per game, a number that approaches 4x tournament value for the home team, Patriots. If Christian Hackenberg makes an appearance (an apparent possibility), you will definitely want a piece of New England's defense, regardless of whether their starters are playing or not.
- Broncos (vs. KC): There is some modest buzz regarding Patrick Mahomes II II making his first career start against a Broncos defense that has sporadic, at best, at the close of this season, but this game is setting up to be an intriguing situation for the Denver team defense. Sure, Mahomes has a rocket arm, but if Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce sit (as expected), who should we expect to see him target? That will leave names like Albert Wilson, Demetrius Harris, and Demarcus Robinson to not only find space against Denver's stellar secondary personnel, but then Mahomes has to fight the bitter cold (16 "feels like" degrees at kickoff) and the home crowd in his first NFL start to be successful. That feels like a big ask for Mahomes and the better bet is on Denver's defense at a paltry $2.9K price tag.