Each week I take a look at every NFL game in an attempt to identify players that can be stacked together to maximize value in GPP play at FanDuel. I examine the spreads and totals for each game as well as the implied totals for each team and blend that with the likeliest script that these games will follow. In doing so, I am attempting to find players that can pay dividends for your lineup. In some cases, I will also provide a pivot within the stack to another player and give reasons as to why a pivot might make sense. You can use this information as a guide, and you will have multiple options to help you to sort through the noise while you put lineups together that can offer a degree of security.
Note: Week 17 presents significant challenges to try and understand the factors that could potentially be problematic for your lineup. These factors involve where a team sits in the playoff picture and how it approaches the season’s final game. Some choose to sit their elite talent while some choose to play them (to a certain extent) and the NFL has done an excellent job of scheduling these games to be played at the same time. Still, there are no guarantees and anything is possible. You need to understand that you may not get a full game from a specific player for one reason or another. This article will do its best to deal with some of these issues and I will pick players I consider safe (relatively speaking), meaning there is an expectation for a full game from them. As always, please understand that there are no guarantees.
Facing No. 23 ranked DVOA pass defense - No. 23 ranked pass defense allowing 237.7 yards per game
Game Total - 44
Implied Totals - Patriots at 30 points and Jets at 14 points
Game Line - New England Patriots - 5.5
The New England Patriots bring the New York Jets into town on Sunday for an AFC East matchup in Week 17. The Patriots have the highest implied total of the week (30) and will not have problems putting points on the board versus the Jets.
The Jets have given up 59 passing plays of 20 or more yards in 2017 and only one team in the league has given up more of these types of plays. The Jets have given up eight passing plays of 40 or more yards in 2017 and only 11 teams in the league have given up more.
The Jets have surrendered an average of 7.2 yards per catch and only nine teams across the league have yielded a higher average. Also, the Jets have yielded 28 scores via the pass and only three teams in the NFL have given up more.
The Jets do not generate much pressure on the passer and have sacked the quarterback only 26 times in 2017. There are only three teams in the NFL with fewer sacks this year. The Jets secondary will be forced to cover the Patriots receiving options for longer than usual and Brady is going to be able to pick apart this secondary on Sunday.
Gronkowski has been targeted 39 times in his last four games and he has caught 28 passes for 464 yards and three scores. Gronkowski is far and away the first option in the passing attack for the Patriots and he is in line for a big day on Sunday. Brady and Gronkowski are an excellent stack for GPP play in Week 17.
Facing No. 30 ranked DVOA pass defense - No. 32 ranked pass defense allowing 262.5 yards per game
Game Total - 50.5
Implied Totals - Saints at 29 points and Buccaneers at 22 points
Game Line - New Orleans Saints - 7
The New Orleans Saints travel to Tampa Bay on Sunday to take on the Buccaneers in a Week 17 NFC South matchup. This game has the highest total of the week and both teams should be able to put points on the board in this game.
The Buccaneers have given up 54 passing plays of 20 or more yards in 2017 and only four teams in the league have given up more. The Buccaneers have given up 10 passing plays of 40 or more yards in 2017 and only seven teams in the league have given up more.
The Buccaneers have surrendered an average of 7.8 yards per catch and only two teams across the league have yielded a higher average. Teams have been able to move the ball down the field at ease on the Buccaneers pass defense.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that the Buccaneers do not generate much pressure on the passer as they have only registered 20 sacks in 2017 which ranks last in the NFL. Brees is going to have time in the pocket to pick apart this poor Buccaneers secondary.
Thomas is easily the first option in the Saints passing game. He has been targeted 39 times over the Saints past four games, catching 28 passes for 346 yards and three scores. Note that he is on the injury report, listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and you will want to monitor his status before rostering him.
Brees and Thomas make for a very interesting stack for GPP play in Week 17.
Facing No. 22 ranked DVOA pass defense - No. 22 ranked pass defense allowing 232.3 yards per game
Game Total - 43
Implied Totals - Lions at 25 points and Packers at 18 points
Game Line - Detroit Lions - 6.5
The Detroit Lions bring the Green Bay Packers into town on Sunday for an NFC North matchup in Week 17. Neither team has much to play for as both have been eliminated from playoff contention, but both should play their starters for a full game in Week 17.
Green Bay allows 7.7 yards per catch and only three teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Packers have given up 51 passing plays of 20 or more yards in 2017 and only eight teams in the league have given up more of these types of plays. They have given up 27 scores via the pass and only five teams in the NFL allow more.
The Lions struggle to run the ball with any level of effectiveness and if they are going to score the points they are forecast to get, they will likely come via their passing game. Stafford has had a solid season and he has the opportunity to go out on a high note in this contest.
Jones has emerged as the Lions vertical threat and he has been a potent weapon throughout the 2017 season. Jones was targeted 11 times back in Week 9 when these teams played in Green Bay, catching seven passes for 107 yards and two scores.
Stafford and Jones have a chance to light up the Packers in this game and together they make an intriguing stack for GPP play in Week 17.
Pivot: Wide receiver Golden Tate ($7,100) is an intriguing option as he gets many targets near the line of scrimmage and is in some ways the Lions running game. He consistently makes the first defender miss and generates a lot of yards after the catch. Tight end Eric Ebron ($5,600) has come on over the last half of the season and he has caught 10 passes over his past two games and scored in each one of them. Ebron is questionable with a knee injury and you will want to see him practice in full before rostering him.
Lastly, if you are looking for a dart throw that makes a lot of sense, take a look at receiver Kenny Golladay ($5,000) as he gives your roster great flexibility from a salary perspective. He is playing in a matchup that he can exploit and has a reasonable path to get to GPP value.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
Facing No. 11 ranked DVOA pass defense - No. 16 ranked pass defense allowing 223.6 yards per game
Game Total - 45.5
Implied Totals Falcons at 25 points and Panthers at 20.5 points
Game Line - Atlanta Falcons - 4
The Atlanta Falcons bring the potent Carolina Panthers into town on Sunday for an important Week 17 NFC South matchup. The Falcons are in a “win and in” situation as they hold the tiebreaker over the Seattle Seahawks and they must win on Sunday to ensure a playoff berth.
The Panthers have given up 24 touchdowns via the pass and only 10 teams in the NFL have surrendered more in 2017. They are allowing 7.2 yards per catch and only nine teams in the NFL allow a higher average.
The Panthers have given up 46 passing plays of 20 or more yards and only 12 teams in the league have given up more this year. Also, they have allowed eight passing plays if 40 or more yards and only 10 teams league-wide have allowed more.
This game is a must-win for the Falcons, but the reality is that the Panthers are a solid pass defense and that is where the risk lies in rostering Falcons players. You are banking on them playing a very strong game to get the three-plus touchdowns they are forecast to score, but this is a tough matchup and not without risk.
Jones is the Falcons first option in their passing attack and he has seen 37 targets over the past four games. He has caught 17 passes for 325 yards over that span, but he is overdue and the Falcons need him to step up and play a dominant game on Sunday. Jones is questionable with an ankle injury and you need to monitor the injury report throughout the week, and this adds more risk to this stack.
Ryan and Jones have a matchup worth trying to exploit in Week 17, but this stack carries significant risk for multiple reasons. However, it is worth consideration for GPP play in Week 17.
Alex Collins ($6,800) +Baltimore Ravens ($5,200) = $12,000
The Baltimore Ravens are at home versus the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday for a Week 17 AFC North matchup. The Ravens are a 9.5-point home favorite, and the Ravens need to win this football game to have any hope of getting into the playoffs this season.
Coming into the Week 16 game versus the Detroit Lions, the Bengals appeared to have mailed it in and had the appearance of a team that had rolled over. That did not happen last week as Detroit came into the game unprepared to play a must-win game, but they have been dealing with significant injuries that caught up to them at the wrong time.
The point remains that the Bengals are not playing well and the Ravens should take them out to the woodshed on Sunday. The Bengals offensive line is a mess and that means bad things for quarterback Andy Dalton.
Dalton does not handle pressure well and can be forced to put the ball into a bad spots which will give the defense opportunities to make plays and produce fantasy points. The Ravens have registered 40 sacks in 2017 and only six teams have generated more production form their pass rush this year.
The Bengals are the league’s No. 23 ranked DVOA run defense in 2017. They are ranked No. 31 in yards allowed per game (128.5). The game script calls for the Ravens to be up early in this game, and they could heavily rely on their running game to chew up the clock and finish the game.
Collins is a dual-purpose back and he has been remarkably effective in 2017, emerging as the No. 1 back for the Ravens. He sees work as a runner and as a receiver and will have the opportunity to have a big day on Sunday. He has scored five times as a runner in the six games since the Week 10 bye, and he has caught 18 passes over that span.
The game script looks outstanding for Collins as the Ravens should be up and pounding the ball while killing time in the second half of this game. Both sides of this stack have a chance to be extremely productive and it is an excellent option for GPP play in Week 17.
Dion Lewis ($7,200) + New England Patriots ($5,100) = $12,300
The New England Patriots take on the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup in Week 17. The Patriots are a 15.5-point home favorite facing a Jets team that is starting backup quarterback Bryce Petty because of a hand injury to starter Josh McCown back a few weeks ago. In his two starts, he has thrown three interceptions and only one touchdown pass.
The Jets are the league’s No. 12 ranked DVOA run defense in 2017. They are ranked No. 19 allowing 116.0 yards per game, and they have given up 12 touchdowns via the ground this year and only 10 teams in the NFL have yielded more. The Jets give up 4.1 yards per carry and only 14 teams league-wide allow a higher average, but this is where the game script enters the equation.
The Jets have given up 12 plays that have gone for 20 or more yards and only five teams in the NFL have allowed more. Also, they have surrendered six plays that have gone for 40+ yards and that ranks last in the NFL. Lewis has the chance to bust off a big run or two in this contest.
Lewis is not a full workload type and other backs (James White and Mike Gillislee) will see time, but Lewis is the first option in the rushing attack and he is in a great spot in this contest to get into the end zone and put up nice yardage.
The game script looks excellent for Lewis and the Patriots defense in this game. There is excellent opportunity for both pieces of this stack to pay off, and this is a very intriguing stack for GPP play in Week 17.