FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 17

A Deeper Look at Who to Target for FanDuel GPPs this Week

For those of you who are new to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), GPPs are "Guaranteed Prize Pool" Tournaments with larger, sometimes very large prize amounts. FanDuel is one of the biggest sites in DFS and offers some of the biggest prizes in the industry. The goal of this article is to guide you towards some players that could help you take home that big prize. Footballguys offers a ton of resources to help you build that winning lineup, and this is just one of the many - but I hope that you will find it a valuable resource and check this article out on a regular basis.

Before we talk about the players for this week, we cannot completely ignore cash game plays. Typically a "GPP player" for the week is one that can score big or score terribly - the classic "boom or bust" player. A wide receiver that can catch two deep balls for two scores can get you 30+ points - or he might wind up with nada. Chasing 1-3 big plays can win you a tournament, but filling out a roster completely with these types of options will likely leave you well short of first place. That is why you cannot ignore the cash game plays each week as well, as combining the two groups is what usually leads to those big victories in GPP contests. So, expect some mention of players who are cash game plays each week, as well as some players that could be considered for both GPP and cash games.

Note - this article is not intended to provide a fully exhaustive list of every possible player. That would be an immensely long group of players. These are just some of the best options I see for GPPs this week when considering value, price, upside, and matchups.

Second note - Keep in mind the multiplier target(s) you want to hit for both cash and GPP / tournaments on FanDuel. In general, you are looking for 2x in cash (twice the cost of the player in $1,000 increments) and 3x in GPP. That means a player that costs $6,000 should produce 12 or more points in cash and 18 or more in GPPs.

Now, on with this week's top options:

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 17

To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season (you can also find more on the weekly Power Grid show (link to be updated Friday - available on the DFS home page) - be sure to watch and subscribe!). For this week, there are lots of options again, but many of the decisions will hinge upon scratches that will happen this weekend, so expect some updates here on Saturday.

Week 17 is considered to be quite tricky, but in actuality it is not if you know what to look for in the final week of the NFL regular season.  Finding motivation is key, and that is how I started my "For the Win" column this week.  I think it is so important that I will re-publish that section here, as it matters a great deal in picking out players this week.  Here it is:

THE NFC PICTURE

Philadelphia (13-2) clinched a first-round bye and the #1 seed overall on Monday, but the win over Oakland was ugly.  They will be motivated to play well for at least a half at home against Dallas on Sunday, and then they get a week off for rest and practice for their next opponent at home.  I think they are motivated by that bad loss to put up a good performance in Week 17, and it does not hurt that they are facing Dallas, a divisional rival where no love is lost.

Minnesota (11-3) has clinched the NFC North but still need a win to get the bye.  Incentive enough.  As for the NFC West, the Rams locked that up and at 11-4 and will be the third or fourth seed in the NFC.  A win by Los Angeles puts them third, while a loss likely puts them fourth (they could still finish third if both Carolina and New Orleans lose).  The most interesting part about this is that the Rams may prefer to be fourth instead of third, as the fourth seed has a much more likely path to Philadelphia in the second round, and the Eagles look far more beatable then when the Rams lost to Philadelphia earlier this year.  Expect the Rams to take the foot off the gas and rest players this week.   

The NFC South is still the most interesting division in the NFL.  The Saints (11-4) beat Atlanta last week but need another win to win the division.  A loss opens the chance for Carolina (10-5) to steal the division with a win over Atlanta (9-6), but the Falcons need a win (or Seattle loss) to make the playoffs.

Our last team to mention are those Seahawks (9-6), who are on the outside looking in due to a tiebreaker that goes to the Falcons.  Seattle only makes the playoffs with a win and a Falcons loss, so the Seahawks are certainly motivated.

THE AFC PICTURE

Turning to the AFC, New England (12-3) and Pittsburgh (12-3) are getting the two byes, and the Patriots get home field with a win as they beat the Steelers earlier this month.  Both teams are motivated to win this week as a misstep by the Patriots opens the door for Pittsburgh to take over that #1 spot.

The AFC South (Jacksonville, 10-5) and AFC West (Kansas City, 9-6) have been won, and both the Jaguars and Chiefs are locked into their spots.  Jacksonville will be the third seed and the Chiefs will be the fourth.  Both teams could rest players this week since they will play the following week on Wild Card Weekend, but Jacksonville’s head coach Doug Marrone has already stated that this will not be the case.  That makes sense as Jacksonville was just embarrassed by the 49ers last week and need to get that winning feeling back, plus they face a divisional rival in Tennessee with playoff aspirations.  What better way to tune up for the postseason than to play a team facing elimination?

I do expect the Chiefs to rest a few players, as the road to winning the AFC West has not been easy.  There has been a lot of talk all year about getting a look at Patrick Mahomes II, and this could be the perfect excuse to give him a start and get some regular season playing time.  Even on the road and starting Mahomes, the Chiefs are still favored in Denver.  More on that game later.

Since the Titans will be facing a good test against Jacksonville, the Wild Card spots will be a hot race on Sunday afternoon.  Baltimore (9-6) and Tennessee (9-6) are in “win and in” situations, while Buffalo (8-7) and the Chargers (8-7) both need help.   Buffalo can get in with a win and a Tennessee loss, which feels like the best chance for the Bills, but they are on the road at Miami and the Dolphins seem to have that role of spoiler down pat.  The Chargers must win, and hope Tennessee loses to Jacksonville and either the Ravens or Bills also stumble.  Overall it is clear to me that all four teams will be playing hard to win come Sunday.

There are some other forms of motivation (incentives, getting to 8-8, keeping up a win streak, etc.) that we will touch on throughout the article below, but overall the summary above will guide me through most of my selections for Week 17.

Now, this is a great week for GPPs.  Find the teams that are motivated, throw in some value picks around those stacks and call it a day.  Or, you can game stack a lesser-targeted game (i.e. not Atlanta-Carolina) and hope the sparks fly.   New Orleans-Tampa Bay or Chargers-Raiders, for example.  Whittling down your player pool to players on motivated teams or just motivated players to hit incentives is a great approach.  I like to steer clear of recently eliminated teams as they have likely not come to grips with their season coming to an end.  Players resting for the postseason also creates opportunities for their backups, and the NFL depth chart is not that deep, so the talent should be there to support those understudies. 

Let's dive in and try and find those diamonds in the rough for the final week:

Here are a few general references I will be using as the season progresses:

Footballguys' DFS Week 17 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Strength of Schedule (NSOS)

Please note that if a player isn't mentioned in the write-ups but is in the table, it does not mean that I like the player more in the write-ups. The discussion sections are to add more detail, support, and clarity for those players mentioned, but all of the picks in the tables are viable options if they are ranked.

Now, without further ado, here are the players I like the most this week.

QUARTERBACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Jameis Winston 7200 n/a 7 Medium Possible shootout with the Saints and Mike Evans wants to perform
Russell Wilson 8700 1 6 Medium Seattle in a must win situation and Wilson is the offense
Tom Brady 8500 3 5 Med-High Risky option as Brady could rest if they go up big
Cam Newton 8400 4 2 Medium Carolina playing to win the NFC South, possibly a bye and to knock out Atlanta
Philip Rivers 8300 2 3 Medium Chargers are in a win and in spot against a bad (and tired) Oakland secondary
Drew Brees 8200 n/a 8 Low The Saints need to win to win the NFC South and face a weak Tampa Bay defense
Jimmy Garoppolo 7700 6 1 Med-High Has been on fire since becoming the starter, and facing a Rams team looking to lose
Matt Ryan 7400 5 4 Medium Win and in for Ryan in a home game
Patrick Mahomes II II 6000 n/a 10 Very Low Spot start for the rookie, and Denver's defense is tired and overrated right now
Sean Mannion 6000 n/a 9 Very Low Scott McVay - can you believe he can coach up another quarterback? Then again, the Rams want to lose

CHALK TALK:  Several options and directions exist this week for quarterback.  A few cheap options are starting, but I see all of them as GPP only plays.  Taking a quarterback that is in a must win spot looks to be the safest play, starting with Tom Brady.  New England needs a victory to secure the #1 seed in the AFC and the Patriots have the highest implied team total this week.   Russell Wilson is never a bad option when Seattle has to win, and he is the vast majority of the offense for the Seahawks.  Philip Rivers also most lead his team to a win for the Chargers to have a chance at the playoffs, and against Oakland (and potentially without Melvin Gordon III) he looks viable in all formats.

GPP:  I skipped over Cam Newton in the chalk talk area as there is a possibility that the Panthers pull starters at some point against Atlanta.  It is not a given that Carolina will move up in the playoff ranks and they are highly likely to be playing next weekend as a Wild Card, so getting Newton a little rest may be more important than knocking out the Falcons.  On the other sideline, I expect Matt Ryan to play hard all game as Atlanta must win to get into the playoffs, so expect him to target Julio Jones often this week.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few backups starting this week.  Patrick Mahomes II (Kansas City) goes to Denver while Sean Mannion (Rams) hosts the 49ers.  The Chiefs want to get a look at Mahomes, but a road trip to the Broncos is not exactly DFS gold.  Mannion may play well for Los Angeles, but as I mentioned above, the Rams likely want to lose more than win this game, which I think limits Mannion’s upside.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing fantastic since becoming the starter for the 49ers.  They seem to care very little about their draft pick spot for 2018, rather trying to win and build momentum for next year.  After a massive 44-33 win over the Jaguars last week, San Francisco heads to the Rams who would rather lose than win in Week 17.  Garoppolo looks poised for another strong performance. 

 

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Alvin Kamara 8800 6 1 Medium Kamara had two touchdowns the first time against Tampa Bay
Mark Ingram II 8400 7 6 Medium Both backs for the Saints are viable against the Buccaneers
LeSean McCoy 8200 1 2 Medium Top option for both Buffalo and possibly the whole slate - Bills must win
Dion Lewis 7200 2 3 Very High New England may not have any other running backs to use against the Jets
Kenyan Drake 7000 8 4 High Bills defense is not good against the run, and Drake had almost 5.0 YPC in first matchup
Christian McCaffrey 6900 n/a 11 Medium Atlanta does not do well against receiving backs and with Byrd out, CMC could be very active
C.J. Anderson 6900 n/a 12 Medium Quietly has been getting a ton of work for Denver
Alex Collins 6800 4 5 Medium Baltimore should lean on Collins against the Bengals
Latavius Murray 6600 n/a 10 Low Top back for Minnesota when they lead, as they should against Chicago
Marshawn Lynch 6600 n/a 9 Low Playing hard and has big incentives in a virtual home game
Giovani Bernard 6200 n/a 14 Medium Only back left healthy for Cincinnati
Derrick Henry 5800 3 7 Very High DeMarco Murray has an MCL issue and could/should/likely be out
Tion Green 4900 n/a 13 Very Low GPP only option for the Lions, but good spot at home against Green Bay
Malcolm Brown 4500 5 8 High Top back for the Rams with Gurley sitting out (rest)

CHALK TALK:  Running back will decide quite a bit this week on FanDuel.  There are a number of players to choose from on the week at all price levels, including probable starters at minimum price.  The Rams are resting Todd Gurley, so Malcolm Brown at just $4,500 becomes an almost must play in all formats.  Pittsburgh is also resting Le'Veon Bell, but Stevan Ridley is not available this week. 

The theme for backs to target appears to be feature backs in must win situations.  LeSean McCoy will carry a heavy workload against Miami as the Bills need a victory to have a good shot at the playoffs.  Baltimore is in with a win, so expect a big game from Alex Collins at home against the Bengals.  Derrick Henry looks to be in a favorable spot, but it could be a trap with Jacksonville possibly playing to keep Tennessee out of the playoffs.  Henry’s status may also get complicated if the Titans try and use DeMarco Murray (MCL), who should be resting with a knee concern.

GPP:  Kenyan Drake looks to be in a great spot to play spoiler at home against Buffalo.  The Bills allowed him nearly five yards a carry and a touchdown in their first matchup, so expect the Dolphins to give Drake plenty of chances to put up big numbers this week.

The Saints need to win to win the NFC South.  As road favorites in Tampa Bay, they have several options as usual on offense, but the ground game looks to the safest bet.  The Buccaneers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season, so the only question is whether Mark Ingram II or Alvin Kamara will have the bigger performance.  Both seem equally likely to put up big numbers, putting both in play for tournaments.

With Damiere Byrd on IR for the Panthers, Christian McCaffrey becomes very interesting once again.  The Falcons are one of the worst teams against receiving running backs, and McCaffrey will likely pass Le'Veon Bell for the lead in targets to running backs this week.  McCaffrey had 20 touches, 5 catches, 94 total yards and a touchdown the first time against Atlanta and that may be his floor this week.

One late addition - Marshawn Lynch is rather incentivized to do well this week.  Just thought I'd mention that.  He has been playing very hard of late and if the crowd for the Raiders game "at" the Chargers is very pro Oakland, he could have quite the afternoon.

  

WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Keenan Allen 8600 1 1 High The Chargers must win, and Allen is the clear top target for Los Angeles. Great matchup against Oakland
Julio Jones 8400 2 2 Very High Julio Jones had a big game the first time they met (6-118, 12 targets) and they will look often to him this week
Michael Thomas 8200 3 8 Medium Always an option for Drew Brees, but will he find the end zone?
A.J. Green 7700 8 4 Medium Tough matchup on paper, but Baltimore has given up a lot to WR1s with Jimmy Smith out
Mike Evans 6900 4 3 Med-High Evans needs 54 yards for 1,000 and is eying that mark. Expect double that against the Saints
Marquise Goodwin 6900 9 10 Medium Top target for a red hot Garoppolo
Devin Funchess 6800 10 7 Low Byrd is now on IR, so Funchess back in the saddle as the top WR target for Cam Newton
T.Y. Hilton 6700 5 6 High Great matchup against Houston and in a dome - big game upside here
Josh Gordon 6700 7 5 Low Cleveland does not want to finish 0-16, and Gordon is their best hope
Rishard Matthews 5500 6 9 Low If Jalen Ramsey rests, Matthews is in line for a big game in a must win spot for the Titans
Michael Clark 5100 n/a 11 Very Low Sleeper pick for Green Bay - had three catches and several targets last week
Mack Hollins 4500 n/a 12 Very Low Sleeper for the Eagles if they rest wide receivers

CHALK TALK:  Wide receiver looks to be the spot where you want to spend up this week.  The strongest options at the position are in must win games, so many rosters will have both Julio Jones and Keenan Allen this week.  With so much value at running back it is easier to get two elite options on the same lineup, which will be the main path for a lot of DFS roster owners in Week 17.  Jones had 118 yards the first time he played Carolina in Week 9, so it is easy to see the attraction.  Allen has been very hot of late (four touchdowns and four 100+ yard games in his last six), which leave his paltry 5-45 from the first matchup in Week 6 as a distant memory.  Expect big performances from both elite receivers.

GPP:  After Allen and Jones, the choices get a little trickier.  Stacks are always in play for tournaments, and there are several different directions you can go in for Week 17.  For example, if the Jaguars rest Jalen Ramsey and other members of the defense, Rishard Matthews become much more interesting.  Tennessee is looking to win to make the playoffs (although the can still back in with a loss), but Jacksonville has stated they may push hard to knock them out.  T.Y. Hilton looks to be in a great spot against Houston at home, and Hilton had a massive performance (5-175-2) in Week 9 against the Texans.

Mike Evans is closing in on 1,000 yards, which would be his fourth season in a row to start his career.  He only needs 54 yards to get there to match a feat done only by Randy Moss and A.J. Green.  I expect him to hit this number and probably double it in a game where Tampa Bay could shoot out with the Saints. 

Cleveland is going to Pittsburgh and looking to avoid an “unperfect” season at 0-16.  The Steelers are resting players and the Browns need someone to step up and produce on offense.  That points directly at Josh Gordon, who could have a strong game where Cleveland cares more about the win than Pittsburgh. 

 

TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 8500 1 1 Very High Needs 11 catches or 117 yards for $2M Bonus
Greg Olsen 6400 n/a 6 Med-Low If you like Cam this week, Olsen could be back in play with Byrd on IR
Antonio Gates 5700 6 4 Medium Solid game last week and Rivers will have to throw if Melvin Gordon III is out
Eric Ebron 5600 3 3 High Strong last four games (24-248-2)
Charles Clay 5600 4 5 Med-Low Miami not good against tight ends
Jack Doyle 5400 2 7 High Good performance (8-63) against Houston first time
Trey Burton 4800 5 2 Very Low Strong option if Zach Ertz rests
Demetrius Harris 4500 n/a 8 Very Low Strong option if KC rests Travis Kelce

CHALK TALK:  Tight end is a relatively easy call this week – just use Rob Gronkowski. He is in a game that New England needs to win to secure the #1 spot in the AFC and he has contract incentives to post big numbers.  If he gets 11 catches or 113 yards, he earns a $2 Million bonus, so expect Tom Brady to target him early and often to get him to that number.  Jack Doyle (good matchup against Houston and strong performance the first time they met) and Eric Ebron (great last four weeks, 24-248-2) are considerations, but there is enough value to fit in Gronkowski and not look back.

GPP: Greg Olsen reemerged as a stud option two weeks ago for Carolina, and he could easily have a big game against Atlanta where the Panthers are both looking to improve their playoff spot and also knock out the Falcons.  Charles Clay is in a similar spot for Buffalo, as the Bills are in a must win situation in Miami.  The Dolphins have struggled against tight ends all year long, and Clay just posted a 5-68 line two weeks ago on nine targets against Miami.  Two other tournament value plays are Trey Burton and Demetrius Harris, both of which could see more action with both the Eagles and Chiefs resting their primary stud tight ends.     

 

KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Stephen Gostkowski 5300 6 5 Medium Easy way to get a certain piece of the Patriots
Wil Lutz 5100 8 7 Med-Low Saints kicker always in play, but has not been that consistent of late
Chris Boswell 5100 5 8 Med-Low Pittsburgh may rest the offense, but no backup kicker
Kai Forbath 5000 3 6 Med-Low Minnesota should dominate, and Forbath checks all the boxes
Matt Bryant 5000 2 3 Medium Must win game at home in a dome and still has a big leg
Justin Tucker 5000 4 2 High Best scorer in Baltimore, but the weather could be frigid
Harrison Butker 4800 7 1 Very Low Five field goals last week and kickers never rest
Nick Rose 4600 1 4 Medium Now on the Chargers, and cheap

CHALK and GPP: These general kicker comments will likely be repeated week after week, but they are important so take note. Yes, FanDuel is the only DFS site left that uses a kicker, but you have to deal with it if you are playing on FanDuel. Sorry, that's how it goes. But there's some good news - you can actually make smart, informed decisions that can go a long way towards increasing your bankroll. First, there are four general criteria in picking a kicker:

  1. Pick a kicker who is playing at home
  2. Pick a kicker who is in a game where his team is favored
  3. Pick a kicker whose team is expected to score at least 24 points.
  4. Pick a kicker who will not be in bad weather.

Just following that above recipe will help you quite a bit. Remember - a 50+ yard field goal is five points or almost as much as a touchdown. That's significant.

Week 17 presents plenty of options, but I am looking at both Atlanta and the Chargers as top options.  The Falcons are in a must win spot but they could be in a fight to the finish with Carolina.  That could emphasize going for touchdowns, but Matt Bryant in a dome is always in play.  Nick Rose was just added by the Chargers, and they look to be in a good spot as they are expected to be winning at home over the Raiders.  That usually leads to more field goal chances, which favors Rose - who also happens to be one of the cheaper options of the week. 

For GPPs, I like Justin Tucker most weeks as he is the most likely player to score for Baltimore, but the weather could be quite bad (cold, some wind) on New Year's Eve day.  Kicking a ball when it is below freezing is not a great idea, and asking for long field goals in that weather is often asking for a bit much, and teams may not even try from long distance and rather go for it.  The guy I like for tournaments has the best shot at 50+ yards for me and he converted five field goals last week, and that is Harrison Butker of the Chiefs.  Kansas City plays in Denver this week at elevation, which always helps for longer kicks, and the Chiefs could struggle to get touchdowns with Patrick Marhomes starting at quarterback.  It is supposed to be 31 degrees in Denver, which is balmy for this time of year.  His ownership will also be down with the Chiefs not expected to score a lot (17.25 projected points), but if most of the scoring comes from field goals it may not matter.

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Minnesota 5400 3 1 Medium Chicago has not shown much offense especially if they cannot run
Baltimore 5200 1 5 High Defense may lead the way for the Ravens against Cincinnati
New England 5100 4 3 Low Patriots looking to dominate the Jets at home in the cold
Los Angeles Chargers 4900 2 6 Med-High Oakland scored 10 points on Monday and are tired
Washington 4600 5 2 Low The Giants were shut out last week and it will be very cold in NJ
Denver 4500 n/a 7 Low Denver defense against a rookie QB - GPP option only
Cleveland 3000 n/a 4 Very Low GPP play - dirt cheap and PIT resting players

CHALK and GPP:  Just like last week the top options on the probable ownership chart is once again your main shopping list for a defense this week.  Baltimore, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Chargers are all in strong spots (highly motivated to win at home against weak opposition), as are the Patriots at home against the Jets.  All four are viable choices, and it may just come down to who fits into your roster based on price.  The Vikings (hosting the Bears) and Ravens (hosting Cincinnati) look to be in the best spots for upside as Baltimore has seven touchdowns on the year and Minnesota has the fewest yards against per game.  All of these game are rematches, as Baltimore did shut out the Bengals in Week 1, which seems like ages ago.  These four teams took care of their opponents earlier this year and kept them all to 17 points or less in the first matchup, and I expect similar outcomes this week.  The Raiders (at the Chargers) may have a lot of fans in the stands, but that will not help them recover from a short week against a Los Angeles team needing to win to get into the playoffs.

A few tournament pivots at lower prices are also available this week.  Washington (at the Giants) goes to a frigid MetLife Stadium to take on New York.  The Giants were shut out last week and are banged up once again, while Washington looks to get to 8-8 with a win.  Denver hosts Kansas City, who will be resting their main players including Alex Smith.  A Bronco defense against a rookie quarterback does not sound like a bad option at all.  Lastly, the Browns make the list both due to a ridiculously low price ($3,000) and situation.  Cleveland desperately does not want to go 0-16, and they go to Pittsburgh to face a team also resting players.   Under normal circumstances any defense at this price would be a consideration, but is especially in play with no Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown.

   

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com


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