Week 17 NFL DFS Picks: 2ToN’s Taeks
ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! It’s the last weekend of the NFL regular season, and it’s sure to be quite the doozy with several intense games full of playoff implications. Then there’s the rest of the NFL, either sitting their starters or fully embracing the tank and prepping for a decent draft spot. Week 17 has always had a bonanza of cheap-o plays as either the result of a full season’s worth of injuries finally catching up or teams resting their starters. This is when numbers crunching, studying analytics, and logic can typically be thrown out of the window in favor of spinning a wheel and rostering whatever lands on the arrow. Teams just play differently when they know it’s the final week of the season and there’s nothing left to lose but their dignity. Will you put all your eggs in the teams vying for a playoff spot/better seeding or go crazy over the implied value plays such as RG3, Case Keenum, and/or/maybe/IDK the 50 Baltimore RBs? Only time will tell whether your decisions were wrong or not. Spoiler alert – they’re always wrong. This is the NFL! Variance is king and all you can do is pray to the old and new gods that your RB doesn’t get benched for fumbling! Ahem. Trust the optimizer, I guess.
He’s been on fire ever since being named the starter for the Titans, averaging the highest YPA from day one. He’s been able to thrive off Derrick Henry’s rushing success with top grades in play-action and deep passing. Henry is expected to play after missing last week’s game. Now Tannehill can put the Titans firmly into the playoffs with a win over the Texans. That’s gonna be great news as far as motivation goes against a 25th DVOA Texans pass defense that’s continuing to nurse their injuries (and potentially rest the starters should the game end up not mattering seeding wise). There isn’t much to add on here since Tannehill is a rather obvious strong play against a defense allowing the T-4th most passing TDs, has a playoff spot locked up with unlikely big seeding changes, and already grades out as the 10th worst pass coverage overall. Trust in Tanny!
The Patriots gain a bye week if they defeat the somewhat surging Dolphins, so chances are we’ll get a motivated and energetic Brady looking to squish the Fish for a nice week off. It’d be a rather important week off after a turbulent season that had many questioning whether or not Brady had lost his touch or the Patriots were just really, really, reaaaaaally dependent on their top-ranked defense. He’s coming off arguably his best game of the season against an elite pass defense, completing 26/33 for 271 yards and a TD/no interceptions. It’s not a gaudy line but it did remind us that Brady’s short game was/is as impeccable as ever. That should come in handy against a still dead last ranked DVOA Miami pass defense that’s just really trying to find anybody worth keeping around for next season. It’s a motivated QB pushing for a bye week against a 32nd DVOA team that’s allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs, a 32nd graded pass rush, and nothing to play for other than a better draft position. There’s no trickery here, no magic or sparkles, nor any spectacular wisdom to be endowed upon the masses reading this. It’s the Patriots trying to close out the season on a good note and they got one of the easiest games on the schedule. Hard to pass on a stable value play to build around on a crazy slate full of good on paper QB matchups that could end up sitting in the 2nd half of blowouts. And RG3, of course.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
The Rams don’t have much to play for since they’re now eliminated from the playoffs with last week’s loss. All they can do now is assess their current players’ future stock with the team, and that could mean more passing from Goff instead of giving meaningless carries to Gurley. McVay has hinted that he may end up resting his important starters or give them limited snaps, which would hurt Goff’s ceiling if he were to be pulled in a smash spot. However, I think McVay will opt at keeping Goff in just to see if he can manage the offense without Gurley and maybe try some new schematic things. After all, it is the 27th ranked DVOA pass defense that’s given up the 3rd most explosive pass plays of 20+ yards, most points to opposing QBs, and grades out as the 2nd worst secondary. It’s basically a scrimmage at this point for the Rams, so why not try to end the season on a good note and erase the taste of Gofful the past week? A nice 40 point win certainly can boost team morale, wouldn’t it? Of course, we’ve gotta be smart about McVay’s comments and take heed on any potential benching. Boost Goff with a 10 and crank up the volatility to a 50 then pray heavily to the football gods.
Yep, even Week 17 isn’t safe from a CMC explosion. He’s only 28 fantasy points away from topping LT’s historic season, which is pretty insane considering CMC isn’t anywhere near breaking LT’s TD record. What a PPR god! The Panthers could have sat CMC a long time ago or eased his workload over the past month but have chosen not to for whatever inexplicable reason. Chances are he’ll get another 20+ touch game and try to….I dunno, get 3k yards? Play QB? Return punts? He does have a shot at breaking CJ2k’s total yards from scrimmage record (would need 200+ yards) and is only around 60 away from a double 1k yards season in rushing/receiving. The Saints have something to play for (a bye) and still boasts a stingy run defense, so of course, CMC will just have to go 16/225/3 through the air instead! Start with confidence?
Zeke is the logical top RB play on the slate since the Cowboys have to win the game to stay alive in the playoff race. Prescott’s shoulder/velocity issues were glaringly obvious in their loss last week and chances are they aren’t going to let him pass it 40x again unless they’re just so behind the Redskins that Garrett spontaneously combusts into nothingness. Very possible. The Deadskins won’t be playing Haskins and have nothing to play for other than locking up Chase Young in the draft. That should mean more continued bad play from the Redskins’ 25th DVOA run unit that grades as 5th worst versus the run, with both the 3rd most rushing and fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. Even the Cowboys can’t screw this up, can they? There is only one clear avenue here to an easy victory, and it all rests on the underutilized Elliott’s legs. Oh wait, Week 17. Logic matters not! Eat at Arby’s, where you’ll also find Garrett clapping for more potato wedges.
What a cluttered slate for the RB position. Outside of picking between the BAL RBs and waiting for the inactives on Sunday, there just isn’t any clear value plays. With Ware on IR and the Chiefs willing to rest/manage McCoy’s touches, Williams suddenly projects as the best value RB play on the slate with real upside. He logged 19 touches last week and churned out 102 total yards plus a TD while serving as the preferred receiving back. That marks three straight 100+ total yards for Williams in games he didn’t miss due to injury. That’s good news in a game the Chiefs are likely to be somewhat competitive in. The Chargers’ run unit is somewhere between mediocre and slightly average, but generally pliable enough for any team to consistently gash them for chunk yards. You’d think the Chiefs would want to lean on the rush attack and just chew the game away while managing Mahomes to avoid any unnecessary passes. Williams’ price tag and comfy floor make him a tantalizing value play among all the questionable landmines scattered across the slate.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
This is purely a recent pattern play from me. The Jaguars have given up on anything for the season, and their defensive run unit has now allowed these following fantasy lines since their last meeting with the Colts five weeks ago:
- Devonta Freeman 15/53/1 rushing, 7/94/1 receiving
- Josh Jacobs on a bum shoulder 24/89/0 rushing, 2/20 receiving
- Austin Ekeler 8/101 rushing, 4/112/1 receiving
- Melvin Gordon 12/55/1 rushing, 5/29 receiving
- Peyton Barber 17/44/2 rushing, 0/0/0 receiving because it’s Peyton freakin’ Barber!
- Derrick Henry 19/159/2 rushing, 1/16 receiving
Now tell me you don’t wanna plug in Mack into every single lineup imaginable. And yet, somehow the Jaguars run defense don’t even rank 32nd DVOA (they’re 31st, silly) nor do they grade out as the worst run unit (still 4th worst). You’ve got a Colts team that runs at the 6th highest rate and trying to make an improbable playoff push against a pitiful Jaguars team that already waved the white flag a month ago. What more can you want in a matchup? Give him a 20 boost with confidence!
While others may flock towards Michael Thomas, Deandre Hopkins, or Julio Jones coming off a smash game as their top WR play, I lean towards picking Adams simply because Detroit is that bad and the Packers should definitely push for a chance at a bye. The Lions have surrendered the 2nd most explosive pass plays of at least 20 yards with the 2nd most receiving yards and T-6th most TDs allowed to opposing WRs. He’s had 10+ targets in 4 of his last 5 games with 4 TDs in the same span and is coming off his first back to back games with 100+ receiving yards. An important game, easy dunk matchup, already sees 10+ targets per game and has seen his YPR/R increase every week (4th highest overall). Let’s make it a triple, Mr. Rodgers!
Much like the RB position, all the values at WR are all heavily muddled with shaky projections and unknown snap rates. Not to mention the “sexy” plays are mostly grossly overpriced (Perrimaaaaaaaan, noooooooo!!!). Landry has been a reliable PPR floor play for weeks now as Mayfield’s favorite target. Landry’s picked up 35 total targets in the month of December with at least 70 yards in 3 of those 4 wintery games. He’s nothing special and generally disappoints most weeks with his usual 10 point floor games, but if you’re just looking for a building block with a little upside then Landry is your best bet against a lowly Bengals 28th DVOA pass defense. He’s also on pace to beat his career-best in YPC and total receiving yards. Just don’t expect anything outrageous if you do roster him, then humblebrag your way to the top when he does drop a 100/3 stat-line!
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Scary Terry is back! With Haskins hobbled and set to miss Week 17’s showdown against the woeful Cowboys’ basic stock defense, Case Keenum is slated to become the starter once more. Let’s have a nice little refresher on Scary Terry’s fantasy numbers when Keenum was under center. 7/125/1, 5/62/1, 6/70/1, 3/51/0, 4/100/2 in his 1st 5 games with Keenum before Keenum pissed his pants and eventually got benched. Pretty gaudy numbers, don’t ya think? Keenum certainly could end up being a bust and stink up the joint again, but I’ll take my chances against a Cowboys pass defense that even Jeff Driskel had success on. It’s an outdated defensive system with antiquated zone schemes that should give even Keenum ample opportunities to hit a long seam pass to Scary Terry for a touchdown. Pure big balls play here with a little nostalgia sprinkled in against the 24th DVOA Dallas pass defense. Hopefully, these teams don’t end up milking the entire game away. 10 boost with a 50 volatility!
Ertz should play but is banged up and Goedert could end up getting more looks, Kelce is Kelce, Higbee against Cardinals is a damn near lock and Hooper against Bucs is a solid option as well. I think I’ll take my shot on Waller as the top TE play just because the Raiders somehow have a decent shot at the playoffs if they beat the Broncos. Key word here – beat. That’ll require a complete team effort from Oakland, and I don’t think it’ll be through the ground with a banged-up Jacobs and average at best backup RBs. The Broncos’ LB corps have been consistently targeted all season, with the 7th most targets to opposing TEs that’s resulted in the 7th most yards and 6th most catches. It is a pretty good matchup on paper for a 24% MS/T Waller to take advantage of. Granted, Renfrow’s return to the lineup muddies the waters a bit for Waller’s target share but considering the Broncos do excel against receivers (Chris Harris, anyone?), I’m not that worried. I expect Waller’s 4th highest YPR/R to come up big against an athletically weak Broncos LB group. Hopefully, he can land in the endzone and not at the 1-yard line.
Sort of here by default due to injuries and the TE position essentially being a box of deplorables, Howard is in a good spot to more than double his current price in fantasy points. He gets an ATL defense that’s been a middling group against opposing TEs, mostly giving up underneath stuff and getting smoked by vertical WRs. Still, it’s important to note that Howard’s had a bit of an emerging role within the Bucs offense, notching 5+ targets (25 total) and at least 40 yards in all 4 December games. His lack of consistent hands has continued to be an issue, but that hasn’t stopped Winston from overthrowing him and screaming at the ground about it. As long as Howard paces at his December averages, he should be a solid floor play at TE where the term “solid floor play” usually doesn’t exist.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Will Grier….yikes. That’s the only hurdle that’s stopping Olsen from becoming a must-play at his depreciated price. Olsen returned from his injury and notched 57% of the snaps, a good sign that the Panthers were okay with giving him half of his usual load. That number should increase dramatically with the loss of D.J. Moore to a concussion, pushing Olsen to likely either the 2nd or 3rd passing option for Grier. Before the injury, Olsen was near the top in slot route usage among TEs (4th highest % in the slot) and had been a bargain bin value with a great November month. His numbers in 4 November games? 5+ targets (28 total) and 40+ yards in every game, Yes, they were all with Kyle Allen at the helm, but I digress! Yes, he gets a tough Saints defense that probably will frustrate and ragdoll Grier all over the field, BUT I DIGRESS! It’s Greg Olsen at a discounted price! The loss of Moore opens up 24.50% MS of the team’s targets! Somebody’s gotta soak up all those targets! Fine, I won’t boost him at all. You’ll be sorry you scoffed at ol’ Gregory Olsen the third!