Welcome to the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown, where Jeff Mans breaks down everything you need to know to build safe, high-floor lineups. Join him on one last ride for the 2019 season!
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE
It’s a rather quiet Sunday morning for us here as I think that we’ve done a great job identifying which games and players to invest in all week.
FanDuel Core 4: Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, D.J. Chark & Dallas Goedert
DraftKings Core 4: Joe Mixon, D.J. Chark, Dallas Goedert & Chicago Bears DST
SuperDraft Core 4: Carson Wentz 1.4x, Aaron Jones 1.4x, D.J. Chark 1.55, Dallas Goedert 1.35x
Added To Player Pool: Ryquell Armstead, DeAndre Washington, Michael Gallup
Nobody ever tells you the journey is always the best part. It doesn’t really matter what it is we’re talking about, but secretly, we all love the grind. Sure, there are ups and downs – drastic ones at times – but when it is all over, oh, how we miss it so.
This is my seventeenth intro to the Cash Game Breakdown this season, and in looking back, I realize most of them, like the start of most of my SiriusXM shows, involve me venting about a certain topic. Thank you to Powersurge for pointing out how these intros are like angry Dad lectures.
But instead of my usual bitching, I really just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you. Whether you like me, hate me, enjoy the article, don’t care for it or just use it as a placeholder until something you like better gets posted to the site, I really appreciate you taking the time.
Maybe it’s this time of year, my kids getting older, loved ones passing away unexpectedly or my own bout with illness, but in looking back at this season, there are so many great and sometimes painful but lasting memories. The monster Mike Evans and Aaron Rodgers weeks. Ben Roethlisberger’s torn elbow, Matt Ryan’s sprained ankle and Nick Foles benching. The Aaron Jones late swap, swinging and missing on Ronald Jones and riding the wave of those San Francisco RB’s. From Tommy G’s conspiracy nonsense to Santa Mans, it’s been a great ride.
The bottom line is that this is a family here at Elite Fantasy. The #EliteMafia isn’t just a hashtag; it’s how we live. But even within our site, I feel like I have a very special connection with you guys who read this article every week, hang out with me in the chat room on Saturday nights and troll me relentlessly once the games start on Sunday. It’s painful, but in knowing this is the last week of the regular season and hence the last NFL Cash Game Breakdown until next September, I know that I will miss the hell out of you until then.
If you enjoy the work I do, then hopefully, I will see you guys in the postseason NFL chats, our sports betting articles/chats and of course over on FantasyGuru.com for our MLB content that is launching any day now. And of course, I’d love to hear from you during the SiriusXM shows or on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat.
Before we say our goodbyes, there is work to be done. Week 17 is upon us, and it is a smoking pile of elephant shit, to say the least. But, beneath this crap heap, there is a large wad of money just waiting to be claimed. So, yeah, we’re going to have to consider players like Robert Griffin III, Greg Ward and (gulp) perhaps even the fantasy football arch-nemesis…Mike Boone.
The most important thing about this week, though, is to make sure you are investing in games, teams and players that are incentivized to win. I have gone through every playoff scenario, yardage milestone, contract incentive and offseason narrative that will impact opportunities this week.
I’m going to miss you grubby bastards, but let’s go out on a high note with some big wins here this week.
Here is the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown for Week 17:
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals – It’s unseasonably warm in Cincinnati this weekend, but that comes with a price of abundant precipitation. There is an 80% chance of rain throughout this game, but the wind will not be an issue at just 8-10 MPH.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens – Temperatures in the low 40’s with a 60% chance of rain throughout the game. Points will be at a premium with these two defenses going at it, and the weather certainly won’t help either offense whatsoever.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills – Not nearly as cold as you would expect in Buffalo in late December. But there is a very good chance of light rain showers throughout the ballgame.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS QB||TOTAL OLINE||PASS OLINE||TIME TO THRW||PACE||ATTS PG||INT AIR YDS||CMP AIR YDS|
WEEK 17 DFS NFL QB BREAKDOWN
Carson Wentz, Eagles ($7700/$6100) – Wentz really checks all the boxes this week despite not playing particularly well for long stretches this season. The Eagles have an opportunity to close the NFC East Division title with a win over the Giants, but the Giants have been better offensively and took the Eagles to the brink in OT before losing in the closing seconds. In that last meeting, Wentz threw the ball 50 times for 325 yards and two TD’s. Over the last six weeks, Wentz has the second-most pass attempts (44 per game) over the last six weeks. The Giants own the second-worst pass coverage and the seventh-worst pass rush according to PFF. They have also allowed the third-most passing yards, fourth-highest yards per attempt and have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to QB’s this season.
Matt Ryan, Falcons ($7800/$6500) – This is a game we are going to want to be invested in one way or another. Ryan is a good place to start because the Bucs are quite good at stopping the running game as evidenced in their top ranking in both rushing yards surrendered per game and yards per attempt this season. The Bucs offense is also quite high-flying, ranking third in points per game and first in overall offensive plays this season. The Falcons are averaging 28 points per game since their bye week seven weeks ago; that is the fifth-most in the NFL. The Bucs defense has been getting better this season, but they will have their hands full with this Falcons passing attack that seems to run through Julio Jones ever since Calvin Ridley was lost for the season. Atlanta has won three games in a row and five of their last seven since their bye week. They are clearly playing for their head coach Dan Quinn and a late-season road win would go a long way to saving him.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers ($8100/$6600) – Two things keeping Winston behind Ryan in my model this week is pretty clear: price and turnovers. As good as the Tampa Bay defense is against the run, their offense is almost equally poor rushing this season. The Bucs are sixth-worst in percentage of rushing plays, seventh-worst in rushing yards per game and third-worst in rushing yards per attempt this year. Winston leads the NFL in passing attempts this season and is averaging an amazing 354 passing yards per game over his last 10 games. Back in week 12 against the Falcons, the Bucs put up 35 points and despite only attempting 28 passes while Winston threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, over his last six games against the Falcons, Winston has thrown for 299+ in each of his last four meetings while throwing 3+ TD’s in each of those games and 21 total. He’s also rushed for an average of 30 yards per game against Atlanta over his last three games.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars ($6700/$5300) – Who knew that a mustache and some jean shorts didn’t make you a good NFL QB? There’s no doubt that Minshew will go down in history as one of the most over-hyped NFL players ever, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be of assistance to us this week. The brass tacks here is that Minshew is super cheap yet again and has a good matchup at home against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars are just playing out the season so there is some concern there but the Colts secondary has been real bad over the last month or so. Over the last three games, the Colts are giving up an average of 323 passing yards per game. Nick Folk threw for 296 yards and two TD’s against the Colts back in week 11 so the blueprint is there for the Jaguars offense. Minshew averages 31 rushing yards per start this season which gives him a nice bed of fantasy production to pull from. I have a baseline projection for him at 246 passing yards, 1.6 TD’s and 34 rushing yards. That is a 19.8 fantasy point total and a great return for this super low salary.
Don’t Forget About…
Jared Goff, Rams ($7900/$6200) – The risk here is Rams head coach Sean McVay hinted earlier in the week that he may sit some of his starters for the regular-season finale. That would be pretty absurd considering the Rams will have all offseason to rest up. Assuming everybody plays, Goff and the Rams offense should once again tear up this Cardinals defense. Goff threw for 424 yards and two TD’s back in week 13 against these Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has surrendered the most passing yards, second-most passing TD’s, third-fewest interceptions and most fantasy points allowed to QB’s this season. The Cardinals are also sixth-worst DVOA against the pass.
Favorite GPP Play…
Robert Griffin III, Ravens ($7000/$5100) – I really like RGIII this week. The Ravens are resting a bunch of starters this week, but they will still use their best offensive linemen, defensive linemen and most of their secondary. The Greg Roman offense, that has led second-year QB Lamar Jackson to a likely MVP season, is still here as well. RGIII is a very similar QB to Lamar Jackson but he doesn’t need to be as skilled or polished to acquire fantasy points. Because of his skillset, the Ravens won’t change much of what has been working for them all season so we can safely expect RGIII to run a bunch while taking some deeper shots downfield as well. It’s not a great matchup against this tough Steelers defense, but the price is incredibly cheap and worth the gamble.
Drew Lock, Broncos ($7100/$5800) – I don’t love the price on FD, but the $5800 on DK allows us to upgrade rather significantly at another position. This isn’t a play that is justified by the model other than the Raiders being terrible on defense. Oakland is third-worst DVOA against the pass, have allowed the fifth-most passing yards, third-most passing TD’s and fourth-most fantasy points to QB’s this season. Lock has really impressed me each of the last two weeks, no statistically necessarily but in his development at a quarterback. He has a true #1 WR in Courtland Sutton and has found a kinship with a #2 WR in DaeSean Hamilton as well as TE Noah Fant. This game projects to go well over the expected total which means we’ll get more production from both offenses. We’re going to see a similar game to the one against the Texans three weeks ago where he threw for 309 yards and 3 TD’s. It’s probably not a good idea for cash games as he does grade out well below the line, but if you want to save big money or are willing to take on more risk, Lock could be a boom for us this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA RUSH||DEF VS RB||TOTAL OLINE||RUSH OLINE||EVADED TKLS||BRKWYS||OPP SHARE||RZ TOUCH||GZ TOUCH|
WEEK 17 DFS NFL RB BREAKDOWN
Aaron Jones, Packers ($8000/$8200) – It’s a perfect storm for Aaron Jones this week as the Packers are currently loaded in as the #2 seed in the NFC but need to win on the road in Detroit to maintain that bye in the first round. Jones is the #2 highest scoring fantasy RB this season behind only Christian McCaffrey but #1 in total touchdowns of all position players this season. Jamaal Williams is official out for week 17 with a shoulder injury giving Jones up to 50% more of snaps and touches this week. In week six against Detroit, Williams ran up a 14-104-0 rushing and 5-4-32-1 or 23.6 fantasy points. The Lions are limping to the finish line of the 2019 season, having lost each of their last eight games. On the season, the Lions have given up the sixth-most rushing TD’s, second-most total TD’s, third-most receiving yards and third-most total fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Joe Mixon, Bengals ($7300/$7200) – Love this price drop so much here on both sites. Mixon was disappointing last week after coming down with the stomach flu on Saturday and pretty much going through the motions against the Dolphins. He still logged 23 touches despite the illness and has 23+ touches in four straight games and has been the backbone of this Bengals offense since their bye week in week nine. Mixon destroyed the Browns just three weeks ago to the tune of 23-146-1 rushing and 4-3-40-0 receiving. The Browns cannot stop the run whatsoever. They are giving up a ridiculous 216 rushing yards per game over their last three games, worst in the NFL. Cleveland has also surrendered the third-most rushing yards per attempt this season (5.0 YPC) and most rushing yards per attempt over their last four games (6.1 YPC).
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($8700/$8000) – Still quite expensive but should have no trouble paying off that salary this week against the Redskins. The Cowboys are still technically alive for a postseason spot and with the pressure off and playing at home, I fully expect an offensive explosion out of them this week. The Redskins are reeling on defense with a lot of injuries piling up. Washington placed both starting safeties Montae Nicholson and Landon Collins as well as CB’s Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Danny Johnson and Jimmy Moreland on IR this week. Yeah, they are destroyed. That means we want to get a piece or two of this Cowboys offense and while the Dak and the WR’s are very intriguing, when the Cowboys offense is productive, it is Zeke who’s the bell cow. What we really love here is Dak’s shoulder issues seem to have led to quite a bit of check downs to the RB’s, as evidenced by the 20.8% target share to RB’s over the last two weeks.
Alvin Kamara, Saints ($7900/$7800) – Kamara was back in the endzone for the first time since week three last week and with that comes a salary increase. But he is still quite underpriced, considering the skill set, team need and matchup. The Saints are technically on the outside looking in on a first-round bye and will need a loss by either the 49ers or Packers to grab that bye week. So, it will be all systems go for this Saints offense who put up 34 points and 430 total yards against them back in week 12. Kamara had 102 total yards, nine receptions and 19.2 fantasy points against the Panthers in that game which was considered a disappointment. The Panthers are just trying to finish out the season and go home. Carolina has given up 150+ yards rushing in six of their last seven games. The Panthers dead last in DVOA against the run, have surrendered the most rushing yards, the most rushing TD’s (by 9 over the next highest!) and most fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Marlon Mack, Colts ($7300/$6900) – Another sensational matchup for Mack and the Colts as they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. I am hoping that LG Quenton Nelson is active (he’s questionable) but even if he’s out I am good with Mack given the price and the matchup. Mack rushed 16-95-1 last week against the Panthers while chipping in with two receptions as well. The Jaguars are second-worst DVOA against the run, have surrendered the fourth-most rushing yards, second-most rushing TD’s and second-most fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Don’t Forget About…
Austin Ekeler, Chargers ($6800/$6200) – It’s absurd how many pass targets for the Chargers are going to their RB’s as both Ekeler and Melvin Gordon have logged 5+ targets AND receptions in each of their last three games. Ekeler doesn’t run the ball much but the game script against Kansas City fits his role on this Chargers team well this week. He is just seven receptions short of 90 and 50 receiving yards short of 1,000 on the season, both numbers he likely achieves here this week. In week 11, Ekeler posted a 12-8-108-0 receiving line and a 5-24-0 rushing line against the Chiefs. His baseline projection of 17.2 fantasy points is well above our 2x (or even 2.5x) target for cash games this week.
Favorite GPP Play…
Justice Hill, Ravens ($5900/$4600) – You would have to build multiple GPP lineups to get some shares of Hill but for those that do, please don’t forget about him this week. The Ravens are the unquestioned kings of the run game this season ranking first overall in rush attempts, percentage of rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt. They are not resting their offensive line or playbook so it will be Gus Edwards starting with a lot of Justice Hill carrying the load. Hill is an ultra-weapon for this Ravens offense, as he is their fastest RB by a good margin and a certifiable weapon in the passing game. It’s not an easy matchup against the Steelers, but the big-play ability makes him the ultimate boom or bust RB this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS WR||PASS CVG||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||MIN||0.0||0.0||42.7||27.0||0.00||0.11||0.00||0.74||4.00||0.00|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||TEN||0.0||0.0||40.8||23.0||0.00||0.38||0.00||0.55||2.70||0.00|
WR/CB MATCHUPS (BASED ON PFF RATINGS – % Rating Difference 2019)
- Greg Ward, Eagles → Corey Ballentine, Giants – 42%
- Darius Slayton, Giants → Jalen Mills, Eagles – 33%
- Amari Cooper, Cowboys → Aaron Colvin, Redskins – 30%
- Michael Gallup, Cowboys → Danny Johnson, Redskins – 26%
- Sterling Shepard, Giants → Ronald Darby, Eagles (on IR…smh) – 25%
- Julian Edelman, Patriots → Eric Rowe, Dolphins – 25%
- T.Y. Hilton, Colts → A.J. Bouye, Jaguars – 25%
- Randall Cobb, Cowboys → Coty Sensabaugh, Redskins – 23%
- Allen Robinson, Bears → Mike Hughes, Vikings – 22%
- Keenan Allen, Chargers → Kendall Fuller, Chiefs – 20%
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS – WR MATCHUP (Mans Model)
- DeAndre Baker, Giants → Robert Davis, Eagles
- P.J. Williams, Saints → Jarius Wright, Panthers *Janoris Jenkins might split time in slot with PJ
- Byron Murphy, Cardinals → Cooper Kupp, Rams
- Corey Ballentine, Giants → Greg Ward, Eagles
- Isaiah Oliver, Falcons → Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers
- Jourdan Lewis, Cowboys → Steven Sims, Redskins
- Pierre Desir, Colts → D.J. Chark, Jaguars
- Eric Rowe, Dolphins → Julian Edelman, Patriots
- Justin Coleman, Lions → Geronimo Allison, Packers
- Lamarcus Joyner, Raiders → DaeSean Hamilton, Broncos
- Vernon Hargreaves, Texans → Tajae Sharpe, Titans
- T.J. Carrie, Browns → Tyler Boyd, Bengals
- Xavier Rhodes, Vikings → Allen Robinson, Bears
- Nik Needham, Dolphins → Mohamed Sanu, Patriots
- Gareon Conley, Texans → Corey Davis, Titans
WEEK 17 DFS NFL WR BREAKDOWN
Julio Jones, Falcons ($8500/$8500) – Sure, Michael Thomas can be used in cash if you choose, but Julio is a better play overall this week. He is the second-highest scoring WR over the last four weeks, trailing on Thomas in that regard. His ridiculous 41.6% target share over the last two weeks has resulted in a whopping 35 targets, 23 receptions, 300 yards, two touchdowns and 65 fantasy points, the most of any WR in that span. Tampa’s defense has been better over the last month, and they are coming off a game in which they shut DeAndre Hopkins down. But Julio is a different animal. The Falcons won’t be able to run the ball against the Bucs defense which will force Matt Ryan to air it out and do so to his main target in Julio. Over his last five games against Tampa Bay, Julio averages 12 targets, 8 receptions, 131 receiving yards, .6 TD’s and 24.5 fantasy points per game.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars ($5900/$5800) – Darrell Junior aka DJ Chark is severely underpriced this week. Chark has had a sensational sophomore season despite playing for a horrendous team in a run-first, vanilla offense. He’s had to deal with QB changes as well yet is the WR16 in fantasy football this season. This week we are really targeting one of the worst CB’s going right now in the Colts Pierre Desir. Desir has been tragically bad lately giving up the third-most fantasy points of any CB’s over his last four games. Back in week 11, when Desir was out with an injury, Chark lit up the Colts secondary for 15-8-104-2 or 30.4 fantasy points. Having Desir healthy is even worse for this Colts defense and if Fournette doesn’t play, it will be even better. His baseline projection for this week is 8-6-70-.4 or 15.4 fantasy points (12.4 on FD) which is well above our target for him.
Courtland Sutton ($7100/$6400) / DaeSean Hamilton ($5500/$3800), Broncos – Sutton has been one of my best calls of the season, while Hamilton was my best call from last week. So, it’s fitting that they are both in play for us here in the final week of the NFL regular season. The argument can be made that the emergence of Drew Lock, DaeSean Hamilton and Noah Fant has negatively impacted Sutton’s numbers over the last month. But in week one against a healthy and much better Raiders secondary, Sutton racked up an 8-7-120-0 line against Oakland. Think about this for a minute. Courtland Sutton will be covered by Keisean Nixon, who in addition to being a street free agent, his biggest claim to fame is being Snoop Dogg’s Nephew. DaeSean Hamilton will line up against my #10 worst CB in LaMarcus Joyner this week. This Raiders secondary is pure trash and should be an easy target for QB Drew Lock. Both Broncos WR’s will exceed cash value this week so pick the one that fits your price point the best and enjoy the under 10% ride.
Greg Ward, Eagles ($5600/$4700) – Another very underpriced receiver this week, Ward is the only game in town on the outside for the Eagles this week. With Zach Ertz now out as well, it will be Ward and Dallas Goedert tasked with catching the football for Carson Wentz in order to clinch that NFC East division title. The Giants secondary is the absolute worst in football and it’s not even close. The loss of Janoris Jenkins might have seemed insignificant but it leaves both DeAndre Baker and Corey Ballentine as starters. They are both bottom four CB’s according to my model and third CB Sam Beal isn’t much better. For the season even with Jenkins, the Giants were second-worst DVOA against the pass, second-worst pass coverage according to PFF, allowed the third-most receiving yards, fourth-most yards per reception, fourth-most receiving TD’s and fourth-most fantasy points to WR’s this season.
Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers ($7600/$6700) – FanDuel priced him up quite a bit while he is still a value on DK this week. We all know the score with Perriman. You take two of the top five fantasy WR’s in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin off of the board and somebody has to fill that gigantic void. Enter Breshad Perriman who didn’t quite smash the way we had hoped last week against the Texans but is in the exact same spot here this week. He still generated 12 targets, seven receptions and 102 receiving yards which is not bad at all. If this game indeed is the highest scoring as Vegas expects it to be, that means a ton of passing attempts again for Jameis Winston and targets galore for Perriman. Last time Tampa took on Atlanta, they put up 35 points, 313 passing yards by Winston while Evans & Godwin combined for 16-11-234-2.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals ($6600/$6700) – Perhaps the toughest decision to make this week is whether I will use Joe Mixon or Tyler Boyd, both of whom are way underpriced, in cash games this week. Boyd has had a good season ranking sixth in targets with 140, 10th in receptions with 85, sitting just 13 yards away from 1,000 on the season and ranking 19th in fantasy points among WR’s this week. The best spot to attack the Cleveland secondary is in the slot where my #12 worst CB T.J. Carrie resides. Two weeks ago, Boyd put up a respectable 6-5-75-0 line against these Browns and last season he went for 8-7-85-1 against TJ Carrie.
Don’t Forget About…
Davante Adams, Packers ($8400/$8000) – I really think that Adams will go severely underowned here this week due to the abundance of value WR’s we see above. Adams is not far behind Michael Thomas and Julio Jones in terms of overall grade this week but will likely be far less owned. Adams has missed four games this season yet is still 18th in targets and 13th in receptions of all WR’s this season. What’s better is that Adams sits 96 yards away from 1,000 on the season which nets him a contract bonus of $100K. No, I am not worried about the Darius Slay shadow as Adams thrashed Slay and the rest of the Lions DB’s last year for 12-9-140-1.
Favorite GPP Play…
Amari Cooper, Cowboys ($7500/$6500) – Take a moment and think about this one. Cooper is in the final game of the season after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Then factor in that he was on the sidelines last week with the game and the season on the line for the Cowboys in favor of Tavon fricking Austin. That was a big story all week nationwide. So, there is plenty of incentive for him to go out on a high note this week. Now, we have a matchup against the Redskins, who are 10th worst DVOA against the pass and have surrendered the sixth-most receiving TD’s to WR’s this season. Oh, and now, we have an astonishing SIX (6!!!) Redskins defensive backs that are out this week, leaving literal street free agents pressed into duty. Cooper is in a slate breaking position here, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if he winds up being the top-scoring WR of Week 17.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DEF VS TE||SLOT%||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WEEK 17 DFS NFL TE BREAKDOWN
Dallas Goedert, Eagles ($6400/$4900) – Zach Ertz is officially out, leaving Goedert as the absolute #1 receiving option for an Eagles team that is in a win-and-in situation on the road against the New York Giants. Even with Ertz playing and posting great numbers, Goedert has generated the eighth-most fantasy points among TE’s over the last six weeks. Only the Ravens have a higher target share to the TE position than the Eagles 35.5% this season. I fully expect the Giants to put up some points on the Eagles forcing them to throw the ball to remain ahead and that means a lot more Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward. The Giants are 10th worst DVOA against the TE and have surrendered the seventh most TD’s to the TE position this season.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs ($7500/$7000) – There is enough value out there at QB/RB/WR to justify paying all the way up to Kelce at the TE position this week. What can we really say here? Kelce is the best TE in the NFL and one of, if not, the most consistent performer at his position. He hasn’t had less than 13.5 fantasy points in a game since week seven and has missed that mark just three times this season. Back in week 11, Kelce put up a 10-7-92-1 or 22.1 fantasy point performance on these Chargers.
Tyler Higbee, Rams ($6900/$5600) – If Dallas Goedert weren’t so significantly cheaper, there would be a legitimate argument for Higbee being the best point per dollar TE in DFS this week. The Rams have speculated that they might rest some of their players this week since there is nothing for them to play for but that is what the next six months are for. Higbee has been smashing lately. He has the most fantasy points among TE’s over the last four weeks and became just the fourth TE ever to post four straight 100+ yard performances. If he goes over 100 yards again this week, he will become the first TE ever to accomplish this feat. We all know how bad the Cardinals are at guarding the TE position this season. They have set records for the lowest DVOA against the TE ever recorded, the most TD’s ever surrendered to the TE and the most fantasy points ever surrendered to the TE spot as well. He went for 8-7-107-1 against Arizona back in week 13 to begin this streak and will likely end it in a similar fashion here at home in week 17.
Jonnu Smith, Titans ($5800/$4200) – He’s not the super discount TE that we are accustomed to seeing every week in DFS NFL but Smith is the best of the lower end tight ends by a good margin this week. He is the seventh-highest scoring TE over the last three weeks and has been very consistent since taking over for the injured Delanie Walker. He went for 5-5-60-0 two weeks ago against the Texans while also rushing for a modern-day record for a TE of 57 yards in that game. The Texans have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to TE’s this year and as double coverage is certain for WR A.J. Brown, Smith should see some mismatches in the middle of the field this week.
Don’t Forget About…
Austin Hooper, Falcons ($6000/$5800) – A forgotten TE, Hooper was the highest scoring TE for most of the season before his injury in week 10. Though he hasn’t had a monster game since returning, he has logged 6+ targets in each of his last three games including a very solid 9-8-82-0 line against the Jaguars last week. He is the de facto second receiver now in Atlanta since Calvin Ridley went down and this game has the highest expected total of the slate. The Buccaneers are eighth-worst DVOA against the TE position, surrendered the 10th most receptions, fifth-most receiving yards, seventh-most TD’s and seventh-most fantasy points to TE’s this season.
Favorite GPP Play…
O.J. Howard, Buccaneers ($5500/$4300) – Howard was a bit of a disappointment last week but has still logged the 10th most targets, 10th most receptions and ninth-most receiving yards among TE’s over the last three weeks. No NFL team has thrown the ball more than the Buccaneers over the last three weeks and that isn’t expected to change against the Falcons here this week. The one somewhat certainty is that Breshard Perriman will get his targets out wide but the race for second in target share has Howard very well positioned. He has a very high upside here this week and his floor is rapidly rising which makes O.J. Howard worth the risk especially in GPP’s this week.
Chicago Bears ($3900/$2100) – One of the great things about week 17 in DFS is that with all of the chaos, there are some great deals on DST’s. The Bears are the best price per dollar play on the board here for a number of reasons. Sure, they aren’t the same defense as they were a year ago but overall they are still the #7 overall DVOA and 10thoverall according to PFF. In week four against the Vikings, the Bears allowed just six points, sacked Kirk Cousins six times and took the ball away twice. This time around, the Vikings will be resting all of their key offensive players making it much easier for Chicago to stomp them down a second time.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($3500/$3000) – If there is a better defense in the NFL right now than the Steelers, I haven’t seen them. On paper, this is a brutal matchup against the league’s best offense, which is why they are so cheap on every DFS site. But the Ravens have secured the #1 overall seed and thus are resting Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews and several other key members this week. The Steelers need a win and a Tennessee loss to secure the final AFC wild card spot. The Steelers are the #3 DVOA, #1 overall defense according to PFF, second in sacks per game, first in sack percentage and first in takeaways this season.
New England Patriots ($5000/$4300) – The Pats need a win at home against the Dolphins in order to secure the #2 seed in the AFC and a much needed first-round bye. The Patriots are #1 DVOA, #4 PFF overall defense and have allowed the least amount of points this season. They are expensive and it’s hard to justify paying this price for a DST given all of the value this week but if you want to build contrarian at the non-premium positions, the Pats are definitely in play.
Dallas Cowboys ($3600/$3300) – The Redskins are the second-lowest scoring team in the NFL this season and will be playing with their backup QB in Case Keenum and without their best offensive player in WR Terry McLaurin. The Cowboys defense has been very underwhelming this season but did handle the Redskins at full strength back in week two, surrendering just 255 total yards to them.
Green Bay Packers ($4800/$3000) – We can’t forget that this Packers defense has really been the fuel that has fed much of this 12-3 record and #2 seed in the NFC right now. The Packers have given up the ninth least points, 12th highest sack total, 11th highest sack percentage and seventh-most takeaways this season. The Lions are averaging just 15 points per game with David Blough as their QB.
Join me Saturday night in the DFS NFL CHAT for last-minute questions and parting shots!