NFL DFS DEEP DIVE: Week 17

Week 16 Review

What. A. Week. In two years of writing this article, I’m not sure we’ve ever had such a fantastic week. Of the twenty players written up only two players truly disappointed in the score column, first Ben Roethlisberger pathetically limped to 8.36 points in the kind of game script that should have been fantasy gold. At least we’re almost permanently done with him in this league. Secondly, James Robinson sadly tore his Achilles early in the Jaguars game and is now facing a tough recovery and an uncertain future as the Jaguars overhaul their organisation. Again. But enough of the misery, let’s look at the Christmas cheer! As you can see from the image below, we had the QB1 and QB4. The RB1, RB4 and RB6. The WR2, WR3, WR4 and WR6 and the TE8. Those were the headliners but all in all fourteen plays tripled or better their cost. I couldn’t be happier and having spoken to some of you I know these players helped a lot of teams cash nicely. Great work folks. 

For the season that leaves us;

Great plays (3x$) – 106 (49%)

Good plays (2x$) – 59 (27%)

Bad plays (<2x$) – 54 (24%)

Week 17 Preview

This week is a biggy. We have no teams on a bye week, no teams on Thursday night, aside from the Sunday night football game and Monday night, it’s all about the main slate.  Before we dive in, I just want to take the opportunity to say a Happy New Year to everyone for 2022. Your interactions make this column worth doing. Every like, RT and comment helps me justify the long hours it takes to put this together and I’m grateful to all of you. Lastly, just a quick reminder that even though your fantasy leagues finish this week, we’ll still be here all the way through the playoffs.

Quarterbacks

Trey Lance – $4800 vs Houston Texans – 44.0 over/under

If you have followed me more than a couple of weeks then my Trey Lance affection will be well known. I’ve been quiet lately, stewing with anger each time I have to write up Jimmy Garoppolo in this column and slowly watching my many, many Trey Lance best ball teams fade to dust. But like Thanos’s snap, the trade up for Lance cost everything, and his time was inevitable sooner or later. Whilst Jimmy has held up better than in most years and in fairness to him, played very well by his boring YAC inflated standards, we deserve this! We deserve a chance to see a rookie QB drafted with dual-threat Konami code upside eventually set free and used in that way. None of this Matt Nagy pathetically scared coaching that sees Justin Fields rarely have a designed run, this is what I bought into. Show me the creative Kyle Shanahan run plays for Trey Lance, show me why you traded the house for this electric quarterback out of North Dakota. By Shanahan’s words, all Trey needs is game time now, he’s known the playbook for weeks, he’s practised better than at any point and now feels like the right time to check in and see how he’s developed after Jimmy G’s diabolical game in Tennessee. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I was wrong with how quick the transition would happen, and it’s cost me a good lump of best ball cheddar cheese, but Shanahan would be doing the right thing in putting Lance out against this poor Texans defence that seems to be all over the place at times. There simply aren’t the athletes on the Texans to deal with a rushing threat of Lance’s ability. In the two games, Lance saw significant playing time he averaged 18 draftkings points and at this mediocre cost that would be plenty well enough. Since that Week 5 game the Niners have improved exponentially, and whilst part of that comes from Jimmy G’s play, part of that was Shanahan figuring out different ways to maximise Deebo, Aiyuk and Kittle at the same time. Lance wasn’t perfect with some poor throws but if we’re to believe the practice reports he’s looking the best he has. Ultimately it comes down to not overthinking rushing QB’s. If Tyler Huntley can repay value, so can Trey Lance. I like the idea of stacking Kittle with Lance, he missed the Wk5 game Lance started so we’re lacking history, but it feels like a good safety net for Lance. I’m also heavily considering a heavy game stack of Deebo, Kittle and Lance with Cooks brought back. It’s pricey but for GPP’s it’s interesting.

Tyler Huntley – $5400 vs L.A Rams – 46.0 over/under

I’m sure the tone of this column has faded to misery over recent weeks as my Ravens slowly descend further down the well of pain, but you’re not here for that… well maybe my Bengals supporting host @TouchdownTips is. With Lamar Jackson seemingly not ready to take the field again for the first time in three weeks, it looks like we’ll get another game out of Tyler Huntley who has shown well when given the chance. In the three games that Huntley has seen significant action in he has completed 71% of his passes. A figure that ranks top six among quarterbacks with 100 dropbacks or more. The Rams are by no means an easy matchup, ranking top ten against the quarterback in adjusted fantasy points allowed, and Aaron Donald should do well against this beaten up line, not to mention the Rams offences chances against the make-shift secondary. The Raven’s path to success comes from a shoot-out and Tyler Huntley will be asked to put the game on his back, much like Lamar has been this season. In the three games, Huntley saw significant action he has averaged 21.65 points. Load up and enjoy my despair.

Taysom Hill – $6000 vs Carolina Panthers – 37.5 over/under

It’s not pretty in the cheap streets of quarterback this week and Taysom Hill is about the best of a bad bunch that is left to talk about. After the short-lived and unfortunate Ian Book era was brought to a close, Taysom Hill will feel like a breath of fresh air to this offence. Carolina looks daunting as their defence allows the fifth-least points to quarterbacks on the season, but over the last five games that has dropped to 22nd. They’re a team that are cooked and just trying to get to the off-season ready for yet another makeover. Add to this the fact that they’ve allowed the third-most rushing points to running backs and it becomes clear that Taysom Hill isn’t in as bad a spot as perceived by DK’s ‘OPRK’. It’s hard to stack Hill with other players but I’d consider lineups with both him and D.J Moore.

Honourable Mentions

Tua Tagovailoa – $5800 @ Tennessee Titans – 39.5 over/under

Not a great matchup for Tua, with the Titans allowing the seventh-fewest QB points in the last five, but if we zoom out a bit they’ve allowed the 24th-most on the year and are by no means a fantastic defence. Tua has averaged 14.8 points per game over Miami’s much talked about winning streak, which ranks 17th in the league. It’s only a play I would consider as part of stacking options or in multi-entry scenarios.

Mac Jones – $5300 vs Jacksonville Jaguars – 41.5 over/under

Mac Jones isn’t a fantasy quarterback in my opinion. He ranks 28th on the season in points per game. Below Jared Goff… Below Jared Goff. However, in favourable matchups, he’s been useful occasionally and the Jaguars are giving up the seventh-most points to the position over the last five weeks. I can buy into a Mac Jones and Hunter Henry stack if I really had to.

Running Backs

Ronald Jones – $6300 @ New York Jets – 45.0 over/under

It’s pretty clear to most people that Ronald Jones is playing out his last days in Tampa. With Tom Brady there, you’re either in favour or not and any time you watch the broadcast with RoJo in the game you can turn Tom Brady’s head shakes of disappointment into a pretty boozy drinking game. Lev Bell may be on the team but he’s not the answer, take it from a Ravens fan who saw him run into an O-line a lot. Whilst Ke’Shawn Vaughn saw some play with 35% of snaps, RoJo saw a higher share with 52% and dominated in opportunity share with 67.6-23.5%. Next up comes the New York Jets who have been awful against the run all season and in the last five games have given up the 28th most points to the position, which is a slight improvement on their season rating of dead last. Jones is a little higher than I’d like at price, but he should be a lock for a good workload in a one-sided affair against a team allowing over 140 rushing yards per game. 

Sony Michel – $5800 @ Baltimore Ravens – 46.0 over/under

Whilst I come to terms with the Ravens missing the playoffs (probably) for the first time under Lamar Jackson I cry myself to sleep by saying ‘at least we had a good rush defence…’ that rushing defence has been doing its best but simply the cornerbacks and safeties cannot keep up with their opponents lately. At some point that puts more stress on the big guys up front and everyone tires out. Joe Mixon put up 31.5 DK points on the Ravens in Week 16 and Michel should be in line for plenty of high-value touches this week. Darrell Henderson is on I.R and it remains to be seen how close to playing Cam Akers actually is. Don’t be surprised if Michel sets a season-high in catches with more than four. During the calendar month of December, Sony Michel leads all running backs in rushing yardage with 423. 

Devin Singletary – $5400 vs Atlanta Falcons – 44.0 over/under

Perhaps nobody noticed as Devin Singletary racked up points on your fantasy benches, but it has certainly been a pleasant surprise to see Singletary become relevant at the business time. Over the last five games against New England, Carolina, Tampa, New England and New Orleans, Devin Singletary has performed as the RB4. Those are no cupcake matchups, with those teams generally ranking well against the run. Over that period Singletary has averaged 17.7 DK points and now is facing an Atlanta side that does very little well on defence and allows the seventh-most adjusted fantasy points to running backs. With the Bills favoured by 14 points, we should be able to project the Bills to score a lot of points and lean on the run game to run the clock down. 

D’andre Swift – $6000 @ Seattle Seahawks – 42.5 over/under

It sounds increasingly likely that Jared Goff may be unable to play in Week 17. Swift’s return would provide a safety net to Tim Boyle in what doesn’t project to be a high-octane game. The Lions play slow and the Seahawks play even slower. Typically those aren’t situations where we get ceiling performances from players, but Swift is an explosive player and can change that narrative. The Lions haven’t rushed Swift back but for whatever reason seem intent on him playing again this year and on Wednesday and Thursday he practised in full. Swift hasn’t played since Thanksgiving and despite missing almost five full games still ranks top four in running back targets with 70, and his 6.4 targets per game only trails Leonard Forunette’s 6.5. If he plays I am definitely in on the huge upside of Swift and he might pick up less rostership than St. Brown and make for a nice pivot. 

*** Sunday Update to Running Backs **

Darrell Williams – $5800 @ Cinncinati Bengals

With CEH ruled out Williams is expected to see the majority of the running back work. I’m personally not considering this for cash games as we’ve seen a lot of Derrick Gore usage at times and Jerrick McKinnon was added to the gameday squad on Saturday. In tournaments, Williams will probably be a popular bring back to Bengals receivers. The Chiefs average 25.3 rush attempts per game which is 20th in the league and the Bengals allow the seventh-fewest yards per carry with 4.03. If Williams can get there it will probably involve a healthy dose of receptions.

Michael Carter – $5100 vs Tampa Bay Buccanneers

Carter is projecting well with Tevin Coleman expected to miss out with Covid. Carter has shown well at times when seeing the majority of work and is clearly preferred to Ty Johnson. Over the last five Tampa rank sixth-best against the run but 24th best against receptions to running backs. We know Carter will be used in the passing game and he would make a good pivot away from the very chalky Berrios.

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown – $6100 @ New York Jets – 45.0 over/under

I don’t often like to write up a running back and a receiver from the same team on the same week unless it’s a really good matchup and with the Buccs favoured by 13 points, despite being on the road, this one has all the feelings of a game where most options can be relevant. Tom Brady may be the very best player of all time, but he’s one hundred percent a petty, petty man and I feel strongly that he would love to beat up on the Jets fans yet again. No team in the NFL has scored more touchdowns this season than the Buccs 53 and if Brady cuts it loose on Sunday then Antonio Brown will be a big part of it. In Brown’s return to the team last week he saw a whopping 51.7% target share, the fifth-highest amount any receiver has had this season. The Jets might have held the Jaguars in check, but this will be a much harder test. It’s worth noting that on Thursday Brown didn’t practice and if he can’t play Breshad Perriman at $4300 would be a smash play.

Rashod Bateman – $4800 vs L.A Rams – 46.0 over/under

Rashod Bateman enjoyed a season-high in targets and production in week 14 with Tyler Huntley under centre and put up 20.3 DK points. It’s looking increasingly likely Huntley will be back under centre again this week and with the absolute state of the Ravens secondary it projects to be a high volume passing game. With Huntley in the lineup, the Ravens don’t tend to air it out as deep and this suits the way Baltimore has used Bateman this season, serially letting him pick up first downs. I wouldn’t be making this play without using Rams players also and arguably Mark Andrews is the best play despite his sky-high price of $7400, but if you’re looking to be different there may be value here. This play also would be of higher value should Marquise Brown miss out. On Thursday Brown missed practice due to a non-covid illness. We’ve seen those turn into covid at times. 

Darnell Mooney – $5500 vs New York Giants – 37.0 over/under

I’m quite sad that the Bears weren’t more fun this year. It’s almost there for them but Matt Nagy seems to be holding up progress for now and I’m hopeful for all my Bears friends that changes in the near future. Likewise, the Giants had the potential to be more fun this year. Many best ball teams were populated with Giants players who barely touched the field after enabling drafters to dream of a more interesting team. With Allen Robinson doing his best Kenny Golladay impression in 2021 it’s left Darnell Mooney a huge amount of opportunities and he’s turned it into a respectable WR27 ranking on the season. No other WR on the Bears has seen more than 56 targets whilst Mooney has seen 111. The Giants rank 19th against the position over the last five games and allow the 11th-most adjusted fantasy points on the season to receivers. It’s unlikely many people will play Mooney at this price as there are attractive pivots both up and down in price, but he’s in my pool of players when creating more than one lineup. ** With Andy Dalton playing this play becomes less attractive. Not because Dalton can’t get it done, it’s just more likely that the energy gets sapped from the game and we see a low snap total.

Michael Gallup – $4800 vs Arizona Cardinals – 51.5 over/under

The Cardinals secondary is very beaten up with multiple players looking set to miss this week, just as the Cowboys roll into town having become more pass-happy in recent weeks. Per Establish The Run’s Pat Thorman ‘They are operating at the league’s fastest situation-neutral pace on the season (26.6 seconds per snap), and moving even faster over the last six weeks (25.7).’. Perhaps because Kyler Murray was the darling of the NFL for part of the season the struggles of this team have been less published but the team allows the 2nd most points to receivers over the last five and sixth-most on the season. Gallup is the best fit for our deep value plays and he’s averaged seven targets per game over the last four. The Cardinals allow a league-leading 1.4 touchdowns per game to the position and Gallup makes for a nice high upside play this weekend.

Van Jefferson – $5300 vs Baltimore Ravens – 46.0 over/under

Start all your Rams is the short version… The Longer version includes me telling you the Ravens rank joint-last in the league for allowing the most passing plays of 15+ passing yards (tied with the Jets). The Rams have completed the third-most explosive throws of 20+ passing yards and with Michel on paper facing a tougher matchup expect people to heavily target the Rams stacks. You could start any of the Rams players with confidence and Odell Beckham is as good a play as Van Jefferson in many ways, as he sees 0.2 targets more per game and 0.5 more catches, but Van Jefferson’s average depth of target at 14.4 leads the Rams, along with edging OBJ’s 79 average air yards with his 84. Believe me, it’s not hard for players to get in behind this secondary that’s made out of players even the most hardcore IDP players will struggle to name. On championship weekend, fire up your Rams. All of them… well not Tutu Atwell, even if he was healthy. The guy could blow away at this time of year in Maryland. 

Honourable Mention

Amon-Ra St. Brown – $6000 vs Seattle Seahawks – 42.5 over/under

The man’s on a tear! I’m less confident about him than I was last week and with St. Brown’s price up to $6000 it’s becoming more precarious. Taking shots on this type of player in this type of offence is one thing when it’s a $4k punt but when we’re in the same range as Mike Williams and Antonio Brown and Michael Pittman, it becomes a bit harder to swallow a bad performance and cash in nicely. St. Brown leads the team in red-zone targets with 11 and since week 9 he’s seen the 12th most targets in the league with 60. Narrow that to weeks 12-16 and he’s seen the fourth-most targets. Since week 10 St. Brown ranks ninth at the position in WR scoring and now takes on a Seahawks defence that ranks tenth against the position over the last five weeks but as Ian Hartitz points out, this matchup isn’t a bad one.

**SUNDAY UPDATE

Courtland Sutton $4500 @ L.A Chargers

Half of the Broncos seem to be out with Covid and Sutton really is the last man standing at receiver. Unless you’d like to play Kendall Hinton… I’m not overly high on this play as Drew Lock is still #Bad and the matchup favours the Broncos running backs more than the pass catchers regardless, but the opportunity will be there and at this price tag I expect Sutton to be used by plenty of people in both cash and tournaments. If you’re building him into your teams try to make sure there is plenty of ceiling elsewhere in case you’re left with a 4-60 type performance.

Braxton Berrios $3700 vs Tampa Bay

Another player who has picked up steam as the week has progressed is Berrios. With the Jets receiver room banged up he’s in a position to see high volume, but it’s questionable how good that volume will be. His aDot is around the 4.0 mark and whilst he has had big days with 20+ point returns, typically they’ve involved kick-returns. I’m a little sceptical Berrios will do more than see 12 points or so, but obviously at this price tag that’s completely fine. Don’t expect the moon and you won’t be disappointed.

Tight End

Zach Ertz – $5200 @ Dallas Cowboys – 51.5 over/under

Since Ertz gave up the sunshine of Philadelphia for the dry heat of Arizona, he’s trailed only Christian Kirk in snap percentage but led the team in targets with 6.9 per game. Reducing that down to just games with Kyler Murray and that number leaps to 8.3 targets per game. Over the last two games alone Ertz has seen 24 targets, which is only behind Cooper Kupp’s 26 and one ahead of Mark Andrews 23, to lead the position. Ertz is seeing elite usage and in an offence that can be elite on its day. Dallas is middle of the pack against the position but Ertz’s usage should outweigh any downsides. 

Gerald Everett – $4100 vs Detroit Lions – 42.5 over/under

Since Russell Wilson and his gammy finger returned to the Seahawks Gerald Everett leads the team in receptions per game (4.3) and touchdowns (3). Even one of the most diabolical games a tight end has ever played hasn’t prevented Everett from continuing to be relevant. Whilst he’s touchdown dependant and the ceiling is pretty low, Detroit rank 31st against the position over the last five weeks and this could be the kind of game the Seahawks need to round out the season. Russell Wilson is already planting the seeds of finding his way out and I can’t imagine him not wanting to put up a show in his potential last home game. 

Tyler Higbee – $4000 @ Baltimore Ravens – 46.0 over/under

Start your Rams. Ravens are 24th against the position in the last five games and allow the sixth-most adjusted fantasy points on the season. Only Cooper Kupp outsnaps Higbee’s 95.3%. Whilst Higbee is no Mark Andrews he does have a steady presence in the offence with 5.5 targets per game since Odell joined the team and is second behind only Cooper Kupp in red-zone targets. Higbee is a nice price in a game that will provide big stacking opportunities.

Foster Moreau – $3800 @ Indianapolis Colts – 44.0 over/under

We’re heading into our fifth week that Darren Waller has been unavailable and by now we’ve seen that Moreau isn’t a direct replacement for freak athlete Waller. Despite seeing the eighth-most tight end targets over the last four with 5.4,  Moreau averages 8.4 points per game and with zero touchdowns since week 11 it’s hard to trust him to get there. At $3800 though he becomes intriguing and I would be most likely to use this as a correlated play with Jonathan Taylor on the other side of the game. 

Stephen Anderson – $2500 vs Denver Broncos

With Jared Cook hitting the covid list and XFL superstar Donald Parham on I.R the TE room now belongs to converted receiver Stephen Anderson. So far this season Anderson has gone for 15-157-1 on 18 targets. At $2500 I’m always interested in punt tight ends.

As ever I’ll be here through the weekend updating as we go based on all the injury news. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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