FanDuel Picks: Week 17 Edition
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Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: Seattle Seahawks blowing out the San Francisco 49ers
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Aaron Rodgers vs DET, $8,800
Over the last six weeks, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for the third most passing yards and the most TDs, while throwing zero interceptions over that same stretch. He’s playing out of his mind right now and that should continue this week with a playoff spot and the NFC North Division title on the line. Rodgers faces a Lions defense tied for the fourth most pass TDs allowed this season.
Matt Ryan vs NO, $8,700
Matt Ryan has had a MVP-like season. He is third in passing yards and third in pass TDs on the year. This week, he’s at home against a Saints defense giving up the third most passing yards. He should still be plenty motivated on Sunday as the Falcons are playing for the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye.
Matthew Stafford vs GB, $8,000
Matthew Stafford gets a Packers defense giving up the fourth most passing yards and that is tied for the second most pass TDs allowed. He’s at home in this one and will be plenty motivated with the NFC North Division title on the line.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
David Johnson vs LA, $9,300
Look, I have no idea how much playing time David Johnson will receive in this meaningless game. However, I thought Bruce Arians might begin to rest Johnson last week. All Johnson did in Week 16 was see 32 touches and score 3 TDs. Johnson is incredible and Week 17 offers us our last opportunity to roster him during his incredible 2016 season. Johnson clearly is matchup proof and the Rams are just an average defense against the run.
Rob Kelley vs NYG, $5,900
The Giants have been very good against the run this season. However, they have nothing to play for in Week 17 as they are locked into the 5 seed no matter what. Meanwhile, the Redskins are plenty motivated as they are still alive and must win this game. Rob Kelley saw 21 touches last week and I envision a similar workload at home in this one.
Frank Gore vs JAC, $6,200
Despite having nothing to play for as a team, reports out of Indianapolis state the Colts will be playing their starters on Sunday. That’s great news, seeing as Frank Gore will likely be extremely motivated on an individual level for this game. Gore needs just 36 rushing yards to become the first player age 33 years old or older to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 1984. He should reach that milestone rather easily. However, there is also a possibility (Hopefully not) this is Gore’s last NFL game. If that does end up being the case, then there is potential here for Gore to have a monster game #NarrativeStreet. Gore is at home against a Jaguars defense giving up the 13th most rushing yards and that is tied for the ninth most rush TDs allowed.
Ty Montgomery vs DET, $6,700
After a monster game in Week 15, Ty Montgomery came back down to earth last week with Aaron Rodgers having a signature performance. However, Montgomery still handled 72% of the Packers RB touches and caught four passes a week ago. Montgomery is a dual-threat lead back playing with Rodgers and one of the best offenses in football. With the Packers highly motivated to win this game, Montgomery possesses high upside in this contest.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Plays
Darren Sproles vs DAL, $5,500
RBs Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner are all on Injured Reserve. That means Darren Sproles should be in line for a big workload on Sunday at home against a Cowboys defense that has nothing to play for in Week 17 as they have already wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC. Sproles is a talented dual-threat back that possesses high upside this week.
Rex Burkhead vs BAL, $4,500
It doesn’t sound like Jeremy Hill is going to play this week. If that in fact is the case, then Rex Burkhead becomes interesting extremely quickly. Burkhead was the only other RB to touch the ball last week and totaled 67 yards on 16 touches. Burkhead is a dual-threat back playing at home against a Ravens defense that has nothing to play for in Week 17.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Jordy Nelson vs DET, $8,200
Over the last six weeks, Jordy Nelson has the most receiving TDs while also ranking second in catches and receiving yards. His monster month and a half has correlated with the phenomenal play of his QB, Aaron Rodgers. Even with the expected return of the Lions best CB, Darius Slay, look for Nelson to have another very good game on Sunday Night Football. The Lions are tied for the fourth most pass TDs allowed this season.
Steve Smith Sr. vs CIN, $5,800
NARRATIVE STREET ALERT: One of the best to ever do it, Steve Smith, will likely hang ’em up after Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Ravens having nothing to play for after being eliminated from playoff contention last week, how does this not become “The Steve Smith Show?” One of Smith’s motivations for returning this season was going out on his own terms and not being forced to walk away due to injury. We all know the fire that burns inside Smith and I have no doubt the motivation is there for him to ball out one last time. He’ll want to go out with a bang and this could very quickly turn into the football version of Kobe’s last game.
Mike Evans vs CAR, $8,400
The Buccaneers are at home this week and are still motivated with an outside chance of making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Panthers have absolutely nothing to play for in this game. With Vincent Jackson and Cameron Brate both on Injured Reserve and Doug Martin suspended, I see Mike Evans seeing double digit targets in this contest. He will take advantage of a Panthers defense allowing the most passing yards and that is tied for 10th most pass TDs allowed.
Doug Baldwin vs SF, $7,100
Tyler Lockett is now on Injured Reserve making Doug Baldwin once again the clear #1 option in Seattle’s passing attack. Look no further than the 19 targets Baldwin saw last week. Now, he gets a 49ers defense that is tied for the 4th most pass TDs allowed. Baldwin is going to feast.
Golden Tate vs GB, $5,700
Detroit is in a must win situation this week so it would make sense to feed their #1 option in the passing game. Prior to last week, Tate had seen double digit targets in three straight games. With it looking like Theo Riddick will miss yet another game, look for Tate to get back to seeing double digit targets on Sunday. He’s at home this week against a Packers defense giving up the fourth most passing yards and that is tied for the second most pass TDs allowed.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Adam Thielen vs CHI, $6,500
Adam Thielen really shouldn’t be in this section after he saw 15 targets last week, catching 12 of them for 202 yards and 2 TDs. However, my guess is he continues to go under-appreciated because he doesn’t possess much name value…yet. It looks like Stefon Diggs won’t play on Sunday and if that in fact is the case, Thielen will be the Vikings WR1 against a Bears defense that has nothing to play for on Sunday.
J.J. Nelson vs LA, $5,300
Since Michael Floyd was released from the team, J.J. Nelson has seen 18 targets over the past two weeks. He possesses big play ability on every play and will take on an average Rams pass defense on Sunday.
Cameron Meredith vs MIN, $5,800
Cameron Meredith has seen 25 targets over the past two weeks and now gets a Vikings defense allowing the 12th most passing yards per game over the last five weeks.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Travis Kelce vs SD, $6,800
Travis Kelce leads all TEs in catches and receiving yards over the past six weeks. Look for him to keep the momentum going with the Chiefs motivated to grab the #2 seed in the AFC and a first round bye. The Chargers are average against the pass and have nothing to play for this week.
Jimmy Graham vs SF, $6,400
With Tyler Lockett on Injured Reserve, look for Jimmy Graham to seen an uptick in targets this week. That’s good news as Graham dusted this 49ers defense for 100 yards and a TD earlier this season.
Eric Ebron vs GB, $5,800
Eric Ebron saw 12 targets last week which was the most on the team. Now he gets to play at home in a potential Back and Forth Bonanza against a Packers defense giving up the fourth most passing yards and that is tied for the second most pass TDs allowed.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Matt Bryant vs NO, $5,300
Matt Bryant is tied for the third most made field goals in the league and has made six from 50+. He also leads the league in extra points made. He gets the Saints at home this week in a potential Back and Forth Bonanza.
Mason Crosby vs DET, $4,700
Mason Crosby gets the added benefit of kicking in a dome this week in a potential Back and Forth Bonanza. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up plenty of points, meaning Crosby should receive multiple opportunities.
Dustin Hopkins vs NYG, $4,800
Dustin Hopkins is tied for the third most made field goals in the league and should see multiple opportunities at home this week against a Giants team that has nothing to play for on Sunday.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Seattle Seahawks vs SF, $5,200
Seattle remains highly motivated as they will be playing for the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye on Sunday. They’ll take it out on a 2-13 49ers team. Colin Kaepernick has been sacked 31 times in 10 games and the Seahawks are tied for the seventh most sacks in the league.
Kansas City Chiefs vs SD, $4,900
The Chiefs have averaged the most FanDuel points per game of any defense this season. They will remain highly motivated this week as they are in position to grab the #2 seed in the AFC and a first round bye. Philip Rivers has thrown seven INTs over his last five games and the Chiefs are tied for the third most INTs this season.