We made it. Week 17 is upon us with a FULL slate of games and many intriguing options as the playoff picture is far from set. We also have teams fighting for draft position and backups fighting for jobs next season. It makes our job tougher but we do it for you. Listen to the podcast while you create your lineups and win some money before you bring in the New Year.
Rams (-3) (+3)
There are really only 4 games of interest this week as a lot of teams are out of the race and playing for pride. With that, Vegas has set extremely low over/unders for the week and i might just bet the over on them all. With players trying to not get hurt, it’s a glorified pro bowl atmosphere save for the few players trying to inch out contract bonuses. The games we have to target are the Saints/Bucs and Panthers/Falcons. 3 of the 4 are fighting for playoff seeding and the Bucs almost dealt a huge blow to Carolina last week before losing on a last second TD to Cam Newton. The Falcons need to win to get in after getting demolished by the Saints last week. Elsewhere, you have the Ravens, Chargers, Titans, and Bills all needing wins and some help to get in. For 2 of those teams, they get pushover opponents as the Chargers face the Raiders at home and the Ravens get the hapless Bengals. The Titans have to face a semi motivated, playoff bound Jags team and the Bills travel to Miami. Other than that, its all 4-11 teams facing playoff teams or team’s angling for the highest draft pick.
Jimmy Garoppolo (6700|7700) Jimmy has shown us that he is the real deal. He was a guy I was avoiding last week in a tough matchup not because I didn’t this he was good. It was just because I thought that his potential upside was capped taking on a very strong offense. Well he went out and showed everyone like me that matchup didn’t matter to him and on his was to beating the Jacksonville Jaguars he threw for 242/2 on 30 attempts and, oh yeah, rushed for one himself. In the last 3 weeks he has thrown for over 300 yards twice and is continuing to show why he belongs as a starter in the NFL. This week the line in his games line has swung from getting 3 to giving 3 when we learned the Rams aren’t playing Goff, Gurley and other starters.
Joe Flacco (5700|7300) Flacco is boring. But, in his last 4 he has been over XX points. He is yet to throw for over 300 yards in a game this season, and taking on the Bengals who have given up on everything might be the cure you are looking for. They did have a pretty good defensive week against the Lions last week, but I think that Flacco is a safe QB for cash.
Tom Brady (6800|8500) Lets go a little contrarian, but first this needs some setup. The *logical* move here for the Patriots is to get a big lead on the Jets and rest Tom in the second half before taking a week off for the playoffs. And in a week with such a huge line it looks like this will be easily done by the Patriots offense. But here is what I’m thinking. Last week the Jets held the Chargers to 14 points. The previous week that Saints had to seriously work to take down the Jets. While I do think that Patriots will win by a pretty good margin, I think they are going to have to work to make that happen. The Pats do need the win especially with the Steelers having a layup this week so the Patriots will (wisely) ask Tom Brady to get them that win. I’m looking for something of a statement game from the Patriots where they tell the whole league that champions don’t rest their starters.
Kirk Cousins (6200|7600) He is always prone to blow up weeks but last wee he shredded the Broncos stout pass D and over the last 3 years, he has been a top 5 QB when you look at the numbers. He is only behind Brees and Brady in passer rating and is behind Ryan and Brady in YPA. This season, behind an O-Line that was never healthy and the losses of all 3 RBs plus the failed experiment of Terrelle Pryor and lack of emergence from Josh Doctson, Cousins ranks 6th in the categories above plus TD %. What this means is he is a good a QB and good QB do not get stymied by the current state of the Giants defense who seemingly have everyone on IR or suspended.
Kenyan Drake (7200|7000) He started hot last week but ultimately finished with 57 yards after the ‘phins got down early. He still averaged over 4 yards a carry which is great to see. He had a lot of success two weeks ago against the Bills and coming home to warm Miami should bode well for him. The Bills have been getting gashed all year and was no different last week vs the Pats. Damien Williams was limited in practice with a shoulder, and Drakes usage has been very high. Looking at his last 4 weeks you can see that in games they win his usage is up (23/120/1 week 13 vs Denver, 25/114/0 week 14 vs New England) and his usage is down when they lose (16/78/1 week 15 @ Buffalo although he had 11 targets and 6 catches, 13/57/0 week 16 @ Kansas City where he still averaged over 4.0 yards a carry). Also with that, in his last 4 his 2 home games were those ones with 20+ carries and 100+ yards. So if you think his big games are at home then lock him in. And if you think that they will beat the Bills then lock him in. He should be a pretty good play this week.
Giovani Bernard (5700|6200) **Sunday Update: Mixon is playing – buyer beware**
It is looking like Mixon is up to miss again this week. Last week everyone came off of Gio because Mixon was supposed to be going in full. But when Joe went down after seeing only 7 offensive snaps Gio stepped up in a huge way. He had a total of 30 opportunities against the Lions and did some pretty big things on the ground, 23 rushes for 116 yards. Oh and catching all 7 of his targets for 53 yards. That translated to the third (I think) highest scorer on DK in week 16. This week he is seeing a team that is barely better than the Lions in the Baltimore Ravens who have given up 31.93 points to the RB in the last 4 games. In that same span they are letting up 4.49 yards/carry and Gio is averaging right around that (4.67). He showed us last week what he can do to a bad rush defense and this is a spot that I expect him to do the same.
Jamaal Williams (5200|6700) With Hundley back under center, the run game becomes more in focus, especially with Jordy and Adams presumably out. With Aaron Jones out, Williams becomes the only RB in town and we saw what the Bengals, specifically Gio Bernard, were able to do last week against the Lions. It’s a cheaper play with loads of upside.
Julio Jones (8200|8400) If you could get a guy who (on the season) is averaging per game 9.1 targets, 90.9 yards and had a 60.6% catch rate who is taking on the worst defense against the WR in the last 4 week (47.63 pt/gm) and on his career averages 106 yards against this team is 10 games would you take him. Would it help to say that he is taking them on at home and need to win to guarantee a playoff spot? This is a week that I am going to trust Julio Jones to get it done. The only poo poo you can say about him is his TD production this season. He has only scored in 2 games this year (wtf).
Josh Docston (4400|5800) & Jamison Crowder (5800|7000) With Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins on IR, plus Collins calling out the other corner, Eli Apple, the Giants secondary is a mess. The Redskins destroyed the much better secondary of the Broncos last week with Docston having his best game to date. It should be a smash spot for the Redskins.
Mike Wallace (5700|5600) If we are going to play Joe Flacco, let’s pair him up with his speedy WR to expose the Bengals secondary. With the Ravens needing a win, it makes sense to air it out and not shorten the game on the ground. He is questionable with a back injury but he should be a go and we are really looking for a long TD catch to hit value.
Kelvin Benjamin (4300|6400) This guy looked pretty good against the Patriots in week 16. Yeah there is a controversy about his “catch” and if he had been able to get that TD his team is in much better shape and he is looking at just about 20 points on the week. He has a pretty good matchup this week in Miami and wants the win so they still have a shot for the playoffs.
Roger Lewis (3600|5100) This play is all about opportunity. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard are out so Lewis becomes the de facto #1. The Redskins give up big plays, letting up an average of 15.5 yards/reception in their last 4. Roger Lewis, in his last 3, has gotten 11, 10, and 11 targets. His catch percentage is a pretty crappy 46.9%, but at 3600 on DK I think his floor is right around 8 in this game (good for cash) and his ceiling is pretty high. His price also gives you a little bit of wiggle room at other positions.
Robert Gronkowski (7000|8500) He has a lot to play for this week as he is closing in on a couple escalators in his contract. He earns a varying amount of money but has $5.5 million out there if he reaches a few milestones. He is 11 catches short of a $2 mil bonus, 126 yards shy of another $2 mil and if he plays all snaps, provided the Pats run over 65 plays, that is another $1 mil. A motivated Gronk plus the absence of Hogan and the RBs should mean Gronk is in for a huge day.
Antonio Gates (4200|5700) He turned back the clock and won me a cool dollar from Brian fuck. His price obviously elevates this week after his performance last week but the matchup doesn’t scare me and the Chargers are still motivated, needing a win above everything else to keep playing.
Vernon Davis (4100|5800) It’s a broken record but we always target the Giants and Vernon Davis is up this week. He is the primary TE with Reed on IR and Giants also placed Landon Collins on IR this week. I love the Redskins this week and expect Davis to have a great game.
Another week and another somewhat successful week predicting which defenses would take advantage of poor QB play. This week we have all the bad QBs available to choose from so let’s dive in:
Jacoby Brissett vs Houston (3100| 4500) Taking on the Texans is a pretty good spot for the young QB as they were devoured by Big Ben last week. I will pass on this matchup..
TJ Yates @ Indianapolis (2900|4300) In the same game, the Colts D is nothing to write home about but I give them a slight edge because Yates is that bad. Still have D-Hop to contend with though.
Bryce Petty @ New England (3500|5100) The Pats are kings of the bend, don’t break D and might allow some yards to Petty and co but I can guarantee they pick him off and otherwise stymie the Jets offense. They will be a favorite play of mine this week.
Brett Hundley @ Detroit (3700|4700) The Lions managed to lose to Andy Dalton last week so confidence cannot be that high. They get a slight bump being at home but overall, a team I am not looking to target.
Mitch Trubisky @ Minnesota (3900|5400) He has slowly shown flashes of brilliance but against the Vikings, good luck. I’ll be all in here.
Drew Stanton @ Seattle (3400|5000) The Seahawks are still alive in the playoff hunt, needing a Falcons loss to sneak in. That will mean a tough day for Drew and his bum knee. This could make for a late game bump
Sean Mannion vs San Francisco (2100|4000) Jared Goff gets the week off as does Todd Gurley and a few others. This could be a fun spot to play the cheap 49ers D to save room. Mannion is competent despite his limited exposure but the big loss is Gurley. He obviously changes the game so much that his absence could make the 9ers a GPP winning play.
Patrick Mahomes II @ Denver (2900|4500) Mahomes gets his first start at Mile High but don’t sleep on this kid. He was the #10 pick for a reason and they clearly see a future. He will have some talent to lean on and Denver might be playing for the draft pick rather than the win. Denver might be popular but I am staying away.
Landry Jones vs Cleveland (2000|3000) The Browns are a full $1000 cheaper than any Defense on FanDuel this week and that alone makes them a play. Add in the fact they aren’t facing Ben, Brown, or Bell and this is a great week to save a lot of money and spend elsewhere.
Deshone Kizer vs Pittsburgh (3900|5400) He has had an up and down year but the Browns need a win and the Steelers D is limping into the playoffs. I’m avoiding targeting them here.
Will Lutz (5100) Highest scoring game on the slate and he is in sunny Tampa, Florida. He will most likely be the chalk kicker but the upside is there.
Matt Bryant (5000) Also in a meaningful game, he is indoors in the second highest total game this week. he is also Mr. Reliable, even at his age.
Graham Gano (4700) In the same game, you get a massive discount on Gano who can boot the ball. He leads the league in Touchback % and has quietly had a great season.
Adam Vinetari (4600) The old man got screwed in Buffalo a few weeks back and then Pagano trotted him out for a 60 yarder that he hit 58 yards. Otherwise, he’s looking at a $1 mil bonus for hitting over 90% of FGs this year. He might salvage it by going 4/4 or 5/5 this week and I expect them to give him plenty of opportunity to do so.