Ben Roethlisberger, Martavis Bryant, Ben Watson and Julius Thomas were a few of Week 16’s disappointments. Blake Bortles, David Johnson and DeAngelo Williams were what helped kept my cash games afloat. I was very surprised at how poor the Steelers passing game was. Getting four points combined from Thomas and Bryant was not ideal.
Its been an up and down season for me. I dealt with injuries Week 10 through Week 12, which hurt quite a bit. Week 16 I didn’t run into any injuries, just a few plays that didn’t pan out. I was actually profitable overall in cash games this week, but my GPP teams are what caused me to lose money. Hard to believe we’re in the final week of the NFL season. Week 17 is always interesting because you need to pay attention to what teams are playing for something, and which teams have potential to rest their starters. I always avoid teams that have a chance of resting their starters because they can’t advance any further in the playoff race. So, let’s get started on the last and final week!
Week 17 Cash Game Strategy
Week 17 is looking like a pay down week. The first guy this brings me to is Eli Manning against the Eagles. This game is just one of two that has an over/under over 50 points. Manning is coming off a very disappointing start against the Vikings, but this week is a different story as he gets to play at home and has Odell Beckham Jr back. The Eagles rank 31st in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted average fantasy points allowed (aFPA) metric and they’ve allowed three or more touchdown passes in four of their last six games. Manning averages nearly 300 passing yards per game at home this season, compared to 258 on the road. The Giants have also scored 89 percent of their touchdowns via the pass (4for4), which is the highest percentage among NFL teams. Both teams are out of playoff contention, but I haven’t heard of any talk of these two teams resting any starters.
Rostering Matt Ryan probably won’t feel that good, but you couldn’t ask for a better matchup against the New Orleans Saints. This strategy has worked out well this year, even when using subpar QBs. They rank 32nd schedule-adjusted aFPA to opposing QBs, and 32nd in pass DVOA, and they’ve allowed opposing QBs to throw for two or more touchdowns in four of their last five games since their Week 11 bye. This also includes a three TD outing (Stafford), four TD game (Bortles) and five touchdowns for Cam Newton. They’ve allowed a league-high in passing touchdowns (43) and net yards per attempt (7.8) and they’re tied for the second fewest interceptions on the year, with just eight. This game currently has a 53 over/under and the Falcons have the highest implied team total at 28.5 points.
Devonta Freeman hasn’t exactly been blowing up the stat sheet with just 129 yards on 47 carries in the last two weeks, but he has found the end zone twice and he has 15 targets and 10 receptions in that same span. He also faced a tough Carolina rush defense last week. This week is a different story since he gets to square off against a Saints defense that’s just as bad against the run as they are the pass. They rank 29th in rush DVOA and rank 30th in schedule-adjusted aFPA. I love Freeman because he’s impervious to game script, and I love his red zone usage. Freeman has 58 red zone looks (rush or target) this season, which is more than the Falcons WRs and TEs combined. He also has the second-most rush attempts inside the red zone and is tied for the second-most rushing TDs (10) from inside the 20-yard line. The Falcons are home favorites with the highest projected implied team total against one of the worst defenses in the league. Freeman will be a core play for me.
Right after Freeman comes DeAngelo Williams against a putrid Cleveland rush defense that ranks 28th in rush DVOA and has allowed 4.6 yards per rush attempt. Over the last five games, Williams is averaging 22.6 touches per game and he has scored six touchdowns. Outside of Antonio Brown, D-Will is one of the most reliable fantasy commodities on offense. I’m not at all shocked by his touchdown scoring because Williams leads the league with 10 rushing touchdowns inside the five-yard line, and he’s second in rush attempts (16). In fact, Williams leads the league in red zone rush attempts and red zone touchdowns. He’s the exact specimen we’re looking for in DFS running backs each and every week and this week should set up well for him as the Steelers are 10-point favorites against the Browns.
Even in a tougher matchup against the Seahawks (fourth in rush DVOA and second in schedule-adjusted aFPA) David Johnson is still relatively underpriced considering his massive workload in one of the best offenses in football. DJ’s box score against Green Bay doesn’t really tell the whole story as they Cardinals scored two defensive touchdowns and jumped out to a lead relatively easily and didn’t need to run that much. On 52 percent of the snaps last week, DJ still managed to find the end zone once and catch three balls on six targets. The Cardinals are 6.5-point favorites at home with an implied team total of 27 points, so I don’t think the Cardinals will have much issue moving the ball against this defense. Earlier in the year in Seattle, Carson Palmer put up a stat line of 363-3-1. With all of his weapons at his disposal, DJ should be just fine in this NFC West battle.
If you’re looking for a little salary relief at the running back position, Buck Allen for $4,400 on DraftKings and $6,000 on FanDuel may be my RB of choice. Cincinnati does rank 10th in rush DVOA, but I think Allen could be able to exploit them through the air. He has 39 targets in the last six weeks and the Bengals rank 28th pass DVOA against opposing RBs out of the backfield. Combine that with around 16-20 touches on the ground and his price tag, and I think he can hit value. I may prefer him on DraftKings over FanDuel where you get the full PPR.
All of the top-tier WRs are in great spots, but the one I am keying in on is Odell Beckham Jr. The Eagles are a mess. They’re a travesty, they’re a sham, they’re a mockery, they’re a travashamockery! Prior to playing Carolina in Week 15, OBJ topped 100 yards receiving in six straight games and scored a touchdown in five of those six games. He has seen nine or more targets in every game since Week 8. The Eagles rank 29th in schedule-adjusted aFPA to opposing WRs and 23rd in pass DVOA against No. 1 WRs. The Eagles and Giants are top-2 in pace of play this year, but I’ll be curious to see if the Eagles pace changes now that Chip Kelly is gone. However, the Giants still rank second in pace, so I think this game still could feature a lot offensive possessions for both teams.
After seeing 23 percent market share in weeks prior to weeks 12-15, I thought Martavis Bryant would be in for a great game against the Ravens. Instead he caught one pass for six yards on three targets… Not exactly what I had in mind. I’ll be heading back to the Bryant well again. He dropped $300 on DraftKings, and $100 on FanDuel. I still think he’s severely underpriced for $5,300 on DraftKings. It’s a great matchup on paper as the Browns rank 28th in pass DVOA, 24th in pass DVOA against No. 2 WRs and 27th in schedule-adjusted aFPA to opposing WRs. Don’t let recency bias sway your decision in this one. Bryant is good play yet again.
This is another (same) spot where people may be off Arizona because of a perceived tough matchup, but it’s hard to ignore Michael Floyd at his $5,200 price on DraftKings and $6,500 on FanDuel. Since Week 8, Floyd has seen 21 percent of the market share, which only trails Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd is has been the top fantasy scoring receiver on this roster since Week 8 with more yards than John Brown and Fitz, and two more touchdowns than Fitzgerald (he’s tied with Brown with four). The only good corner on the Seahawks is Richard Sherman, otherwise these WRs will be running against Deshawn Shead and Jeremy Lane, who both have negative grades in pass coverage, per PFF. All three WRs are split pretty evenly between playing in the slot or outside.
It may feel like chasing points to some, but it’s not chasing points when a player is a good play. Zach Ertz for $3,600 on DraftKings and $5,700 on FanDuel is in a great spot against the Giants. The Giants rank 27th in schedule-adjusted aFPA and 24th in pass DVOA against TEs. Ertz has seen 37 targets the last three weeks, with five or more receptions in each of those three games. Since Week 10, Ertz leads the Eagles in market share with 22 percent of the market share of targets and in that same span he leads the Eagles in red zone targets. I don’t think there’s a better combination of usage and price at the tight end position than Ertz for Week 17.
Zach Miller didn’t practice on Wednesday as he’s battling a toe injury, but if he does play, I like him quite a bit. He has been rather consistent in this offense since Week 14, with six or more targets, while catching five or more passes and topping 55 yards in every game during that three-week span. With Alshon Jeffery out for the season, his market share will have to go up. Just remember to keep an eye out on his injury status throughout the week.
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