Fantasy Football Tournament Plays: High-Upside Week 17 NFL Picks

This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite weekly tournament plays. I’m going to be focusing on high-upside, expected low-owned plays and stacks from the main Sunday slate that could pay off big for you in a large-field tournament.

Stacks

Patrick Mahomes ($7,100) – Tyreek Hill ($8,400) – Damien Williams ($6,100) – Jordy Nelson ($4,900)

The dynamic duo of Mahomes and Hill have been off the mark of late and head into this game needing a “get right” performance. Oakland brings almost no threat of pressure — 13-sacks all season — which should give Mahomes time to throw downfield and find Hill, who dropped more than one long TD pass the last time these two teams played. Oakland’s defense might have allowed only one 100-yard WR all year, but it’s allowed 22 TDs to the position (second most in the league) and might be overly concerned with stopping Travis Kelce in this matchup. Kelce torched the Raiders for 12 catches and 168 yards the last time they played.

The Mahomes-Hill stack is expensive, so adding cheaper targets like Williams and Nelson is a nice way to finish targeting this game, which has a 53.5 projected total. Coming off 29- and 30.3-DKFP games, Williams still looks underpriced and has converted all 13 of his targets into catches the past two weeks. Nelson, meanwhile, has seen 36 targets the past four weeks and faces a banged-up K.C. secondary that has allowed seven TDs to opposing WRs over the past five games. This stack allows you to attack all areas of a potential blowout, where the hope is the Chiefs allow their star QB to go for the jugular and lock up any undecided MVP voters with a massive game.

Just Missed: Jared Goff ($6,200) – Robert Woods ($6,900) – George Kittle ($6,200)


Quarterback

Josh Johnson ($4,800)

Johnson will be starting his third game in a row for the Redskins this week and will be taking on the Eagles at home. Philly has allowed an average of 377 passing yards to opposing QBs over the past three games, and even if he doesn’t hit that total, a higher-than-normal yardage game should be expected here from Johnson, who barely has surpassed 150 yards the past two weeks. Johnson also has averaged 38.6 yards rushing in three games for the Redskins thus far, so whatever extra passing totals he misses could be supplemented by some decent rushing points.

With lots of variables in Week 17, Johnson’s a cheap QB who brings rushing upside, a great matchup and some solid recent performances to back up his potential for a great Week 17. He’s in play for those that like to be frugal at the headline position and can be paired cheaply with a player like Josh Doctson ($3,400) with good big-play upside.

Just Missed: Derek Carr ($5,100)


Running Back

Kalen Ballage ($3,600)

Ballage is coming off a serious stinker of a game in Week 16, where he could muster only 6.9 DKFP off of four carries and four targets in the passing game. His performance and lack of volume had much to do with an inspired Jacksonville defense, however, and Ballage’s opponent in Week 17 has been far less stellar at stopping the run of late.

The Bills’ defense ceded 236 yards rushing last week to New England and has allowed five rushing TDs to opposing RBs in the past three weeks, meaning Ballage hopefully will have a much better shot at playing on more than 30 percent of the snaps — which was all he played in Week 16 — in this game. The rookie’s proven his explosiveness already with a 123-yard effort in Week 15 — on just 12 carries — and remains a great tournament target this week at what likely will be depressed ownership. Take advantage of the negative sentiment on him coming in as the matchup this week favors a quick bounce-back.

Royce Freeman ($3,500)

Freeman should get a chance at seeing more of a workhorse role in Week 17 as the Broncos placed Philip Lindsay (hand) on IR. Freeman was touted to be the likely starter for Denver, but Linday’s explosiveness — and Freeman’s injury issues — allowed Lindsay to overtake him. Freeman was an efficient workhorse in college and will be facing a Chargers defense that has struggled against power-backs at times, allowing the 13th-most DKFP to the RB position this year. The Chargers also allowed Freeman and Lindsay to score three times against them on the ground back in Week 11.

Freeman likely will cede some passing work to Devontae Booker ($3,200), but in a home matchup against a middling run defense, he has a chance to see some big volume if the Broncos’ offense gets off to a good start.

Just Missed: Jeff Wilson Jr. ($4,400), Nick Chubb ($6,400)


Wide Receiver

Kenny Golladay ($6,600)

Golladay saw 15 targets last week but could muster only six catches for 58 yards. The second-year player clearly has become the go-to-man for the Lions down the stretch and should have a good shot at ending his season with a big game. The Packers enter this week’s contest precariously thin at the cornerback position. They have several names already on IR and lost their best corner in Jaire Alexander (groin) in-game to injury last week. If Alexander doesn’t play (DNP Wednesday) that would open the day for a potential monster game for Golladay, as the Packers’ secondary yielded nine catches, 140 yards and a TD last week to Robby Anderson with similar personnel. Golladay (chest) has battled some injuries but played through them in a similar spot last week and looks like a great Week 17 GPP target.

Alex Erickson ($3,300)

Erickson filled in for the injured Tyler Boyd last week and played on 68 percent of the snaps for Cincinnati, taking in both of his targets for 36 yards. The usage isn’t overly encouraging, but the Bengals only completed 13 passes last week in an embarrassing loss to the Browns. Erickson could have a great shot for some real garbage-time numbers in this week’s matchup with the Steelers, as the Bengals enter this week as 14-point underdogs, putting their offense in a situation where it could see lots of prevent defense late in this game.

Erickson also has played about 50 percent of his snaps from the slot this season, which bodes well for his chances against Pittsburgh, which has been burned by slot receivers repeatedly this year. Erickson’s an interesting near-minimum-priced flyer for Week 17.

Just Missed: Adam Humphries ($5,400), Sterling Shepard ($5,400)


Tight End

George Kittle ($6,300)

Kittle took in seven catches last week for 14.4 DKFP; a solid effort against a tough Bears defense. The big news from that game were his targets, which hit 12 and almost matched his season high. The 49ers enter this week’s game against the Rams without both WR Donte Pettis and RB Matt Brieda — two players who have been integral parts of their offense all year. Los Angeles also has been burned numerous times this season by athletic TEs, ceding 180-yard and 127-yard games to Travis Kelce and Jared Cook, respectively, while also allowing Kittle to post 98 yards and a TD back in Week 7.

With few options left to throw to, Kittle should see plenty of targeting in this game as the 49ers try to increase his yearly totals and look to keep pace with the Rams, who enter as -10 favorites. Kittle has got volume monster written all over him for Week 17.

Just Missed: Jason Croom ($2,500), Chris Herndon ($3,400)


DST

Chicago Bears ($2,800)

The Bears enter this week priced at a $700 discount off last week in a road matchup with the Vikings. Chicago has averaged 11.9 DKFP per game this season and despite being solid throughout the year, the Bears been better on the road, where they’ve averaged 12.1 DKFP per game. Kirk Cousins ($5,500) has looked fantastic at points this year but dismal in others and comes into this game having thrown 11 INTs and — perhaps more alarming for his prospects in this game — having lost seven fumbles.

The Bears’ defense still leads the league in turnovers with 36 and has allowed the second-fewest rush yards per game this year at just 81.1. The Vikings likely will be forced to turn to Cousins and the pass game if they want to overcome Chicago, and that could be great news for the DST, which could go vastly overlooked in this spot given the road matchup. The Vikings’ offense might have bounced back in its past two games against weak opponents, but the Bears’ defense is on another level and has great GPP appeal in Week 17.

Just Missed: Jacksonville Jaguars ($2,300)


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.