WATCH: PRICE CHECK – WEEK 17
Week 17 – when you have to judge motivation as much as opportunity, talent and matchup. Here are a few players to consider at each position, from every price range.
Aaron Rodgers @ DET ($7,700) – With the AFC field set, plenty of fantasy owners are going to be focusing on the NFC this weekend, looking for players from those teams still clinging to some playoff hope. The one game that will go the longest towards determining the NFC seedings after Week 17 is this one, and both the Lions and Packers could still end up either in or out of the playoffs depending on the result. Coming off a 347 yard, 4 TD effort in Week 16, Rodgers will be looking for another gem to give the Packers the best chance possible to advance into the postseason.
Russell Wilson @ SF ($6,800) – With basically every seed from #2 to #6 in play for all the NFC’s likely playoff teams, it’s probable that we’ll see Wilson out there for the majority of the game Sunday, trying to earn the Seahawks the best seed possible. He’s coming off a game in which he attempted a career-high 45 passes, and he’ll be leaned on again here. The only chance of him getting pulled for some rest would be in the case of a blowout, and if it’s not a close game, Wilson is likely a big reason why.
Matthew Stafford vs. GB ($6,000) – See above. With a savings of $1,700, you’re definitely getting more volatility and less upside, but Stafford should be able to score you somewhere in the range of 20 fantasy points in a solid matchup and a must-win scenario. For a cash-game option, that’s decent value at the price considering all the uncertainty across the league this week.
David Johnson @ LA ($9,800) – It seems like the Cardinals’ response to missing the playoffs has been “keep giving it to David Johnson and get to the offseason.” And while it’s not working for the Cardinals, it’s working great for all of Johnson’s owners, for whom he has averaged just under 20 carries per game for five weeks. He has now had 30 or more fantasy points in four of his last six (and another one with around 27 points). He is breaking long gains and also getting handed the ball every time Arizona gets in close.
LaGarrette Blount @ MIA ($5,700) – If this game turns into a blowout late, we could just keep seeing more and more Blount as the afternoon progresses. A true thunder to complement James White and Dion Lewis, his running style is meant to break down an opponent’s game plan. The carries and touches will be split with the smaller backs to some extent, but Belichick and Brady might rely on the ground and pound game in Week 17 as an alternative to sending a whole bunch of their offensive schemes and spirits out into the world for every team to see right before the postseason gets underway.
Frank Gore vs. JAX ($4,700) – It’s almost impossible to imagine Luck missing the playoffs, but he is going to this year, and needs this win just to finish up at 8-8. Gore made it through more of a football season than anyone would have thought he was capable of coming into the year, and in Week 17 he is firmly in place as a major piece of the Colts’ offense. He has had at least 70 yards in each of his last three contests, and two or more receptions in two of them.
Odell Beckham @ WAS ($9,000) – With the Giants locked as the fifth seed, they may not need to play everyone on Sunday. However, if they do, Eli demonstrated last week that he fully understands who his best option is. He peppered Beckham with 20 targets, and the stud WR responded with 11 catches for 150 yards. He didn’t have a score in the game, but he still returned great upside for his fantasy owners. Whenever Odell is on the field, he’s a threat, but just be wary that the Giants may choose to rest their star WR.
Jordy Nelson @ DET ($8,100) – There are plenty of great WR options this weekend, so it is the position to build around, and I think Jordy makes a lot of sense in one of those slots. He had six grabs for 101 yards and two TDs in their first meeting back in Week 3, and is coming off a monster 9-catch, 154-yard, two-TD game last weekend. With the season on the line, I expect Rodgers to go after his #1 option early and often again this week.
Alshon Jeffery @ MIN ($5,900) – The Vikings seem to have checked out, and while the Bears have been eliminated for some time now, Matt Barkley has been playing well, and the team is responding with some competitive football down the stretch. Since returning from his four-game suspension, Jeffery has been targeted 19 times in the last two weeks, and has 11 catches for 181 total yards and a score, giving you an average fantasy output north of 15 points, a solid return at this price.
Jimmy Graham @ SF ($4,500) – All the tight ends are hurt, making every tight end a touchdown-dependent, inconsistent fantasy option, leaving one “Inexpensive” options on this list. Even with a huge game from Wilson last week, Graham only saw four balls come his way, but he caught all four of them, including his sixth TD of the year. He has been used consistently as a red zone threat, making him a decent option this weekend.
Martellus Bennett @ MIA ($3,900) – An obvious play for me this weekend, I like him for the same reasons I like all the New England receiving options – with the Raiders not going until 4:25, the Patriots will need to win to clinch the #1 seed, which you know they will try to do. This likely means that the starters play the whole game in a tight matchup. However, even if the game turns into a blowout, it’ll still be Garappolo coming in under center to spell Brady, and we saw Bennett have great success early in the season with the Patriots’ backup QB throwing passes his way.
Seattle Seahawks @ SF ($3,700) – It would be nice if one of these big-name, obvious-choice D/ST units were playing at home, but you can’t have everything. Yes, $3,700 is near the top of the price range for defense, but I don’t think there is another defense I would expect to show up and dominate a contest more than this one. They should have no issue stopping the Carlos Hyde-less running attack with their front seven and forcing the game into the hands of Colin Kaepernick, making him throw into tight windows under heavy pressure – a great recipe for fantasy success, no matter the cost.
New England Patriots @ MIA ($3,200) – Facing off against a Dolphins team already starting Matt Moore, and who just squeaked into the playoffs as the sixth seed, they could be trying to get guys some rest before the playoffs (they are locked into either the 5th or 6th seed). If that happens – or even if it doesn’t – this opportunistic defense will be out there trying to make plays and earn the #1 seed. With twelve sacks in their last four games and seven forced turnovers in the last two, this is a defense capable of getting you some fantasy value in a hurry, and they could pull it off to close out the season against Matt Moore and the Dolphins.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.