Ravens @ Bengals

Point Total: 41
Spread: Bengals -9


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Ravens 23rd 29th 7th 3rd 25.1
Bengals 3rd 12th 16th 17th 17.5

The Bengals are still in the in the hunt for a first round bye and should be plenty motivated to play this week, don’t expect them to rest any starters unless the game gets out of hand in some fashion. The Ravens haven’t had anything to play for in weeks.

QB/D

It’s likely Ryan Mallett will start at QB for the Ravens again and while he played well in a nice week 16 win over the Steeler’s, Mallett and the Ravens pop gun offense makes for a great target for an elite defense like Cincy. The Bengals have allowed the fewest points per game in the league and are tied for fourth in the league in sacks as a team, they’re a great target for use as a DEF unit in week 17.

AJ McCarron really played well last week considering opponent. McCarron is nursing a bit of a wrist injury but it sounds like he’ll play this week. The Ravens defense has been pretty sneaky tough lately (outside of the Russell Wilson game) allowing more than 1 passing TD just twice in their last 6 games. McCarron seems like a risky option to bank on even at just $5300.

RB

Expect lots of volume for rookie RB Javoris Allen in this game. Allen is an impressive receiver out of the backfield and besides one game where he got benched for fumbling has been pretty solid for fantasy, amassing 22 receptions through his last 4 games. At $4400 the price is right for Allen who I fully expect will see a majority of the workload in this game. The matchup again isn’t great but neither was last week. I expect the Ravens to be up for a divisional opponent and Allen’s status as a pass catcher makes him an important part of this offense, he’s a week 17 play at RB I would not be afraid to use.

Here’s the snaps from last week at RB for the Bengals: Hill 38, Bernard 33. It’s easy to be unimpressed with both Bengals RBs. Neither have put up many big games and the split each week is usually close to 50/50. The Ravens run D is decent but they shown some cracks of late giving up two 100 yards rushing to opponents in three of their last four games. I’d guess the Bengals try and get Jeremy Hill going to take some pressure off their rookie QB. Hill could see the end zone multiple times here but would be strictly a tournaments pick and a risky one given his output this year.

TE/WR

AJ Green had a great start to last week but got shut down in the second half once things got tight. With Tyler Eifert out and the Ravens still weak at covering the WR (outside of last week I guess) Green is a target for week 17. The Ravens have still given up 9 TDs to WRs in their last 9 games and I’d expect Green to be peppered with targets in that area (especially if Eifert misses this game)… I also think this game sets up well for Marvin Jones. Jones has scored 12 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games and could see weaker coverage if the Ravens decide to shadow Green with Jimmy Smith or shift safety help towards him. At $3700 Jones looks to be good value and has an excellent shot at finding the end zone this week.

Here’s the passing targets for the Ravens from their last two games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Kamar Aiken 12 8
Jeremy Butler 5 6
Maxx Williams 6 6

The targeting has been fairly spread out for the Ravens although Kamar Aiken has caught 16 passes in his last two games converting 80% of his targets into catches in that span. The main issue I have with Aiken this week is matchup. The Bengals are very stingy on defense and have only given up 2 passing TDs in their last 5 games. Aiken is also likely to be covered by the Bengals top corner Adam Jones who should limit any big plays. Aiken’s unfortunately priced at $5400 which means you’ll need more than just 6 catches and 70 yards—which is what I think his upside is in this game— for him to be an effective play.

Gameflow: The Ravens really rose up last week and squashed the Steelers passing game but I’m not sure if lightning strikes twice here. The Bengal’s defense is much more complete than Pittsburgh’s and I expect they’ll give Baltimore folk hero Ryan Mallett fits. Don’t be shocked if there’s a bit of letdown from Baltimore this week after their massive week 16 upset. I like Cincy to win easy.

Bengals 24 Ravens 14

Primary Targets:

Javorius Allen $4400
AJ Green $7900
Bengals D $3300

Secondary Targets:

Marvin Jones $3700
Jeremy Hill $4700


Lions @ Bears

Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Bears -1


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Lions 24th 18th 8th 29th 25.3
Bears 20th 5th 23rd 11th 24.9

Neither of these teams have anything to play for but pride week 17. Lions coach Jim Caldwell’s job might be in jeopardy and a good effort by his team might help him retain his job.

QB/D

Jay Cutler’s had a decent year but fantasy wise he’s been pretty vanilla, only breaking 20 points on DK four times the whole season and never breaking 25 points in a single week. The Lions defense is by no means fool proof and I wouldn’t trust them on the road as a play in this game, but I also don’t see enough upside to roster Cutler as a QB either.

Matthew Stafford posted his best fantasy game of the season earlier versus the Bears but that game was at home. Stafford has been quite good recently throwing for 14 TDs versus just 1 INT over his last 5 games and could be described as somewhat of a “safe option” this week given his recent level of play. The Bears passing defense has regressed a bit lately allowing 6 passing TDs to perennial low volume passing games like Minnesota and Tampa. I like this matchup for Stafford and would consider him as a play this week.

RB

Here’s the snap count for the Lions RBs from last week: Abdullah 20, Riddick 34, Bell 20. I thought the Lions might give rookie Ameer Abdullah a bigger workload down the stretch but that hasn’t materialized. The Bears as a team have actually given up the second most receiving TDs to RBs all year and have allowed three to the position in their last three games. Passing back Theo Riddick keeps getting the most snaps f all Lions RBs and might be in a position here to visit the end zone week 17, he’s a decent tournament play at only $4000.

The Bears backfield is a split right now as well although Jeremy Langford out-snapped Matt Forte last week 38-28 and could be in line for a bigger workload week 17. Forte is a free agent and the Bears seemingly have no intention of resigning him. Langford’s price is extremely cheap and he should see at least 50% of the work this week—and likely more. The matchup isn’t great—Detroit’s only given 2 TDs to RBs in their last 5 games—but with the Bears being at home and this game being meaningless it’s quite possible Langford finds a few more holes than usual and ends up being a decent fantasy play.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Lions last two games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Golden Tate 6 6
Calvin Johnson 1 11
Eric Ebron 5 5

I’m not sure what is/was going on with Calvin Johnson but the Lions finally decided their hall-of-fame WR was worthy of some targeting last week and he delivered with a nice line for fantasy. Johnson had one of his best games of the season versus the Bears and will have a distinct size and weight advantage over Tracy Porter this week as well. While I don’t entirely trust the Lions to keep targeting Johnson since they’ve been so inconsistent in doing so this year I do love this matchup and could see him having a big day to finish the year and possibly his tenure with the Lions… Golden Tate had a nice few weeks when Calvin was banged up/not being used but has now only seen 6 targets in his last two games. That’s not enough volume for someone priced at $5700, he’ll likely need a big play or 2 to pay off in week 17.

TE Zach Miller has led the Bears in targets the last two weeks and was the only Bear to crack 50 receiving yards week 16. Miller’s proving to be a reliable source of fantasy points and could find the end zone this week against a Lions team who’s struggled to defend the TE and given up the most TDs in the league this year to the position. At $4600 he’s a great value play this week.

Gameflow: Another game between two teams who have nothing to play for but pride and potentially some job security next year. The Bears have been solid for a team most people thought would struggle to win 4-5 games. That being said they’ll be without top offensive player Alshon Jeffery and might struggle to generate offense. The Lions have played pretty well of late, especially QB Matt Stafford. I think his turnaround gives the Lions the edge here and lets them finish with a win.

Lions 24 Bears 21

Primary Targets:

Calvin Johnson $6900
Zach Miller $4600

Secondary Targets:

Matthew Stafford $6200
Theo Riddick $4000


Jaguars @ Texans

Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Houston -6


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Jaguars 29th 15th 24th 26th 27.9
Texans 10th 8th 12th 10th 20.5

The Texans can clinch the division with a win here, although they could still make the playoffs if they lose. The Jags have nothing to play for but are used to being in that position and should be up for the game given it’s a divisional opponent.

QB/D

Brian Hoyer looks like he’ll be cleared for this game and could be a source of cheap fantasy points in this game. The Jags defense has given up the second most points per game in the league this year and given up 3 or more passing TDs in 4 of their last 7 games. Hoyer’s not the safest option but at only $5100 he gives you tons of savings and has got potential to get you 20+ points in a very good matchup.

Blake Bortles has been a fantasy garbage time monster all season, compiling most of his stats this season when his team was already behind with their opposition just running out the clock. While that scenario could unveil itself again this week I’m very wary of the Houston defense which completely decimated the Titans last weekend and should be revved up for what is a massive game for the Texans franchise. Houston hasn’t allowed a 300-yard passer since week 6 and doesn’t make for a good fantasy matchup for the now expensive Bortles.

RB

The Texans RB situation is really simply one to avoid. In week 16 the work was split between four backs with no one playing on more than 40% of the snaps. Alfred Blue would be the logical clock killer if the Texans were up big late but is limited ppr wise and so a big game here is hard to envision. Keep avoiding this group for one more week.

The Jaguars have discussed giving Jonas Gray a lot more work this week to see if they want to bring him back for 2016. Gray only received 5 carries last week but with Denard Robinson being ineffective it’s looking like a more even split will be employed week 17. At only $3000 Gray offers intriguing min priced potential at RB and could see the majority of the snaps if he starts the game well.

WR/TE

Here’s the target distribution from the Jags last couple of games


Player Week 15 Week 16
Allen Robinson 5 8
Allen Hurns 5 9
Julius Thomas 10 2

After getting most of the targets week 15 Julius Thomas was virtually ignored by his QB week 16. A possible explanation is the fact that the Falcons corners were simply better at shutting down the WRs of the Jags than the Saints corners were and forced more action towards Julius in that game. Houston has a solid set of DBs who’ve generally played better as the year has progressed. With their best corner Jonathan Joseph likely to shadow Allen Robinson it’s very possible Thomas again sees a rise in targets this week. It may be hard for many to use him after his huge flop against the Saints but I do think he makes for a great tournament play and will be wildly under-owned after last week… It also wouldn’t shock me if Allen Hurns had another decent day. Hurns has been great at finding the end zone in 2016 (10 TDs on the year) and will get the easier CB matchup versus Kareem Jackson. He’s probably a decent tournament target as well.

For Houston, you have to love this matchup for DeAndre Hopkins. The Jags secondary has been pretty awful all season and have now given up four straight 100 yard receiving games to opposing teams #1 WRs. Watching Brandin Cooks destroy the Jags for a long TD last week has to give you hope that Hopkins can do the same. At $8400 he’ll be one of my highest ranked WRs for the week.

Gameflow: It’s always possible in a matchup like this that you see a division opponent with nothing to play for rise up and play the spoiler, however this is the Jags were talking about. Jacksonville is really still an awful all-around team even if their QB is great at throwing deep in garbage time and getting 25 plus points every week. I see Houston putting their foot down early and making this a tough day for the Jags.

Texans 27 Jaguars 14

Primary Targets:

DeAndre Hopkins $8400
Houston D $3300
Julius Thomas $4900

Secondary Targets:

Jonas Gray $3000
Brian Hoyer $5100


Patriots @ Dolphins

Point Total: 47
Spread: Patriots -10


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Patriots 11th 16th 11th 4th 19.7
Dolphins 21st 20th 31st 8th 25.3

The Dolphins have nothing to play for while the Patriots could secure home field advantage for the playoffs with a win. The Patriots could still get home field for the entire playoffs by losing but a win secures it outright for them.

QB/D

Ryan Tannehill has really regressed lately throwing for just 1 TD v 1 INT in his last 3 games. Tannehill also comes into this contest with a bit of an injury to his leg making him even less attractive for fantasy. The Pats defense has one of the best pass rushes in the league and is second in the league as a team in sacks at 48. This could get ugly for Miami and Tannehill who heads into this game as the 6th most sacked QB in the league. I love the Pats defense as a play this week.

Tom Brady has had a slow 3-4 weeks averaging less than 20 fantasy points over his last three games. Brady will play this entire game unless things get out of hand making him a pretty safe option. Miami’s been torched by solid passing offenses all season and I would not be shocked to see Brady have a massive bounce back game here against a team that gave up 3 or more TDs to Eli Manning. Phillip Rivers and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Wait to see the health of Brady’s main passing targets but consider him for your week 17 plans.

RB
Lamar Miller has had a semi-disastrous last couple of weeks despite getting the bulk of the carries. Miller out snapped rookie Jay Ajayi 51- 13 last week but only averaged 2.1 ypc and his fantasy day was only saved by a short TD run. The Patriots don’t give up many points to RBs and haven’t allowed a rushing TD in four weeks. This is a spot I’d avoid week 17 as it’s also possible the Fins give their rookie a little more work in this game as well.

The story for the Patriots at RB is simple. You have to love the way James White is playing in the passing back role but hate the fact he’s only seeing 35-40% of the snaps every week. White keeps producing and has recorded a TD in each of his last 4 games. The Dolphins are so bad against the run the possibility that Brandon Boldin steals more work this week certainly exists but I still like White for his ppr usage. At $5000 he’s getting up there in price but in a great matchup could pay off this week.

WR/TE

Here’s the targets from the Dolphins last two weeks of play:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Jarvis Landry 10 11
DeVante Parker 7 9
Jordan Cameron 1 5

The Patriots have been fairly middling covering WRs this season allowing some big games to more elite WRs but generally being pretty solid overall. Given the fact the Dolphins should be down big at some point in this game both DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry could get consideration as tournament plays, although with the health of Ryan Tannehill being a concern I think both are pretty risky. Landry went for 6-71 versus the Pats in week 8 and would probably be the more likely of the pair to see a big game, especially if Rishard Matthews doesn’t play again. While Parker has seen a lot of targets lately his conversion rate has been terrible as he’s only turned 16 targets from the last two game into 8 catches and no TDs. I’d lean more towards Landry if looking to roster one of these two but don’t love the spot for either.

If both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman miss this game, then Keshawn Martin could have a monster week 17. Martin saw 12 targets with these two out in week 17 and went for 7-68 which is great considering he’s min-priced (and is only $3000 again this week). Watch the news but he could again be a play if one or both of the Pats starters miss this game… TE Rob Gronkowski’s now put up three games in a row of 20 fantasy points or less. Gronk put up a massive game week 8 versus the Dolphins though and could even benefit from the return of Edelman this week; without Edelman in the lineup Gronk hasn’t surpassed 88 yards receiving in a game. I’d think about Gronk in a tournament stack with Brady this week if you wanted to target the NE offense but otherwise think there’s better value out there at TE right now. Watch the news on Edelman as that could effect who is and isn’t a play for the Pats week 17.

Gameflow: Miami has really been terrible the last 4-5 weeks. Their defense wasn’t able to stop a hobbled Colts team and their offense couldn’t muster up more than 20 points against a lack luster secondary. The Pats could get all their starters back on offense and even if they don’t their defense might just win this game for them anyways. I like the Pats to stomp this lackluster Dolphins squad.

Patriots 27 Dolphins 14

Primary Targets:

Keshawn Martin $3000 (if no Edelman)
Patriots D $3200
Tom Brady $7400

Secondary Targets:

James White $5000
Jarvis Landry $6600
Rob Gronkowski $7400


Saints @ Falcons

Point Total: 52.5
Spread: Falcons -4


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Saints 32nd 21st 30th 32nd 30.6
Falcons 6th 1st 28th 28th 21.7

The Falcons were eliminated last week when the Vikings beat the Giants and the Saints have been out of it for some time. Both teams are playing for pride and some players for jobs next year.

QB/D

This game has a high over/under which is great for QB Matt Ryan who, despite his fantasy deficiencies this season, is in position to end the season with a bang. QBs have thrown for 3 TDs or more in 8 games this season versus New Orleans and the Saints D have also given up the most passing TDs in the league by a whopping total of 9 over the second place Eagles. Ryan has yet to throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs in a single game this season but this would seem like the place it would happen. He’s a great week 17 target.

QB Drew Brees has really been playing great lately and is averaging 336 passing yards and 2.75 TDs over his last four games. This issue with Brees in this game is the fact he’ll be on the road, a place where he’s had much less success this year. Brees is averaging 70 yards per game less than at home, and only thrown for 8 TDs v 6 INTs through his 6 road starts. Atlanta has only given up 300 yards passing in a game once all season and is a tougher defense than people realize, especially against the pass. Brees might look like a nice option week 17 but the matchup says he’s risky at best.

RB

Expect Devonta Freeman to have a big game this week. The Saints have allowed the most receiving yards to RBs in the entire league and Freeman is a big part of the Falcons pass game, averaging 8.25 targets over his last 4 starts. Freeman is expensive but really is worth paying up for, especially considering some of the uncertainty there might be around RB this week. He could be in for a monster game here.
For the Saints Tim Hightower is now handling most of the work, and played well over 60% of the snaps in week 16. While I could see the Falcons forcing the Saints to pass more in this game they have given up the most receptions in the league by far to opposing RBs, which means Hightower could pay off through the ppr avenue as well. He’s not my favorite play in this game but I think given the matchup Hightower is still in play, even at his raised price of $5400. His fresh legs have certainly given the Saints offense a lift the past couple of weeks.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Saints last couple of games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Brandin Cooks 13 8
Ben Watson 12 2
Willie Snead 12 7

Brandin Cooks has been on a tear the last 5-6 games but gets a tough matchup versus the Falcons best CB in Desmond Trufant. The Falcons as a whole are tough against WRs allowing just 4 TDs to the position over their last 8 games. Cooks is playing at an amazingly high level right now though so I don’t think you can just write him off. He could see a ton of targets if the Saints are down late… The matchup this week is also pretty good for Ben Watson and Willie Snead in the sense that Brees and the Saints could be passing a ton in this game. The Falcons have allowed the fifth most receptions and fourth most receiving yards to TE’s all year. I like the price drop on Watson and think he’s pretty good value in a game that could see a lot of points and a lot of passing.

As far as Atlanta goes you need to know that Julio Jones is only 17 receptions off breaking the all time mark for receptions in a single year, and only 243 yards off breaking the all-time single season yardage mark as well. The Falcons have nothing to play for and the Saints will be trotting out the atrocious Brandon Browner to cover Julio. This could get crazy and a monster game is by all means possible.

Gameflow: Atlanta’s defense has been underrated all year and even though their offense still struggles the matchup this weekend is ideal. Atlanta doesn’t have much to play for but there are some offensive accolades to chase and given the road splits of the Saints I think it’s possible New Orleans struggles a bit in this game. I’d look for Ryan to post a decent game and lead ATL to a meaningless victory.

Falcons 30 Saints 23

Primary Targets:

Matt Ryan $5500
Julio Jones $8500
Devonta Freeman $7600
Ben Watson $4600

Secondary Targets:

Brandin Cooks $6400
Tim Hightower $5500


Jets @ Bills

Point Total: 43
Spread: Jets -3


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Jets 13th 17th 5th 5th 19.5
Bills 18th 25th 14th 13th 22.8

The Jets need a win badly this week as a loss coupled with a Steelers win over the Browns (likely) would mean they would be out. The Bills and Rex Ryan have nothing to play for but would love to play spoiler and have no pressure.

QB/D

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been one of the most underrated stars in DFS this year and despite being min-priced almost every week, he is averaging nearly 20 points on the season. At only $5400 he again offers nice value against a Bills secondary who has allowed the 6th most passing TDs on the year. Fitz has 24 or more fantasy points in 4 of his last 5 points and is great value this week yet again.

Tyrod Taylor has also been one of the best value plays at QB in 2015, albeit a little less consistent. Taylor’s had three games of 27 points or more in his last 5 starts but also has three games of 12 points or less on the season. The Jets defense has stiffened up lately allowing just 2 passing TDs over their last 4 starts making this a more difficult matchup then it first appears and one I’d probably avoid this week Taylor has really produced on the ground lately and is averaging 66 yards rushing in his last three starts but the Jets D limits his upside considerably.

RB

The Bills are likely to split work between Mike Gillislee and rookie Karlos Williams once again. Gillisee has looked explosive the past few weeks and his fresh legs have led to long TD runs in each of his last two games. The Jets run defense is one of the better units in the league however; they’re so good in fact that they haven’t allowed a rushing TD since week 3. Williams is priced so cheaply at $4800 and a good receiver so it’s possible he pays off through ppr points. That being said I might just avoid the Bills RB situation altogether in what is definitely a bad matchup.

The Jets have really moved towards Bilal Powell as their feature back. Powell out-snapped Chris Ivory 44-25 week 16 and now has 25 catches over his last 4 games (you can see his recent targeting below). At $4500 I think Powell is an exceedingly great value on a full point ppr site like DraftKings and his pass catching prowess has made him a perfect fit as the third passing option for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. In a must win game should be relied on heavily by the Jets once again.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Jets last three games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Brandon Marshall 8 10
Eric Decker 10 7
Bilal Powell 7 7

I’ve mentioned a few times all year how great Brandon Marshall has been playing and he put on a monstrous performance week 16 to help the Jets squeeze by the Pats. The Bills have really been hurt by the loss of top corner Stephon Gilmore and CB Leodis McKelvin, who’s graded well below average in terms of coverage by Pro Football Focus, is probably going to be tasked with stopping him in week 17. I see no reason to think that Marshall would be slowed down in this matchup and would suggest he’s one of the best plays at WR this week for DFS… Eric Decker has been one of the most consistent performers in fantasy all season and should also benefit from Gilmore’s absence. Decker’s only criticism from me is that he’s yet to break out for a massive game and only crossed the 22-point total once this season. Maybe that happens this week but for now Marshall remains the more explosive option.

For Buffalo expect Sammy Watkins to get targeted a bunch in this game. Watkins was shut down by Darrelle Revis the last time these two teams played (3 rec. 14 yards) but since then he’s gone on a tear and, outside of last week, has been getting 10-12 targets a game from his QB (many of which are of the deep ball variety). I fully expect the Bills to come out pumped to win this game and for Watkins to have a big part in making that happen. He’s an interesting tournament target for me week 17.

Gameflow: This is one of the few games with real playoff implications week 17. The Bills can play major spoilers here if they can beat the Jets and I expect this game to have a playoff like atmosphere to it. Still, while I’m tempted to pick the Jets I can’t see Brandon Marshall not having his way with the Bills secondary and think the Jets D does enough to slow down Taylor/Watkins to win this game.

Jets 24 Bills 20

Primary Targets:

Brandon Marshall $7900
Bilal Powell $4500
Ryan Fitzpatrick $5400

Secondary Targets:

Karlos Williams $4800


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