DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 17
The daily fantasy football games offered on FanDuel and DraftKings have many similarities, but one distinct difference is that DraftKings uses full PPR scoring. Much like you would in season-long leagues, that means we must evaluate players slightly differently on each site. In this space, we'll help you on the DraftKings side of the equation.
Be sure to pay attention to inactives prior to Sunday's games. Similar to late scratches in the NBA, injuries can have a huge impact on playing time, and great values can open up for you at the last minute. At a position like running back, a low-priced backup can suddenly find his way into a feature role and become an excellent play.
Also, check out numberFire's premium tools at your disposal. In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through this week's top plays on the DraftKings main slate.
Russell Wilson ($6,900): With two straight underwhelming performances, the people might be starting to lose faith in Russell Wilson, but that's all the more reason to go right back to the well at potentially lower ownership. We all know about the upside, and Wilson still leads all quarterbacks with 23.4 DraftKings points per game. Furthermore, the Seattle Seahawks are one of a handful of teams with something to play for as they try to claw their way into the playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals aren't pushovers, but Seattle has a solid 24.25 implied team total, and we've seen Wilson overcome tough spots against the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles in recent weeks.
Tyrod Taylor ($5,300): Like the Seahawks, the Buffalo Bills are on the edge of the playoff picture, so they'll be plenty motivated to dispatch the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Although Tyrod Taylor hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns since Week 9, we all know it's his work on the ground that puts him in the conversation, averaging 28.0 rushing yards a game, while adding 4 rushing scores this season. Miami is our 23rd-ranked pass defense, and Taylor dropped 23.16 DraftKings points on them in Week 15.
Patrick Mahomes ($4,700): If you're scraping the bottom of the barrel at quarterback this week, then exciting, dual-threat rookie Patrick Mahomes is your guy. With the Kansas City Chiefs locking up the AFC's 4 seed, Andy Reid has already announced Mahomes will make his NFL debut in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. Mahomes was stellar in the preseason and rushed for 22 touchdowns at Texas Tech. Obviously the matchup is less than ideal, and Mahomes may be without some of his weapons if the Chiefs rest other starters, but as we see all the time, you don't need your quarterback to do much to pay off at this salary.
Dion Lewis ($6,800): Dion Lewis passed with flying colors last week against the Buffalo Bills, seeing a career-high 29 touches with both Rex Burkhead and James White sidelined on his way to 35.3 DraftKings points. We probably shouldn't expect him to duplicate those results against the New York Jets, but the Pats are 14.5-point home favorites with a slate-high 29.0 implied team total. The setup doesn't get much better than that, and New England needs a win to secure the 1 seed. Burkhead is unlikely to play this week, and even if White is able to return, it's difficult to see him putting a major dent in Lewis' workload. At a similar price point, also consider Kenyan Drake ($7,200), who is locked into a feature role against the very same Bills team Lewis just tore up.
Derrick Henry ($5,500): Well, it took all season, but we should finally get to see Derrick Henry in a feature role in Week 17 against the Jaguars. Fantasy football zombie DeMarco Murray has refused to go down all season despite a multitude of injuries, and fittingly he's still trending towards being a game-time decision despite having a torn MCL. Nonetheless, even if he plays he should have a limited role at best, leaving the floor to Henry at an appealing price point. The Jags don't exactly make for an encouraging foe, but they rank just 20th against the run by our metrics and are a candidate to rest their starters no matter what coach Doug Marrone says.
Branden Oliver ($4,000): All eyes are on the status of Melvin Gordon this week. Gordon is dealing with an ankle injury and is trending towards being a game-time decision in a must-win game against the Oakland Raiders. Gordon managed to get in a limited practice on Thursday, but if he's unable to suit up, that would thrust Branden Oliver into a feature role, making him a must-play in cash games. That's hardly a name that will get your average NFL fan excited, but volume is volume, and Oliver would face our 17th-ranked run defense. Should Gordon manage to play, Wayne Gallman ($4,200) is a worthy alternative, as he is averaging eight targets over his last three contests. For other potential values opening up, you can look towards Malcolm Brown ($3,900) with Todd Gurley sitting out Week 17, or Charcandrick West ($4,400), who is dealing with an illness, but could have a big role if Kareem Hunt rests.
Julio Jones ($8,200): Considering expensive players like Todd Gurley and now Le'Veon Bell are slated to sit out this week, and others like DeAndre Hopkins could miss due to injury, our options at the top of the food chain may be limited. But old friend Julio Jones is still kicking, and the Atlanta Falcons need a win to ensure a postseason spot. He gets a plus matchup against the Carolina Panthers, a strong overall defense, but one that remains susceptible to wide receivers. Jones has underwhelmed at times this season but is coming off 24.9-point DraftKings performance and has seen 32.9% of the targets over his last five games.
T.Y. Hilton ($5,900): T.Y. Hilton has been a frustratingly inconsistent player this season, but he's generally succeeded with massive results when the matchup is right. That could very well be this week in a home spot against the Houston Texans, who rank 25th against the pass by our metrics. Hilton historically plays better at home and matches up well against a Houston team susceptible to big plays, allowing the most completions of 40-plus yards in the league (17). Hilton's best 2017 fantasy performance came against Houston in Week 9 with a whopping 37.5 DraftKings points.
Randall Cobb ($4,700): It's fair to question the upside with Brett Hundley under center, but Randall Cobb has simply won the battle of attrition with both Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson expected to miss Sunday's matchup with the Detroit Lions. Cobb has seen target totals of 8, 14, and 7 over the last three weeks and should mostly avoid the coverage of top cornerback Darius Slay in the slot. Also consider Josh Doctson ($4,400), who saw a season-high 13 targets last week, and gets the crumbling New York Giants.
Rob Gronkowski ($7,000): With other top options Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz likely resting or playing limited snaps, it's pretty much Rob Gronkowski and then everyone else at tight end. Gronk has been an absolute monster lately, seeing 33.3% of the targets over the last three games, and continues to be the team's top red zone target. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the Jets haven't exactly been stout against tight ends this year.
Jack Doyle ($4,700): One of the only consistent performers for the Indianapolis Colts this year, Jack Doyle continues to be a high-floor play just about every week. Playing for the Colts tends to limit his touchdown-upside, but his 7.4 targets a game puts him right behind the elite players at the position but at a far lower cost.
New England D/ST ($3,500): The Patriots have hardly been a top-notch defense this season, but they're at home and favored by over two touchdowns against the Jets. The Pats are one of the few teams guaranteed to be going all out, and with the Jets expected to be trailing behind the inexperienced Bryce Petty -- or possibly Christian Hackenberg -- game flow should be ripe in their favor for sacks and turnovers.
Washington D/ST ($3,200): That sound you hear is the New York Giants' season mercifully swirling down the drain. With top pass-catchers Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram banged up, internal issues involving defensive back Eli Apple, and little incentive to win with the NFL draft in mind, it's difficult to see the Giants putting up much of a fight. Washington ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate this season.
Kenyatta Storin is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Kenyatta Storin also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username yatters. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.