DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 17

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The purpose of this article is not only to help you understand some of the more popular plays on the slate, but also to highlight some overlooked ones that pop in our projection models and might go otherwise overlooked on Sunday. There's usually even more clarity provided to the context of the slate on Saturday night and Sunday morning. But, overall, many of the main decision points become clear by Thursday afternoon and Friday evening, giving you ample time Saturday to build your lineups with useful information.

Week 17 DFS is exciting times in NFL DFS. While Week 16 was sprinkled with questions about various motivations among different teams either vying for playoff spots or just simply "playing for pride," this week is even more saturated with those same questions. I highly recommend you take a few minutes to do a bit of research on the different playoff scenarios (or lack thereof) on the teams playing this weekend before diving into building lineups for the slate. We've done a little bit of that ourselves already for you and are prepared to recommend the following players for Week 17 greatness.


Ryan Tannehill ($6,800): Tannehill has been nothing short of spectacular the last half of the season. He enters Week 17 with an extremely friendly matchup against the Houston Texans and with excellent motivation to knock off his division rivals. If the Titans win the game, they'll be the 6 seed in the AFC. If they lose, they could potentially lose their playoff spot. Lucky for Mr. Tannethrill, he's facing a defense that has allowed the third most fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks (23.6 DraftKings points), and he himself is averaging 23.8 DK points per game over the past four games. There is very solid floor here as well as plenty of upside, which we've seen against the woeful defenses of the Jacksonville Jaguars (when he scored 33 DK points) and the Oakland Raiders (32 points).

Carson Wentz ($6,100): Wentz hasn't gone under 22 DraftKings points in any of his last four contests, and now, in control of their own destiny, the Philadelphia Eagles draw a fabulous matchup against the New York Giants, who just gave up 35 points to Washington. The Giants have allowed the third most points to opposing quarterbacks in the past four weeks. While Philly's wideouts are banged up, Miles Sanders is fast becoming an elite threat out of the backfield, and Greg Ward has proven over the past two games that he's not just an AAF flash in the pan. Wentz may be without Zach Ertz on Sunday, but Dallas Goedert should slide into that role nicely.

Drew Lock ($5,800): The Broncos don't have anything to play for playoff-wise as they were eliminated a long time ago from playoff contention, but they've been playing their starters at full capacity regardless to get some good evaluation tape on (especially) Drew Lock heading into the offseason. Lock has delivered in some spots, like at Houston, and then stunk in others, like at Kansas City. But he gets an Oakland Raiders team at home who has been atrocious against the pass this year, allowing the fifth most points to opposing quarterbacks on the season and a defense that ranks 26th in Football Outsiders defensive line adjusted sack rate. With some time to throw, Lock should be able to connect with Courtland Sutton, Lock needs about 18 points for value here, which should be no problem.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey ($10,000): The motivation for McCaffrey this week doesn't come in the form of a playoff spot, but in the form of an incredible individual record that would be a feather in his cap for many years to come. CMC is 216 scrimmage yards away from breaking Chris Johnson's single-season record of 2,509 scrimmage yards, which would be an incredible accomplishment. It's hard to imagine the Panthers not putting everything they have into getting CMC that prestigious record without anything else to play for. The matchup with the New Orleans Saints isn't ideal, as they're bottom 12 in points allowed to the running back position over the last four weeks. But we just saw McCaffrey catch 15 (!?) passes against the Indianapolis Colts. The Saints are a nice team to stack, and CMC is really the only way to run it back.

Ezekiel Elliott ($8,000): The Dallas Cowboys must win their matchup against Washington and hope for an Eagles loss to get in the playoffs. With this type of motivation, we can most definitely count on the Cowboys dealing a heavy dose of Zeke on the ground versus a defense that has been abysmal against running backs recently. Washington gave up 38 DraftKings points to Miles Sanders in Week 15, and 47 DraftKings points to Saquon Barkley last week (both were in the Milly Maker winning lineups those respective weeks). There's no question to Zeke's workload as he's averaging 20.5 carries per game over the last four games to go along with 5 targets per game in that same span. Everything here sets up as a smash spot for Zeke in a game that requires maximum motivation from the Cowboys.

Malcolm Brown ($4,000): If you can remember waaaaay back to Week 6 of the season, Malcolm Brown was a chalky play coming into a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. I think that was before everyone caught on that the 49ers were actually #good, because it turned out to be the bad chalk of the week. Brown is in a much different spot this week as he will most likely get the start against the Arizona Cardinals as the Los Angeles Rams typically rest their studs in unimportant contests. If LA sits some guys, it's safe to assume Todd Gurley will be one of them. The Cardinals are allowing more than 100 rushing yards and 46.5 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs over the last four contests. And the Rams are implied for more than three touchdowns on Sunday, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Look for Brown to come through if Gurley sits.

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas ($9,900): There's really not much to say here except that you're safe playing Michael Thomas this week from a motivation standpoint. The Saints still have a good shot at a first-round bye, and the Brees-to-Thomas connection has been humming to say the least. He's put up CMC numbers in the past three weeks at a discounted price. Even though the price is starting to get up there a bit, Thomas is still going to be a lock for close to 12 to 14 targets in this game against the Panthers, who are really only playing for CMC records at this point,

Davante Adams ($8,000): A common theme of the season seems to be how mispriced Davante has been throughout 2019. This week, pricing came out before Adams' 27-point performance on Monday Night Football, a game in which he saw a massive 16 targets and converted that into 13 receptions for 116 yards. In his matchup for Sunday, he gets an even softer secondary against a Detroit Lions team that has allowed the second most points to opposing wide receivers over the last four weeks. Green Bay should be extremely motivated to get a win as they have the potential to take the 1 seed with a victory and a 49ers loss. Take advantage of the soft pricing on Adams.

Josh Reynolds ($3,200): We'll need to keep our eyes on the news this week for this one to try to gauge who the Rams will sit, but my feeling is at least one of their stud wide receivers will be inactive for Sunday's game, which should open up ample playing time for Reynolds. We've seen Reynolds be involved this season with games in which he has gotten as many as eight targets. Facing an Arizona secondary that ranks second to last versus the pass, per our numbers, Reynolds could have a big day if he's thrust into a starting role. Now there's a chance that it'll be Blake Bortles tossing him the ball for at least some of the game, but if the usage and volume are going to be there for Reynolds, we can feel very comfortable in the process in slotting him in as our punt wide receiver for the week.

Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee ($5,600): Use the #FlowChart. Play tight ends versus Arizona. Especially ones who have averaged 24.2 DraftKings points per game over the last 4 games. That's it. We're done here as long as Higbee is expected to play his usual role.

Dallas Goedert ($4,900): This play is entirely dependent on whether or not Zach Ertz is ruled out for Sunday, but seeing that it is early in the week and we are already getting news out of Philadelphia that he's not practicing, let's operate under the assumption that Ertz misses. Goedert had himself a career game against the Cowboys with nine receptions on 12 targets, going for 91 yards and a touchdown. This would indicate to us that not only is his role in the offense strong but that Carson Wentz fully trusts him in the Ertz role (Ertz missed some of the last game with a rib injury). And the Giants have been extremely friendly to the tight end in the past four weeks, allowing more DraftKings points to the position than even the Cardinals have (not making that up). The G-Men are giving up 21 DK points per game to tight ends in that span, the most in the league.

Jonnu Smith ($4,200): Solid motivation for the Titans this weekend as they need to win in order to soundly secure a playoff spot. With Ryan Tannehill against a porous Houston defense, Jonnu comes in as a solid value play, averaging 14.7 DraftKings points over the past three games. His volume leaves us a bit longing, but his big-play ability is there in the form of a freak athletic profile, While we have seen some solid performances from him recently, I don't think we have seen his ceiling. This entire Tennessee offense should eat, and Jonnu has a shot to have a big day at a modest price.


Tampa Bay D/ST ($3,100): Something has gotten into the Tampa defense. In the past five games, this unit has scored 16, 23, 2, 15, and 10 DraftKings points, which is good for an average of 13.2 points over that span. The first outing there came when they played this same Atlanta Falcons team in Week 12. The Atlanta offense has been playing better recently, but we've seen in several of the recent Bucs' contests that an opposing offense can produce against the Bucs and yet Tampa's D/ST can still manage to score a decent amount of fantasy points through high-paced games, sacks, and even a defensive score every once in a while.

Arizona D/ST ($2,400): There's widespread expectation that Sean McVay will not play some of his starters against the Cards on Sunday, which means that the Arizona defense could be facing the likes of Blake Bortles. Pair that with the admirable performance that the Cardinals put together against Seattle's offense last week, and this play is a solid salary saver on this Sunday slate.

Justin Manuel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Justin Manuel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JMIZZLE08. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.