FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Afternoon-Slate Helper: Week 17
The Week 16 afternoon NFL DFS slate on FanDuel has seven matchups, all kicking off at 4:25 p.m. EST. No games have a total that tops 45.5, but we have some very bad defenses on this slate in Washington, Arizona, and the Giants, so we should get plenty of scoring there.
Our NFL DFS matchup heat map will be referenced for all implied totals and spreads throughout this article, so be sure to check it out.
Let’s check out the best plays at various prices on this short slate.
High Priced Studs
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans ($8,800)
The Tennessee Titans held Derrick Henry out of Week 16, and it seems to have done wonders for his hamstring injury. He has now logged full practices all week and should slide back into his high-volume role of 20.7 touches per game.
Derrick Henry has 1,095 yards AFTER contact this year. That would rank 10th in overall rushing yards. pic.twitter.com/aTlhy1sCp8
— PFF (@PFF) December 27, 2019
The Houston Texans bottled him up to just 8.6 fantasy points in Week 15, but he was clearly limited in that contest. Now seemingly fully healthy, Henry should return to the 25.8 fantasy point average he saw over the previous five weeks. The Texans rank a middling 16th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, so Henry should be able to take advantage of this matchup.
Our projections have him topping 100 yards on the ground and give him a strong chance at finding the end zone.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($8,700)
The safest running back on this slate is easily Ezekiel Elliott. The Dallas Cowboys have the highest implied team total on the slate (28.25), and they are also favored by 11 points at home against Washington. Washington presents one of the softest matchups on the ground, ranking 26th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play while also allowing the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards to running backs this season.
Elliott has at least 18 touches in every game since Week 6 and has seen 26 targets over the last four games, so he's clearly active in all phases of this Dallas offense. He projects to be the highest-scoring running back on this slate.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($7,300)
As a team, the Cardinals rank second in Adjusted Rushing NEP per play as their spread offense opens up wide running lanes for their dynamic backs. Kenyan Drake seems to be the perfect fit for this offense. Since arriving in Arizona in Week 9, Drake has averaged 0.20 Rushing NEP per carry, which, for the year, would rank first among running backs with 100 carries by a wide margin.
Since Week 9, @KDx32 is one of two players in the NFL with 500+ rushing yards and at least seven rushing touchdowns (Derrick Henry - 748 yards and 8 TD). pic.twitter.com/WIImJQBWxc
— Arizona Cardinals ⋈ (@AZCardinals) December 25, 2019
He's also found the end zone seven times over that span, including six scores over the last two weeks -- when he's totaled a whopping 71 fantasy points. Up next is the Los Angeles Rams, who have been officially eliminated from postseason play.
The Rams rank a modest 12th against the run when adjusted for strength of schedule, but they have also been ran all over the past two weeks, allowing 382 yards and five scores on the ground to the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. Sean McVay has also hinted at possibly sitting some studs in this meaningless game, so Drake could drop another 30-bomb on this defense given his recent success. He's broken the slate in back-to-back weeks. Don't think he won't do it again.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($7,500)
Ever since joining the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has been much better at home than on the road. This has been even more true this season as his receptions and yards double when in Jerry World compared to the road. Now at home in Week 17, Cooper is set up to demolish a Washington secondary that ranks 29th in schedule-adjusted pass defense.
This game is also a must-win for Dallas if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. The staff is likely fighting for their jobs, too, so they'll need to be on their A-game, especially after Cooper flamed the offensive coaches for not taking enough deep shots last week. Look for the squeaky wheel to get the grease in this perfect matchup. Cooper and Michael Gallup ($6,500) are both excellent plays.
Mid-Priced Upside Plays
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($6,500)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have essentially given up on the season since November, sporting a 1-7 record with each loss by double-digits. Their once-great defense has also become one of the easiest targets in DFS, as they now rank outside the top 24 in both schedule-adjusted run and pass defense. They have also allowed a 100-yard receiver in five of those games.
Next up, T.Y. Hilton looks to get in on the fun. He's played at least half of the snaps in the last two weeks and has seen 181 air yards, which is first on the team by nearly 100. Jacoby Brissett won't air it out too much, as they'll look to control the game with Marlon Mack, but the ball is likely going to Hilton when he does throw.
People just looking at the box score won't want to play Hilton, but he's capable of crushing this matchup at lower ownership.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams ($6,900)
Tyler Higbee is the only tight end to post four straight games of at least 100 receiving yards this season, which is just insane to think about. Even with Gerald Everett healthy last week, Higbee played 90 percent of snaps and saw 11 targets.
Tyler Higbee is the fourth tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 100-yard receiving games, joining Travis Kelce, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham.
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) December 22, 2019
He is clearly one of Jared Goff's go-to targets and gets a matchup with the Cardinals, who have forgotten to cover tight ends all season. They have allowed more than 1,000 yards and 15 scores to the position this season, and Higbee hit 107 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 13. If McVay doesn't rest him, Higbee is an absolute stud play this week.
Bargain Bin Prospects
Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($4,900)
This is obviously contingent on Todd Gurley ($7,800) sitting, but Malcolm Brown would be set up well as a 3.5-point favorite with the third-highest team total on the slate. The Cardinals rank 29th in schedule-adjusted defense, so the Rams should be able to move the ball with ease against them.
If Gurley is inactive, it wouldn't take much for Brown to hit value on his cheap salary in this matchup.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,900)
D.J. Chark returned from his ankle injury last week and played over 90 percent of snaps and led the Jaguars in targets. He wasn't able to connect on much, but he is clearly the preferred option for Gardner Minshew.
We also know Chark has the ability to win a slate on his own with his 96th-percentile speed score, per PlayerProfiler. He is a matchup nightmare for slower cornerbacks, such as Rock Ya-Sin, who he gets this week. Ya-Sin runs a 4.51, which ranks in the 51st-percentile when adjusted for his size.
Chark toasted this matchup in Week 11, hauling in eight balls for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. We have him projected to be the fifth-best point-per-dollar wide receiver on the slate, so look for him to bust a big play in this game.
Jonathan Taylor Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Jonathan Taylor Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jtsmittyyy. 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.