5 NFL FanDuel Value Plays to Target in Week 17

There isn't a better starting point for unearthing values for FanDuel NFL contests than numberFire's projections tool.

Users can easily view the entire player pool or sort by position to see statistical projections for all players. Additionally, the column for value provides a sortable way to view which players offer the most bang for your buck, showing users the player's points per thousand dollars of salary.

But, of course, factors such as a team's implied total and the game's spread are integral for decision-making. Fortunately, you can peruse the heat map for that information and a wealth of other goodies.

Nevertheless, other considerations help inform my selection. So, this is your home for finding the five FanDuel values I'm targeting weekly for their main slate. Check this week's picks below.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers ($7,100)

At this point, expecting a monster effort out of Aaron Rodgers is unrealistic. Luckily, this salary doesn't require one.

Rodgers draws one of the best matchups in the sport this weekend. The visiting Minnesota Vikings are one of the league's most obvious pass funnels. They're numberFire's 10th-best rushing defense but also its 6th-worst passing defense. That should bestow fewer opportunities on A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones and more of them to the passing game.

From an efficiency standpoint, Aaron is playing his best football of 2022. In the past five weeks, he's posted 0.10 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, which is ninth among all quarterbacks with at least 75 attempts in that span.

I know these are familiar tropes to some as he's sat at this tantalizing salary for weeks, but I haven't considered Rodgers to this point. In a must-win game for Green Bay, I'm finally interested in last year's MVP in an intriguing value tier.

That tier also includes Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. It's definitely not 2019 anymore, but we could see a throwback week for some of these passers in solid matchups.

Brian Robinson, RB, Commanders ($6,900)

We haven't seen Commanders rookie Brian Robinson in an every-down role yet. That could change this Sunday.

Antonio Gibson was a non-participant in practice on Wednesday with an unspecified leg injury. If he can't go, Robinson will evolve from Washington's primary runner to their everything in the backfield.

Honestly, though, Robinson might be a better play in daily fantasy if Gibson plays. He won't be nearly as popular, and he's eclipsed 18 carries in three of his past four games already. Plus, the Commies are visiting the Cleveland Browns this week, who are numberFire's sixth-worst rushing defense. He's also boasted a solid 11.0 rushing yards over expectation (RYOE) per game in that time.

Robinson would also be basically alone for scoring chances at the goal line given Gibson (26 carries) is the only other Commander with more than 2 carries inside the 20-yard line.

Whether it's Carson Wentz or Taylor Heinicke, Washington clearly doesn't have much faith in its quarterback situation. They'll likely pound the rock against a team that lets you.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans ($6,400)

Welcome back, Brandin Cooks.

Perhaps in a showcase for an offseason trade, Cooks -- surprisingly -- returned to the 1-12-1 Texans last week, and his contributions were key to snagging a second win for Houston this season. He caught 4 balls (on 9 targets) for 34 yards and a score.

Cooks has only played two games this year where he was active and Nico Collins wasn't, yet the results are encouraging nonetheless. He's held a 25.6% target share in those two contests -- oddly both against the Titans' fifth-worst passing D (per our nERD ranks).

That matchup won't really be worse here. The Jaguars are numberFire's fourth-worst pass defense, and they've got very little motivation this week with a winner-take-all bout on tap for Week 18 with those same Titans.

Without a significant salary increase, Cooks is -- once again -- low-salaried access to a workload that, with any other team or passing offense, would easily be north of $7,500.

Cole Kmet, TE, Bears ($5,300)

Cole Kmet's meteoric rise fell flat shortly after the Bears' last date with the Lions. Perhaps the rematch will get him going again.

Despite averaging just 5.8 FanDuel points per game over his past five games since that Detroit outburst (in which he totaled 21.4 FanDuel points), Kmet's role is actually really solid. At the desolate tight end position, Kmet still ranks seventh in targets per game (5.6), third in target share (24.6%), and fourth in route rate (85.2%).

At this position, those are elite marks. He's just not cashed a touchdown in this span.

The Lions are a decent bet for a touchdown. They've allowed the most touchdowns in the league to tight ends (10), and they also reside in the bottom half of the league in receptions (72) and yards (804) to the big guys.

All other top-five tight ends in target share during this sample are north of $6,000. Despite the obvious concerns with the Bears' run-first approach, Kmet still feels like a bargain.

Carolina D/ST, DEF, Panthers ($3,500)

I love UFC, and in the bout of Tom Brady against time, time is starting to mount a comeback in the third round.

In Tampa Bay's last 11 games, they've -- astoundingly -- averaged just 14.8 points per game. Brady's offense is now a high-floor matchup for D/ST units as a result, but they've also allowed two double-digit weeks to defenses in the past four games as the wheels have fallen off a bit.

Brady's attempting 44.8 passes per game while still trying to carry numberFire's worst rushing offense, so the path to a huge day for the opposing defense is obvious. It's especially present here where a solid Carolina D/ST enters sporting a 30% pressure rate (tied for 14th in the NFL).

The Panthers sacked Brady just once earlier this year in Charlotte, but Tampa also scored a season-low three offensive points. Even on the road, there aren't many solid defenses in this salary range. They've got a realistic, modest floor given the low 40.5-point total in this one.