Week 17 had a lot more hits than misses. RB was very good to us…Joe Mixon had 176 total yards and 2 TD for a total of 33.60 points. Zeke Elliott had 124 total yards of his own with 2 TD as well (30.40 points). Christian McCaffrey was bottled up on the ground again by the Saints but his 7 catches for 72 yards and a rushing TD saved his day (22.80 points).
Mike Geisicki had a modest 4 catches for 34 yards but also got in the end zone (13.40 points). The Bears were solid with 9 points at a lovely 2,100 price. Vyncint Smith was involved enough to keep us on schedule with 3 catches and 56 total yards (8.60 points)
Tom Brady was blah with the Pats bye on the line. His 15.84 points was more what you look for in a cheap bargain basement play. I prioritized Courtland Sutton in a blow-up spot, and he turned in a meh 4 catches for 52 yards (9.20 points). Weather and the Ravens’ decision to lean harder on their veterans then left Miles Boykin with 2 empty targets for a donut…it be your own team.
The lineup ended up going for 142.84 points. Not our finest day to end the regular season but the playoffs offer some interesting opportunities to cash in. On to wild card weekend.
QB Josh Allen @ Houston
Starting the lineup off with the polarizing Bills QB. His rushing output (31 yards per game, 9 rushing TD’s) combined with Houston giving up the 7th most rushing yards per game to QBs give him a solid floor. This Buffalo passing offense won’t ever confuse you for a dynamic air show, but the Texans defense has a way of boosting the production of passing games as they give up the 4th most yards per game to opposing QBs as well.
Allen’s making his first playoff start, has ceiling questions and a propensity for turnovers and inefficient play. Those factors will likely curb his ownership.
DraftKings salary: 6,500
RB Derrick Henry @ New England
This pick is heavy. Betting on Henry this week means betting on the potential end to the Patriots dynasty. Before you say I’m being a little over dramatic, Henry averages 129 rushing yards per game in wins and 63 rushing yards per game in losses this season (hat tip to the rotoworld team for that stat).
Going against Belichick with his back against the wall with a running back at the top salary isn’t for the faint of heart but Henry’s massive weekly ceiling is too much for me to shy away from.
DraftKings salary: 8,200
RB Carlos Hyde vs. Buffalo
The Texans are a home favorite and will likely opt to avoid the Bills top tier passing game to attack their run defense (18th ranked DVOA). Hyde should push for 20 or more carries in this matchup and at his price point those are very valuable touches.
DraftKings salary: 5,100
WR DK Metcalf @ Philadelphia
Metcalf had 3 catches for 35 yards in week vs Philly. That seems uneventful if you’re just watching the box score, but he dropped an open end zone pass and had 107 air yards. The Eagles have been better in the secondary, but their corner group always has the potential to give up big plays as they give up the 5th most yards per completion to the position. Metcalf’s freakish talent and robust red zone target share give him arguably a top 3 ceiling on this slate.
Bonus: John Brown is in play at 6,000 if you want to double stack Allen in this lineup. Buf/Hou isn’t expected to be as high scoring as the Sunday games are so there is risk but I’ll definitely be playing this contrarian variation.
DraftKings salary: 6,100
WR Greg Ward vs. Seattle
Ward is essentially the only WR the Eagles have left, and he’s really taken advantage of his opportunity. His ability to uncover quickly in short areas have helped the Philly offense stay on schedule more often in recent weeks. He’s probably looking at 5 to 7 targets regardless of what happens with Zach Ertz, but that number could creep up if Ertz is unable to go.
DraftKings salary: 5,200
WR Cole Beasley @ Houston
Beasley has played well this season as the safety valve for Josh Allen. He has at least 7 targets in 4 of his last 5 games and faces a Houston defense that allows an 83% completion rate over the middle of the field per next gen stats. Beasley is one of the most secure plays of the week with a nice ceiling if Houston gets ahead.
DraftKings salary: 5,600
TE Irv Smith Jr. @ New Orleans
To punt or not to punt? There are far more options in the former category and I’m choosing to go in that direction. Quietly, Smith Jr. played more snaps and ran more routes during weeks 14 through 16 before their meaningless week 17 game where a lot of their regulars sat. In a game I feel confident about the Saints controlling and Janoris Jenkins joining Marcus Lattimore as a formidable corner duo, we could see a couple more targets pushed Irv’s way.
Bonus: I really like TE Jacob Hollister this week as well. He’s priced a 4,300 which will likely push people to just pay 600 more for Jared Cook. Hollister could be a nice contrarian pivot as he does have a secure target share in a narrower Seattle passing game. I’ll have some lineups constructed differently with him in it.
DraftKings salary: 2,700
Flex Alvin Kamara vs. Minnesota
Kamara’s mostly disappointing fantasy season makes his salary a screaming value this week. He’s got 6 red zone carries in the last 2 weeks and his rushing TD from the 1-yard line last week was a great (or tilting) change of course. Kamara receiving work will always be there and with some red zone equity seemingly in the bag he’s probably the top RB play this week.
DraftKings salary: 7,400
Defense Saints vs. Minnesota
The Saints are the biggest home favorite of the week, have a great run defense to combat what the Vikings do best and have a great chance to be able to pin their ears back against what has been a mostly shaky pass offense over the past month. This is an easy play.
DraftKings salary: 3,000