DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 17
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Consider yourself warned. This large Week 17 main slate will change, perhaps dramatically, right up until lock based on players being rested for the final week of the regular season. Be sure to check all the most recent player news prior to pressing the submit button for the final time on Sunday morning. Also, this article is handy for getting an idea on what playoff teams have something to play for and which teams are locked into their current seeding.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,100): Given all the value that will open up during the final week of the regular season, it makes all the sense in the world to pay up for Patrick Mahomes, particularity in cash games. Back in Week 13, the second-year MVP candidate roasted the Oakland Raiders by completing 23 of 38 passes for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns. On the ground, Mahomes set season highs with 9 carries for 52 yards. For the season, Oakland's pass defense is currently the third-worst by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. Mahomes averages nearly five more DraftKings points per game than the next closest quarterback and should be highly-owned in all formats given this incredible matchup at home in Arrowhead Stadium.
Jameis Winston ($6,100): Among notable players on non-playoff teams, perhaps the one under the most pressure to end the 2018 regular season on a high note is Jameis Winston. In what could be his final game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winston is a slight home underdog in the week's second-highest over/under as the opposing Atlanta Falcons are the seventh-worst pass defense by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. Some of that damage came in Winston's first start of the season back in Week 6, when he threw for a season-high 395 yards and 4 touchdowns. On the flip side, there's talk that Tampa could give 29-year-old Ryan Griffin some playing time as the career backup has yet to attempt a regular season pass since he entered the league in 2013 as an undrafted rookie. If Griffin does play, let's hope it's just for a series or two. Either way, it's a legitimate threat that limits Winston to tournaments only.
Sam Darnold ($5,200): The New York Jets may not have anything to play for, but they'll look to keep the New England Patriots from securing the No. 2 seed in the AFC by finding a way to stun the Pats in Foxborough. This will be rookie Sam Darnold's first crack at the Patriots as a foot injury caused him to miss the Week 12 matchup between these two teams. After throwing a whopping 14 interceptions in nine games prior to getting hurt, Darnold has looked much better over the last three contests. During that time, Darnold completed nearly 66 percent of his passes while scoring 6 touchdowns compared to only 1 interception. Since becoming coach of the Patriots back in 2000, Bill Belichick is 10-0 against rookie quarterbacks at home and 17-5 versus rookie passers overall. Thankfully, we just need Darnold to keep producing in the box score to be a worthwhile tournament option.
Saquon Barkley ($8,200): The nature of Week 17 makes it very difficult to find a running back worth paying up for, especially when looking to build a strong floor in cash games. While the New York Giants have been out of contention for a while now, they'll end 2018 as 6.0-point home favorites against a Dallas Cowboys team that is locked in to their playoff seeding and will likely be resting players. If Barkley can roll up 114 yards from scrimmage, he'll join Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only rookies to ever record more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Such a performance would certainly help Barkley regain some of the ground that he's rapidly losing to Baker Mayfield in the Rookie of the Year race.
Damien Williams ($6,100): After missing the last two games, Spencer Ware (hamstring) is back at practice, but Damien Williams has played so well in his absence that the Kansas City Chiefs gave Williams a new two-year contract just a few days ago. Over the last two weeks Williams has led the Chiefs' backfield by playing on 73.3 and 63.9 percent of the snaps, respectively. During that time, Williams has carried the ball a total of 23 times for 152 yards while securing all 13 of his targets for an additional 111 yards. Prior to spending four quiet seasons as a backup for the Miami Dolphins, Williams was undrafted coming out of Oklahoma, where he split duties. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash and owns a solid 62nd-percentile Burst Score on PlayerProfiler. Kansas City is a massive home favorite against the Raiders and carries the highest implied team total of the week.
Sony Michel ($5,200): Last week, the Patriots split the running back snaps fairly evenly between Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead. However, Michel led the group with 18 carries and easily out-performed his competition by rushing for 116 yards. It marked the fourth time in 12 games that the rookie has broken the century mark. One of those contests was a career-high 133 yards back in Week 12 against these same Jets, the eighth-worst run defense by our metrics. Unfortunately, due to DraftKings PPR-friendly scoring, Michel is touchdown-dependent, volume-driven tournament play as he hasn't been targeted at all over the last three games.
Davante Adams ($8,000): Assuming the knee injury that kept Davante Adams out of practice on Wednesday isn't serious, he looks slightly underpriced given that he leads all wide receivers in DraftKings points per game. Adams needs only to catch two more passes for break Sterling Sharpe’s single-season franchise record for receptions. And if Adams is healthy and feeling greedy, he can surpass Jordy Nelson for the team's single-season record in receiving yards if he can go off for 134 or more yards. Based on numberFire's scheduled-adjusted metrics, this game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions features the worst two secondaries in the league. Even if Adams falls short of that yardage record, he looks primed to finish 2018 with a bang.
Robert Woods ($6,900): In addition to carrying the third-highest implied team total on the main slate, the Los Angeles Rams are 10.0-point home favorites and will clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC assuming they are able to dispatch the San Francisco 49ers, a bottom-five pass defense by our metrics. Even though Woods didn't show a big ceiling throughout the season, he's set a remarkably high floor by recording more than 60 receiving yards in every game since Week 2. Woods continues to be a cash-game staple thanks to a price tag that has never exceeded $7,000 when the Rams have played on the main slate.
Kenny Golladay ($6,600): If the Lions-Packers game indeed shoots out due to poor pass defense on both sides, the biggest beneficiary on the Detroit side ought to be Kenny Golladay. Back in Week 5, when both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate were still in the lineup, Golladay led the team with 9 targets, 4 receptions, 98 yards, and scored a touchdown. Over his last seven games -- even though the Lions have cracked 20 points only once -- Golladay has come through more often than not by averaging 10.1 targets, 5.3 receptions and 77.1 yards per game.
Travis Kelce ($7,200): Right now looks a great time to play Travis Kelce, perhaps at reduced ownership. That's because even though he's been targeted nine times in each of the last two games, Kelce averaged a pedestrian 57.5 yards and did not find the end zone over those two games. Back in Week 13, however, Kelce wrecked the Raiders to the tune of 12 receptions on 13 targets for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even though Oakland sits in the bottom 12 of tight end targets faced, they've allowed so many big plays to the position that they are fourth in yards allowed to tight ends and are one of only four teams to concede nine or more touchdowns to the position.
Chris Herndon ($3,400): One of the best values at tight end over the last two weeks has been rookie Chris Herndon. Since Week 9, the fourth-rounder from Miami has been playing on well over 60 percent of the offensive snaps. During that time, he's seventh among all tight ends in air yards with an extremely strong average depth of target (aDOT) of 9.9 yards. Herndon will be on the road but is coming off a career-best 82 yards and could be the preferred cheap option for those who don't pay up for Kelce or Zach Ertz.
Houston D/ST ($3,300): If the Jets upset the Patriots, then the Houston Texans can rise to the No. 2 seed in the AFC by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. Should the Texans lose, they would go from hosting a Wild Card weekend game as the No. 3 seed to playing on the road as the No. 6 seed. After four painful Cody Kessler starts that saw him get sacked 18 times behind a devastated offensive line, Jacksonville is going back to Blake Bortles in what could be Bortles' final game with the team. Look for Houston defenders to feast as they lead the league with 56 sacks and are tied for third with 27 takeaways.
New York Giants D/ST ($2,100): Priced a mere $100 above the minimum salary on DraftKings, we find the Giants as 6.0-point home favorites facing the Cowboys, who are locked into the No. 4 seed in the NFC. That likely means a lot of Cooper Rush under center handing off to Rod Smith and throwing the ball to Noah Brown. Even though the G-Men have recorded only two sacks over the last two games, they have amassed a total of 6 turnovers and 10 sacks across Weeks 13 and 14.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.