4 NFL FanDuel Studs to Target in Week 17
Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high salary players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.
We’ve made it to the last week in the regular season. Week 17 always is about finding players on teams with motivation. So let’s look at four studs at the skill positions that we know will be going all out in the season finale.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Projected Points: 22.6
Drafted by many as the first quarterback in season-long fantasy football, Lamar Jackson has finally paid off that draft capital over the past four weeks. Since having a bout with COVID-19, Jackson has returned to his form from last season. In the four games since he's been back, Jackson has averaged 28.29 fantasy points. In 2019 when he was the QB1, he averaged 28.11. It's taken a while, but we finally have the fantasy player we were hoping for this season. This week, he has a great opportunity to finish the season strong.
The Baltimore Ravens will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. This is a must-win game for the Ravens to make the playoffs, so there are no concerns over Jackson and the team not going all out to win. That's why they are -11.5 point favorites over the Bengals and have an implied team total of 28 points, according to our daily fantasy matchup heat map. Lamar had his worst fantasy game of the season against the Bengals in Week 5, but that was when he was on the injury report with a knee issue, which caused him to only have two rush attempts. In two games last season against Cincinnati, he rushed for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. So if we see a similar version to last year's Lamar Jackson, we can hope for a huge game from him this week.
Jackson is the second-highest projected quarterback by our model. With some other top options having a reason to rest in the second half depending on other scores around the league, the fact that the Ravens need to win puts Jackson as one of the safest quarterbacks on the slate.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
FanDuel Salary: $8,400
Projected Points: 18.5
While Derrick Henry has been a stud all season long and is again this week, let's look at a player who has come along nicely in the past few weeks and can save us a bit of salary off the very top running backs.
Jonathan Taylor was disappointing earlier in the season, but he's found his legs and has been getting more volume over the past five games. In that stretch, Taylor is averaging 23.8 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) per game. He's scored 20.2 half-PPR points in those five games with the increased volume, good for the RB5 in those games. In the last game of the regular season, he should be able to continue his surge.
Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts will face the last place Jacksonville Jaguars, and they need a win to have a chance to make the playoffs. The Colts' implied team total is all the way up to 32 points, tied for the highest on the slate. Being 14-point favorites at home should see them run the ball a ton. They are already the 10th-most run-heavy team in the NFL, and teams have been running on Jacksonville at the second-highest rate in the league. This has caused them to allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, according to Pro Football Reference. If the Colts are up big in the game, Taylor should see the ball a lot, which could lead to a ton of fantasy points in this game.
Taylor is projected for 18.5 points behind only Henry and Alvin Kamara. He comes at a discount from those players and could be played with one of them if there is value that opens up elsewhere. This is a great opportunity to roster a rookie who has been reaching expectations and could have a blow-up game against a team that has nothing left to play for.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
FanDuel Salary: $9,300
Projected Points: 18.7
What a year it has been for Davante Adams. He has averaged 22.1 half-PPR points per game, over three more than any other wide receiver this season. Michael Thomas set the record for receptions last season, and Adams still had a better fantasy season than him. Adams has scored 17 touchdowns in 13 games and has multiple touchdowns in five of those games. He's been a machine this season and has been as reliable as any running back. He isn't likely to slow down in Week 17.
The Green Bay Packers take on the rival Chicago Bears for their last game of the regular season. The Packers will be trying to win this game to lock up the number one seed in the NFC. The first seed has added importance, as it's the only spot in the conference that gets a bye into the divisional round of the playoffs.
The matchup against the Bears' defense might be a scary one on paper, but we saw Aaron Rodgers tear them up for four touchdowns in Week 12. Adams caught one of those touchdowns, and if Green Bay is able to get in the red zone, he will likely be the target. Adams leads the league with 30 targets in the red zone, and it has resulted in 13 touchdowns.
There's no surprise that Adams is our highest projected wide receiver this week. There is some distance between him and all the other receivers, making him the priority spend at the position.
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
FanDuel Salary: $7,800
Projected Points: 14.2
Waller has been great this season as the fantasy TE2. Some people were concerned that last season's production was a one year thing, and with the competition for targets increasing, Waller was not someone to target in fantasy drafts. Well, Waller has proven himself to be Derek Carr's favorite target, with a 28% target share this season. That's the highest share for any tight end in the league, even more than Kelce. With his play really surging of late, Waller is the best tight end available on the slate.
The Las Vegas Raiders will face the Denver Broncos in Week 17. While neither team has anything to play for in this game, there has been no indication that coach Jon Gruden has any intention of resting players in this game. Waller has a massive 534 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last four games. The Raiders' offense has played better than expected this season, and their implied team total is a respectable 26.5. If they keep the starters in the game and can get near that team total, a lot of it should go through Waller.
Waller's 14.2-point projection is by far the highest at tight end. With the lack of certainty at the position and the chaotic nature of Week 17, spending up for some safety at tight is an interesting angle to take in tournaments.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.