Welcome to the 17th week of NFL action and another edition of my Sunday Morning Player from Every Game article!
I’m not going to waste any time this weekend. We are experiencing the next closest thing to preseason style DFS, so a lot of this weekend will be guess work and dealing with massive ownerships.
We came on strong to finish the season, and I appreciate the time people take to read and consider my picks. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. Best of luck this weekend and as always see you at the top!
WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Ownership: 2.5%
Best Use: PLug N’ Play of the slate.
For the first game of the slate we have the Buccs playing host to the Falcons. If this was like any other mid-season game, then it would probably be the most relevant of the slate, but as it’s the final week and both teams have packed it in, we have to tread more carefully, especially with salaries. Or not.
If you are new to my articles one of my two (soon to be three) main meta plays for NFL DFS has been using pass catching backs against the Falcons, and in truth there’s no difference this slate. One of my first GPP builds of the weekend went Jameis and then Peyton. You can’t miss with the short-passing threats against the Falcons, it just so happens this slate we get our hands on one of the league’s better short yardage players in Adam Humphries, even though his salary finally represents his usage. However, it still misses his upside. As he is no longer sub 4k, most people will look elsewhere for their exposure. The main issue with the Falcons is their likely to almost certain situation of sitting every relevant starter. Mind you, the Buccs DST are still one of the worst defenses, it’s just, they’ve been better at home and this isn’t exactly a game I want to target them, as viable as that target may be. The most important reason to get Humpries is his low owned, consistent targets. Barber should be around 15% owned (which may not be enough, especially on DK). Jameis may not have the upside to compete with this slate, at the very least by himself. Unless Evans is below or on 7k I’m not overly interested, and through December Godwin has been one of the worst players in the league. Last weekend Bobo basically cost the Buccs any hope against the Cowboys, and there’s no TE outside of Brate,poor usage and Auclair’s (Canadian) 7 catches on 7 targets with a target this season. Brate hasn’t been used properly since day 1, and if he was to find a way Kyle Rudolph style, that would be one of the deeper GPP stretches of the season. He hasn’t gotten enough usage to warrant solid consideration, and compared to Humphries it’s not even debatable. THEN, we can talk about playing one of the worst short yardage DSTs in the league, and how Humphries is still 1k too cheap.
Buccs WR Adam Humpries should be one of the better plug and plays for the slate. He’s still cheap compared to what he should be, and the Falcons are really bad. Jamies/Barber/Humphries could end up being a super valuable, low owned stack to help you afford some bigger salaries. If you want.
Other Options: Peyton Barber, Jameis Winston, Mat Ryan.
WR, Dallas Cowboys
Projected Ownership: >1%
Best Use: Top GPP Value WR.
In the second game of the slate we have our first opportunity to call BS on a BS coach, and take a risk with a low owned guy like Cowboys’ WR Tavon Austin.
It’s hard to explain, but simply and for conversation sake, Jason Garrett isn’t to be trusted, and a couple years ago in this EXACT same situation he cost my friends and I serious moola in a game he promised relentless regular starter minutes. I’ve been waiting for a chance to fade him ever since, and Week 17 is that chance. He has once again come out publicly stating full starters 100%, but not only are the Cowboys through, but they can’t improve/decline. So, by all reason they should be sitting starters, and while I think Garrett isn’t a man who lacks reason, he’s also done this before and I don’t buy it. Before his injury, Austin was making strides towards becoming a massive weapon on the offense. He gives the Cowboys a running element (returning kicks as well, maybe a better DST stack option than Ezke), and you could tell by the types of plays the Cowboys were running, it was very obvious they were trying make him a bigger part of the attack. Now that he is returning after nine weeks out he should have had more than enough time to become more acquainted with the playbook, giving him even more upside to go with his low ownership/salary, and pre-established role. We also need to consider that he’s next in line with Allen Hurns for more playing time this weekend, and at his stone-min salary on both sites, you can’t miss when his non-PPR skillset shines through as well.
This big point here is the Jason Garrett fade and consequently looking into the deeper roster spots on the Cowboys. WR Tavon Austin is someone who was making massive strides before his injury; considering everything that has happened, that should happen, and from his salary/ownership discounts, it’s hard not to have him as one of the weekend’s most exciting GPP options. Take a stand, take some Tavon.
Other Options: Either DST, Allen Hurns.
QB, Carolina Panthers
Projected Ownership: 2.5%
Best Use: When one Allen isn’t enough.
I’m not crazy about this, maybe it’s because there’s probably not enough room for two successful, nobodies with the last name Allen, both in the same league. In any case, Panthers’ QB Kyle Allen is super intriguing this slate.
There’s only two ways I’m playing Jos…I mean Kyle Allen this weekend; he needs McCaffrey, and he needs Bridgewater to be successful in return. This isn’t about Allen being successful, it’s about him being able to throw the ball no more than six yards away to McCaffrey, who only needs 70 odd yards to break all sorts of records. Now, I do have a massive concern Caff gets that early, and the Panthers rest on field goals all day. It’s not like Teddy will easily put up slate breaking numbers without all the Saints starters. This is another question, but should also be addressed in that some of Sean Payton’s career low points included played everyone when he didn’t need to and losing multiple stars through final-game injuries for the playoffs.
Without starters it’s unlikely the Saints will go ham, but if they do the more McCaffrey will score in return. If you think the Saints will score, whoever is starting, take Panthers’ QB Kyle Allen. It’s not about him scoring TDs, it’s about him getting points off of the best PPR RB of the season/ever, and not costing a fortune.
Other Options: Christian McCaffrey, Tre’Quan “TQ” Smith, Saints DST.
Tom BRADY or Pats DST
QB or DST, New England PATRIOTS
Projected Ownership: 2.5%/5%
Best Use: “The” clutch team needing a win
This isn’t so much “play Brady” or “play the DST” as it is “pick a side”, but when the Pats host the Jets this weekend expect a home victory. The question is how.
I’ll be honest, you won’t hear me admit this very often, but I was raised a Pats fan. I know, it’s pretty disgusting. There is nothing proud in my heart, and while I love my family from Boston, “dea god wobbie, how could ya eva bet agayst Braedee???” got old really fast…aunt Eliene. Anyways, the point is however we approach this, it results in a Pats smash.
First and foremost, unlike most teams the Pats need to win, everything is still on the line. So, outside of asking yourself if they can (we all know they can), we don’t have to ask if they need to, and as such it gets pretty obvious where to go from there. So, we’ve established the Pats should win, all we have to do is ask ourselves if it’s coming from Brady. In all likelihood, it isn’t. He holds obvious relevance from above, and Edelmen is one of the safer locks of the slate as well, also making one of the safer QB/WR floor stacks of the slate. However, I’m going to break down why Sony Michel/Pats DST is one of the best stacks of the entire slate, for either format, and it’s not even because it is, which it kinda is.
Unlike in years past, Pats’ TDs have become a limited quantity. If you go with Brady and they are two rushing TDs into winning, there’s no chance he will get his: unless the Pats put up once in a century attacking numbers, or the Jets are able to reply. Even then, it’s far more likely to be rushed in, and if the Jets start to reply the Pats are more likely to go even further run heavy with their possession than look to throw it back. So, -EV Brady, +EV Michel. While Develin has been the snakes of all snakes, he is far from an every down back, and when the chips are on the table it’s Michel doing the ground work, not Devski and his goal line presence. Burkhead and White are both excellent PPR plays…when only one of them is dressed, otherwise they eat each others’ share. Not to mention so far this season Darnold has been nothing short of a turnover machine, the Pats DST demands even more ground stacking than everything we’ve already mentioned, combined! Brady can be used with Edelmen, but by all means both Brady and Gronk aint’ what they usta be, so I would tread carefully with Brady, and completely avoid Gronk.
The long and short of it is the Pats’ RB Sony Michel stacked with the Pats DST is probably the safest stack of the slate. If you think the Jets will score, go with some Brady. However, considering the Pats’ massive turnover/”return for 6” upside, it’s hard not to roll with Michel/Pats’ DST as your core build this weekend.
Other Options: Julian Edelmen, Elijah McGuire.
WR, Houston Texans
Projected Ownership: >1%
Best Use: Still Buy-Low. SHouldn’t be.
Another weekend with the Texans on the slate, another weekend I’m talking about WR DeAndre Carter…AGAIN.
Though I’ve never been good at math, for the past three or four articles I’ve been preaching the upside of Carter. Playing behind the massively out of shape DT always gave him a shot, not to mention he returns kicks, and is almost stone-min salary, people still haven’t caught up to the idea that this weekend he may be the #1 Texans’ WR. Houston could really use a win, but it’s no different unless both the Pats and Chiefs show signed of faltering (unlikely). I don’t expect the biggest game of the slate, but I expect Carter to hold one of the bigger roles that has one of the bigger discounts.
The Texans should clinch and should win with ease; WR DeAndre Carter should be a massive part of that from a massive discount in both ownership and salary.
OTHER OPTIONS: Deshaun Watson, Jags DST.
RB, Detroit Lions
Projected Ownership: .25%
Best Use: Because nobody wants to see the Packers win.
Here is it, another secret meta play. I’m not excited that it’s coming up against the lowly Lions, but one of my new rules of NFL DFS is the Packers DST aren’t stopping a runner any time this century. Play the ground game vs. the Packers, no matter what.
Very simply, Theo Riddick, while an excellent pass catching back, has made a career of struggling as a true ground runner. Zenner has already had excellent showings this season, and with Blount out he stands as the only true power back on the Lions. As mentioned, the Packers aren’t stopping anyone, let alone someone of Zenners’ skillset. He’s a big boy and will also dominate the goalline work. I’m not sitting here saying he’s going to break the slate, and the Lions should get stomped; but with an unhealthy Stafford, basically no passing game, and one of the worst defenses in the league, any chance the Lions get they will be running it.
Chances are the Lions’ RB Zach Zenner will get tons of chances of his own. There are better, cheaper running options for cash, but if you happened to fall on him I wouldn’t talk you out of it, on either site, for either format.
OTHER OPTIONS: Packers Passing.
QB, Buffalo Bills
Projected Ownership: 7.5%
Best Use: Worst game of the season.
I don’t want to talk about this game. Do you even want to read about it?
Play Josh Allen because he’s the only player outside of Robert Foster who has any kind of appeal. The Dolphins were already bad, now they are seeing how bad the guys who weren’t bad yet will be. Probably pretty bad as well, what a bad off.
Bills’ QB Josh Allen made some highlight plays this season, the Dolphins can barely use that term as a plural, though we can all think of one.
OTHER OPTIONS: Robert Foster, Bills DST.
Pete Carroll is a LIAR
Coach, Seattle Seahawks
Projected Ownership: Shitbird
Best USE: Keep him Closer
Another dickhead being a dick, don’t buy into this one.
All he does is mind games, he has multiple PhD’s in psychology on his staff payroll. It’s like, blindfold yourself, and test the notion of throwing for the superbowl with the best RB of a generation in your backfield, and ask yourself, is that a trustworthy coach?
If you ask yourself would an idiot do that thing, and the answer is yes, than don’t do that thing. Don’t listen to Pete Carroll, nobody is starting, it’s Larry Fitz’s last game, stick on that if you have to.
OTHER OPTIONS: Russell Wilson, Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson.
QB, San Francisco 49ers
Projected Ownership: .25%
Best Use: Low-owned GPP QB.
Contrary to popular belief Nick Mullens is a viable option this slate.
Mullens has a few things going for him; the Rams DST has been atrocious, and the Rams attack will always force return points against their atrocious DST. Kittle is breaths away from records, so expect to see him to get fed as well. CJ Anderson will be the highest owned player of the slate, and while you could just as easily take the Rams passing with Goff’s crazy home splits, an equally interesting but far cheaper/low owned option will be the the 49ers passing pivot. I’m excited to see what Kittle does, and it also seems like he has a team around him to support his record chase.
Point being is the Rams DST has been bad, and while 49ers’ QB Nick Mullens hasn’t been great this season he has all the upside from low ownership and low cost, not to mention a safe route to Skittles chasing his rainbow.
OTHER OPTIONS: Ultra-Chalk CJ Anderson/George Kittle, Rams PAssinG.
RB, LA Chargers
Projected Ownership: .25%
Best Use: Secondary RB GPP option.
This is one of the few games that have only one viable, under the radar script to explore. The only way, and I mean only way, the Chargers can improve their standing is if the Chiefs are losing at half. If the Chiefs are winning, who knows what will happen, as the Chargers look to preserve themselves. Ekeler should see some work as is, more work if they are winning with no cause, and more work if they are blowing out. He’s not my favorite salary, but of all the secondary running options on the slate, Chargers’ RB Austin Ekeler is one of my favorites.
OTHER OPTIONS: Philip Rivers getting mad when they pretend to go for it on 4th down, fool nobody, and he’s not allowed to snap it, +1.5.
Literally any STEELERS
Projected Ownership: +
Best Use: Everywhere
Don’t know where or who will be starting, but chances are if it were you and I going up against the Bengals, we would still amount for relevance. Ju-Ju is looking to make up that fumble, I promise you that.
OTHER OPTIONS: CJ Uzomah, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Vikings Pass Catchers
WR/TE, Minnesota Vikings
Projected Ownership: Low.
Best Use: Low GPP Exposure.
This one is a bit more complicated, but getting in on the Vikings pass catching may be one of the sharper plays of the slate. Maybe.
If Rudolph wasn’t so highly owned through recency bias, this would’ve been about him. I’m not crazy about the run game because the Bears have one of the best run Ds in the league, and I’m not crazy about Thielen if Cousins can’t find the time for him to get open. On the other side however, Trubz hasn’t been throwing enough, and the Vik’s rush D aren’t slouches neither. The worst case scenario is the Vikings can’t cash through the air, keep getting it inside the 5, and someone runs in low scoring run TDs. Nobody wins.
Vikings’ WR Stefan Diggs is the obvious choice, but if you wanted to land on Cousins, or go full throttle passing attack, that isn’t the worst idea either. The Vikings need to win this game, so expect a full throttle effort from a fully capable team.
OTHER OPTIONS: Bears Running game.
WR, Oakland Raiders
Projected Ownership: 12.5%
Best Use: Personal Fav WR of the slate.
OK, let’s calm down for a second, I know what usually happens when I put Raiders up in my cover photo, but come on, Jordy is the man this weekend.
I’ve tried writing this up numerous different ways. Carr. Carr to Cook. Cook (who doesn’t seem healthy). Conley. Hill. Kelce and his ownership. The salaries. I kept running into walls where the plays weren’t what I was after. I know Jordy’s ownership isn’t the lowest, but it should be one of the highest of the slate, and it isn’t. The Chiefs have been downright non-existent across every spectrum of defensive football. Yes, even the Raiders should score multiple TDs. Travis Kelce is only a few yards shy of Gronk’s all time season record, and Kittle is only a few yards behind him, so it’s hard to see Kelce not going smash this slate, forcing the Raiders to respond. I believe they can.
I’m not saying the Raiders will win, far from it, but if they manage to keep things close, the Chiefs can’t afford to lose this and will respond in kind. Make sure Jordy is your finish to the game stacks, your one off in GPPs, and even consider him for cash. It’s not great he’s on the Raiders, but his salary and opponent match up sure is.
OTHER OPTIONS: Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chirs Conley, Derek Carr.
TE, Baltimore Ravens
Projected Ownership: 1%
Best Use: Because TEs don’t matter.
Growing up in Canada, not everyone is privy to the history between these two sides. For this weekend’s final slate of the season we have the league’s best defense in the Ravens hosting the league’s sexiest QB in Baker Mayfield, and the Browns. This could be sneaky special.
Whatever total you find this weekend, take the under. Unless you are literally being paid to play the over, never consider it, unless it’s a negative number, then consider it. While I expect this to be a back and forth game, the Ravens need to win this game, and there’s nothing sweeter to a Browns’ fan than knowing they just ruined the Ravens’ season. Like I said, both teams will come out to win this game, it may even be one of the higher charged games of the slate. However, I’d be very surprised if there is any kind of standout performance. Sounds like a TE game to me, and Andrews fits the bill well. He was a very high draft pick, so I continue to expect big things from him moving forward, starting with a big game in the Ravens’ biggest game of the season.
QB Lamar Jackson is still a liability, so if you’re not comfortable targeting the multitude of Ravens running options, look for TE Mark Andrews to make for some interesting salary relief, though I’d probably keep it to GPP.
OTHER OPTIONS: Lamar Jackson/Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb.
RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Projected Ownership: 2.5%
Best Use: PPR RB Machine.
I don’t know what to say here, wish the final article’s final game was more enticing, but if the Vikings win, it doesn’t matter what the Eagles do, their season will be over.
I think it’s safe to say either QB could be used in GPP, and play Ertz. Now that we got that out of the way, the Eagles have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and the Redskins have some of the worst perimeter line defense as well. As Darren Sproles was incredible last weekend, and far more used than his stats would suggest, he’s lining up for a matchup in heaven. He has made some massive plays and has receiving TDs in two of his previous three. So, it’s not out of the question, and he seems the far more likely of the trio/quad to cash in.
Eagles RB Darren Sproles is coming into this weekend on a hot streak, and while he’s still a massive discount in salary and ownership, if the Eagles somehow make it through to the playoffs he could continue to expand his role with his kick return duties as well.