Welcome to Week 17 of the NFL! Last week’s article got a nice reaction (thanks to all who reached out) so I will continue with the “high, medium, low” column. That means we go position by position to break down different salary ranges, providing you flexibility in your lineups.
Andrew Luck presents an interesting scenario for this final week of the season. No QB has scored more DraftKings points in the last four weeks than Luck (23.60). I wonder what his ownership will be on a week where the five premier QB options (not including Luck) are all in ideal matchups. Many owners may opt to avoid Luck as Jacksonville has allowed the 4th fewest DraftKings points to opposing QBs. However, when you look deeper, there may be other reasons for that stat. For example, the opponents of the Jags have only thrown the ball 34 times per game, the 7th fewest attempts in the league. The reason might be because the Jaguars are usually losing by enough for their opponents to stop throwing the ball. Indy is currently a 4.5 point favorite which could indicate that this game stays close to the end.
I’m buying on Matthew Stafford who checks in at a reasonable $6,000 on DraftKings. You already know how often the Lions throw the ball on the offense (nearly 37 times a game) and this is an excellent matchup with the woeful Packers defense. Green Bay is allowing 22.9 DraftKings PPG to opposing QBs in the last four weeks, which would be worse than the worst season average. In their first meeting this season, Stafford threw for 385 yards and three TDs, worth 30.5 DK points for his owners. That was Stafford’s best game of the season.
If you’re willing to take on more risk, Blake Bortles is probably your guy. It’s been a volatile season for Bortles, but he has tapped into some stellar upside. Bortles has scored at least 22 DraftKings points on five separate occasions this season. That’s as many as Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota and Philip Rivers while more than Matt Stafford and Ben Roethilisberger to name a few. Bortles had it going last week with 325 yards through the air and 29.7 DraftKings points. In their only meeting this season, Brotles scored 25.88 DK points against Indy, his third best game of the season.
Keep an eye on the Steelers injury report. It’s possible Le’Veon Bell is a healthy scratch this week. That’s a shame considering he’s the best RB in the best possible matchup. Outside of him, there are a few other concerns at the top of the RB position. I obviously love LeSean McCoy who is averaging 28.8 DK PPG in the last four weeks, the third highest mark in the league. McCoy has seen incredible value from the 23 targets (21 catches) in that span. My concern is whether those targets will stay as the Bills start E.J. Manuel over Tyrod Taylor this week. Note: Le’Veon Bell will sit out this week. Feel free to fire up DeAngelo Williams. In the first two games of the season without Bell playing, Williams saw 26 and 32 carries, tacked up 237 yards and two TDs. That was worth 38.1 and 23.2 DK points.
While the Patriots have already clinched a first round BYE, no team in the AFC has wrapped up home field advantage. That means the Pats have plenty to play for on Sunday. With that being said, I am willing to fire up their workhorse LeGarrette Blount yet again this week. Blount has piled on a massive 17 TDs this season and should see plenty of work with the Pats now listed as a 9.5 point favorite. Blount is slightly dependent on the TD but with 17 of them, he’s tallied enough to pay for himself regularly. It was 15 weeks ago, but Blount shredded Miami in their first meeting this season, with a 29-123-1 line for 21.3 DK points.
The Bucs are expected to sit Doug Martin again this week which thrusts Jacquizz Rodgers back into the starting role. He saw 15 carries last week, which he turned into 63 yards and a TD for 15.8 DK points. Rodgers has been great with volume this season. He’s played four games where he’s seen at least 15 touches. In those games he’s never scored less than 14.8 DK points and is averaging 17.95 DK PPG. The Carolina defense is allowing 27.8 DK PPG to opposing RBs in the last month and Rodgers tallied 20.9 DK points in their only meeting this season.
Hello T.Y. Hilton. The 4th highest scoring WR in the last month is back at the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium, where Hilton is four points better this season. Hilton is a burner with significant upside. He’s tallied 19+ DK points in seven of his last 13 games and is essentially a lock see double digit targets. We already talked about why we like Andrew Luck, so why not roster his #1 WR in the process?
Want to ride the Cameron Meredith train? I certainly will be. Meredith has scored 19.2, 22.4 and 31.5 DK points in the last three weeks. Only Jordy Nelson has scored more DK PPG in that span. He’s clearly earned a rapport with QB Matt Barkley, who has fired 33 passes in the direction of Meredith over that three game stretch while connecting on 24 of them. The Vikings defense is a pretty solid, but can be an absolute mess at times. This is literally a team that went rogue on their Head Coach’s defensive game plan last week. Meredith is trending upwards against a dysfunctional Minnesota defense with nothing to play for.
Four straight games with a touchdown for J.J. Nelson and five in that span. He’s risky, yes, but lots of upside at this price. He only saw two targets in Weeks 13 and 14 but hauled in a TD in both. They also used him as a sneaky rushing option as he snapped off a 56 yard TD. That’s pretty flukey, but the last two weeks are creating more confidence. Nelson has seen 18 targets in the last two weeks and racked up 170 yards in those contests. You couldn’t ask for a better matchup with L.A. who allows the 4th most points to opposing WRs.
Sheesh, the tight end position is even thinner than usual. You probably realize that Travis Kelce is going to be one of the elite options after his monster 36 point game last week (11-160-1). I’m looking to pivot towards Greg Olsen in GPPs. Olsen has been a top TE but has underwhelmed most weeks as the Panthers have been brutal this year. Despite the struggles, Olsen has seen 28 targets in the last three weeks and scored 11.9, 14.5 and 12.7 DK points in the process. He’s had difficulty finding the endzone, but he will look to change that against Tampa Bay this week. Olsen shredded TB for 9-181 in their first meeting this season.
I like Charles Clay, but he comes with concerns as well. Obviously big changes for the Bills this week, dumping both Rex and Rob Ryan. Clay is in the midst of his best run of the season, scoring 14.2, 20.2 and 28.5 DK points in the last three weeks, hauling in four TDs in that stretch. Now, that was all under Tyrod Taylor. Now, admittedly this is a deep pull, big E.J. Manuel and Clay do have some type of chemistry. In the two games that Manuel started last season, he hit on 12 of 18 attempts. A $3,500 TE who is playing well in a good matchup is worth some investment.
A disappointing season for the Broncos is limping to the finish line. The Raiders on the other hand, are primed for a playoff run and lose their franchise QB. This is a rallying opportunity for the Raiders to make a statement against the Super Bowl Champs. I’m targeting the Oakland defense who hasn’t scored less than six DK points in their last seven games, while averaging 8.2 DK PPG in that span. The Broncos on the other hand are helping opposing defenses prosper right now. Those defenses have scored 10+ DK points in five of the last six, averaging 11.5 DK PPG in the span. These are two teams on completely different trajectories and the Raiders defense is going to have to do a helluva lot in this one.