NFL DFS: Week 17 Picks (DraftKings)
Welcome to final week of the regular season! COVID is running rampant around the league again, which is going to make an already crazy week even crazier. Hopefully this finds you safe and healthy.
Each week, we’ll be previewing the main slate on DraftKings. Our philosophy with these selections is to provide you with solid floor plays with some upside to start your roster construction, with potential GPP pivots for even further upside in tournaments.
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If you're new to DFS, I'd recommend checking out our DFS 101 article before getting started, as it can give this column a lot more context.
If you'd like to see how I did in previous weeks, you can find that here: Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
Please note that the authors of this post are also players of daily fantasy sports, and the selections they make when creating their rosters may or may not include players listed below. You can find Derek Devereaux on DraftKings via the username DerekDevereaux.
This week’s lineup building beer of choice
A mixture of apple and orange flavors as a cider beer. So refreshing. So delicious.
These articles will continue throughout the playoffs, although they may begin to take a slightly different form as we get to the last few weeks of the playoffs.
To be honest, I'm not really a fan of the "picks" format that I produce, but it's the content style that easiest to understand and it's what the majority of fantasy players really look for - picks, rankings, and, of course, Mikey's Confidence Heat Maps. I'll likely dabble a bit more into the game theory side of things...where it makes sense to stack versus not stack, why certain games may be more appealing than others, etc. More to come on that, but this type of stuff is actually how I build out my rosters, rather than looking at picks.
In addition, I'll be posting three pieces of content after the Super Bowl that I think will be pretty cool to dive into:
A review of my personal ROI throughout the entire season, which I already kind of do on a weekly basis but it will be more in depth. Topics discussed will be how much money I played in the season, what my return was, how things like my investment strategies or contest selection helped or hindered my ROI, etc. I view this as the most valuable piece of content I will put out all year besides my DFS 101 piece, because transparency from people who are giving you information on how to play these games should be the number one thing you look for when determining who to trust. They should be able to admit to you when they lose money as much as they tout when they win, and if they don't, then they're probably losing more than they let on.
The Stud Report, which will be a review of the most optimal lineup you could have played if you only selected players I wrote up in each week. I'll review each week, find the optimal lineup, and tell you what your ROI would have been in that week's largest non-Milly GPP contest (usually is a $3 or $4 entry) as well as in the largest $5 cash contest. (The Milly Maker contests suck, but that's a rant for another day.)
And on the flipside, The Dud Report, which will be the exact opposite - what was the worst lineup you could have played if you only selected players I wrote up each week. Could you have profited in any of the weeks playing the worst of the worst that I wrote up? I hope so, or else it's gonna be ugly...(again, #transparency.)
Next...what do we do in week 17?
You YOLO some more! Obviously there's teams that will be resting players, there's teams who will start players only to pull them at halftime, etc. I view this as an excellent GPP week, as there's so many games to choose from and so much uncertainty. I can already tell you what I'm doing on the week on DK:
I'm playing 20 lineups in the Quarter Arcade GPP for the 15 game full slate
I'm playing 20 lineups in the Dime Time GPP for the 7 game early slate
I'm playing 20 lineups in the Dime Time GPP for the 8 game late slate
I'll play a cash lineup in each of the three slates, but I'm still determining at what interval I'll play. I'll probably dial down my investments here given the week it is.
Again, you can find me on DK under the username DerekDevereaux.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming: Vegas lines
All lines via Bovada, current as of Saturday afternoon. Keep in mind these lines could change dramatically if more players are announced as out. I'll also include a note on the implications in each game.
NY Jets at New England -3, 40 total (opened at 43). Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention. The Jets are locked in to the #2 pick. New England is likely to end up in the 10-16 range. Neither team is expected to sit any starters, although we can argue about whether or not Cam Newton should even be starting.
Minnesota -6.5 at Detroit, 53.5 total. Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention. Detroit is likely to end up somewhere in the 5-10 range for the NFL draft. Minnesota is likely to end up in the 10-16 range. Neither team is expected to sit any starters.
Miami at Buffalo -3, 42 total (opened at 43.5). Buffalo has clinched a playoff berth and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Miami clinches a playoff berth with a win, but they can also get in with a loss and some help. Buffalo hasn't announced that any of their starters are sitting, but I do expect them to be pulled during the game.
Baltimore -13.5 at Cincinnati, 44 total. Cincinnati is eliminated from playoff contention and is likely to pick anywhere from the 3 to 8 range. Baltimore can clinch a playoff berth with a win, but they can also get in if Cleveland or Indianapolis lose (plus other tying scenarios). Neither team is expected to sit any starters.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland -9.5, 41.5 total (opened at 45.5). Pittsburgh has clinched a playoff berth and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Cleveland has a "win and in" scenario; they can also get in if Indianapolis loses, or else they need a lot of help. Cleveland will play their full team, obviously; Pittsburgh has announced that Ben Roethlisberger is sitting, plus they lost Joe Haden to the COVID list. I expect many more of their starters will be pulled during the game.
Dallas -1.5 at NY Giants, 44.5 total (opened at 48.5). Both teams can make the playoffs with help: The winner gets in if Washington loses on Sunday Night Football. Both teams will go for it. Yes, the Giants can get into the playoffs at 6-10.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay -7, 50.5 total. Atlanta is eliminated, which is the best three word phrase that I could possibly type. They'll likely be drafting in the 3-8 range and wasting their pick on a guy who they'll trade away or not sign to an extension. Tampa Bay clinched a playoff berth as a wild card, but they'll want to win so they can secure the #5 seed and play the NFC East winner. I expect both teams to play their starters health notwithstanding (see: Jones, Julio), although there is risk that the Bucs could pull their guys if they're up big at any point, especially late in the game.
Green Bay -4 at Chicago, 50.5 total (opened at 49). Green Bay has clinched a playoff berth and clinches a first round bye with a win or a loss by Seattle. Chicago can clinch a playoff berth with a win or an Arizona loss. Both teams will go for it, although Green Bay has the higher risk of pulling guys in my opinion.
Tennessee -7.5 at Houston, 56 total. Houston is eliminated, and since their first round pick belongs to Miami, they really have nothing to play for. Tennessee clinches the division with a win or an Indianapolis loss, and they have other routes to get in as a wild card team as well. Generally speaking, Tennessee feels safe to get in, as a loss by any one of three teams (Indianapolis, Baltimore or Miami) gets them in without them needing to win. They will know what happened with Baltimore and with Miami prior to kickoff. There's risk of late decisions to sit guys here. Derrick Henry is probably going to be mega chalk. I don't play chalk Derrick Henry when he may get 14 carries.
LA Chargers -3.5 at Kansas City, 43.5 total (opened at 45). Kansas City has clinched the #1 seed and is trotting out a JV team. The Chargers have been eliminated and are likely to pick somewhere in the 10-15 range. I expect most of their expected starters to play, although Austin Ekeler has had injury issues, so I wouldn't be shocked to see him on a limited snap count or deactivated completely.
New Orleans -5.5 at Carolina, 46.5 total (opened at 51). This total is tanking because Alvin Kamara caught COVID and put the running backs on the COVID list for high-risk exposure. Other than that, the Saints have clinched a home playoff game and have a chance at the #1 seed with a win and help. They'll play everyone, and (spoiler alert!) I will have Ty Montgomery in 100% of my GPP lineups this week. Carolina is eliminated and are likely to pick in the 6-10 range. They're not trotting out any running backs either, so this will be fun! I don't think they rest their other starters, although it would not surprise me if we see fewer reps for DJ Moore and Robby Anderson as the game winds down.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis -14, 49.5 total. Jacksonville has clinched Trevor Lawrence. Indianapolis needs to win and have help, so they're going to go for it. Good thing they're playing the Jags! Neither team is expected to sit any healthy players.
Arizona -2.5 at LA Rams, 40.5 total (opened at 42.5). Arizona clinches a playoff berth with a win; if they lose, they are eliminated. The Rams need to win and have Chicago lose. The Rams are without Jared Goff. Good luck with that! Both team are otherwise expected to play everyone.
Seattle -7 at San Francisco, 46 total (opened at 47.5). Seattle has clinched a home playoff game and can obtain the #1 seed with a win + a loss by Green Bay and New Orleans. It's expected that they will go for it. San Francisco is eliminated from playoff contention and is likely picking between 14-18. Other than George Kittle probably being on a snap count again, I expect they'll play most of their players.
Las Vegas -2.5 at Denver, 51 total (opened at 47.5). Two eliminated teams in a total over 50 who can't really do much to improve their draft position, that nobody will probably play on DraftKings...huh, where have I heard that before?
Favorite games to target
Las Vegas and Denver! What could possibly go wrong with going way over the field on Derek Carr and Drew Lock? I can't wait to watch Jerry Jeudy drop 72 passes.
Other than that...I'm just looking to target teams that either have nothing to play for and are expected to play everyone and be competitive, have playoff implications that they need to win to get in, guys that have milestones they're trying to get to, or literal gut feelings because it's week 17 during a pandemic and I might as well treat this like a preseason week.
Ryan Tannehill, $7000, TEN (at HOU)
Pure leverage. Yes, as I mentioned earlier, there's risk that they pull guys if they get up big, or even pull them completely before the game kicks off. But if they need to win, and Derrick Henry is mega chalk? Why not take the passing game instead? Just be prepared to swap this out should the need arise.
Kirk Cousins, $6300, MIN (at DET)
No Dalvin Cook means that there'll likely be more emphasis on the passing game, as Alexander Mattison is not Dalvin Cook. (Prayers up for Dalvin and his family.) We saw this in a very small one-game sample size in Week 7 when Kirk threw for 343 and 3 against the putrid Falcons defense, and now he gets the putrid Lions defense.
Drew Lock, $5000, DEN (vs. LV)
See above game note. The Denver side is mega cheap again. Plug in Drew + Noah Fant and/or any of the receivers and it's under $15k. You can pretty much do whatever you want after that.
Potential GPP pivots: Tom Brady ($7200, vs. ATL), Derek Carr ($5700, at DEN), Daniel Jones ($5100, vs. DAL)
David Montgomery, $7700, CHI (vs. GB)
Derrick Henry volume with added receptions in a high total game that they need to win. What else do you want me to say?
Ezekiel Elliott, $6400, DAL (at NYG)
This middle range is full of some decent GPP plays at running back, but Zeke appears to be in the best spot of all of them. In a must-win game against a below average Giants run defense, 20 touches from Zeke at this price feels like it could pay off. The inconsistency is still there, and his offensive line is still garbage, but we're in the right game environment to take some shots.
Ty Montgomery, $4000, NO (at CAR)
No Alvin Kamara. No Latavius Murray. No Dwayne Washington. The Saints are down to Montgomery and goal line TE/QB/RB/WR/Special Teams Ace Taysom Hill, plus a guy off the practice squad that isn't in the player pool. I'm not wasting a QB spot on a $5800 goal line back. Ty Montgomery will be in 100% of my full slate lineups and 100% of my afternoon slate lineups, even if I end up playing Drew Brees with him. It's week 17. Let me burn my money how I please.
Potential GPP pivots: Aaron Jones ($7100, at CHI), Jeff Wilson Jr. ($6000, vs. SEA), Ronald Jones II ($5900, vs. ATL), Melvin Gordon ($5700, vs. LV)
Justin Jefferson, $7600, MIN (at DET)
The Vikings don't have anything to play for, but Justin Jefferson does. He needs 111 yards to break the rookie receiving yards record set by Anquan Boldin. You think Kirk wants him to get that? I'm willing to bet on it.
Michael Gallup, $5000, DAL (at NYG)
He is still not priced up enough. He will be on the field the whole game. Targets are there, he's clearly got a rapport with Andy Dalton. As I wrote last week: Just pretend he's a staple at this point.
Jerry Jeudy, $4200, DEN (vs. LV)
Yep, I'm going to really like watching him get another 15 targets and drop as many as he catches. But double digit target potential at this price in a high total game is not something to ignore.
Potential GPP pivots: DK Metcalf ($7300, at SF), Chris Godwin ($6600, vs. ATL), Sterling Shepard ($5200, vs. DAL), Jalen Guyton ($3400, at KC)
Darren Waller, $7100, LV (at DEN)
Double digit targets in three of his last four games and over 100 yards in three of his last four, too. His stat lines look like wide receiver numbers. Yes, this Denver team held him in check when they played in week 10, but they didn't hold anyone else in check! I think this game is closer than a 25 point blowout, and Waller plays a big part in it.
Mike Gesicki, $4200, MIA (at BUF)
He's shown to be one of Tua's favorite targets, and in a game Miami needs to win, Gesicki should be pretty heavily involved. Normally this wouldn't be a very good matchup, but again, I expect the Buffalo starters will sit the second half. Can we get 15 points out of this? Of course we can.
Potential GPP pivots: Rob Gronkowski ($4500, vs. ATL), Noah Fant ($4400, vs. LV), Evan Engram ($3700, vs. DAL)