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Daily Fantasy Football Cash Game Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Week 17
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The Ravens need to win their Week 17 game to get into the playoffs and have one of the easiest paths to getting it done. They are 13-point favorites against the lowly Bengals and should lean heavily on Lamar Jackson to take care of business early and often in this game. Over the last four weeks he’s really turned the fantasy production back on to the levels we saw in last season’s MVP campaign. Since Week 12, he’s the second-best fantasy per game quarterback, averaging 29.2 DraftKings points thanks in large part to some huge rushing weeks. I doubt the Ravens stop what’s been working over the last four weeks, all wins. Jackson is expensive but is arguably the safest play here.
Jackson has an easy path to the playoffs, but the Titans might not be too far behind them. Tennessee needs a win over Houston to advance and the latter comes in with the third-worst defense on the season. Plus, this game has the week’s highest over/under (56.5) with the Titans -6.5 road favorites. Tannehill is coming off of a brutal week passing in bad conditions in Green Bay but did manage 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The passing yards can come and go, but Houston’s defense is so brutal that Tannehill is in play. And Deshaun Watson is good enough to turn the game into a shootout. It’s worth noting that Tannehill’s best game of the season was against these Texans when he put up 366 yards and four touchdowns in an overtime win.
Like we said, a big theme of this week will be teams with something to play for and that’s most definitely the case with the Giants who can get into the playoffs with a win over the Cowboys and a Washington loss. But the latter won’t be decided until later in the evening. So rest assured, the Giants will want to keep their foot on the gas. One of Jones’s biggest superlatives here is that he’s cheap in a week where paying up for the other position players could be the way to go. He was solid if unspectacular against Baltimore and downright bad against the Cardinals. The biggest concern with Jones is that in the last two weeks he’s barely got out and run the ball after averaging around 40 yards per game before the injury. That’s what this projection is still built on, but he could have taken it out of his game. Like I said, the price plays here but there’s built-in risk.
Kyler Murray should theoretically be a high floor play here with the Cardinals needing to beat the Rams to get into the playoffs. But the Rams are in the same spot, have a very good defense and Murray was injured at the end of the Week 16 game against the 49ers. If he gets the clean bill of health, then he’s for sure a play, but I’m a little worried.
He’s not playoff-bound, but Kirk Cousins is coming very cheap against a terrible Lions’ defense.
Derrick Henry FD 10200 DK 9400
Proj Points FD - 25.86 DK - 27.02
When you think of teams with everything to play for this week, it's hard to find team more motivated than the Titans. They can do anything from clinch the AFC South to miss the playoffs, and they control their own destiny against the Texans this week. We know their game plan by now, and it involves handing the ball to Derrick Henry an unhealthy amount of times. He had 23 carries against the Packers last week in a 26 point loss, for Christ's sake. The last time these two teams met, Derrick Henry put up 264 total yards and two touchdowns. Brace yourselves, because you're going to see Henry running the ball a hell of a lot of times this week.
Ezekiel Elliott FD 6500 DK 6400
Proj Points FD - 15.23 DK - 16.76
If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we'd get to play a healthy Zeke at $6,500 in a spot like this, I'd have instantly doubled down my buy-in. While it's been a troubled season, Elliott looked like he was in his prime last week, touching the ball 23 times for 139 total yards against the Eagles. Time for Zeke to earn his contract, and this DFS salary. Look forward to him being a nearly unanimous cash game play this week.
Jonathan Taylor FD 8400 DK 7400
Proj Points FD - 17.85 DK - 18.82
I can't say I'm as excited about playing Taylor as I am the above two guys, but he has to be included here (especially on DraftKings) in this situation. Like the Titans, the Colts are playing for everything. They have an even better match-up against the very worst defense in the league, and Vegas predicts a perfect game script. Now for the bad. Taylor is still essentially in a time-share with Nyheim Hines, who touched the ball 13 times last week. This is a lot to pay for a guy who touched the ball 19 total times last week. Still, in a week where beggars can't be choosers, you could do a lot worse than a talented back in the best possible match-up.
A quick caveat before we get started at this position: I think we are definitely going to want to spend up at running back, so finding value in the WR group is going to be key. That's why this group is trending a little cheaper than normal.
Emmanuel Sanders FD 6200 DK 5500
Proj Points FD - 11.07 DK - 13.45
Lost in Alvin Kamara’s monster Week 16 was that Sanders actually led the team in targets (sure it was five, but they also didn’t throw all that much) and receiving yards (83). With Michael Thomas out of the lineup, he’s still the go-to wide receiver in this offense understanding that of course, Kamara is still the top overall option. Getting Sanders in the mid-tier against a Carolina defense that is significantly worse against the pass than the run could be a solid play this week. He won’t break the bank and allows you to spend up on the aforementioned running backs and quarterbacks.
Sterling Shepard FD 5500 DK 5200
Proj Points FD - 11.58 DK - 14.57
Darius Slayton FD 5000 DK 4100
Proj Points FD - 9.9 DK - 11.72
We might be able to get a little value at wide receiver this week which would really help if trying to pay up for the to- tier runnings backs. Last week, with Golden Tate injured and out of the lineup, Shepard stepped up with 12 targets and a 9/77/1 line in the loss to the Ravens. In fact, before Daniel Jones was injured, Shepard was averaging more than seven targets per game and converting them at more than an 80% rate. The ceiling isn’t all that high, but there’s definitely a solid floor at these prices.
Meanwhile, Slayton doesn’t have the same kind of consistency as Shepard, but has more downfield threat ability. He had two 100+ yard games under his belt earlier in the season and has eight or more targets in each of the last three weeks. More of a home run threat, this is still a spot to grab upside if the Giants are playing from behind against Dallas who allows the third most opponent plays from scrimmage this season.
Jerry Jeudy FD 5100 DK 4200
Proj Points FD - 8.28 DK - 9.96
The Broncos don’t have anything to play for, but admittedly they haven’t been playing for anything for weeks now and appear to at least be moderately trying with two wins in their last five games. Jeudy has had an up-and-down rookie season with some serious flashes of greatness. But it’s been inconsistent. Last week he saw his most targets in a game (15) and converted it to a 6/61 line. The DraftKings price is probably low enough to roll the dice on the rookie and hope he hits double-digits again.
If you are looking for some narrative-type plays, Justin Jefferson could make a last minute Rookie of the Year push with a huge game. He’s an underdog to Justin Herbert, but the Vikings’ phenom has a (very) outside chance to finish with the most receiving yards ever for a rookie. He’d need a little over 200 to get it done. He also has a (very) outside chance to lead the league in receiving yards.
It’s another meaningless game, but Tee Higgins is only 98 yards from 1,000 on the season and actually looked fine with Brandon Allen under center last week going 6/99/1 on nine targets.
Evan Engram FD 5400 DK 3700
Proj Points FD - 10.88 DK - 13.42
Following up on the theme of playing guys with something on the line, why not run Evan Engram out there this week? He's coming off a 10 target game against the Ravens, which is in the neighborhood of what we're expecting when Engram has Jones throwing to him. The Giants will come out guns blazing (to the degree that they are capable of it) here, and Engram is a near-lock for production as long as his ankle injury isn't serious enough to hamper him.
Mike Gesicki FD 5900 DK 4200
Proj Points FD - 10.65 DK - 12.97
As a part of the 10-5 AFC log jam, the Dolphins should be as motivated as anyone this week. With Tua named the starter for this game against the Bills, it stands to reason that the Dolphins will be throwing a lot of short passes, which presumably should favor Gesicki. He hasn't been amazing with Tua under center (which is why I favor Engram here), but a lot of that was injury issues that appear to be behind him at this point. If Engram's injury actually stands in his way this week, Gesicki is a fine cash game option.
With Kelce likely taking the week off, it's tough to know what to do elsewhere at tight end. Andrews is too expensive. Kittle returned last week, but only got 5 targets. Waller is very skilled, but with the Raiders playing only to reach .500, how much will he be involved in a meaningless tilt with the Broncos?
My favorite of the field after Gesicki and Engram is Noah Fant. The Broncos haven't been playing for anything in weeks, so why change their approach now? Still, any team playing for literally nothing has to be riskier than the teams playing for something.
Defense / Special Teams
Seahawks FD 3900 DK 3000
Proj Points FD - 7 DK - 7
A lot was made of the 49ers upset of the Cardinals last week, but it's tough to give the offense a lot of credit for that. The Niners scored 20 points total, and their only real success came running the ball. CJ Beathard was just bad, completing 13 of his 22 passes for 189 yards while taking 3 sacks. Seattle has the 7th most sacks in the NFL this season, and should be able to get into the backfield here. Jeff Wilson torched the Cardinals last week, but Seattle allows just 3.9 yards per carry compared to Arizona's 4.7. The Seahawks held the Niners to 7 points through the first 3 quarters in their last meeting before allowing a few garbaget time touchdowns when the game was out of hand. A highly motivated Seattle defense should have its way, here.
Browns FD 4100 DK 2500
Proj Points FD - 7.82 DK - 7.82
If Pittsburgh rests their starters, Cleveland is a near automatic play on DraftKings, where this price assumes the Browns will get the Steelers' starters. Heck, this might be a play even if the Steelers DO run their starters. The Steelers offense was floundering for weeks until coming back against the Colts last week, and I wouldn't worry that their back-ups will light up a motivated Browns team, which is currently favored by 10 points here. The Browns are in play on FanDuel as well, and an upgrade over the Seahawks if you have the extra money lying around.