Justin Fields Set for Big DFS Week 17
NFL Week 17 - Week 17 is finally here, and whilst fantasy championships will be won and lost, DFS continues to be as reliable as always. This week we have a 13-game slate on our hands and there are lots of games with value, and some teams with little motivation to win who might be best avoided.
Justin Fields $7900 @ Detroit Lions
In Week 16, Justin Fields was shut down by the Bills, who held him to a season-low 11 rushing yards a few days after Fields stated he would be trying to break Lamar Jackson's quarterback rushing yardage record of 1,206. Fields now needs 195 yards in his final two games and will have a great opportunity against a Lions defense that ranks 26th in DVOA against the run and has allowed four quarterbacks to rush for over 50 yards, including giving up 147 to Fields in Week 10.
Usage Suggestions: Fields is fairly pricey, but we know the ceiling he has, and the last time Fields played the Lions he scored over 40 DraftKings points. With the safe floor that Fields has, combined with a high ceiling he can be played in all contests. Stacking Fields with Cole Kmet, who has a favorable matchup, makes a lot of sense.
Aaron Rodgers $6000 vs. Minnesota Vikings
At this time of year, it is often best to look for players with motivation rather than those on teams who are ready for the end of the season, and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers certainly have motivation. Everything has gone right for the Packers in recent weeks, and now if they continue winning they can squeeze into the playoffs. The Vikings have allowed the third-most QB1 performances, with five of the last six quarterbacks to play them finishing ninth or better that week. The Vikings defense is 24th in DVOA against the pass, and if the Packers turn up ready to play, things could get fun.
Usage Suggestions: Sometimes the Packers lean into the run in a way that hurts Rodgers' ceiling, so I prefer to play him in tournaments and hope that ceiling is there. Rodgers can be stacked with Allen Lazard or Christian Watson along with Justin Jefferson or Dalvin Cook on the other side.
Brock Purdy $5500 @ Las Vegas Raiders
It's remarkable how well Brock Purdy is playing, and he perhaps deserves some recognition in the Rookie of The Year awards. This week the 49ers play the Raiders, whose defense is 32nd in DVOA and will likely struggle against a San Francisco offense that ranks second over the last three weeks. The Raiders have allowed nine quarterbacks to score over 18 points and have allowed the sixth-most receptions since Week 11.
Usage Suggestions: This will be the third week in a row that Purdy has been priced at $5,500. He has shown that he deserves to priced around $6,000, and this discount is worth taking. In tournaments Purdy can be stacked with either George Kittle, or a more contrarian choice would be Brandon Aiyuk.
Saquon Barkley $8000 vs. Indianapolis Colts
There was a small spell a few weeks ago when it looked like Saquon Barkley was getting tired this year and the knocks were starting to pile up, but that no longer feels like the case with Barkley posting back-to-back games over 23 PPR points and now ranking fifth in effective yards. Since Week 10, five different running backs have scored over 18 points against the Colts, whose run defense DVOA ranks 25th in that period. The Colts also struggle against running backs acting as pass-catchers, ranking 27th in that category, which is an area Barkley can exploit after seeing 18 targets in his last two games.
Usage Suggestions: Barkley is an expensive play this week, but looks to be one of the more secure bets. The Giants need a win to confirm their playoff spot. Barkley can be played in either cash games or tournaments, where he can be correlated with either Michael Pittman or Parris Campbell, who have reasonable matchups.
James Conner $7200 @ Atlanta Falcons
Since returning from injury in Week 9, James Conner has been the very definition of a workhorse running back, averaging 20.2 touches and having 85% of the running back opportunities in that period, which leads all players at the position. Conner is ninth in success rate and has averaged 21.9 PPR points in his last four games, along with 5.7 targets per game. Since Week 10 three running backs have scored 19 or more PPR points against Atlanta.
Usage Suggestions: Conner feels like a better play for tournaments due to Arizona's offensive issues at quarterback, and whilst Conner has been OK so far, his floor might not be as secure as we'd hope. In tournaments, Conner can be played individually with no Falcons looking like good plays this week.
Rhamondre Stevenson $6800 vs. Miami Dolphins
It was a disappointing Week 16 for Rhamondre Stevenson and those who utilized him in fantasy football, with him scoring his second-lowest total of the season (3.3 PPR points). Thankfully Stevenson should be able to bounce back against a Miami defense that ranks 25th against passes to running backs, allowing the fifth-highest yards per game and the most receiving touchdowns to the position. Since Week 13, the Dolphins have allowed two running backs to catch eight receptions, and Stevenson's 79 targets are the third-most amongst running backs.
Usage Suggestions: Stevenson is a stronger play in tournaments than in cash games, with the Dolphins having Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, who might not be able to push the Patriots into a shootout.
Leonard Fournette $5600 vs. Carolina Panthers
Somewhat quietly, Leonard Fournette has managed to catch 68 receptions, which is the third-most amongst running backs, and in Week 16 he seemed to play with more burst than in recent weeks. The Panthers' run defense is 18th in DVOA this year and has allowed nine different backs to score touchdowns against them, including one apiece for Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris in Week 15.
Usage Suggestions: Fournette is still sharing duties with Rachaad White, and while White hasn't been incredible, he does eat into Fournette's workload, but in tournaments, we can play Fournette in the hopes that the high-value touches end up in Fournette's corner.
D'Andre Swift $5300 vs. Chicago Bears
In Week 16, Jamaal Williams suffered a leg injury that is leaving his Week 17 status in doubt for the time being, but that might not matter as Swift is priced at his lowest point this season and the matchup is great. Over the last three weeks, the Bears rank 30th in run defense DVOA. They have allowed 10 different running backs to score 16 or more PPR points this year, including both James Cook and Devin Singletary in Week 16.
Usage Suggestions: If Jamaal Williams misses out, then Swift is a good play for all formats. If Williams does play, then Swift is better suited to tournaments, where he can be used as part of game stacks with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Cole Kmet, or correlated with only Justin Fields.
Tyler Allgeier $5300 vs. Arizona Cardinals
There are a lot of interesting running back plays in this price range this week and Tyler Allgeier perhaps deserved to be priced higher than this. Over the last two games Allgeier has 38.3 PPR points, touching the ball 40 times and putting up a combined 253 yards. The Cardinals rank 27th in rush defense DVOA and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position.
Usage Suggestions: The matchup is great and Allgeier has had great usage, which makes him a good play for cash games. In tournaments consider the fact that Allgeier will be popular and look for ways to correlate him, with Greg Dortch at $3000 looking appealing.
Brian Robinson Jr. $5200 vs. Cleveland Browns
Antonio Gibson has been ruled out of this game, which should push Robinson toward one of his biggest workloads of the season against a Cleveland rushing defense that ranks 30th in DVOA. The Browns have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs and have allowed 14 different running backs to score touchdowns against them.
Usage Suggestions: Robinson will be an incredibly popular play this week, and while he's a fine play for cash games we need to be mindful of how we use him in tournaments. Correlating Robinson with Donovan Peoples-Jones is one way to get different.
Amon-Ra St. Brown $7800 vs. Chicago Bears
The Bears passing defense isn't any better than their run defense, ranking 29th in DVOA, and has a particular weakness against WR1s, ranking 31st in DVOA against passes to that position. Since Week 8, Amon-Ra St. Brown has seen 10.2 targets per game, which is the third-most among receivers, and his 68 catches trail only Justin Jefferson's 77. The last time these two teams met, in Week 10, St. Brown caught 10 of his 11 targets and finished with 121 total yards. Our fantasy projections have St. Brown as the fourth-best receiver this week.
Usage Suggestions: St. Brown is the perfect receiver for cash games, seeing a constant amount of targets and rarely disappointing. St. Brown can also be used in tournaments as a bring-back on a Justin Fields and Cole Kmet stack.
Keenan Allen $7000 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Since his return from a hamstring injury, Keenan Allen has consistently been Justin Herbert's first top option, and in Allen's last four games he has 51 targets, which trails only Justin Jefferson's 58. The Rams have allowed the third-highest catch rate this season at 70.5% and have allowed 11 different receivers to score over 18 PPR points against them.
Usage Suggestions: The Chargers have failed to provide true ceiling outcomes in good matchups lately, which makes this play a little scary for cash games, but Allen is a solid play for tournaments and can be stacked with Justin Herbert with no need to bring back any Rams players.
Chris Godwin $6800 vs. Carolina Panthers
Not much is going right for the Bucs as they limp toward the playoffs, and a win against the Panthers will be essential for their hopes. Over the last six games, Chris Godwin is averaging 18.2 PPR points and 10.1 targets per game. When these two teams met in Week 7, Godwin saw 13 targets, but the Panthers did a relatively good job of keeping him quiet, yet now their secondary is so banged up that they have signed Josh Norman off the streets and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them struggle in pass defense this week.
Usage Suggestions: With Godwin's steady usage he can be used in cash game formats. He is also in play for tournaments, where stacking him with Tom Brady will cost $12,900 altogether, 25.8% of your total salary.
Garrett Wilson $5500 @ Seattle Seahawks
Mike White is back in the Jets lineup and all is right in the world again. It is safe to say that Garrett Wilson might never have to try and catch a ball from Zach Wilson again, and one imagines he's not too upset by that. Wilson needs 57 yards to break 1,000 in his rookie season and become the first Jets player to do so since Eric Decker in 2015. Before last week's weather/QB-affected game, Wilson had averaged 19.6 PPR points over his previous four games.
Usage Suggestions: Wilson is cheap enough that we can consider him for all formats.
Donovan Peoples-Jones $4700 @ Washington Commanders
Week 16 was particularly disappointing for Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had his second single-digit performance since Week 5, managing one catch on five targets. The weather in Cleveland was particularly bleak last weekend, with Browns fans selling their seats for as little as $1 before the game kicked off. It could pay to keep faith with Peoples-Jones, who faces a Commanders defense that ranks 24th against WR2s and has allowed four receivers to score 13 or more PPR points in the last four weeks, which is all we need at this price point.
Usage Suggestions: This game looks ugly and there aren't many attractive stacking options, so I would lean towards playing Peoples-Jones on his own and in either cash games or tournaments.
Curtis Samuel $4400 vs. Cleveland Browns
With Carson Wentz back at quarterback, we can expect to see an uptick in volume for Curtis Samuel who frequently benefited from Wentz dumping off the ball to him earlier this season. Samuel averaged 2.8 receptions per game without Wentz, but in games with him, that jumps to 5.6. Likewise, Samuel's PPR output jumps from 10 points a game to 14 with Wentz.
Usage Suggestions: Samuel can be used as a pivot from the more chalky Robinson and would make good leverage for tournaments.
Greg Dortch $3000 @ Atlanta Falcons
DeAndre Hopkins has been ruled out of this game and Trace McSorely will be back on the bench. David Blough takes the reins who has had limited opportunities of late, but looking back to 2019 when he had a five-game spell as the Lions QB, he targeted slot receiver Danny Amendola 28 times in three of those games. Greg Dortch routinely plays out of the slot, averaging 83% of his snaps there, and at $3000 we don't need him to do an awful lot.
Usage Suggestions: Dortch will be chalky because of the price tag, and if we're playing Dortch it should be to allow us to get up to stud players in the top tiers. Dortch can be correlated with Tyler Allgeier for tournaments.
George Kittle $5900 @ Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are spiraling down the plug hole and likely would prefer to be playing many other opponents than the 49ers this week. After a somewhat up-and-down season, George Kittle has put together back-to-back weeks with his best performances of the year. Kittle has combined for 213 yards and four touchdowns in those games and will likely fancy his chances this weekend.
Usage Suggestions: Kittle is on a hot streak and will attract plenty of rostership. As such, we should be mindful of building around him. Stacking Kittle and Brock Purdy in tournaments makes plenty of sense.
Cole Kmet $4500 @ Detroit Lions
The Bears pass-catchers are depleted, and whilst Cole Kmet hasn't been able to sustain the high ceiling he displayed between Weeks 9 and 10, his 5.9 targets per game since Week 9 are the eighth-most amongst tight ends. The Lions are 26th in DVOA against tight ends and surrender the fifth-most points to the position, allowing eight different tight ends to score touchdowns against them, including two to Kmet when these teams met in Week 10, when Kmet scored 23.4 PPR points.
Usage Suggestions: Kmet makes an obvious stacking partner with Justin Fields and it makes a lot of sense. Kmet can be played in all formats thanks to his friendly-looking matchup.
Hunter Henry $3000 vs. Miami Dolphins
Jonnu Smith is dealing with a concussion that makes his status for Sunday unlikely, which would clear the way for Hunter Henry to be viable for fantasy for a change. In the one game Smith missed this year, Henry saw his targets jump from his average of 2.9 up to five and he scored 9.4 PPR points compared to his average of 5.3. The Dolphins have allowed the second-most top-12 finishes to opposing tight ends and rank 30th in DVOA against the position.
Usage Suggestions: If Jonnu Smith does miss out, then Henry is cheap enough to consider for all formats. If, however, Smith does play, I would use Henry for tournaments only.
As ever, this article will be updated until the games kick off. If you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter or jump into the Football Outsiders Discord to ask them.
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