The Fake Football DFS Optimizer & Cheat Sheet, Week 17 (UPDATED)
December 30, 2017 | Ian Goldsmith
Welcome to our 2017 DFS Lineup Optimizer and Cheat Sheet!
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Note: Like I do every week I write the cheat sheet, I like to get it posted before the picks so that you can play around with the optimizer. Throughout the week, I’ll be posting injury news, picks, and post lineups. Week 17 is especially odd as healthy players sit for a number of reasons, especially those on teams that have already locked up their playoff positions.
PLAYOFF SCENARIO REPORT
The following teams will be sitting players because of locked-up playoff positioning or, like the Steelers, they assume that the only team that could affect them (Patriots) will render them playing many of their starters useless:
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles (Looks like starters may play some snaps, but definitely not the whole game.)
New England Patriots (Regulars are starting, but they will likely beat up on the Jets and may only play a half.)
Confirmed sitting players and their likely replacement for Sunday (I’ll update this as the slate approaches):
Le’Veon Bell (Fitzgerald Toussaint and Stevan Ridley)
Todd Gurley (Malcolm Brown)
Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones)
Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)
Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes)
Tyreek Hill (De’Anthony Thomas)
Other potential resting players (This will be updated):
Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins
Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce
Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Nick Foles
Note: These aren’t official injury tags. These are our best guesses based on news.
DeAndre Hopkins OUT. If you want a cheap streaming defense this week, you could do worse than the Colts. Houston has no offense without Hopkins on the field, and the Colts scored 8 against them in a matchup earlier this season.
Melvin Gordon PLAYING. This is great news for the Chargers. Branden Oliver, however, becomes an also ran this week.
DeMarco Murray OUT. Derrick Henry will start and get a heavy workload in a must-win game for Tennessee.
Vontaze Burfict OUT. The Cincy run defense is not the same without him, which means Alex Collins is a player to target as Baltimore needs to win.
Cole Beasley OUT. Meh.
Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson QUESTIONABLE. If both are out, Adam Humphries gets a bump and is worth a look as a punt play at WR.
Marqise Lee OUT. Jacksonville has said they will not rest starters, so Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are both solid plays. However, I’d personally only use them in tournaments given the Jaguars are locked into the #3 seed.
Matt Forte OUT. Bilal Powell should see all the totes he can handle. The Jets will still likely get blown out here, though.
Charcandrick West OUT. I still haven’t seen confirmation about Kareem Hunt. He’s only 13 yards from the rushing title, so he could play a handful of snaps and then be pulled. Akeem Hunt will likely get the bulk of the carries, though.
Russell Wilson (SEA vs ARI): He’s in a must win game at home. There is no higher upside quarterback this week than the 2017 QB1.
Matt Ryan (ATL vs CAR): Ryan has been a disappointment this year, to say the least. After finishing as the QB2 last year, he’s now the QB15 and has only one 20-point game on DraftKings this season. That happened to come against this week’s opponent, the Panthers. If Atlanta wins, they are in. Expect Ryan and Co. to come out firing and keep Seattle from taking their place.
Matt Stafford (DET vs GB): Stafford regularly dominates the Packers. He has scored 23.9 DK points or more in his past three games against them, and 22.6 in five of his last 8. He has multiple TDs against them in seven of his past eight games. He’ll be overlooked this weekend, making him an excellent tournament target.
Jacoby Brissett (IND vs HOU): Speaking of tournament targets, Brissett is my favorite. While others are paying down for Patrick Mahomes, I’ll be looking Jacoby’s way as his matchup against the Houston Texans is ideal. He dominated them in Week 9 for 23.52 points, a number he could approach again as the Texans are walking dead, giving up 300 passing yards or multiple scores in 11 of their last 13 games. Love this play.
LeSean McCoy (BUF at MIA): McCoy is my top target at RB this week. He dominated Miami once already this season, and Buffalo has a chance at the playoffs if they win and get help. The Bills will be forcing it to their best player all game long. Expect 25+ touches this week. He is a cash game lock and worth using in all formats.
Kenyan Drake (MIA vs BUF): On the other side of the field from McCoy, Drake has an excellent matchup against a Bills team that ranks last in the league against opposing running backs. Drake’s three-solid game streak ended in KC last week, but this week’s matchup is much better, and he should see 20+ touches. Usable in all formats.
Jamaal Williams (GB at DET): With all of the hubub surrounding Derrick Henry this week, I think that Williams will go underowned. He’s had two tough matchups in a row, but this week gets a Detroit team that is 31st against the run and has nothing to play for other than pride. He has 20+ point upside. Coupled with his low price and ownership, I love the opportunity here in tournaments.
CJ Anderson (DEN vs KC): Anderson needs 54 yards to get 1,000 for the first time in his career. He’s playing a KC team that will be resting some starters as they are already locked into the #4 seed. I say Anderson gets his mark and then some, aiming to end the season on a high note and give the Broncos fans something to cheer for in this otherwise dismal season.
Derrick Henry (TEN vs JAX): Everybody’s favorite DFS play this week, Henry finally gets the starting nod with DeMarco Murray out for Week 17. Jacksonville is a tough defense, but they have struggled against the run on occasion. This includes Week 2 when Henry ran for 92 yards and a TD. I don’t love him on Yahoo as his $23 price tag there is a tad high for my liking, but he’s especially attractive on FanDuel at $5,800, less than 10% of salary.
Julio Jones (ATL vs CAR): The top WR on the slate, Jones and Atlanta are in a must-win game against a Carolina defense he scored 20.8 DK points against in Week 9. Expect Matt Ryan to be looking his way very often as Carolina ranks just 29th against opposing WRs.
Keenan Allen (LAC vs OAK): Another player in a must win game, Allen will be busy this week as Rivers tries to get the Chargers into the playoffs. With Melvin Gordon likely not at 100%, expect Allen and Gates to be the busiest of the bunch in a division game against Oakland. Tournament only.
TY Hilton (IND vs HOU): Houston is 28th against opposing WRs. Hilton torched them for 175 yards and 2 scores earlier this season. He comes at a significant discount to guys like Jones and Allen, yet his upside is just as high. He’s been so up-and-down, that his ownership in tournaments will likely be lower than it deserves to be. I love this play. Boom or bust. Avoid at all costs in cash games.
Jamison Crowder (WAS at NYG): The Giants are without their top three defensive backs. They are giving up the most points to opposing quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins is playing for a contract. Expect Crowder to be heavily involved here. In Week 12 he finished with a 7/141/1 line against them. While those numbers may be a stretch, he only needs about half of that to hit value.
Roger Lewis (NYG vs WAS): The Giants are without Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, which means Roger Lewis is WR1 this week. Lewis, amazingly, has the third most targets in the league over the past three weeks, behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Crabtree. The matchup is not idea, but the targets should continue to fly, and Eli will be pumped in what will likely be his last game in a Giants uniform. I don’t even mind him in cash, especially on a site like Yahoo where he is the minimum $10.
Antonio Gates (LAC vs OAK): The old man still has it. With Hunter Henry out last week, he dominated the Jets for a 6/81/1 line. He faces an Oakland team he has destroyed throughout his career, and this could be his last time facing them. In a must win game for LA, how can he not go out on top? Still, remember to diversify in tournaments!
Vance McDonald (PIT vs CLE):
Josh Lambo (JAX vs TEN): The Titans are giving up 10.87 FD points per game to kickers, 0.67 more than the next worst against the position. Jacksonville is playing their starters, so they should have no trouble moving the ball and getting into Lambo’s range. He’s my first choice this week in tournaments.
Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears: Minnesota needs this win to ensure the #2 seed in the playoffs. They play before New Orleans and Carolina, so they will be playing all of their starters not knowing the outcome to those games.
Washington at NY Giants: Washington’s DST has at least 9 points in four of their past five games, including a 13 points effort against the Giants five weeks ago. The Giants are decimated on defense and offense, without Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram.
Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans: Who is Houston going to give the ball to on offense without DeAndre Hopkins? Yeah, I don’t have an answer either. The Colts DST scored 8 against Houston earlier this year, and that could well be there floor Sunday. I’m all in on the Colts in tournaments.