The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 17 FIRST LOOK December 27, 2016  |  Doug Shain

The Huddle – Opening Statement

Welcome to the FIRST LOOK at the GPP plays for NFL Week 17. If you want to know more about my article and what it’s all about, please click here.

Seeing as this is the last Hail Mary of the year (besides the WEEKEND UPDATE), I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has taken the time to come to The Fake Football and read this article all season. I hope that you have enjoyed and profited from the advice you’ve received here. I’ve had a blast all season interacting with everyone on Twitter. If you wish to keep reading my content, I’m over at The Fake Hockey three days a week with various NHL articles (you should really try it, NHL is a lot of fun) and at some point I’ll be popping out a few (more than a few?) MFL10 articles during the off season (if you aren’t doing MFL10 leagues, you’re REALLY missing out).  Don’t forget that I’ll be very active on Twitter as well, so make sure to drop me a line anytime.

OK, Week 17, you devilish fiend. What a wild and wacky week we have ahead of us. With so few teams having anything to play for, it can be very difficult to figure out just who is going to be motivated to play well this weekend. Clearly we should be OK use all Packers, Lions, and Redskins as their fates are far from determined. Miami, KC, Oakland, Seattle, ATL and NE have a little to play for (for seeding purposes) so they should be alright for the most part as well. Teams that are completely out of the playoffs are a total crapshoot as it pertains to motivation. We are going to have to keep a real close eye on reports coming out of their practices to see who is going to play; Buffalo has already named EJ Manuel the starting QB, and TB has stated that Doug Martin will be inactive. And then we have the playoff teams with literally nothing to play for: Dallas, Pittsburgh, Houston, and the Giants. I won’t touch any of their normal starters (bye bye Ben, Antonio, LeVeon, OBJ, Zeke, Dak, Dez, Eli, and the rest), but that doesn’t mean that these teams are totally off limits. As a matter of fact, there are a few players from those teams that intrigue me greatly this weekend that I will definitely have on my radar (more on that below).  I’m going to be making some picks today that might look funky, but they are based on who I think will end up starting (Romo, Landry Jones, Paxton Lynch). If we get definitive word opposing that by this weekend, that will be reflected in the Weekend Update. With no Thursday or Saturday games to worry about, we’ve got a ton of time. Lock in your tournaments and be prepared to get very flexible.

With all this uncertainty, don’t get silly with your bankroll. You’ve made it this far and there are plenty of other ways to get that DFS fix (NFL playoffs, NBA, NHL). Keep an eye out at the Fake Sports sites as we will have a ton of content to help guide you through those games (seriously, try NHL). Best of luck this weekend!




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Andrew Luck (IND) vs JAXBlake Bortles (JAX) @ INDJameis Winston (TB) vs CAR
Tom Brady (NE) @ MIACarson Wentz (PHI) vs DALMatt Barkley (CHI) @ MIN
Sam Bradford (MIN) vs CHIAlex Smith (KC) @ SDRyan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) vs BUF
Tony Romo (DAL) @ PHIPhilip Rivers (SD) vs KCPaxton Lynch (DEN) vs OAK
Drew Brees (NO) @ ATLLandry Jones (PIT) vs CLEEJ Manuel (BUF) @ NYJ
Matt Ryan (ATL) vs NOMatt Moore (MIA) vs NE
Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs NYG
Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ DET
Matthew Stafford (DET) vs GB


– Aaron Rodgers should be far and away the highest owned QB this weekend. Heck, even if every other QB was playing for something I’d still want ARod with the way he’s playing. Dallas just lit up the Lions and Rodgers is playing on another level. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 350 yard, 4 TD game from him. I’m more than willing to deal with the high ownership for those kinds of numbers. If you want to get a little creative you can always switch over to Matthew Stafford. He has just as much to play for in this game, and we saw what a QB can do against the Packers the last few weeks. This is going to be a shootout and either side is pretty desirable. I also think that NO/ATL will be a high scoring affair, and I want both sides of that QB matchup as well. As with the DET/GB game, I think both guys will be very highly owned. Kirk Cousins should have his usual great game at home with his season on the line. I think he might be the lowest owned of the big 5 QB this weekend (no, I don’t think Tom Brady is going to be one of the big 5 QB; NE is going to play it safe). If Tony Romo gets the start for Dallas, he’s really intriguing as he’ll essentially be auditioning for a job for 2017. Sam Bradford has been winging it lately, and I think CHI/MIN could be a sneaky shootout.

– Blake Bortles looked like he had something to prove in Week 16; I think that carries over to Week 17. I really like the Jags’ offense in this game. Landry Jones could have one of those Matt Flynn Week 17 crazy games against a terrible Browns defense. I don’t think the philosophy is going to change in Pittsburgh, just some of the names. Alex Smith is much better than you realize, and KC is going to go all out to win this game and lock down the #2 seed in the AFC. With Kelce playing so well, it’ll be hard for Smith to not have a decent game.

– Despite all his interceptions, Matt Barkley has been putting up Blake Bortles 2015 type numbers. He’s the new king of garbage time, and I actually think he is the starter in Chicago next year. I’ve already stated my sneaky love for this game, and I’m not about to jump off the Barkley train quite yet. If Paxton Lynch gets the start for the Broncos, I think Kubiak is going to let him air it out to see what he can do. I don’t see them playing it safe in that one. Against the Raiders, that could mean a pretty big week. Matt Moore and the Dolphins should be very motivated to get the #5 seed and a trip to Houston instead of staying the #6 seed and going to Pittsburgh.



Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Alfred Blue (HOU) @ TENDerrick Henry (TEN) vs HOURex Burkhead (CIN) vs BAL
Jordan Howard (CHI) @ MINRyan Mathews (PHI) vs DALKenyon Drake (MIA) vs NE
Jay Ajayi (MIA) vs NEDevonta Freeman (ATL) vs NOMike Gillislee (BUF) @ NYJ
LeSean McCoy (BUF) @ NYJRobert Kelley (WSH) vs NYGMack Brown (WSH) vs NYG
Bilal Powell (NYJ) vs BUFDeAndre Washington (OAK) @ DENKenjon Barner (PHI) vs DAL
Darren McFadden (DAL) @ PHIAlex Collins (SEA) @ SFTevin Coleman (ATL) vs NO
Isaiah Crowell (CLE) @ PITZach Zenner (DET) vs GBPaul Perkins (NYG) @ WSH
Mark Ingram (NO) @ ATLTodd Gurley (LA) vs ARI
David Johnson (ARI) @ LACharcandrick West (KC) @ SD
Latavius Murray (OAK) @ DENRonnie Hillman (SD) vs KC
Ty Montgomery (GB) @ DET

– I don’t want to have to start an RB this weekend. There’s literally nothing to like at this point. I mean, we get Bilal Powell against the Bills, but he’s gotten pretty expensive. David Johnson is always in play, but at 20 TD’s on the season, Bruce Arians might just rest him up and not risk 2017. Buffalo could do the same with Shady McCoy, while Miami is going to want to save Ajayi for the playoffs. Dallas and PIT are not playing their studs. This does leave an opening for Darren McFadden, and I do like him this weekend. The Cowboys should be pretty vanilla though, and if Alf Morris starts to get carries, you’re kind of screwed. Two other potentially highly owned players I do see value in are Crowell (way better than you realize) and Ingram (ATL can’t stop anyone from running on them).

– Are the Titans going to risk injuring an already overworked DeMarco Murray? I don’t think so. This makes Derrick Henry one of my top RB plays this weekend (unless I hear that his workload will be reduced as well). Alex Collins should get carries for the Seahawks with Thomas Rawls injured once again. He gets the 49ers, which is the single best matchup he can have and only one that Todd Gurley could mess up (what a wasted season that was!). If Theo Riddick is out again for DET I see no reason why they wouldn’t give a heavy workload to Zenner. He looked great on Monday night.

– Jeremy Hill shouldn’t play, so Rex Burkhead will get a lot of snaps. I don’t know if that means you want him, but volume does count for something. Kelley, Ware, McCoy, and Ajayi should all be treated with caution by their coaches. That gives value to Mack Brown, Charcandrick West, Mike Gillislee, and Kenyon Drake. Of those, I think I like West and Drake the most, though I’m not sure how much I like any of them. I do kind of like Paul Perkins. He’s emerging as the Giants’ lead back and they might want to get him a little more work before the playoffs. Todd Gurely? Hey, why not, right?




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Mike Evans (TB) vs CARMalcolm Mitchell (NE) @ MIAPhilip Dorsett (IND) vs JAX
Allen Robinson (JAX) @ INDAlshon Jeffery (CHI) @ MINChris Hogan (NE) @ MIA
TY Hilton (IND) vs JAXStefon Diggs (MIN) vs CHISteve Smith Sr (BAL) @ CIN
Julian Edelman (NE) @ MIAMichael Thomas (NO) @ ATLKenny Stills (MIA) vs NE
Cam Meredith (CHI) @ MINEmmauel Sanders (DEN) vs OAKBrandon Marshall (NYJ) vs BUF
Adam Theilen (MIN) vs CHISammy Watkins (BUF) @ NYJTaylor Gabriel (ATL) vs NO
Julio Jones (ATL) vs NOJordan Taylor (DEN) vs OAK
Brandin Cooks (NO) @ ATLTavon Austin (LA) vs ARI
DeSean Jackson (WSH) vs NYGMarvin Jones (DET) vs GB
JJ Nelson (ARI) @ LATravis Benjamin (SD) vs KC
Tyreek Hill (KC) @ SD
Tyrell Williams (SD) vs KC
Jordy Nelson (GB) @ DET
Golden Tate (DET) vs GB
Davante Adams (GB) @ DET

– Of course you’re going to want all the DET, GB, ATL, and NO pass catchers you can get your hands on. Doug Baldwin, Cam Meredith, Adam Thielen, Tyreek Hill, and Allen Robinson also hold a special place in my heart this weekend. All should be given opportunities aplenty to put up numbers similar to last weekend. Hill is the most exciting but also the most volatile of all those plays. Robinson is a little risky. Thielen and Meredith are really exciting plays in what could be a sneaky shootout (stop me if you heard that one already).

– If Sammy Watkins plays, I expect a really big week against a bad Jets secondary. EJ Manuel is going to want to put on a show, and his best playmaker is Watkins. Jeffery is playing for a contract and should have another solid game. Emmanuel Sanders is going to want to rebound after a really poor Christmas Day game. Jermaine Kearse should get all the Tyler Lockett targets in a game that matters for the Seahawks.

– I don’t see Moncrief playing this weekend, and Dorsett is a nice boom or bust downfield option. This is exactly the type of situation where he could have himself a big game that nobody (but us) saw coming. Chris Hogan is the NE version of Dorsett; big play or nothing. Kenny Stills is that guy for MIA. Tavon Austin is the big play guy on LA (and you know how much I love my #2 WR against Cardinals; worked again last weekend with Kearse after Lockett got hurt). If Steve Smith intends on retiring after this week, then he could want to put on a show. Jordan Taylor is an interesting guy for DEN, and he’s been getting some run lately. Could we see a potential Lynch/Taylor show this weekend? Not likely, but it’s Tuesday so I’m not ruling it out yet. Travis Benjamin is a part of the SD offense once again after being shut down for a number of weeks. He could get another long one this weekend. It’s about time Marvin Jones did something for DET after being so bad for the last two months.




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Martellus Bennett (NE) @ MIAKyle Rudolph (MIN) vs CHIJesse James (PIT) vs CLE
Charles Clay (BUF) @ NYJJared Cook (GB) @ DETZach Ertz (PHI) vs DAL
Travis Kelce (KC) @ SDAntonio Gates (SD) vs KCRyan Griffin (HOU) @ TEN
Eric Ebron (DET) vs GBDelanie Walker (TEN) vs HOU

– It’s pretty much Kelce or bust this weekend, no? He’s been on a tear and his team has something to play for. SD is bad defensively anyways, so I’d be looking at Kelce either way. I can definitely see another 8 catch, 100 yard game this weekend. Why even risk it with someone else? If you were going to get a little riskier, I do like Charles Clay. He has 4 TD over his last three weeks and should have a nice game against the garbage that is the Jets’ defense. I can also make a case for Eric Ebron as his team needs this win and he’s an integral part of the Lions’ offense.

– Would it shock anyone if this week was the last game of Antonio Gates’ career? I know he’s played at a high level most of the season, but he’s getting up there in age and Hunter Henry is ready to take over. At the very least, this could very easily be his last game as a Charger. If that’s the case, then Rivers is going to want to send his buddy out in style. KC is a little weak in the middle of their defense, especially if Justin Houston is out once again. I can dig Gates this weekend. I see MIN/CHI being sort of a shootout and Rudolph is a red zone favorite of Bradford. Delanie might be the only pass catcher that Matt Cassel can reach with his noodle arm. He’s a big target that should see a lot of passes come his way.

– There’s no way the Steelers are going to use Ladarius Green in a meaningless game. Quite honestly, I don’t see why they’d use Jesse James either. They should give a large amount of targets to Grimble to see what he can do over the course of a full game. He’s been impressive in spurts this year and is facing the Browns, the worst defense against TEs in the NFL. I love this play.  Ryan Griffin should get a ton of work if the Texans decide to sit CJ Fiedorowicz in this meaningless game.




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Baltimore Ravens @ CINTennessee Titans vs HOUTampa Bay Buccaneers vs CAR
Cincinnati Bengals vs BALBuffalo Bills @ NYJPittsburgh Steelers vs CLE
Houston Texans @ TENDenver Broncos vs OAKNew York Jets vs BUF
Seattle Seahawks @ SFWashington Redskins vs NYG


– Is there really any reason for the Ravens or Bengals to even try on offense this week? Just get through the game with no injuries and prepare for 2017, right? That makes both defenses even more appealing than usual. Houston has nothing to really play for but it’s going to be hard to not use them against Matt Cassel. Seattle actually has something to play for. They should be the best defense of the week.

– If Houston rests players then the Titans are appealing because they rush the QB hard. I could see a low scoring game with lots of sacks. DEN looked lost last weekend, but they looked like that the last time they played KC and were fine afterwards. They have nothing to play for, but I bet they’d love to cost the Raiders a division title. Sometimes you just take the most talented crew, and that’s what Denver is.

– Even if Carolina had something to play for, I might recommend TB against Cam Newton with the way he’s playing. Who knows if he’ll even suit up this weekend. The Redskins going up against a Giants’ team that doesn’t care at all about this game feels like a winner. Washington played well last weekend, they’re excellent at home, and they have everything to play for. They are my top value defense for the week and probably second overall to Seattle.

Best of luck this week! I hope you all kick some butt and make a ton of money. Make sure to check out all the great content at The Fake Football including the Cheat Sheets.You’ll find a ton of analysis, and data. It’s well worth the cost of subscription.

Your feedback is always welcome.  You can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments.  I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.



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