The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 17 FIRST LOOK December 30, 2015  |  Doug Shain



The Huddle – Opening Statement

Wow, Week 17. It really feels like we just started our journey. There are a lot of teams with a lot to play for this week so I’m going to play my lineups like it was any other week. Normally in Week 17 I’m looking for super uber-ultra sleepers, but I don’t see that being the way to go this week. Don’t get too cute. You know who is good, play those guys. If you’re not sure who to play, just keep reading.

One piece of advice before we get to the picks; just because this is the last week of the NFL season doesn’t mean you have to blow your whole bankroll. The best way to be a winning player is to not get crazy with your money. Don’t forget that there is playoff football, NBA, and NHL to tide you over until the 2016 MLB and NFL seasons. If you’ve never played NHL or NBA, go check out our coverage at The Fake Basketball and The Fake Hockey and give it shot. It’s highly addictive and a ton of fun. I’m always around to talk lineups, etc for those sports as well as your playoff NFL lineups on Twitter (@bankster17).

To take a look at a list of “musts” when building my GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. For an explanation of what those plays mean, click here. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Tom Brady – NE Eli Manning – NYG Brandon Weeden – HOU
Drew Brees – NO Matt Ryan – ATL Ryan Mallett – BAL
Cam Newton – CAR Blake Bortles – JAX Sam Bradford – PHI
Ben Roethlisberger – PIT Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ Jay Cutler – CHI
Aaron Rodgers – GB Zach Mettenberger – TEN
Russell Wilson – SEA Alex Smith – KC
Carson Palmer – ARI


– I have two philosophies about QB this week. One philosophy is “don’t get too cute”. The other philosophy is “get really cute.”

– If I’m not getting too cute then my QB’s are going to be Big Ben, Tom Brady and Cam Newton. All three are coming off terrible performances and they all have major incentives to play well this week. My hope is that, with it being Week 17, the general public is going to get way too cute and I can get these three at a low ownership. Even if their ownership is high, I still want the upside that they bring and I’ll find other ways to differentiate my lineups. Sometimes the chalk play is the best play.

– If I’m getting too cute then I’m going to roll out Brandon Weeden this week. The Texans need this game, he looked good last week, and even I could throw on the Jags. You’ll be a nervous wreck all game, but stacking him with DeAndre Hopkins could pay off huge (like it would have last week). Clearly this all changes if Brian Hoyer starts (well, the change would be to play Hoyer…keep an eye out for my weekend update).

– OK, I lied. There are two guys I’d gladly play that are neither too cute or overly cute. Those guys are Eli Manning and Matt Ryan. Both have nothing to play for, but they also have great matchups. I don’t see any reason for these guys to sit and I’m excited to stack both with their top targets (Ryan/Julio; Eli/Beckham). They should be very popular plays this week, but the upside is so high that I don’t care. I’m playing them.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Todd Gurley – STL Doug Martin – TB Alfred Morris – WSH
Adrian Peterson – MIN CJ Anderson – DEN Ameer Abdullah – DET
David Johnson – ARI Frank Gore – IND Bilal Powell – NYJ
DeAngelo Williams – PIT James White – NE Darren McFadden – DAL
Devonta Freeman – ATL Charcandrick West – KC DeMarco Murray – PHI
Tim Hightower – NO Rashad Jennings – NYG
Mike Gillislee – BUF
Danny Woodhead – SD


– RB is kind of back to being gross this week. For the first time in a long time I actually feel comfortable with some of the bigger name RB. DWill, Gurley, and Freeman all have great matchups and will be worth their high prices. I’m going to fade David Johnson because he’ll be highly owned and his matchup is less than ideal.

– If I’m going to pay up for WR (and I’d like to this week) then I need to find some value at RB. The best values are the guys who don’t get a ton of carries but maintain a high floor because of their ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. That means I’m looking squarely at guys like James White, Bilal Powell, and Danny Woodhead for my lineups. I’d rank those three in that order.

– If you want more traditional RBs that are at a lower cost then I’m comfortable with Hightower, McFadden, and Rashad Jennings. Alfred Morris, CJ Anderson, and Frank Gore have limited upside and are boring, but they should also have a low ownership and all three have decent matchups. They’re not guys I’ll be playing because they don’t catch enough passes for my liking. Their scores are going to be valuable if they score, but merely OK if they don’t. I don’t want to rely on a TD for a guy to hit value.

– The most interesting RB this week is DeMarco Murray. He’ll definitely find his way into some of my lineups. With Chip Kelly no longer the coach, Philly may try to get their money’s worth out of Murray this week. His price is so low that he doesn’t need to do much to hit value. I’ll trust his talent and give him a shot here and there.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Allen Robinson – JAX Eric Decker – NYJ Jordan Matthews – PHI
Antonio Brown – PIT Emmanuel Sanders – DEN Dorial Green-Beckham – TEN
DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Randall Cobb – GB Tavon Austin – STL
Calvin Johnson – DET Mike Evans – TB Devin Funchess – CAR
Odell Beckham – NYG DeSean Jackson – WSH Martavis Bryant – PIT
A.J. Green – CIN Golden Tate – DET Rueben Randle – NYG
Amari Cooper – OAK Brandin Cooks – NO Demaryius Thomas – DEN
Julio Jones – ATL Jeremy Maclin – KC John Brown – ARI
Brandon Marshall – NYJ Jarvis Landry – MIA Sammy Watkins – BUF
Larry Fitzgerald – ARI Allen Hurns – JAX
Doug Baldwin – SEA


As usual, WR is the safest position to spend up on this week. Brown, Hopkins, Beckham, Green, Julio, and Marshall all have great matchups and should continue their excellent play. I’m going to do everything I can to get at least two of those guys into my lineup this week.

– If I’m not spending at a premium level at WR then I’m going to take a step down and look at Decker, Sanders, Maclin, and Matthews. Three of them have something to play for and the one who doesn’t (Matthews) will want to end the year on a high note with his coach just fired. The upside isn’t nearly as high as some of the more elite names, but neither is the price.

– As much as I love my high end WRs this week I almost equally love some of the less expensive WRs as well. There’s a ton of upside in plays like DGB, Bryant, Austin, and Randle. They all have good matchups and just need one big score to make them worthwhile. Bryant is particularly interesting to me as he had a terrible game last week, which should keep his ownership down. He won’t do that again this week.

– There are actually some high end guys who should see a lower than usual ownership (Demaryius, Brown, and Watkins). While there is some risk in their matchups, sometimes talent just wins out. Look at what Julio Jones did with the worst possible matchup last weekend. I wouldn’t play any of these guys in my main GPPs, but in secondary lineups it could be beneficial to sprinkle them in there.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Greg Olsen – CAR Travis Kelce – KC Zach Miller – CHI
Rob Gronkowski – NE Ben Watson – NO Vance McDonald – SF
Gary Barnidge – CLE Julius Thomas – JAX Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TB
Jordan Reed – WSH Delanie Walker – TEN Zach Ertz – PHI


– TE is a really wonky position this week. The best player is going to be Gronk, but do you want to spend up to get him? I’m not sure I do. Olsen, Kelce, and Walker should all be solid at a step down in price. I won’t touch Jordan Reed as Washington has nothing to play for.

– Some of my favorite plays are on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Miller, McDonald, and Ertz all have plus matchups and they won’t cost you anything to roster them. Even a game of 4-50 pays off if they can get into the end zone. Look at what Ertz or Kyle Rudloph did last week to get an idea of what the upside of a cheap play can be. Your key is just to find the right cheap play.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Carolina Panthers New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers
Kansas City Chiefs Cincinnati Bengals San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals New England Patriots Washington
Denver Broncos Houston Texans


– The chalk play this week is the Broncos against SD, and I’m not opposed with rolling them out in a GPP. Carolina should bounce back nicely this week as well against Tampa. I’m not so sure I’m interested in playing ARI or KC this week though.

– One of my favorite plays is the New England Patriots. They aren’t really known for their defense this year, but they are opportunistic and Miami is a mess. NE needs this game for home field advantage and Belichick is going to go all out. Houston has a ton to play for and plays well at home, but has a tougher-than-you-think matchup against the Jags. Jacksonville should put up some points, but they’ll also turn the ball over. I’m wavering back and forth right now on the Texans.

– My favorite under-the-radar play this week is the 49ers. STL’s offense is so bad and mistake prone. Even if they put up some points — and I think Gurley and Austin will — you can’t expect Case Keenum to keep a clean sheet. I expect enough sacks and turnovers to make SF’s meager price a good value.

Make sure to check back on Saturday for my WEEKEND UPDATE.

Check out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the DraftKings section, but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites.

Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

2 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Doug,

    Love your posts each week and wanted to hear your thoughts on a few more HuLo RB’s and I am considering for my lineups. Any thoughts on the following guys?

    Artis-Payne? Fozzy looks to be out so he should see more work.

    Langford? With Forte hurting, his contract up. and the bears playing for nothing, would they give Langford added work to see what they have in him?

    Crowell? I think the Steelers will crush them but he catches the ball and could be checked into for several receptions.

    Again, just wanted to hear your thoughts.

    – Dan

    • Doug Shain says:

      Hey Dan,

      Thanks for reading. Let’s see what we’ve got here:

      Artis-Payne: I don’t love him this week. Cam and Tolbert are going to vulture anything by the goal line. I don’t see him getting enough work to pay off value w/o a TD and that TD is very unsure. I’d rather use a a Bilal Powell, Theo Riddick, or James White.

      Langford: Just be aware that the Bears used KaDeem Carey at the goal line last week and might just do so again this week. If Langford is in their future plans, and I think the Bears want him as their featured back next year, then they might limit his workload. Tread lightly here.

      Crowell: I don’t trust any Brown. I know he’s played really well lately but the Browns are going to lay down in this one. I’d rather use Rashad Jennings or DeMarco Murray.

      I hope it all works out for you. Let me know how well you did. Best of luck!

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