The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 17 WEEKEND UPDATE December 30, 2016  |  Doug Shain

The Huddle – Opening Statement

Welcome to the WEEKEND UPATE for NFL Week 17. If you want to know more about my article and what it’s all about, please click here.

There isn’t a Thursday slate to gather information from, so I’m going to do my best to get these lists where they need to be based on what I’ve been reading and hearing all week.

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
Drew Brees (NO) @ ATLBlake Bortles (JAX) @ INDSam Bradford (MIN) vs CHI
Matt Ryan (ATL) vs NOCarson Palmer (ARI) @ LAMatt Barkley (CHI) @ MIN
Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs NYGAlex Smith (KC) @ SDAndrew Luck (IND) vs JAX
Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ DETPhilip Rivers (SD) vs KCJameis Winston (TB) vs CAR
Matthew Stafford (DET) vs GBTom Brady (NE) @ MIACam Newton (CAR) @ TB
Russell Wilson (SEA) @ SF

– There are a shockingly large number of QBs I actually can get behind this weekend, but I’m going to really try to limit myself to only a few. I’m going to be fading the NO/ATL game in the hopes that everyone plays it and it ends up disappointing. Even if the game hits 45 total points, that’s still 20% under its projection. That’s a huge win if that happens and you’ve faded that game. Instead I’m going to focus on the GB/DET game (like a lot of other people will). I think that game has a lot better chance of being high scoring, and I want in! Normally I’d look at Stafford as the play here since he’ll be lower owned than Rodgers, but I just can’t get it out of my head that ARod is going to be the top QB play, by far, this weekend. I don’t want to miss the boat on that one. I’ll differentiate my lineup elsewhere if I have to in order to get Rodgers on my squad. That’s not to say I won’t have some Stafford this weekend, but it’s not a 50/50 split, it’s more like an 80/20 split in favor of Rodgers. Another QB that I love this weekend is Kirk Cousins. I’ll gladly take a 400 yard type of guy with something to play for against a team that has nothing to play for. That’s exactly what we have here, and I actually can see Cousins being much lower owned that originally expected with the high totals in GB/DET and ATL/NO as well as the love that guys like Brady, Rivers, and Luck are going to see. I’ll be fading all three, but not using Brady this weekend is making me nervous. You’ve got to take a stand somewhere and I guess that’s where mine is.

– I’m very intrigued by the prospects of a big game for Blake Bortles. For some reason he crushes the Colts; with a new coaching regime ahead, I think he’s going to be out for blood this weekend. He needs to make a good impression heading into the off season after playing so poorly for most of the year. He could be a sneaky Top 5 guy when all is said and done this weekend. Alex Smith lacks the upside of most of the QBs on this list, but he’s really cheap, has a great matchup, has something to play for, and has playmakers at WR and TE. If you wanted to really load up elsewhere, Smith is a guy you can grab at QB and not worry about getting zonked at the position.

– My sneaky good game of the week is MIN/CHI. Neither defense has looked really good of late and both QBs are playing pretty well. Forget the 8 INT that Barkley has thrown over the last two games and instead focus on the 320+ yards and 2 TD per game. Cam Meredith is going to tear things up from the slot, and Jordan Howard is a great receiver out of the backfield. I love the idea of going super cheap with Barkley and loading up my other positions (if I’m looking for someone more risky than an Alex Smith type). Sam Bradford is a little too vanilla for me, but if you like this game in the same way I do, I think he’s also a lot safer than Barkley. I won’t touch the TB/CAR game.

My guys: Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith, Matt Barkley




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
DeAngelo Williams (PIT) vs CLEDerrick Henry (TEN) vs HOURex Burkhead (CIN) vs BAL
Jordan Howard (CHI) @ MINJacquizz Rodgers (TB) vs CARKenyon Drake (MIA) vs NE
Darren Sproles (PHI) vs DALZach Zenner (DET) vs GBDeAndre Washington (OAK) @ DEN
LeSean McCoy (BUF) @ NYJRobert Kelley (WSH) vs NYGDarren McFadden (DAL) @ PHI
Devonta Freeman (ATL) vs NOFitzgerald Toussaint (PIT) vs CLETevin Coleman (ATL) vs NO
Mark Ingram (NO) @ ATLTy Montgomery (GB) @ DETRonnie Hillman (SD) vs KC
David Johnson (ARI) @ LAIsaiah Crowell (CLE) @ PITAlex Collins (SEA) @ SF
Latavius Murray (OAK) @ DENKenneth Dixon (BAL) @ CINBrandon Wilds (NYJ) vs BUF
Thomas Rawls (SEA) @ SF

– RB is so ugly this weekend. There are really only a couple of guys I want, and I’m going to try very hard to stick to those guys. Leading the way for me at RB are Mark Ingram and David Johnson. Ingram is only 60 yards away from 1,000 for the season and his offensive line has already made it well known that they are aware of this fact. There’s no way he doesn’t get those 60 yards (barring injury) and probably a lot more against a poor Falcons’ run defense. David Johnson has nothing to play for, but he also has no reason to sit in this game. If I get any inclination that he’s not going to get a full workload I’m going to pull him because he’s just too pricey to only get half a game from. If he does play the full game, he’s a lock for 100 scrimmage yards (that’s something to play for!) and at least 1 TD. With what we have at RB this weekend, that might be more than enough to pay up for. Darren Sproles is going to get all the work he can handle for Philly, and that volume, at that price, can’t be ignored against a Dallas team that Spoles already hit for 100 total yards this year. Latavius Murray should get plenty of run against the Broncos in a game that Oakland really needs (no, I’m not worried about DeAndre Washington and his plethora of 22 yard TD runs). DeAngelo Williams is a must play for me if I can be sure he’s going to see 15+ carries. As of right now I don’t know that, but we should know more as we approach kickoff. Jordan Howard is a mini-David Johnson and is always in play.

– Why wouldn’t the Titans give Derrick Henry 20 touches this weekend to see what he can do? If I get word that this will be the case, he’ll be near the top of my RB plays. For right now, he’s borderline. Zach Zenner is a lock for playing time with Theo Riddick out, and he’s in a game that matters a lot. He’s near min-price and makes for a great punt play. I love Isaiah Crowell this weekend. He’s been inconsistent all year, but when he gets the carries, he seems to do a lot with them. PIT won’t play anyone important so Crowell should be able to have a big game. He’s only 200 yards away from 1,000 on the year.  Would CLE be motivated to get him to that number if he pops off for a big first quarter? What else do they have to play for, right?

– HuLo is littered with IF’s this weekend. IF Bilal Powell is out, then Brandon Wilds is interesting against a bad Bills’ rush defense. IF Thomas Rawls is limited, then Alex Collins is a must play against one of the worst rush defenses of all time. IF Jay Ajayi is limited or the Patriots get a big lead, then Kenyon Drake is a good play. The coaching staff loves his work ethic and have already said he’s in line for more work. IF we believe them, then he’s a solid punt at the position. IF Spencer Ware is limited, then Charcandrick West has a great matchup in front of him in a game that matters a lot. IF Cincy cares about their game, then Rex Burkhead could see a lot of meaningful work. IF Dallas thinks Darren McFadden needs more reps before the playoffs (and if he’s not kept out with illness), then he’s a top RB play this weekend. But…IF they don’t want him to get hurt, then it could be Alf Morris who gets the carries. IF you have the stones to play any of these guys without further information, then you’re a better man than I.

My guys: Mark Ingram, David Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, Latavius Murray, Isaiah Crowell, Darren Sproles, Jordan Howard, Zach Zenner, Alex Collins (IF Rawls is limited or out)




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Mike Evans (TB) vs CARChris Hogan (NE) @ MIAPhilip Dorsett (IND) vs JAX
TY Hilton (IND) vs JAXAlshon Jeffery (CHI) @ MINKenny Stills (MIA) vs NE
Julian Edelman (NE) @ MIAMichael Thomas (NO) @ ATLTerrelle Pryor (CLE) @ PIT
Cam Meredith (CHI) @ MINEmmauel Sanders (DEN) vs OAKTravis Benjamin (SD) vs KC
Adam Theilen (MIN) vs CHISammy Watkins (BUF) @ NYJJordan Taylor (DEN) vs OAK
Julio Jones (ATL) vs NOJermaine Kearse (SEA) @ SFTavon Austin (LA) vs ARI
Brandin Cooks (NO) @ ATLTyrell Williams (SD) vs KCMarvin Jones (DET) vs GB
DeSean Jackson (WSH) vs NYGLarry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ LA
JJ Nelson (ARI) @ LADavante Adams (GB) @ DET
Tyreek Hill (KC) @ SDAllen Robinson (JAX) @ IND
Jordy Nelson (GB) @ DET
Golden Tate (DET) vs GB
Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ SF
Steve Smith Sr (BAL) @ CIN

– There is all too much to like at WR this weekend. I know that all 14 guys I have listed as public plays can’t be the chalk, but I am completely unable to talk myself off of any of them as a potentially top 5 most widely owned player. If I were to try to narrow it down the five guys that I think will see the highest ownership I’m going to take a stab and say Jordy Nelson, Steve Smith, Golden Tate, J.J. Nelson, and Tyreek Hill. Jordy and Tate because they will be involved in a shootout for the division, Steve Smith because he’s going to blow up in his last game ever, and Nelson and Hill because of their big play ability at a low price. I’m not in love with Hill and J.J. Nelson but I can see the argument to play them. They won’t be on my teams. I think that no Saints WR is particularly safe, but with a game total of 56.5, they have to be in the discussion. The guy I want most from that game is Michael Thomas, but I’m fading it altogether and hoping for a lower than expected score (which means little to no Julio for me as well). My hidden gem Game of the Week (as I mentioned above) is MIN/CHI. Of all the games that nobody is talking about, this is the one I want to target. I love Cam Meredith in the slot against a MIN team that is getting murdered from the slot. Adam Thielen is very enticing, but if Stefon Diggs doesn’t end up playing that will hurt him a lot. I also really like the idea of using DeSean Jackson against a Giants’ team that has nothing to play for. DJax is one of the hottest WRs in the NFL right now, and he torches NY regularly. The only thing holding me back from going Full Doug Baldwin is that Russell Wilson on the road, even against SF, scares the bejeezus out of me.

– I’m warming up to the idea of a Chris Hogan revenge game against the Dolphins. They are susceptible to the downfield pass and nobody on the Patriots does it better. He’s not going to be a PPR warrior, but he could definitely get deep for a few passes and give you a 4-110-1 type of game. With everyone hot on J.J. Nelson for the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald could get overlooked in a good matchup. Sammy Watkins is on the border of “my guys”, but I’m leaning away from him because of how fragile he is. There is really no incentive for the Bills to use him. If he does go though, he could be in line for a very big performance. I love the idea of an Allen Robinson/Blake Bortles stack this weekend. I won’t use one without the other, but I’ve got to have one lineup with the kings of garbage time.  I’d personally rather use Cam Meredith in the slot over Alshon Jeffery on the perimeter with the way the Vikings defend WRs.

– Wouldn’t it be the most Marvin Jones thing if he was the best player in the DET/GB game? He lit up the Packers earlier this year (8-205-2) and Anquan Boldin might be limited this week. It’s not totally far-fetched to think that he could have some value at his price point. Something about Jordan Taylor is just sticking with me, and if I needed a punt WR to fit in a lineup of guys like David Johnson, Jordy Nelson, Julio Jones, and Travis Kelce, then I’d have no problem throwing Taylor in there and seeing what happens. He’s slowly getting move involved in that offense and should get plenty of snaps this weekend. There are rumors that the Cleveland coaching staff wants to get Terrelle Pryor to 1000 yards receiving this year. He’s 87 yards away. That’s something, right?

My guys: Jordy Nelson, Cam Meredith, Doug Baldwin, Adam Thielen, Steve Smith, Allen Robinson, Michael Thomas, Golden Tate, DeSean Jackson, Chris Hogan, Jordan Taylor




Public PlaysExpert PlaysHuLo Plays
Martellus Bennett (NE) @ MIAKyle Rudolph (MIN) vs CHIXavier Grimble (PIT) vs CLE
Charles Clay (BUF) @ NYJJared Cook (GB) @ DETZach Ertz (PHI) vs DAL
Travis Kelce (KC) @ SDEric Ebron (DET) vs GBRyan Griffin (HOU) @ TEN
Antonio Gates (SD) vs KCDelanie 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 anyway, 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 Jets’ garbage defense. 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. There is a strong argument I could make to have Gates as your TE and Kelce as your flex, as chalky as that may be. There’s a lot of value to be had there.

– 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 and should see a lot of passes come his way. 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.

– 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 he’s 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 C.J. Fiedorowicz in this meaningless game.

My guys: Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates, Charles Clay, Xavier Grimble (but really, it’s pretty much just Kelce)




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.

My guys: Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens


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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