Week 17 NFL DFS Starting Points: Vegas Lines
You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with as well as some less obvious targets. DK=DraftKings, FD=FanDuel.
The high scoring games:
Atlanta at Tampa Bay, Total 51.5
Nothing to play for but fantasy points, but there should be plenty. Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston both get top five QB matchups. Ryan has overcome a bad midseason slump to finish the last three games strong, but his (FD) salary reflects that; he’s still a great value on DraftKings this week. Winston should bounce back as well, as his depressed salary reflects back-to-back difficult matchups vs. Baltimore and Dallas in which he struggled. Mike Evans and Adam Humphries are dominating target share in Tampa, and this three-man stack could be very interesting in tournaments this weekend. Jacquizz Rodgers caught all seven of his targets in Week 16 while also rushing for a touchdown. Pass-catching backs vs. the Falcons are always interesting, and you can bet we’ll see him and his low salary in the bargain bin this week.
Week 16 was a disappointing one for Julio Jones and Austin Hooper, though Jones, like Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, caught a touchdown at least. It’s a prime spot for all three receivers, and worth noting that least expensive Sanu is the leading target-getter over the past two weeks. I warned about Tevin Coleman last week, as the Falcons always seem to be able to take away his rightful workload with someone. Last week it was Brian Hill who made off with 150 rushing yards. This backfield can’t be trusted. Period. A solo Ryan and/or some exposure to Sanu (DK) or Ridley (FD) is a nice way to play the Falcons this week.
San Francisco at LA Rams, Total 50
The Rams are playing for seeding (a win nets them No. 2 in the NFC) and lucky for them, they get another matchup they are expected to win easily. The status of Todd Gurley is definitely up in the air, but my guess is that if he is active, it’s for maintenance and conditioning reasons, e.g. they want to keep him in game shape for the playoffs without wearing him down or risking further injury. Therefore, I wouldn’t trust him this week.
San Francisco has been a team you can throw on, offering the 10th most fantasy points to QBs and sixth-most to wide receivers. Jared Goff and Robert Woods should be considered in all formats, and Brandin Cooks or Josh Reynolds are the tournament plays.
The 49ers are plugging along, with no one, including George Kittle, catching my eye. That’s largely because I’m committed to Travis Kelce at TE this weekend. Kendrick Bourne should see the most targets among SF wide receivers with Dante Pettis out and Marquise Goodwin questionable, but Kittle is still the heavy favorite in this pass offense (20 targets the past two weeks, though with little to show for it). Matt Breida is ruled out, giving Jeff Wilson Jr. another opportunity, and the Rams aren’t exactly a horrible run matchup, allowing 122 rushing yards per game. He’s not a player I’m scrambling to roster since I don’t think the 49ers are going to score a lot here, but if you’re desperate in his range the volume should be decent. Overall,Iwon’t be rostering anyone from San Francisco with 15 games to choose from this week.
The low scoring games:
Miami at Buffalo, Total 38.5
Josh Allen had his breakout game vs. Miami, exposing their notoriously weak run defense for 135 rushing yards and over 30 fantasy points. Is a repeat in the works? Perhaps; not much has changed here but neither team has anything to play for anymore. The issue with Allen is his inaccuracy; he’s completing less than or equal to 50 percent of his passes in the last three games. Plus, he’s only totaled 46 rushing yards in the past two games combined. Again, with 30 teams on this slate, it’s hard to justify Allen in the lowest scoring of them. That goes for the rest of the Bills’ offense too, but their D/ST has some upside at a bargain salary.
Jacksonville at Houston, Total 40.5
Who knows what we’ll see from Jacksonville this weekend, but it’s probably Blake Bortles to start the final game of the season. That makes the best play of this game the Texans’ D/ST, but Deshaun Watson could also be considered. Coming off a great game and needing a win to take the division, Watson and DeAndre Hopkins should be unstoppable again. DeAndre Carter has come on a little bit and that role could expand slightly with Demaryius Thomas’s season-ending injury, but not so much to trust. him D’Onta Foreman caught a touchdown in his Week 16 debut, and is the Houston running back to use, if any. Despite their general fall from fantasy dominance, the Jaguars are still a formidable matchup for opposing running backs and wide receivers (bottom five in fantasy points to both), so on offense, a solo Watson or Hopkins is a fine way to go.
High team totals you might miss:
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, Total 45.5
Pittsburgh has a real shot to miss the playoffs if they mess this up. Fortunately for them, the Bengals don’t really play defense. They are the league-best fantasy matchup for quarterbacks and running backs, top four for TEs, and 10th-best for wide receivers. Everyone is in play here at home. Coming off a rough loss in New Orleans and a weak performance over the Patriots, I don’t think the Steelers are likely to go soft on a division rival, so I’m not scared of this huge spread. This is a great way to spend up – on Big Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Jaylen Samuels (if James Conner remains out). Even the Steelers D/ST is an option given the home field and low Bengals team total.
New York Jets at New England, Total 45.5
Even in a game with this team total, I’m reluctant to trust Tom Brady. Julian Edelman is the player to own in New England. Rex Burkhead hasn’t really cut into Sony Michel’s value, although Burkhead did see an expanded role in Week 16 (13 carries and five targets) vs. the Bills. The run game is working and the Jets are a fine matchup, allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game but as you know well, the Patriots backfield can be a minefield. I’m much more inclined to roll with Damien Williams, Jamal Williams or Chris Carson than Michel, Burkhead or even James White this week. Add the Pats to the growing list of viable D/ST this weekend as they toughen up for the playoffs.