Week 17 DraftKings Breakdown
By: Nick Zylak
A Quick Intro
Week 17 is unlike any other week. This entire season we have pushed paying up for RB and trying to find some mid range and cheap WR’s and TE’s. That’s not what you do in week 17. This week there are massive question marks at the high end for RB’s…and you have plenty of salary to get up to the stud TE’s. CMC is going to see a limited workload in a brutal matchup, Zeke is unlikely to play many snaps, Gurley is out, Gordon will be limited, Kamara won’t play many snaps (will get his TD though), Lindsey is out, Barkley may see his volume reduced, and Conner is returning from an injury. The highest I’d feel comfortable going this week is with Barkley if you feel good about his snaps (I’m skeptical they give him full run). The next highest is Conner (I’m skeptical they give him passing down work). Next you’re looking at Carson, but they don’t really need to win…and he isn’t going to be involved in the passing game. We quickly enter the mid range, where there are more question marks. Because of this, and the value and question marks at the WR position, you should only be playing the two QB’s I’ve listed, and should stick to just the three high priced TE’s. You will have the salary. Also yes, you can play a TE in the FLEX this week. You don’t need to, but you absolutely can.
Patrick Mahomes - $7,100
The Chiefs may be in the playoffs…but they for sure want to win this week. A loss and a Chargers win bumps them out of the top seed, and into the wildcard! Look for Mahomes to come out slinging the ball and for the Chiefs to put points on the board early. KC has one of the highest projected totals of the season at 33.5 points…while being favored by over 2 TD’s, at home, against the Raiders. We all know the Raiders suck so there is no need to dive deeper into that. The last time these two teams played, Mahomes threw for just under 300 yards, 4 TD’s and added 54 yards on the ground…en route to 33 DK points. That was with Hill putting together his worst game of the season. If you can find the salary then Mahomes is one of the two safest and highest upside QB’s on the week. He’s an option for cash as well as GPP’s. I’m also not opposed to a full KC stack with Mahomes/Kelce/Hill. I’d stay away from the ground game in anything other than large field GPP’s with Ware returning. Play Mahomes.
Ben Roethlisberger - $7,000
Big Ben is just $100 less than Mahomes this week, but for good reason. He’s at home, against the Bengals, has a team total of 30, and is in a must win game. The only way the Steelers make the playoffs is if they win this game, and get help from the Browns. With these two games happening at the same time, you can bet that the Steelers are going to want to score early and often. We are expecting Conner to be back this week which does hurt Ben’s chances of posting a slate breaking score. However he still has 400+ yard and 4 TD upside in this spot. The only way he “fails” is if Conner scores multiple TD’s. I can’t envision a scenario where he gets less than 2 TD’s though. As with Mahomes he’s viable in cash and GPP’s. I’m all for a Killer B’s stack this week.
Juju Smith-Schuster - $8,300
If AB misses this week (I don’t think he will) then Juju us the lock of the century. As I said with Big Ben, the Steelers need to win this game. Over the last 6 weeks Juju has target counts of 10/17/9/12/10/15. Those are all in games with AB. Without AB you can expect around 16-18 targets, with a massive red zone role. If AB does play then I still really like Juju. Ben is going to throw for 300 and 3 TD’s, and most of that is going to AB and Juju. The Bengals can’t stop anyone on defense, so while this creates an possible blowout spot, AB and Juju are likely to have a role in that. So to recap, lock in Juju if AB misses, play a good amount of him if AB plays (maybe not where you want to go in cash with the blowout risk, but I’m not against it).
Davante Adams - $8,000
Adams is currently on the injury report with a knee issue…which is rather unfortunate because he’s going to be my favorite play of the week if he plays. Adams needs 134 receiving yards to break the Packers single season record…and you can be sure that Rodgers knows this. Rodgers loves records and stats, so if Adams is out there, he’s going to get 134+ yards. Add in his massive red zone role (#1 in the league in red zone targets) and you get a smash spot in a week where we can afford a stud WR. If he’s out there with no limitations then I’m playing him.
Robert Foster - $5,100
Robert Foster is too cheap. I’ve said it every week for the past month…and yet people never play him. Since being given snaps here are Foster’s yardage totals:
105/94/27/104/108/52. He’s not getting a ton of targets for this price, but they are high upside targets. This Bills offense has actually impressed me down the stretch and I’m excited to see what they can do if they improve the weapons around Allen. One guy they will certainly be keeping is Foster. He’s looked amazing when he’s been out there, and last week could have been another monster week had he not lost the ball in the sun. His 4/52 stat line is also impressive since he was matched up with Gillmore all game. Josh Allen and the Bills have a 22.75 point implied total In their home matchup with the Dolphins. With Xavien Howard out the Dolphins are not going to have an answer for Foster.
Chris Godwin - $4,300
Jackson is out so you know what time it is! Godwin should be off people’s radar after catching 1 of 13 targets over weeks 14 and 15…and has just 4 receptions on his last 19 targets. All I know is that he always produces when Jackson misses…besides weeks when he has 9 uncatchable targets. Atlanta is a good matchup for WR’s and this game has the second highest total of the week. At $4,300 these are guaranteed targets and a big red zone role.
Keith Kirkwood - $3,300
It’s difficult to guage exactly how long the Saints starters will be out there this week, but my guess is long enough to get Kamara his TD, Brees a few passing yards, and Thomas a few receiving yards. They are all close to records or milestones…and I’m sure Peyton will get them there. These milestones should be met by the end of the first quarter however so I don’t expect the Saints core players to play beyond that. My favorite backup to target is Killer Kirkwood. He had a brutal drop last week that could have cost the Saints the game…but the fact that he was on the field at that time, and has been on the field so much recently says a lot about how they view him. I expect him to play nearly every snap on Sunday, and fill the MT role once he’s gone. This looks like a spot where we can get 5-6 targets for a very reduced price point. The upside isn’t massive, but if he can score then he’s going to crush his price.
Jamaal Williams - $6,000
Williams might be the highest owned RB of the week as the Packers close out their season in a home matchup with the Lions. The Packers are 6.5 point home favorites, implied to score 26.5 points. GB has the 4th most adjusted line yards on offense, and while Detroit has a strong run defense, They are unlikely to move the ball very much on offense. This game is going to feature at least 30-40 less plays than there were in last week’s overtime win…so it’s entirely possible that Packers players are over owned this week. I am concerned that Williams is only going to get 10-12 carries and 2-3 targets, which is something you should fade at his ownership. His multi TD upside is there however so the fade would scare me. I haven’t decided if I’ll use him yet, but I think I slightly prefer Sony.
Sony Michel - $5,200
As per Evan Silva the Jets have allowed 1,110 rushing yards and 8 rushing TD’s over the last 6 weeks. Combine that with the Pats o-line generating over 5 adjusted line yards per attempt, and the fact that they are 13.5 point home favorites, implied to score 29.5 points, and you get a smash spot for the run game. You might be thinking there is a chance that the Pats can also beat the Jets through the air…which is true…but Brady is banged up, Gordon is no longer with the team, Gronk looks like he retired this offseason, and Patterson will be limited with a knee injury. The Pats preferred game plan is to run the ball 45+ times and get out of the game with zero injuries. This sets up like a 100 yard multi TD game for Sony. Be aware that he is also likely to get zero targets…so he needs 100 and a TD to be worth the price (even the cheap price). It’s very dangerous playing RB’s with a zero target projection.
Devontae Booker - $3,200
The Bronco’s are down to Freeman and Booker at this point. The public will likely be on Freeman as he is the goal line back and is in line for 12-14 carries. However, my favorite back on the team this week is Booker. He’s going to see a lot of the passing down snaps, and was already being used in some red zone packages. Add to it the fact that the Chargers have a really good run defense, and that the Bronco’s are projected to be losing this game by about a TD. Booker’s projection is essentially the same as Jamaal Williams and McGuire this week…so if you need the savings then this is your pivot.
Peyton Barber - $3,600
Barber is the lead back, on a home team, projected to score over 24 points, against the Falcons defense that get’s crushed by RB’s. Oh and he’s $3,600. There are very few paths to Barber disappointing in this spot, and at his price he really only needs a TD to pay off. When these teams played earlier Barber had one of his best games of the season. The main concern is if they use this last game to get Jones some run…I don’t think they will…but I’d keep an eye out for news on that. If they continue to give Barber the volume he’s been getting these past two months then he’s going to be a good salary saver with some upside.
Travis Kelce - $7,200
Kelce is one of the best plays of the week, even being a 25% owned TE. You can certainly make the case to fade him at that ownership, but there is the chance that he ends up being a must play in order to cash. I’ve seen some buzz around some of the cheaper TE options this week…and that’s almost always the route I tend to lean. However, as highlighted above, week 17 is always different from every other week, and this one is especially different. I’ll only have 3 TE’s in my player pool if I use more than one lineup. Kelce/Kittle/Ertz. Kelce faces the leagues worst TE defense, a matchup that he exploited for 12/168/2 just a few weeks ago. The Raiders limit deep passes, and Kelce has historically been better at home than he has been on the road. The Chiefs also have by far the highest implied total of the week, and Watkins has already been declared out yet again this week. Herndon is a solid play for just $3,400…but what exactly are you using that savings for. You can easily stack Mahomes with Kelce, and use whichever your favorite high priced WR is. Salary isn’t an issue this week, so you should fit in the studs that need to win, and are in great matchups. If all of that somehow wasn’t enough and you are still concerned about a high priced, chalky TE…consider this…Kelce needs just 53 yards to pass Gronk for the single season TE receiving record…and is just 46 yards ahead of Kittle for that honor. He’s going to set the record…and he doesn’t want to hold it for a few minutes. These two teams play at the same time, so you can be sure Kelce wants to leave no doubt. Play Kelce.
George Kittle - $6,300
Speaking of records…Kittle and the 49ers don’t exactly have a ton to play for at the moment. After the game Shanahan expressed that he was disgusted he didn’t get Kittle a few more yards to break the single game TE receiving record (a feat that was quite embarrassing). Guess what he’s going to try and do this week? Sure, there is a chance that he doesn’t care…but it’s not like they are feeding their WR 4 for some personal goal. Kittle is by far their best offensive weapon…and with Breida, Goodwin and Pettis all out…the 49ers are left with Wilson, Bourne and Kittle to try and keep up with the Rams…in LA. The 49ers are 10.5 point underdogs, and the Rams have given up the 5th most attempts, and the 7th most yards to the TE position. Kittle is their only home to keep this game close.
Seahawks - $3,700
Steelers - $3,500
Bills - $2,700
Saints - $2,700
Packers - $2,400
Giants - $2,100