I'm switching up the format for week 17 given all the moving parts and different scenarios for each game.
Houston Texans @ Indianpolis Colts
Overall Outlook- This one of the uglier games of week 17 as both of these teams have no shot at the playoffs. DeAndre Hopkins is slated to miss his first ever NFL game on Sunday which takes away the the top overall DFS play in this game. T.Y. Hilton is going to be chalky given his soft-pricing across the industry. We've talked all season about him having better splits on the turf at home, and he has punished the Texans defense over his career. Frank Gore could garner some interest as a GPP play now that the Colts are favorites and I like Jack Doyle as a GPP pivot off of Hilton. Doyle has seen 34 targets over the last 5 weeks and Brissett has shown a solid rapport with him early on in his Indy career. Hilton will be chalky, with Doyle/Gore in the GPP range.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall Outlook- Now that we have news that the big guns from the Steelers will be sitting this one out, this game becomes equally bad as the game above. The Browns defense has shown extremely positive splits in terms of run-stopping with Danny Shelton in the lineup and they still rank 3rd in run-defense DVOA. I don't want any Steelers backup RB against them with Shelton back healthy over the last few weeks. Landry Jones/Josh Dobbs are two of the worst Quarterbacks I have ever seen play and I definitely won't be considering them or the priced up pass catchers whom the will be throwing to. Vance McDonald is the one player I'm really interested in this game based off price, and he has silently hauled in 8 balls for over 100 yards over the last 2 weeks. The Browns attempting to win their first game of the season narrative is alive and well, so I don't hate a GPP Browns stack now that we know Pittsburgh will be resting guys. Josh Gordon is the main player, who is due for a monster breakout despite how #bad DeShone Kizer has been.
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Overall Outlook- Now we are talking! This game is much more fantasy appealing than the latter two despite neither team being in the mix for the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers (placed on healthy IR) will not play who gives up one last look at Brett Hundley before the new year. Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson are also out leaving us with what should be a heavy dose of Randall Cobb. Hundley has not shown any ability to get the ball to Cobb thus far in his starts making me a bit more bearish on him than my colleagues. The one play I love from the Packers is Jamaal Williams. Williams excelled with Hundley and no Aaron Jones earlier this season and that is this exact situation with Aaron Jones also out for the Packers. The Lions run-defense has been one of the worst over the 2nd half of the season and Williams is a top mid tier option this week. The Lions are at home to close the season and I can see them wanting to destroy their division rival. Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron are all fantastic plays and that's one of my favorite GPP stacks this week. Eric Ebron has actually played really well over the last three weeks hauling in 20 catches.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Overall Outlook- And after one attractive game we are back to the abyss. This game owns just a 39 O/U in Vegas and there is no present value at this time. The Eagles defense is too good for me to have any interest in Ezekiel Elliott or Dak Prescott, and unless someone sits on offense for the Eagles I really don't have any interest there either. This game seems like a trap to me and I will be fading it.
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
Overall Outlook- The Vikings find themselves needing to win this game for a 1st round bye so we can expect them to come out firing on Sunday. The problem is that this game features just a 39.5 O/U and the Bears own a depressing 13.5 implied team total. I think that the Vikings will be able to win this game fairly easily, but with a 26 point implied team total you can look at the Vikings in tournaments. Adam Thielen would be my main target if I wanted some Vikings exposure mainly because he has just been so steady in PPR formats all year. He needs 5 caches for a nice bonus to kick in on his contract so we can safely project him for 5+ catches and the Bears secondary isn't anything to be scared of. Jordan Howard isn't in play for me against a Vikings run defense that is top 5 in run-defense DVOA. Case Keenum has played very well for the Vikings this season, but I could see the starters getting pulled if the are winning handily in the 2nd half, which they should be.
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants
Overall Outlook- This is probably my 2nd favorite game on the slate and I think it has potential to go well over the 39.5 O/U. The Giants, I assume, want to lose this game as they are tanking for a higher pick while Kirk Cousins is playing *possibly* his last game for the Redskins. Eli Apple was suspended by the Giants coaching staff and they already were incredibly thin in the secondary. Jamison Crowder has been great overt he 2nd half of the season for the Redskins and Josh Doctson looks like he is ready to explode. He's seeing a ton of snaps and red zone usage and it's only a matter of time before he has a blowup game. Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King and Evan Engram are all out for the Giants leaving Roger Lewis as the sole viable pass catcher outside of Running Back Wayne Gallman. Lewis has 10+ targets in 3 straight weeks and could be in line for a monster target% on Sunday. I will be stacking this game in tournaments.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Overall Outlook- The Patriots need to win this game for seeding purposes and they own the highest implied team total on the week at 30 points. It's really, really hard to ignore a 30 point team total on this slate and it seems like Patriots exposure will be a must in cash games. Tom Brady is always a viable QB option, but I think I like Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski a bit more. Lewis will be the chalkiest player on the slate with James White and Rex Burkhead slated to miss again and it doesn't even feel like he will be limited even if the Patriots are up big. Gronkowski needs 116 yards to trigger a bonus in his contract, but he is the guy I would worry most about them limiting if they are winning big...which they should be. I don't have any interest in any Jets outside of Robby Anderson who clearly is the guy for Bryce Petty, but that is a deep GPP play only. Just play the Patriots.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
Overall Outlook- This is the clear game of the week as the Panthers need a win for seeding purposes while the Falcons need a win to get into the playoffs. Pretty much everyone is in play from this game, but my favorites are Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Cam and Christian McCaffrey. Julio has perennially smashed the Panthers who struggle mightily on the outside, now we get him in a week the Falcons must win...yes! Matt Ryan has lacked a ceiling this season but since the Falcons need to win I am willing to reconsider. Cam has been pretty good in terms of fantasy as of late due to his rushing upside returning and he is definitely a strong option in all formats. We always target pass catching Running Backs against the Falcons and I think CMC may go under-owned here after a dud performance last week. Play this game, flat out.
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Overall Outlook- I expect a big performance from the Chargers in this one as they need a win to get a shot into the playoffs. The biggest news we are waiting on is if Melvin Gordon is going to play or not. If he misses, Branden Oliver becomes a smash play and the chalky cash game pairing with Dion Lewis. If Gordon plays, I don't have a ton of interest and would rather attack the passing game as the Raiders still rank 27th in pass-defense DVOA. Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen are playable in tournaments as well as Antonio Gates who got a nice price hike after last week. The Chargers will be highly motivated in this one and I love their players in GPPs.
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Overall Outlook- This will be an interesting game to watch as we get the 49ers starters up against the Rams JV team. The Rams will be resting most of their key players as they prepare for the postseason. Jimmy Garoppolo has seen his price rise, but if he put up 20+ fantasy points on the best defense in the NFL what could he do against a team playing for next week? I love him in tournaments once again this week along with Marquise Goodwin. Carlos Hyde is a solid option in all formats as well, he has been due to positive touchdown regression and I could see him finding the box once or twice in the season finale. The only Rams backup that deserves consideration is Malcom Brown, who hasn't looked bad in the #preseason and will be in line for a massive workload. The issue is, he also will be behind the backup offensive line so temper your expectations.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Overall Outlook- The plays from this game are very clear with the Seattle Seahawks needing to win this game and the Cardinals currently bleak offensive situation. Russell Wilson has had back-to-back down game after putting up a huge two month stretch of fantasy delight. Russ is clutch, and the Hawks need a win here so he will be in my GPP pool and a big game would not shock me at all. Doug Baldwin crushes the Cardinals every time they play because he avoids Patrick Peterson in the slot...and people still don't know this! He has not been seeing many targets at all which is a downer, but he is still my preferred partner with Wilson. Drew Stanton must have a crush on Larry Fitzgerald, right? He threw to old-man Fitz a whopping 15 time (!!!) last week and now there is the narrative that this could be Fitzgerald's last NFL game, yeah I like him in tournaments even against Seattle.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Overall Outlook- This really is an ugly game in general, but I have to have some Patrick Mahomes exposure this week YOLO. I honestly don't think that the Broncos want to win this game (for draft purposes) and Patrick Mahomes finally gets a chance to show what he can do on the NFL stage after having a #great preseason. The Broncos defense is obviously good, and a tough test for his first time under the lights but it's week 17 and he has a ceiling at his cheap price tag. With Paxton Lynch starting, he could be seeing some short fields and he has rushing upside as well which boosts his fantasy value. If Albert Wilson plays, he will be the best WR on the field for the Chiefs but Mahomes and Demarcus Robinson flashed in the preseason. In the last game of the 2017 preseason Mahomes hooked up with Robinson 3 times for 127 yards and a score. Throw one Mahomet-Robinson stack in a GPP just for me and let's win or cry together. We need to stay on the #preseason brand.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Overall Outlook- The Bills need to win this game for a shot at the playoffs so I expect them to come out and have a nice day against a pretty #bad Dolphins defense. Tyrod Taylor is in play, but I like other Quarterbacks I've named in this article much better. He should be in your GPP pool however as his rushing upside increases his ceiling. The place I want to look in this game is the backfields with LeSean McCoy and Kenyan Drake. As Anthony Carson says "Nobody ever plays Shady" and he is another great spot this week. The Bills should lean on him in a must win game, and he has averaged 20 fantasy points over his last 3 games. Kenyan Drake had a down week last week, and everyone will jump off him. The Bills have had THE WORST run defense by far in the NFL over the 2nd half of the season and with Damien Williams out once again he will be slated for a monster workload. He is a great GPP play, and I don't mind playing him together with McCoy.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennesse Titans
Overall Outlook- The Titans need to win this game to make the playoffs, but the Jaguars seem 100% committees to playing their starters despite them already being in. That alone makes me not like any of the Titans against this Jaguar defense, not even Derrick Henry. Henry is going to be chalky with DeMarco Murray out, but I think he makes for a good GPP fade. If the Jaguars starters are actually going to play, they 100% are in play against this abysmal Titans secondary. We have seen what Tom Savage, Jimmy G and Jared Goff have done to this defense over the last month so even Blake Bortles is in play this week. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole would be my preferred partners with him, though Allen Hurns is slated to return from injury. If they are legit playing then the Jags make for a great GPP stack.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Overall Outlook- The Ravens need a win to get into the playoffs in this one and they honestly should roll the Bengals here. Joe Mixon might end up missing this game, but even if he does I'm not sure if Gio Bernard is a good play against this Ravens run-defense that has been dominant over the 2nd half of the season. A.J. Green could definitely have a big game as the Ravens own huge negative splits without Jimmy Smith in the lineup, but I'm sticking with the Ravens dominate narrative. Joe Flacco has played much better as of late, but with Vontaze Burfict out the place I want to attack the Bengals is on the ground with Alex Collins. Collins is one of my favorite GPP running backs along with Jamaal Williams this week.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Overall Outlook- The Saints need to win this game to secure home field advantage in the playoffs which would be huge for them. Mark Ingram hit value late last week with a big touchdown run towards the end of the game, he is playable in all formats like always. I still prefer Alvin Kamara to him again this week, who had a "bad" game according to some people last week yet still had 7 catches. He has a massive ceiling and his price has decreased a bit. I think one of my favorite GPP plays of the entire slate is Michael Thomas. He has better numbers on the road throughout his career, he has been due for massive positive touchdown regression for weeks, and he was taken off the injury report on Friday. The Bucs rank 30th in pass-defense DVOA and this could finally be the huge Mike Thomas week we have waited for all year. I really like the Saints in this spot and I don't like the Bucs at all.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)