In Week 17, the main DraftKings slate features 15 games and in order to help navigate your roster options, I’ll provide some data points for a few players at each position that have the potential to return value over their salary implied totals.
It probably goes without saying, but if you are entering cash contests on DraftKings (or any other DFS website) this week, not only is it important to know which players and teams have positive matchups, it’s also important to be aware of which teams are fully motivated to play and win.
To help sort that out, you can check out all the various playoff scenarios over on NFL.com. However, here is a list of teams that still have potential playoff berths or home-field advantage on the line this week:
Los Angeles Rams
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
Los Angeles Chargers
While players on the teams listed above can be used in both GPP and Cash contests, in GPPs it might also be worthwhile to potentially target players on teams that don’t technically have anything to play for other than pride. I’m guessing that there will be a lot of GPP entries this week that will avoid teams like Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Green Bay for fear of not getting complete games. If you can stomach the risk, this might be an opportunity to get a return on value at reduced ownership levels.
Long story short, depending on what type of contest you are in, ask yourself what the team’s motivation would be to actually rest a player and then make your roster decisions based on what you believe will happen.
Before reviewing some of the possible roster options for this Sunday, just a couple of quick notes beforehand.
All data and statistics included in this article are provided courtesy of FantasyData.com. All points allowed, points scored, and pricing is based on DraftKings (DK) data. In addition, all positional rankings and rankings for points allowed to each position is based on a points per game basis.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fantasy relevant quarterbacks on Sunday.
Jared Goff, $6200 (QB9)
Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco – Game Total 48.5 (LAR -10)
Although the Rams have clinched a playoff berth, they need to win against San Francisco to secure a first-round bye and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. As a result, they will be motivated to take care of business against the 49ers.
This game will be played in the LA Coliseum where Jared Goff has performed much better this season than on the road. In the eight road games played by the Rams, Goff has averaged 19.6 completions, 32.3 attempts, 243.9 passing yards, 1.25 passing touchdowns, 1.13 interceptions, and 15.9 DK points per game. Conversely, in their seven home games, he has averaged 27.4 completions, 39.6 attempts, 362.6 passing yards, 2.57 passing touchdowns, 0.43 interceptions, and 28.6 DK points per game.
In the first meeting against the 49ers back in Week 7, Goff scored 16.48 DK points against this defense, but that game was played in San Francisco and the difference between Goff’s home-road splits has already been noted. That said, San Francisco is currently allowing the 10th most DK points to opposing quarterbacks at 20.2 per game and ten of the fifteen quarterbacks they have faced have scored 18.98 or more DK points.
Notable performances by other quarterbacks against the 49ers this season includes Kirk Cousins (20.36), Matthew Stafford (28.68), Patrick Mahomes (28.26), Philip Rivers (22.7), Aaron Rodgers (31.4), Jameis Winston (25.88), and Russell Wilson (24.8).
Ben Roethlisberger, $7000 (QB2)
Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati – Game Total 45.5 (PIT -14.5)
When it comes to the Steelers playoff chances, they are theoretically on the dance floor but the music is faint. In order to get in, the Steelers need to beat the Bengals and they will need the Browns to beat the Ravens (the Browns won the first meeting in Week 5). Nevertheless, the Steelers will be playing to win.
Through the first fifteen games, Roethlisberger is averaging 28.1 completions, 42.0 attempts, 322.8 passing yards, 2.2 passing touchdowns, 1.0 interception, and 24.6 DK points per game. He has also rushed for three touchdowns on the year. Whether it’s due to the play calling tendencies of new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner or the absence of Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger has been throwing at a high rate this season and hasn’t scored less than 15.0 DK points in any game and has logged 22.0 or more DK points nine times.
This week, Pittsburgh will be facing the Bengals for the second time, but this one will be played at Heinz Field. In their first meeting in Week 6, Roethlisberger completed 32 of 46 attempts for 369 yards, one touchdown and scored 24.56 DK points. In a rivalry game at home with their season potentially hanging in the balance, Roethlisberger has the potential to surpass those totals this week.
On the season, the Bengals are allowing the 2nd most DK points to the quarterback position at 23.6 DK points per game. They have allowed eleven of fifteen quarterbacks to score at least 19.9 DK points. In addition to the aforementioned 24.56 outing by Roethlisberger, other quarterbacks who have had successful outings against the Bengals defense includes Andrew Luck (23.46), Joe Flacco (23.84), Cam Newton (29.6), Matt Ryan (32.26), Patrick Mahomes (36.82), Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston (32.4 combined), Drew Brees (28.9), and Baker Mayfield (25.92 and 24.96).
Jameis Winston, $6100 (QB16)
Tampa Bay vs Atlanta – Game Total 51 (ATL -1.5)
This game between Tampa Bay and Atlanta means absolutely nothing in regards to the playoff picture. Beyond pride, contract incentives, and future roster spots, neither team technically has anything to play for. That said, both of these teams were eliminated from playoff contention prior to last week’s games and yet they continued to compete and I expect them to do so again in Week 17. With an implied 51-point game total and only a 1.5 spread, it looks like the oddsmakers in Vegas expect the same.
I want to be clear, however, that playing Winston this weekend does come with some risk for one simple reason. Winston is currently in the final year of his rookie contract. If he were to suffer a significant injury that would prevent him from passing a physical before his fifth-year option becomes fully guaranteed in March of 2019, the Bucs would then be on the hook for $20.9 million next year. However, the Bucs have been dealing with that reality for the past six weeks and if they were worried about it, why wouldn’t they have sat him down last week?
With that word of warning out of the way, Winston’s season has been a roller coaster ride, but he has held down the job for each of the past several weeks and he has $20.9 million reasons to want to finish out the season on a high note. In 2018, Winston has played a total of seven complete games from start to finish. In those contests, he is averaging 25.1 completions, 38.9 attempts, 289.6 passing yards, 1.57 touchdowns, 0.86 interceptions, and 22.3 DK points per game. By comparison, Andrew Luck is currently averaging 22.7 and Deshaun Watson is averaging 22.4.
In Week 17, Winston will be taking on a Falcons defense that is allowing the 4th most DK points to quarterbacks at 22.9 per game. Winston was the Buccaneers starter in their first matchup against the Falcons in Week 6 and put up 35.7 DK points in that contest. In addition to that game, eight additional quarterbacks have scored 20.0 or more points against Atlanta this season including Cam Newton (31.6), Drew Brees (43.54 and 21.4), Andy Dalton (28.78), Ben Roethlisberger (22.6), Eli Manning (20.44), Alex Smith (20.44), Baker Mayfield (22.64), and Aaron Rodgers (20.24).