NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Week 17
In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up formats, in which half of the entries win and half of the entries are left wondering what went wrong) and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs), where between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 17 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1:00 PM ET games and continuing through the Sunday Night Football game, with the Minnesota Vikings heading to Green Bay with playoff implications on the line.
Looking through the lens of the FanDuel pricing and scoring system, we will key in on players suited for both H2H and GPP game formats.
When constructing a H2H roster, the important thing to remember is that you want construct a team that has the highest projected “floor” with regards to projected scoring production. The reasoning behind this is simple, you just need to be better than half of the field. Whether it is mano-a-mano or a whole crowd, the top half are victorious and the others are looking ahead to next week.
For this reason, we will want to focus on players that have the highest projected points per salary cap dollar. The key word to remember is probable. In today’s NFL, just about any offensive player could have a three-TD day, or they may not see the end zone for a month.
As a general rule of thumb, in this format on FanDuel you will need to score about 120 points in order to put your team in a good position to win. Sometimes you will win with fewer points, other times you will lose with a much higher score, but that is a reasonable target figure.
With an overall in-game salary cap on FanDuel of $60,000, this means we need our players to score 2 points for each $1k of salary. The roster format includes 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST.
Now for the fun part, let’s look at a few players at each position that should be able to “return value” on their FanDuel in-game salary. These will be players that I will be using myself on various iterations of my FanDuel H2H lineups this week.
Week 17: Wacky Time Ahead!
Crazy things always happen during Week 17 without fail. Teams rest starters, individual players push for statistic milestones or contract bonuses, unknowns get a chance to play, coaches are fired, pretty much anything can and will occur. Washington is the one team that is locked into their playoff positioning, so they could be the first domino to fall if they decide to rest quarterback Kirk Cousins and let Colt McCoy take the reins against a Dallas team that has probably already started booking their offseason tropical vacations. Be sure to monitor the news all week!
Selecting a QB depends on the style that best suits your team-building preference and risk-reward potential. One school of thought focuses on anchoring your roster with a premium guy like Tom Brady or Russell Wilson, another way to approach a week may be with a mid-tier QB who has a great matchup, or perhaps even someone who has come into the starting job after that week’s pricing was already created. The key thing to keep in mind though is that we need to find a production ratio of 2pts/$1k of salary.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ at BUF – $7,800: Fitzpatrick has had a fine season and he has been recommended in this section previously. While I would normally not be thrilled with a quarterback heading into Ralph Wilson Stadium in January, Fitzpatrick did spend four seasons with the Bills, so he is no stranger to a cold, wintery environment.
The Jets control their own playoff destiny and are in if they win, otherwise they would need the Steelers to lose at Cleveland. This is the secure type of motivated player we want to target and speaking of target, it does not hurt that Fitzpatrick has two fantastic wide receivers catching his passes.
Blake Bortles – JAX at HOU – $8,100: Bortles and the Jaguars have the chance to play the spoiler role in Houston. On one hand we have the Texans who are allowing the second fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last three games (of course Matt Hasselbeck and Zach Mettenberger were prominently involved) , on the flip side Bortles has been phenomenal this season and he did have a solid game against Houston back in October going 30 for 53, with 331 passing yards, three scores and a bonus 37 rushing yards on his way to just shy of 26 FanDuel points.
While QBs are a very important building block for a solid fantasy roster, RBs are absolutely crucial. Running backs have the volume and opportunity to earn points with touchdowns, rushing and passing yards, AND receptions; this usually makes them the steadiest source of daily fantasy production.
Generally it is wise to “pay up” for a premium RB in a good matchup by utilizing your savings from another position such as defense and kicker, which will be addressed in short order.
DeAngelo Williams – PIT at CLE – $8,200: The Browns have struggled against the run this season and they are allowing the fifth most rushing yards per game at 110.6. Regardless of the game flow, Williams is always involved running or receiving. The Steelers need a victory and help to make the playoffs and they are going to want to protect any lead they get. In another fun subplot, Williams needs just 101 rushing yards to break the 1,000 yard barrier.
Todd Gurley – STL at SF – $8,600: Gurley has had a fine rookie season and over his last three games against tough rushing defenses (at Seattle, vs Tampa Bay and vs Detroit) he has averaged 106 combined yards and found pay dirt four times. The 49ers are the second worst rushing defense on the season from a fantasy perspective and this is a nice spot for the Rams to pad Gurley’s stats and improve his chances to take home the Rooky of the Year trophy.
There are always great WR options at varying price levels and matchups. Typically what you do at the other positions will dictate how you assemble your receiving corps.
– Odell Beckham Jr – NYG vs PHI – $8,900: After cooling his heels for a week, you just know that ODB is going to be raring to go. On Tuesday, the Eagles fired Coach Chip Kelly which is not going to help team motivation. As a bonus, they were already allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Yeah, save at another position, there is an excellent chance that this is a multi-touchdown game for Beckham.
– Jeremy Maclin – KC vs OAK – $7,100: Maclin just continues to produce. The Chiefs need a win and some help to improve their playoff lot and they have a great matchup against the Raiders who are susceptible to receivers in the middle of the field. This is where Maclin excels and he should be in line for another fine afternoon.
Demaryius Thomas – DEN vs SD – $7,700: Both DT and teammate Emmanuel Sanders – $7,500: are intriguing options as we have seen that the Broncos plan is to get Osweiler as many passing reps as possible. In his last three games he is averaging 27.7 completions on 44.7 attempts along with 301 passing yards and four aerial scores. It is hard to tell which receiving option he favors more, so both are in play.
– Dorial Green-Beckham – TEN at IND – $5,700: Though he did not catch a pass on his three targets, DGB did match his season high with 59 snaps. Tennessee does not have much to play for, however, working to have their young receiver end the season on a positive note does seem like something we would see in a Week 17 game. Roddy White – ATL vs NO – $5,800: We can flip that narrative and say that the Falcons may want to get their veteran into the end zone once more for old times, in front of the hometown fans. This is something that is very feasible against the New Orleans Saints who have allowed a mind-boggling 43 passing touchdowns this season. Philadelphia has allowed the second most and they are nine back from that mark.
Zach Ertz – PHI at NYG – $5,700: The Giants have been absolutely horrendous this season against tight ends and Ertz has been on a roll the last three weeks, culminating in 13 receptions for 122 yards against Washington. Over his last three weeks he has averaged 8.7 receptions, 99.3 receiving yards and 15.6 FanDuel points. That is solid wide receiver production for a discounted tight end price.
Zach Miller – CHI vs DET – $5,900: As pretty much the last healthy receiving option for quarterback Jay Cutler to trust, Miller has been terrific the last three weeks averaging six receptions and 70.3 yards which is good for a dozen fantasy points per contest.
Kickers are very tricky to project, so I typically look for the lowest-priced kicker in a decent matchup, ideally in a dome or a fair weather stadium.
If you are looking for a minimum priced kicker, then Dan Bailey – DAL vs WAS – $4,500 is a fine option as he has had multiple field goals in eight of his last ten games.
Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)
D/ST is another position that is very hard to predict because so much of their value comes from return touchdowns. The best teams will have 10 return scores on the season and the worst around four, which makes it tough to know which team to roster.
There is sure to be some value that appears once we have more information about which teams are resting players, which will free up salary cap to spend on the two premium defenses this week which are the Denver Broncos vs SD – $5,200 and the Kansas City Chiefs vs OAK – $5,100 both of which are in need of wins and facing weaker opponents. If you are looking for a mid-tier play, then the Arizona Cardinals vs SEA – $4,700 get a matchup against the struggling Seahawks. The extreme discount option this week is the Indianapolis Colts vs TEN – $4,200 who have actually had 8+ FanDuel points in five of their last six games.
Large Field Tournaments – Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)
Depending on the contest, GPPs will generally pay out 10-20% of the field. It will take an outstanding score in order to finish in the money, so your mentality needs to be that you want to be in the top 10% or finish last. Being middle of the pack or even above average does not come with any reward, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks and stray from the herd.
Ben Roethlisberger – PIT at CLE – $8,800: Pittsburgh needs to win and have the New York Jets lose in order for them to make it into the playoffs. Big Ben has another dream matchup, this week against the Browns who have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to opposing signal callers this season. Roethlisberger is more of a tournament option because there is a good chance the Steelers look their running game to protect a lead and the fact that he has had 5.8 FanDuel points at Baltimore and 10.9 at Cincinnati in two of his last three games. In the last meeting with Cleveland in November, he had 379 passing yards and three touchdowns. Any outcome is in play this week.
Devonta Freeman – ATL vs NO – $8,800: The volume has been there with 47 carries over the last two weeks, even if the yardage has been touch to come by with 73 against Carolina and 56 in Jacksonville. The Saints have been pitiful against power backs this season and are allowing 115 rushing yards per game.
Tim Hightower – NO at ATL – $7,000: The Falcons/Saints game projects to have 53 points scored, by far the most of the week. The Falcons are actually allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs and Hightower has been heavily involved the last three weeks with 68 carries for 266 yards and three touchdowns to go along with seven receptions and 88 yards.
Generally in a GPP it is a good idea to pair a receiver with your QB so you can double up on your points if they connect for a score or two. Remember you want to go big or go home in this format.
DeAndre Hopkins – HOU vs JAX – $9,000: With so many gamers focused on Beckham for $100 less, there is a chance that Hopkins is about half as popular in tournaments, making him a fine pivot play if you are looking for some differentiation.
Julio Jones – ATL vs NO – $9,300: Jones is a fine play in all formats, however, his price point does make it a little tricky. In five of his last nine games, he has put up 19.7+ FanDuel points and he has the best matchup on the board against the Saints. The main worry is will his quarterback show up.
Doug Baldwin – SEA at ARI – $7,400: Seattle is going to have to throw to move the ball against the Arizona defense. There is no doubting Baldwin’s upside after seeing him average 6 receptions and 97 yards per game over his last seven outings, along with an astounding 12 touchdowns. From a fantasy lens, that is a whisker under 23 FanDuel points per game in that same stretch.
Pittsburgh Wide Receivers: Yes, look to the trio of Antonio Brown – $9,100, Martavis Bryant – $7,100 and Markus Wheaton – $5,700 who will be underrepresented in the large field tournaments after their poor showing last week.
Julius Thomas – JAX at HOU – $6,500: Thomas disappointed everyone last weekend with just two catches for a measly twelve yards. Prior to that he had double digit fantasy points in four times in a five game span. With so many gamers feeling “burned” his popularity will be in the 10-15% range which is excellent for tournaments.
Kickers and Defense / Special Teams
Generally I will utilize the same handful of cheap kickers and DSTs across my H2H and GPP lineups because of their inherent boom/bust nature.
Feel free to send questions via Twitter: @EmacDFS