NFL Reid Option: Week 17
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
Here we are, boys and girls. The end of the football season. It didn’t seem all that long ago that we were building lineups a month before the Week 1 and itching for the season to get underway, does it?
I genuinely hope you’ve had a profitable season. You’ll never know how much I care that the picks I write up do well. Obviously I care for me, because they’re the players I’m using myself, but I also really care about how you guys do. I realize that being perfect with picks is an impossibility, but that doesn’t stop me from bumming when I guy I wrote up doesn’t work out.
Understand that I don’t write for RotoGrinders because of money. I don’t write for notoriety either; I’m in a great space professionally and have exactly zero interest in playing or touting fantasy sports as a full-time career. I do it because it’s a passion of mine, and I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to help others be profitable at something they’re passionate about. I love sports, I love fantasy, and I love the competition of strategy games. I also, for the most part, really love the fantasy community. There are so many sharp and cool people that are a part of this thing, people that I would hang out with if our paths crossed in the “real world”. Sure, there are some douchebags as well, but I think that’s true in pretty much all spaces of life. The standard society bell-curve and all that.
I’m also a huge fan of RotoGrinders specifically, where I’m finishing my first season. I mean it when I say that what they’ve built here is something great. The collection of brain talent around here is off the chains, not just from the analysts but also from members off the community. I’m also grateful to my podcast co-hosts Davis, Nate, and Josh, who all bring unique perspectives to the show. While we all call each other fish, the reality is that they’re all super sharp and are great to work with. And I have to say, while he gets a lot of grief (and gives a lot too), the truth is that David Kitchen works his ass off to make things run and he’s damn good at it. Things like the Swolecast and the XM show don’t happen by themselves. Gotta give big ups to Cal and Cam for being great to work for, and also Devin who produces so many of the shows/pods that RG does.
I’m not saying any of this as company shill, and if you’re reading this you’re already a member anyhow. Nor am I trying to kiss any ass – I’m genuinely thankful for the people at this company. The same goes for you, our members. You guys have made RG more of a community than just a website, and I root for your success. I’m genuinely happy when the plays I write up hit, and I’m legitimately sick the times they don’t.
Week 17 is our last real shot at the 2017 NFL season. Sure, you can play some postseason, and I’m sure I will because I live that degen life. But for the most part, this is it. Sucks to say, but the correct move here is to go pretty light this week. There’s certainly an edge to be gained by logically figuring out who rates to play and who doesn’t, but there’s also going to be a ton of variance no matter how well you think you have things pegged. Plans change and coaches lie. For that reason, I’m more inclined to get heavy on GPP tournaments than cash games.
Whichever route you choose to go, I wish you the best of luck. Thanks for being part of the RotoGrinders community, and a genuine thank you for reading The Reid Option this season. You guys make it worth the sweat every week. I’m going to do the write-up a bit differently this week to try to capture Week 17 the best way I can. Let’s get to the picks. (As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week.)
As per usual, the QB position is chock full of strong options. Russell Wilson has sunk a lot of fantasy battleships over the past two weeks, but I believe he’s fully in play this week in a must-win home game against the Cardinals – a beaten team with a lame-duck coach. Jimmy Garoppolo finds himself in a great spot against a Rams team that’s sitting a ton of starters, but he’s priced up in the Ben/Wilson/Brady tier and I’m not sure that I think he’s got a ton of value over those guys. That said, some tournament exposure is warranted. Tom Brady is in play in all formats; the Pats clinch home field advantage with a win and they have the highest implied team total of the week, as they face a Jets team that ranks bottom-5 in ppg allowed to villain QBs. He’s probably the QB I feel the safest about if you’re playing cash games.
In the middle tier, Matt Stafford and Kirk Cousins both have nut matchups, although both teams have been eliminated and thus there’s inherent risk in playing them. Stafford faces a Packers team that has allowed 135 explosive plays (runs of 11+ yards and passes of 15+ yards; stacking him with Marvin Jones Jr seems like an awesome idea) and Cousins draws a Giants team that has fully given up on life. Pretty much their entire secondary (Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins) is hurt or suspended. Probably the best overall mid-tier play here is Phil Rivers, as the Chargers are still alive for a playoff spot and the Raiders are a bottom-5 team in pass DVOA and NY/A allowed. That sound like shiny tops and soda pops for a guy who’s broken the 300-yard barrier four times in seven home games this season.
To Lev or not to Lev? For me, it’s probably a “not”, meaning a fade of Le’Veon Bell in cash games and not a ton of exposure in GPPs. PIT will definitely sit him if they get up big on Cleveland (which, as a 10-point home favorite, has a good chance of happening), just like they did last week against Houston. And his price is at a season-high $10K on DraftKings, which will make it exceedingly difficult for him to hit value. Instead, if I’m paying up I’m looking at Melvin Gordon and the Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara combo. MG3 is banged up but is an 8-point home favorite against a craptastic Raiders defense and has at least 20 touches in every game since the Chargers’ Week 9 bye. The Saints need a win to clinch the NFC South, so they’ll have their foot on the gas pedal against the Bucs, whose defense is toilet scum incarnate. They’ve allowed the second-most total yards of any team and are a bottom-10 rush D by any objective metric. I expect the Saints to grind them up like an arabica bean, making both Ingram and Kamara prime values – especially considering their respective price drops on DraftKings.
There are a couple of value RBs available that don’t particularly make it move, but can help save salary for high-priced WRs. Malcolm Brown is likely to be the Rams feature back with God Gurley resting, and should see 15+ touches for just $3900 on DK. His matchup isn’t amazing (the 49ers have been a beast against RBs since Reuben Foster came back from injury) and his touchdown expectation isn’t great (the Rams are 3-point road dogs), but his touches per dollar projection makes him a value RB2/Flex option. However, if you do play him, consider it no surprise if #TavonAustinTiltWeek happens. Derrick Henry is likely to be Tennessee’s main man in Week 17, assuming the Titans don’t let DeMarco Murray play from a wheelchair (this cannot be ruled out). Jacksonville is a tough opponent, but may rest starters at some point and it’s fully reasonable to think Henry could see 20+ totes in this one. He hasn’t been much of a pass-catcher at all (he’s averaging 1.0 targets per game), but could potentially see an extra target or two with Murray’s hands busy operating his wheels.
I’ll also throw out Kenyan Drake’s name as a GPP play, even though Damien Williams practiced on Wednesday and appears on track to at least be active. Drake busted last week and should see depressed ownership because of it, but one bad game doesn’t change the fact that he’s clearly capable of elite production. His matchup against the Bills is ever so choice – they’ve allowed the most rushing yards (1,713) and total touchdowns (20) to villain RBs this season.
I’m doing what I can to fit in as many higher-priced WRs as I can this week, since there doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about at the lower levels. Julio Jones is always dinged up, but that didn’t stop him from hanging 149 on the Saints last week. This week he rates to be shadowed by CB James Bradberry, which is akin to MrTuttle05 trying to cover his chest hair with a bikini top. Bradberry has allowed .40 fantasy points per route run to opposing WRs and the Carolina secondary as a whole has allowed 195 receptions (3rd-most), 2,520 yards (5th-most), and 16 touchdowns (6th-most) to villain WRs.
Keenan Allen also deserves some love, both as a cash play and a GPP pairing with Phil Rivers. Since his team’s Week 9 bye, KA has the second-most targets in the NFL (74), and on the season he ranks #1 among WRs in targets inside the 10-yard line (14). I also love Michael Thomas’ spot against the Bucs – he rates to run a plurality of his routes against junior varsity CB Ryan Smith, who’s been burned for .47 fantasy points per route run this season. Thomas’s 28% target share and 43% air yards share are both top-5 marks among NFL wide receivers, and only three men have more than his 98 receptions this season.
One of those men is Jarvis Landry, who leads the NFL in receptions (103) and is third in targets (151) yet is priced as just the WR16 on DK, even when taking Antonio Brown out of the equation. We tend to think of Landry as a boring high-floor/low-ceiling cash game player, but this season he’s 6th in Red Zone targets (20) and 2nd in targets inside the 10-yard line (12) among WRs. I consider him a dank mid-priced play in all formats. Marvin Jones Jr is a favorite GPP target of mine this week as well. He’ll always be boom-or-bust because of his aDOT (15.2 yards, 3rd in the NFL among WRs with 80+ targets), but I expect more boom this week; Green Bay CBs Devon House and Demarious Randall have been pillaged like Winterfell all season long.
T.Y. Hilton is another high-risk/high-reward play in GPPs this week. He’s averaged 78.8 yards per game at home in his career (vs 67.6 per game on the road) and the Houston secondary is legitimately septic. I’ll also be getting some Will Fuller in my life if Nuk is out. In that case he’d be a #1 WR against a porous secondary (Indy has allowed 146 explosive plays this season, by far the most in the NFL).
It’s with a heavy heart I see that Antonio Gates priced up at $4200 on DK. He was such a lock last week and I really hope you played him and had one final magical twirl with the man before saying goodbye for good. This week, Vance McDonald is my cheap TE du jour. He was featured relatively heavily last week, throwing up a 4/52/0 line on five targets while playing 48% of the snaps. He projects as the superior pass-catching option at TE for PIT, and I remain convinced he would have survived the ground against New England had it been him reaching for the goal line. Delanie Walker is underpriced at $4400 on DK, as he’s been one of the higher floor TEs this season. He’s 5th in team targets share (22%) among TEs and has at least 10 DK points in seven of his past nine games.
I’ll also have some shares of Eric Ebron in GPPs; his 26 targets are the second-most of any tight end over the past three weeks and while it feels so long ago that he was a popular pre-season breakout candidate, he may be coming through on that promise here at the end of the season. I continue to like Vernon Davis even though he’s not seeing the target volume we’d like. The reality is he’s still capable of big plays; his 11 receptions of 20+ yards are more than every other TE not named Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski, and the matchup against the Giants is softer than goose down underwear. Obviously the two elites I just mentioned are always in play, though Kelce specifically is likely to be rested or see minimized playing time.
At this point in the season, it’s all about picking on awful teams. This means the Colts are in play if – especially if Nuk is out – even though they themselves are egregious. Denver is still very talented and playing at home against Pat Mahomes and presumably, a cast of Chiefs backups. Get some.
Even though they’re on the road, I dig on the Redskins as well. The Giants curled up into a fetal position long ago, Evan Engram looks dubious to play, and the ‘Skins have the 6th-highest adjusted sack rate in football. For a ridiculously low price, the 49ers can also be considered against the Rams backups. If you’re paying up, I think the Steelers are clearly the top option against the Browns and the Ravens (home vs CIN) are a top option as well.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 17.
|Meet the Experts||Content Posting Times|