Welcome to Week 17! As I mentioned in my Stream ‘Em article earlier this week, my picks will be based on value and whether or not I believe the player will play a full game. There will be a lot of candidates for limited reps or not playing at all. Let’s dive in!
I use the DraftKings salary cap as my basis for picks, which operates on a 50k salary but I know we have many FanDuel players as well. For reference, Fanduel operates on a 60k salary, so prices will appear higher on that platform.
QB- Drew Brees vs. Car @ $6,500
There are several mitigating factors that lead me to put Drew Brees here. Firstly, he hasn’t even reached 20 fantasy points in any of his last four games, including an abysmal 6.9-point performance against the Panthers in that span. The Saints offense is more balanced than ever, which means fewer throws for Brees to have to make. Pair that with a very good defense, and days of Brees throwing 50+ times a game are over.
Secondly, The Saints have locked in their playoff spot, so they have little to no reason to play their stars much, if at all. They are eyeing the Super Bowl and they would be wise to rest Brees, Thomas, Kamara, and Ingram for the playoff run.
Lastly, the price tag is mighty high for a QB who has underwhelmed the last four games. Guys like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield have had better fantasy games down the stretch. Come playoff time, let’s talk. Until then, leave Brees out of your lineups.
RB- Todd Gurley vs. SF @ $8,600 RB- Kansas City backfield: Spencer Ware @ $6,200 / Damien Williams @ $6,100 vs. Oak
I didn’t get around to publishing this article earlier in the week, where I had Todd Gurley as my original fade. But I had a feeling he would be rested, but just want the records to reflect that. Now I could take the easy win and move on, but I feel like I owe you guys a real RB fade.
Damien Williams has been a late-season fantasy gem. Spencer Ware seems poised to make his return on Sunday, however. The Raiders allow 143.3 rushing yards per game this season. Only the Dolphins and Cardinals are worse in that department.
It’s not that I don’t feel Kansas City will clobber the Raiders and run wild on them. It’s that I don’t know who is leading that backfield anymore. Ware performed well prior to getting hurt, but Williams was even more impressive. Does Andy Reid go with the veteran in Ware who has had been with the Chiefs for a few seasons? Or does he continue to ride the hot hand with Williams? Too many question marks and unless you think there’s enough to go around and roster both of them, you may pick the wrong back. Steer clear, there are more straightforward options that have guaranteed volume this week.
WR- Adam Thielen vs. Chi @ $7,400
Where in the world is Adam Thielen? [Where my 90’s kids at?]
That’s been the question fantasy owners have been asking the past month. After a blazing start to the season, Thielen has cooled off considerably. Now the Vikings are a team with a lot to play for. A win would go a long way in securing a playoff spot, so from that perspective, Thielen should be a good play, right? Wrong. Take a look at his past month, the inefficiency of Kirk Cousins, and this week’s opponent — the Chicago Bears. Do you want to change your answer?
Thielen has failed to reach 14 points over the past four games and I don’t see that streak being snapped against a stingy Bears defense. If it were a lesser opponent, I would be more likely to roll the dice this week, but this just doesn’t seem like the week to spend up on Thielen.
TE- Cameron Brate vs. Atl @ $3,600
When O.J. Howard went down for the year, Cameron Brate was a popular addition to many season-long rosters and a sneaky DFS play. Even in a pass-happy offense, Brate is simply just a dart throw at tight end that has been a bust. There is the occasional week where he finds the end zone, but those weeks are few and far between.
It would be one thing if he was getting the targets and reception volume, but he hasn’t registered more than 3 catches in a game since Howard’s exit. His highest yardage in a game during that span was 36 yards. Forget how bad the Falcons defense is. Forget that he is a starting tight end on a passing team. He’s not a bargain, he’s a hail mary option that doesn’t provide much upside.
Flex- Amari Cooper vs. NYG @ $7,200
The Cowboys are locked in as the #4 seed in the NFC. Jerry Jones claims the team will go all out in the regular season finale, I have my doubts the starters will play a full game. Cooper is too valuable to Dallas’ playoff success to have out there for four quarters in a meaningless game. The Giants have been decent on defense as of late, and they rank 8th in the league against opposing wide receivers.
For the price tag, Cooper is being billed at on DraftKings this week, I am not feeling optimistic for an explosive performance, especially if it is cut short by a quarter or even a half.
DST- Broncos vs. LAC @ $2,200
The Broncos defense is dead to me. I needed them to get 3 points in my season-long fantasy title game for me to repeat as champion. They had a great matchup against a skeleton crew Raider team and they got me 1 point. 1 point. I lost because the Broncos supposed good defense couldn’t stop Derek Carr, Doug Martin, and Jordy Nelson.
This week they square off in a meaningless game against division rival San Diego, who are still playing for a favorable seed in the crowded AFC. No matter how low the price tag is, I am not putting my faith in this Broncos defense. Look elsewhere for a better deal or matchup.
Best of luck to everyone and here’s to hoping your squad shows out — and you cash out.