It's here everyone. Week 17 of the NFL season. This week is a tricky one as many teams have secured playoff spots and may be resting starters. So we are going to try and navigate the minefield of starters we believe will play the entire game and produce for your squad this week.
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- Lamar Jackson vs. Cle @ $5,600
Lamar Jackson may be an erratic passer at times, but he is a starter on a team in Week 17 that has something to play for. The Ravens need to win this game to solidify a spot in the AFC playoff picture. Jackson has been a consistent source of fantasy points, albeit with a capped ceiling. He has not eclipsed 23 points in any game but has scored over 16 fantasy points in each of the last six contests.
While it may not be spectacular, in a week where question marks abound, you could do worse than a mobile starting QB whose defense will put him in favorable situations. Either by land or by air, Lamar will net you solid points at a fair price.
RB- Jamaal Williams vs. Det @ $6,000
Williams makes the list for the second week in a row, because I believe he is still a value play. At $6,000 you get a starting running back who isn’t on a playoff team, but he also isn’t the starter next season when Aaron Jones returns. If the Packers decide to rest Aaron Rodgers or pull him early, Williams will get even more work in a division game that will still be played for bragging rights.
Last week against the Jets, Williams rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also added six catches for 61 yards en route to posting 27.6 fantasy points. I expect another solid output from Williams this week against the lowly Lions.
WR- Jordy Nelson vs. KC @ $4,900
Look, I am fully aware this is not 2014. Jordy Nelson has looked old and slow over the past couple of seasons.
But lately, he has shown signs of life. He has four straight games of double-digit fantasy points. Over those four games, he has had 10, 6, 6, and 7 receptions, twice garnering over nine targets. Nelson has heated, up taking the mantle of Derek Carr’s security blanket from Jared Cook.
This week they get a Chiefs team that ranks in the bottom five for defenses against wide receivers in catches and receiving yards. You have to believe the Raiders will be down at some point and have to air it out. This is the perfect recipe for high volume and maybe garbage time points for Nelson. At under $5,000, he is a solid play.
TE- Evan Engram vs. Dal @ $5,300
With Odell Beckham out, Engram has been the main beneficiary of extra targets. If I were the Giants, I would not bother even trying to push OBJ to play this week in a meaningless season finale. Engram has soaked up 23 targets the past three games and posted over 10.5 fantasy points in each contest. He has also gone for over 75 yards in every game during that span, so it isn’t just a red zone dart throw at tight end. Engram has been a volume and yardage contributor.
With Dallas potentially resting some of their players as they have clinched the division, Engram could be facing some second-team defensive personnel. All the more reason to fire him up this week. Hopefully, he can finish the season strong.
Flex- Elijah McGuire vs. NE @ $ 5,300
McGuire was fantastic last week against a poor defensive Packers unit. He may not have piled up yardage, but he showed his versatility by scoring a rushing and a receiving touchdown. He is expected to start this week again against bitter division rival New England. As is the case with several teams, the Patriots may end up sitting or limiting some of their players as they have clinched a playoff spot. The only reason they may not is to attempt to capture the first-round bye.
Regardless, McGuire showed he can be an effective primary back rushing the ball, or if when the Jets are playing from behind, he is a capable pass-catcher out of the backfield. He should make a great, inexpensive play this weekend.
DST- Ravens vs. Cle @ $2,900
Baker Mayfield has been rolling as of late and given the city of Cleveland hope for the future.
However, this Ravens defense is stout. They just came off a game where they shut down an elite QB in Phillip Rivers and a very good Chargers offense. Three times in the last five games the Ravens defense has posted 15 or more fantasy points. They force turnovers and they are stingy giving up yardage.
They are priced well, cheaper than other elite defenses. I am looking to Baltimore to put on an encore of last week’s performance and solidify their playoff spot.
Best of luck to everyone and here’s to hoping your squad shows out — and you cash out.