was a news heavy week with player injuries and team motivation shaping
the slate. Week 17 can be tricky in this regard but it can also
give us degenerates an edge if you’re paying close attention.
With so many players (Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott,
Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown to name a few)
sitting or likely to be limited, it made sense to condense our player
pool to teams fighting for playoff berths and players with comfortable
workload projections. This process led to fewer options at running
back which made using a WR or TE in Flex a viable strategy.
Here’s a look at my cash game Lineup for Fanduel in Week
With the Chiefs battling for the No.1 seed in the AFC and getting
a home matchup against the lowly Raiders, Patrick Mahomes ($9500)
was easily the top projected quarterback on the slate. The price
was a little prohibitive for my taste but jamming in the Chiefs
QB was certainly a good play given the question marks surrounding
the other viable quarterbacks.
There were some rumblings that Ryan Griffin might get a series
or two for the Bucs “if the situation presented itself”
which likely soured some folks on Jameis Winston ($7600). But,
the likelihood of the Bucs blowing out the Falcons or vice/versa
and Griffin seeing time was slim in my estimation given the weakness
of both defenses. Plus, if the Bucs happened to be sitting pretty
with a huge lead in the fourth quarter, it was likely because
Winston had a great game and not because Tampa had suddenly found
a great deal of success running the ball. So, considering I had
Winston as my No.2 ranked quarterback for the week and he was
$1900 cheaper than Mahomes, the choice was relatively easy for
me. This was a key decision as the savings allowed to fill out
my roster with an additional stud at WR and gave me some leverage
on the field.
In the same range, I also considered Josh Allen ($7700) in a
juicy matchup at home against the Bills who Allen had just torched
back in Week 13 when he finished as the No.2 fantasy QB for the
week. I also gave some slight thought to Ben Roethlisberger ($8700)
in a must-win game against a beat up Bengals defense but in reality
I was never going outside the Mahomes/Winston/Allen trio at quarterback.
The craziness of Week 17 really caused some havoc at the running
back position. A number of our typical high-priced studs were
either inactive or facing a light workload. These scenarios eliminated
Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey ($9400), Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott from consideration. That left Saquon Barkley ($8500) to
soak up a lot of ownership (60.9 %) as the lone three-down back
with the most upside on the slate. Barkley also had a higher touch
projection than Melvin Gordon ($8100) who was going to cede some
snaps to a returning Austin Ekeler ($5800).
Finding other comfortable cash game plays at running back was
a little challenging. Sony Michel ($7200) was in a good spot,
at home facing the Jets in a game where the Patriots were favored
by 13.5 points. Jamaal Williams ($6800) was also intriguing given
he was likely to see most if not all of the offensive snaps against
a middling Lions defense. However, the given the strength of the
Lions defense is up the middle and with Davante Adams ruled inactive
on Sunday morning, I removed Williams from consideration on fears
that the Packers offense might struggle to move the ball on a
This mid-6K range at running back became interesting as Damien Williams ($6900) become a thing once Spencer Ware was ruled in
active midway through the early games. I chose to stick with my
original plan and roll with C.J. Anderson ($6200) who I liked
slightly more than Michel and Chris Carson ($6400) and who I favored
over Williams once Adams was ruled out. All of these 6K options
carried some risk, but Anderson seemed to have biggest guaranteed
workload with just as much TD expectation as Michel, Carson, and
Williams or any of the cheap-o running backs expected to see increased
run like Rod Smith ($4500), Royce Freeman ($4700) or Dwayne Washington
The key to my receiver group this week was Marquez Valdes-Scantling
($5000) as a salary saver. When Adams and Equanimeous St. Brown
were announced inactive on Sunday morning, the projected workload
and targets for MVS combined with his salary couldn’t be
ignored. Plugging him into my lineup allowed me to fit in Julio Jones ($8600) who was my No.1 ranked wide receiver on the week
along with JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7900) was going to be the No.1
receiver for the Steelers with Antonio Brown on the sidelines.
Many folks opted to take the $800 savings and play Tyreek Hill
(7800) but I preferred the game environment and matchup for Julio.
Tyreek was 29.8 percent owned with Julio and his higher salary
coming in at 8.3 percent. Julio (24.3) and Tyreek (26.1) were
basically a wash.
Chris Godwin ($5100) posted a 6-56-1 line against the Falcons
back in Week 6 with DeSean Jackson active. We obviously ran hot
with Godwin torching the Falcons with a 6-114-2 line in Week 17
but with DeSean Jackson sidelined once again, Godwin was a lineup
building block in a matchup against a Falcons defense that’s
given up the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Travis Kelce ($7700) was an early-week lock for me. The matchup
against the Raiders who had given up the 4th most fantasy points
to the position along with having the salary to pay up at the
position made Kelce an easy choice. George Kittle ($6700) was
also a great narrative driven play given the 49ers didn’t
have anything to play for expecting getting Kittle the single-season
yardage record for the position. Throw in the fact that Marqise
Goodwin was ruled inactive leaving Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor
as starting wideouts, it was no surprise the 49ers went Kittle
heavy in the second half to get him the record. Kelce and Kittle
garnered the most ownership at the position with Kelce coming
in at 62.9 percent and Kittle at 22.1 percent.
With the safe RB pool dwindling as the week went on it became
increasing clear that playing a wide receiver in the flex position
was something to consider. I even messed around with some Kelce
/ Kittle lineups but ultimately settled on a group of four receivers
I felt comfortable with. In the end, I preferred MVS as a salary
saver over cheap running backs like Royce Freeman and Dwayne Washington
and preferred the floor of Julio Jones over Tyreek Hill, with
the idea that Kelce had the best matchup of all the Chiefs receivers
against the Raiders.
With my roster construction in place, I moved JuJu Smith Schuster
($7900) to the flex position to give me some swapping options
if needed. He was locked into my lineup on Tuesday and with Antonio Brown being ruled out on Sunday morning, I liked him even more.
JuJu was easily the most owned wide receiver on the slate (79.1%)
with the Steelers fighting for the playoffs at home against the
There were a number of viable defenses to choose from this week
with the Texans ($5000), Chargers ($4400), Patriots ($4100) and
Bills ($3700) looking attractive from a matchup perspective. Once
we learned Elliott would be sitting for the Cowboys I assumed
the brain trust in Dallas might do a smart thing and rest some
of their other key guys on offense like Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper,
etc. making the Giants ($3300) a seemingly good option at the
cheap end. Dak played the whole game and the Cowboys scored 36
points giving the Giants-D a not-so-nice -4 on their scorecard
for giving up more than 35 points. Jeez...
We have our tendencies in DFS and they serve us well, but there
are always exceptions to the rules. While there was certainly
a path to being profitable playing three running backs this week,
I felt more comfortable with the wide receiver plays of Julio,
JuJu and Godwin than taking too many gambles in the mid-range
or low-end at running back. The strategy paid off and left me
with a nice 12-5 regular season record in cash games this season.