Yahoo DFS Football: Week 17 Picks

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·8 min read
Yahoo DFS Football: Week 17 Picks
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The Week 17 NFL slate offers a wide variety of options, as 14 of the 16 games fall in the main slate, which begins Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST. The only exceptions are the prime time Vikings-Packers (Sunday night) and Browns-Steelers (Monday night) matchups. This will be the last chance to use many of the reliable fantasy lineup staples from this season, as Week 18 runs the risk of playoff teams holding out their top players to avoid injuries. Between guys enjoying late-season surges and consistent contributors set to capitalize on favorable matchups, there's no shortage of enticing options to choose from in Week 17. Among the suggested plays are an elite quarterback who's peaking at the right time, a pair of running backs coming off massive rushing performances and two rookie wide receivers.

TOURNAMENTS (GPP – GUARANTEED PRIZE POOL)

QB: Matthew Stafford, LAR at BAL ($33): Stafford is understandably a little tough to trust right now, as he just had back-to-back favorable matchups on paper against the Seahawks and Vikings but came away with a 3:4 TD:INT over those two contests and averaged just 220.5 passing yards per game. Before the mini-slump, he threw at least three touchdowns in each of the previous three games and six of eight, so his ceiling remains tremendous against a Ravens defense that's allowing the most passing yards per game in the league after letting Joe Burrow throw for 525 and four touchdowns last week.

RB: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, TB at NYJ ($16): Teammate Ronald Jones ($24) is an obvious play against the generous Jets run defense, but Vaughn's an interesting player to roll the dice on instead if you can put the $8 difference to good use elsewhere. The 2020 third-round pick ripped off an impressive 55-yard touchdown run on one of his seven touches last week, and Vaughn's elusiveness should highlight the Jets' inability to tackle – New York has allowed the most scrimmage yards (2,604) and scrimmage touchdowns (26) to running backs. There's also a good chance the Buccaneers get up big in this one and opt to give Vaughn extended run over Jones, as they can ill afford to have Jones go down with Leonard Fournette (hamstring) already on IR. 

WR: A.J. Brown, TEN vs. MIA ($31): Brown will likely see a heavy dose of star Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard on Sunday, but the highly skilled wide receiver is capable of finding success despite the tough matchup, as Brown showed absolutely no signs of rust in his return from a chest injury last week against the 49ers, snagging 11 of his whopping 16 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. Brown is by far the most explosive healthy player in Tennessee's offense, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill knows to look for him early and often. His ceiling rivals those of $40 alternatives Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams.

Other Against-the-Grainers

QB: Joe Burrow (CIN, $32), Justin Fields (CHI, $26), Trey Lance (SF, $20)

RB: Joe Mixon (CIN, $28), Michael Carter (NYJ, $17), Derrick Gore (KC, $13)

WR: Mike Williams (LAC, $21), DK Metcalf (SEA, $19), Van Jefferson (LAR, $15)

TE: Travis Kelce (KC, $31), Kyle Pitts (ATL, $16)

DST: Miami Dolphins (vs. TEN, $16), Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI, $19)

CASH GAMES (H2H, 50/50s and DOUBLE UPS)

QUARTERBACK

Josh Allen, BUF vs. ATL ($41): Allen doesn't come cheap, but his prowess as both a passer and a rusher make him an appealing choice against an appalling Atlanta defense that's surrendering 26.7 points per game. He's playing his best football as the Bills gear up for a playoff run, as Allen has an 8:2 TD:INT over the past three games while topping 300 passing yards twice. He's added 197 yards and a touchdown on the ground during that span as well and is expected to get two of his three top wide receivers back from COVID-19 protocols in Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis.

RUNNING BACK

Damien Harris, NE vs. JAX ($22): Harris is clearly over the hamstring injury that bothered him for much of December, as he topped 100 rushing yards to go with three touchdowns in last week's loss to the Bills. He also topped 100 yards and found the end zone in his previous game, and Harris has scored 12 touchdowns in all as the focal point of New England's run-first offense. The Jaguars just allowed the Jets to run for an NFL season-high 273 yards last week, so expect the Patriots to lean on Harris and the rushing attack to exploit Jacksonville's porous run defense.

Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. DET ($22): Penny's recent emergence has been a silver lining in an otherwise disastrous season for the Seahawks, as the 2018 first-round pick is finally healthy and playing up to his lofty draft valuation. He has rushed for at least 135 yards twice in the past three games while finding the end zone three times over that span. Seattle will likely keep feeding Penny at home against a Lions defense that has allowed 15 rushing touchdowns to running backs and another eight through the air to the position; only the Jets (26) have allowed more scrimmage touchdowns to running backs than Detroit's 23.

WIDE RECEIVER

Deebo Samuel, SF vs. HOU ($37): Samuel is simultaneously one of the league's best receivers and one of its most effective rushers. He eclipsed 150 receiving yards for the fourth time this season with nine catches for 159 yards last week, so those relying on him in fantasy weren't too broken up to see Samuel's rushing touchdown streak come to an end after five games and six touchdowns. He should continue to mix in as a running back on occasion, even if Elijah Mitchell (knee) is finally cleared to return, and Samuel's versatility will make him nearly impossible to defend for a Texans defense that's allowing the third-most scrimmage yards per game (380.9) after the Jets and Seahawks.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET at SEA ($19): St. Brown has dominated down the stretch, and he showed last week that he can remain effective even with Tim Boyle under center instead of Jared Goff, who's dealing with a knee injury after missing last week's game due to COVID protocols. The rookie wide receiver has at least 11 targets and eight catches in each of his past four games, and he's totaled at least 86 yards with a touchdown in three of those contests. There's little reason to expect St. Brown to slow down against a Seahawks defense that's allowing 270.9 passing yards per game – only the Ravens give up more.

Jaylen Waddle, MIA at TEN ($25): Like St. Brown, Waddle's a rookie who has been peppered with targets of late, though such usage is nothing new for the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Entry Draft. Waddle has caught 36 of the 42 passes thrown his way over the past four weeks, racking up 384 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver while adding a rushing score during that stretch as well. He's a high-floor option against a leaky Titans secondary that has allowed the most catches (224) and yards (2,873) to wide receivers, as well as 17 touchdowns to the position.

TIGHT END

Zach Ertz, ARI at DAL ($17): Cardinals-Cowboys is expected to be this week's highest-scoring game, with an over/under of 51.5 points, narrowly edging out Kansas City-Bengals by half a point at press time. With plenty of offense likely to be on its way, the most heavily involved member of Arizona's passing attack is primed for a big game. Ertz has been targeted 24 times over the past two weeks, hauling in 14 passes for 128 yards as Kyler Murray's go-to guy in the absence of DeAndre Hopkins (knee). Despite all that usage, Ertz is valued below nine other tight ends in this slate and comes in at half the valuation of Mark Andrews. Andrews has undoubtedly been more productive of late, but Ertz actually has one more target than the Ravens tight end over the past two weeks.

DEFENSE

New Orleans Saints, NO vs. CAR ($20): This unit gets a mulligan for last week, when seemingly half the roster was in COVID-19 protocols, and even then, the Dolphins only scored only 13 points on offense. The week before, New Orleans shut out the Buccaneers en route to 18.0 fantasy points. With much of their key personnel back, the Saints should dominate defensively against the reeling Panthers offense, which intends to turn back to Sam Darnold under center. Darnold has been horrendous, with a 0:4 TD:INT in his last four appearances and fewer than 200 passing yards in each of those games.

Honorable Mentions

QB: Tom Brady (TB, $40), Tyler Huntley (BAl, $28), Davis Mills (HOU, $21)

RB: David Montgomery (CHI, $25), Javonte Williams (DEN, $24), Chase Edmonds (ARI, $20)

WR: Antonio Brown (TB, $28), Tee Higgins (CIN, $24), DeVonta Smith (PHI, $21)

TE: Hunter Henry (NE, $20), Noah Fant (DEN, $17)

DST: New England Patriots (vs. JAX, $23), Chicago Bears (vs. NYG, $12)