Living in the daily game world for any sport requires a lot of work with little reward for the casual player unless the stars align for one magical day. Most daily owners need to decide whether to be a grinder or a swing-for-the-fences player. One path keeps you alive for more days of action with the idea of building your bankroll slowly. The other has a donation feel while offering a pot of gold at the end of a distant rainbow.
Since the daily sites started offering the million-dollar overall prize, I’ve been trying to find my get-out-of-jail-free card. The goal is to handicap the main football slate on Sunday and invest in the best possible combination of foundation players. If my key players succeed, I will be in the hunt with many teams. Each football season, I expect to be in the mix in four or five weeks.
All players listed are for the main slate of games on Sunday.
Heading into the final week of the 2022 NFL season, I failed to win a million dollars in the daily games for the 10th straight year. My ticket to paradise probably came over the past two weeks when my two most significant investments (Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase) had their best moments. Unfortunately, my bankroll lacked zeros, and my motivation to play barely had a pulse.
This week, many NFL teams will rest players, creating some identifiable plays. As a result, SI Sportsbook lists only one game (ARI-SEA – 48) with an over/under higher than 45 on the main slate. The Browns and Bengals will be starting backup quarterbacks. Cincinnati already ruled out Joe Mixon (COVID-19), and the combo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins will see minimal action. The Washington-Giants matchup has a low over/under (38), pointing to a dull scoring game for most players. The betting line for Green Bay (-3.5) vs. Detroit indicates that the Packers will be resting their top three offensive players.
In Week 18, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, and Davis Mills are the only quarterbacks of interest. The Bills, Cardinals and Rams all need to win to clinch their divisions. Mills looks to be the low-value option based on success over his last four home starts (312/3, 310/2, 331/1, 254/2), which came against the Patriots, Rams, Seahawks and Chargers.
I want to build my team around these three players: Jonathan Taylor, Devin Singletary and Cooper Kupp. I highlighted Taylor and Singletary in my DFS Report earlier in the week.
Kupp needs 12 catches to break the NFL season record held by Michael Thomas (149). In addition, he has a chance to reach 2,000 receiving yards (needs 171), but only 135 yards to pass Calvin Johnson for the NFL record. In his first matchup against the 49ers, he had 11 catches for 122 yards. However, his high salary almost requires him to break both thresholds plus score two touchdowns to fill his salary bucket.
I would need to cheat the quarterback position by rostering these three players while also finishing my roster with low-salaried players at the remaining slots in the lineup.
After trying to build my best roster, I tossed out Taylor to create some salary-cap relief. I came up with this lineup:
I double-stacked Mills with Brandin Cooks and his low-value tight end (Brevin Jordan). D’Andre Swift was a bust in Week 17. The Lions had him on the field for 54% of their plays, but he produced only 39 yards with two catches on six touches. Terry McLaurin has been missing in action over his previous six games (4/51, 3/22, 0/0, 2/51, 3/40, 7/61), but he dominated the Giants in Week 2 (11/107/1). I settled on Allen Robinson as the last filler spot in my lineup based on his previous resume before 2021. The Bears had him on the field for 70% of their plays in Week 17, and I’m hoping Chicago gets him more involved in the final game of the year.
After reviewing this lineup, there is upside at some positions, but I don’t see enough star power or a reason to chase underperforming players at the finish line of the season. Therefore, I went back to the drawing boards.
In the end, I stuck with the best two impact players plus the running back with the best matchup. The trio of Texans’ players fit best with my remaining salary. I gave up the Bills’ defense for Gabriel Davis, who shined in Week 15 at home (5/85/2) and had his best yardage game (3/105) against the Jets earlier in the season.
After a three-game suspension, Deonte Harris worked as the WR3 for the Saints last week. He brings big-play ability, but his targets tend to fall short in most games. In his best four games (2/72/1, 1/72/1, 3/84, and 4/96/1), Harris averaged 32.4 yards per catch. The Falcons rank 27th defending wide receivers (218/2,555/18).
Based on my lineup, I need close to 100 points from Taylor, Singletary, and Kupp. If my Houston stack scores 60 fantasy points, my team should be competitive in Week 18.
The projections this week will have many changes in the second update that will be posted on Saturday.
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