NFL DFS: Week 17 Cash Breakdown

FullTimeFantasy Staff

CASH Game Strategy Reminders

The first thing to discuss with regards to cash games is contest selection. What? Yes, contest selection matters for cash games as well. Let's walk through the type of cash game contests that I would focus on for NFL DFS.

Find large Contests.

The 11 man double-ups might seem great as 5/11 will place and you only have to beat 6 people. Then you really notice the chalk and that two or three "pros" have the exact same lineup minus one player. It's not that all of them are sharing lineups, but its that they've done this long enough that they have a trusted process that will lead them to the same spot. Can you beat them? Yes. Is it annoying to sweat in an 11 man contest? Yes. Go for the larger contest. Sort by the size of the contest descending and then go from there.

  • 50/50's.... Simple math, they're the best in terms of the pay-line with 50% of the field cashing. You aren't pulling back a full 2x but you will want to target the largest 50/50's you can find.
  • Double-Ups ... Same logic here on the size of the contest, find the bigger ones and preferably the ones with SINGLE ENTRY into them.
  • 3-man ... Some will enjoy a 5 man contest or even the 10 man leagues, but one alternative to the normal cash games will be the 3 man contests. Look for ones that arent full close to lock as those generally will give you better variance on the players in them.

BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE

  • Remember to focus on trying to get a balanced lineup in cash games. We take a little less risk with game stacks in cash, but like tournaments we are seeking the best plays each week. Sometimes with cash we get suckered into playing "must own" plays and when there isn't obvious value it really makes things risky. Try to focus on a balanced lineup each week with guys who are going to come through.

IDENTIFY WEAK POSITIONS

  • Each week look at the rankings and determine if the top ranked players are premium players or not. For example, if you don't see Gronkowski, Ertz, Kelce, etc. listed as top TE plays then it's likely a position to pay down for that week.

WEEK 17 GAME PLAYS

Each week we are going to post these CASH game plays early in the week. It's often a good indicator of the early week rankings but things will change with late week injuries or late scratches. Monitor the Optimizer and Scout Rankings for updates as the week moves on.

All prices listed below are FanDuel prices and players in BOLD on the left are who we project to be the highest owned players in cash games (double check close to Sunday lock for accuracy)

QUARTERBACKS

Scout Rankings

Picks of the week

Patrick Mahomes - $9500 Lamar Jackson - $7700 Nick Foles - $7600 Josh Allen - $7700 Ben Roethlisberger - $8700

Patrick Mahomes (DK – $7,100/FD – $9,500): Mahomes enters Week 17 as the top QB in the land with an edge of 67 Fantasy points over the next contender in four-point TD leagues. He only needs two TDs and 184 passing yards to reach 50 passing TDs and 5,000 passing yards in his rookie season. Over his last four games, Patrick has three games with fewer than 300 yards passing and 11 TDs. In Week 13, he passed for 295 yards and four TDs vs. the Raiders on the road. Oakland ranks 24th defending QBs with only one team scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Three QBs passed over 300 yards against the Raiders, and six teams have three TDs or more. His floor starts at 300 passing yards with four TDs with more upside if game flow works in the passing direction. Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $7,000/FD – $8,700): The Steelers continue to find ways to lose games putting them on the doorstep of a winter vacation. Last week Roethlisberger set a career high in passing TDs (33) while being almost a lock to pass for the most yards (4,952) of his career (currently at 4,852 passing yards). Ben has five games with three TDs or more and eight games with over 300 passing yards. In Week 6, he passed for 369 yards and one TD against the Bengals. Cinci allows the second-most Fantasy points to QBs with five teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Bengals allow 8.0 yards per pass attempts with QBs tossing 31 TDs. Seven teams have over 300 passing yards and six teams with three TDs or more. An explosive matchup with the Steelers on the verge of posting a 40 burger thanks to their new spread passing formation. Josh Allen (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,700): The Patriots and Lions limited Allen to short rushing yards in the last two games (5/50 and 9/16/1), which led to step back in value. Over the last five games, Josh passed for 1,018 yards with eight TDs and 381 yards on the ground. His completion rate (49.7) over this span invites many mistakes. In Week 13, he gained 366 combined yards with two TDs against the Dolphins highlighted by his success on the ground (9/135). Miami is 19th in the NFL against QBs with four of the last ten opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. His ability to score rushing TDs and strength in rushing yards set a high floor with some explosiveness. Lamar Jackson (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,700): Jackson is 5-1 as a starter for the Ravens despite delivering only seven TDs with 1,381 combined yards. He averages only 22.2 passes per game, which is overcome by his high volume of runs (99/466/2). His completion rate (58.2) is reasonable while gaining 7.0 yards per completion. The Browns held QBs to fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points in four straight games helping them to the 17th rating in QB defense. This season QBs have 55 rushes for 233 yards and two TDs against the Browns. An intriguing matchup for a young QB against a developing team. It’s easy to bet against Cleveland’s defense here, but a huge number of runs by both teams points to a lower scoring game.


RUNNING BACKS

Scout Rankings

Picks of the week

STUDS Saquon Barkley - $8500 Melvin Gordon - $8100 James Conner - $8000 MID RANGE CJ Anderson - $6200 Chris Carson - $6400 Jammal Williams - $6800 VALUE Royce Freeman - $4700 Dwayne Washington - $4500

Jamaal Williams (DK – $6,000/FD – $6,800): After failing to live up to his expected value early in the year, Williams worked his way into a bench role with Aaron Jones shinning midseason. Jamaal gained starting snaps over the last two games due to an injury. He played well in Week 15 (97 combined yards with one TD and four catches) before breaking through with an impact game (156 combined yards with one TD and six catches) last week. The Packers had him on the field for 95 percent of their RB snaps, which is a high-level opportunity. The Lions climbed to 18th in RB defense after allowing fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points to RBs in their last three games. Five teams scored over 30.0 Fantasy points at the RB position vs. Detroit with most of the damage coming over the first half of the year. Priced in a range to be an attractive option again this week. Saquon Barkley (DK – $8,200/FD – $8,500): After a great four-game run (637 combined yards with six TDs and 16 catches), Barkley lost his way in his last two games (133 combined yards with one TD and nine catches). He’s the 3rd highest scoring RB in PPR leagues. He trails Ezekiel Elliott by 236 rushing yards to win the rushing title. Dallas has a top ten defense vs. RBs, but they will hook their starters at some point in the game. Based on expected playing time, Saquon would be one of the more attractive options at RB at the top end. In Week 2, Barkley gained 108 yards and 14 catches vs. the Cowboys. C.J. Anderson (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,200): In a surprise move, the Rams signed and started Anderson last week. He responded with an excellent game on the ground (20/167/1) while receiving 75 percent of the RB snaps for LA. The Rams have one of the best RB opportunities in the game in 2018 with upside in TDs. The 49ers are 24th defending RBs with three poor showings (44.50, 38.70, and 43.40 Fantasy points). C.J. salary commands only 20+ Fantasy points, which seems more than viable after his success and opportunity last week. Royce Freeman (DK – $3,500/FD – $4,700): With Phillip Lindsay out for the season, Freeman should have a clean ride as the lead back for Denver in Week 17. Since returning from his ankle issue, Royce has been unimpressive in six games (160 combined yards with one TD and two catches on 44 touches). This season the Broncos’ RBs gained 2,278 combined yards with 17 TDs and 80 catches. Even with a bump in chances, Denver may turn to Devonate Booker on more plays if game score points to more passing. Viable low level swing as Freeman does have the talent to shine and score goal line TDs.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Scout Rankings

Picks of the week

Top: JuJu Smith-Schuster - $7900 Davante Adams - $8500 Tyreek Hill - $7800 Mike Evans - $7300 Mid Range: Adam Thielen - $7200 Kenny Golladay - $6800 Value Chris Godwin - $5100 Sterling Shepard - $5500 Marquez Valdes-Scantling - $5000 Zay Jones - $5300

JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK – $8,300/FD – $7,900): Smith-Schuster continued his road warrior ways last week after a big game (11/115) in New Orleans. This season Juju has 68 catches for 962 yards and three TDs on 92 targets away from Pittsburgh in eight games. In his seven home starts, he has 38 catches for 427 yards and three TDs on 64 targets. He gained over 100 yards receiving in seven games on the road, which included success against the Bengals (7/111). CB Darius Phillips will have his hands full in this matchup while lacking the resume to stop an elite WR. A very winnable game while home resume says to stay away. Davante Adams (DK – $8,000/FD – $8,500): Adams remains the highest scoring WR in PPR leagues (111/1386/13 on 169 targets) after scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points in six of his last seven games. He beat the Lions for nine catches for 140 yards and one TD on 12 targets in Week 5. Davante landed on the injury report this week with a knee issue, but he is expected to play on Sunday. The Lions pushed their way to 11th in WR defense (164/2413/18 on 246 targets) after holding WRs to fewer than 200 yards in each of their last five games with three TDs. Green Bay will look to move Adams around in formations to avoid a full-time matchup with CB Darius Slay who struggled in his first matchup against Green Bay. Volume WR with scoring ability, but his ceiling doesn’t look high enough in Week 17 due to his high salary. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,000): Last week two things worked in favor of Valdes-Scantling in his matchup vs. the Jets. First, Randall Cobb was inactive allowing Marquez to regain the slot opportunity for the Packers. Second, Equanimous St. Brown suffered a concussion leading to MVS receiving a bump in targets (9). He finished with five catches for 75 yards, which was his best game since Week 9. He looks poised to be the second best WR option again this week for Green Bay with more upside if Davante Adams can’t go. Player to follow heading to the weekend while also having a nice game on his resume (7/68/1) vs. the Lions earlier in the year. CB Nevin Lawson will give up TDs and big plays, and I’m sure Aaron Rodgers is motivated to finish the year on high note. Kenny Golladay (DK – $6,600/FD – $6,800): Golladay hasn’t scored a TD in his last five games. Over his last seven games, Kenny has 37 catches for 540 yards and two TDs on 71 targets with three games of value (6/78/1, 8/113/1, and 7/146). In Week 6, he caught four passes for 98 yards and one TD against the Packers. Green Bay fell to 29th in WR defense (184/2480/20 on 299 targets). Talented WR who tends to be up and down due to poor offense play by the Lions. Volume can be his friend if Detriot is forced to chase on the scoreboard. Sterling Shepard (DK – $5,400/FD – $5,500): Last week Shepard ended his seven-week slump of empty stats. He caught six of his seven targets for 113 yards, which led to his 4th game of value (6/80/1, 10/77/1, and 5/167) in his 15 weeks played. Over his last eight games, Sterling has 26 catches for 297 yards and two TDs on 47 targets leaving him with a slim shot of reaching 1,000 yards receiving (needs 195 yards). He’s the 29th ranked WR in PPR leagues heading into Week 17. Dallas has a top five defense vs. WRs, but they will pull their starters at some point in the first half helping Eli Manning and his offensive players. Reasonable salary for his skill set, but New York may feed Barkley the ball in this game. Calvin Ridley (DK – $5,300/FD – $5,900): Ridley hit on a 75-yard TD last week setting up a decent day (3/90/10), which came after posting five short scores in his previous six contests (3/37, 3/32, 8/93/1, 3/22, 1/10, and 5/42). Calvin is the 22nd highest scoring WR in PPR leagues (59/789/9) who played his best ball within his division (22/393/6 vs. the Panthers and Saints). In his first game against the Bucs, he caught all three of his targets for 47 yards. Ridley averages 5.8 targets per game with a nice catch rate (67.8). Tampa played better vs. WR over the second half of the season, but they don’t have elite talent at CB. If Julio Jones isn’t at full strength, Calvin may see a bump in targets.

TIGHT ENDS

Scout Rankings

Picks of the week

Travis Kelce - $7700 Zach Ertz - $7800 Austin Hooper - $5200 Vance McDonald - $5600 George Kittle - $6700 Evan Engram - $5900

Travis Kelce (DK – $7,200/FD – $7,700): Kelce helped Fantasy owners reach the championship rounds of the high-stakes market with two massive showings in Week 11 (10/127/1) and Week 13 (12/168/2) with the latter coming against the Raiders. Unfortunately, his play wasn’t impactful in the Fantasy playoffs (7/77/1, 7/61, and 5/54). Last week Patrick Mahones missed him on a wide open long TD, which would have pushed him over the 20-point mark in PPR leagues. Travis already set career highs in catches (98), receiving yards (1274), and TDs (10) while posting six games with over 20.0 Fantasy points in 2018. Oakland is 27th defending TEs (73/1009/9 on 97 targets) while already showing disaster downside in five games (CLE – 6/101/1, IND – 10/133/3, SF – 5/116/1, BAL – 6/118, and KC – 15/207/3). Kelce will be active in this matchup pointing to another 25+ Fantasy points. Vance McDonald (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,600): McDonald only has 27 catches for 297 yards and three TDs on 42 targets over his last nine games. He’s failed to gain over 50 yards receiving in any contest over this span while also having no game with more than four catches. His only game of value came in Week 3 (4/112/1) with some success in Week 6 (7/68) against the Bengals. Cinci allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (80/931/10 on 104 targets) with six teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points at TE. With Antonio Brown battling a knee issue, Vance may see a bump in chances in this favorable matchup. Austin Hooper (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,200): Hooper stumbled home over his last six games (20/175/1 on 27 targets). His best game (9/71/1) of the season came against the Bucs in Week 6. After 15 games, Austin has 66 catches for 593 yards and four TDs on 82 targets. Tampa sits 22nd vs. TEs (78/965/5 on 103 targets). The Bucs had the biggest struggles vs. TEs in Week 2 (PHI – 15/151) and Week 3 (5/119/1). A TE hasn’t scored against the Bucs over the last seven weeks. Hooper isn’t playing well with a low volume opportunity. Fade.

DEFENSES

Scout Rankings

Picks of the week

Eagles - $4000 Rams - $4800 Patriots - $4100

Focus on the heavy favorites again this week and teams who need to win against teams who are mailing it in. The Eagles defense should limit a putrid Redskins offense this week and is affordable on both sites.

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