THE AMBUSH, WEEK 17
Here's what you can expect come playoff time in terms of the AMBUSH and NFL DFS breakdowns. I will have a breakdown for each of the Sat-Sun four game slates (assuming they dont screw up and actually run them this year) for both sites for the first two rounds of the playoffs which will also in essence give you picks for the Sat and Sun only slates that we get in the playoffs as well as Showdown considerations where applicable. The first two rounds are very very very good DFS slates across the two days but really that Championship Sunday one is the one that gets bashed for being only two games but to me it's a fantastic slate and arguably the best day of football all year. So strap in folks and get ready for some big pay days in January.
But first, we will dissect the joy that is Week 17 NFL DFS where value matters not and game theory gets overblown to be quite honest. This isn't to say that Week 17 isn't all about Game Theory, because it is, but I think there's a natural laziness which we all will have to try and overthink things like -- will they pull starters, will they mail it in during the second half, are they trying to tank, are they trying to showcase someone for next year. Trust me, I have lots of those thoughts as you go through the games but the reality is to simplify things and just take teams for what they are.
For example, the Patriots in 2019 have been defined by what in fantasy? Their defense. They're facing the Dolphins at home in a spot they need to win. Pats D scoring just seems like a fitting way to end their regular season. Meanwhile, what have the Redskins been known for all season long? Boring offense. They go on the road with plenty of injuries against a dead Cowboys team. Snooze-fest 101. So I think we just take what we know and move on while identifying teams who are in Good Moods versus ones in Bad Moods and yeah, I put that in caps on purpose this week because that my friends, is our THEME OF THE WEEK. What 'Mood' is each team in. Are they in a Good Mood, feeling good about how things are ending whether that means playoffs or not? Are they in a Bad Mood, completely pissed off and miserable and ready to get the hell out of town? Or are they just sleeping in week 17 waiting for something else (i.e. Playoffs).
Falcons, Bucs, Saints, Packers, Lions, Jets, Patriots, Chiefs, Cardinals, Steelers, Titans, Eagles, Giants, Raiders, Broncos
Browns, Panthers, Chargers, Rams, Colts, Jaguars, Cowboys
Bengals, Bills, Dolphins, Bears, Vikings, Ravens, Texans, Redskins
I will have a High $ Mitch Trubisky lineup. Gut feel
WEEK 17 AMBUSH PLAYS
Joe Mixon was last weeks darling who quickly turned into a dangerous play with late news that he was feeling 'ill' down in South Beach and proceeded to only rush for 50 yards on 21 carries after going for 146 and 136 the prior to weeks on roughly the same amount of carries. A sudden drop off on the road against a bad defense in the Dolphins will drive some away but not me. I honestly believe Mixon was sick or didn't keep himself on lock down in Miami and what happened last week will have no impact on him shredding a Browns Defense who honestly might not even make the trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati this week. Sure, Freddie Kitchens is getting the confidence from management and lots of the Browns issues are on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bengals are playing hard on offense and quite honestly playing fairly well. Just four weeks ago, Mixon went for 146 and a touchdown in Cleveland in a close 8 point game and now the Browns completely out of the playoffs should pose much much less resistance this Sunday in what likely will be wet conditions. Mixon is still a young back and capable of being a RB1 for sure going into 2020 and he cements that place in your fantasy rankings with an INSANE week 17 performance against a dead Browns team. Hey Joe, where you goin with that football in your hands? To the endzone of course! While the Bengals get ready to welcome in one Joe (Burrow), it's the current Joe (Mixon) who wins tournaments this week.
AMBUSH PLAY #1: Joe Mixon is this weeks top RB
LOCK AND LOAD
The best game of the day to me is Oakland vs Denver. As of the time this game plays the Raiders will be alive and well for a playoff spot and absolutely will get a shot to put up some points on Denver who is good defensively but not completely lock down. The other side though is where the good juice is for me. I loooooove Denver and their passing game against a bad Raiders pass defense. If this game was in week 5 or 6 we would see 30% Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. But because it is week 17, it's a quiet week for Denver hype and there's no reason not to like the Broncos to ride high here. I believe in Lock's talent against a middle tier defense like the Raiders and while he is too young to dominate against the higher end defenses with #1 CB's like a Darrius Slay last week, he should feast against a bottom secondary like Oakland has. Lock-Sutton-Fant with some Raiders like Jacobs or Hunter Renfroe on the other side will make this a a smash spot this weekend.
AMBUSH PLAY #2: Drew Lock and the Broncos score over 25 against the Raiders in a very very good game.
REMEMBER THE GOOD STACKS and oh yeah, THE TITANS
One thing we think we know going into Week 17 is which teams will be motivated versus which ones will not. It's honestly overblown a little bit because teams are what they are but we shouldn't be completely blind to the few spots who definitely feel like they are safe for volume. The thing is though there's not as many as you might think this week. Is Zeke Elliot safe? Not in my book even though the Redskins rushing defense has been gashed a ton lately, but he is logical. Is Aaron Rodgers safe? The guy hasn't done much in a long long time, but he absolutely makes sense for the Packers in a dome environment against a bad defense all around and on a short week I doubt the Packers immediately go back to Aaron Jones all game long. How about the Titans against the Texans? Is it Henry, is it Brown? They all feel safe.
So what that really means to me is we have a bunch of STACK spots where teams who appear safe because they will all "get theirs" will end up getting you to the top and not necessarily the old GAME STACK mentality, so here are the spots that I love to stack a team the most this week where the top scores might be 160-170'ish and you'll see lots of 15-18 type scores from a stack getting it done with that one big score around it.
Tennessee Titans - Tannehill, Henry, Brown, Titans D
Green Bay Packers - Packers, Jones, Adams, Lazard
Kansas CityChiefs - Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, Chiefs D
New Orleans Saints - Brees, Murray, Hill, Saints D
AMBUSH PLAY #3: Stacking potential blowouts will work
TAYSOM IS JUST ALRIGHT
Anyone who knows me well enough or even has been following me on Twitter knows that I have enjoyed the experience that is Taysom Hill ever since he burst onto the scene for the Saints in 2017 and caused havoc forcing blocked punts, making tackles on kick-offs and eventually found his way over the past two seasons into the Saints offensive play book more and more as what others call a 'Gadet' play. I have had many arguments over the past 2 to 3 years about Taysom and how he is a quality athlete who is being used in many unique ways that benefit the Saints contrary to what old get off my lawn type Fantasy Analysts want to say. God forbid someone besides Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara or Michael Thomas get the ball for a team who has won 36 games and counting in the regular season the last three years. This continued into me making easily the best (which isn't saying much) call of the season back on June 10th which was that Taysom Hill would score more touchdowns than OBJ in the upcoming season. We currently stand at 6-3 and while I don't actually hate OBJ this was more of a shot at all the donkeys who were jockeying the Cleveland Browns as the next Super Bowl team and how you should be drafting every Cleveland Brown in fantasy football. How'd that work out? At any rate, enough of the chest pounding on Taysom, lets break down the actual facts on why I think he is a must play in Week 17 on FanDuel and even someone I'd consider on DraftKings for the hell of it.
The difference between the two sites is that Taysom Hill is a $5,200 TE on FanDuel (he had been WR) and is a Quarterback still on DraftKings at $4,500. So position depth certainly makes him a better FanDuel play alone because there's so many other options at QB on DK and obviously on FD if you need a second TE you can do that in the FLEX position.
As for his potential opportunities in Week 17 they could not be better. New Orleans sits in a unique spot where they need to win to have a shot at a BYE and it's a legit shot needing Seattle to beat San Francisco or pray for a miracle and get Detroit to beat Green Bay and they're getting a first round BYE which would be very beneficial to a team who has a bunch of nagging injuries on both sides of the ball right now. So I envision the Saints looking to come out and bury the Panthers early, knowing that Carolina doesn't have enough to make a huge comeback and given how bad the Panthers rushing defense has been the Saints should be able to control the time of possession even when it's obvious they will be running the ball. But how do they manage to both exploit a bad rushing defense and a mediocre pass defense while striking EARLY and then grinding it out late? Enter Taysom Hill. Hill has seen an increase in his snap count and usage as a WR/TE lately and the Swiss Army Knife QB-RB-WR-TE-ST do everything legend most DEFINITELY will see opportunities at QB this week to run the read option and frequently has been used in that situation when the Saints get around the 20-30 yard line. So when Taysom gets his first rushing touchdown on a 32 yard run this weekend you will gladly take those 9.2 points from a $5,200 TE. But the real bonus will be the few passes he catches and the second half usage he gets when they're grinding out the clock on offense and not looking to do such with just Alvin Kamara or Latavius Murray running the ball. My prediction on Taysom Hill this week is 100+ all purpose yards and two touchdowns.
I don't care what they may say. I don't care what they may do. I don't care what they may say. Taysom is just alright, Oh yeah!
AMBUSH PLAY #4: THE LEGEND GROWS, TAYSOM HILL CAPS OFF A GREAT YEAR WITH 2 TD.
FULL AMBUSH RANKINGS
- Aaron Rodgers
- Drew Lock
- Carson Wentz
- Joe Mixon
- Zeke Elliott
- Aaron Jones
- Christian McCaffrey (DK) ... Not only will he catch 7+ balls easily for 50 yards, he will also break a big long 60 yard rushing TD against the Saints defense in the 1st or 4th Quarter.
- Josh Jacobs
- Sony Michel
- Tony Pollard
- LaTavius Muray
My top three WR this week stand out to me the most above everyone else and really Hill can be swapped for any other high priced STUD WR who you know will be playing (i.e. Not Hopkins), but Brown and Sutton are the top two WR for me this week. By far.
- AJ Brown
- Courtland Sutton
- Tyreek Hill
- Golden Tate
- Julio Jones ... I believe this will be his final game as a Falcon. For what it's worth.
- Greg Ward Jr
- Hunter Renfroe ... Probably my favorite sneaky value WR this week. Love Renfroe's usage in the red zone. Play him w/ Lock/Sutton.
- Allen Lazard ... Nice pivot off Adams and for his cheaper price he doesn't need as much to hit value.
It's a good week at TE, but not a dominant up top week. Dallas G is chalk on DK and the logical play there for sure.
- Taysom Hill (FD Only)
- Dallas Goedert
- Noah Fant
- Cameron Brate
- Austin Hooper
Do not. I repeat. Do not overlook a defense for an underdog this week where the other team will be resting (Jets is another example)
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Tennessee Titans
- Chicago Bears
- New Orleans Saints
A new section that I am bringing to my article each week. This is my sneaky way of providing thoughts on lots of the games without actually "touting" or recommending specific plays each week. It's for those of you who love to ask questions on Twitter, Slack or whatever other method you prefer.
Okay, what's the game you aren't heavy on that scares you?
Maybe the Eagles/Giants? I guess I will be underweight on both RB and I can see Daniel Jones balling out and giving the Eagles a scare. But for me it's Ward and Tate that I'll roll with from that game.
The other one to monitor has to be the Bucs-Falcons game, but a lack of skill for Tampa outside should kill the flow in this game.
CONTEST SELECTION REMINDERS
Reminder on a couple things you should be looking for each week are as follows
- Tournaments with less than 1k users in them
- Tournaments with less than 300 users in them
- Tournaments that pay 10x to first not 50x to first
- Higher paylines (% of people who get paid)
- How much does 10th place get? 20th place?
Focus on not first place but below that. Make sure you are playing a tournament that is one you can win in and will not have a ton of tilt by entering a lineup and having to worry about every single person who scores on the slate. You'll find that in the long run any tournament that only pays 10x to first is one you will profit in.