DraftKings NFL: Week 17 Tournament Guide

DraftKings NFL: Week 17 Tournament Guide

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

Sunday's slate features 14 games, a few more than we've gotten used to seeing. On bigger slates like this, rostership percentages become less of a concern. While leverage is still important for tournaments, I won't do anything sub-optimal to get it. The Chiefs-Bengals and Cardinals-Cowboys matchups will be popular targets as they're the only games with totals higher than 50. David Montgomery ($6,500), Ronald Jones ($6,300) and Sony Michel ($5,800) stand out as good values at running back. Likewise for Trey Lance ($4,800) and Antonio Brown ($6,100) at their respective positions. 

A weekly reminder to embrace risk and fade some of the chalk in GPPs. Few "experts" recommended Joe Burrow and the Bengals last week and even fewer rostered them. That spot looks pretty obvious in retrospect after a discounted Burrow threw for 525 yards and Bengals stacks were part of every winning lineup. Mark Andrews was even less popular, partly because Josh Johnson started at quarterback. It's that type of leverage that wins all the money in tournaments. The moral of the story is take some chances. Good Luck.

Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EST on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.

The Games

Over/UnderRoad Team

Road Implied 

Total

Home Team

Home Implied 

Total

39.5Miami Dolphins18Tennessee Titans21.5
44Atlanta Falcons14.75Buffalo Bills29.25
41.5Jacksonville Jaguars12.5New England Patriots29
44.5Las Vegas Raiders18.75Indianapolis Colts25.75
45.5Tampa Bay Buccaneers29.25New York Jets16.25
44.5Philadelphia Eagles24Washington FT20.5
37New York Giants15.5Chicago Bears21.5
50.5Kansas City Chiefs27.75Cincinnati Benglas22.75
46.5Los Angeles Rams25.5Baltimore Ravens21
44Houston Texans15.75San Francisco 49ers28.25
46Denver Broncos19.75Los Angeles Chargers26.25
42.5Detroit Lions17.75Seattle Seahawks24.75
37.5Carolina Panthers15.5New Orleans Saints22
51.5Arizona Cardinals22.75Dallas Cowboys28.75

Point-Per-Dollar Value

These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.

Volume and matchup have Montgomery standing out as good value this week. He averaged more than seven targets per game in his last four and the Bears are in a favorable spot at home against the Giants. Facing Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm should lead to a positive gamescript for Montgomery, who would have decent touchdown equity as a result. He's had 25-plus touches in three of his last four games; expect him to see a similar workload. 

Plain and simple, Brown is just underpriced in the absence of Chris Godwin. He'd be too cheap for any matchup but looks extra appealing with the Buccaneers in a great spot against the Jets. Seeing his first action since Week 6, Brown caught 10 of 15 targets for 101 yards last week as he didn't appear to show any rust following a long layoff due to injury and suspension. He should see 10-plus targets again and has a good chance to find the end zone.

Other Cash-Game Options

QB Josh Allen vs. ATL ($8,000)

QB Justin Herbert vs. DEN ($6,800)

QB Dak Prescott vs. ARI ($6,700)

QB Jalen Hurts at WAS ($6,600)

QB Taysom Hill vs. CAR ($6,000)

QB Trey Lance vs. HOU ($4,800)

RB Jonathan Taylor vs. LV ($9,000)

RB David Montgomery vs. NYG ($6,500)

RB Ronald Jones at NYJ ($6,300)

RB Josh Jacobs at IND ($6,200)

RB Sony Michel at BAL ($5,800)

RB Darrel Williams at CIN ($5,800), if Clyde Edwards-Helarie is out

RB Devin Singletary vs. ATL ($5,400)

WR Cooper Kupp at BAL ($9,500)

WR Jaylen Waddle at TEN ($6,700)

WR Hunter Renfrow at IND ($6,500)

WR Antonio Brown at NYJ ($6,100)

WR Brandin Cooks at SF ($6,000)

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown at SEA ($6,000)

WR Christian Kirk at DAL ($5,800)

WR DJ Moore at NO ($5,600)

WR Braxton Berrios vs. TB ($3,700), if Moore and Crowder are out

TE Zach Ertz at DAL ($5,200)

TE Dallas Goedert at WAS ($5,100)

TE Foster Moreau at IND ($3,800)

TE Cole Kmet vs. NYG ($3,400)

TE C.J. Uzomah vs. KC ($3,300)

D/ST New Orleans Saints vs. CAR ($3,400)

D/ST Chicago Bears vs. NYG ($3,200)

D/ST Miami Dolphins at TEN ($2,800)

Passing-Game Stacks

Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)

Kansas City Chiefs (27.75) at Cincinnati Bengals (22.75)

Chiefs

This game is one of two on the slate that has a total higher than 50 and features dynamic offenses that appear to peaking at the right time. Patrick Mahomes ($7,800) has thrown three TDs in consecutive games despite not having his full complement of weapons. All of his pass-catchers are back healthy now, and we've seen him put up 30-plus fantasy points four times already this season. This could be another such spot in a matchup that has shootout potential. Tyreek Hill ($8,300) was "exhausted" last week after dealing with COVID, which is why he only had two catches while playing just 42 percent of the snaps. When healthy, his ceiling is as high as any player in DFS and this should be a good spot to bounce back. Travis Kelce ($7,300) is back after sitting out last week due to COVID. He scored a massive 44 fantasy points in his last game against the Chargers, and his salary is still a bit depressed from what it was earlier in the season. Byron Pringle ($4,100) stepped up in his absence last week with six catches for 75 yards and two scores. He's clearly established himself as the No. 2 WR. Darrel Williams ($5,800) and is expected to start in place of the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Williams has considerable receiving upside and could catch seven or eight balls in this spot. He could nine in his last start against the Raiders in Week 10.  

Bengals

Joe Burrow ($6,900) torched the Ravens for a whopping 525 yards and four TDs last week. He's been hugely impressive in his sophomore season and will need a big game if the Bengals are going to hang with the Chiefs. His salary has reached a season-high, which should temper his popularity. Ja'Marr Chase ($7,600) is coming of seven catches for 125 yards. He has multiple-touchdown upside in any matchup based on his big-play ability as a deep threat. Tee Higgins ($6,900) is coming off the best game of his career in which he caught 12 passes for 194 yards and two scores. He's topped 19 fantasy points in four of his last five games and isn't likely to be overly popular now that his salary has ballooned to a season high. Tyler Boyd ($5,400) has caught touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and is a viable option if you don't want to pay for Chase or Higgins. C.J. Uzomah ($3,300) drew seven targets last week. He's drawn at least six in three of his last four and looks like one of the better cheap TE options on the slate. It was encouraging to see Joe Mixon ($7,500) catch six passes for 70 yards while rushing for a touchdown last week. He has big upside whenever he's involved in the passing game and would offer leverage in either Chiefs or Bengals stacks. 

  • Favorite Stack: QB Burrow + WR Hill + WR Higgins + TE Uzomah

Arizona Cardinals (22.75) at Dallas Cowboys (28.75)

Cardinals

The Cardinals have struggled lately, losing three consecutive games, but now Kyler Murray ($7,300) has seen his salary drop to its lowest point of the season for a matchup against the Cowboys that features the slate's highest total. It's nice to see Murray running the ball again as he's topped 50 yards on the ground in three of his last four. All of the relevant Cardinals have favorable salaries in the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. Christian Kirk ($5,800) has 16 catches on 21 targets over his last two games. A.J. Green ($5,300) has been inconsistent but Murray still looks for him around the end zone and with the occasional deep ball. He has at least eight targets in two of his last three. Zach Ertz ($5,200) has benefited most without Hopkins on the field, drawing 24 targets the last two weeks. He looks like one of the better TE options on the slate, especially if the Cardinals play behind, as expected. I won't have much interest in James Conner ($6,100), if he plays. Chase Edmonds ($5,700) caught eight passes and had 24 touches last week when Conner sat out. Edmonds' role in the passing game makes him viable in stacks regardless but if Conner were to miss again, Edmonds becomes one of the better RB values on the slate. 

Cowboys

Dak Prescott ($6,700) had 300 yards and three TDs by halftime in last week's drubbing of Washington. His salary is still down and he looks like a bit of bargain in this spot. CeeDee Lamb ($7,100) has gone five games without a touchdown and hasn't topped 100 yards receiving since Week 8. If the game stays competitive, he's a good bet to break both of those streaks. Amari Cooper ($6,600) drew 11 targets last week and caught a TD for the second time in three games. He's been inconsistent this season but still flashes a ceiling from time to time and won't be overly popular. Michael Gallup ($4,800) has seen his salary drop under $5K for the first time in six weeks. He's cheap enough to pair with another Cowboys pass-catcher in double stacks. Dalton Schultz ($5,000) has caught eight passes in consecutive games and found the end zone in both. He's clearly one of Prescott's favorite targets. Ezekiel Elliott ($7,100) is hard to trust with Tony Pollard ($5,900) healthy. The best argument for rostering either Cowboys RB is neither will be popular. Elliot has decent touchdown equity in this spot and would make for a viable leverage option, though I'm unlikely to go there. 

  • Favorite Cowboys Stack: QB Prescott + WR Lamb + WR Kirk + TE Schultz
  • Favorite Cardinals Stack: QB Murray + WR Lamb + WR Kirk + TE Ertz

Other Stacks to Consider

QB Josh Allen + WR Stefon Diggs + TE Kyle Pitts or WR Russell Gage

QB Tom Brady + WR Antonio Brown + WR Braxton Berrios +/- WR Mike Evans

QB Jalen Hurts + TE Dallas Goedert + RB Jaret Patterson or WR Terry McLaurin

QB Russell Wilson + WR DK Metcalf + WR Amon-Ra St. Brown or RB D'Andre Swift

QB Taysom Hill + WR DJ Moore

QB Tyler Huntley + WR Cooper Kupp + TE Mark Andrews or WR Marquise Brown

QB Trey Lance + WR Brandin Cooks + TE George Kittle or WR Deebo Samuel 

High-Priced Heroes

This is the fourth consecutive week that I've highlighted Kupp, but he continues to smash game after game so I plan on having plenty of exposure again Sunday. He has at least 100 receiving yards in four consecutive games and has topped 24 fantasy points in each. He's in the midst of a historic season, on pace to break multiple records. The Ravens are banged up in the secondary and just allowed 500-plus yards to Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Kupp's $9,500 salary is steep, but it's more affordable if you roster Trey Lance ($4,800) and/or a couple of value RBs. 

Taylor had his streak of 11 consecutive games with at least one touchdown snapped last week against the Cardinals but still rushed for 108 yards. It was the sixth time in his last seven that he's topped 100 yards on the ground, and he'll have a good chance to do it again with the Colts in a favorable spot at home against the Raiders. It's a bit concerning that he hasn't caught a pass in three weeks, but some of that was down to gamescripts. Keep an eye on the status of Carson Wentz (COVID-19). If I'm going to pay $9,000 for Taylor, I want Wentz to start as it helps the Colts offense and increases Taylor's touchdown equity. 

Honorable Mentions: WR Tyreek Hill, KC at CIN ($8,300); TE Travis Kelce, KC at CIN ($7,300)

Fading the Field

Every week we see at least one or two players who are popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. In some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.

I love Samuel, both as a real-life football player and as a DFS option. His dual-threat ability gives him big upside just about every week. The first thing that puts me off him this week is the fact that his salary has now reached a season high after he caught nine passes for 159 yards last week. The second factor is that Trey Lance is expected to start. It's not that Lance is bad, but at the moment, Samuel has more receiving upside with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, in my opinion. For $8,700, I'm looking for a big ceiling game and Samuel's upside likely takes a hit with Lance behind center. A touchdown isn't enough to pay off that price tag; he needs catches and yards too. 

The Smash Spot

(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)

Lance is expected to start in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. The last time Lance started was Week 5 at Arizona when he rushed 16 times for 89 yards. His salary was $5,700 then; now it's all the way down to $4,800 for what's a better matchup at home against the Texans. Based on the favorite matchup and his rushing upside, Lance should be $6K in this spot. The 49ers spent the third overall pick on him and Sunday provides a perfect opportunity to showcase his talents.

Honorable Mentions: RB Ronald Jones, TB at NYJ ($6,300); WR Brandin Cooks, HOU at SF ($6,000); RB Sony Michel, LAR at BAL ($5,800)

The Bargain Bin

QB Tyler Huntley vs. LAR ($5,600)

QB Trey Lance vs. HOU ($4,800)

RB Antonio Gibson vs. PHI ($5,900)

RB Sony Michel at BAL ($5,800)

RB Darrel Williams at CIN ($5,800), if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out

RB Devin Singletary vs. ATL ($5,400)

RB Michael Carter vs. TB ($5,100)

RB Boston Scott at WAS ($4,900), especially if Jordan Howard is out

RB Jaret Patterson vs. PHI ($4,800)

WR Marvin Jones at NE ($4,400)

WR Byron Pringle at CIN ($4,100)

WR Laquon Treadwell at NE ($4,000)

WR Braxton Berrios vs. TB ($3,700)

WR Kendall Hinton at LAC ($3,000)

TE Foster Moreau at IND ($3,800)

TE Cole Kmet vs. NYG ($3,400)

TE C.J. Uzomah vs. KC ($3,300)

TE Brevin Jordan at SF ($2,800)

Injuries to Monitor

Both Evans and Brown are listed as questionable and likely to be game-time decisions. If one of them were to miss, Breshad Perriman ($4,300) would be in a great spot as the Bucs are already missing Chris Godwin and have a very favorable matchup against the Jets. 

Coach John Harbaugh said Jackson "has a chance to play." If he does, I won't have much interest considering he's dealing with an ankle injury and so much of his appeal comes from his rushing upside. If he misses, Tyler Huntley ($5,600) is favorably priced for the type of upside he's shown. He's ran for at least 40 yards in all three of his starts this season and just hung 35 fantasy points on the Packers in Week 15. 

Weather

It's likely to be snowy and cold in Buffalo, which would temper my interest in Josh Allen and the Bills WRs. If that's the case, I wouldn't target Kyle Pitts or Russell Gage either. Devin Singletary is still an appealing option no matter the weather. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
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