Week 17 NFL – The Cruncher List for Week 17: Game-By-Game Analysis

The Cruncher List | Week 17 FanDuel & DraftKings NFL DFS Lineup Advice, Tips & Picks.

Here to help you build the best possible FanDuel & DraftKings NFL Week 17 Line-up.

With 15 games on the Main Slate this week – in order to keep this article from turning into a novel, I’ll be getting straight to the point a little more this week!  My preference is finding players on teams that are playing for something – though I won’t be using that exclusively…so have a look at our game by game breakdown below & we will be back with The Cruncher List for Wildcard weekend, through the Conference Championships!

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-7), Projected Total: 50 points

Bucs vs. QB: 15th Falcons vs. QB: 32nd
Bucs vs. RB: 1st Falcons vs. RB: 4th
Bucs vs. WR: 22nd Falcons vs. WR: 30th
Bucs vs. TE: 21st Falcons vs. TE: 30th

Atlanta – Projected total: 21.5 points

QB Matt Ryan DK: $5,900 FD: $7,500
WR Calvin Ridley DK: $8,500 FD: $8,700
WR Russell Gage DK: $5,100 FD: $5,700
TE Hayden Hurst DK: $3,700 FD: $5,500

With a low projected total, playing on the road against a tough defence – I don’t have too much interest here outside of superstar WR, Calvin Ridley – who remains an elite play.  While the Bucs have been elite against opposing RB’s, they have given up some fantasy production to opposing passing games…partly due to the fact that the Bucs themselves put up a lot of points, and partly due to the fact that they are so stout in their front seven against the run that many teams completely shun their rushing attack.  Either way, this puts WR Calvin Ridley in a good spot this week, and given how productive he has been, he is one of the best high-spend options at the WR position this week.  Over the past four games, he leads the NFL in air yards by 187 out of all WR’s.

He has cleared the century mark in yards in each of his past four games and has seen at least 9 targets in six straight  I could see a path to WR Russell Gage being relevant here – but it also wouldn’t shock me if the Falcons decided to spread out the targets beyond Ridley a little more in this one with the game being meaningless.  He is worth keeping in your player pool here at his price point on each site, but isn’t my favourite play out there.

TE Hayden Hurst is probably worth keeping in your player pool on DK this week.  He comes into this one scoring in two straight while seeing 5 targets in each game, but I wouldn’t go nuts with exposure to him at the same time.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Calvin Ridley

Good Plays

  • WR Russell Gage
  • TE Hayden Hurst (DK)

Tampa Bay – Projected total: 28.5 points

QB Tom Brady DK: $7,200 FD: $8,400
RB Ronald Jones DK: $5,900 FD: $6,600
RB Leonard Fournette DK: $5,800 FD: $6,600
WR Mike Evans DK: $7,500 FD: $8,100
WR Chris Godwin DK: $6,600 FD: $7,400
WR Antonio Brown DK: $5,500 FD: $6,000
TE Rob Gronkowski DK: $4,500 FD: $6,100

The Bucs come into this one fresh off of absolutely demolishing the Lions a week ago, to the point where Tom Brady essentially played in only a half and put up a massive fantasy day.  They are locked into a wildcard spot with the Saints having clinched the division – so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the day cut short for a number of their stars in this one…with that said, they will have the opportunity to put up some fantasy points as they go up against one of the worst defences in the league and shouldn’t be too popular in terms of ownership levels.

With that said – for me personally, I have no problem just fading them altogether this week – if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong – but I don’t really envision too many of the key cogs in their offence sticking around late into this game to the point where they will be large-field GPP relevant….especially after they let their WR’s (I’m mainly looking at you, Mike Evans…though he does only need 40 yards to clear the century mark again this season – something I think is essentially a lock to happen, but it’s only 40 yards afterall) linger around last week in the blow-out win over the Lions. I

‘m guessing they don’t do that again in this one and try as quickly as they can to get out of dodge unscathed in this one on the injury side of things, though if you believe the reports about RB Ronald Jones getting ‘a ton’ of work – he’s fully in play as an elite option this week.  To me – he misses the cut for The Cruncher List, but is worth including in your player pool.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • RB Ronald Jones
  • WR Mike Evans
  • Bucs DST

Dallas (-1) @ New York Giants, Projected total: 44.5 points

Giants vs. QB: 5th Cowboys vs. QB: 21st
Giants vs. RB: 20th Cowboys vs. RB: 25th
Giants vs. WR: 10th Cowboys vs. WR: 31st
Giants vs. TE: 8th Cowboys vs. TE: 16th

Dallas – Projected Total: 22.75 points

QB Andy Dalton DK: $5,600 FD: $7,100
RB Ezekiel Elliott DK: $6,400 FD: $6,500
WR Amari Cooper DK: $5,800 FD: $6,700
WR CeeDee Lamb DK: $5,200 FD: $6,100
WR Michael Gallup DK: $5,000 FD: $6,200
TE Dalton Schultz DK: $3,000 FD: $5,100

The total here is low for Dallas, who are small road favourites in a game where the winner of this one will have a shot of winning the NFC East and making the playoffs (if Washington loses on Sunday night).  As a result, we should see both teams pull out all the stops trying to take this one and won’t have any concerns about playing time here.

The issue, however – is that the Giants defence has been tough on opposing passing games, and the Giants offence hasn’t put up points all season long – which means from a game script standpoint, it looks like this will be one of the lower scoring games on the slate, likely putting a cap on the ceilings here for many fantasy options.

The passing game for Dallas looked outstanding in last week’s win over Philly with QB Andy Dalton peppering WR Micahel Gallup in the first half before looking Cooper’s way in the second half.  The common theme here was that they were going after Eagles CB Michael Jacquet – who got torched all game.  A similar weak-link doesn’t exist for the Giants secondary – and while I think the Cowboys will be able to move the ball at least somewhat in this one – I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance from Dalton and company in this one.  The price point on Dalton, Cooper and Lamb is interesting enough to include the trio in your player pool on DK – but on FD, I do prefer other options on the board this week.

The rushing attack here could be a great spot to attack.  The Giants have struggled to defend opposing RB’s, and the price point on Elliott is quite attractive.  He saw 23 touches last week to Pollard’s 10, so while Pollard is definitely going to get some run, I do think that Zeke’s workload is pretty safe in this one and at his price on each site – I think he’s an excellent option this week in a game that could set up to have a very game friendly script for the Cowboys rushing attack if the Giants are able to keep the passing game in check for the Cowboys.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott

Good Plays

  • WR Amari Cooper (DK)
  • WR CeeDee Lamb (DK)

New York Giants – Projected Total: 21.75 points

QB Daniel Jones DK: $5,100 FD: $7,000
RB Wayne Gallman DK: $5,300 FD: $5,700
WR Sterling Shepard DK: $5,200 FD: $5,500
WR Darius Slayton DK: $4,100 FD: $5,000
TE Evan Engram DK: $3,700 FD: $5,400

The Giants have largely been a fantasy team to avoid this season, outside the odd week where Gallman, Slayton or Evan Engram were in play.  The price point here is outstanding on all five of the options above – but for me, I don’t think Daniel Jones is playing at 100% health, and to me – outside of TE Evan Engram, who is a suitable value option at the TE position – I think the other four options here are dart throws at best.  The most appeal to me is probably WR Darius Slayton, who comes limping into this one.  He did, however – see 8 targets a week ago, including several deep throws from Jones – they just couldn’t connect.  Against a poor Dallas defence, I think you could do a lot worse for $4,100 (DK) and $5k (FD) for ~5% of your line-ups in case they are able to connect in this one.

The Cruncher List

  • TE Evan Engram (DK)

Good Plays

  • WR Darius Slayton
  • TE Evan Engram (FD)

New York Jets @ New England (-3), Projected Total: 39.5

Pats vs. QB: 10th Jets vs. QB: 28th
Pats vs. RB: 21st Jets vs. RB: 15th
Pats vs. WR: 11th Jets vs. WR: 20th
Pats vs. TE: 3rd Jets vs. TE: 32nd

New York Jets, Projected Total: 18.25 points

QB Sam Darnold DK: $4,900 FD: $6,600
RB Ty Johnson DK: $4,300 FD: $5,000
WR Jamison Crowder DK: $5,000 FD: $6,300
WR Breshad Perriman DK: $3,200 FD: $5,200
WR Denzel Mims DK: $3,000 FD: $4,800
TE Chris Herndon DK: $2,800 FD: $4,700

Don’t look now – but TE Chris Herndon has seen 4 targets in each of the past two ballgames for the Jets.  Ok, I’ll see myself out.  But seriously, he’s worth including in your player pool.  Remember when he was considered a strong play heading into 2020?  Not sure what happened – but if he is going to get another 4+ looks in this one, you could do worse than him for his price on DK.

As for the rest of the offence, I don’t have too much interest in the passing game here outside of WR Jamison Crowder – who remains a very strong value play.  He comes into this one with 17 targets over the past two games, and working out of the slot – is a nice high floor option this week in this match-up.  Outside of him, I will pass on the rest of the passing game here though…even though the price point on Mims and Perriman is awfully tempting.

RB Ty Johnson should see bellcow usage out of the backfield this week and is an elite option if you are looking for a punt with upside at RB this week.  He can catch the ball out of the backfield and is pretty game script proof – which is really the reason that I love him in a match-up against a Pats defence that has struggled to shut down opposing RB’s of late.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Ty Johnson
  • WR Jamison Crowder (DK)

Good Plays

  • WR Jamison Crowder (FD)
  • TE Chris Herndon (DK)
  • Jets DST

New England – Projected Total: 21.25 points

QB Cam Newton DK: $5,500 FD: $7,300
RB Sony Michel DK: $4,600 FD: $5,800
WR Jakobi Meyers DK: $5,000 FD: $5,600
WR Damiere Byrd DK: $3,400 FD: $5,300

For me, this is a pretty easy pass here.  The Jets defence has been a better group than you’d expect for the team with the second worst record in the league – and they come into this one winners of two straight.  Layer that in with the struggles that we have seen from the Pats offence, and I have no problem fading the Patriots this week.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • Pats DST

Minnesota (-6) @ Detroit, Projected Total: 54

Lions vs. QB: 31st Vikings vs. QB: 12th
Lions vs. RB: 31st Vikings vs. RB: 27th
Lions vs. WR: 32nd Vikings vs. WR: 28th
Lions vs. TE: 19th Vikings vs. TE: 15th

Minnesota – Projected Total: 30 points

QB Kirk Cousins DK: $6,300 FD: $7,700
RB Alexander Mattison DK: $6,100 FD: $5,000
WR Justin Jefferson DK: $7,600 FD: $8,000
WR Adam Thielen DK: $7,400 FD: $7,900
TE Irv Smith Jr. DK: $3,900 FD: $5,600

With Dalvin Cook ruled out this weekend, those that rostered Alexander Mattison in Week 6 get to make that decision again.  Regardless of how you feel about this choice, Mattison is an elite option on both sites against a Lions defence that has been dismal in all phases of the game, including the run.  He should see plenty of work in this one and is affordable on DK, and pretty much a free square on FD with a $5k price tag.

As for the passing game, all metrics other than red-zone usage indicate that WR Justin Jefferson is the better option between the two high priced WR’s.  Thielen continues to get the bulk of the looks in the endzone from Cousins – and while there may be some validity to that trend continuing, I’m not expecting the same level of discrepancy that we have seen between the looks Thielen has got vs. the ones Jefferson has in the endzone.  To me – Jefferson is an elite option, while Thielen is an intriguing game theory pivot off of Jefferson.  If you want a narrative for something to fuel a massive game, Jefferson needs 207 yards to break the all-time rookie record for receiving yards…something in the range of potential outcomes, especially if he gets off to a strong early start.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Kirk Cousins
  • RB Alexander Mattison
  • WR Justin Jefferson

Good Plays

  • WR Adam Thielen
  • TE Irv Smith Jr.

Detroit – Projected Total: 24 points

QB Matthew Stafford DK: $5,600 FD: $7,200
RB D’Andre Swift DK: $6,300 FD: $7,500
WR Marvin Jones DK: $5,100 FD: $6,100
TE TJ Hockenson DK: $4,600 FD: $5,800

It looks like QB Matthew Stafford is going to try and start in this one – and I ask – what’s the point?  He is now battling rib, thumb and ankle injuries – and even if he does suit up in this one, if you decide to roster the likes of Swift, Jones and/or Hockenson – make sure you are ok to do so under the premise that QB Chase Daniel could be seeing significant snaps under center.  I can see the appeal to the likes of Swift, Jones and/or Hockenson – but to me, I do prefer other options on the board at each position.  There is too much risk here that Stafford will not be able to make it through this one – and we’ve seen this offence takes a big step backwards from a fantasy standpoint with Daniel at QB.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • RB D’Andre Swift
  • TE TJ Hockenson

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (-9), Projected Total: 42

Browns vs. QB: 26th Steelers vs. QB: 2nd
Browns vs. RB: 8th Steelers vs. RB: 5th
Browns vs. WR: 24th Steelers vs. WR: 15th
Browns vs. TE: 29th Steelers vs. TE: 1st

Pittsburgh – Projected Total: 16.5 points

With QB Mason Rudolph under center, to me – this is an easy fade for Pittsburgh.  They pulled off a comeback win last week and have everything wrapped up & appear happy to get some rest and relaxation for Big Ben this week.  With Rudolph under center – and a possible short leash on some other key players this week, I have no interest in using any of them in Week 17 DFS line-ups on a 15 game slate with many other options on the board.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • None

Cleveland – Projected Total: 25.5 points

QB Baker Mayfield DK: $5,500 FD: $7,000
RB Nick Chubb DK: $7,600 FD: $8,100
WR Jarvis Landry DK: $6,500 FD: $6,700
WR Rashard Higgins DK: $4,500 FD: $5,600
TE Austin Hooper DK: $3,800 FD: $5,200

Even with Big Ben sitting this week, I am not expecting too many of the key defensive players for Pittsburgh to be sitting out…which probably means pump the brakes if you were thinking of going stacking here.  I wouldn’t shy away from using an option or two here.  RB Nick Chubb should see plenty of work in a game that Cleveland may very well have to win in order to make the playoffs.  Baker Mayfield may give a few extra targets to whoever has the best match-ups out wide between Landry, Higgins or Hooper.

For me – I love this spot for Chubb.  I’d expect him to clear 20 touches in this one, and even though he isn’t cheap, the season long rush defence ranking for the Steelers may help keep his ownership levels very low this week and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if he had a massive game in this one.

As for the receiving options, I do prefer other options on the board – though I think keeping Mayfield (as a value option at QB), Landry and Hooper in your player pool is likely wise.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Nick Chubb (FD)
  • Browns DST

Good Plays

  • RB Nick Chubb (DK)
  • QB Baker Mayfield
  • WR Jarvis Landry
  • TE Austin Hooper

Baltimore (-13) @ Cincinnati, Projected Total: 44 points

Ravens vs. QB: 14th Bengals vs. QB: 4th
Ravens vs. RB: 14th Bengals vs. RB: 20th
Ravens vs. WR: 6th Bengals vs. WR: 10th
Ravens vs. TE: 14th Bengals vs. TE: 9th

Baltimore – Projected Total: 28.5 points

QB Lamar Jackson DK: $8,000 FD: $9,000
RB JK Dobbins DK: $6,700 FD: $6,400
WR Marquise Brown DK: $5,900 FD: $6,000
TE Mark Andrews DK: $5,800 FD: $7,200

The Ravens come into this one with a healthy projected total as they go up against the Bengals in a game that has playoff implications for them as they try and secure one of the three AFC Wildcard spots.  If they win, they are in – and as heavy favourites in this one – I think they are a prime team to go stacking with this week.

QB Lamar Jackson comes into this one cleaing the 26 DKP mark in 3 of his past four games with the lone game under that total coming last week – a game where he rushed for 80 yards but failed to find the endzone on the ground.  I don’t think he makes that two straight weeks without a rushing score, and while I don’t think you have to pay up this much at QB this week – if you have the salary room to roster him – he’s an excellent option this week in a vital game for Baltimore.

RB Gus Edwards popped up with a back injury late in the week, and I am expecting RB JK Dobbins to get a few extra touches in this one.  While I don’t expect him to get bellcow usage, in a key game against a poor run defence, I think he’s an excellent value on both sites this week.

TE Mark Andrews has really gotten going after a slow first half of the season and is an elite high spend option at TE this week.  He comes into this one fresh off last week’s 11 target game and ranks 3rd in air yards over the past three weeks since he returned from his bout on the Covid list (he is behind only Waller and Kelce).  I don’t think you have to pay up at TE this week – but if you are, he’s an elite option.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Lamar Jackson
  • RB JK Dobbins
  • TE Mark Andrews
  • Ravens DST

Good Plays

  • WR Marquise Brown

Cincinnati – Projected Total: 15.5 points

With the lowest projected total on the board, going up against one of the league’s best defences in a game that is key to their playoff hopes, I don’t like the outlook here for the Bengals.  WR Tee Higgins is worth considering if you are looking for a CIN option to run back with a 3-man BAL stack, but outside of that – I don’t have any interest here for anyone on the Bengals as they look forward to 2021.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • WR Tee Higgins

Miami @ Buffalo (-3), Projected Total: 42.5

Bills vs. QB: 17th Dolphins vs. QB: 9th
Bills vs. RB: 18th Dolphins vs. RB: 10th
Bills vs. WR: 4th Dolphins vs. WR: 19th
Bills vs. TE: 25th Dolphins vs. TE: 7th

Miami – Projected Total: 19.5 points

QB Tua Tagovailoa DK: $5,100 FD: $6,800
RB Myles Gaskin DK: $6,500 FD: $6,700
WR DeVante Parker DK: $5,300 FD: $6,100
WR Lynn Bowden DK: $3,500 FD: $4,900
TE Mike Gesicki DK: $4,200 FD: $5,900

The Dolphins control their own playoff destiny, and if they are able to win on Sunday will punch their ticket into the playoffs.  Lose, and they will need help with one of three teams losing – all of which are heavy favourites.  We aren’t sure if the Bills will be playing all of their key players – but at this point in time, you could see a strong argument to be made for the Bills to try and secure the number 2 seed, likely avoiding a first round match-up with Baltimore should they be able to avoid falling to the 3rd seed.

Either way, Miami will be without QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in this one, though Tua was announced as the starter prior to the Covid news breaking on Fitz mid-week.  As such, I don’t have too much interest in the passing game here.  The offence has been really dialed down whenever Tua has been under center – almost to the point where it’s a completely different, more conservative system…though it should be noted the aDOT for Tua and Fitz both rank quite low – likely a function of the limited weapons that both of them have at their disposal.  Either way – TE Mike Gesicki, who has seen 24 targets over his past three games is a rock solid option at TE this week, worthy of a spot on The Cruncher List – but outside of him, I don’t have any interest in the passing game here.

As for the ground game, RB Myles Gaskin should be leaned on heavily in this one.  He took a short pass from Fitz to the house last week, and also added a TD on the ground for a two score game.  Look for him to approach 20 touches in this one – I expect him to be a key part of Chan Gailey’s game-plan, and I think he’s an elite option this week.  I will say, however – despite me having both of these players on The Cruncher List – I likely wouldn’t use both of them in the same line-up.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Myles Gaskin
  • TE Mike Gesicki

Good Plays

  • Dolphins DST

Buffalo – Projected Total: 22.5 points

QB Josh Allen DK: $7,600 FD: $8,200
RB Zack Moss DK: $4,600 FD: $5,400
WR Stefon Diggs DK: $8,100 FD: $8,500
WR Gabriel Davis DK: $3,600 FD: $5,200

The total here is low, leading me to believe that Vegas is betting on Allen and Diggs playing less than all four quarters in this one….but likely still seeing significant time.  So – what do we do with this, given that they are going up against one of the better defensive units in the game?  My gut says its worth stacking that combo in 10-15% of line-ups…though you could make the argument at their respective price points, you may just want to focus your exposures elsewhere as they go up against Miami’s defence.  The Bills (led by Diggs) torched them early on in the season, but CB Byron Jones missed that one – and Miami’s defence really struggled out of the gate.

WR Gabriel Davis should see plenty of run in this one with Cole Beasley out.  I think Davis is an elite option who will likely play the full game in this one.  I really like what Ive seen from the rookie, and while I thought he would have been a little more productive since his snaps increased with the injury to WR John Brown – I do expect a few more targets to go his way….and Davis gets the added bonus of some more possible targets going his way if Diggs doesn’t play the full four quarters here – which would be nice.  I’ve tossed him on The Cruncher List this week as even though WR John Brown is back, I am not expecting Brown to see a full array of snaps here, and I think that Davis will be out there plenty on Sunday afternoon – though there is risk here, as should be expected for a WR priced at $3,600.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Gabriel Davis (DK)

Good Plays

  • QB Josh Allen
  • WR Stefon Diggs
  • WR Gabriel Davis (FD)

Seattle (-7) @ San Francisco, Projected Total: 46

49ers vs. QB: 7th Seahawks vs. QB: 27th
49ers vs. RB: 7th Seahawks vs. RB: 16th
49ers vs. WR: 13th Seahawks vs. WR: 25th
49ers vs. TE: 2nd Seahawks vs. TE: 10th

Seattle – Projected Total: 26.5 points

QB Russell Wilson DK: $7,300 FD: $7,500
RB Chris Carson DK: $6,200 FD: $7,000
WR DK Metcalf DK: $7,300 FD: $7,600
WR Tyler Lockett DK: $5,800 FD: $6,500

Since Week 9, Wilson has cleared the 23 DKP mark once.

The price point for the key cogs in the Seattle offence have been coming down – but to me, as they go up against a defence that is pretty stout – I have no problem just fading them this week, especially due to the fact that they have wrapped up their division title and don’t have too much to play for this week.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • None

San Francisco – Projected Total: 19.5 points

QB CJ Beathard DK: $5,200 FD: $6,600
RB Jeff Wilson DK: $6,000 FD: $6,300
WR Kendrick Bourne DK: $4,300 FD: $4,900
WR Richie James DK: $3,100 FD: $4,600
TE George Kittle DK: $6,000 FD: $6,800

As much as Seattle’s offence has been regressing, their defence has been playing better of late.  In fact, to see them not ranked 32nd against opposing QB’s and WR’s is a feat given how dire those figures looked at the halfway point.  With a low total here, I don’t have too much interest.  RB Jeff Wilson is intriguing – as is any SF back who is likely to get a significant portion of the touches.  The only thing keeping him off of The Cruncher List this week is his limited involvement in the passing game at his now elevated price point.

As for the receiving options, WR Richie James is set to thrive in the ‘Aiyuk’ role, and while I wouldn’t expect him to duplicate his output from Week 9 against GB, that was the week if you recall where Aiyuk was ruled out late after being the focal point of the gameplan, leaving James to shine in a loss to the Packers.  He’s a fantastic punt with upside here – though I’ll toss in the disclaimer – he is a $3,100 WR.  There’s risk here.

TE George Kittle is worth keeping in your player pool.  Of course, he too missed plenty of action this year, including that Week 9 game against GB – and the 49ers could very well make him the key cog in their Deebo and Aiyuk-less offence this week.  To me, I do prefer a couple other high spends at the position this week, enough to keep him off The Cruncher List – but he’s absolutely worth keeping in your player pool here.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Richie James

Good Plays

  • RB Jeff Wilson
  • TE George Kittle

Arizona (-3) @ LA Rams – Projected Total: 40.5 points

Rams vs. QB: 1st Cards vs. QB: 19th
Rams vs. RB: 3rd Cards vs. RB: 22nd
Rams vs. WR: 1st Cards vs. WR: 14th
Rams vs. TE: 13th Cards vs. TE: 4th

Arizona – Projected Total: 21.75 points

QB Kyler Murray DK: $7,500 FD: $7,800
RB Kenyan Drake DK: $5,400 FD: $6,200
WR DeAndre Hopkins DK: $7,900 FD: $8,200
WR Christian Kirk DK: $4,200 FD: $5,300
TE Dan Arnold DK: $3,100 FD: $4,900

The winner here is in – however, the Rams can also make it with a loss if the Bears lose this week.  Regardless of the impact of this game in terms of playoff positioning – I’m not too interested in this one from a DFS standpoint.  While I would always keep the likes of Murray and Hopkins in your player pool, going up against the best defence in the league at limiting fantasy production is not a recipe for success – and I think you can opt for a fade here, given the price point on each of them.

The Cruncher List

  • Cards DST

Good Plays

  • None

LA Rams – Projected Total: 18.75 points

QB John Wolford DK: $4,900 FD: $6,500
RB Cam Akers – Q DK: $6,100 FD: $6,300
RB Malcolm Brown DK: $4,300 FD: $5,600
WR Robert Woods DK: $6,300 FD: $6,800
WR Josh Reynolds DK: $3,200 FD: $4,900
TE Tyler Higbee DK: $3,500 FD: $5,400

With QB Jared Goff out, WR Cooper Kupp out and RB Cam Akers questionable at best – it’s safe to say that the Rams are limping into this one, and it shouldn’t be too shocking to see them projected for a touch over 18 points in this one.  I don’t have too much interest in the ground game here.  I’m expecting the Cards to focus on shutting down the ground game here with Wolford under center, and while I don’t really know what to expect in terms of his ability to move the ball, WR Josh Reynolds – who should see an uptick in targets and snaps with Kupp out is an elite punt with upside at his price point on DK this week.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Josh Reynolds (DK)

Good Plays

  • WR Josh Reynolds (FD)
  • Rams DST

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-14), Projected Total: 49.5

Colts vs. QB: 11th Jags vs. QB: 28th
Colts vs. RB: 12th Jags vs. RB: 19th
Colts vs. WR: 18th Jags vs. WR: 28th
Colts vs. TE: 5th Jags vs. TE: 13th

Jacksonville – Projected Total: 17.75

QB Mike Glennon DK: $4,900 FD: $6,700
RB Dare Ogunbowale DK: $4,500 FD: $5,600
WR Laviska Shenault DK: $4,200 FD: $5,500
WR Keelan Cole DK: $3,400 FD: $5,100

With a low projected total, missing their two best offensive weapons in James Robinson and DJ Chark – I don’t really have any interest here in any of the options that the Jags have from a DFS standpoint as they go up against the Colts who are trying to punch their ticket into the playoffs.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • None

Indianapolis – Projected Total: 31.75

QB Phil Rivers DK: $6,000 FD: $7,300
RB Jonathan Taylor DK: $7,400 FD: $8,400
WR TY Hilton DK: $5,800 FD: $6,300
TE Trey Burton DK: $2,800 FD: $4,900

With the highest projected total on the board, in a game that has playoff implications – there is a lot to like here.  Even with the high total, I don’t have too much interest in QB Philip Rivers – I’d continue to be shocked if he was a part of a large-field GPP win…something that has been my stance for the entire 2020 season.  With that said, I do love the spot for a few Colts here:

  • RB Jonathan Taylor – Elite option at RB this week that should see heavy usage against a dismal defensive front.  He’s expensive, but is well worth it in this match-up and is one of my favourite options on the board.  He comes into this one with TD’s in four straight games, and I like his chances of making it five while clearing the century mark from scrimmage.
  • WR TY Hilton doesn’t quite make the cut for The Cruncher List in this one – but he narrowly misses it.  After a really poor start to the season – he at least is posting lines that looks like the shell of TY Hilton, and – well – that’s a start.  After two straight quiet games after getting things going in a pair of contests, I like his chances of having a strong Week 17 for the Colts.  Has cleared 60 yards in four straight and has seen 31 targets over the past 4 games.
  • TE Trey Burton – It’s looking like TE Jack Doyle will not suit up this week, and should that play out – Burton is an elite punt with upside for the Colts in this one.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Jonathan Taylor
  • TE Trey Burton
  • Colts DST

Good Plays

  • QB Phil Rivers
  • WR TY Hilton

Tennessee (-7) @ Houston, Projected Total: 56

Texans vs. QB: 22nd Titans vs. QB: 29th
Texans vs. RB: 32nd Titans vs. RB: 26th
Texans vs. WR: 26th Titans vs. WR: 29th
Texans vs. TE: 17th Titans vs. TE: 18th

Tennessee – Projected Total: 31.5

QB Ryan Tannehill DK: $7,000 FD: $8,200
RB Derrick Henry DK: $9,400 FD: $10,200
WR AJ Brown DK: $7,200 FD: $8,400
WR Corey Davis DK: $6,200 FD: $7,200
TE Jonnu Smith DK: $3,800 FD: $5,300

With the second highest total on the board, in a game where if they win, they lock up the division title and the 4-seed in the AFC, this is a great game to stack from a DFS standpoint.  It doesn’t hurt that the Titans have been one of my favourite teams to stack all season long as well – but really – there are no shortage of great options here for the Titans in what may just be the highest scoring game of the week (unlike some of the teams with high totals, the Texans actually have a good chance of putting up points as well, something not many of the other teams with high totals can say about their respective opponents this week).

I’ve included my thoughts on the best players from the Titans below.  WR Corey Davis vs. WR AJ Brown is a close call to me.  I do slightly prefer Brown – but you could easily flip flop the two if you wanted to free up a little bit more salary room.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Ryan Tannehill
  • RB Derrick Henry
  • WR AJ Brown

Good Plays

  • WR Corey Davis
  • TE Jonnu Smith

Houston – Projected Total: 24.5

QB Deshaun Watson DK: $7,700 FD: $8,700
RB David Johnson DK: $6,800 FD: $7,300
WR Brandin Cooks DK: $6,900 FD: $7,300
WR Keke Coutee DK: $5,600 FD: $5,700

The Texans have a healthy total and as mentioned above – there isn’t a lot of that going around this week from the underdogs.  My favourite way to play exposure to Houston would be to combine an option like WR Brandin Cooks along with a 3-man TEN stack rather than getting exposure individually to the key parts of Houston’s offence.

Speaking of Cooks, he comes into this one fresh off of 7-141-1 line on 10 targets and has seen less than seven targets twice since the start of Week 6.  He’s not cheap, but doesn’t break the bank either, and if Houston puts up points in this one – I’d be shocked to see them do it unless Cooks hits value.  He’s an elite option in this one.

Keep an eye on the status of WR Keke Coutee.  I don’t have much interest in him at his price point – but if he does sit, WR Hansen would get a bump up and would be an intriguing value option at the WR position.  He had a dud a week ago, but saw 7 targets in back to back weeks in Weeks 13 & 14

RB David Johnson is someone that I am going to be fading this week.  He comes into this one with two straight monster games…in one of which he ran for 128 yards on 12 carries, and in the other he caught 11 passes.  Since I don’t like his chances of replicating either of these games, I’d be very surprised if he had the type of game that was large-field GPP worthy…though I admit -there is some risk here.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Brandin Cooks

Good Plays

  • QB Deshaun Watson

Las Vegas (-2) @ Denver, Projected Total: 51

Broncos vs. QB: 23rd Raiders vs. QB: 24th
Broncos vs. RB: 17th Raiders vs. RB: 29th
Broncos vs. WR: 12th Raiders vs. WR: 21st
Broncos vs. TE: 9th Raiders vs. TE: 14th

Las Vegas – Projected Total: 26.5

QB Derek Carr DK: $5,700 FD: $7,200
RB Josh Jacobs DK: $6,200 FD: $7,400
WR Nelson Agholor DK: $5,400 FD: $5,800
TE Darren Waller DK: $7,100 FD: $7,800

While there are no playoff implications on the line here, I’m expecting a strong game from the Raiders in this one after their shocking loss to Miami a week ago.  The Raiders have some strong options here worth strong consideration:

  • TE Darren Waller – Has been elite all season long and I see no reason for him to slow down this week.  He comes into this one with 45 targets over his past 4 games and has had arguably the most productive stretch of any TE in NFL history over the past four games.  He’s an elite option this week, even at the elevated price point.
  • WR Nelson Agholor broke free on a deep ball a week ago for an 85 yard TD, and Carr was slinging it deep to him as he drew a questionable DPI penalty that set up what looked like it was going to be the game winning FG.  Over the past four weeks, he has seen 34 targets, has cleared the century mark twice, and ranks second in air yards, sandwiched between Stefon Diggs and Calvin Ridley.

Carr and Jacobs to me – are secondary options this week.  Neither is on The Cruncher List – but I would say that both are worth keeping in your player pool at their respective price points.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Nelson Agholor
  • TE Darren Waller

Good Plays

  • QB Derek Carr
  • RB Josh Jacobs

Denver – Projected Total: 24.5

QB Drew Lock DK: $5,000 FD: $6,800
RB Melvin Gordon DK: $5,700 FD: $6,800
WR Jerry Jeudy DK: $4,200 FD: $5,100
WR Tim Patrick DK: $4,000 FD: $5,300
TE Noah Fant DK: $4,400 FD: $5,700

QB Drew Lock continues to be among the leaders in average depth of target at the QB position – however, we haven’t seen that translate to much success in terms of big days for any of his receiving options.  WR Jerry Jeudy has been someone that I have written up as an air yards darling this season – and while he saw 15 targets a week ago, he couldn’t hold onto the ball – finishing with only 6 catches for 61 yards.  In this match-up, I would be surprised if he didn’t see plenty of targets again in what should be a high scoring game.

TE Noah Fant, on the other hand – has made the most of his 20 targets over the past two weeks.  He continues to get plenty of looks from Lock, and I see no reason for that to change in this match-up.  If you are doing a game stack here, an interesting pivot off of Waller would be to use Fant with Agholor.

With RB Philip Lindsay ruled out a week ago, I thought Gordon would see more than 66% of snaps.  I’d expect a similar workload for him in this one – but wouldn’t be shocked if they give a few more touches to Royce Freeman to give him some run in a meaningless game.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Jerry Jeudy

Good Plays

  • WR Tim Patrick
  • TE Noah Fant

LA Chargers (-3) @ Kansas City, Projected Total: 44

LA Chargers – Projected Total: 23.5

QB Justin Herbert DK: $7,100 FD: $7,600
RB Austin Ekeler DK: $7,500 FD: $7,700
WR Mike Williams DK: $5,000 FD: $5,900
TE Donald Parham DK: $2,900 FD: $4,200

With Patrick Mahomes and the majority of the key members of the Chiefs offence set to sit in this one – it’s hard to imagine this game becoming a barnburner worthy of having significant exposure to.  I’m expecting the Chiefs to play this one with a slow pace, and I wouldn’t expect the Chargers to run Austin Ekeler into the ground either…in fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him split time like he did a week ago when he saw only 13 targets as the Chargers play out the string on their season.  As a result – I don’t have too much interest here, though if you did think that Herbert will be slinging it – the 3-man stack of Herbert-Williams-Parham would likely be my choice.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • WR Mike Williams

Kansas City – Projected Total: 20.5

With a low total, and a lack of the usual key parts of their offence set to play – this is a pretty easy fade for me.

RB Darrel Williams would probably be my favourite option out of the weapons that Chad Henne will have lining up with him – but even he would be a secondary play at best for me in a game where the Chiefs will just want to be hitting fast forward on.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • RB Darrel Williams

Green Bay (-4) @ Chicago, Projected Total: 50.5

Bears vs. QB: 4th Packers vs. QB: 4th
Bears vs. RB: 9th Packers vs. RB: 28th
Bears vs. WR: 5th Packers vs. WR: 7th
Bears vs. TE: 28th Packers vs. TE: 6th

Green Bay – Projected Total: 27.25

QB Aaron Rodgers DK: $7,400 FD: $8,500
RB Aaron Jones DK: $7,100 FD: $8,000
WR Davante Adams DK: $9,200 FD: $9,300
WR Allen Lazard DK: $4,200 FD: $5,500
TE Robert Tonyan DK: $5,000 FD: $6,300

I actually think this one will play out pretty much straight up.  Sure – there is the potential if the Packers get up big – or if they catch wind of Seattle or the Saints losing big that they could rest up Rodgers, Jones and Adams – but I have a feeling this one will be played at least primarily as business as usual for Green Bay.  Now – the match-up here is a tough one, but with all the questions that we have on the slate – and with how good Rodgers and Adams have been all season long, to list both of them as anything but elite would be foolish.

Outside of that duo, I don’t have too much interest here.  TE Robert Tonyan is worth keeping in your player pool – though to be honest, I’d rather just pay up a little more for Andrews – or pay up a lot more for Waller.

If you think that Lafleur will give Aaron Jones a little more rest in this one than usual – that could very well play out.  If so, I wouldn’t be shocked to see RB AJ Dillon see another heavy workload as they get more of a look at the rookie RB.  He had a monster Monday night against the Titans, posting a 21-124-2 line.  He’s worth tossing into a few line-ups in my opinion – but the range of outcomes with him is wide.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Aaron Rodgers
  • WR Davante Adams

Good Plays

  • RB AJ Dillon

Chicago – Projected Total: 23.25

QB Mitch Trubisky DK: $5,600 FD: $7,300
RB David Montgomery DK: $7,700 FD: $8,200
WR Allen Robinson DK: $7,700 FD: $7,700
WR Darnell Mooney DK: $4,100 FD: $5,100

The Bears are in with a win here and will be trying to knock off the #1 seed Packers, who will be playing to try and lock in the bye in the Wildcard Round of the NFC playoffs.  The Packers have been tough for opposing passing games, particularly #1 WR’s this season – and with the match-up against CB Jaire Alexander this week, I have no problem bumping WR Allen Robinson off of The Cruncher List for the week, though I do think he’s worth including in your player pool. If you think the Bears will be able to move the ball through the air in this one, you could do much worse than rostering Darnell Mooney for $4,100 on DK or $5100 on FD this week.  He has yet to have a big game yardage wise – but has seen plenty of air yards and has scored in two of the past three games.  To round out the receiving options – keep an eye on the injury status of TE Cole Kmet – who looks to be a game-time decision.  Either him or Jimmy Graham would be last-ditch options at the position this week for me.

RB David Montgomery, on the other hand – is an elite option at RB this week.  The Packers have a funnel defence that is vulnerable to the run, and Montgomery comes into this one on quite the roll.  He has cleared the 20 DKP mark in five straight, and has cleared 27 DKP in four of those 5.  I think he’ll have a very productive day – and if he doesn’t – well, the Bears are likely going to get steam rolled in this one.

The Cruncher List

  • RB David Montgomery

Good Plays

  • WR Allen Robinson
  • WR Darnell Mooney

New Orleans (-6) @ Carolina, Projected Total: 47.5

Panthers vs. QB: 16th Saints vs. QB: 8th
Panthers vs. RB: 24th Saints vs. RB: 2nd
Panthers vs. WR: 8th Saints vs. WR: 17th
Panthers vs. TE: 22nd Saints vs. TE: 23rd

New Orleans – Projected Total: 26.75

QB Drew Brees DK: $5,900 FD: $7,400
RB Ty Montgomery DK: $4,000 FD: $4,500
WR Emmanuel Sanders DK: $5,500 FD: $6,200
WR Marquez Callaway DK: $3,200 FD: $5,000
TE Jared Cook DK: $4,700 FD: $5,700

The Saints come into this one with an outside chance of being able to secure a first round bye, and have a healthy projected total as they take on the Panthers this week.  Edit: With news ruling out RB Alvin Kamara this week – Latavius Murray enters discussion as an elite option at the position on both sites as he should take on a three down role in a great match-up against a Carolina team playing out the string who has struggled to defend the run all season long.  In two games without Kamara over the past two seasons, Zach pointed out to me that we have seen Murray post 157 and 150 yards from scrimmage to go along with 39.7 and 35.0 DKP….I think he’s an elite play on both sites this week in a game where he should see plenty of run.

With Latavius Murray being a close contact of Kamara along with Washington, that leaves RB Ty Montgomery and a practice squad RB as the last two men standing.  Min priced, and likely in line for a significant workload, Montgomery is an elite min-priced option on both sites.

In terms of the passing game, I don’t have too much interest here.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Brees and Hill take snaps at QB, and as far as the receiving options go – I’d be very surprised if any of them posted numbers that were large field GPP winning worthy.  WR Marquez Callaway is probably my favourite of the bunch as a punt with upside on DK, but even with him –  I wouldn’t go nuts with exposure here.

The Cruncher List

  • Edit: RB Latavius Murray (removed) RB Ty Montgomery (added)

Good Plays

  • WR Marquez Callaway (DK)

Carolina – Projected Total: 20.75

QB Teddy Bridgewater DK: $5,300 FD: $6,900
RB Rodney Smith DK: $4,000 FD: $4,900
WR DJ Moore DK: $5,700 FD: $6,900
WR Robby Anderson DK: $5,600 FD: $6,600
WR Curtis Samuel DK: $5,300 FD: $6,100

Carolina checks in this week with a low total, though I do think there is some fantasy appeal here as they take on the Saints.  RB Rodney Smith should be the lead back with Mike Davis ruled out and min priced at DK, and priced at rock bottom levels on FD – he’s a great punt with upside at the position this week.  He can catch the ball fluidly, and should be in line for a heavy workload in this one as the lead back for the Panthers.

In terms of the receiving options, DJ Moore and Samuel are my two favourite options here.  Robbie Anderson has the highest floor of the trio, but he is used predominantly close to the line of scrimmage, which puts a cap on his ceiling for me.  Moore has been used downfield, and Samuel could see an uptick in his carries with Davis ruled out – making him even more intriguing than he has been of late.  To me, Samuel is an elite option at his price point on each site, while Moore is worth including in your player pool as a high ceiling option who doesn’t break the bank.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Rodney Smith (DK)
  • WR Curtis Samuel

Good Plays

  • RB Rodney Smith (FD)

Best of luck in your Week 17 DFS action & just a reminder that we’ll be back with The Cruncher List next weekend for the NFL Wildcard Round!

About Brad

Brad hates the term fantasy sports expert, so instead he is someone who specializes in NFL, NHL and MLB DFS notes and analysis. He had a 68.2% win rate in 2015 NFL cash games to go along with a 83.5% win rate for the 2014 season. For NHL he had a 58.7% win rate in the 2015-16 season for cash games and a 66.2% win rate for the 2014-15 season. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy.

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