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The last race of the regular season in the NFL is upon us. There will be some teams trying and some teams resting their starters with their playoff position’s locked in already.
I’m going to focus on the Lions/Packers game for my core players. Both teams have weak rushing attacks, and there will be plenty of balls in the air. Matthew Stafford ($6,000) will be my starting QB. He had the edge in the first matchup, and this game is at home. Here's my write-up for Stafford from the QB report at Scout:
Stafford has fewer than 300 passing in 10 of his last 11 games with two TDs or fewer in each of these games. Matt only has one passing TD in his last three contests. In Week 3, Stafford threw for 385 yards and three TDs against the Packers. Green Bay is 27th in the league defending the QB position four teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. QBs gain 8.0 yards per pass attempt with 30 passing TDs vs. the Packers. Favorable matchup with plenty of upside.
I’ll pair Matt with two of his receivers – Golden Tate ($6,600) and Marvin Jones ($4,200).
Tate looks rather boring on the stat sheet in Week 16 (6/58 on six targets). On his last catch of the game with less than a minute remaining, Golden caught a meaningless six-yard catch. This play led to the winning points in the Fantasy Football World Championship leading to Kimra Schleicher winning $150,000. Over the last four games, Tate has 28 catches for 283 yards and a TD on 40 targets. In Week 3, he caught four passes for 40 yards on six targets against the Packers. Green Bay fell to 30th in WR defense after getting drilled by WRs in two straight games (CHI - 24/313/2 and MIN - 19/260/3). On the year, WRs have 194 catches for 2772 yards and 22 TDs on 307 targets vs. the Packers. On the uptick and Golden will be active in this game. His salary appears to be above his skill set, which can be cured by TDs.
It's been eight games since Jones scored his last TD. Marvin has four catches or fewer in 10 straight games with fewer than 60 yards receiving in eight of those games. He had his best game of the season in Week 3 against the Packers (6/205/2). Green Bay has plenty of risk in the secondary so Jones may reemerge in Week 17. Possible low-value hookup with Stafford.
Tate makes sense as he's the Lions' best WR over the second half of the year while Marvin has been a total bust for weeks. His best game came against the Packers, and I'm hoping this will revive his game plus Jones offers salary cap relief.
On the other side of the game, I’ll use Jordy Nelson. He’s been one of the better WRs in the game over the second half of the year while the Lions may be playing without their top CB. Jordy is the best WR in the game scoring TDs (14) in 2016 and Rodgers will look for him early and often.
Nelson has been one of the best WRs in the game over the last nine games (64/886/9 on 85 targets). In his last four games, Jordy has over 100 yards receiving in three games and five TDs. He needs nine catches to reach 100 for the first time in his career. In Week 2, Nelson had six catches for 101 yards and two TDs on seven targets against the Lions with most of the damage coming in the first half. Detroit is league average vs. WRs (201/2345/17 on 290 targets). The Lions' top CB Darius Slay missed Week 16 with a hamstring issue leaving his status in doubt again for this week's game. This is a big win for the Packers' passing attack. I would start building by winning team with Nelson at WR as a Fantasy knows a win is important to both teams. With Randall Cobb banged up as well, there is one less WR to feed in Green Bay's passing attack.
At RB1, I can’t cheat the top end with Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott having no value this week. I’ll ride the mighty David Johnson ($9,800).
Last week Johnson broke the 400-point barrier in PPR leagues. He's scored over 30.0 Fantasy points in four of his last six games. After 15 games, David has 2074 combined yards with 77 catches and 20 TDs. He needs 159 receiving yards to reach 1000. If he hits on a long pass play early in the game in Week 17, the Cardinals may try to get him the ball in the passing game. Only two players in NFL history have over 1000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season (Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk). In Week 4, Johnson had 124 combined yards and four catches vs. the Rams. LA is 14th in the league defending the RB position (1936 combined yards with 13 TDs and 72 catches). Best in the game in 2016 with one more race to run.
The tough decision for me is the second RB position. I see two choices at the backend – Darren Sproles ($4,000) and Isaiah Crowell ($4,400).
Sproles will get the bulk of the touches for the Eagles in Week 17 with Ryan Mathews out for the season. Earlier in the year, Darren had two games with starting snaps leading to 36 touches for 174 combined yards with eight catches. His only competition for playing is Byron Marshall who has 11 career touches for 28 yards. In Week 8, Sproles had 103 combined yards and five catches against the Cowboys. Sneaky backend option with Dallas expected to rest some of their players in Week 17.
Crowell has his best game (58 combined yards with two TDs and four catches) in weeks vs. the Chargers. Isaiah has three games with over 100 yards rushing with seven TDs. He averages 14.4 touches per game. In Week 11, he had 23 combined yards and five catches against the Steelers. Duke Johnson suffered an ankle injury in his last game, which gives Crowell a very good chance of getting the whole show against a Steelers' defense that may pull the goalie. Pittsburgh is 27th in RB Fantasy defense with five teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. His rating seems out of line, but 25+ touches and a TD should put him in a favorable area in Week 17.
Both players will be playing against teams that won’t be playing their best talent. Sproles is playing at home with more upside in the passing game.
My choice at TE comes down to Travis Kelce ($5,000) and Zach Ertz ($4,800).
Kelce has been impressive over the last six games (7/108, 8/101, 8/140, 5/101, 3/41, and 11/160/1) while averaging 9.5 targets per game over this span. Even with his uptick in success, his salary remains favorable while scoring only one TD in his last eight games. In Week 1, Travis had six catches for 74 yards on seven targets against the Chargers. San Diego is about league average defending TEs (74/857/4 on 108 targets). Two TEs have over 20.0 Fantasy points vs. the Chargers. I see no reason to look elsewhere as no other TE can match his resume or success over the second half of 2016.
Ertz had his lowest game (2/33 on two targets) in Week 16 since Week 7 (1/14). Over his previous three games, Zach had 25 catches for 271 yards and a TD on 36 targets. With Jordan Matthews banged up while possibly missing this week's game, Zach has a very good chance of being the number one option in the passing game for the Eagles. Dallas ranks 29th in TE defense (101/1019/5 on 130 targets). The Cowboys will rest their player this week, which is another positive sign for Ertz in Week 17. Zach should be very productive in this game.
I’ll avoid two players on the Eagles and take the easy play with Kelce.
I’m going to gamble at the Flex position with Michael Floyd ($3,500). One of the backend receiving options for the Patriots should come in. With Malcolm Mitchell downgraded to doubtful, Floyd has a very good chance to be active in the passing game. His skill set is higher than Chris Hogan, and New England doesn't seem to want to use Martellus Bennett as a big part of their passing game due to his lingering health issues. Last week Michael was on the field for 18 of 76 plays run by the Patriots.
At defense, I’m going to take a chance on the Raiders ($2,800). They created two or more turnovers in seven straight games. The Broncos’ offense has scored 10 points or fewer in three straight games. Oakland needs their defense to play well to remain at the top of the AFC West.
Here’s a look at my Perfect Lineup DraftKings in Week 17:
For the last week of the year, I’ll just add the Fanduel Perfect Lineup:
I have four stud players in Johnson, Jones, Nelson, and Evans with high scoring ability. Charcandrick West should get the start for the Chiefs with Spencer Ware battling a rib issue. I like his price better than his matchup while knowing something could change on Sunday if Ware is upgraded.
Jack Doyle hasn't scored in weeks, but he tends to get the most playing time at TE for a team that likes to throw to the TE position (103/1221/10 on 140 targets). I’m hoping for a TD leading to about 15 Fantasy points.
The Eagles’ defense is priced as though they are facing a tough Cowboys’ offense. With Prescott, Elliott, and Bryant on snaps counts this week, Philly’s defense may be able to take advantage of weaker QB play with a drop down at WR if game score moves in the wrong direction.
I used Philip Rivers ($7,700) just based on the best player available with the remaining salary.
Rivers has a short completion rate in five of his last six games (52.3, 57.7, 53.80, 56.7, and 50.0) leading to 14 TDs and 12 Ints over this period. The loss of Melvin Gordon has led to the defenses having an easier time defending Philip. In Week 1, he passed for 243 yards and a TD vs. the Chiefs. Kansas City is 11th in the league against QBs with a high level of success in three straight games (OAK - 117/0, TEN - 163/0, and DEN - 183/0). Four teams have over 300 yards receiving against the Chiefs with 21 passing TDs. Fading player with some weapons in the passing game while possibly playing his last game in San Diego with a move to LA expected in 2017.