Let’s cut through coachspeak and sift through a few FanDuel plays at ludicrously rock-bottom prices.
No matter the bluster head coaches spew over these next few days, major fantasy football commodities are going to have their hind parts on the pine come Sunday, perhaps after the first series, maybe after the first half.
Rolling the proverbial dice on a deep Week 17 value could free up room to stack the rest of your lineup with sure things, like Brandon Marshall in a must-win game against a hapless Detroit Lions’ secondary. If you pick up one or two of these discount second-or-third stringers, you might be able to pair Marshall with Megatron, who will continue his tear, even if the Lions refuse to look for the game’s best player near the goal line.
This opens up chances for absurd daily fantasy opportunities for the riverboat gamblers among us. And just to preface the following risky – and possibly amazingly rewarding – Week 17 FanDuel picks, I won’t use any Ravens, Falcons, or Colts this weekend, as they have nothing to gain by playing their studs throughout.
Michael Vick ($7,700) – In large part because Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck likely won’t play all four quarters Sunday – and because Matthew Stafford has a horrid matchup against Chicago – I’ve ranked Vick as Week 17’s No. 8 signal caller. The Eagles play the Giants, who have quietly become reliably horrendous against fantasy signal callers.
Big Blue is ninth worst against quarterbacks this season, allowing 19.8 fantasy points per game to QBs over the past four weeks. Joe Flacco roasted the G-Men for 309 yards and three total scores in Week 16. Flacco toyed with New York’s secondary on his way to completing 25-of-36 passes.
Jason Snelling ($4,500) – Atlanta head coach Mike Smith has promised that the Falcons will play to win against the Buccaneers on Sunday. This means approximately nothing. The Falcons have home field advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs, so there’s no way they’re going to risk one of their offensive cogs in a meaningless contest. I’d say Jacquizz Rodgers is the FanDuel value here, but since he has slashed into Michael Turner’s ridiculous workload in the second half of the season, I’d expect Quizz to find the bench early on.
That would leave Snelling, who has shown he’s a decent play when given a hefty workload. In Week 4 of 2010, after Turner left the game with a groin injury, Snelling ran roughshod over the Cardinals, piling up 129 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. I don’t expect him to torch the stout Tampa front seven, but I think he’ll get his fair share of Week 17 totes.
Against a far worse Tampa defense in 2009, Snelling posted 148 yards on 25 carries in Week 17.
Bernard Pierce ($4,800) – Ray Rice won’t get his normal gargantuan workload this week, leaving Pierce as a possible final-week monster against the Bengals’ middling defense. Baltimore is among the teams that can’t better their playoff standing with a Week 17 win; even if head coach John Harbaugh says his starters will play an entire game, they won’t. Harbaugh hates you, and is a liar.
Pierce has shown flashes this season that make me believe he’d be the second coming of Bryce Brown if Rice – that indestructible bowling ball – were ever hurt. He has wiggle, legit lateral speed, and strength to burst through even tiny gaps in the Ravens’ offensive line that Rice regularly exploits. He’s going to be an NFL starting running back one day — it’s certainly only a question of when. Pierce put on a display last week against the Giants, taking 14 carries for 123 yards, highlighted by a 78-yard scamper that probably should’ve gone the distance. Pierce could very well be Week 17’s most valuable player for FanDuel mavens.
Danario Alexander ($6,100) – He’s a legit WR1 and he’s guaranteed to play throughout Week 17’s game against an occasionally terrible Oakland Raiders’ secondary. You can’t ask for much more in this nightmarishly unpredictable Week 17.
I’ve pushed Alexander throughout the second half of 2012 as an easy plug-and-play top-12 option, having gained the unerring trust of his quarterback, Philip Rivers, who was calling audibles when Alexander drew single coverage as early as Week 10, just two weeks after the Chargers signed DX off the street. The man dubbed Calvin Johnson’s clone coming out of college three years ago has 624 yards and six touchdowns in just nine games this season, and that includes a Week 15 donut against the Panthers.
Alexander is reliable this week, and he’s playing a secondary that can – and will – be lit aflame. Play him with confidence, and at a discount. DX is somehow $200 less than Antonio Brown and $400 cheaper than Jeremy Maclin.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5,000) – Tampa’s defense has tallied a grand total of 19 fantasy points over the past six games, so to recommend them is to vomit in one’s mouth ever so slightly. Still, I expect the Falcons to rest their big guns for most of Sunday’s game, so a first-string defense against a second-string offense ain’t too shabby. You can snag the Bucs’ defense at the lowest FanDuel price of $5,000, saving cash for your Week 17 man eaters destined to bring you much glory and/or money.