The top contrarian plays for Week 17 in DFS
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” — Leo Tolstoy
I have a love/hate relationship with Week 17. On one hand, it’s much harder to write this article. I no longer have the benefit of looking at Thursday’s ownership percentages, because there is no Thursday game. Furthermore, everything is complicated by playoff implications. How many teams realistically have anything to play for? How far will they stray from typical gameplanning and usage for starters? How many teams are already locked in to their playoff seeding and are likely to rest their starters? Are their back-ups now worthy of DFS consideration?
Navigating a typical DFS slate feels like trying to solve a complicated puzzle under a time limit. In Week 17, it feels like the clock is ticking at double speed and we’re left juggling Rubik’s Cubes while jigsaw pieces rain from the sky.
Adam Levitan of DraftKings made things a little easier on us this week. In his article, here, he breaks down exactly what teams are playing for this week.
Still, there is much work left to do. So much of this week is still undecided. Major decisions will be made based on news that comes out later in the week. Are the Giants going to play their starters in a meaningless game? Will another team pull a star player for fear of injury like Buffalo is doing with Tyrod Taylor? This article is wholly incomplete, due to it being nearly impossible to have every piece of info. You need to stay on top of all late-breaking news to give you the best possible advantage for Sunday’s games.
Another thing that annoys me about Week 17 is the added element of narrative-chasing. I typically just stick to the stats and try not to chase things like revenge-games, which have proven to be statistically insignificant over a larger sample. Still, this week, there is a compelling argument to be made for playing someone like Steve Smith Sr. in what is likely to be his last career game in the NFL. It makes sense then that the Ravens, who have nothing else to play for, do their best to try to pad his stats as he looks on to Canton.
Although I have my gripes with Week 17, it was also my most profitable week of the season last year. For me, a little extra effort in research went a long way. Hopefully we’ll have a similar result this season.
As is typical, here are some of my favorite leverage and under-owned (projected ownership below 10 percent) DFS plays for your Week 17 tournaments:
Notes: When “fantasy points” is being referenced throughout this article, assume PPR scoring.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Aaron Rodgers and Brady are the only quarterbacks with more than four games of 27 fantasy points or more — they each have five. Brady, however, has played in four fewer games than Rodgers. This season, there have been only 18 instances of a quarterback scoring 30 or more points. Four of these games have come against the Miami Dolphins, with no other defense showing up on this list more than twice. Three of these games have occurred over the prior five weeks, and to the following (not-so-intimidating) passers: Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, and Colin Kaepernick. Brady is in a must-win spot playing at 1 p.m. EST, fighting for the No. 1 seed, with their competition, Oakland, playing at 4:25 EST. New England has the second-highest implied total of the weekend and Miami will likely be playing without their top cornerback (our ninth-highest-graded cornerback of the season), Byron Maxwell.