Top Draftstreet Football Values For Week 17
Here we are, the final regular season action of the 2013 season. A lot has gone right, and a lot has gone wrong for those of us who play in daily leagues. Now is our chance to go out with a bang. If you were shutout of your regular fantasy leagues during the season, why not give it one more whirl in Week 17?
As has been the case each week this season, Pro Football Focus will provide you with the top Draftstreet values for Week 17. There are a few hit-and-miss propositions in areas that we would consider safe bets. Fortunately, there appears to be a number of solid under-the-radar weekly matchups heading into the second-to-final weekend of the regular season.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions ($12,718)
Stafford has been downright putrid over the past three games, compiling just one touchdown pass and turning the ball over a total of six times during that span. Stafford has tallied just 21 fantasy points and a quarterback rating of 61.8 in those three games. That’s what you call choking when it counts the most. Fortunately for those of us who partake in weekly leagues, we can simply forget about Stafford’s last three games.
In an even more fortunate turn of events, Detroit will be lining up against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has yielded the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and grades out as our worst pass defense in the NFL. Minnesota has also yielded an average of 330 passing yards per game in its last four outings. Stafford is Draftstreet’s 16th-most expensive quarterback this week and represents top-five upside in what will be a meaningless game between the two bottom teams in the NFC North.
Kyle Orton, QB, Dallas Cowboys ($10,424)
Insert any quarterback here, right? That’s probably what many of you are thinking. With the weapons that Dallas has on the offensive side of the ball, any one who lines up under center stands a decent chance at being a QB1 option. Orton has been in the Cowboys system for nearly two years now and knows exactly what is expected of him. Where Dallas may decide to ride DeMarco Murray more than when Tony Romo is on the field, Orton will still get a ton of opportunities to put up some solid fantasy numbers against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers on the season.
If you are sold on Orton as a solid under-the-radar option, wait until Romo is officially ruled out for Sunday Night Football. While all indications are that the veteran won’t be able to go in this ultimate NFC East matchup, there it little questioning his grit and toughness. If Orton does get the call, he’s Draftstreet’s 24th-most expensive quarterback and represents top-10 upside.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers ($11,420)
Insert “fat guy” touchdown or whatever worn out idiom you want to use here. Either way you put it, the bulky Lacy has been eating an excellent diet all season long. He’s the eighth-ranked PPR running back in 2013 and is averaging 113 total yards per outing over the course of his last 12 games. This ranks him No. 3 in the entire NFL during that span, behind only Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. Green Bay will take on a Chicago Bears defense that has been about as bad as you can get against the run recently. Opposing teams are averaging a filthy 201 rushing yards per outing against the Bears since mid October.
Despite the return of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy’s tendency to ignore the running game when Rodgers is under center, there is no reason to believe that Lacy won’t be given enough opportunities to make him a top-three option this week. Draftstreet currently has the rookie from Bama as its 10th-most expensive running back.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts ($5,790)
Maybe I am just suffering from egg nog and ham withdraws here, but there are indicators that seem to lead to Richardson actually putting up a stellar fantasy performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. First, they are taking on the Jaguars…so there is that. Second, Richardson has seen 43 touches and 99 snaps over the past two games after putting up 46 touches and 193 snaps in his previous six games combined. It goes without saying that the Colts may be getting more comfortable giving Richardson a bit more of a role down the stretch.
Overall, we grade the Jaguars defense out as 29th against the run and they rank in the bottom 10 of the NFL against fantasy running backs this season. Draftstreet currently values Richardson as nothing more than a mid-tier FLEX option when in reality he could offer top-tier RB2 upside.
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos ($5,454)
Who doesn’t expect Denver to blow the Oakland Raiders out on Sunday? If not, I have a bridge in Africa I am willing to part with. Just remember, it likely won’t hold your “new” weight after the holiday season. In any event, Knowshon Moreno is unlikely to see the field in the second half of this one. If the Broncos jump out to an early lead and wrap up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, Ball and their backups will see a ton of action.
The rookie from Wisconsin has quietly put up over 600 total yards and is averaging 4.6 yards per touch this season. He will now line up against a Raiders defense that has yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs on the season. As someone Draftstreet values as a FLEX option, Ball should surprise this weekend.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Arizona Cardinals ($7,844)
Crabtree has owned Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson in their four career matchups, going for 27 receptions, 427 yards and four scores in those outings. While it remains to be seen whether Peterson will line up against Crabtree or Boldin, common logic seems to suggest that Bruce Arians and Co. will give the All Pro-caliber defensive back an opportunity to rectify past struggles.
If so, we can’t be too confident that Peterson will be able to hold his own against a receiver that appears to be near or at 100 percent after missing the first 11 games of the season. Since his return from injury, Crabtree has put up 16 receptions for 255 yards, which is quite remarkable considering the extent of his Achilles injury. Draftstreet has Crabtree priced between T.Y. Hilton and James Jones this week, which should tell you all you need to know about his value.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers ($6,190)
With Steve Smith out of action against the Atlanta Falcons, LaFell will take over as Cam Newton’s primary receiving target in what is an important game for the Panthers. For his part, LaFell hasn’t been too shabby this season. He’s catching a higher percentage of the balls thrown in his direction that Smith this season and will likely be lining up against rookie Desmond Trufant, who has played well this season.
The issue here is that Atlanta will not be able to send help to that side due to the presence of Greg Olsen at tight end for Carolin. This will leave Trufant in one-on-coverage against LaFell. Overall, the Falcons rank in the bottom 10 of the NFL against fantasy receivers. Valued as a top-tier FLEX guy, LaFell represents tremendous upside this week.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($4,919)
Williams started out his rookie campaign ablaze in the first half. During a five-game stretch from late September to late October, the first-year player from Baylor averaged 57 receiving yards and nearly one touchdown per outing. Prior to his 84-yard performance against the Washington Redskins, Williams was netting only 28 yards per game. Now that Jon Kitna will likely be under center this week, Williams has been all but forgotten within the fantasy community. He’s valued by Draftstreet as a fledgling FLEX2 option in its PPR format, which seems to make sense on the surface.
The issue with that is it’s pretty much surface based. Delving further into this matchup, and there is a reason to believe that Williams will be able to put up mid-tier WR2 numbers against a Philadelphia Eagles secondary that just hasn’t been that good against fantasy receivers. Though Williams has lined up in the slot more often than not recently, he will likely get some play against Cary Williams, who we grade out as one of the bottom-17 cover cornerbacks on the season. The other thing to look at here is that Philadelphia may attempt to utilize its best cover guy, Brandon Boykin, against Dez Bryant at times. Again, this will open up one-on-one coverage for Williams.
Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions ($5,522)
With Brandon Pettigrew being placed on injured reserve and Tony Scheffler still sidelined, Fauria will finally get his shot to be Matthew Stafford’s primary pass catcher this week against the Minnesota Vikings. While some may tend to stray away from Fauria due to the emergence and return of second-year safety Harrison Smith, I wouldn’t overthink this. A total of 44 percent of Fauria’s receptions and 25 percent of his targets have gone for touchdowns on the season. While there is no reason to believe that these percentages will be duplicated with an advance in targets, Fauria represents top-seven tight end upside as Draftstreet’s 15th-most expensive at that position.