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This week we discuss the following:
- David Johnson
- Players who may rest?
- Top-end wide receivers
- Devonta Freeman and DeAngelo Williams
- Keshawn Martin as punt play
- Tight ends
David Johnson has literally been money the past few weeks. He faces a much tougher Seahawks defense this week. Do you still ride with him in cash games at $7,700 or is he a fade this week?
Chad Parsons: I will definitely own less Johnson than in previous weeks. Johnson is a key piece they rested for much of the second half of the comfortable win over Green Bay last week. The price is not the biggest barrier as Johnson is still more than $1,000 less than the top back for the week (Devonta Freeman) and outside the top-5 salaries. The matchup and Freeman and DeAngelo Williams being better values will keep my exposure to Johnson in the 20% range.
Alex Miglio: The Cardinals certainly have something to play for, though how important the No. one seed is to them is a bit of a mystery. The way Bruce Arians has been coaching, though, I wouldn't doubt they keep their starters in all game long as the Panthers play at the same time.
Mark Wimer: I will probably fade Johnson as the team is clearly preserving him for their playoff run. The Cardinals have only a faint hope for home field advantage throughout the playoffs—I don't think Tampa will keep it close with the Panthers for long on Sunday—so a second-half, precautionary benching of Johnson is likely in the cards. I don't want to pay for just one half of production.
Andrew Garda: Unfortunately, Arizona and Carolina are both late games otherwise we'd have a better idea of how important this game would be to Arizona. As has been said, I'll probably fade him a bit this week—$7700 plus an uncertainty of carries is a bad combo. I will throw him in a couple of GPPs but honestly, so will a lot of people not thinking it through, so not having him is a good was to differentiate your lineup.
Maurile Tremblay: I'm fading Johnson this week. The combination of the tough matchup, the higher salary, and the involvement of Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams in the offense leads me to think I can find better values at running back this week than Johnson. I'm going to go extremely heavy on Devonta Freeman and DeAngelo Williams this week, but when I change things up, it will generally be to Tim Hightower, Danny Woodhead, and Darren McFadden.
Which players are you fading this week because they potentially might rest or play just a fraction of their normal snaps?
Alex Miglio: Definitely fading Washington. Some starters may not even play at all, and Vegas knows—Dallas is favored by 3.5 in a low-scoring affair. Honestly, though, most teams should have starters out there for most or all of the game. Carolina and Arizona have been mentioned as fade candidates, but they are playing at the same time with a No. one seed on the line. We should get starters from both teams for most of the games, though there is a greater chance someone will get pulled if he gets dinged up. (See: Newton, Cam.)
Andrew Garda: Like Alex said, definitely Washington and I wouldn't touch Kirk Cousins in particular on a dare. I could see Houston resting guys if Indy is getting blown out. I am considering avoiding the Giants-Eagles mess because outside of Odell Beckham Jr I don't have a feel for how anyone is going to play given the attitude and volatility of their situations.
Which top-end wide receivers present the best value this week at FanDuel?
Chad Parsons: I like Antonio Brown to rebound (and the Steelers passing game overall) from a dud performance in Baltimore Week 16. The Browns are a quality matchup and Brown had his second-worst output in the last two months and 1x value last week.
Alex Miglio: All of them? I love the matchups this week for the highest-priced wideouts, so much so that I am trying to find ways to get three of them into my lineups. Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr and Antonio Brown all should have huge games, and Jones might be the best value despite being the most expensive. New Orleans stinks on defense. But getting Beckham on a suspension discount against the tail-spinning Eagles could prove to be the most profitable at $8,900.
Mark Wimer: I'm on Brandon Marshall personally—the Jets have to win to ensure their playoff spot, and they know that Pittsburgh is likely to win against the Browns. I expect a Monster game from Marshall, Fitzpatrick and Decker.
Andrew Garda: I think Odell Beckham Jris going to have a big day. Coming off a meltdown and a suspension, he's got everything to prove. I also agree with Antonio Brown. The Steelers have to win this week to have a shot at the playoffs and to do that, Brown has to get going. I also like DeAndre Hopkins to bounce back in a game that the team needs to secure that playoff spot.
Maurile Tremblay: Michael Floyd and DeAndre Hopkins are the two I like best. Floyd has come on strong in recent weeks, and the presence of Fitzgerald and Brown means that the Seahawks won't be able to just stick Sherman on him the whole game. The Houston-Jacksonville game could be a shootout and I expect Hopkins to have a good day.
The huge majority of my lineups this week feature the running back combo of Devonta Freeman and DeAngelo Williams. Any cause for concern with investing so heavily in that pair, or should I be comfortable going full steam ahead with it?
Chad Parsons: Full steam ahead in my book. Freeman has been very consistent considering the state of the Falcons offense and things run through Freeman, Julio Jones, and little else. The Saints are a great matchup as they finish off their season as historically-bad on defense. The entire Steelers offense is a buy this week to get on the track after their stinker in Baltimore. Williams was the best performer last week with 80 yards in the first quarter, surprisingly with only 20 yards the rest of the game.
Alex Miglio: The matchups are great, and there is no reason to believe either of these guys will see limited action. But while I like each player individually, it's actually difficult for me to create a cash lineup with both Freeman and Williams in it, at least one that I'm comfortable with. I would much rather value-engineer it and roll with some great receiving options.
Mark Wimer: I'm not so thrilled with Freeman, personally. The Falcons' offense can (charitably) be called "inconsistent" this year, and the Falcons have nothing to play for in this game. Why risk Freeman for a full 60 minutes? I think we likely see a lot of Terron Ward in this game. Williams is a great call in my opinion he's going to see a lot of action in a must-win game for the Steelers.
Andrew Garda: I think you're fine. The falcons might show up like they care against a poor Saints team which gives up points. Freeman is one of the two things that work offensively for the Falcons, so he should get some run.
Williams is less important to the Steelers offense than Antonio Brown, but he needs to have a good day as well and the Browns aren't good at stopping the run. As long as you can find value elsewhere at receiver (since they are two of the top five priced RBs) you should be OK.
Maurile Tremblay: Both are players heavily featured in both facets of their respective offenses, on teams expected to score a lot of points this week. Any player can lay an egg at any time; but if you're playing the odds, I think both of those players are extremely good bets.
The Patriots group of wide receivers seem difficult to do projections for this week, but I'm really liking Keshawn Martin as a GPP punt play for just $5,600. Anyone else with me on that?
Alex Miglio: With Edelman not traveling to Miami and Amendola and LaFell also hurting, Martin is a great punt play against an awful Dolphins defense. Leonard Hankerson might be, too, now that he has been with the team for over a week.
Andrew Garda: I don't expect Edelman or Amendola to play, but LaFell might play which would impact Martin a bit. But as a punt or Hail Mary? It's not awful and is no worse than, say, Markus Wheaton or Torrey Smith for similar money.
Maurile Tremblay: Edelman didn't travel to Miami, and Amendola will probably sit out as well (or at best be limited). I expect LaFell to play, but Martin was clearly the preferred target over LaFell last week. I like Martin a lot as a GPP play and would consider him in cash games as well.
With Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett on injured reserve, Zach Miller has become a huge part of the Bears' passing offense. Because of questions about Jordan Reed's expected playing time this week, Zach Miller is my favorite tight end at FanDuel by a decent margin. Anyone want to make a case for Gronkowski, Olsen, Walker, Ertz, or someone else as a better value?
Chad Parsons: Like the running backs, I completely agree. Miller has a high floor and saves cap space at $5,900. I like Miller more than the medium-priced options and Gronkowski will be my second tight end exposure-wise this week. Miller will be in the 40-50% range on my board.
Alex Miglio: Zach Ertz has a great matchup against the Giants, so he should find himself into several lineups. Miller does seem to be the best option at tight end, though.
Mark Wimer: In the few DFS lineups I enter this week (I'm being conservative because of all of the unknowns surrounding Week 17 games—if the outcomes of other games become clear by half-time we may see a lot of unanticipated "precautionary" benchings) I will have Miller on several entries—there is almost nobody else left in Chicago for Cutler to throw to now that Alshon Jeffery is on IR, so Miller should have a high volume of targets.
Andrew Garda: If you want to spend the money, Gronkowski will probably see a lot of use given the apocalyptic state of Patriots targets. Olsen will see plenty of work as well but has been hit or miss the last few weeks. Miller has been no more consistent, but he's cheap. Gronkowski is likely the best production play but in terms of value, Miller is a decent way to save money and still get some good points.
Maurile Tremblay: Zach Miller is my favorite tight end at FanDuel this week by a decent margin. The other guy who fits nicely into a few lineups because of his price is Ben Watson. He's fully healthy this week and facing a Falcons defense that can be generous to opposing tight ends.
That will do it for this edition of the FanDuel Roundtable.