Week 17 FanDuel Optimal Plays

Week 17 FanDuel Optimal Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Dec 26, 2013

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

What kind of #degenerate plays daily fantasy football in Week 17?

The ones who want to make a lot of money. Daily fantasy sports is about acquiring more actionable information than opponents and implementing it in a way that creates a competitive advantage. The final week of the NFL regular season is perhaps one of the best opportunities for advanced players to translate their research into dollars.

The most common qualm people have with Week 17 games is that many are “meaningless.” That’s kind of the point, though; Week 17 is unlike every other week in that you really need to worry about a subjective aspect that’s not nearly as strong of a factor in other weeks—motivation. Which teams and players will be motivated to perform, and which are likely to roll over?

To help you along the way, I’m going to break down the potential motivations for every NFL team. In this FanDuel Optimal Plays post, I’ll work on the NFC.

  • Eagles: Clinch NFC East with win; out of playoffs with loss
  • Cowboys: Clinch NFC East with win; out of playoffs with loss
  • Bears: Clinch NFC North with win; out of playoffs with loss
  • Packers: Clinch NFC North with win; out of playoffs with loss
  • Panthers: Clinched playoff spot; clinch NFC South with win or Saints loss
  • Saints: Clinch NFC South with win and Panthers loss; clinch playoff spot with win or Cardinals loss; out of playoff with loss and Cardinals win
  • 49ers: Clinched playoff spot; clinch NFC West with win and Seahawks loss
  • Cardinals: Clinch playoff spot with win and Saints loss; out of playoffs with loss
  • Seahawks: Clinched playoff spot; clinch NFC West and No. 1 seed with win
  • Giants, Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Bucs, Falcons, Rams all out of playoffs

So, um, yeah, I think that’s all correct. All of the teams that aren’t out of the playoffs have something for which to play—and something significant at that. You can pretty much start your Eagles, Cowboys, Bears, Packers, Panthers, Saints, 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks without caution. With the other teams, you need to be careful.


Week 17 FanDuel Optimal Motivation + Value Plays

So looking at the FanDuel Value Report, I’m going to highlight some players who are naturally good values and also have motivation to perform well in Week 17.


QB Cam Newton @ATL $8500

The Panthers have made the playoffs, but they have quite a bit on the line against the Falcons this week. A win means they’ll clinch the NFC South, thus giving them a home playoff game (at the worst). Depending how things pan out, Carolina could even claim the No. 1 overall seed (although that’s unlikely). Still, a win could be the difference between a first-round bye and a Wild Card playoff game on the road. Huge difference.


RB LeSean McCoy @DAL $9400

Shady McCoy, on turf, indoors, on one of the NFL’s top offenses, playing one of the NFL’s worst defenses that’s been decimated by injuries, in a Week 17 win-or-go-home game. That’s almost too good to be true, and McCoy is still $800 cheaper than Jamaal Charles. When you see a $9400 back as the fourth-best value on a $/point basis, jump on the opportunity.


WR Marques Colston vs. TB $6000

The Saints need a win, so you can pretty much bank on them lighting up the Bucs at home. If you’re projecting New Orleans to score a lot of points, it makes sense that both Colston and Jimmy Graham, as two highly efficient red zone players, are (individually) likely to get into the end zone.


TE Jimmy Graham vs. TB $7600

See Marques Colston. I think you can start both Colston and Graham together in your heads-up leagues, if you prefer, because there isn’t all that much risk. The Saints are likely to score a boatload of points, and even if they don’t completely go off, it’s improbable that both Colston and Graham will put up duds.


FanDuel Optimal Lineups

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