Fantasy football advice, Week 17: Defend your lineup choices
We’ve given you sleepers and cheap plays, solid stacks to consider, and a delicate but firm reminder to reconsider any Patriots today. In lieu of another angle, I’ll share my FanDuel lineup for today’s massive $2.5 million tournament and argue against the silent audience to validate my picks for the week.
QB – Eli Manning, $8200 and WR- Odell Beckham, Jr, $9200 vs PHI
On Friday, we gave you the logic behind the NYG stack. Eli has exceeded expected production over the last two weeks, and he faces an Eagles team eliminated from the playoffs and smoked by opposing QBs over the final quarter of the year. Beckham, the fantasy demigod, should be the main beneficiary of Eli’s targets today, and while $9200 is a solid investment, he has been the most consistent WR in the second half of the season.
RB- Le’Veon Bell, $9400 vs CIN
I’m shooting for consistency this week. In such a large tournament, you’ll need a baseline of production from your studs and multiple sleepers to hit pay dirt. Investing heavily in Beckham and Bell quells my fantasy anxiety, as both have been near-unbeatable over the last four or so weeks. For Bell, he faces a Cincinnati defense that he roasted for 44.5 points only four weeks ago. Cincy struggles to contain the rush, allowing a tenth-worst 122 yards per game and 16 rushing touchdowns. Bell has undeniable usage and production, and, when adjusting for matchup, he’s my favorite RB play this week.
RB- Dan Herron, $5600 at TEN
WR- Charles Johnson, $6100 vs CHI
WR- Kenny Stills, $6000 at TB
With our heavy investments at premium positions, we’ll have to employ some sleepers to try and finish out our squad. Herron has struggled over the last few weeks, but a deeper dive shows that gameflow has dictated some of his low usage numbers. Last week, the Cowboys absolutely bamboozled the Colts, throwing up an early lead so large that it killed any rushing production before it could happen. This week, the Colts get the Titans, proud owners of the league’s second worst run defense. I like Herron as a supremely risky play because of both the tasty matchup and the idea that the Colts will try to limit Andrew Luck’s hits during an ultimately useless game.
Our two wide receivers are cheap and slightly nausea-inducing, as they’re equally capable of 20 points and 0 points. Johnson has enjoyed 7 targets or so a game from Teddy Bridgewater, and while he struggles to find the end zone consistently, his usage rates are extremely promising. He faces a Bears defense that allows the second-most passing yards per game, giving Johnson a plus matchup for the week and a nice play at $6100.
As for Stills, he’s the former boom or bust guy who has seen his floor rise over the last few weeks but dropped his ceiling. Here are his splits for the last four weeks: 9.8, 9.2, 3.8, and 24.7. I cringe at the inconsistency but do not mind nearly 10 points from my WR3. Few players at his price range offer the upside or have Drew Brees throwing him the ball; given that we’re cash-strapped, fire up Stills and pray he goes deep.
TE- Martellus Bennett, $5700, vs MIN
K- Mike Nugent, $4700, at PIT
DEF- San Francisco 49ers, $5000, vs ARI
Our backend of the squad has some sizable investments. I am more than happy to spend the premium to get a consistent tight end, and Bennett now has his Cutler back for one final ride. Last week’s starter, Jimmy Clausen, failed to look for Bennett enough, only seeing three targets. Cutler has always targeted Bennett, and his usage numbers have jumped with Brandon Marshall out of the lineup. I like him as a top 3 tight end costing a middle of the pack salary.
We’ll try and maximize on matchups for defense and bank on a high scoring affair for the kicker. Mike Nugent has been consistent in his last two games, scoring 14 in both as the Bengals try and snag the AFC North throne. He only costs $4700 this week, grouping him with near-unusable kickers and saving you a few bucks for the rest of your team. Also, he plays the late game, so you can convince yourself that the 40 point gap between you and the money is a walk in the park for Nugent.
The 49ers get the once-great Cardinals as their final game in the Harbaugh era. I won’t try and speculate on vague narrative nonsense like “will they say goodbye to their coach with a great performance” or “does Bruce Arians want to come coach my Jets.” I will focus on any game that involves a bad, bad QB going against an upper-echelon defense. At $5000, the 49ers are relatively cheap and should offer a high floor.