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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks Today: NFL Week 17 Top High-Upside DFS Targets

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate. Being a contrarian in a big-field event can help separate your lineup and gain you leverage over the field when some of the more popular names bust. The goal of this article won’t be to highlight the popular “play-it-safe” names that your Dad talks about at family dinner.

No. Us? We’re looking for some diamonds in the rough and guys that no one talks about — not even their own coaches.

OK, we’re not going that deep, but you get the idea — lower ownership and high upside. We’re looking for players who we feel good about but still make us feel alive inside. That’s the goal.

Let’s dive into Week 17.

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Game Stack: Washington Commanders vs San Francisco 49ers

Jacoby Brissett ($4,900) — Terry McLaurin ($5,500) — Brandon Aiyuk ($7,000) — Christian McCaffrey ($9,600)

While the Commanders are massive underdogs (+12.5), there is a good chance that leads to plenty of opportunities for Jacoby Brissett this week. Teams facing the 49ers are averaging 37.1 pass attempts per game and they enter this game banged up on defense with starting S Ji’Ayir Brown and starting CB Ambry Thomas both questionable. Brissett has averaged 9.73 yards per attempt (23 attempts) and has a 78% completion rate over his last two games. The former Colts starter also brings a solid rushing element and is a short-yardage specialist — something the Commanders could rely on given that their early down grinder, Chris Rodriguez, just went on IR.

While the Commanders have a plethora of explosive receivers, it’s Terry McClaurin who I expect to be Brissett’s primary option. McLaurin was finally able to crack the 100-yard barrier against the Rams in Week 15, thanks mainly to some well-timed throws from Brissett in the final quarter. McLaurin had a 38% target share in that game and while that number dipped a little last week I expect that with Brissett in for a full game, you’ll likely see him push for his ceiling in targets once again. The 49ers are not a horrific matchup for McLaurin either. They’ve allowed the 10th most fantasy points to opposing WRs and allowed Baltimore WRs to find the endzone on two separate occasions in last week’s game.

Of course, even if Brissett performs well and McLaurin benefits, we’ll still see a lot of points from the 49ers, who are up against a bottom-three defense in the Commanders (31st in EPA per play on defense). It’s a spot where Christian McCaffrey should blossom, again. Washington has regressed badly as a rush defense since they traded away Montez Sweat and have now allowed seven rushing TDs to opposing RBs over their last four games. With the 49ers on the road and Kyle Shanahan potentially interested in protecting their slightly banged-up QB, McCaffrey should be in for a heavy workload in an important road bounce-back game.

Of course, it’s Washington so we can’t just forget about the 49ers receivers either. The Commanders are 31st in EPA per dropback on defense and have allowed the second-most fantasy points, per game, to opposing WRs this year. With Jauan Jennings (questionable) banged up it should mean a few more targets for Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyik posted his sixth game with 100 yards or more last week and will certainly be in line to post his seventh such game this week. Ultimately, I expect the pace of this game and the fact the Commanders have upgraded at QB to allow for lots of points and multiple big fantasy days to transpire on both sides of the ball.

Quarterback: Bryce Young ($4,900), Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Maybe last week was a mirage, but there is no doubt that Bryce Young is set to see some continuation from his 312-yard, 2-TD day against Green Bay. The Jaguars' defense is 5th in success rate against the run but is also just 24th in success rate per dropback — and has yielded the fourth-most passing yards against, per game (257.1). QBs facing the Jaguars have also passed for 25 TDs (the sixth-most in the league), and the Jaguars as a whole have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the QB position.

I like the Panthers in this game in general but offensively, it should be a spot where Young is dropping quite a bit. The first-overall draft pick has now averaged over 7.0 yards per attempt in each of his last two games — the first time he’s done so in consecutive games this year — and has developed a better connection with a legit downfield option in DJ Chark. At $4,900, seeing Young get over 20.0 DKFP once again (and going 4x or more on his salary) wouldn’t be overly shocking. If he does, he’ll once again be one of the best values on the slate.

Running Back

Top End: D’Andre Swift ($6,500), Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

Swift crushed it last week, posting 92 yards and a TD against a weaker rush defense in the Giants. Swift’s TD against New York was his first in over four games but the former Lion was used heavily around the goal line and was a little unlucky not to find the end zone more than once. This week, Swift faces an even worse rush defense in the Cardinals who rank 31st in success rate against the run and who have allowed the most fantasy points, per game, to opposing RBs.

For such a high-price option Swift is a little boom or bust given his lack of PPR work (he has just 2 catches over his last three games), but the boom option with Swift this week is immense. He’ll have a great shot at creeping over the 100-yard barrier and finding the bonus this week (he just missed last week) and if he finds the end zone again, will likely go down as one of the highest scorers of his position for Week 17.

Low End: Tyjae Spears ($4,700), Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans

There aren’t a ton of great values under $5k this week, but if you need to go this low in salary, then Tyjae Spears is certainly a name that should pique your interest. The rookie has maintained a snap share of greater than 50% in each of his last four games and his receiving prowess (4 or more catches in three of his last four games) makes him an excellent accumulator in DraftKings PPR scoring.

The Texans are a good matchup for the Titans to rely more on Spears as well. They’re a solid rush defense but don’t defend the pass very well and have allowed the 11th most receiving yards to opposing RBs this year. Given that the Titans are +4.0 underdogs, and likely to be trailing late, we’ll likely see more solid yardage production from Spears in this spot, who may blow his salary out of the water from a value perspective if he finds the end zone.

Wide Receiver

Top End: Chris Olave ($6,800), New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Olave looks to be in a fantastic spot against Tampa Bay who has ceded the most receiving yards and the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this year. The Saints leading WR has now seen 9.0 or more targets in six of his last nine starts and has gone over the 100-yard barrier in three of his last four starts as well. Despite that, his price this week remains markedly affordable at under $7K.

New Orleans's own issues running the ball should help out Olave in this spot too. They rank just 18th in success rate per rush and face a Tampa Bay defense that is fourth in EPA against the rush this season. With the division on the line expect the Saints to go all out and lean heavily on Olave in this spot who looks like a great upper-tier value to build lineups around for DFS in Week 17.

Top Value: DJ Chark ($3,600), Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars

As mentioned above when discussing Bryce Young, I like this spot for the Panthers’ passing game. Chark exploded for a 6-98-2 game against Green Bay last week and has been playing on nearly every snap for the Panthers (over 80% route rate in three straight games). The heavier snap share in Week 16 finally led to heavier targeting and Chark (8 targets) becoming the defacto number one option for Bryce Young.

It’s hard to see why Chark wouldn’t succeed in this spot either. The Panthers are still +6.0 underdogs and will certainly have trouble running the ball against a top-rated Jaguars’ rush defense. Chark, who remains well under $4K, produced top-end fantasy results in Week 16 and looks in line to potentially be the value play of the week once again in Week 17.

Tight End: Durham Smythe ($2,900), Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens

The Dolphins have a tough matchup this week with the Ravens, and it will be made even tougher by the fact they may be without WR Jaylen Waddle — who is highly questionable as of Friday to suit up for this game. Smythe has come on as a consistent target in the passing game for Tua Tagovailoa ($7,400) of late, earning four or more targets in each of his last two games. His usage has also coincided with injuries to both Waddle and Tyreek Hill (Week 15) and, with Waddle likely out again, it’s hard to see Smythe’s role getting smaller in Week 17.

The Ravens aren’t a horrible matchup for Smythe either. They have allowed two TDs to TEs over their last three games and have allowed a TE to go for 50 or more yards in three of their last six games. Smythe is cheap and looks to potentially be on the verge of a breakout game in a spot where his QB could be dropping back well into the fourth quarter. For lineups that demand a low-priced option at TE, he’s a solid punt play to consider for Week 17.

Defense/Special Teams: New York Giants ($2,500) vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Giants have a tough matchup this week, but of all the cheap DSTs that we have available, they do offer the most intriguing upside. New York has solid pass rushers and some good young talent in the secondary which has led to them recording eight INTs now over their last five games.

The Rams are certainly on a roll at the moment but this game does take place in New York and that’s been a big plus for the Giants defense this season. As a unit, New York’s DST has averaged just under 3.0 sacks per game and also posted a very decent 8.0 DKFP per game over the last six home games. Matthew Stafford has also been more turnover-prone while outside of L.A., throwing five INTs across just six road games. The Giants may not win but like last week, a couple of big defensive plays may keep them in it and lead to another solid fantasy performance from their DST.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.