By Sean Weymouth
Week 17 DFS has some incredibly interesting scenarios that you need to keep in mind. This is due to the Playoff implications that you need to be aware of when putting together your player pool. I can tell you that my own strategy will be to target teams that are actually playing for something and considering cheap options with Teams that aren’t – and I don’t mean the teams that are out all together – but if a team has already clinched everything that they can (example, The Ravens) they still need to field a team even if they are sitting their starters. Those backups and handoffs can carry a nice price, as you look to load up on high priced “Must Win” options. Coach Harbaugh has already said Lamar Jackson will not play, so suddenly RG3 is in play, at least he is for me … Get it?
First let’s review what we know from a playoff perspective. As I lay these teams out I will put in BOLD the teams who have clinched, but are still playing for something. Those teams are who I will be my primary targets to build my player pool from.
– Baltimore Ravens (Clinched AFC North, First Round Bye, Home Field Advantage)
– Houston Texans (Clinched AFC South)
– Kansas City Chiefs (Clinched AFC West)
– New England Patriots (Clinched AFC East)
– Buffalo Bills (Clinched Playoff Berth)
Plus there are AFC Teams who need to win to get in too. Some with varying levels of scenarios that will also have to happen, but each need to win to even have their shot.
– Tennessee Titans
– Oakland Raiders
– Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots need to win as with a win over the Miami Dolphins the Pats will clinch a first round bye. I would expect all of your Patriots Starters to be in the game until a point it is out of hand (either way winning or losing). Brady, Edelman, White, Michel, Harry, Sanu, Myers, LaCrosse, Watson and the Patriots Defense will all new in play.
The Chiefs need to win as well for a first round bye, but they also need the Pats to lose. So against the Chargers I’d expect Mahomes, Williams, McCoy, Hill, Kelce, Watkins, Robinson, Hardman, Chiefs Defense – all will be in play until the game gets out of hand (either winning or losing)
Both the Pats and Chiefs will play at 1pm. So barring blow outs in the first half of both games, where coaches will be watching each other’s games closely… I think you’ll get near full work load from both teams starters.
If the Titans win, they are in. Period. Tannehill, Brown, Henry all should be targets for you as if expect a full workload for the Titans. Including their Defense. They take on the Giants.
The Oakland Raiders have several, long shot, scenarios to getting into the playoffs but none of them matter if they don’t win. So fire up Carr, DeAndre Washington, Renfrow, Waller, Williams and company with confidence of a full work load against Denver.
The Steelers also have a lengthy of scenarios to unfold to see them in the playoffs. While not as bleak as the Raiders, again, none of these scenarios can play out without a Steelers Win against Washington. So Hodges, Smith-Schuster, Washington, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Diontae Johnson – all will be in play with a full work load expected.
– New Orleans Saints (Clinched NFC South)
– Green Bay Packers (Clinched Playoff Berth)
– Minnesota Vikings (Clinched Playoff Berth)
– San Francisco 49ers (Clinched Playoff Berth)
– Seattle Seahawks (Clinched Playoff Berth)
Plus there are NFC Teams who need to win to get in too. Some with varying levels of scenarios that will also have to happen, but each need to win to even have their shot.
– Dallas Cowboys
– Philadelphia Eagles
The Saints need a win to start their path to a first round bye, along with a Green Bay OR a San Fran loss. They also need the win to qualify for home field advantage, providing both Green Bay AND San Fran lose. So Brees, Thomas, Kamara, Murray, Cook, Tre’quon Smith, they will all be out there until the game is out of hand (either way) against Carolina.
The Packers are in a similar scenario, needing to win to have a hope of a bye and/or home field advantage. Both of these scenarios rely on the outcomes of the New Orleans and San Fransisco Games but even still Rogers, Jones, Adams, Lazard, Graham and company will be in play until the game is out of hand against Detroit. Keep an eye on Jamaal Williams, he is banged up however. Just more work for Aaron Jones.
Both the Packers and Saints play at 1pm. So much like the Pats and Chiefs, barring first half blowouts, I doubt you’ll see much competitive advantages of either team playing or not playing starters based on the other’s game. So I feel confidant you’ll see enough of both teams starters to play them confidently.
San Fransisco will clinch the NFC West with a win – but they could also clinch a first round bye or home field advantage based on losses from the Saints and Packers. However – San Fran doesn’t play until 8:20 and will have the luxury of knowing if Green Bay or New Orleans won or lost. This could have an effect on how long Garropplo, Kittle, Sanders, Samuel, Mostert and company are on the field – should the Niners go up big on Seattle. While I don’t really see that happening as I think San Fran and Seattle will be a very competitive game – it is something to be mindful of both the Packers and Saints happen to lose earlier in the day.
The Seahawks are in the exact situation. If they win, they clinch the NFC West and if they win they can also clinch a first round bye and/or home field advantage depending on the results of the Packers and Saints. Again with the Seahawks playing at 8:20 they have the luxury of knowing the results of Green Bay and New Orleans game as it comes to how they roll out their starters. Again I’d expect the San Fran Seattle game to be highly competitive so Wilson, Carson, Lockett, Metcalf, Hollister and company should fully be in play – but again, it is something to keep in mind if both Green Bay and New Orleans happen to lose.
If the Packers and Saints lose, the San Fran Seattle Sunday Night Game will literally be for all the marbles with the NFC West and Home Field advantage on the life. Both teams would receive a first round bye with a win too. So it is quite possible that both go all out till the bitter end. But if one has a decisive advantage over the other heading into the half … just saying, there is risk
I’ll be back later in the weekend with my picks and more but I wanted to put this article out to you guys as there is so much strategy to be applied to the players you select for your lineups (on whichever site you play) I thought it would be helpful to have a full view and hopefully it helps you!