NFL Week 17 Cash Pool: Below are the players that I consider to be viable plays on DraftKings in Cash Games (H2H, Double-Ups, 50/50s). This article is updated throughout the weekend with a final update at 12:00 PM EST on Sunday to account for surprise inactives and late-week news.
Lamar Jackson ($8,000): With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Lamar Jackson will look to produce a season-extending performance against The Bengals in Week 17. Jackson has averaged over 70 rushing yards p/g over his last eight games and continues to have one of the more reliable fantasy floors as a result. Baltimore has the fourth highest implied team total on the slate (28.5).
Ryan Tannehill ($7,000): Due to the lack of projectable passing volume, Ryan Tanehill is unlikely to be a popular option in cash games this week. That being said, he remains a quarterback that can get there on efficiency and this is a fantastic spot in a must-win game for The Titans. Tennessee has a slate high ITT (32), and will face a Houston defense that got torched by Brandon Allen only a week ago. The $1000 you can save by downgrading off Lamar Jackson could come in crucial for what is clearly a “stars and scrubs,” type of week in cash.
Baker Mayfield ($5,500): Projection models be damned, Baker Mayfield is the top punt option at QB in Week 17. The math may prefer Drew Lock or Chad Henne in a pt/$ sense, but the math doesn’t have eyes. Mayfield is no Mahomes, but he’s at least a competent passer. The Browns pass catching weapons will return this week; Landry, Higgins, and Peoples-Jones have all been activated from the COVID list. The Steelers will be resting starters on both sides of the ball, including TJ Watt and Cam Heyward on defense.
QB Positional Notes: This is a week where our priority plays will come at RB/WR. Quarterback is more about what fits. I think you are embracing the least amount of risk with Lamar Jackson who is an elite play, but his 8K price tag is hard to justify paying with the other high priced options we want to jam in at the skill positions. Mayfield makes the most sense from a roster construction and pricing standpoint. As noted above, I would rather take a chance on a serviceable/decent QB on a team fighting for their playoff lives, rather than a god awful Drew Lock type on a dead team. Tannehill is a strong play this week and has shown the ability to score over 30-points even in Henry blow up spots (see Week 6 game log against The Texans).
Derrick Henry ($9,400): A mere 223 yards away from the 2,000 yard rushing benchmark, Derrick Henry will look to carry his team into the playoffs with one final record setting performance. You couldn’t dream up a better spot for the great King Henry. Houston has the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing the most FPPG to opposing RBs on the season. The Titans are favored by a touchdown, and have the highest ITT on the slate (32) in the game with the highest total (56.5). Henry is the best pure play on the slate.
Jonathan Taylor ($7,400): After an up-and-down start to the year, Jonathan Taylor has finally hit his stride and settled in as The Colts undisputed lead back. Averaging over 20-touches per-game over the last month, Taylor finds himself in elite position to give his team the push they need to make the playoffs. The Jaguars are a bottom-five run defense, and Indianapolis has the second highest ITT (31.5) in a game where they are favored by two scores (-14).
Malcolm Brown ($4,300): Darrell Henderson is out, and Cam Akers will be an Afternoon game time decision. Akers managing to log a limited practice on Friday has thrown a wrench into one of the better value plays on the slate. If Malcolm Brown was the last man standing for the run-first Rams, you could roll him out in cash games with confidence as a safe bet to touch the ball 20+ times. He would immediately be out of cash game consideration if we knew that Akers was going to return. This will be a situation to monitor. Luckily, with 8 afternoon games this week, the option for late-swap pivots will be plentiful. 1 for 1 pivots I’m monitoring right now include Rodney Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Laviska Shenault. UPDATE: Adam Schefter expects Cam Akers to “try to play.”
Ty Johnson ($4,300): Former Lions cast-off Ty Johnson is expected to be The Jets lead back in Week 17 with Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine already ruled out. It’s not a terrible spot for Johnson against the hapless Patriots, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnson find himself in a positive game script en route to The Jets winning their third straight game to end the season. Johnson has only handled starting duties once for The Jets this season, in Week 13 against The Raiders. He produced 117 total yards and a touchdown on 24-touches when given the opportunity.
Rodney Smith ($4,000): A relatively unknown prospect, Rodney Smith will attempt to make a name for himself in Week 17 with the opportunity to start in place of an injured Mike Davis, who was starting in place of an injured Christian McCaffrey. In the interest of transparency, I initially viewed Smith as an easy fade this week. As a third-string RB with no NFL production, an unknown athletic profile, and a terrible matchup against The Saints, playing for a dead Panthers team, I’d be willing to lose to Smith lineups if he smashes. With Malcolm Brown’s status as a viable value now in question, Smith has some life as a player who has seen 6 targets over the past two weeks and is priced at the stone minimum.
RB Positional Notes: UPDATE: Ty Johnson is becoming the standout value for me this week. Ty Montgomery is a complete trap and the uncertainty surrounding the return of Cam Akers has thrown the Malcolm Brown play into doubt. I think the vast majority of the field will feel comfortable playing either Ty Montgomery or Rodney Smith (or both). I expect Johnson to out-touch both, and he’s shown the ability to produce in the passing game at multiple points this season. JT is an elite play in the mid-range. Henry is the best play on the slate.
Davante Adams ($9,200): Davante Adams should be heavily involved in Week 17 as The Packers make their final push to secure the #1 seed in The NFC and with it, the coveted first round bye. Adams has been an absolute fantasy machine this season. Despite missing two games, Adams is fantasy’s #1 WR and he’s currently averaging 4.4 FPPG more than the next closest WR (Hill). Adams is never a bad play in DK cash games. Aaron Rodgers has publicly stated how much winning MVP means to him. Expect the Packers to go all out in this game to secure the 1 seed and Rodgers’ MVP title.
Justin Jefferson ($7,600): With the rookie receiving record in reach, Justin Jefferson is set up well to finish his debut season in the NFL with a bang. The Lions defense, quite possibly the most embarrassingly bad unit in the NFL, has absolutely no shot of slowing Jefferson down. With Dalvin Cook out, The Vikings are likely to lean on the passing game for offensive production this week. Despite the loss of Cook, Minnesota is still expected to score this week. The Vikings have the third highest ITT on the slate (30.5)
Jarvis Landry ($6,500): An underrated asset in both fantasy and real life, Jarvis Landry will make his return to The Browns lineup after a COVID related absence last week. Prior to that, Landry had been averaging 9.5 targets per game over the last month and should be heavily as Baker Mayfield’s go-to receiver. Pittsburgh will be resting starters on both sides of the ball which should make things easier for everyone on Cleveland’s offense.
Laviska Shenault ($4,200): With DJ Chark and James Robinson out, Laviska Shenault will have the opportunity to shine as the lone explosive element to The Jaguars depressing offense on Sunday. When DJ Chark missed Week 12, Shenault disappointed with a 3-31 receiving line. A similar outcome is not outside the range of possibility and thus, Shenault is hardly a lock. Still, his cheap price tag mitigates the risk of him busting and The Colts are expected to be without several of their defensive starters for Week 17.
Jerry Jeudy ($4,200): Despite having 15 targets last week, Jeudy amazingly finished the game with only 6 receptions for 61 yards. While Jeudy is not blameless for his drops last week, the talented rookie pass catcher has undoubtedly been held down this season by Drew Lock’s abysmal quarterbacking. Jeudy will have the chance to end his season on a high-note against a beatable Raiders secondary in a surprisingly high totaled game (51).
Josh Reynolds ($3,200): After leading the Rams in targets last week, Josh Reynolds could once again be an important piece of LA’s passing attack with Cooper Kupp ruled out. Jared Goff is also out, which downgrades the expectation for every player that is now set to receive balls from the arm of John Wolford. Reynolds isn’t exciting, but he’s too cheap for the every down role he should have this week.
Richie James ($3,100): Despite producing a monstrous 9-184-1 stat line against The Packers in Week 9, Richie James has seldom been involved in The 49ers offense this season. In fact, it took both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk missing in Week 9 for him to shine when he did. The opportunity will once again present itself this week as both of the young star receivers are slated to miss the final game of SF’s season. James is a boom-bust punt with a low-floor with a proven ceiling.
WR Positional Notes: I think that playing Justin Jefferson > Davante Adams as the main high-priced WR your pay up WR in cash is OK. That being said, it’s probably not something that I will implement this week. The best projected pt/$ values on the slate are cheap and there is more than enough value to play both Adams/Henry together. With the punt RBs losing appeal by the minute, I’m looking at WR as my primary avenue to save salary in DK cash games this week. Laviska is an easy cash play and my preferred option over Hardman and Jeudy at the same price. My Sunday morning lean is that Reynolds is more solid than Richie James from a floor perspective.
Irv Smith Jr. ($3,900): Kyle Rudolph is out once again and Irv Smith Jr. will be the primary pass catching TE for Minnesota this week. The Vikings will likely have a more pass-heavy approach on offense than usual with the loss of Dalvin Cook.
Jonnu Smith ($3,800): Tennessee’s pass catching tight end has been up-and-down this season, but is close to finishing the year with 10-touchdowns in only 14-games played. At this price point, a TD would be enough to hit value and with The Titans having a slate high ITT (32), he is as good a bet as any to find the end zone this week.
TE Positional Notes: Without Kelce on the slate, everybody will be looking to hop on #TeamPayDown for TE. The margin of difference between Irv Smith Jr., Jonnu Smith, Austin Hooper, and even Evan Engram, is extremely slim. All four TEs are separated by only $200 and you could make the case for any of them. Ultimately, as long as you are in this price range, you are probably on the correct build. I’m prioritizing Smith Jr. and Smith as the Titans and Vikings have high team totals and thus, each TE will be involved in respective offenses that are more likely to score touchdowns.
Priority Plays: Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, Davante Adams
Fades: Ty Montgomery, Rodney Smith, Marvin Jones
Cash Game Results 2020:
Week 1: 185.1 Points. 87% Win Rate (83.3% of 78 H2Hs, 100% of 22 DUs)
Week 2: 161.9 Points. 91.3% Win Rate (90.3% of 103 H2Hs, 100% of 12 DUs)
Week 3: 112.1 Points. 17.7% Win Rate (21% of 119 H2Hs, 0% of 22 DUs)
Week 4: 139.50 Points. 81% Win Rate (77.9% of 104 H2Hs, 100% of 17 DUs)
Week 5: 143.68 Points. 31.1% Win Rate (35.9% of 103 H2Hs, 0% of 16 DUs)
Week 6: 138.12 Points. 32.45% Win Rate (35.9% of 103 H2Hs, 0% of 11 DUs)
Week 7: 199.40 Points. 37.5% Win Rate (32.5 % H2Hs, 91.6% of 12 DUs)
Week 8: 112.66 Points.55.5% Win Rate (61.9% of 105 H2Hs, 0% of 12 DUs)
Week 9: 162.60 Points. 97% Win Rate (95.7% of 119 H2Hs, 100% of 11 DUs)
Week 10: 94.10 Points. 2.2% Win Rate (4% of 119 H2Hs, 0% of 12 DUs).
Week 11: 167.82 Points. 92.5% Win Rate (92% of 161 H2Hs, 100% of 13 DUs)
Week 12: 121.98 Points. 23.7% Win Rate (37/140 H2Hs, 0% of 16 DUs)
Week 13: 152.4 Points. 57.4% Total Win Rate (54.4% of 125 H2Hs, 9/9 DUs)
Week 14: 155.80 Points. 58.5% Total Win Rate (55.9% of 161 H2Hs, 10/10 DUs)
Week 15: 145.96 Points. 13% Total Win Rate (24/170 H2H, 0/15 DUs)
Week 16: 97.72 Points. 2.87% Total Win Rate. 4/128 H2H, 0/11 DUs