Happy New Year, everyone! We turn the calendar to 2021 and the final Sunday of the NFL regular season. Fantasy football leagues may be finished, but daily fantasy platforms keep the fun rolling.
Below are my top four value plays for Week 17 DFS contests based on a $50k salary cap.
As always, hit me up with any questions on Twitter @AndyMc81 using #AskAndy.
Ty Johnson, RB, Jets
Draft Kings salary = $4,300
Twice over the past four games, Ty Johnson’s delivered RB-1 type of fantasy production, and I feel Sunday will be lucky number three. Frank Gore is on injured reserve and La’Mical Perine is sidelined (COVID-19/reserve list), which leaves Johnson as top dog in the Jets backfield.
The sophomore’s dual threat capability is what intrigues me here. During the stretch mentioned above, Johnson demonstrated strength as a rusher and as a pass-catcher. In Week 13 versus the Raiders, he rattled off 104 yards on the ground for an impressive 4.7 yards per carry as well as a touchdown. On Dec. 20 against the Rams, it was the 23-year-old’s six receptions plus a score that helped him to a solid 17.5 FPTs afternoon.
New England’s ranked 27th in rushing yards allowed per game (132.8) this season as both franchises limp to the finish line. The Patriots have rattled quarterback Sam Darnold throughout his career, and that makes Johnson even more valuable as a quick dump off option. Outside of Jamison Crowder, Johnson is the only Jets player worth sliding into any DFS lineup.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
Draft Kings salary = $4,200
As the 11th-most expensive tight end on Sunday’s slate, I love Mike Gesicki’s upside. Whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (out due to COVID-19) or rookie Tua Tagovailoa under centre, Gesicki’s grown into a favourite target for Miami quarterbacks. A fantasy TE-5 through Week 14, the six-foot-six Penn State alum provided four touchdowns and averaged 17.05 FPTs during his last four outings.
In a “win and you’re in” playoff scenario, the Dolphins could be without one or both of their starting wide receivers in DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant. Absences like that obviously increase Gesicki’s value facing a Buffalo squad that struggles in defending tight ends. He also posted 130 yards and found the end zone when the Bills visited south beach in September. The fear of Tua’s in-game volatility cannot be dismissed, but at least we know he’ll be looking in Gesicki’s direction often.
Rodney Smith, RB, Panthers
Draft Kings salary = $4,000
It appears that Rodney Smith will field lead running back duties as both Christian McCaffrey and Mike Davis are very unlikely to suit up. For fantasy managers thinking of slotting in Smith, consider that he’s been a consistent low-volume contributor for the past month. He’s displayed the ability to run between tackles, be a reliable check down receiving option, and gain chunk yardage in space.
The Saints’ run defence is no joke, however; the unit has allowed 90 or more rushing yards in their three most recent contests. Smith’s skill set matches perfectly with the Panthers offence, and that makes him a nice contrarian flex choice this weekend.
C.J. Beathard, QB, 49ers
Draft Kings salary = $5,200
Expected low ownership and cheap DFS salary makes 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard an interesting pick if you want to spend up at other positions. At just $5,200, he takes on a Seahawks defence that is dead last in stopping fantasy QBs. Beathard dinked-and-dunked his way to three passing touchdowns in a surprise victory over Arizona last week. That equalled a quality fantasy point day of 20.08, and don’t forget that he can use his legs a bit, too.
The 2017 third-round draft pick has flashed arm talent in the NFL before. Beathard’s delivered six multi-touchdown and 245-plus yard passing games during his career as a spot starter.