NFL DFS Main Slate – Above/Below – Key Plays for Week 17

The main NFL DFS slate features too many viable combinations to count in a lifetime, even when we eliminate several of the lower-end stacks we are left with possibilities galore at several positions. With NFL DFS picks, tips, tricks, touts, shoutouts, tweets, spreadsheets, slams, and sims coming from every direction all week, the purpose of this article is to feature a few plays for which our projections land above or below what appears to be the industry standard for the week, which will identify plays that are potentially over or undervalued by the public.

*note – despite the title of this article and what would probably be a more logical configuration, the “below” category comes first in the following content.

NFL DFS Sunday Main Slate Above/Below – Week 17


Gardner Minshew II – Quarterback – Indianapolis Colts – $5,700/$6,700 – QB15 points/QB12 value DraftKings; QB15/QB10 FanDuel

Gardner Minshew II has been the unexpected starter for the Colts for most of this season, responding with 2,940 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in his 14 games, but he has put up just 6.6 yards per pass attempt overall and he has not thrown more than two touchdowns in any game this season. Minshew has gone over 300 yards in three of his 14 games, but he threw three interceptions to just one touchdown to spoil one of them, while putting up a pair of touchdowns in each of the other 300-yard performances. His intended air yards per pass attempt sits at a respectable 7.2 yards but he has completed just 3.9 air yards per attempt, suggesting that most of his completions come on short routes. The Raiders have not generated much pressure against opposing quarterbacks this season, Minshew will be facing just an 18.6% pressure rate from a team that has 32 sacks and nine interceptions on the year while allowing 231.27 yards per game, and 22 passing touchdowns. Minshew ranks as only a borderline playable option from site to site this week but he appears to be drawing more attention from the public as a potential value play. With the presence of Jonathan Taylor back in the mix there is even more reason to expect Minshew to underperform his popularity as a cheap quarterback in a week that is loaded with similar options. We land nearly two points behind the industry average projection on Minshew going into this week and would expect to come up below the field’s exposure to both the quarterback and stacks of Colts.

Tyreek Hill – Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins  – $9,300/$9,800 – WR1 points/WR31 value DraftKings; WR2/WR13 FanDuel

Hill checks in as WR1 by fantasy points on DraftKings but falls to WR31 by value given a $9,300 price tag against the best pass defense in the league. He is WR2/14 on the FanDuel slate for $9,800, making him somewhat more playable but still somewhat of a value trap despite a massive leap in target shares in games without Jaylen Waddle this season. Hill has drawn better than a 40% target share on routes run without Waddle this season, he has the potential for a ceiling performance, which has been a familiar experience this season. Hill has eight games with more than 100 receiving yards, just missing his ninth with 99 yards on 9-14 receiving in last week’s outing. The stick of dynamite in a football uniform has five games of more than 150 yards and he has an outrageous 11.2 yards per target this season with 1,641 yards and 12 touchdowns. With all of that in mind, and reminding once again that Waddle will be out and Hill has the potential for incredible volume, we are conservatively below the industry average fantasy points projection against one of the top defenses in football. The Ravens have yielded just 5.0 yards per pass attempt this season, the top-ranked mark in the league and they have a slate-leading 54 sacks this season, so Tua Tagovailoa may be under more pressure than he typically sees. The Dolphins are also likely to be without running back Raheem Mostert, which is a further general downgrade to the offense. For example, Mostert’s absence could thrust Hill receiving situations into different opportunities on third down attempts, rather than aggressively designed deep scoring plays. Hill projects extremely well on this slate, he is the number 1 option by raw fantasy points on DraftKings and number 2 on FanDuel, but for the money, he takes a major hit in points-per-dollar rankings on both sites. It only takes a minor amount of failure for a big purchase like Hill to tank a lineup if he does not bump his head on the ceiling, we are about a point and a half below the industry average projection.

Justin Fields – Quarterback – Chicago Bears – $7,300/$8,200 – QB7 points/QB19 value ; QB7/QB14 FanDuel

While Justin Fields projects well individually, we are below the industry average projection on the high-ceiling fantasy quarterback and the Bears do not stand out from the field this week, landing just 20th by fantasy points and 24th/22nd by value on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively as a stack. Fields has the upside to be played individually in “naked” lineups, or he can be stacked with DJ Moore or Cole Kmet if he is active, but the Bears are limited through the air this week. Fields is QB7 by individual fantasy points on both sites but he does not rank well by points-per-dollar against Atlanta’s quality defense. The Falcons rank ninth with 3.9 yards per attempt allowed to the rushing game and eighth against the pass with 6.1 yards allowed per attempt. Fields has posted 6.7 yards per pass attempt with 15 touchdown passes in his starts this season. The dynamic rusher has added 585 yards on the ground, a 5.6-yard per attempt average, with three rushing touchdowns this season. Against a far more limited Arizona defense last week, Fields was good but not great, posting just 170 yards and one touchdown pass with an interception on 15-27 passing while adding 97 yards and a rushing touchdown on his nine carries. He has not exceeded one passing touchdown since his pair of four-touchdown games that came in Weeks 4 and 5. Fields completes a low percentage of his passes and he cannot be fully relied upon for upside in that aspect of the game, while he can save himself with his rushing ability that tends to be the rule rather than the exception. The games in which Fields’ rushing pads an already very high score are fewer and farther between. We land about 1.3 fantasy points below the industry average on the Bears quarterback this week after favoring him in this space in recent games.

Lingering Lows

  • Easton Stick
  • James Cook
  • Javonte Williams
  • Zamir White (still solid value chalk)
  • Jacksonville Defense
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Demario Douglas
  • Najee Harris
  • Travis Etienne Jr.
  • Michael Pittman Jr.

Don’t miss our full breakdown in the Groups/Stacks article, complete with full game notes & stack rankings for every team


Bryce Young – Quarterback – Carolina Panthers – $4,900/$6,600 – WR5 points/WR5 value DraftKings; WR4/WR5 FanDuel

This is not a must-have definitely lock it in ultra high-scoring option, at best we are looking at a quarterback who may once again provide a bit of underappreciated value from a very low price on one site. Bryce Young had a good game in Week 16 and he checks into Week 17 at just $4,900 on the DraftKings slate. Young costs $6,600 on FanDuel, changing the nature of the play relative to other options and the salary cap, he ranks just as QB18 by value on FanDuel but he is the 8th-highest ranked points-per-dollar quarterback on DraftKings (while landing 20th by raw fantasy points). We are stopping well short of calling this a Bryce Young breakout, the quarterback had a good outing the last time we saw him with 312 yards and two touchdowns on 23-36 passing in Week 16 against the Packers and he gets a soft opponent in the Jaguars to continue the roll this week. Young will be facing a defense that ranks just 24th with 6.9 yards allowed per pass attempt and 25 touchdown passes yielded on the season with 257 yards allowed per game, even Young may take advantage of those numbers. Of course, the Jaguars have managed 32 sacks and 14 interceptions with a 22.5% pressure rate and 29.6% blitz rate, so Young will have to keep his head up and get the ball out quickly, but there is an affordable opportunity in Carolina this week and there are quite a few similar-to-worse quarterbacks and backups in play this week. Overall, Young has been lousy in his rookie season, posting just 5.6 yards per pass attempt and 11 touchdowns on 60% passing. The Panthers rank as the 21st stack by fantasy points on both sites but they land fourth by points-per-dollar value on DraftKings, largely on the back of their bargain-bin quarterback. Carolina is just 20th by value on the FanDuel slate where they are not a strong consideration, but we are nearly 2.5 points ahead of the industry average projection for the Panthers quarterback this week.

Tyler Higbee – Tight End – Los Angeles Rams – $3,300/$5,000 – TE13 points/TE3 value DraftKings; TE15/TE13 FanDuel

Against the Giants, everyone on the Rams is in play this week. Los Angeles profiles as one of the top stacks on the board with high-scoring options across the industry. Matthew Stafford is a premium quarterback facing a terrible defense with excellent weapons in Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, while Kyren Williams is set to chew the New York defense up on the ground. With that in mind, it is tight end Tyler Higbee sitting about 1.5 points ahead of the industry average who draws the eye in this matchup when searching for lower-owned interesting options. Higbee ranks as TE3 by points-per-dollar value at a very low price on DraftKings, his value is just in the mid-range on the FanDuel slate but he is one of only a few tight ends in his price tier who have an honest path to regular targets and clear upside for success. Higbee and Stafford will be facing a defense that has allowed 19 passing touchdowns and 6.7 yards per attempt through the air this season, which plays in favor of all of the highly-projected options in this offense. For his cheap price, Higbee is not drawing enough ownership on either site, he should show solid returns with clear touchdown upside. Higbee scored twice in Week 12, catching five of five targets for 29 yards and his only two scores of the season but he has upside and volume that defy his output. Higbee has four games with at least five catches this season and he has caught at least three passes in eight contests with a target high of 11 back in Week 4. Higbee is not a top priority to chase but he is a name to remember when scrolling down the list of tight ends to see who fits to buy that expensive running back who could make or break a Sunday.

Rachaad White – Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB3 points/RB6 value DraftKings; RB4/RB3 FanDuel

This is the weekly notice that Tampa Bay running back Rachaad White has major volume in both the rushing and passing game with more than 20 potential touches in almost every contest this season. White is RB3 by points and RB6 by value on DraftKings and RB4/3 on FanDuel, he is one of the highest-volume running backs in the league this year with more than 20 potential touches in most weeks this season. White carried the ball 20 times for 39 yards and a touchdown with another 38 yards coming on seven targets and six receptions last week. In Week 15 he had 89 yards rushing on 21 carries and another 50 yards with a touchdown, catching both of his targets. White has had similar games going back to Week 9, and he has nine combined touchdowns with more than 1300 combined yards from scrimmage on the season. The running back will undoubtedly be popular once again but he seems like a strong option despite an increasing price tag, White has held his value-based pricing firmly and he is a better overall option than similarly priced running backs on this slate, including Derrick Henry and D’Andre Swift. We land about 1.5 points ahead of the industry average on White shares once again this week and plan to roster him ahead of the field’s healthy but not exaggerated ownership projections.

CJ Stroud – Quarterback – Houston Texans – QB6 points/QB9 value DraftKings; QB5/QB3 FanDuel

We are enthusiastically on the Texans option with CJ Stroud returning to the fold after a two-week absence. The rookie has simply been one of the best quarterbacks in football in 2023, posting 8.2 yards per pass attempt and 9.2 intended air yards per pass attempt on the season. Stroud has several excellent weapons in the passing game and he has demonstrated connections with all of them throughout the season, though primary and popular Nico Collins should see the most volume. Noah Brown has major potential as a downfield big-play weapon and Dalton Schultz is a premium tight end this week, while Robert Woods is the sneaky wide receiver from the bargain bin with touchdown potential. The Texans snap together in many ways this week with Stroud as the catalyst, he has the potential to post a monster game at only fair popularity, making him an excellent option from site to site, his points-per-dollar ranking on FanDuel only makes him more appealing. Against a pass defense that ranks just 22nd with 6.8 yards allowed per attempt, there is reason to expect big things from the elite passing attack in Week 17. The Tennesee pass defense has allowed 225.67 yards per game with 17 total touchdown passes against this season and they have managed just four interceptions all year which pairs well with a quarterback who has thrown just five interceptions all season. Stroud has 20 touchdown passes with 8.2 yards per pass attempt and a whopping 279.31 yards per game in his rookie campaign. Against a defense that funnels to the pass with a seventh-ranked 3.8 yards allowed per rush attempt, it could be Stroud day once last time in 2023, the Texans rank sixth by points on both sites and they improve to third on DraftKings and fourth on FanDuel by points-per-dollar. Stroud threw for more than 300 yards in three straight games from Week 10 – Week 12 before a 274-yard game in Week 13 and an abbreviated start the following game. The quarterback’s high point came in Week 9 when he completed 30 of 42 pass attempts for 470 yards and five touchdowns, he has a significant ceiling that rivals the best options at his position this week with one of the better matchups on the slate.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Tyler Allgeier
  • Kenneth Walker III
  • De’Von Achane
  • Kyren Williams
  • Robert Woods
  • Adam Thielen & DJ Chark Jr.
  • Drake London
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Nico Collins
  • Calvin Ridley
  • Treylon Burks
  • Justin Watson
  • Tyrod Taylor/Darren Waller/Darius Slayton

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