What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NFL season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the week, and my overall player pool for the main slate. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NFL with injury news on the weekends, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to my Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each week. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the Week 17 slate…
As we head into the close of the 2022 regular season, the DFS landscape changes and teams in must-win games do get ranked higher on my radar. That being said, the clear spot for cash games this weekend will be no secret with the Detroit Lions at home against the Chicago Bears in a game featuring a slate-high 52.5 O/U. Detroit has the highest team-total on the slate at 29 points — yes, higher than the Chiefs. Goff put up a nice game on the road against the Panthers last weekend in garbage time, but it’s clear that he’s been better at home this season. He has 20 touchdowns to just three INT’s at home this season, while the Bears have allowed the eighth-most DraftKings points to opposing QB’s. Their secondary is super-thin due to injuries, and Goff is a lock and load for me in Week 17. Justin Fields is in play as well opposite Goff, and these will likely be the highest-owned options on the slate.
In tournaments, I like looking at other cheaper QB’s that I think have upside in Mike White and Gardner Minshew. White has topped 300+ passing yards in two of this three starts — the outlier being a 268 yard day against the Bills in which he exited the game multiple times due to injury. It’s really cheap to stack him, and he will likely anchor my main tournament team this weekend. Minshew was one of the higher-owned guys last week, but people are off him now after a price bump despite him having a very good game against Dallas. He has averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in his two starts for the Eagles, and it’s pretty easy to stack him with one of his WR’s + Rashid Shaheed on the opposite side.
Core: Jared Goff, Mike White
Pivots: Justin Fields, Gardner Minshew, Trevor Lawrence
This is one of the better running back weeks this season, with seven or eight options I would legitimately consider in cash games. Both Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley are in play as spend-ups, and I don’t think I need to really dive into why they are strong plays. CMC continues to crush without Elijah Mitchell, while Barkley is $1,000 cheaper in salary and looks back to full-health after a down few weeks in the middle of the season.
All three of Miles Sanders, Travis Etienne and Brian Robinson are cash game viable, and I think even playing all three of them and avoiding the expensive plays could be a viable build as well. Robinson gets a huge boost with no Antonio Gibson — while the Browns have allowed the third-most DK points per game to running backs. Etienne gets the best match-up in football against the Houston Texans, and it seems like the Jaguars won’t be putting any limitations on their players this week. Etienne in particular seems due for positive touchdown regression — he hasn’t scored since Week 9 and has only four touchdowns this season despite his massive workload. Etienne has the fifth-most carries inside the 20 yard-line this year. As for Sanders, he’s my favorite option of them all. Philly clearly runs the ball and leans on him more without Jalen Hurts. He racked up 21 carries last week, and more importantly doesn’t have Jalen Hurts to steal the close ones. Hurts ranks second among all players with 20 carries inside the five yard-line.
All three options I have listed as pivots are really good plays projecting for modest ownership as well. Allgeier will be owned some, but I doubt McKinnon or Akers even sniff 10%. Allgeier still loses snaps, but the Falcons run the ball so much he’s still racking up 16+ touches regularly. McKinnon is always going to be a multi-TD threat while he is dominating the red-zone work for the best offense in football, and he crushed the Broncos catching the ball out of the backfield a few weeks ago.
Cam Akers is in a really interesting spot against the Chargers run defense. They’re one of the worst run defenses in football and he’s topped 75% of the snaps in each of the last two games.
Core: CMC, Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, Travis Etienne, Brian Robinson
Pivots: Tyler Allgeier, Jerick McKinnon, Cam Akers
WR is super concentrated for cash games this weekend. Justin Jefferson is the top spend-up on the slate as he chases history and a 2,000 yard season. I prefer spending up for him at home, but it’s clear the team wants him in the history books and he will be owned in all formats. St. Brown is what I would consider the top option, easily stacked with Goff in the best match-up on the slate. We also have two very strong mid-tier plays in Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Wilson is the better of the two, he’s averaged just under 100 yards per game with Mike White/Joe Flacco at QB this season. Lazard gets a nice boost with no Christian Watson, but I could see him getting over-owned with a lot of other people on Aaron Rodgers this week.
The Jaguars guys are in play as well, Zay Jones absolutely smashed as chalk a few weeks ago and he’s projecting for double-digit OWN% again. I prefer Kirk in GPPs, but Jones is in my cash game pool for Week 17.
For GPPs, I’ll be filling in my stacks per usual. I want to stack Minshew with either of AJB or Smith, and run it back with Shaheed as I noted above. I’ll be looking to double-stack Mike White — given that he’s shown the upside to throw the ball 45+ times. Chris Godwin and DJ Moore are both viable in all formats — this is a must-win for both teams and I think they’re both clearly their teams number one option.
Core: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Elijah Moore, Zay Jones
Pivots: Justin Jefferson, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, Christian Kirk, Chris Godwin, DJ Moore, DJ Chark, Drake London
Tight end is once again pretty straightforward for me when it comes to cash games, with a quality mid-tier option in Evan Engram and a punt option in Jelani Woods. Engram has been crushing down the stretch for Jacksonville and it’s clear that Doug Pederson has revived what was a once promising career. Attacking Houston over the middle of the field has been fruitful move, and Engram is averaging over 100 receiving yards per game over his last three games. Woods is an athletic freak, that has had a few big games during his rookie campaign. The big factor for Woods is that Kylen Granson has been ruled out for the Colts. Over their last two games without him active, Woods has averaged 60% of the snaps. He earned five targets from Nick Foles without Granson last week, and is the top punt on DraftKings.
For tournaments, getting off some of the McCaffrey chalk in favor of George Kittle makes sense. Kittle is averaging over 20 fantasy points per game sans Deebo this season and Brock Purdy has seemed comfortable throwing over the middle of the field in his few starts.
Core: Evan Engram, Jelani Woods, George Kittle
Bold Call of the Week
Mike White tops 300+ passing yards once again en route to a Jets win over the Seahawks
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)