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WR/TE Grind Down: Week 17

Saturday, December 30, 2017


It’s Week 17 of the NFL regular season, and while many teams have “nothing to play for”, I don’t plan on changing my approach unless teams announce certain players will take the game off, or play only part of it. Teams like the Browns have been eliminated from playoff contention for weeks, and they’re still going out and trying to win games. I don’t expect anything different from any other teams, so I will analyze this week no differently than any other week.

 

The one thing to be aware of is teams that have already clinched the postseason but cannot improve their seeding within a win. Those teams often elect to rest key players and avoid putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily. The Eagles, Jags, and Chiefs, for example, have nothing to play for, however it’s worth noting that the Jags are not planning to rest any players. Also, the Rams are locked into the third or fourth seed, and given the difference is negligible, will be resting many players.

 

Also note that all 32 teams are in action on Sunday with no Sunday night game, meaning we have a truly full slate of games on FanDuel and DraftKings.

 

 

 

WIDE RECEIVER

 


Cash Game Targets


Please note that while I didn’t specifically write up Michael Thomas this week, I always love him as a cash game play, and he’s an especially good one against the Bucs and their horrific secondary.


Keelan Cole at Titans


With Marqise Lee out, Cole has seen 22 targets over the past two games, eclipsing 100 yards in both. He’s the clear number one target with Lee out, and although the Jags run the ball more than any other team in the league, the passing game gets plenty of work given Jacksonville’s defense sends the opposition off the field so quickly. The Titans rank 24th in pass defense DVOA, which sets up very nicely for Cole. Most importantly, Cole is incredibly cheap on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and with the Jags expected to treat this like any other game, he’s an easy cash game play this week.

 

 

Marqise Goodwin at Rams


Goodwin’s string of solid games ended last week in an extremely tough matchup against the Jags. Expect him to bounce back this week against the Rams despite their third place DVOA rank. The Rams will be resting key players this week, which is going to change the dynamic of this game drastically. Expect them to struggle on offense with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley on the sidelines, which will mean more possessions for a Niners team that already plays at a very quick pace. More possessions means more throws, which means more targets for Goodwin, who is averaging nearly 10 per game over his last four, including just six last week against Jacksonville.

 

The Niners have played very well with Jimmy G under center, and that should continue this Sunday. I expect 10 or more targets for Goodwin, and given he’s still cheap relative to the workload he sees, I’m very comfortable with him as a cash game play.

 

 

Tournament Targets


Marvin Jones vs Packers


I imagine that, on a day where all 32 teams are in play, there won’t be much attention on the Lions or their receivers. Both Jones and Tate did nothing against a Bengals team that essentially shuts down opposing wide receivers while Eric Ebron was the lone bright spot in the passing game. I highlighted that exact situation last week when Ebron was a recommended cash game play, and he didn’t disappoint.

 

Now, we have the reverse. Green Bay is strong against the run, above average against tight ends, and really struggles with covering opposing wide receivers. The Lions are one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league given their complete inability to run the ball, and even though they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention, I expect them to come out and play hard. Both Tate and Jones are strong under-the-radar plays, but Jones makes for the better tournament option given his red zone usage and higher upside routes.

 

 

Julio Jones vs Panthers


With Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins out, the number of elite wide receivers is very small. Despite scoring just three touchdowns all season while seeing a maddeningly low amount of red zone work, Jones still has more upside than any other pass-catcher on this slate. He’s taking on a Panthers defense that ranks seventh in DVOA but 22nd in yards allowed per pass attempt. Jones can perform in any matchup, but in a must-win game for the Falcons, I expect him to be involved to the tune of at least 12 targets, possibly 15.

 

He’s not an absolute must in cash games, but given the value that’s available this week, he’s probably going to be easy to roster. If he’s heading toward high cash game usage, I would roll with the crowd, and I would look to get tournament exposure given his ability to break a slate.

 

 

 

TIGHT END

 


Cash Game Targets


Antonio Gates vs Raiders


Hello Narrative Street! This will, unless the Chargers get some help in addition to a win, be the last game of Gates’s career, and with Hunter Henry out, he figures to be very involved against a Raiders team that ranks dead last in pass defense DVOA and struggles against opposing tight ends. The Chargers’ first concern, of course, will be winning, but you can bet quarterback Philip Rivers will be targeting Gates as often as he can to send his tight end off on a high note. It sure doesn’t hurt that Gates is very cheap across the industry, especially on DraftKings where he is only $4200.

 

 

Rob Gronkowski vs Jets


The only concern I have with Gronk is that the Pats take a big lead early, he’s not involved in the scoring, and the Pats sit on their running game the rest of the way. Against a pitiful Jets offense led by Bryce Petty, this is a very plausible scenario. However, there’s enough value on this slate that paying up for Gronk makes a lot of sense given the relative weakness of the tight end position and the immense upside he offers. The Jets have been solid against opposing tight ends, but I don’t really take DVOA numbers into consideration when I’m considering whether to roster the best tight end in football.

 

Keep an eye on the injury report as well. If Chris Hogan is held out, which he likely will be, Gronk will be even more heavily involved in New England’s passing attack.

 

 

Tournament Targets


Jack Doyle vs Texans


This game won’t draw much attention from the daily fantasy community, but given the woeful state of the tight end position, Doyle is in play given quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s propensity to check down. Doyle needs to score to do much for you in a tournament, but that’s certainly a possibility facing a Texans team that ranks 26th in DVOA against tight ends. Doyle should see a fair number of targets, and he has upside of eight to ten. I wouldn’t go here in cash, but he’s worth a few dart throws if you want to play the Gronk and Gates flop storyline.

 

 

Delanie Walker vs Jaguars


The fact that I’m writing up a player against Jacksonville should speak volumes about what I think of the tight end position this week. There just aren’t many places to go, and so few tight ends have any real upside. Walker is one of those guys, and despite a difficult matchup against Jacksonville, he does have a shot at a big game. Tennessee’s wide receivers will likely be shut down by Jacksonville’s elite secondary, and while Tennessee’s best bet to move the ball is on the ground, they can’t run every play. They’re going to throw, and passes must go somewhere. Walker is in a better spot to catch passes than the receivers, and with DeMarco Murray out, he may see a couple more balls thrown his way.

 

As always, players facing Jacksonville are never in play in cash games, but in tournaments, I like taking a shot on a talented player like Walker who almost no one will roster.



RotoMonkey83 is a top 25 grinder overall and has expertise in the NBA, MLB and NHL. He is a leading contributor to RotoGrinders.
Email :Josh Lewis



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