In order to be successful in fantasy football, we need to be able to exploit matchups and set our lineups with players most likely to succeed based on mismatches. Each week of the 2016 season, I will provide five players that should outperform their weekly expectations based on favorable factors that exist in their matchup. This list, for the most part, will not consist of elite players like Antonio Brown and David Johnson, because you are starting these guys regardless of the matchup. This list, however, will focus more on the players with economical DFS prices and lower projections that could potentially put up elite numbers in a given week. With that being said, here is the list for Week 17.
Five Fantasy Football Mismatches for NFL Week 17
Ertz fell back to Earth last week after a stretch of three games with at least 14 fantasy points. Going back even further, he has scored 11 or more DraftKings points in six of his last eight games, making him one of the more reliable tight ends in the league. The Cowboys allow the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and rank 30th in efficiency against the position according to Football Outsiders. After allowing Eric Ebron to roam free for 8 catches and 93 yards on Monday night, the Cowboys could be vulnerable again this week as they rest some of their defensive starters ahead of the playoffs. This could be a great season finale for Ertz.
Since taking over the backfield in Week 14, Powell has averaged nearly 25 DraftKings points per game. He now gets a Bills defense that ranks 32nd against the rush and just allowed Jay Ajayi to rush for over 200 yards (for the second time this season). Powell will be in line for another heavy workload against a generous rush defense that is now without its mastermind Rex Ryan.
LeVeon Bell will sit this week in preparation for the playoffs. Enter Toussaint, who will likely get the start over DeAngelo Williams, being that Williams has been dealing with injuries and the Steelers may wish to preserve their lead backup to Bell. Toussaint is relatively unproven, but he plays for a team that has been fantasy friendly to running backs like Bell and Williams, and now faces a Browns defense that has allowed the second-most points to opposing running backs. Toussaint should easily reach value at his cheap price tag. However, if Williams gets the start he will be the running back to own this week.
Aside from a few critical drops the last few weeks, Adams has been very solid this year. Now the Packers play the Lions in a showdown for the NFC North title. The Lions rank 30th in pass defense according to numberFire, and in a game that is expected to be a pass-heavy shootout, Adams should see plenty of opportunity to post rewarding numbers. He makes for a nice pivot off a popular Jordy Nelson.
Tyrod Taylor will sit on the bench this week because of a "business decision" by the Bills execs, leaving E.J. Manuel as the starter in Week 17. Call it an audition for Manuel, who will be a free agent after the season. The Buffalo passing game came alive in recent weeks due to Sammy Watkins' return and Charles Clay's emergence, and even though Manuel has been a disaster in brief stints at QB with the Bills, he does get the benefit of facing a defense that ranks 31st against the pass. At $5,000 on FanDuel you could a lot worse than Manuel this week. He is by far the lowest-priced QB on the board.