Apologies for the delay this week. With no Thursday game and so many wonky factors in Week 17, I thought it was best to try and wait as late as possible to publish this, all while considering you may be too hungover to build lineups Sunday morning and may want to get these in Friday (not looking in the mirror at all).
A quick recap on Week 16: Chris Hogan was a major disappointment in multiple spots for me. The chances were there as Tom Brady looked at him a couple times in the end zone and a couple of other times over the field. The Patriots did drill the Jets but unfortunately Hogan wasn't the beneficiary. Antonio Gates was a monster as expected. Don't be afraid to play him again, but keep in mind it sounds like he wants to come back for 2017 so the touchdown record narrative might not be quite as strong as we originally thought. I still love the play. Mohammad Sanu ended up being a poor play due to Matt Ryan throwing to roughly 27 different receivers in Week 16. I'm sure many of you benefitted off of Josh Perkins and D.J. Tialavea getting a touchdown. Charles Sims should have been a great play given the late Doug Martin news but it ended up being a Jacquizz Rodgers week. Thoughts and prayers to those who had Jared Goff and the Rams in a survivor pool this week. Finally, Eli Rogers was more than serviceable with a 4-84 line, although we would have loved a TD.
I'm going to take a slightly different approach to my Week 17 column. In some cases ownership in these places will be more than 1%, it's hard to project ownership with such a moving target. Instead I'm going to try and focus on deep sleepers with a narrative. If one of these guys is 20% owned, let's just hope they go off because then there is no reason to complain.
Deep Sleepers for Week 17
Right off the bat I'm going to double dip in this game. While the Texans have everything clinched, they also have an unproven Quarterback in who has only played 2 games. Normally you should be resting your players when you've clinched a playoff spot but the Texans are completely different. Tom Savage needs the reps and him getting more experience is far more important than trying to keep him healthy as we really don't know what the drop off is from him to Brock (though we do know Brock is terrible.) I love the Texans to try and get the passing game this week and I'll be throwing Tom Savage in some contrarian lineups this week so I could load up elsewhere. If you do start Savage, just stack him with Hopkins and be done with it.
My second recommendation is FanDuel only. Matt Cassel is not a good quarterback. He's probably a poor man's Brian Hoyer, which is really saying something. Unless the Texans take a monster lead I don't see much reason for the Titans to ever throw the ball. While Demarco Murray will be highly owned, I really see the Titans attempting to get rookie Derrick Henry involved. Henry has been inexplicably overpriced on DraftKings all year but at $5,100 on FD I like getting my repeat 1% offender Henry involved in some lineups.
If I spend more than 5 minutes watching this game on Sunday I'll be disappointed with myself. Just kidding, I love watching the Jets suffer. I can't wait to see which quarterback they waste another 2nd round pick on this week. The entire Jets offense is hurt and Marcell Dareus is on record as saying the Ryan brothers defense was too confusing. Normally I'd be concerned about a defense lacking much of a scheme going into a week but the Jets have no one who can beat the Bills. The current Jets running game involves something named Brandon Wilds, Brandon Burks and Brandon Jennings. Only one of those is made up. I expect the Bills defenders to play hard for Anthony Lynn, who by all accounts is well liked and has a chance to keep the Bills job. I'm going to roster the Bills defense (3,400 DK/4,800 FD) here and hope Ryan Fitzpatrick continues his season of giving.
Also, don't outsmart yourself this week. Play Charles Clay.
It feels weird that I've already focused on three games that don't matter whatsoever. But alas here we are. I originally had planned to write about Steve Smith Sr. here. A quick browse around some of the other articles made me realize that everyone on earth is already writing about the narrative of this being his final game. So I'm not going to cover it here but if you didn't know this is Steve Smith's last game by all his means, you're welcome. I really like Rex Burkhead (3,500 DK/4,500 FD) in this game if Jeremy Hill is out. I realize what the numbers say about using a running back against Baltimore but a) this game doesn't matter for Baltimore b) the Ravens can be exploited by running backs out of the backfield. Given the likely lack of receiving options for Andy Dalton (AJ Green and Tyler Eifert both out) I see Dalton needing alternatives other than Brandon Lafell. Tight ends are out of the question with Eric Weddle so I like him to throw to Burkhead a lot.
Bonus sneaky option here: the Bengals D/ST. There have been Marvin Lewis job rumblings and Joe Flacco concentrating on Smith could open up some opportunities for some interceptions.
I promise this is the last 1 p.m. game I will write about. The Browns avoided the stigma of going 0-16 while at the same time risking the #1 pick. Luckily for them, the 49ers were dumb enough to go out and beat the Rams. I see the Browns taking no such chances this week which means Pittsburgh is an easy offense to target (as has every other offense that has played the Browns this year.) Given all the people sitting for Pittsburgh this week, we are basically left to guess whether we should roster Deangelo Williams or Fitzgerald Toussaint (4,300 DK/4,500 FD.) Toussaint is going to be my 1% All-Star of the Week with the caveat we need to pay attention to the news coming out of Pittsburgh this week. I am actually hoping we don't hear much because I just don't see the Steelers wearing down Williams when they have a serviceable body available in a meaningless game and I'd like less ownership for the leader of the Haitian Revolution.
The Raiders' loss of Derek Carr should probably begin to drum up extra production on Patriots AFC Championship T-Shirts. This may be a game the Raiders can still win but their upside in the long run has been severely diminished by almost all accounts. The Raiders defense has been one that we've liked to target this year. The excitement surrounding Devontae Booker after CJ Anderson has largely dissipated at this point, especially now that Gary Kubiak brought Justin Forsett aboard. However this is a spot I really like Booker in. Kubiak brought Forsett in when Denver still had a chance to make the playoffs and it made sense. Now that the season is over Denver has little reason to waste carries on Forsett and they really should be seeing if Booker is a long term viable roster option. It's an extremely deep play but I do like the upside of Booker in a few lineups this week as Denver tries to crush some Raider dreams.