DraftKings NFL DFS Picks, Predictions And Lineup Strategy For Week 17

Posted By Nate Weitzer on December 30, 2020 - Last Updated on January 1, 2021

The 2020-21 NFL regular season is coming to a close and there are huge Week 17 DFS contests being offered on DraftKings with big prize money up for grabs.

In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.

Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats that require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risk in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.

For those interested in the DFS Single-Game Slate contests, here’s a quick recap:

In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are five utility spots and a “Captain” slot, who receives 1.5x multiplier for all DK points accrued. Pricing differs for players when selected in the Captain spot versus the FLEX spots, with all players required to fit under a $50k salary cap. All options are in play from QBs, RBs and WRs, to kickers and D/ST from each team.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.

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Top NFL DFS DraftKings Plays for Week 17

Quarterback

Best Play: Aaron Rodgers ($7.6k)

Rodgers is the hottest QB in the NFL and his Packers are playing for a chance at a first-round bye in Week 17. The Bears offense has also been red hot over the past few weeks, so game flow should work in favor of Rodgers throwing into the second half. The Bears are only allowing 96.1 rushing YPG at home but are allowing 250.3 passing YPG in those contests. Rodgers shredded Chicago for 211 yards and 4 TDs on 21-for-29 passing in Week 12 and he’s been ruthlessly efficient since then with a 76% completion rate and 125.3 passer rating in December.

Value Play: Kirk Cousins ($6.3k)

The Lions can’t stop anyone on the ground or through the air right now. They’re allowing a league-high 41.3 PPG and 7.3 yards per play over the past 3 weeks and Cousins is averaging the fourth-most yards (11.3) per attempt this season. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen could both go off against an injury-depleted Lions secondary that ranks 31st in DVOA pass defense. Dalvin Cook will miss the finale to attend his father’s funeral and and the Vikings might take more of a pass-heavy approach without their franchise back.

GPP Play: Deshaun Watson ($7.7k)

Watson is expected to play through an arm injury, so Sunday’s showdown with the Titans has tremendous GPP appeal. He combined with Ryan Tannehill for 68.6 DK points in a 42-36 Titans OT win back in Week 5 and both of these teams have only become worse defensively since then. Tennessee is stopping the run, but is still dead last in adjust sack rate (3.2%) and opponent’s third down conversion rate (35.6%) this season. Watson leads the NFL with a 87.3% completion rate when given a clean pocket and Houston has the fourth-highest pass-play rate (60.4%) in home games.

Fade: Lamar Jackson ($8.0k)

The Ravens need to win to guarantee a spot in the playoffs and Jackson should be out there for four quarters in Cincinnati. But since we’re expecting the Bengals offense to hit a brick wall in the form of the Ravens D, Jackson’s volume could once again suffer. He fell short of value with 183 passing yards, 2 TDs and 22.3 DK points in an easy win over the Giants last week and produced just 14.5 DK points when the Ravens dominated the Bengals, 27-3, in Week 5. 

Running Back

Best Play: Jonathan Taylor ($7.4k)

The Colts (-14.5) should smash the Jaguars at home. They need a win and either the Browns, Dolphins, or Ravens to lose to make the playoffs and while they don’t have any control over those results, they can certainly handle Jacksonville’s porous defense. The Jags rush defense has grown worse throughout the second half of the year and Taylor is a virtual lock for at least one TD against that unit.

Value Play: Darrel Williams ($4.8k)

With the No. 1 seed in the AFC locked up, Andy Reid has already suggested he may rest Patrick Mahomes and other starters in Sunday’s finale. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs won’t play to win and use this as an opportunity to get their inconsistent ground game on track. Williams, not the aging Le’Veon Bell, emerged as the most effective back following Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s ankle injury. He turned 14 touches into 73 yards and would certainly see more work if Chad Henne is under center. Bell has been limited with a knee injury, so Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson ($4.4k) are great options to consider in GPP formats.

GPP Play: D’Andre Swift ($6.3k)

Former OC Darren Bevell is now interim HC for the Lions and he’s been featuring his most complete back. Swift has handled 38 carries and 15 targets over his past 3 appearances with 11 of those looks coming in the red zone. He’s 8th among RBs in yards per catch (8.1) and 5th in breakaway run rate (6.5%). The Vikings are fresh off a shellacking at the hands of Alvin Kamara and we can consider Swift a poor man’s Kamara with his receiving ability and shiftiness at the second level.

Fade: Aaron Jones ($7.1k)

The Bears are extremely stout against the run and are even better at Solider Field. Jones is not only competing with that fearsome front, but also with rookie A.J. Dillon, who pilfered 22 touches and flashed serious upside in a snowy win over Tennessee on Sunday night. Jones is dealing with multiple injuries at this point in the season and will likely share time with Dillon even if Jamaal Williams (quad) remains out.

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Wide Receiver

Best Play: Justin Jefferson ($7.6k)

Week 17 is when the young guns usually shine and it’s an opportunity for Jefferson to make his final bid for Offensive Rookie of the Year. His role has grown exponentially this year to the point he’s seen a 100% snap share in 2 of his last 4 starts. He’s drawn 46 targets during that span and is now third among WRs in yards per target (11.5). Lions CBs Desmond Trufant (hamstring) and Jeff Okudah (shoulder) are both on I.R. and Detroit has given up a league-high 60 pass plays of 20-plus yards. 

Value Play: Richie James ($3.1k)

The Niners dominated the Cardinals on the ground and barely went to the air last Saturday. James posted a goose egg as a result, but played on 91 percent of offensive snaps in the win. He should be a full-time player in a much better matchup this Sunday against Seattle with Brandon Aiyuk (ankle) out. Aiyuk was commanding a 23.9% target share this season and Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is also out. The Seahawks have the personnel to contain George Kittle, stop the run game, and force C.J. Beathard to target Kendrick Bourne ($4.3k) and James, who posted a 8-91-TD line at Seattle in Week 8.

GPP Play: CeeDee Lamb ($5.2k)

The Cowboys passing attack has finally come around with Andy Dalton at the helm and that’s translated to 8 catches for 150 yards and a TD for Lamb over the past 2 weeks. He added a rushing TD in a big performance against Philly and should be utilized heavily against a Giants team that let him catch 8-of-11 targets for 124 yards in Week 5. That’s no fluke, since the G-Men have strong perimeter CBs and will use James Bradberry to shut down Amari Cooper while Lamb thrives in the slot.

Fade: Allen Robinson ($7.7k)

Robinson is on a roll and continued to dominate in a cake matchup against his former team last week. But now he faces a talented Packers secondary that features Jaire Alexander, the second graded CB in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Alexander will get help from fellow Pro Bowler Adrian Amos and the Packers will likely shade coverage towards Robinson considering he owns an auspicious 25.7% target share this year. 

Tight End

Best Play: Noah Fant ($4.4k)

The pickings are slim at TE this week with Travis Kelce likely to be rested. If you want a cheap play with a good floor-ceiling combination, Fant is a reliable option. He’s caught 14-of-20 targets for 133 yards and a TD over his last 2 games and faces a Raiders team that’s giving up 267.7 passing YPG over their last 3 outings and ranks 29th in total DVOA defense. Drew Lock is averaging just 5.4 YPA over his last 2 games and that’s translated to extra volume for Fant.

Value Play: Donald Parnham Jr. ($2.9k)

Hunter Henry (COVID) is likely out for the Chargers finale and Virgil Green (ankle) is on I.R. Parnham is the last man standing and he caught 2-of-3 targets for 47 yards in a tough matchup against the Broncos last week. Now he’ll face a Chiefs team that is elite at CB and funnels targets inside, which is why they yield the fifth-most DK PPG to TEs. The Chiefs should also be resting key starters on both sides of the ball and Justin Herbert will have to look at his secondary options with Keenan Allen (hamstring) likely out again.

GPP Play: Eric Ebron ($4.0k)

The Steelers flat out can’t run the ball and that means they have to find creative ways to generate short gains. Ebron returned from a back injury and provided a key spark with a 5-47-TD line during Pittsburgh’s comeback win over Indy last week. He should ride that momentum into a juicy matchup against the Browns. Cleveland has given up the third-most receptions (85) and TDs (10) to opposing TEs this season. Ebron has a 22.2% red zone target share and the sixth-most deep targets (9) among TEs.

Fade: Travis Kelce ($8.6k)

Needless to say, it doesn’t make sense to pay up for Kelce with the Chiefs planning to rest Mahomes and potentially sit down their star TE during the second half. His only motivation would be to gun for the receiving title and other milestones during a record-setting season, but we can bet Kelce would rather rest up for a Super Bowl run.

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Nate Weitzer Avatar
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Nate Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.

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