This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
Here we are at crazy Week 17 with a lot of teams knowing what their future holds as far as the playoffs go. This means some starters will sit out, others won't play the whole game and some will play their normal workload. This presents both potential pitfalls but potential opportunities as well.
The sure thing this week is to take players who are actually playing to make the playoffs or secure a higher seeding. The Cowboys' Dak Prescott ($8,000) fits that profile taking on the Redskins at home. Dallas is favored by 11 points and has a healthy over/under of 45.5. Ryan Tannehill ($7,900) has scored more than 23 fantasy points in three straight games and can get the Titans into the playoffs with a win. With a Chiefs win in the early games the Texans would be locked into the four seed and thus have nothing to play for. The chalk play at the position this week might be the Rams' Jared Goff ($7,900). Oddly, Goff has played better at home throughout his career and on paper has the best matchup against the Cardinals. Arizona allows the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (and tight ends if you haven't heard), and Goff had 24.96 fantasy points in Arizona a few week back, a game where he shut it down for most of the second half with a big lead. Long shots for GPPs this weekend include Sean Mannion ($6,000), Robert Griffin ($7,000) and Case Keenum ($6,800).
My favorite running back play this week is Gus Edwards ($6,600). He'll still have the advantage of playing with a running quarterback and has averaged a stellar 5.2 yards per carry this season and last. While the Steelers have been stingy to opposing running backs this season, Edwards can be penciled in for at least 15 touches in this one. It's tough to write about the position without mentioning Christian McCaffrey ($11,000) even given his lofty price. While the coaching staff has hinted he may not play the whole game, he's within several milestones that it'll be tough to see him get benched if he's short of. He needs two more touchdowns to hit 20, 67 more receiving yards to have a 1,000/1,000 yard season rushing and receiving. He's supposed to have a large family presence in attendance if you buy into that narrative. The other high-priced running back to consider is Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700). He faces the second-worst run defense in a must-win game and there's a solid floor using both Prescott and Elliott in the same lineup. The poor performance last week by Mike Boone ($6,200) for both DFS and season-long leagues should leave most bitter and ignoring him this week. In a meaningless game for the Vikings it's more than likely Boone will be the main running back and get touches in the double-digits. Think about him for tournaments only. With Josh Jacobs all but ruled out, DeAndre Washington ($6,300) should be on everyone's radar. In the two games Jacobs has missed, Washington has scored 17.6 and 18.6 fantasy points. Other running backs to use (and omit CMC) are Derrick Henry ($8,800), Aaron Jones ($8,000) and Nick Chubb ($7,900). I'd fade Saquon Barkley ($9,300) with the drastic price increase and a tougher matchup this week. Let others fall prey to recency bias.
With all of the good but expensive plays at running back, this seems like the spot to save some money and look for economical options. Sterling Shepard ($6,200) has an outstanding matchup at home and has 15.5 and 16.6 fantasy points in his last two games. While it seems crazy and his team is a huge underdog, Steven Sims Jr. ($6,000) is in play this week. Terry McLaurin has already been ruled out and Sims has had 23.3 (10 targets) and 13 (11 targets) fantasy points over his last two games with McLaurin in the lineup. DJ Chark Jr. ($5,900) has been a bit down as of late but remains the best receiving option on his team. I think I should mention (ducks) Sammy Watkins ($5,600). The price is very cheap, and Travis Kelce ($7,500) should be doubled over the middle, and Casey Hayward should be on Tyreek Hill ($8,200). There isn't much of a running game in Kansas City these days, and why would you when you have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback? The last receiver to mention is Julio Jones ($8,500). Matt Ryan stated this week they're playing hard for Dan Quinn to keep his job, and Jones has had a monster target rate with Calvin Ridley sidelined. Those targets (35! in the last two games) have led to games of 21.6 and 31.9 fantasy points.
The conversation at the position starts with two players: Dallas Goedert ($6,400) and Tyler Higbee ($6,900). Both have good matchups with Higbee getting the edge facing the Cardinals, but Goedert should get another 10-plus targets this week. Zach Ertz has already been ruled out, and without Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor out as well, Goedert is the clear-cut top target for Carson Wentz. Higbee has 14.9, 17.1, 15.1 and 20.2 fantasy points in his last four games, and Arizona has allowed the most points to opposing tight ends by almost four fantasy points per game over the second-worst (Seattle Seahawks). This isn't a bad week to use both Goedert and Higbee in the same lineup as a GPP play. O.J. Howard ($5,500) is a cheaper alternative and should get his targets with Tampa's top two wide receivers out.
The Cowboys ($3,600) seem like they're in a great spot at home as 11-point favorites. Washington will start Case Keenum and be without star receiver Terry McLaurin. They offer a lot of salary cap relief at that price, too; it's tough not seeing Dallas get at least eight fantasy points in this one. Spending up, the Patriots ($5,000) are the most expensive team for a reason. They'll get the Dolphins at home and are playing to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Their 15.3 fantasy points per game is almost four points better than the Steelers, who are second.