I will refer to ProFootballFocus.com throughout my write ups as PFF.  PFF is not the end all be all of player grading but is a great starting point as we piece our DFS puzzles together.

We now head into the Week 17 slate of NFL games.  All of your season long fantasy leagues have essentially come to a close but DFS is nowhere near over.  We need to pay attention to Week 17 playing time as teams have clinched their playoff spots.  The good news for us, home field advantage is still up in the air for some of the key teams in the NFL.  The AFC has some playoff teams in flux while the NFC is fully decided but playoff seeding is still very much wide open.

This is an odd week for quarterbacks in DFS.  Some of the higher priced players are facing defenses we would prefer not to try and exploit.  It looks like a good week to search for some bargain quarterbacks with hopes to spend our cash elsewhere.


Worst Passing Defenses (Yardage)


RKTEAMATTCOMPPCTYDSYDS/ATDINTYDS/G
28Indianapolis55833960.840207.62816268
29Jacksonville56136565.140497.6288270
30Pittsburgh57937865.341737.62915278
31New Orleans50834868.542178.7438281
32NY Giants60039365.544687.72914298


Worst Passing Defenses (Touchdowns)

RKTEAMATTCOMPPCTYDSYDS/ATDINTYDS/G
28Cleveland47529862.736638319244
Miami51733765.238747.93113258
30Tennessee46429864.234788.13210232
31Philadelphia59037062.739797.13415265
32New Orleans50834868.542178.7438281


1. Matt Ryan ($5500)


New Orleans 52.5
Atlanta -4

Matt Ryan comes into this NFC South match up with the Saints with a 19/15 TD/INT ratio. Statistically, this is Ryan's worst season since his rookie season (2008) where he finished with a 16/11 ratio.  The Saints help all offenses get healthy where Blake Bortles just tallied 368/4/2 in what was largely garbage time once again for the Jags.  The Saints have given up 43 passing touchdowns on the season which is nine more than the next closest defense.  The Saints will likely be forced to put Brandon Browner on Julio Jones.  Browner comes in as the 119th ranked CB according to ProFootballFocus.com .  This game has the highest total on the Vegas board for Week 17.  The Falcons playing at home as a four point favorite.  Ryan has a good looking price of $5500 which is just $500 more than the DraftKings minimum quarterback price of $5000. Matt Ryan was able to put up over 300 yards against the previously undefeated Carolina Panthers.  Ryan now has the fortune of facing the Saints defense which is largely less effective than the Panthers.  Due to his very attractive price of $5500, Ryan should be considered in all DFS formats where his floor and ceiling are both very high for Week 17.


2. Ben Roethlisberger ($6900)


Pittsburgh -10
Cleveland 47.5

If you took my advice in Week 16 and started Ben, it didn't go the way it was suppose to go.  I will always say, play the most talented player if at all possible.  Roethlisberger is PFF's #1 rated quarterback coming into Week 17.  He now faces a Cleveland team that is very much in limbo from top to bottom.  Manziel was once again spotted partying and could very well be suiting up for the Browns for his very last time.  On a scale of 1-100, the Browns only have one player rated above an 80 defensively (S Donte Whitner, 80.2).  As you might guess, that means they only have one player receiving a B or better on his final report card.  That is not real good if you are the Browns.  The Browns are projected for 18.75 of the 47.5 point total leaving the Steelers with 28.75.  The Steelers are now on the outside looking in of the playoff race.  They need to win but also need the Jets to lose to the Bills.  The Steelers have to take care of their own business this week and Roethlisberger is the engine that drives this offense.  I like Ben for a big game this week where his team needs him the most.  A healthy Roethlisberger has not put up back to back clunker games yet this season.  I fully expect a rebound type game with 325+ yards and multiple passing touchdowns.  His price tag is much higher than Ryan but his ceiling is a bit higher as well.  If you are looking to spend some money on a quarterback this week, look no further than #7.


3. Brian Hoyer ($5100)


Jacksonville 44.5
Houston -5.5

As of Monday, Hoyer is in the final stages of the leagues concussion protocol.  While it is unknown for certain if he will play or not, it seems as though if Hoyer does not have any set backs, he will play in the regular season finale.  The Texans look like they are going to be the AFC South champion.  Hoyer has not played since Week 14 with his concussion.  The Texans would like to get their quarterback some real reps before they start the playoffs.   The last time these two teams faced off, Hoyer threw for 293/3/0 back in Week 6.  The Jaguars defense likes to dig early holes for their team to try and climb out of.  The Texans will get DeAndre Hopkins involved early.  Hopkins torched DB Davon House earlier this season tallying 10/148/2.  House has had a solid year after that game having broken up 18 passes this season ranking him 3rd in the NFL.  If Hopkins has early success, Hoyer will continue looking his way trying to recreate their Week 6 magic.  Hoyer is priced at just $5100.   His floor is quite low as we saw him put up a stinker against the Saints back in Week 12.  His ceiling is not exactly sky high so I would prefer to use Hoyer in my cash line ups.  


4. Cam Newton ($7500)


Tampa Bay 47
Carolina -10.5

NFL Week 17 DFS QB
Keith Allison Flickr
If the Panthers were able to take care of the Falcons and stay undefeated, Newton would probably be sitting this one out.  As it is, the Panthers need to stay in front of the Cardinals and hold on to home field advantage.  Newton had his worst game of the season against the Falcons when fantasy players needed him the most.  He was only able to muster 142/0/0 but did find his way to a rushing score.  Newton now has eight rushing touchdowns ranking him 6th in the NFL.  Carolina is a perfect 7-0 at home and has a combined +164 point differential on the season.  The Panthers are favored by 10.5 points in this contest and are projected for 28.5 of the total 47.  I would be a little careful with Newton here.  I would have ranked him higher but if the Panthers get up early, look for Carolina to rest Newton late in the game minimizing his point potential.  This is a great match up for the Panthers and the price tag matches the match up.  My recommendation would be to find better value at the QB position letting others spend their dough on the highest priced player at the position this week.


5. Drew Brees ($6700)


New Orleans 52.5
Atlanta -4

Well, I was scared off last week by the torn plantar fascia Brees played through. All he did was put up 412/3/0 against the previously mentioned Jags. The Saints prefer to play indoors utilizing their speed. While this game in not in New Orleans, it is in Atlanta where the Saints have enjoyed their home away from home. The visiting Saints have defeated the Falcons three of their last five dating back to 2010. This rivalry produces close games year after year where the Falcons lead the series 49-44 dating back to 1967. The Saints defense ranks near the bottom in nearly every statistical category leaving the offense in situations where they must score to stay in the game. Neither team has a ton to play for other than a bucket of pride. Sometimes that bucket is all that is needed to get a team fired up. This will be a high scoring affair and Vegas agrees putting the total at weekly high of 52.5. The Falcons are thin in the secondary with starting safety William Moore being lost for the season on December 15th. As long as Brees can continue to play through his injury, he should have another good day against a Falcons team with very little pass rush (31 sacks 20th). Brees is averaging 336 YPG over his last four while throwing 11 touchdowns and just one INT.


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