Happy New Year!
We have a full slate of great matchups and layers of interesting dynamics to study in order to plug and play some winning DFS line-ups today. Top tier options being rested. Players ruled out on injury. Playoff seeds still on the line. New Year’s Eve football is not without its intrigue.
You won’t be seeing the likes of Alex Smith, Big Ben, Le’veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff as they take the day off headed into the playoffs. Also guys like Demarco Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Cooper Kupp, Rex Burkhead have been ruled out due to injury for Week 17. Nix them from your cash game line-up.
Furthermore, I resolve to supply you with my research for who to strongly consider ringing in the New Year with on your daily fantasy team. Take a look . . .
New Year’s Babies
Everyone loves the diaper-laden lad as a New Year tradition and icon! The New Year’s Babies I present you are the rookies (or young guys) I believe hold top tier value in cash games on the last day of 2017.
Dede Westbrook @ TEN
Westbrook is averaging just over 7 targets his last 5 games. With that many looks, he has hovered around the 75+ yard mark in 3 of those games. In a great matchup where he should see plenty of opportunity, this is a great young man to think about as one of your two receiver options.
Josh Doctson @ NYG
The 25-year-old 1st round prospect has seen over 5 targets in 3 of his last 5 games and drew 13 looks last game against the Denver Broncos. He’s clearly gaining the attention of Kirk Cousins and following last week’s confidence-boosting game of 61 receiving yards and a big touchdown, I could see the young stud taking advantage of a porous Giants secondary. I like him more than Crowder as Kirk’s #1 option today.
Kenyan Drake vs. BUF
Drake has certainly held his own since becoming the top back in Miami after Jay Ajayi’s departure. In his last game with the Bills he went off for 113 all-purpose yards and a touchdown on 22 touches in Buffalo. At home in sunny Miami and with the possibility of David Fales getting some reps today, I could see a heavy run game for Drake again today.
Drop the Ball
Of course we are all looking forward to the crescendo that is midnight on New Year’s Eve as we gather to witness the shimmering ball drop in Times Square. On the flip side, these are the fantasy gentlemen I advise you to stay away from playing as I have the hunch they drop a different ball. The one they are supposed to protect.
Jordan Howard @ MIN
In his last 5 games, there has only been one that had Jordan Howard-like production. The rest were sub-45 rushing yards. In an away game against the Purple People Eaters, I don’t trust enough in his big name or his recent play.
Tom Brady vs. NYJ
“Whoa!” You say. I know, I know . . . You never bet against the great Tom Brady. I’m taking the risk. He’s going to probably be the QB with the highest price tag on most daily platforms today and I think you can save the cash. He also hasn’t eclipsed 300 yards in 6 weeks and has thrown 6 interceptions in that span. The Jets’ defensive backs have come along pretty strong and have allowed fewer than 18 fantasy points to Quarterbacks in their last 5 outings — one of those QB’s — Drew Brees. I expect the Jets to do something similar to Brady today.
Marquise Goodwin @ LAR
Goodwin is on pace to win the NFL’s most-improved player award in my book. But here’s the deal, the Rams are going without their top offensive weapons today and with an-already-stingy secondary as well as total defense, they are going to rely heavily on that side of the ball to stop the Niners — and unfortunately I think they will shut down Goodwin.
Throwing a Party
I’m sure most of you are looking forward to some kind of get-together today — maybe a small one with family or a mega-downtown rager. Either way you are stoked for the evening and you LOVE the person throwing your party. Here are the Quarterbacks I expect to be throwing a major fantasy party today.
Philip Rivers vs. OAK
The Chargers are a full-go with their starting line-up and are making a big playoff push. Rivers is one of my favorite QB’s in DFS today because of his cake matchup with the Raiders at home and his middle of the field price tag. Melvin Gordon is also banged up today so I trust that Rivers will be slinging it plenty down field.
Kirk Cousins @ NYG
Captain Kirk may be my favorite option in cash games today. He could absolutely tear up the weak Giants’ defense today especially as he looks to put his skills on display looking forward to a big 2018 pay day.
Russell Wilson @ ARI
Just because there is a chance the Seahawks can slide into the 6 seed after a win today, the alpha competitor in Russell Wilson will show up today, and in huge fantasy numbers I presume.
Celebration time, C’mon! Fireworks are huge, beautiful and sure to entertain. Just like these fantasy studs that are sure to go off with a huge bang and entertain you all game.
Alvin Kamara @ TB
All the Saints go marching in this game. When Super-Kamario plays and it is against the Buccaneers 21st ranked rush defense, you spend whatever the price tag says. Devonta Freeman just went for 194 all-purpose yards and a score 2 weeks ago against the Bucs. Kamara is a huge GO, and Mark Ingram isn’t a bad play either.
Rob Gronkowski vs. NYJ
If anyone does have a day with Tom Brady, it is going to be Gronk. The Jets simply cannot stop good tight ends. They gave up 94 yards and 2 touchdowns to Travis Kelce in Week 13 and then 81 yards and a touchdown to Antonio Gates last week. Big Rob receives a $5.5 million bonus check with either 11 receptions or 111 receiving yards in this game — and I’m sure he’ll be looking to cash in with you.
Devonta Freeman vs. CAR
This is an interesting one. Freeman has had polar opposite outings recently with 91 yards and a touchdown against the Saints at home, following that up with 194 all-purpose yards and a touchdown on the road against the Bucs, leading into last week’s dud of 56 yards on only 13 attempts, in an away game against the Saints again. The Falcons need this game though and the Panthers have been susceptible to pass-catching backs like Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. D-Free fits the bill and I think if he touches the ball 25 times today, which the Falcons would be smart to employ, he lights it up.
Clink! Ah, that beautiful sound of ringing in the New Year together. It’s the cherry on top of our New Year’s celebrations. Here are some FLEX and D/ST options to top your DFS line-up with that will make you want to celebrate.
Kelvin Benjamin @ MIA
The FSU product heads back to Florida for a big game that the Bills desperately need. After huge controversy all week over Kelvin’s graceful overturned touchdown grab, him and Tyrod have to be playing with a chip on their shoulders going into this one. Look to see Benjamin get the ball early and often and eventually into the endzone once. . . or twice for good measure.
T.Y. Hilton @ HOU
Like Kelvin Benjamin, Hilton will be relatively cheap on many daily fantasy platforms, and he will have the matchup of dreams. Last time Hilton went up against the Texans, he put up 175 yards and 2 touchdowns! He’s back on track with Brissett after a 100-yard game against the stingy Ravens secondary, on 12 targets.
SF 49ers D/ST @ LAR
The Rams are resting all their big name fantasy studs today, and although Fournette did collect pay dirt once last week, the Niners pretty much quieted him with only 48 rush yards on 18 attempts. While the Rams play mostly back-ups their opponent, the 49ers would be a nice, cheap option for your D/ST as they look to snag their 5th win in a row.
Looking Ahead to Next Year
We’ll be doing this all day and especially as midnight approaches: asking ourselves what might our next year look like. What we are looking forward to, excited about, the goals we’ll embark on will all be in our thought process. Here, I discuss a few guys I can’t wait to get my fantasy hands on next season (besides the obvious like Kamara, Gurley, Wentz, etc.)
I always seem to be a year or two off from getting a guy who eventually becomes a superstar on my team. For example, two years ago I drafted Davante Adams with a late round pick in my main season-long league. All my buddies asked, “Who is that?” . . . The WR3 of the Packers at that time is now getting a huge contract and is expected to take over the role of the #1 receiving option in Green Bay next year. This season, I took Kenny G with my last pick in the draft expecting him to be the big receiver Stafford has been missing since Calvin Johnson. After a huge 22-point fantasy game in Week 1, Kenny has been quiet all season playing third fiddle to Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. I expect the sleeping giant to awake in Davante Adams like fashion next year.
The next Carson Wentz, or dare I say, Tom Brady? Stringing four big wins in a row for the Niners since taking over at QB, and looking for his fifth today, Jimmy G seems to be proving his worth as a top QB option in fantasy next year (after the 49ers go get him some more offensive weapons of course).
Duke Johnson Jr.
This season, Duke blew us all out of the water with just how fantasy-relevant he can be. Going into Week 17 with 946 all-purpose yards and 6 touchdowns, he has certainly proven to be a game-changer. The Miami record-setter will certainly be shooting up my running back rankings for 2018 especially if he eclipses 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns by the end of this year — and if the Browns dump Crowell.