Ben Roethlisberger – FD 8400 DK 7200
The NFL leader in passing yards per game (328.2), Roethlisberger has the most upside yardage-wise of any QB on the slate. That upside is bolstered by the fact that DeAngelo Williams (ankle) is banged up and the Steelers may rely on the passing game even more in lieu of pinning their hopes on backup runners Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman. The Steelers’ team total is 24.5, the highest on the slate.
Russell Wilson – FD 8600 DK 7000
Over the last seven weeks of the regular season, Wilson tore up the NFL in the form of 300 total yards per game and a 24:1 TD-to-interception ratio. One of those games was against the very Vikings where he went 21-of-27 for 274 yards and 3 TDs passing and also added a 9-51-1 rushing line. The Seahawks’ team total of 22.5 is the third highest on the slate.
AJ McCarron – FD 6400 DK 5200
McCarron gets a nice on-paper matchup against a Steelers defense that allowed the third most passing yards per game in the NFL (271.9). On a short slate where McCarron is one of the cheaper options available, the fact that he is playing in the game with the highest over/under (46.5) cannot be overlooked, especially when two of the games’ over/unders are hovering around 40. McCarron threw for 280 yards and two TDs in just 49 snaps against the Steelers in Week 14.
Kirk Cousins – FD 8000 DK 5900
Cousins is not a stud QB like Ben Roethlisberger or Russell Wilson and does not offer as much cap flexibility as Alex Smith or A.J. McCarron, so Cousins’ ownership may be low. However, overlooking Cousins in GPPs on a short slate may prove costly. He quietly led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8%) and finished with 4,166 yards passing and a 29:11 TD-to-interception ratio. Cousins also has favorable home splits: his completion percentage was 74.7% and he averaged 2.5 total TDs per game at home.
Jeremy Hill – FD 6700 DK 5000
Hill is quietly averaging 19.8 touches per game over his last three games, and that volume is extremely valuable, especially in a short slate where the aforementioned Peterson is overpriced. The volume is a nice bonus that aids Hill’s yardage floor, but his fantasy money-maker has been the TD: Hill tied for the league lead with 11 rushing TDs. Hill is tied with Peterson for second in the NFL with 24 rushing attempts inside the 10-yard line, but Hill converted more into TDs than Peterson, 10-7.
Fitzgerald Toussaint – FD 5700 DK 3900
The scouting report on Toussaint is that he gets what’s blocked, does the little things well, but lacks difference-making physical talent. That could be very valuable in a Steelers offense that allowed its RBs to amass the second most rushing TDs in the league (15). The Bengals rank a middling 19th in schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.
Eddie Lacy – FD 6000 DK 4500
Lacy is a beneficiary of supply and demand, as a lack of options at the RB position make Lacy a viable play despite uninspiring averages of 13 touches for 50.6 total yards over his last three games. The Packers are the only team whose RBs have a good matchup on paper: the Redskins rank 22nd in pass defense DVOA and allowed 4.8 yards per carry, the second highest figure in the league.
Adrian Peterson – FD 8400 DK 7300
I don’t like Peterson in cash games this week because he is (arguably) the riskiest option in his salary range. When Peterson faced the Seahawks in Week 13, he had 12 touches for 24 yards. In his only other game against a top-five fantasy defense versus RBs, Peterson had 27 touches for 57 yards against the Chiefs in Week 6. With that being said, the league’s leading rusher is still the most likely candidate to lead all RBs in touches this weekend and has tremendous upside every time he steps on the field.
Antonio Brown – FD 9500 DK 9600
Brown led the NFL with 1,836 receiving yards and tied for the league lead with 136 receptions. He has caught at least six passes in 10 straight games. With DeAngelo Williams banged up, it is very likely that the Steelers rely on their passing game even more than usual. Brown is expensive, but has the highest floor and ceiling of any player on the slate.
Doug Baldwin – FD 7300 DK 6700
Baldwin’s tear in the second half of the season has been well documented: 12 TDs in his last eight games and a 90.5 receiving yard-per-game average during that span. Back in Week 13, Baldwin burned the Vikings for a 5-94-2 line. The Vikings are a middling 19th in schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
Tyler Lockett – FD 6200 DK 4400
Lockett is a volatile player with major upside who has the potential to be a difference maker on the short slate. Lockett closed out the season with at least 90 yards and/or a TD in three of his last five games. Lockett was missed by Russell Wilson on some bombs last week, but had three punt returns over 30 yards and also makes for a nice pairing with the Seahawks DST. Lockett – who has 4.4 wheels – will likely run the majority of his routes against 37-year-old Terance Newman.
Jeremy Maclin – FD 7200 DK 6400
After a midseason lull in which he caught exactly three passes in four straight games, Maclin has come alive down the stretch. He has at least six catches and/or a TD in each of his last six games and scored in all but one of those games. He’s still underpriced based off of recent production.
Jordan Reed – FD 7400 DK 6300
Reed finished the season as the PPR TE1 with 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 TDs in only 14 games. Before an abbreviated Week 17 appearance, Reed has drawn seven or more targets in six straight games. The Packers rank a middling 14th in schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.
Tyler Eifert – FD 6400 DK 5000
Eifert could be a GPP difference-maker due to his touchdown potential. He scored an astounding 13 TDs on only 74 targets, a TD rate of 17.5%. In the red zone, Eifert converted 11-of-16 (69%) of targets into TDs (the league average is 24%). The Steelers allowed the seventh most receptions (87) and ninth most TDs (8) in the NFL to TEs.
Richard Rodgers – FD 5200 DK 4000
Although he needed a 61-yard Hail Mary TD to do it, Rodgers does lead all Packers receivers in fantasy points over the last six weeks. He makes for GPP option with most of the field likely to pay up higher at TE. In his last five games, Rodgers has produced 8-146-1 and 7-59-1 lines, but also three one-catch games. The Redskins rank 21st in defensive TE DVOA and 24th in schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs, so the matchup combined with the ineffectiveness of Green Bay’s wide receivers tilt the odds of a strong game in Rodgers’ favor.
Despite being the sixth seed and playing on the road, the Seahawks (-5 @ MIN) are the largest favorite on the slate. The Vikings’ team total is 17.5 points. During the regular season, Seattle had the top ranked scoring defense and the second best yardage defense in the NFL. More importantly, Seattle has the top rush defense in the league; if Adrian Peterson is contained, Teddy Bridgewater may have to throw more than usual, setting the stage for fantasy-defense-friendly mistakes.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Seahawks may be the league’s best defense numbers-wise, but the Chiefs have been the league’s hottest defense from a fantasy perspective. They’ve posted eight double-digit fantasy point outings in their last 10 games. The opportunity to keep rolling presents itself in the form of the Texans, who are 3-point underdogs with a team total of just 18.5.
The Redskins make for a good contrarian selection backed by the schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing defense metric, which rates the Packers 29th. On paper at least, the Redskins’ defense has the best matchup on the board. As the cheapest option at the position, the Redskins offer a good source of both differentiation and salary relief.
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As an athlete in his younger years, Shane Kilgore developed a deep understanding of what it takes for a player to produce at the top of their game. Using that knowledge and an obsessive research habit has led to player picks and insights that many other writers would miss. As a daily fantasy sports player, Shane uses those picks and insights to win! Follow Shane on Twitter @Lineupzone