DraftKings NFL picks, Week 17: Best DFS fantasy football values

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 18: Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans takes the hand-off from quarterbackRyan Tannehill #17 and runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Texans 42-36 in overtime. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 18: Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans takes the hand-off from quarterbackRyan Tannehill #17 and runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Texans 42-36 in overtime. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
DraftKings NFL picks Week 17
Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

DraftKings NFL picks for the Week 17 DFS main slate to start 2021 off right.

As the 2020 season-long fantasy football season sees its last light, the dawn of playoff fantasy football is upon us: our rankings and analysis for that are coming soon. Meanwhile, it’s always sunny in the land of DraftKings NFL DFS games, so we focus our attention this week on the DraftKings NFL Week 17 main slate.

Each week, we scour every Sunday afternoon game and offer our picks for the best DFS values at every position, at every price point, from premium players to bargain bin breakouts. We scrutinize every single option, compile our weekly favorites, and feature one player as our “Best Buy” at each position.

The DraftKings main slate is more full than ever in Week 17, as there are no Thursday or Monday games, and only one prime time game: the NFL inexplicably chose to flex the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team to Sunday night. Despite high COVID-19 case numbers around the country and globe, all games are on as scheduled at the time of this writing.

Things can certainly change closer to gameday, but according to RotoWire’s Week 17 NFL Weather report, the only contest that’s currently expecting a 30 percent or higher chance of precipitation is the Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (42 percent). Temperatures for that matchup should be at least 10 degrees north of the freezing point by kickoff, so no ice or white stuff is expected at the Meadowlands.

That said, the temperature check we need to be most concerned about has to do with coaching staffs, not weather patterns. Most notably, with a first round bye and home field locked up, the Kansas City Chiefs will likely sit most skill position players of consequence during Week 17, especially Patrick Mahomes.

Meanwhile, in a season in which home field advantage matters less with most fans absent from NFL stadiums, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin couldn’t care less about winning the number two seed, especially when a first round bye is awarded to only the AFC’s top seed. Ben Roethlisberger will enjoy an unofficial bye week, and we expect other key starters to follow:

On the other side of that coin are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are going all out to clinch the five seed and a date with the NFC East “champion.” By our count, there are over a dozen other teams with skin in the game this weekend; we weigh as much in mind when offering our best bets for the final DraftKings NFL DFS main slate of the regular season.

Week 17 DraftKings NFL Values: Quarterbacks

Premium Tier ($7,000 and up): Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson (BAL at CIN, $8,000) wasn’t with the team last time the Ravens were embarrassed and bounced from the playoffs by a Bengals team with nothing to gain or lose, Week 17 of the 2017 NFL regular season, a day that marked the beginning of the end of Joe Flacco’s days as a starter in Baltimore. We don’t expect history to repeat itself, as the red-hot Ravens have won four straight while averaging 37 points per game in the process.

We’ve also learned to never bet against Josh Allen (BUF vs. MIA, $7,600), who we foolishly thought might endure a ho-hum Week 16. While the Dolphins are playing for their playoff lives, the Bills can claim home field over the Pittsburgh Steelers and everyone except the Kansas City Chiefs with a victory this Sunday.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers (GB at CHI, $7,400) and the Green Bay Packers could cement a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they beat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Bears can leverage their own turf to make their own playoff dreams a reality if they can manage to hold off the Pack, so expect a dogfight between these two bitter rivals.

Russell Wilson (SEA at SF, $7,300) and the Seattle Seahawks have an outside shot at the top seed and a first-round bye: they’ll need to win in Week 17 and hope the Packers and New Orleans Saints lose their concurrent contests. We see these odds as slim, so we’d rather roll with any of the three quarterbacks above.

We’d also take Ryan Tannehill (TEN at HOU, $7,000) over Wilson, but not before Tom Brady (TB vs. ATL, $7,200). The ageless wonder has given Father Time a run for his money in 2020, so a feeble Atlanta Falcons secondary should be no match for a six-time Super Bowl champion under the guidance of an offensive-minded coach with a foot firmly planted on the accelerator in Week 17.

Mid-Tier Values ($6,000 to $6,900): While it’s true that Kirk Cousins (MIN at DET, $6,300) has nothing to play for but pride, he should still tear apart the Lions while Dalvin Cook is off tending to a family matter. The only other option we see in this tier is Phillip Rivers (IND vs. JAX, $6,000), who will likely grab pine in the second half once the game morphs into the laugher we all expect it to be.

Value Tier ($5,500 to $5,900): Drew Brees (NO at CAR, $5,900) has looked rusty at best since his return from a plethora of fractured ribs, but the Carolina Panthers pedestrian pass defense is the perfect panacea for any ailment. We wouldn’t bet against an embarrassed and motivated Baker Mayfield (CLE vs. PIT, $5,500), but this contract incentive offers a million reasons why Andy Dalton (DAL at NYG, $5,600) is a superior play in this price range; the deposed Cincinnati Bengals quarterback has quietly played very well down the stretch this season in place of the injured Dak Prescott.

Bargain Bin: With Jared Goff out, we’d be tempted to kick the tires on John Wolford (LAR  vs. ARI, $4,900) if Cooper Kupp hadn’t been placed on the COVID reserve list. Therefore, Chris Streveler (ARI at LAR, $4,700) is the preferable option in this price range if Kyler Murray misses this week’s game due to his lower leg injury, as many expect.

From T.J. Yates to Ryan Mallet to Brandon Weeden to Brian Hoyer, we’ve seen DeAndre Hopkins post impressive numbers with several different backup-caliber quarterbacks during his pre-Deshaun Watson days. A respectable game from the former Grey Cup champion would therefore surprise us less than a baller outing from Mason Rudolph (PIT at CLE, $4,300), who’ll start while Ben Roethlisberger rests for the playoffs.

Daniel Jones (NYG vs DAL $5,100) may be the more cerebral budget-savvy option, as the New York Giants’ second-year signal-caller will be engaged in a playoff dogfight of his own against a weak Dallas Cowboys pass defense. In the wake of his hamstring injury, Jones hasn’t been nearly as productive on the ground as he was earlier in the season but should have Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton available as weapons in his arsenal on Sunday.

Best Buy: If the budget allows, Brady is the best of the top shelf selections. Otherwise, we’ll ride the red-hot hand of the red-haired Andy Dalton, who has thrown two or more touchdowns in five of his last six games, most recently last week against the Philadelphia Eagles with the playoffs on the line for both teams.