Joey Ricotta | December 29th, 2019
Welcome back to the GPP/Tournament Plays article for Week 17. Let’s start by saying, any picks used or mentioned for cash games can be played in tournaments. I think that’s an important thing to know and can sometimes get confused whenever the two are mentioned separately. For that reason, I’ve tried to avoid mentioning my cash game plays for this article.
There’s merit to using or fading certain players in tournaments, whether it be ownership expectations, bust potential, etc. But, as I said earlier, just about all of the cash game plays are viable for tournaments. If you’d like to see who I like for those types of contests, you can check that out here. Getting a mixture of popular and lower owned players could be the best way to go.
Historically, Week 17 has been a crapshoot because of players resting. Meaning, this week could be a wild and wacky ride, which could make for a very good week to take added shots in tournaments. There are also plenty of good GPP/Tournament contests out there to take advantage of. With that said, let’s get to some picks I like for tournaments.
Robert Griffin III ($5,100 DK, $7,000 FD)
The sites priced him up a bit, knowing he would get an opportunity to start with Lamar Jackson resting up for the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not in play, especially when he remains one of the cheaper starting quarterback options this week. The question will be, how will the Ravens use RG3? Will they attempt to use him in a fairly similar fashion they use Jackson, where he runs the ball a lot? Or will they be content handing the ball off to their backup running backs and calling it a day? They have nothing left to play for, so it’s really tough to say. The system he plays in warrants taking a gamble.
Daniel Jones ($6,400 DK, $7,500 FD)
Danny Dimes returned last week to set Washington ablaze, leading the New York Giants to a 41-35 overtime victory over the Redskins, while throwing for 352 yards and FIVE TDs. I’m sure the G-men don’t care to help out the Dallas Cowboys, but they’d love to play spoiler this week, by beating their rivals from Philadelphia. The Eagles are stout against the run but have a tendency to allow big plays through the air. Eli Manning looked serviceable against the Eagles the last time these two teams faced off. Jones should be able to fare even better.
Aaron Jones ($8,200 DK, $8,000 FD)
I very rarely trust Jones in Cash Games, but his big game upside must always be on our radar. This week is rare in the sense that he might be Cash Game viable as well, with Jamaal Williams out. The tailback has had a few huge games this season, including a 52.2 DK points outburst back in Week Five, which just so happens to be the only game Jamaal Williams missed entirely. The Detroit Lions have given up the fourth-most DK points to opposing RBs this season (29.5). The Packers can take the number one seed for the playoffs with a win and a San Francisco 49ers loss. The motivation is high and Jones will be highly owned, but because I won’t be using him as much in Cash Games, I want exposure to his big-game potential in tournaments, regardless of ownership.
Joe Mixon ($7,200 DK, $7,300 FD)
Mixon is my gut call of the week. Everyone, including me, was on him a week ago against the Dolphins. That was until he came down with an illness. Hopefully, you follow me on Twitter and saw my tweet, or saw the report for yourself, and made the pivot to Devonta Freeman. Box score watchers, will simply see his lack of performance a week ago against the Dolphins, and not use him this week. I think that’s a mistake. Even with his illness, Mixon still touched the ball 23 times. The Cleveland Browns have been getting roasted on the ground the last three weeks, allowing the most rushing yards per game in that span (216.0), which has inflated their overall ranking for rushing yards allowed per game, to the third-most in the NFL (142.4). They’ve also allowed the second-most rushing yards per game on the road (156.7). A workhorse like Mixon at low ownership? Sign me up. I’ll be back on the wagon.
A.J. Brown ($7,000 DK, $7,200 FD)
Brown’s had quite the coming-out party these last few weeks, as he’s had over 100 yards receiving in three of his last five games, and had a 49-yard rushing TD last week. Ryan Tannehill clearly likes throwing to him, as he saw the most targets out of any game he’s played this season, in Week 15, with 13. Marshon Lattimore really locked him down, as far as receiving goes last week, but he does that to a lot of good receivers. The Houston Texans don’t have anyone that can completely contain Brown in that regard. While the game is rather meaningless to the Texans, the Titans are still fighting for their playoff lives. I could see Brown popping off for a big game, putting a stamp on his stellar rookie campaign.
Danny Amendola ($4,500 DK, $5,700 FD)
Amendola’s potential ceiling isn’t usually all that high, but he’s one of the only weapons the Lions have available to throw the ball to, and I’m somewhat of a believer in narratives if they make sense. Adam Schefter tweeted that Amendola needs only 137 receiving yards to reach 800 on the season and collect a $250,000 incentive. Fellow Lions receiver Marvin Jones, tragically lost his son yesterday. I’m willing to bet one of the Lions receivers has an inspired performance. The Lions should be trailing for the most part in this game and will be forced to throw the ball. With Amendola’s incentive also in play, I’ll roll the dice and bet on him being the man.
Tyler Higbee ($5,600 DK. $6,900 FD)
Incredible. That’s the only way to describe his last few weeks. Higbee has over 100 yards receiving in four straight contests. DraftKings and FanDuel are starting to catch up and have priced him up, but I’m not entirely sure it’s to an unattainable range. We’ve been picking on the Arizona Cardinals with Tight Ends all season. It would be fitting to end the year on a high note with one final blow-up game against them. Keep an eye on what the Rams decide to do with their starters, with nothing to play for this week.
Mike Gesicki ($4,000 DK, $5,900 FD)
Gesicki’s flashed potential and finally had the huge game we’ve been waiting for last week. He was peppered with 12 targets and reeled in six catches for 82 yards and two TDs. The New England Patriots pose a very difficult matchup for Gesicki and the Dolphins, but it’s more likely that HC Bill Belichick will look to neutralize the explosive DeVante Parker first and foremost. In turn, that could open the door for Gesicki to have a solid game.
For the most part, the defenses I’m targeting in tournaments are the exact same as the ones I’ll be using in cash games. Generally, for tournaments, I’ll build lineups using players and stacks I like and use whatever remaining salary I have on defense. This is always the last position I fill out, although I may use mixtures of the same lineup with different defenses to have a better shot at striking gold, given the unpredictability of it. When it comes to defense selection for tournaments, there really is no wrong answer.
- Chicago Bears ($2,100 DK, $3,900 FD)
- New York Jets ($2,700 DK, $3,200 FD)
- Green Bay Packers ($3,000 DK, $4,800 FD)
- Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,000 DK, $3,500 FD)
- New England Patriots ($4,300 DK, $5,000 FD)
For further defense analysis and picks, you can check out my cash game article here.
QB – Will Grier ($4,600 DK, $6,400 FD)
Grier let down many of us in Cash Games last week. If you played the right studs around him, you weren’t overly affected by it, but this is a spot I could see someone like him tilting all of us. He doesn’t draw a good matchup against the Saints, but they will be forced to play from behind. Last week was his first professional start and I could see him having a better game after a week under his belt and a chance to get more acclimated. Don’t be afraid to stack him with Christian McCaffrey once again as well. CMC will get a ton of looks from the young quarterback.
RB – Justice Hill ($4,600 DK, $5,900 FD)
The only reason he’s a “Dart Throw” and not a for sure thing, is because of Gus Edwards. For my money, Hill is the more talented back and offers more receiving upside, but the fear still exists that Edwards will gather the majority of the carries. Nonetheless, Hill could have a big game so long as RG3 runs the efficient Ravens offensive system properly.
WR – Javon Wims ($3,000 DK, $4,500 FD)
The Vikings are expected to rest a lot of their starters. Wims has flashed potential when given opportunities, he just needs his QB to play better. Wims received nine targets last week against the Kansas City Chiefs and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mitchell Trubisky had a huge game, with the pressure off, in a meaningless Week 17 matchup. At bare minimum salary, he’s not a terrible receiver to take a flier on.
TE – Noah Fant ($3,600 DK, $5,600 FD)
Since Drew Lock has taken over the starting quarterback job, Fant has only had one big game, coming against the Houston Texans in Week 14. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos were to make a conscious effort to get him more involved in an attempt to build more of a rapport up between Fant and Lock for next season. The Oakland Raiders can give up some big plays and are tied for the second-most TDs allowed to the TE position.
Favorite Game Stacks
ATL @ TB
This game is on many people’s radar, but it’s not one to shy away from. Both sides will likely play their starters as if it’s a normal game. The way the offenses and defenses have played all season long, this is a shootout waiting to happen. The last time they squared off, they combined to put up 57 points. Stack Matt Ryan with Julio Jones, Austin Hooper, Russell Gage, and Devonta Freeman. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Remember, they don’t all have to be in the same lineup. On the Bucs’ side, I like Jameis Winston, Justin Watson, Breshad Perriman, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate (again, not all in the same lineup).
PHI @ NYG
This game is extremely stack-able and offers ways to get creative. Daniel Jones and the New York Giants have had their moments this year. They have put up a total of 77 points in the last two games. Jones and Saquon Barkley went absolutely bonkers last week. We mentioned Jones’ stats earlier. Barkley had 279 total yards from scrimmage while adding two TDs. Barkley has a difficult matchup but should be low-owned. Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard are also in play. My favorite out of those options is Tate. I mentioned plenty of Eagles in my Cash Game article. You can stack them all, along with Miles Sanders. JJ Arcega-Whiteside is my least favorite option, but he will be the lowest-owned out of the bunch and should be operating as the Eagles’ number two wideout.
Honorable Mentions: WAS @ DAL, LAC @ KC
Don’t be afraid to get creative and make sure to keep a close eye on the scoreboard during the early slate of games. Depending on some of the outcomes, you might be able to pull a late swap and get massive leverage on the field. Also, things may change after this article is released. Keep an eye on the news. If word gets out that some of these players or others are sitting, don’t be afraid to make changes. If you are stuck or thinking about making a roster move you’re unsure of, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. With that said, good luck to all of you and thank you for reading. It’s been a great regular season and we will have more content on the way throughout the playoffs.
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