Every week, when setting a DFS lineup (in this case on DraftKings where the below costs are taken from), managers rely on their studs to reward them and set the foundation to win money that week. But, DraftKings sets budgets to limit managers on how many stars they can have. In order to succeed, while playing into DraftKings’ budgets, a manager must discover multiple sleepers week in and week out, who have the potential to break out and be week-winning players. There are three main aspects that factor into choosing bargain plays for managers’ lineups. The first is that player’s opportunity; when a bargain play has an opportunity it’s predicated on a player above them on the depth chart getting hurt or being limited, or that player has shown something to their coach and has earned a bigger role. The second is talent; even if a player has a decent opportunity, as a manager, if you don’t believe in the talent then you can’t be confident in that player. The third is match-up; bargain plays are the most appealing if that player has a favorable opponent. If they are playing a tough defense then it makes it tougher for them to break out that week.
Thank you to everyone who has been reading my article throughout the tumultuous 2020 NFL season. I hope it helped you win money each week on Draft Kings and allowed you to have as much fun as I did watching football this year. With that, here are the bargain plays for Week 17.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, $6,300
The Vikings offense is surely not to blame for their disappointing season, as QB Kirk Cousins has had a good statistical season. With RB Dalvin Cook set to miss the final game for personal reasons, Cousins will be the first form of offense. He will look to hit WRs Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson one last time for the offense to end the season on a high note. I expect the Vikings to be relentless against this depleted Detroit Lions defense.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, $5,900
The Falcons QB had struggled all season when WR Julio Jones missed games, but he put together two nice performances with Jones out these last two weeks. I think he can make it a third against a Tampa Bay defense that is locked into the five seed without anything to play for. I expect the Falcons to play hard one last time for interim head coach, Raheem Morris as they look to cap off a disappointing season.
Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams, $4,300
Be on the lookout for the status of Rams rookie RB Cam Akers who could be a game-time decision with his ankle injury. If Akers misses, which is likely, RB Malcolm Brown will have the backfield all to himself in a must-win game against the lowly Arizona Cardinals run defense who just surrendered 183 yards to Jeff Wilson Jr. The Rams employ a very similar run scheme to the 49ers, which tore apart the Cardinals, so if Brown is the lead back, I expect a huge day.
Dare Ogunbowale, Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,500
Ogunbowale had 14 carries for 71 yards in James Robinson’s absence last week, and with Robinson set to miss the game, Ogunbowale will get the bulk of the work again. He is also prolific in the passing attack as he hauled in three catches last week. I expect Ogunbowale to have enough volume, albeit against a tough run defense that needs to make the playoffs, but that volume will equate to a performance that rewards managers for placing him in their lineup.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets, $5,000
One pattern that I can take from the Jets season is the connection between QB Sam Darnold and WR Jamison Crowder. While the Jets have had a down year, Crowder has not, he helped a lot of fantasy managers this season with all his great performances and I expect one more to end the season. The Patriots lost CB Stephon Gilmore for the season and were gashed last week by the Bills WRs. Although the Jets’ offense is nowhere close to as prolific as Buffalo’s they will still put up points on the Patriots’ secondary. I really like Crowder this week, and somehow his price is very reasonable.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants, $5,200
Shepard’s price is very low for a WR who played 95 percent of snaps and 12 targets last week, but I will capitalize off his cheap tag. The Giants are in a must-win game against the Dallas Cowboys, and their offense must show up. The Cowboys defense has looked better recently, but I don’t expect them to contain Shepard in Week 17. He has a safe floor in full-PPR formats and has touchdown upside each week.
Jordan Akins, Houston Texans, $3,300
Akins has been good for full-PPR formats over the last two weeks, as he has hauled in nine total catches in Weeks 15 and 16. I expect him to have a hefty target share in Week 17 once again, and the Titans have been a favorable match-up for TEs all season. If Akins can figure out how to block out the sun, then maybe he can haul in a TD to add to his impressive yard mark.
New York Jets, $2,300
The Jets defense has actually been pretty steady over the last few weeks, and I expect them to continue that trend against a struggling Patriots offense. They are so cheap that if they just hold the Patriots to twenty points or less and under 300 yards then they will provide value for your lineup.