Originally posted: December 29, 2017
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A suddenly hot team led by their burgeoning franchise quarterback is well represented by a QB/WR/TE stack as well as their D/ST. The backfield is loaded with a couple of do-it-all backs, and wide receiver is loaded on this week’s squad.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF): $7,700 @ Rams
Garoppolo passed his stiffest test to date last week against the Jaguars with an A+. In four starts for the 49ers, he’s averaging 312.5 passing yards per game with a 68.5% completion percentage, five touchdown passes, and just two interceptions. He’s guided the team to 25 or more points scored in three straight games, and the offense is a completely different unit with him leading the show. The 49ers are 3.5-point favorites on the road with an implied team over/under total of 23.5 points, per Pinnacle. As if there’s not enough to like here, the Rams are planning on resting some of their key starters, and while the offensive stars sitting will get most of the attention, the rest should extend to the defensive side of the ball, too.
LeSean McCoy (BUF): $8,200 @ Dolphins
The Bills are fighting for a Wild Card berth. They’ll need help to reach the postseason, but they also have to handle their own business. They’re 2.5-point road favorites against the Dolphins, and Buffalo’s likely to ride their workhorse back hard. Of course, that’s nothing new for Shady. McCoy’s 333 touches are the third most in the NFL, per Pro-Football-Reference, and the two players ahead of him, Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, will be rested in Week 17. Shady’s parlayed his hefty usage into the fourth most yards from scrimmage (1,554), and he’s averaging 3.8 receptions per game with eight offensive touchdowns scored this year. McCoy has fared well against the Dolphins as a member of the Bills. As a Bill, Shady has scored at least one touchdown in four of five games against the Dolphins. The lone game he failed to score a touchdown in against the Dolphins as a member of the Bills was a game he entered as a game-time decision and exited after just eight first-half touches. Miami has yielded the fourth most FanDuel points per game to running backs this year, according to Pro-Football-Reference, so this is a plus matchup for McCoy.
Dion Lewis (NE): $7,200 vs. Jets
New England is a 16.5-point home favorite with an implied team over/under total of 30 points. Where do I start with that? Well, the spread is favorable for a run-heavy game script, and the implied team over/under total is desirable for getting exposure to. Lewis is on a roll. He’s bested 60 yards from scrimmage or scored a touchdown in seven straight games, and with both Rex Burkhead and James White inactive last week, he ripped off 129 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries, and he caught all five of his targets for 24 yards and a receiving score. Mike Gillislee was active and acted as a complementary back. Neither Burkhead nor Gillislee participated in practice Thursday, and James White was a limited participant, according to New England’s official team website. Lewis looks poised for another steady diet of touches, namely early. The Patriots could turn to seldom used back and special-teams contributor Brandon Bolden late if the game goes according to the spread. Having said that, there should be ample scoring opportunities for Lewis early. Furthermore, according to Lineups.com, Lewis totaled seven red-zone touches last week, and he has 10 over the last two weeks. Since New England’s Week 9 bye, Lewis has at least one red-zone touch in all seven games, and he has multiple red-zone touches in five of those contests. I love Lewis’ odds of scoring at least one touchdown, and he backs that with yardage and receiving upside to boot.
Julio Jones (ATL): $8,400 vs. Panthers
Jones’ inconsistency can be annoying, and his three receiving touchdowns are a far cry from expectations entering the year. However, he’s third in receiving yards per game (90.9) and tied for 10th in receptions (83). In Week 9 against the Panthers, Jones ripped them for 118 yards on six receptions. Football Outsiders (FO) ranks Carolina just 21st defending No. 1 receivers. The Panthers have also coughed up the fifth most FanDuel points per game to receivers. This game has blowup potential for Jones, and I’m investing with that upside in mind.
Michael Thomas (NO): $8,200 @ Buccaneers
Thomas was limited in practice and was a game-time decision last week. Ultimately, he ended up playing and logging 62% of the offensive snaps for the Saints. The snap percentage was down from his norm, but it’s plenty high enough for him to do damage if he repeats the reduced workload on the road this week. Speaking of the road, the second-year wideout has surprisingly been better on the road than at home in his career. He’s averaged 5.9 receptions and 70.0 yards per game at home with six receiving touchdowns in 16 games at home, and those numbers jump to 6.9 receptions and 83.4 yards per game on the road with two more touchdowns (eight total) in two fewer games (14). The matchup is drool inducing, too. The Buccaneers have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to receivers.
George Kittle (SF): $4,600 @ Rams
I’ll tackle Garoppolo’s stack partners together. Goodwin is his No. 1 receiver. He has elite speed, but he’s more than just a big-play threat. In Garoppolo’s four starts, Goodwin has totaled 39 targets, 27 receptions, and 356 yards receiving. He hasn’t scored a touchdown, but that’s basically the only blemish in his numbers with Garoppolo.
Kittle doesn’t see the volume of work Goodwin does, but he’s coming off of back-to-back decent-to-good games with a 4-52-0 line in Week 15 and a 3-42-1 line in Week 16. Kittle’s salary is only $100 above the minimum for a tight end, so he doesn’t have to do a lot to hit value. Another touchdown would be a nice get at Kittle’s salary, and over the last four weeks, the rookie tight end has totaled six red-zone targets with at least one in each of those games.
Josh Lambo (JAC): $4,800 @ Titans
Going against conventional wisdom, the Jaguars aren’t resting their starters in Week 17 — despite a myriad of reasons for resting them. With that in mind, Lambo stands out as a great choice at kicker. Jacksonville is tied for the 11th most field-goal attempts (34) this year, and the Titans have had the most field goals attempted (40) against them.
San Francisco 49ers (SF): $4,000 @ Rams
The Rams aren’t taking Jacksonville’s approach in Week 17, and Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will not play this week. Sign me up for a defense facing a backup quarterback, backup running back, and likely seeing extended run from reserve receivers and offensive linemen.
Source: Fantasy Pros
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