Fantasy Aces Week 17: Impact Of Injuries
Every single injury and suspension matters when playing NFL daily fantasy sports (DFS). They cause the DFS landscape to change on a weekly basis. … Injuries and suspensions to lesser teammates or defensive players can cause studs to become must-plays in any given week. Furthermore, fitting a lineup under the required salary cap on Fantasy Aces can be difficult, but injuries and suspensions often create opportunities for players with low salaries to outperform their price. DFS websites, Fantasy Aces included, don’t generally adjust a player’s salary until after they have performed on the field. Being proactive about injuries and predicting a breakout before it happens not only provides legit bragging rights, but also plenty of chances to be profitable in DFS.
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Taking advantage of the cheap players benefiting from the absence of others affords you the ability to fit multiple studs into your lineups. Every single player who benefits from an injured/suspended teammate or opponent should always be considered when building lineups. That’s why I bring this column to you weekly and break down the most relevant injuries and suspensions each week in DFS. Let’s get to it…
Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell Both Doubtful
With both Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell likely out of the picture, Adam Thielen ($4,800) will be the Vikings’ clear cut WR1 on Sunday. That’s big news, especially considering Thielen just saw 15 targets last week, catching 12 of them for 202 yards and two TDs. Thielen is talented and will be able to take advantage of a Bears defense with nothing to play for. Kyle Rudolph ($4,750) should also see an uptick in targets and is fully in play at the TE position.
Cameron Brate Out
Cameron Brate has now joined Vincent Jackson on Injured Reserve, which should mean Mike Evans ($5,850) is in line to see a ton of targets on Sunday. The Buccaneers still have an outside chance of making the playoffs, whereas the Panthers have absolutely nothing to play for in this game. I’d be shocked if Evans didn’t see double digit targets. He should easily take advantage of a Panthers defense allowing the most passing yards and that is tied for the 10th-most pass TDs allowed.
Tyler Lockett Out
Doug Baldwin ($5,000) is once again the clear #1 option in Seattle’s passing attack with Tyler Lockett now on Injured Reserve. He saw 19 targets last week and should be in line for another heavy workload this week with Seattle fighting for the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye. He gets a 49ers defense that is tied for the fourth-most pass TDs allowed. Jimmy Graham ($4,700) should also see an uptick in targets and is one of my favorite TE plays of the week.
Jeremy Hill Questionable
Jeremy Hill is listed as Questionable, but all signs point to him missing this game after the Bengals called up a RB from their practice squad. If he is ruled out, Rex Burkhead ($4,200) should get the start and see a solid amount of volume in this one. He was the only other RB to touch the ball last week and is a dual-threat back playing at home against a Ravens defense that has nothing to play for in Week 17.
Theo Riddick Out
Theo Riddick will miss yet another game, which will boost the values of both Golden Tate ($4,900) and Eric Ebron ($4,200) in a must win game for the division title versus the Packers. Prior to last week, Tate had seen double-digit targets in three straight games. He’s the go-to-guy in this offense and should be counted on plenty in this contest. I expect him to take advantage of a Packers defense giving up the fourth-most passing yards and that is tied for the second-most pass TDs allowed. Meanwhile, Ebron makes for a very interesting TE play this week. He saw 12 targets a week ago, which was the most on the team.
Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper Both Out
With Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper both out this week, Julio Jones ($6,250) receives a boost in value. The Falcons are still plenty motivated as they are playing for the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye. Thus, Julio should see more targets in his second game back from injury. Plus, the matchup is favorable, as Jones will be at home and gets to face a Saints defense giving up the third-most passing yards per game.
Malcolm Mitchell Doubtful
The Patriots won’t be taking it easy in this contest as they are still fighting to lock up the #1 seed throughout the playoffs in the AFC. That means Tom Brady’s pass catchers are fully in play. With Malcolm Mitchell listed as Doubtful and likely missing this game, the guys you should be looking at are Julian Edelman ($4,900) and Chris Hogan ($4,000). Edelman is the go-to-guy as he has seen at least seven targets in every single game he has played with Brady this season. Meanwhile, Hogan plays more on the outside just like Mitchell and should be more of the direct beneficiary of Mitchell’s absence. As far as the matchup, the Dolphins are tied for the eighth-most pass TDs allowed.
Donte Moncrief Doubtful
T.Y. Hilton ($5,650) has seen double digit targets in four of the six games Donte Moncrief has missed this season. With Moncrief listed as Doubtful and likely missing this game, Hilton should be in line for a lot of targets on Sunday. That’s because despite having nothing to play for, reports out of Indianapolis state the Colts will be playing their starters on Sunday. However, the matchup is a tough one, as the Jaguars are giving up the third-fewest passing yards and Hilton will likely see a lot of stud rookie CB Jalen Ramsey.
Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner All Out
With RBs Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner all on Injured Reserve, Darren Sproles ($4,400) should be in line for a big workload on Sunday at home against a Cowboys defense that has nothing to play for in Week 17, as they have already wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC. Sproles is a talented dual-threat back that possesses high upside. However, be mindful head coach Doug Pederson has said he’d like to see quite a bit of RB Byron Marshall in this one as well.
Spencer Ware a Game Time Decision
If Spencer Ware misses this game, Charcandrick West ($3,800) would likely see the majority of touches out of the backfield for Kansas City. West would become an interesting GPP option against a Chargers defense that has allowed the third-most rush TDs. Tyreek Hill ($4,900) has started to see more carries out of the backfield recently and his stock would rise as well.
Lamar Miller Out
Lamar Miller will miss another game, putting Alfred Blue ($4,350) in play this week. Blue saw 25 touches with Miller out of the lineup a week ago and could be in line for a similar workload on Sunday. He will face a Titans defense that has nothing to play for this week.
Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas Both Out + Marqise Lee Questionable
Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas haven’t played for some time. That will continue again this week. Meanwhile, Marqise Lee likely will play, but is nursing an injury of his own. These developments make Allen Robinson ($4,700) very interesting. Robinson gets a Colts defense giving up the ninth-most passing yards and that is tied for the tenth-most passing TDs allowed.
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