Cash Games are daily fantasy contests with a flat pay-out structure that tend to pay out roughly 50 percent of the field. The same prize is awarded to all “winners,” regardless of relative score. Because you’re winning the same amount of money whether you finish ahead of the cash line by 1 point or 100 points, you’re not necessarily looking to put together a lineup filled with massive upside and boom-or-bust options. You should look for the best value — picking players most likely to give you solid fantasy production relative to their salaries. With that said, let’s take a look at my favorite Week 17 Fantasy Aces cash game picks…
Drew Brees ($7,400)
Brees has shown more consistent fantasy upside than any other quarterback this season, leading all passers in games with at least three touchdowns (8), as well as four-touchdown games (4). Across from him this week are the Falcons, whose six games allowing 3-plus passing touchdowns are the second-most among all defenses. Atlanta is one of three teams to have allowed 4-plus passing touchdowns a league-high three times. They have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the year, and Brees shouldn’t have much trouble bouncing back from his middling Week 16 performance in this one.
Blake Bortles ($5,750)
After facing three of the four worst fantasy match-ups for quarterbacks in consecutive weeks, Blake Bortles bounced back in a big way, with 26 fantasy points against the Titans. Bortles isn’t exactly good, but his price tag still seems to reflect the awful stretch he had against tough defenses. He flashed decent fantasy value in good match-ups, with five 20-point games on the year, and he has a great match-up this week against the Colts. Their defense that has struggled against the pass and allowed top-10 fantasy production to quarterbacks on the season.
Tom Savage ($5,000)
The Tom Savage experience was a bit of a letdown last week, but it isn’t time to quit on him just yet. The Bengals were only just below average in FootballOutsiders’ pass defense DVOA going into Week 16, ranking 18th, and Savage draws a better match-up this week against the Titans. Tennessee ranked 23rd in DVOA before allowing over 300 yards to Blake Bortles in Week 16 (updated DVOA numbers through Week 16 aren’t available as of writing).
Savage is cheap enough to make his ability less important than his match-up. The Titans have struggled against the pass, allowing the league’s fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks — a ranking that includes 17-plus fantasy points allowed to the likes of Brock Osweiler (17.6), Cody Kessler (21.7), Blake Bortles (29.7, 26.2), Trevor Siemian (17.4), Matt Barkley (22.6).
David Johnson ($6,750)
The Cardinals don’t seem to care whether they have anything left to play for, and they seem intent on running Johnson until his wheels fall off. Whether or not that’s good from a real-football standpoint, it’s great from a fantasy standpoint. Johnson’s workload has been massive in this season. He ranks second among all players with 288 rushing attempts and 23rd with 116 targets in the passing game.
Even in a tough match-up against Seattle last week, Johnson finished as the RB1 with 31.6 fantasy points, bringing his average over the last six weeks to a massive 27.1 per game. That kind of volume and production makes him one of the most consistent fantasy producers in the league, and he also offers elite upside — a combination that makes him incredibly tough to fade in cash games.
Isaiah Crowell ($4,300)
If you’re paying up for DJ, you’ll need to save some cap space somewhere, and Crowell is way underpriced this week. He hasn’t been especially consistent, but for a running back at this price — especially on a site with only half-ppr scoring — you’re rarely going to find much consistency. Crowell has posted promising numbers recently, with 15-plus carries in two of his last four games and 10-plus fantasy points in three of those four. He’s in a good spot this week against a Pittsburgh defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs on the year.
Doug Baldwin ($5,000)
Baldwin saw a ridiculous 19 targets in Week 16, bringing his average over the last three weeks to 12.0 per game. He’s no slouch when it comes to efficiency either. His 1.66 fantasy points per target rank seventh among the 55 wideouts with at least 80 targets on the season. That combination of volume and efficiency would make him a decent play at this price-tag regardless of match-up, but he’s also in a great spot this week. The Seahawks have a big 26.25-point implied total against a 49ers team that ranks 29th in pass defense DVOA.
Sammy Watkins ($5,000)
Sammy Watkins has been up-and-down since returning from his foot injury, but saw a solid 10 targets in Week 16, giving him a combined 19 in the two games when he’s played at least 90% of the Bills’ offensive snaps since making his return. Like with Baldwin, that double-digit target potential is very appealing at only $5,000. While Watkins doesn’t make the 80-target cutoff, his 1.49 fantasy points per target would rank 20th in that group of wideouts I compared Baldwin to above. Watkins draws an outstanding match-up this week.
The Jets have been abysmal against the pass recently, allowing one three-touchdown game and two four-touchdown games in the last four weeks. They rank dead last in pass defense DVOA on the season and have allowed top-10 fantasy production to opposing wide receivers.
Dennis Pitta ($4,300)
Pitta’s volume this season has been excellent for a budget tight end, and he has seen double-digit targets five times, with two 11-target games among his last four. He hasn’t translated his volume into a ton of fantasy production, but this week’s match-up should allow him to do serious damage if he continues to see big volume. The Bengals rank only 22nd in pass defense DVOA against tight ends and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position.
Greg Olsen ($4,600)
After a mid-season lull in volume, Olsen has bounced back recently, with 21 targets over his last two games, accounting for 26.3 percent of the Panthers’ total. Even in what has been a disappointing season for him, he ranks second among tight ends in fantasy scoring and first in targets, making him a solid value this week while he offers a bit of a discount from the tight ends at the top of the pricing spectrum.
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