Week 17 DFS Trends Based on NFL Playoff Scenarios

alex bylineHere is a tool that can help you in identifying games on the Week 17 DFS slate as having positive, negative or neutral trends for fantasy players based on the contest’s importance for playoff seeding.


Cowboys at Eagles –

Cowboys have earned home-field advantage throughout and first-round bye already attained.

Eagles have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: DAL skill players: Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten
Positive Trends: DAL skill players: Darren McFadden, Brice Butler; PHI skill players: Byron Marshall

– The starters for the Dallas offense could only see a preseason’s share of snaps.

Falcons vs. Saints –

Falcons have already won the NFC South, can clinch a first-round bye with a win vs. Saints.

Saints have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: none
Positive Trends: ATL skill players: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones (if healthy), Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel

– The Saints technically don’t have anything to play for but it’s Drew Brees in a dome and Brees will always play for statistics. The Falcons clearly have all the incentive in the world to earn a bye.

Seahawks at 49ers –

Seahawks have already clinched NFC West, and can clinch a first-round bye with SEA win + ATL loss – Seattle and Atlanta games are both on the afternoon slate, so Seahawks won’t know the outcome of Atlanta game prior to kickoff of their own.

49ers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: none
Positive Trends: SEA skill players: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Thomas Rawls (or Alex Collins if Rawls is inactive), Jermaine Kearse

– While the Seahawks do not control their own destiny, a bye is at stake with help from the Saints. A motivated Russell Wilson will face a pathetic SF defense.

Giants at Redskins –

Giants have already clinched a playoff berth, locked into the five-seed. They have no control over the team they will play in the wild-card round and no incentive to attain home-field advantage.

Redskins will clinch a playoff berth with a win (as long as GB-DET does not end in a tie)

Negative Trends: NYG skill players: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard
Positive Trends: WAS skill players: Kirk Cousins, Rob Kelley, Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed; NYG skill players: Roger Lewis, Paul Perkins

– The Giants have absolutely nothing to play for and would be wise to only give starters a few series, if not bench them all together. Cousins controls his playoff destiny at home and will be slinging it. Positive trends go to younger/backup NYG skill players.

Packers at Lions –

Winner wins NFC North and goes to the playoffs.

Negative Trends: none
Positive Trends: GB skill players: Aaron Rodgers, Ty Montgomery, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Jared Cook; DET skill players: Matt Stafford, Theo Riddick (if healthy), Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron

– Win-or-go-home game. All players are safe to use as options in a high-motivation situation.

Bucs vs. Panthers –

Bucs are still technically in the hunt, but need a lot of longshot-help including a tie in the GB-DET game and other very unlikely scenarios to make the playoffs.

Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: CAR skill players: Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart
Positive Trends: TB skill players: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Jacquizz Rodgers; CAR skill players: Fozzy Whittaker

– The Bucs always speed the pace of the game up at home and they technically still have something to play for. Cam Newton has been banged up all season and comes with risk of being pulled. Greg Olsen and Jonathan are also not practicing to start the week. A Cam absence does not affect the rest of the offense greatly though as Cam has been horrible and Derek Anderson is one of the better backups in the league.

Cardinals at Rams; Bears at Vikings

Both teams in each game have been eliminated from playoff contention.

– In games where a team is completely out of contention, it is logical to expect these two things:

1) Coaches who are planning to be around next season will begin trying things out with younger players with a greater frequency. 2) Staffs opting to rest important players to the team’s future with much more frequency than they would in a meaningful game.

So, for games where both teams are completely out of the playoff picture, it should be considered a neutral trend in most players, a negative trend for players who’ve had nagging injuries or histories of them, a slightly positive trend for younger players who’ve been ticking up in snaps and drawing buzz like JJ Nelson, and a positive trend for players such as David Johnson who are likely still trying to stat-pad at this time.

Negative Trends: MIN skill players: Adrian Peterson, Stefon Diggs
Positive Trends: ARI skill players: David Johnson, JJ Nelson; CHI skill players: Matt Barkley, Cameron Meredith, Alshon Jeffery

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Patriots at Dolphins –

Patriots have clinched AFC East and a first-round bye, but can clinch home-field advantage with a win over Dolphins.

Dolphins have already clinched a playoff berth, and are locked into either a 5 or 6-seed.

Negative Trends: MIA skill players: Jay Ajayi, Devante Parker, Jarvis Landry
Positive Trends: NE skill players: Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Martellus Bennett

– Dolphins have nothing to play for while Tom Brady can make sure the road to the Super Bowl comes through Gillette.

Raiders at Broncos –

Raiders clinch AFC West and first-round bye with a win or tie versus the Broncos, and would claim home-field advantage throughout playoffs with a win plus a Patriots loss.

Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: none
Positive Trends: OAK skill players: Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Latavius Murray

– While the trend in the motivation-and-incentive department is good, the other trends for the Raiders are troubling with this being a tough matchup for all on paper (outside of Murray) and Derek Carr on the shelf at such a critical time in the season. The Raiders OL will have a chore on its hands keeping Matt McGloin upright.

Chiefs at Chargers –

Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth, but can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win plus a Raiders loss.

Chargers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: none
Positive Trends: KC skill players: Tyreek Hill, Spencer Ware (or Charcandrick West if Ware isn’t healthy), Travis Kelce; SD skill players: Antonio Gates

– Gates gets the positive trend as he’ll be looking to break the all-time TEs TD record at home against record-holder Tony Gonzalez’ team.

Steelers vs. Browns –

Steelers have clinched the AFC North and are locked into the AFC’s No. 3 seed regardless of other outcomes.

Browns have been eliminated from playoff contention for months.

Negative Trends: PIT skill players: Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Ladarius Green
Positive Trends: PIT skill players: Deangelo Williams (or Fitzgerald Toussaint if he isn’t healthy), Cobi Hamilton, Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers

– The Big 3 in Pittsburgh have already been announced as out as of Wednesday afternoon.

Texans at Titans –

Texans have clinched the AFC South and are locked in to the AFC’s No. 4 seed regardless of other outcomes.

Titans have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: HOU skill players: Lamar Miller, Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller
Positive Trends: HOU skill players: Alfred Blue; TEN skill players: Derrick Henry

– Lamar Miller is almost sure to miss this one to see if he can get healthy again for the playoffs and no one would be shocked to see the Tennessee give Henry a few extra reps in a meaningless game.

Bills at Jets; Jaguars at Colts; Ravens at Bengals

Both teams in each game have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Negative Trends: NYJ skill players: Bilal Powell; BUF skill players: Lesean McCoy, Sammy Watkins
Positive Trends: PIT skill players: Deangelo Williams (or Fitzgerald Toussaint if he isn’t healthy), Cobi Hamilton, Sammie Coates; BAL skill players: Steve Smith Sr.; BUF skill players: Mike Gillislee; NYJ skill players: Brandon Wilds; CIN skill players: Cody Core


  1. Post By General Soreness

    Very helpful. Thanks guys. I’ve gotten every penny’s worth out of my Pro Membership. RosterWatch Nation for Life!

    1. Yessir! We appreciate your support and will continue to work manically for RWN : )

  2. This article was great but I’m still struggling to set the perfect lineup this week going into the 2nd half of my big money Championship game where I’m already down by 43 points!

    10 Team PPR (2 Keeper)
    “Gurley’s Gone Wild”

    [1] QB: Brees
    [3] WR: Evans, Cooper, Diggs (OBJ, Mitchell, Crowder)
    [2] RB: Gurley, Howard (Miller, Dixon)
    [1] TE: Walker
    [1] W/R/T: M. Lee
    DEF: Chiefs
    Bench total: (5)

    1) Right now I have guys like OBJ and Miller benched and I’m not feeling great about Cooper @DEN or Diggs vs. CHI after reading this! I’m debating dropping guys like Dixon and Crowder but not sure if this is week Crowder returns to form with Cousins “slinging it?”

    Picked up M. Lee @IND but there’s also the following guys available:

    Toussaint vs. CLE
    Perkins @WAS
    White @MIA
    Zenner vs. GB
    Collins @SF
    Kearse @SF
    Sanu vs. NO
    Roberts @DEN
    Butler @PHI
    McFadden @PHI
    Blue @TEN

    Sorry for the all the options but considering who is on my roster plus who is available can you please help me pick the best 3 WRs and best FLEX play this week??

    2) Also which DEF do I roll with this week? Chiefs @SD or Cardinals @LA?

    1. If Rawls is out, I think we might like Collins more than Lee. Would pick him up – just drop someone you know you aren’t starting like Lamar Miller once he is ruled out.

      For the second part, I like the Cardinals.

      Please keep an eye on the Vegas props to see if there are any players who pop off as great values. If I have to give advice now, I’d say get Collins on your roster so you at least have the option of using him later on in the week.

      1. Thanks for the help Alex!

        So you think my 3 best WRs to start are Evans, Cooper and Diggs then? If that’s the case then I’m trying to decide my FLEX out of Mitchell @MIA, Dixon @CIN, Crowder vs. NYG or the aforementioned Lee @IND or Collins @SF …

        If I’m reading your response right, then guys like Dixon and Crowder are droppable it seems because you’d lean Collins (if Rawls sits) over Lee and prefer both of them over any anyone else on my current roster right? I just don’t want my opponent starting either of them against me!

        Also I can’t drop Miller because I’d rather try trading him for a higher draft pick next year seeing how this is a keeper league!

  3. Gents, love the cup of coffee advice, stats and information I have received each week since signing up! My approach is to gather information to make my selections – I have a day job so very much appreciate ROSTERWATCH and the work you do to help me (and save me a lot of time!)

    1. Thank you Olds, we appreciate you being part of the family.

  4. Wow, this is by far the best and most helpful breakdown for week 17 Fantasy I’ve seen. Kudos to you guys and job well done! Sign me up again next year for your subscription! Well worth it…

    This is my first time playing a week 17 fantasy championship (instead of week 16), and I have to say (although grateful to make the championship), this is the worst experience. Guessing, planning, predicting, strategizing for 16 weeks, especially the last few weeks, all to easily go down the drain because the commish decides for week 17 this season. Ugh! Sorry, just venting…

    Hopefully with your excellent article…it will help me make smart lineup decisions for week 17. Even after some of my stud starters are sitting this week…

  5. Guys, great job this season. FarEastSal
    8 & 5. Im glad I became a member, the info you guys pour out on a weekly bases is amazing. After week 6, I went 8&1 counting the playoffs, My first championship, we the RosterNation really appreciate you guys including the trashman, Happy New Year : )

  6. Even with losing my QB MM with a broken leg 5pts, janikowski the kicker giving me 1 Pt and Gabriel 1 pt, I still managed to score 133 points , Matchup tool amazing. Too bad you guys can’t predict a broken fibula, lol

  7. Great Information. Can’t wait to put in my lineup based on the playoff scenarios. I’m thinking about using most players from teams that have something to play for and sprinkle in a couple of guys that will be using younger guys/backups against bad D’s.

    I was a long-time subscriber to another site and noticed that they stopped putting in the time for their selections (and was all talk). I heard about you guys, on Sirius XM, and decided to give you guys a try. I’m so happy I did. I’ve won numerous times in draftkings and was able to salvage my fantasy team to take 1st place. My only regret is that I didn’t start with you guys for my draft. I will make sure to use u guys next year and love reading and doing analysis based on what you guys provide. Thanks so much!

  8. Do you guys have any peers/recommendations for a similar service for the fantasy baseball season?

    I appreciate all your help and wisdom all year, led me to a 2nd place finish after losing my 1st 2 picks in the first two weeks (AP, Keenan Allen). I am in the ship in my cockamamie 17 week championship this week.

    You guys are the real deal! See y’all next year!

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