Daily fantasy players, here’s how you’re going to afford that lavish Aaron Rodgers-Jordy Nelson Week 17 NFC North title game stack: a minimum salary backfield.
Not convinced? What if I said you could add to a roster anchored by Rodgers and Nelson, Julio Jones and Travis Kelce. That would give you fantasy’s top-scoring passer, receiver and tight end over the past four weeks, plus Julio down by the schoolyard, along with your minimum salary backfield.
Are you still with me? John Sahly, your DFS tour guide all season long, wrote in this space in the fourth week of the preseason about astute DFS players playing from a position of strength, while others simply go through the motions and select Bell, Ben and Beckham – essentially forfeiting roster spots with players who won’t play.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game? How about know the players, love a game you can leverage and profit?
So while “minimum salary backfield” sounds about as appealing as, say, paying full price for a preseason ticket, much less preseason players who won’t play, it’s actually being one step ahead of the guys setting prices at FanDuel and DraftKings.
The Cowboys said their Ezekiel Elliott usage would be status quo Monday night despite their top seed already being secured. In reality, the status quo part was Elliott remaining a beast, but his workload included a season-low 12 carries (he had at least 20 in 13 of his first 14 games). Meantime, Darren McFadden, who you’ll find on the FanDuel price list only by scrolling down until your sure you’ve missed him but actually just haven’t gone far enough, can be found for $4,500. He managed a pedestrian 49 yards on 14 carries, but even McFadden’s floor should be higher in Week 17 in Philadelphia, where you’ll see more of him than Elliott and probably more of Tony Romo than Dak Prescott.
The same situation is poised to unfold in Cleveland, where the Steelers are already locked into the No. 3 seed with Ben Roethlisberger hinting rest would be appreciated. Like McFadden, a valuable veteran who’s been in mothballs most of this season due to the starter’s dominance, in addition to an unfortunate “dropped cell phone” mishap, DeAngelo Williams ($4,500) has a prime opportunity to spell Le’Veon Bell and shake some rust off.
Unlike the Cowboys, who get a respectable Eagles stop-unit, the Steelers visit a still-defenseless Browns team (yay, 1-14!). And after giving Bell all but eight carries handled by a back over the past eight games combined, Pittsburgh knows its lead back has taken a heavy toll and Williams is fresh.
Those are two prime examples of opportunity knocking. But what about the 600-pound elephant in the room, also known as Week 17 motivation (more like 1,200 pounds in the Jets' and Vikings' locker rooms these days) with only three or four NFC clubs realistically still vying for two remaining playoff spots?
Feel free to fire up your Packers and Washington studs – that’s a big reason why we started with Rodgers and Nelson – and if you’re trusting Detroit and Tampa, that’s your prerogative.
But why not consider a few stalwarts chasing records with Father Time chasing them? Antonio Gates ($6,200) needs two touchdowns to pass Tony Gonzalez for the NFL tight end scoring record. Frank Gore ($6,200) needs 36 yards to become the oldest 1K rusher in 32 years. (And the Colts need any positives they can find, including, look, our old man became our first overall back in nine years to get 1,000, so our offensive line must’ve improved!) They’re both affordable FanDuel options in manageable home matchups.