👀 Sneaky Starts for Sunday

Sneaky. Desperate. It's Week 17. Just win, baby!

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If you’re not a fan of the Poptart mascot, we can’t be friends…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Hugo Boss:

  • 2 Sneaky Plays with Upside for Sunday

  • Week 17 DFS Stacks: Can we just play everyone on the 49ers?

  • QUICK HITTER: The injury carousel everybody seems to be riding

  • The news Colts’ fans and fantasy managers needed to hear

  • The Walkthrough: Christian McCaffrey can’t be stopped

  • It’s 12/30. Take it away, Chris Allen…

What a way to end TNF for the 2023 season.

Vegas projected the game for 33.5 points. Cleveland scored 37 on their own. Joe Flacco was slinging it all over the yard to Elijah Moore and David Njoku, and the Jets tried to keep pace with a solid fantasy outing from Breece Hall (27.6 PPR points).

But I’m sure all the fun stopped the moment fantasy managers checked their championship matchups and found their opponents with one or two of the stars from Thursday night.

So, now what?

Staring down a 20-plus-point deficit is…well, it’s probably not great. You might be thinking about calling a roster audible and putting in a high-risk, high-reward option to close the gap. But don’t get too wild.

It’s Week 17. We’re fighting for fantasy titles. I’ll take some floor to go with a ceiling if the opportunity exists. Luckily, there are a couple of options we can plug and play if you need the juice for Sunday.

😤 Wan’Dale Robinson, Giants

The case for Wan’Dale Robinson, the player, is simple: no other WR on the Giants has earned more targets than New York’s slot man. Even after Darren Waller returned to the lineup, Robinson’s 11 looks are tied for the most. But his situation gives him a boost.

Defensively, the Giants and Rams both funnel teams into pass-first scripts. The last three teams to face LA have averaged 287 passing yards and three (yep, three) TDs through the air. There’s no question Matthew Stafford will be slinging it downfield, which should force Tyrod Taylor to respond in kind. In what should be a back-and-forth matchup, Robinson should thrive.

In one half of Week 16, Taylor threw for 213 air yards. That’s 176 more than Tommy DeVito. More importantly, 35.0% of Taylor’s air yards went to Robinson. If he can earn targets and get them in the intermediate parts of the field in a competitive game script, Robinson can turn the tide for those playing from behind on Sunday assuming his quad injury doesn’t hamper him on Sunday.

🏃‍♂️ Rashid Shaheed, Saints

Anytime you’re considering a guy who typically scores in this fashion, it feels like a desperation play.

And that’s the general vibe you’ll get when rostering Rashid Shaheed.

The Saints’ speedster ranks in the Top 5 for both receiving yards and touchdowns scored on deep targets. But he’s more than just a home run option for Derek Carr. Since returning to the lineup after a two-week absence, Shaheed’s seen more action in the last two games than he has throughout most of the season.

Shaheed UR

Chris Olave was back on the field in Week 16, and Shaheed still earned more work. The Rams pushed Carr into throwing for his third-most air yards in a single game, allowing Shaheed to benefit from the game environment. With the Buccaneers’ offense likely creating the same script, and their defense allowing the third-most passing yards per game over the last six weeks (260.0), Shaheed has the floor and ceiling to be an impact player for Week 17.

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Week 17 Stacks

Finding the right player stacks can be the key to building a profitable roster in DFS. If you want to get the jump on this weekend, James McCool from Paydirt DFS has the data to guide you for Week 17.

📝 Facts:

  • Of the top 5 QBs in fantasy scoring, only Brock Purdy has a Yards per Completion of above 8.0. His 9.7 yards per competition blows away every QB in the league, with the second-highest mark being Tua Tagovailoa at 8.6.

  • Even though the 49ers have just the third-highest scoring mark in the league, their 3.60 touchdown drives per game lead the league (second highest is MIA at 3.53). They are doing this with just 51% of the total time of possession.

  • Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are the 12th and 16th best receivers in fantasy points per game this year at 16.5 and 15.8, respectively, which helps to show how condensed this offense is and why it makes for such an intriguing stack each week.

💰 Stack info (DraftKings)

DK stacks

🤑 Salary and projections:

  • Combo 1 (Purdy/Samuel/Aiyuk): This combination commands a premium salary of $21,700 and leads with a Median score of 53.28. It's expected to offer a strong performance, indicated by the highest projected Median of the three.

  • Combo 2 (Purdy/Samuel/Kittle): With a salary set at $20,300, the Median score is a bit lower at 51.62. This slight reduction in the Median score comes with a noticeable cost saving, offering a more balanced financial option.

  • Combo 3 (Purdy/Aiyuk/Kittle): The most economical at $19,600, it presents a Median score of 50.62, which is only slightly lower than Combo 2, suggesting a good value for the money.

Week 17 Stacks

💥 Top Finish and High Scoring Potential

  • Combo 1 (Purdy/Samuel/Aiyuk):

    • Top Finish: With an 11.90% chance, this combination has the highest likelihood among the three of achieving the top rank, mirroring its high Median score.

    • 60+% Potential: At 30.30%, it also has the highest probability of exceeding the 60+% score threshold, further indicating its potential for high performance.

  • Combo 2 (Purdy/Samuel/Kittle):  

    • Top Finish: Possesses a close 11.10% chance, slightly lower than Combo 1, but still promising for top-tier finishes.

    • 60+% Potential: At 25.10%, the likelihood is somewhat reduced but remains substantial for surpassing the 60+% score threshold.

  • Combo 3 (Purdy/Aiyuk/Kittle): 

    • Top Finish: Has a 6.90% chance, notably lower than Combos 1 and 2, indicating a reduced but still present potential for the highest rank.

    • 60+% Potential: The chance drops to 21.80%, the lowest of the group but still indicative of a reasonable expectation for high-scoring games.

1️⃣ Combo 1: Great Upside and Savings

Represents the top-tier choice for those targeting the best average output, as suggested by its high Median score. It also offers the greatest chance for both a Top Finish and surpassing the 60+% mark, suitable for players willing to invest more for potentially higher rewards.

2️⃣ Combo 2: Nearly Identical with Lower Ceiling

Serves as a middle ground, offering a slightly lower Median and top finish probability for a more modest salary. Its 60+% potential is still attractive, positioning it as a solid choice for those looking for a balance between cost and performance.

3️⃣ Combo 3: High-End Budget Option

As the most budget-friendly option, it might appeal to those who wish to allocate their funds more diversely. While it has the lowest Median score and probabilities for Top Finish and 60+%, it still maintains competitive potential relative to its lower cost.

It looks like the people at DraftKings were asleep behind the wheel with Brock Purdy’s price this week. He is priced as the eighth most expensive QB but has the third-highest median expectation and a killer matchup with the Washington Commanders. This clear misprice is worth exploiting this week, even if the 49ers expect to be one of the highest-owned stacks on the slate. Pairing Purdy with any of his top 3 receiving options (Aiyuk/Deebo/Kittle) is going to give you all the upside you need in GPPs.

TLaw out. Jacoby Brissett with the Q tag. C.J. Stroud in. The QB injury carousel is tough to keep up with, but we’ve got you covered with the latest news for all the upcoming action.

QH Injury Report
Watercooler

📝 Notes on Stefon Diggs. Best bets for the MVP race. Kendall has all of the news you need for Sunday.

📈 Colts’ primary options in line for a big workload on Sunday. Fantasy managers will be excited to see this news.

😡 An angry Travis Kelce against a weak Bengals’ secondary sounds like a recipe for fantasy production. The numbers agree.

💲 Betting strategy. A review of the latest projections. The Betting Life crew gives their insight on process and their favorite props for Sunday.

🧠 Looking for best bets for Week 17? Follow the sharp money…

💰Only one NFL game, but there’s more football ripe for betting. Best College Football bets for Saturday.

😁 Pete got bounced from the Eliminator League and recorded his punishment. It went about as you’d expect.

🤓 A new way to analyze best-ball tournaments. Tell me more!

😂 Jets player having discourse with Browns fans. At least he was having fun with it.

✍️ Two NFC contenders face off on Saturday. A position-by-position breakdown for Cowboys vs. Lions.

🤕 A quiet end to the season for Arizona’s WR1. The 2024 free agency market will be very interesting.

Week 17 Walkthrough

An all-encompassing Week 17 preview breaking down EVERY game with an array of advanced analytics as well as devoted film analysis from a champion expert in the field who just so happens to also be a rather great writer — is that something you might be interested in?

Well, good, because Legendary Upside founder and Fantasy Life partner Pat Kerrane is here to spread the good word ahead of Week 17…

Brock Purdy’s efficiency absolutely cratered against the Ravens, with just a 4th-percentile mark in EPA per play. Four interceptions will do that.

But when looking at the season at large, Purdy still laps the field, delivering over a point more in EPA per game than Josh Allen or Dak Prescott.

EPA doesn’t tell the whole story on its own. Not every QB has the scheme and surrounding talent that Purdy does. Kevin Cole’s Adjusted EPA metric accounts for various luck-based elements like yards-after-catch, interception luck, weather, drops, etc. And in that metric…Allen ranks QB1.

But Purdy is still QB2.

And by a wide margin.

Fortunately, we can avoid the Purdy MVP debate here… the question is simply if Purdy can light up a woeful Commanders’ defense. With the answer being—yes, obviously.

The Commanders are dreadful against the pass. They don’t have a good secondary and can’t get to the passer. That’s a recipe for allowing explosive passes… which they are doing at the highest rate in the league.

Volume is the only issue for the 49ers' downfield weapons. The 49ers are willing to pass if forced to, but when they get to play their game, they establish the run. And as 12.5-point road favorites, we can expect a sub-60% pass rate here.

Week 17 Walkthrough

And although the Commanders are very weak against the pass, they’re also mediocre against the run, ranking 16th in EPA allowed per rush. With the passing offense likely to be moving the chains, the Commanders have no real chance of shutting down Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey is the best play of the week seemingly every week… but man, this is a good spot.

Like all RBs, McCaffrey is to some extent a reflection of the value of his offense. And his offense is valued at a 31.25-point team total. But unlike most RBs, McCaffrey’s value is very robust. He’s a great play in run-heavy game environments and a great play in pass-heavy scripts.

The simple fact is that we’re watching a generational talent in his prime playing in the most efficient offense in football. And that offense now gets a defense that can’t shut them down… a week after suffering an embarrassing defeat on national television. 

Buckle up.

With 25.3 PPR points per game, McCaffrey is positioned for his fourth legendary campaign. Since 2000, McCaffrey and LaDanian Tomlinson (five) are the only RBs with 4+ legendary seasons. McCaffrey is the fantasy RB of a generation, and it would be perfectly fitting for him to dominate the fantasy finals… which we should fully expect him to do.

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