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Top FanDuel NFL DFS Upside Picks: Week 17 (2020)

Dec 31, 2020

Welcome back to Ball Street DFS, where finance and fantasy meet. In this weekly article, I apply financial metrics to the fantasy football world to give you an edge when building your FanDuel lineups. 

Following the most successful week on Ball Street in 2020, I was due for some regression in Week 16. It reared its ugly head at quarterback, where none of my three plays (Patrick Mahomes, overall QB13, Ryan Tannehill, QB17, Drew Lock, QB21) finished as top-12 options. Additionally, I battled the injury bug as Aaron Jones (RB24, 11.8 FanDuel points), Cole Beasley (WR87, 3.2), and Dallas Goedert (TE28, 5.3) were all banged up mid-game. Despite those glaring losses, Davante Adams (WR1, 37.7) was the perfect Blue Chip wide receiver play while Diontae Johnson (WR14, 17.6) turned his underpriced upside into a top-15 performance at the position. Lastly, solid outings from Penny Stocks J.K. Dobbins (RB19, 13.7) and Austin Hooper (TE10, 10.6) made Week 16 an overall acceptable week on Ball Street.

Heading into Week 17, I want to thank all of you who have read and enjoyed this column throughout the season. I sincerely hope I’ve helped you in your DFS endeavors and that your pockets are a little bit heavier entering 2021 as a result. Now, how about we finish this thing off with a strong Week 17?

Today, I’ll be highlighting 12 players who, based on investment metrics, are oozing with upside and need to be plugged into your Week 17 DFS lineups.

Before we dive in, let me break down the lingo we use on “Ball Street.” First, the focus of this article is a value I coined “Upside per Dollar,” which will be referred to as UPD. “UPD” is the product of a modified financial formula that determines how much “blowup potential” a given player offers you per dollar of your investment (his FanDuel price). In short, UPD tells you which players present the most potential bang for your buck. Below, I will highlight the 12 players who boast exceptionally high UPD scores for Week 17. 

Each position group is broken down as follows: 

  • Blue Chips: the studs presenting massive upside that come with a higher price tag
  • Mid-Caps: the more affordable upside picks
  • Penny Stocks: the cheapest upside plays FanDuel has to offer
  • *Cash Cow: The one must-start UPD standout among all 12 listed players

Lastly, if you’re looking to go all-in on this week’s upside picks, you can check out Ball Street’s “All-Upside Lineup” at the bottom of the article. Follow me on Twitter @ballstreetff to track the results from Week 17 and beyond!

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Quarterbacks

Blue Chip: Ryan Tannehill (TEN) vs. Houston ($8,200): Despite a disappointing Week 16 outing, the Titans’ signal-caller has scored nine touchdowns over the past month. He offers undeniable upside against a soft Texans defense.

Mid-Cap: Justin Herbert (LAC) vs. Kansas City ($7,600): Yes, Herbert’s exceptional rookie pace has slowed down as of late. However, with three 27-plus FanDuel point games under his belt in 2020, I’d bank on him to finish strong against the Chiefs. 

Penny Stock: C.J. Beathard (SF) vs. Seattle ($6,600): Earning the start in Week 16, Beathard answered with three touchdown passes. At this price tag, he’s an obvious upside play against a Seahawks defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Running Backs 

Blue Chip: Alvin Kamara (NO) vs. Carolina ($9,400): After an otherworldly 54.7-point outing in Week 16, how can we justify keeping Kamara off this list? With Drew Brees back at the helm, the sky is the limit against a Panthers defense that ranks in the bottom-10 against running backs.

*Mid-Cap: Myles Gaskin (MIA) vs. Buffalo ($6,700): After a season of consistent yet unexceptional performance, Gaskin finally had his two-touchdown breakout in Week 16. He’s a good bet for another 19+ touches as the Dolphins’ unquestioned bell-cow running back. Gaskin is this week’s Cash Cow play. Get him in your lineups!

Penny Stock: J.D. McKissic (WAS) vs. Philadelphia ($5,300): Seeing double-digit targets in three of his last four games, McKissic is being utilized as a true weapon in the passing game. With Antonio Gibson fighting through an ankle injury, McKissic should see plenty of action in a pivotal Week 17 meeting with the Eagles.

Wide Receivers 

Blue Chip: Davante Adams (GB) vs. Chicago ($9,300):  In full games played this season, Adams has more 30-plus point games than he does single-digit performances. It is his rare combination of elite upside and every-week consistency that makes him truly matchup proof. As I said in Week 16, you pass on Adams at your own risk. 

Mid-Cap: D.J. Moore (CAR) vs. New Orleans ($6,900): Despite an underwhelming 6.2-point performance in Week 16, Moore has seen an average of nine targets per game over his last five outings. Given his big-play ability, it’s only a matter of time before those targets turn into elite production. A high-scoring affair with the Saints presents the perfect opportunity for Moore.

Penny Stock: Antonio Brown (TB) vs. Atlanta ($6,000): Brown has caught a touchdown in each of his last two games and is a good bet to extend his streak against a Falcons defense he hung a 5-93-1 stat line on in Week 15. 

Tight Ends 

Blue Chip: Darren Waller (LV) vs. Denver ($7,800): Waller has averaged over eight receptions and 100 yards per game over the past month. With a dicey Broncos defense on deck, he belongs in your Week 17 DFS lineups. 

Mid-Cap: Irv Smith Jr. (MIN) vs. Detroit ($5,600): In Week 16, Smith Jr. set his season-high totals in both targets (9) and receptions (6). He converted his looks into two touchdowns, resulting in an overall TE2 performance. A cushy matchup with the Lions allows Smith Jr. the opportunity to add an exclamation point to his late-season breakout.

Penny Stock: Austin Hooper (CLE) vs. Pittsburgh ($5,200): With the Browns’ top four wide receivers missing in Week 16, Hooper saw a whopping 15 targets, his season-high. While he likely won’t see that volume again, he has cemented himself as a reliable option in the Browns’ passing game. 

 Ball Street’s Week 17 All-Upside Lineup

QB – Ryan Tannehill, $8,200
RB – Alvin Kamara, $9,400
RB – Myles Gaskin, $6,700
WR – Davante Adams, $9,300
WR – D.J. Moore, $6,900
WR – Antonio Brown, $6,000
TE – Austin Hooper, $5,200
FLEX – J.D. McKissic, $5,300
DEF – Cincinnati, $3,000

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Beyond our daily fantasy football content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Football Tools. From our Value Plays – which allows you to identify players who are projected to outperform their salaries – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Stephen Krupka is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Stephen, check out his archive or follow him @ballstreetff.

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