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Week 17 NFL DFS + Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown Column With Matt Savoca

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Philip Rivers said that he has not 'completely ruled out' returning to the NFL if someone comes calling and the Colts could really us a quarterback...

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(50.5) Green Bay Packers (28) @ Chicago Bears (22.5)

Quick-Hitter Game Summary:

  • Both the Packers and Bears have a ton to play-for this weekend. The Bears need a win to secure a spot in the postseason, while Green Bay locks-up a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory against their bitter rivals this Sunday.
  • Over the past eight weeks, Mitchell Trubisky ranks third in expected fantasy points per game. He’s the 16th-highest salary quarterback on the main slate.
  • David Montgomery‘s salary, third-highest among active running backs this weekend, is tough to handle, but the Packers have been terrible against the run over their last five games, ranking 27th in the NFL against the position during that span.
  • With the Packers’ backfield in apparent flux, the only viable Packers are the high-priced combo of Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers, who both have projections right in line with salary-based expectations. Aaron Jones is an extremely risky play as the seventh-highest salary running back on the slate.
  • The loss of tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) will absolutely affect the Packers’ offense. More pressures and hits against Aaron Rodgers are likely.

Data Deep-Dive:

All Graphs Reflect Last Five Weeks of Data, Click Graphs to Enlarge

NFL DFS Upside Analysis:

Significant takeaways: While the Packers are content throwing much more often than the average NFL team in neutral game scripts, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been pushing the tempo on offense in the second-half of the season, meaning Rodgers will need to continue his efficient play in order for the Packers to outperform their implied total of 28 points. Despite their recent winning ways, and Mitchell Trubisky‘s relatively efficient play (he’s mediocre on a per-play basis, but has been finishing drives with touchdowns at an elite level over the last five weeks), the Bears still operate a slow-paced, run-oriented offense. That hasn’t stopped them from averaging over 25 points per game over their last five contests.

Passing and Pace

Why look at passing at pace? Teams that play faster and pass more than average tend to score more fantasy points. When both teams play aggressively, it often creates a game environment perfect for fantasy scoring. Games have a higher probability of going over their Vegas total as well. Ideally, we’re seeking matchups where both teams are in the upper-right quadrant of the chart below (see the chart’s caption for more details).

The X-axis is Early-Down Air Yards divided by team game-script-adjusted plays per second (using Awesemo’s Game-Adjusted Pace from the Advanced Stats Page). The Y-axis is True Neutral Early-Down Pass Rate, a key indicator of a team’s desire to have a pass-oriented game script. The matchup-specific teams’ logos are displayed amongst all other teams in order to contextualize team pace and passing versus league averages (the dotted lines on the chart).

Quarterback Efficiency

Why examine quarterback efficiency? Sustained drives in the NFL rely on efficiency at the quarterback position, so I’ve identified my three favorite performance indicators for assessing quarterback performance. The three bar charts below (see the graph’s caption for more detail) represent a quarterback’s per-drive efficiency (left bar-chart), per-play efficiency including rushes/scrambles (center) and per-pass efficiency (right). Higher rankings from both players indicate a higher likelihood of efficient play, thus a higher probability of fantasy points.

Week 17 NFL DFS Picks for daily fantasy football lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel based on expert analysis and projections

The three columns represent my three primary performance indicators for quarterbacks. Furthest left (tDSR) is True Drive Success Rate, a drive-based efficiency metric that measures a quarterback’s ability to turn drives into touchdowns, regressed based on sample size. The middle column, Expected Points Added (EPA), is a measure of per-play efficiency and includes scrambles and designed runs. Finally, on the right is per-pass efficiency, Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) based on the publicly available completion percentage model included in the NFLFastR package.

NFL DFS Player Pool Picker

Significant takeaway: As usual, Rodgers and Adams are two of the premier plays at their respective positions, but Robert Tonyan also looks like a viable play, ranking in the top-10 at his position in expected fantasy points per game and facing a Bears’ defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in defending opposing tight ends. Allen Robinson doesn’t look like a terrible play, but his projection comes in just slightly below his salary-based expectations. The Packers have been excellent at stopping opposing primary wide receivers over the last five weeks, but Robinson still has a sky-high ceiling, making him a decent tournament option.

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Green Bay Packers NFL DFS Core Offenses
Team Player Positional Salary Rank FPTs/Gm Rank Expected FPTs/Gm Rank Defense vs. Position Expected Projection
GB Aaron Rodgers, QB #5 #2 #15 #22 17 Fpts (QB15)
GB Davante Adams, WR #1 #1 #2 #19 25.5 Fpts (WR2)
GB Aaron Jones, RB #7 #10 #12 #16 13 Fpts (RB15)
GB Allen Lazard, WR #48 #71 #76 #26 6.5 Fpts (WR72)
GB Robert Tonyan, TE #5 #7 #10 #31 12.5 Fpts (TE6)
Chicago Bears NFL DFS Core Offenses
Team Player Positional Salary Rank FPTs/Gm Rank Expected FPTs/Gm Rank Defense vs. Position Expected Projection
CHI Mitchell Trubisky, QB #15 #9 #3 #12 21 Fpts (QB6)
CHI Allen Robinson II, WR #6 #10 #6 #3 16.5 Fpts (WR10)
CHI David Montgomery, RB #3 #3 #3 #8 24 Fpts (RB4)
CHI Darnell Mooney, WR #54 #69 #56 #21 8 Fpts (WR59)

NFL DFS Skill Position Values: Expected Points

Significant takeaway: David Montgomery has been scoring well above his expected fantasy points per game average, a clear indicator he’s playing the best football of his career. Some of the recent production is likely unsustainable, however. This looks like it might be Montgomery’s “come back to earth” game. With a strong Week 16 performance, AJ Dillon has surpassed Jamaal Williams in expected fantasy points per game. If this game turns into a rout, Dillon should see an increased role in garbage time, as he did a week ago. For the Bears, Darnell Mooney sticks-out as a possible tournament option. Besides Allen Robinson and Davante Adams, Mooney is the only player averaging 10 or more expected fantasy points per game over the last five weeks.

Why examine expected fantasy points? By assigning a value to each play (based on score, down, distance to the goal line, distance to first down, play type, etc.), we can measure not just a player’s workload, but the expected value of that workload using recent league history as a guide. Expected fantasy points should be considered a volume metric. If a player scores more fantasy points (represented by the dots in the bar chart below) than expected, that means the player is either talented or lucky (or both) and may have unsustainable fantasy production based on their usage.

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This chart measures Expected Fantasy Points (DraftKings scoring) per Game, indicated by each player’s bar, as well as fantasy points per game, indicated by the dot. If a dot is outside the bar, that means the player is performing above expectation. If the dot is within the bar, that means the player is performing below expectation. It includes injured players in order to help contextualize players who might be receiving a smaller or larger workload based on personnel shifts.

 

Week 17 NFL DFS Picks for daily fantasy football lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel based on expert analysis and projections

This chart measures Expected Fantasy Points (DraftKings scoring) per Game, indicated by each player’s bar, as well as fantasy points per game, indicated by the dot. If a dot is outside the bar, that means the player is performing above expectation. If the dot is within the bar, that means the player is performing below expectation. It includes injured players in order to help contextualize players who might be receiving a smaller or larger workload based on personnel shifts.

NFL DFS Auxiliary Offensive Players for Large-Field Contests

Green Bay Packers NFL DFS Tournament Picks
Team Player Snap Share Opportunity Score Defense vs. Position Outlook: Value, MME-only, Look Elsewhere
GB Jamaal Williams, RB 36% 90 #16 MME-only
GB Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR 77% 62 #7 MME-only
GB Marcedes Lewis, TE 47% 35 #31 MME-only
GB Equanimeous St. Brown, WR n/a 23 #7 Look Elsewhere
GB Tavon Austin, WR 13% 15 #7 Look Elsewhere
GB AJ Dillon, RB 34% 21 #16 MME-only
Chicago Bears NFL DFS Tournament Picks
Team Player Snap Share Opportunity Score Defense vs. Position Outlook: Value, MME-only, Look Elsewhere
CHI Cole Kmet, TE 79% 65 #7 MME-only
CHI Anthony Miller, WR 53% 63 #19 MME-only
CHI Jimmy Graham, TE 50% 71 #7 MME-only
CHI Cordarrelle Patterson, RB 17% 46 #8 Look Elsewhere
CHI Javon Wims, WR 42% 11 #19 Look Elsewhere

Final Thoughts

With multiple viable primary pieces to choose from on both sides of the ball (the quarterbacks, David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, and Davante Adams), as well as multiple exciting auxiliary pieces, particularly at the tight end position, this NFC North showdown is one of the best build-around games of the weekend. Don’t be afraid to select multiple pieces from this matchup in your daily fantasy football lineups.

Prediction: Packers 30, Bears 27


Looking for more NFL DFS picks and daily fantasy football matchups content? We have loads of articles, data and more on the Awesemo NFL home page. Just click HERE.

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A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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