Awesemo Daily Fantasy Sports
Awesemo Fantasy Football
Odds Shopper by Awesemo
Connect with us

Articles NFL

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

Avatar

Published

on

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...

Table of Contents

(56.5) Tennessee Titans (32) @ Houston Texans (24.5)

Quick-Hitter Game Summary:

  • The Titans’ defense is a liability heading into the postseason, as they rank 29th against opposing quarterbacks and 23rd against opposing primary wide receivers. Deshaun Watson and Brandin Cooks should both be solid plays in a (likely) losing effort. Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen are both viable options, as well.
  • The Texans can’t stop the run, ranking dead last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs over the last five weeks. Derrick Henry should run wild.
  • Houston’s not much better against the pass (they rank 31st against opposing primary wideouts over the last five weeks). Both A.J. Brown and Corey Davis seem like solid values compared to salary-based expectations.
  • Running back David Johnson‘s salary is a little steep (his $6,800 salary on DraftKings is eighth among active running backs), but he’s still a decent leverage play off-of the significantly more popular Derrick Henry. Johnson is absolutely viable in large-field tournaments.

Data Deep-Dive:

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

One Month of Awesemo+ Platinum FREE when you make your first deposit on PrizePicks. Claim this offer now by clicking here!

NFL DFS Upside Analysis:

Significant takeaways: The Titans are one of the slowest, most run-heavy teams in recent memory. Irrational as it sounds, Tennessee isn’t going to change their run-first approach just because they’re losing, making them one of the least exciting teams in football when playing from behind. Alternatively, all Deshaun Watson and the Texans seem to do these days is play from behind, and at the very least, they rank above league-average in both passing and pace of play in neutral game scripts. Based on the efficiency of both quarterbacks on a per-drive and per-play basis, there should be plenty of points scored in this matchup. There’s a good reason the Vegas total for this game keeps rising.

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.

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: Derrick Henry is the top running back play on the entire slate, ranking fourth in fantasy points per game, and facing the worst rush defense in the entire league, but the Titans’ passing attack looks equally appealing. A..J. Brown and Jonnu Smith have expected projections well ahead of salary-based expectations. On the Houston side of the ball, Deshaun Watson, David Johnson, Chad Hansen, and Keke Coutee all look like viable plays due to Tennessee’s recent struggles defensively, with Hansen looking like the best value of the bench, with a salary outside the top-50 wideouts.

Tail Awesemo's Sports Betting Picks Today!
Tennessee Titans NFL DFS Core Offenses
Team Player Positional Salary Rank FPTs/Gm Rank Expected FPTs/Gm Rank Defense vs. Position Expected Projection
TEN Ryan Tannehill, QB #9 #8 #21 #24 16.5 Fpts (QB18)
TEN Derrick Henry, RB #2 #4 #4 #32 25.5 Fpts (RB1)
TEN A.J. Brown, WR #11 #8 #18 #25 17 Fpts (WR9)
TEN Corey Davis, WR #18 #21 #31 #25 12.5 Fpts (WR30)
TEN Jonnu Smith, TE #13 #11 #15 #14 8.5 Fpts (TE12)
Houston Texans NFL DFS Core Offenses
Team Player Positional Salary Rank FPTs/Gm Rank Expected FPTs/Gm Rank Defense vs. Position Expected Projection
HOU Deshaun Watson, QB #2 #4 #4 #30 25 Fpts (QB1)
HOU Brandin Cooks, WR #12 #14 #20 #28 15.5 Fpts (WR15)
HOU David Johnson, RB #8 #9 #10 #24 19.5 Fpts (RB6)
HOU Chad Hansen, WR #54 #27 #40 #20 11.5 Fpts (WR36)
HOU Keke Coutee, WR #26 #29 #32 #29 13 Fpts (WR27)

NFL DFS Skill Position Values: Expected Points

Significant takeaway: Give credit to David Johnson, who has vastly outperformed expectations over the last eight weeks, and ranks inside the top-10 running backs in fantasy points per game. Though his upside is nowhere near Derrick Henry‘s, Johnson is absolutely viable as a tournament-play.

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.

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

Significant takeaway: It’s likely more noise than signal, but the Titans’ defense ranks best in the NFL in defending opposing tight ends over their last five games. Though Jordan Akins‘ opportunity score of 80 (out of a possible 100) looks somewhat appealing, the tough matchup puts a damper on his upside. If looking for a dart-throw tight end, Akins is fine, but don’t rule out Anthony Firkser, who continues to have a role in the Titans’ offense, particularly near the goal line, even with Jonnu Smith back in the lineup.

Check out today's FREE DFS tool of the day
Tennessee Titans NFL DFS Tournament Picks
Team Player Snap Share Opportunity Score Defense vs. Position Outlook: Value, MME-only, Look Elsewhere
TEN Anthony Firkser, TE 32% 75 #14 MME-only
TEN Darrynton Evans, RB 16% n/a #32 Look Elsewhere
TEN Cameron Batson, WR 32% 13 #27 Look Elsewhere
TEN Jeremy McNichols, RB 26% 28 #32 Look Elsewhere
TEN MyCole Pruitt, TE 39% 22 #14 Look Elsewhere
TEN Kalif Raymond, WR 22% 17 #27 Look Elsewhere
Houston Texans NFL DFS Tournament Picks
Team Player Snap Share Opportunity Score Defense vs. Position Outlook: Value, MME-only, Look Elsewhere
HOU Jordan Akins, TE 50% 80 #1 MME-only
HOU Darren Fells, TE 45% 11 #1 Look Elsewhere
HOU Pharaoh Brown, TE 35% 52 #1 Look Elsewhere
HOU Kahale Warring, TE 15% 20 #1 Look Elsewhere
HOU C.J. Prosise, RB 17% 29 #24 Look Elsewhere

Final Thoughts

Don’t overthink this matchup. With the highest Vegas total on the slate, featuring two relatively consolidated offenses (particularly on the Tennessee side), every primary skill position player, and the quarterbacks, are viable options in any daily fantasy football lineup. Derrick Henry may not catch passes, but he as a chance to rush for 200-plus yards against the atrocious Houston defense.

Prediction: Titans 27, Texans 21.


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.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

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]

Sign up to Receive Expert DFS Advice & Exclusive Offers From Awesemo

Subscriber Counter

We respect your email privacy

More NFL

More Fantasy Football