Last Updated: December 29th at 8:43am ET
Editor’s Note: We may not write up every player we consider to be a top play. Be sure to consult the chart at the bottom of the page. This page will be updated once on Sunday morning, if necessary.
Editor’s Note 2: The below information reflects the current information we have on teams planning to rest players. For a detailed look at each team’s motivation and plans, read Adam Levitan’s breakdown here.
You don’t have to play cash games to understand why it’s important to grasp them. Players we consider for cash are the ones we believe are the most underpriced, have the best floor/ceiling combo and feature a relatively tight range of outcomes. In other words, these are the best plays on the board once price, slate context and positional depth is accounted for. Those sound like pretty good options for GPPs as well.
The optimal GPP lineup will mix some of these cash-type plays with higher-variance options in correlated lineups. In cash games (where roughly 50% of the field gets paid out), we don’t worry about ownership or game stacks or correlation. In large-field tournaments, our ACO (average cumulative ownership) should stay reasonably low.
With all that said, these are our Top Plays considering the following factors: Median projection, matchup, upside and value. Ownership is not considered here. Generally speaking, these players are what we consider to be “head-to-head and 50/50 considerations.” They are listed in price descending order (NOT ranked by “best play”). At the bottom, you’ll find suggested rankings by site once salary is accounted for.
Ryan Tannehill ($6800 DK, $7900 FD) — Certainly pricy and Tannehill takes a hit with Derrick Henry (hamstring) back. But this is an A+ matchup against a leaky Texans defense which will likely rest most of its starters.
Jameis Winston ($6600 DK, $8100 FD) — As we saw in Week 16, not having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin hurts. But Winston’s vertical aggression and raw volume keeps the floor/ceiling combo high.
Carson Wentz ($6100 DK, $7700 FD) — Major weapon concerns as Zach Ertz joins DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor on the sideline. But Wentz has consistently found ways to score points, largely through volume. He’s attempted at least 40 passes in four straight and Sunday should be no different.
Tom Brady ($6000 DK, $7600 FD) — In a brutally weak week at QB, even Tom Brady is in play. Dolphins are dead last in virtually all pass-defense categories.
Christian McCaffrey ($10000 DK, $11000 FD) — CMC only played 10 snaps in Week 17 of last season. But this year, the coaches are adamant that the starters will play the whole game and a stated goal is to get McCaffrey records. He’s 67 receiving yards away from joining the unique 1,000/1,000 and 216 scrimmage yards away from breaking Chris Johnson’s single-season record. Even CMC’s teammates say they want to help him break records Sunday.
Aaron Jones ($8200 DK, $8000 FD) — Jamaal Williams (shoulder) is out, leaving only Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin to back up Jones. Last time Williams was out, Jones piled up 19 carries plus seven targets. Jones is very expensive on DraftKings, but a clear bargain on Fanduel.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8000 DK, $8700 FD) — Dak Prescott’s shoulder is ailing and the Redskins have been flamed for 7.07 YPC by enemy RBs over the last three weeks. In this must-win game, we can project Elliott toward the top of his touch range.
Alvin Kamara ($7800 DK, $7900 FD) — Panthers are NFL’s No. 32 rush defense DVOA and are No. 32 in YPC allowed. Kamara always brings a stone floor of four catches to the table, and we can add in a big rushing plus scoring ceiling this week.
DeAndre Washington ($5200 DK, $6300 FD) — Josh Jacobs (shoulder) is out. In two games without Jacobs this month, Washington has handled 37 carries plus 10 targets on 79 snaps. Jalen Richard has gotten just 12 carries and 7 targets on 48 snaps.
Damien Williams ($4700 DK) — With Spencer Ware joining Darrel Williams on IR, the Chiefs are down to Damien, LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson. They’ve repeatedly healthy scratched McCoy as he’s falled out of favor and Darwin has mostly played in garbage time. Williams’ pass-game role and price fits better on DraftKings.
Ryquell Armstead ($4400 DK, $4500 FD) — Leonard Fournette (flu) is out. That leaves fresh-legged rookie Ryquell Armstead as the starter, with Devine Ozigbo and Jeremy McNichols in support. Ozigbo and McNichols have combined to play five snaps this season. Armstead is stone minimum on Fanduel.
Michael Thomas ($9900 DK, $9200 FD) — Saints motivation is a bit complicated, as Adam Levitan noted here. But we still expect the starters to get a full game the overwhelming majority of outcomes. Thomas is obviously a standout play at these prices anytime he’s playing a full game.
Julio Jones ($8500 DK, $8500 FD) — In two games with Calvin Ridley (abdomen) sidelined, Julio has racked up a 23-300-2 line while seeing a whopping 41% of the targets. Bucs defense isn’t nearly as bad as perception, but they still funnel massive volume to the air.
Davante Adams ($8000 DK, $8400 FD) — We prefer Julio Jones at a similar price tag. But Adams is a strong play in his own right thanks to unmistakeable rapport with Aaron Rodgers. Adams has double-digit targets in seven of his last eight games.
Justin Watson ($4900 DK, $6100 FD) — Watson is now an every-down wideout playing the Chirs Godwin “slot-plus” role. Jameis Winston leads the NFL in pass attempts and is second in average depth of target. The opportunity is bigger than Watson’s recent box scores show.
John Ross ($4500 DK, $5200 FD) — Resumed a full-time role last week, playing on 71-of-90 snaps and seeing a 23% target share. Play volume was bloated last week, but Ross now has lines of 7-158-2, 4-112-1, 2-22-0 and 6-84-0 in his four full games this season.
Travis Kelce ($7000 DK, $7500 FD) — A bit of motivation risk here if the Patriots are blowing out the Dolphins at halftime. But if Kelce gets a full game, there’s little reason to think the Chargers can slow him down. He has 19 or more DK points in five of his last six games.
Austin Hooper ($5800 DK, $6000 FD) — Fantasy’s No. 3 tight end in points per game also benefits from Calvin Ridley’s absence. Expect a pass-centric gameplan from the Falcons against the Bucs’ league-best run defense. Note Hooper is $400 less than Dallas Goedert on Fanduel.
Dallas Goedert ($4900 DK, $6400 FD) — Zach Ertz (ribs) is out, leaving the highly talented Goedert as the No. 1 TE for the first time in his career. It comes in a plus matchup, a must-win game and with Greg Ward operating as the Eagles’ No. 1 WR.
Patriots ($4300 DK, $5000 FD) — A motivated Patriots team at Foxboro against yolo-balling Ryan Fitzpatrick. Awful matchup for Dolphins as best way to beat Patriots is with run game, something Miami doesn’t have. Relatively cheaper on FD.
Saints ($4000 DK, $4700 FD) — Will Grier took five sacks and threw three interceptions in his NFL debut last week.
Chiefs ($3700 DK, $4300 FD) — Brandon Thorn’s No. 1 DL>OL mismatch of the week is Chiefs over Chargers in Arrowhead.
Steelers ($3000 DK, $3500 FD) — The NFL’s most aggressive defense is motivated and facing Robert Griffin plus mostly backups. Relatively cheaper on FD.
Packers ($3000 DK) — David Blough has been sacked 13 times and thrown four interceptions in just four starts. Packers DL vs. Lions OL is Thorn’s No. 3 mismatch on the week. Far cheaper on DK.
Bears ($2100 DK) — A glaring misprice on DraftKings as the Vikings will be playing Sean Mannion and all backups.
|1||Carson Wentz||Carson Wentz|
|2||Jameis Winston||Jameis Winston|
|3||Tom Brady||Tom Brady|
|4||Ryan Tannehill||Ryan Tannehill|
|5||Brett Hundley*||Daniel Jones|
|1||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott|
|2||Damien Williams||Ryquell Armstead|
|3||Ryquell Armstead||Aaron Jones|
|4||Christian McCaffrey||Alvin Kamara|
|5||DeAndre Washington||Damien Williams|
|6||Aaron Jones||DeAndre Washington|
|7||Alvin Kamara||Christian McCaffrey|
|8.||T.J. Yeldon||T.J. Yeldon|
|1||Michael Thomas||Michael Thomas|
|2||Julio Jones||Julio Jones|
|3||Davante Adams||John Ross|
|4||Courtland Sutton||Davante Adams|
|5||Robert Foster||Courtland Sutton|
|6||John Ross||Tyler Boyd|
|7||Justin Watson||A.J. Brown|
|1||Dallas Goedert||Dallas Goedert|
|2||Tyler Higbee||Austin Hooper|
|3||O.J. Howard||Tyler Higbee|
|4||Travis Kelce||Travis Kelce|
|5||Kaden Smith||O.J. Howard|