With the unknown looming in Week 17 in terms of teams either resting or playing their stars, this might be the final week of the regular season in which we can pinpoint talent and value without too many question marks. Of course, there are some games that remain less predictable than we would like but, with 14 matchups between Sunday and Monday, we have plenty of targets for our lineups.
Sporfolio’s NFL Daily Fantasy Sports game-by-game analysis columns are driven by expected game flow. Based on a combination of our Week 16 NFL picks against the spread and our expectations for a given game, we project the actions necessary to make these picks come to fruition. We aim to pinpoint players integral to our predicted game flow for each game of the week.
Luke May is Sporfolio’s NFL DFS expert, and Mario Mergola operates Sporfolio as the expert for NFL Picks Against the Spread.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Luke’s DFS Take: While there is little doubt that the Patriots will still find themselves in the playoffs in a few weeks, two consecutive losses have seen them start to slip in the standings. This game may not mean much in the standings in the end, but it will mean a lot to this Patriots team that is not used to losing games in December. The matchup isn’t an easy one against a tough Bulls defense, but I will remain confident in them given their history and the fact that they handled the Bills 25-6 back in Week 8 in Buffalo. The Patriots are much harder to play against in New England, so I think it’s fair to expect a better showing this week. The best matchup on their offense belongs to Sony Michel who has remained a big part of the offense even with them incorporating Rex Burkhead more. The Bills defense allows the fewest passing yards per game, so attacking on the ground is likely the preferred strategy. That could be even more true if the Patriots are playing with a lead which is certainly possible. Obviously as we always say, any given week could see any Patriots player step up, but all signs point to the ground game this week. Both Josh Allen and Robert Foster deserve some credit as they have been very productive for fantasy owners over the last month or so, but there are reasons for concern with both. Allen has relied very heavily on running the ball, and Foster has only seen over 5 targets once all season. Rushing yards for a quarterback are hard to project weekly, and expecting a wide receiver to keep producing big numbers on very few targets is hard to trust. You can certainly make a case for either player, but both carry obvious risk.
Mario’s DFS Take: I remain baffled at the amount of people dismissing the Patriots because of their last few games, and I want to remind these people that New England’s loss to the Dolphins was by virtue of one of the most impossible fluke plays imaginable. The truth is, I won’t have do the reminding. The Patriots will take care of that on their own. Granted, Buffalo’s defense is excellent, on paper, but they will be facing a hungry New England team playing at home in December. Any and all of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman are in-play, and I would even roll with the Patriots’ defense against a Bills offense that ranks second-to-last in the league in both points and yards on the season.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Luke’s DFS Take: It was nice to see that the Vikings finally gave Dalvin Cook the workload he deserves, and just as we have long expected, he thrived. The early lead allowed them to operate that type of offense, so it will be interesting to see if they stick with it or not. While this game may seem like a great spot for the Vikings, I have a hard time really buying in this week. They are certainly the better team, but they have struggled with consistency all season and now have to travel to Detroit to face a divisional rival who has absolutely nothing to lose. You can count on the fact that Detroit would love to play ‘spoiler’ at this stage of the season and put a damper on the Vikings playoff hopes. The Vikings have lost each of their past 3 road games and it would not be overly surprising to see them disappoint this week despite the seemingly good matchup. I have a hard time believing the Lions offense comes to life as they have struggled for quite a while now, so I’m expecting a tight, low scoring game. I don’t hate the idea of using either defense with the Vikings being the safer of the two choices.
Mario’s DFS Take: When going through the playoff scenarios, the Minnesota Vikings jumped off the screen as the potential disappointment for this week. They will play a road game against a division opponent who has had a forgettable year under first-time head coach Matt Patricia. Expect the Lions to give one final fight before slinking away to oblivion. This likely means that Matthew Stafford and Detroit’s defense has to step up and deliver. The latter has been playing well, allowing 19 points or fewer in three-of-its-last-five games. It also helps that Minnesota exploded for 41 points, last week. Prior to that, the Vikings were averaging 17.5 points-per-game over their previous six contests.
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