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Daily fantasy football: Building blocks for Week 17

Michael Thomas and the Saints should score plenty of points in their season finale against the Falcons. USA Today Sports

Our DFS experts are here to provide you with the best player to build lineups around in Week 17. This week's column features picks from ESPN's Field Yates, Jim McCormick, Tristan H. Cockcroft, KC Joyner and Matt Bowen, as well as Al Zeidenfeld.

For more daily fantasy advice for this week, check out Scott Kacsmar's best and worst DFS matchups using Football Outsiders' metrics.


Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees is on the cusp of yet another 5,000-yard campaign, in part thanks to the emergent Thomas, who has been lost in the shuffle somewhat with the Dallas Cowboys' duo of rookies proving so dominant. Thomas isn't bound to the magic of the Superdome like some of his peers, as he's averaged more points on DraftKings on the road (17.4) than at home (16) and enjoys a strong showing against the Atlanta Falcons in their first meeting. This final slate is rife with sluggish implied point totals sitting in the low to mid 40s, while this matchup is an exception and is hovering around 56 points, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. As an affordable path to this points-fest given his steady market share of the Saints' offense, Thomas is a fine building block to consider. -- Jim McCormick

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

The San Francisco 49ers are the popular pick for running back matchups this season, but it’s actually the Buffalo Bills who have performed more poorly against the position in recent weeks, serving up a pair of 200-yard rushing performances in the past three weeks alone. With Matt Forte still nursing knee and shoulder injuries, Powell should get the start as well as potentially 20 touches in Week 17. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft

Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks

With Thomas Rawls' status uncertain for Week 17 because of the injury he sustained last week and the lack of any other running backs on the Seahawks' roster, Alex Collins will be in the perfect daily fantasy spot if Rawls does end up sitting out. In relief last week, Collins logged seven carries and four catches, but in Week 17 against the 49ers he could see a much different result with a full compliment of snaps. The matchup is as good as you could hope for with the 49ers hemorrhaging fantasy points to opposing running backs, his price of $4,600 on DraftKings offers salary relief, and the volume will be there if Rawls is out. -- Al Zeidendeld

We still don’t know the exact status of Rawls and his sore shoulder, but he’s run so poorly of late the Seahawks have been a one-dimensional offense. Collins totaled 47 yards in relief in Week 16 and should be in line for more work and in the greatest of matchups, against a 49ers defense that permits more than 25 standard fantasy points per game to the position. Opposing running backs have amassed more than 2,700 total yards against San Francisco. Watch for Rawls updates, but Collins is not priced as a starter and by the weekend he could be precisely that, a starter. -- Eric Karabell

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

No need to overthink this one, as Rodgers is on a simply ridiculous tear right now and has a chance to propel his team to the playoffs with a Week 17 victory in prime time. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 10, throwing 14 touchdowns in his past six games and playing his way into the NFL MVP conversation. He has played the Detroit Lions once before this season, throwing four touchdowns on just 24 attempts. Albeit that was a long time ago (Week 3), but Rodgers looks primed to continue his torrent pace this Sunday night and is a terrific quarterback option, especially when factoring in that some teams might manage the reps of their signal-callers this weekend because they have already clinched a postseason seed. -- Field Yates

Rodgers may have more potential paths to elite fantasy production than any other player this week. He ranks second in short pass touchdowns (26 scoring plays on aerials thrown 10 or fewer yards downfield). The Lions' secondary has played better of late but still ranks 26th in vertical yards per attempt since Week 12 (13.0 on passes traveling 11 or more yards downfield). Add in Rodgers’ rushing prowess (52 fantasy points on rushing plays, ranked fifth among quarterbacks) and the fact that Green Bay is playing in maybe the most meaningful game of Week 17 and it makes paying the premium for Rodgers a strong daily fantasy investment. -- KC Joyner

Given the recent four-week run of the Packers quarterback (83 fantasy points), and his performance in Week 16 versus a pretty good Vikings defense (347 yards passing, four touchdowns), why wouldn’t you roll with Rodgers this Sunday night versus the Lions? This Detroit defense ranks 28th overall versus opposing quarterbacks (giving up an average of 17.4 points per game) and we saw the issues they had Monday night against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Play the matchup here and go with Rodgers in a must-win game for the Packers with the NFC North title on the line. -- Matt Bowen

Al Zeidenfeld is a promoter and user at DraftKings (Username: Al_Smizzle) and plays on his personal account in games he offers advice on. These views/strategies are his own and do not reflect the views of DraftKings. He may also deploy different players/strategies than what he advises.