Save a Horse, Fade a Cowboy

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the 17th week of the NFL season.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys, $11,000 – Last week the Cowboys had nothing to play for and Dak Prescott still played 100-percent of their snaps. This week, they also have nothing to play for and probably want to keep Tony Romo on the bench just to keep the fan base quiet. However, this week they truly do not want anyone to get hurt because they do not have the additional week for the player to get healthy this go-around. In Week 16, Prescott only attempted 20 passes as they watered down the playbook a bit to attempt to limit injury potential. In all likelihood, they will probably do something similar this week and could even give the starters the hook. The price tag is certainly reasonable for Prescott against a beatable Eagles secondary but it simply makes more sense to roster a QB either with something to play for or one who has been eliminated from the playoffs. Then, there is no worry about limited upside and there are plenty of QBs in great situations this week. Avoid Prescott and sleep like a baby.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, $14,000 – All of the concerns that apply to Prescott (other than the team worried about Romo replacing him) apply to Ezekiel Elliott as well. The Cowboys are either going to water down the playbook or sit their starters at some point…or both. With an elite back like David Johnson having no reason to hold back or Devonta Freeman drawing an elite matchup against the Saints, there simply is no reason to get cute and use a RB who basically got benched at halftime last week. Even last week, he only out-snapped Darren McFadden 29-21 so it would not be surprising for those snap counts to flip flop this week. If spending up for a player, you should have 100-percent confidence in them, and no sane person could feel great about rostering Elliott this week.

Zach Zenner, Lions, $6,300 – Coming off a two TD performance against the Cowboys, sneaky fantasy owners may look to go back to the Zach Zenner well this week with Theo Riddick likely out again. Let me be the first to say: “Don’t.” Only eight teams have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Packers and only 10 have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing RBs. Additionally, the position has only managed nine rushing TDs against this defense in 16 games so this defense is certainly stout. Although the performance last week was certainly encouraging, and Zenner out-snapped Dwayne Washington 54-16, Week 15 was an entirely different story. In that contest (against the Giants), Washington actually out-snapped Zenner 44-18. Basically the team is riding the hot hand and Zenner happened to get hot last week even though he only touched the ball 14 times (to Washington’s eight). Even though the team will be playing for the division and Zenner is insanely cheap, there are simply better options at the position.

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, $17,000 – Coach Ben McAdoo says he is going to play his starters in the final game of the season but their playoff position cannot change one way or another. While they can posture and say they are going to play this game like normal, it is way more likely they, like the Cowboys, water down the playbook and sit their starters for either a quarter or a half at the very least. Guys like Jordy Nelson, Mike Evans and Julio Jones will be playing for some form of playoff destiny while Beckham will probably be limited. The way to win this week is to find players who full a full allotment of snaps so they are able to reach their full potential. Unlike QBs, both RBs and WRs always benefit from additional volume and Beckham’s target/snap volume should be down this week. Therefore, it is best to fade him for one of the other expensive WR alternatives (not named Antonio Brown).

Amari Cooper, Raiders, $10,400 – Battling against the dominant Broncos cornerbacks is difficult enough with everyone healthy but now Amari Cooper will also have to deal with Matt McGloin throwing him the football. A matchup with 6’1” elite corner Aqib Talib combined with a subpar talent throwing him the football is not a recipe for success. The price tag has sunk to levels where it almost feels like he should be an excellent value but there are plenty of other underpriced WRs in excellent spots.

Charles Clay, Bills, $7,000 – Despite the recent success, Charles Clay will now have to deal with E.J. Manuel throwing to him this week. For his career, Manuel sports a 19:15 TD:INT ratio in 27 career games. Although Clay and Tyrod Taylor had been developing chemistry as of late, management decided firing Coach Rex Ryan and sitting Taylor in Week 17 were necessary for the direction of the franchise. This leaves Clay as collateral damage as he now will have a below average QB tossing him the ball in the season finale. Even though the Jets defense has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing TEs over the last month, they only rank 19th in DVOA against the position. Considering they are only allowing 50.3 yards per game to the position, there is not much upside available to Clay who is already TD-dependent as it is.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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