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Best Ball Week 17 Draft Strategy - Fantasy Football Matchups Chart and Spots to Exploit

Trevor Lawrence - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Best Ball is taking the fantasy football world by storm. For those unfamiliar, Best Ball contests like the FFPC Best Ball Tourney and Best Ball Mania IV on Underdog Fantasy allow you to draft an entire roster of players at any point in the offseason. That team then competes in a large field tournament to potentially win a huge prize. The FFPC Tourney top prize this year is $200K, while the BBMIV top prize is $3 Million.

Fantasy analysts everywhere have been digging through the data to figure out the best way to draft. In Best Ball, there is no roster management, so you just draft a team once and your highest-scoring players each week will have their scores count. It's been fascinating to read and listen to fantasy analysts discuss and debate their best ball strategies. One of the hottest topics over the past two years has been the importance of Week 17.

The tweet above shows how important the final 441-person Week 17 tournament round truly is in terms of expected value. Watching Peter Overzet's video from last year on the topic is recommended. The purpose of this article isn't to explain BBMIIV or argue for or against the importance of Week 17. So far, most of my drafted teams have emphasized Week 17 correlations, so I have fully embraced that Week 17 is indeed the most important. This has led me to target Week 17 game stack options for my stacks in addition to as many mini correlations as possible. While forecasting Week 17 matchups in August may seem ridiculous, any small edge is worth looking into in a tournament with 677,376 entries. It could be the reason you win three million dollars.


Week 17 Matchup Chart

Click the image for a full-screen view


Week 17 Matchup Chart Details

Here's an explanation for the chart above: the away team is above the home team, which is in bold. The Team Total column is the projected Vegas team total based on lines at multiple sportsbooks. The Game Total column is the game total based on those lines.

The Weather column ranks the potential weather environment in terms of effect on offensive output. For example, dome games are ranked five because they are favorable conditions for an offense. Chicago hosts Atlanta, so the potential impact in the windy city is ranked one because it could be poor conditions.

The P RDVOA column stands for "Projected Rush Defense DVOA" where DVOA stands for "Defense-adjusted Value Over Average." Rush defense DVOA is Football Outsiders' metric that describes how good a team is at stopping the run. For example, the Cardinals' projected rush defense DVOA is 8.3%, and it's green because that is a good matchup relative to the rest of the league. It's on the PHI row because the Eagles play the Cardinals in Week 17.

The P PDVOA column stands for "Projected Pass Defense DVOA." It's the same concept as P RDVOA. This article on Football Outsiders explains what exactly DVOA is. The formula used to project this upcoming season's DVOA is last year's DVOA with tweaks. These tweaks are based on natural regression to the mean in addition to gained or lost personnel and coaching. For example, the Dolphins added Vic Fangio as their defensive coordinator. Therefore both the pass and run defense DVOA for Miami was bumped up. The final columns are some snap-take actionable takeaways to help you in your drafts.


Spots to Exploit

The two highest projected game totals are Cincinnati at Kansas City and Detroit at Dallas. All four teams are expensive in drafts, although the prices for the Bengals are declining a bit after Joe Burrow's recent calf injury. Burrow is in a great spot, mainly because of the projected Vegas total, but keep in mind that both defenses are formidable.

Dallas has an underrated defense and just added Stephon Gilmore opposite Trevon Diggs at cornerback. I prefer to attack the Cowboys on the ground with Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. On the other side, the Lions' defense would have to make a massive jump to not be an extremely appealing matchup for Dak Prescott's offense. I love all the Cowboys this year, specifically Prescott and Brandin Cooks at reasonable prices.

A couple of underrated spots include Carolina at Jacksonville in potentially warm weather and Las Vegas at Indianapolis in a dome. The two rookie QBs for Carolina and Indianapolis, respectively, are intriguing. The Jags' defense likely won't be that great against the pass, so Bryce Young could have a huge game. In the other game, Anthony Richardson could potentially run all over the Raiders' lackluster defense. Trevor Lawrence and the Jags also have a projected easy matchup.

Daniel Jones isn't the sexiest pick, but his 114 ADP on Underdog is a bargain. The Rams have given signals that they may have paid a steep price for their Super Bowl, so I wouldn't rule out them completely tanking by Week 17. Regardless, their defense projects to be pretty bad.


Spots to Downgrade

Last year, the Ravens and Dolphins played in a shootout with tons of fantasy greatness. The Ravens are getting a lot of hype due to their new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and the Dolphins' offense should be even better in year two under head coach Mike McDaniel. However, I am not in love with their Week 17 game environment. It's in Baltimore where the weather could be cold, and both defenses are improved.

The 49ers have a handful of talented (and expensive) pieces going early in drafts. They also have a question at QB with Brock Purdy coming off an injury and a tough Week 17 matchup against an underrated Washington defense. On the other side of that game, Washington will probably struggle a bit against one of the best-projected defenses in the league.

The Jets are in for an exciting season with Aaron Rodgers, and the Browns could be a dark horse in Deshaun Watson's first full year as the starter. While both teams should be in the playoff mix all season, they represent tough defensive matchups for each other in Week 17 in a potentially cold matchup in Cleveland.


The Winning Correlations Are...

Correlating Week 17 matchups has helped the past two winners of BBMII and BBMIII. Here are my favorite correlations to target:

Najee Harris and Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, and Marvin Mims Jr.

Dak Prescott, Brandin Cooks, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Sam LaPorta

Anthony Richardson, Alec Pierce, and Davante Adams

Justin Fields, Cole Kmet, and Bijan Robinson

Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, and Trey McBride

If one of these correlations wins you three million dollars, shout me out on Twitter @draft32teams.

Thanks for reading and good luck next week. I mean, 25 weeks from now.


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