Tear.

A single teardrop falls from my eye as I write this. Why all the fuss? Because the end of the NFL regular season is upon us.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the NFL playoffs, but it also means the 2015 season is soon to disappear. This means we must endure that 6-month-long wait before we get our daily fantasy football juices flowing once again.

We need to make sure we make the best of what’s left, so attack those DFS tournaments with voracity, and hope that you come out the other side with a giant check (well, you can imagine yourself winning a giant check I suppose, just make sure it isn’t made out to any Rabies Awareness campaigns).

Before we preview Week 17, we must take a look back at the week that was in the NFL – Week 16, where we had some huge surprises in the favorites department and where many teams wrapped up their trip to the playoffs.

Week 16 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML Closing O/U Closing Spread Closing ML Projected Score Final Score Grade
San Francisco at Detroit 40.5 -8.5 – Det -380 – Det 43 -9 – Det -400 – Det 26 – 17 – Det 32 – 17 – Det 3 pts. – C
Indianapolis at Miami 44 -1 – Mia -125 – Mia 44 -2.5 – Mia -135 – Mia 23.25 – 20.75 – Mia 18 – 12 – Ind 1 pt. – F
New England at NY Jets 45.5 -3 – NE -160 – NE 45.5 -2.5 – NE -135 – NE 24 – 21.5 – NE 26 – 20 – NYJ 5 pts. – B
Dallas at Buffalo 43 -5.5 – Buf -275 – Buf 42 -6.5 – Buf -275 – Buf 24.25 – 17.75 – Buf 16 – 6 – Buf 2 pts. – D
Houston at Tennessee 40 -5 – Hou -235 – Hou 39 -3.5 – Hou -200 – Hou 21.25 – 17.75 – Hou 34 – 6 – Hou 5 pts. – B
Carolina at Atlanta 46 -6.5 – Car -270 – Car 46 -7 – Car -330 – Car 26.5 – 19.5 – Car 20 – 13 – Atl -1 pt. – F
Cleveland at Kansas City 45 -12.5 – KC -699 – KC 42.5 -11.5 – KC -600 – KC 27 – 15.5 – KC 17 – 13 – KC 3 pts. – C
Chicago at Tampa Bay 44.5 -2.5 – TB -150 – TB 44 -3 – TB -170 – TB 23.5 – 20.5 – TB 26 – 21 – Chi 4 pts. – B
Pittsburgh at Baltimore 48.5 -9.5 – Pit -510 – Pit 48 -11.5 – Pit -600 – Pit 29.75 – 18.25 – Pit 20 – 17 – Bal -2 pts. – F
Jacksonville at New Orleans 51.5 -3.5 – NO -185 – NO 53.5 -2.5 – NO -130 – NO 28 – 25.5 – NO 38 – 27 – NO 2 pts. – D
St. Louis at Seattle 40 -14 – Sea -690 – Sea 42 -11 – Sea -750 – Sea 26.5 – 15.5 – Sea 23 – 17 – Stl 3 pts. – C
Green Bay at Arizona 49.5 -4 – Ari -225 – Ari 50 -6 – Ari -245 – Ari 28 – 22 – Ari 38 – 8 – Ari 4 pts. – B
NY Giants at Minnesota 44.5 -4 – Min -270 – Min 45 -7 – Min -300 – Min 26 – 19 – Min 49 – 17 – Min 3 pts. – C
Cincinnati at Denver 42 -3.5 – Den -195 – Den 39 -4 – Den -210 – Den 21.5 – 17.5 – Den 20 – 17 – Den 8 pts. – A

The Carolina Panthers’ quest for history abruptly ended by the hands of the almighty….Atlanta Falcons???

After a 38-0 stomping by the Panthers a couple weeks prior, the Falcons used all of their motivation to unseat Carolina’s want for perfection.

That was just one of three major upsets in Week 16. But by money line standards, it was the Rams who pulled off the biggest upset of the week. They went into Seattle and made the red-hot Hawks cold as ice. I don’t know how that even happened. The Rams are awful and the Seahawks must’ve thought that game was a cake walk, and it should have been.

The other upset, and by far the most disappointing for DFS purposes, was the Steelers’ demise at the hands of the Ravens, who held their rival to just 17 points.

Those of you betting the money line on any of those games probably felt they were sure bets, especially Seattle and Pittsburgh.

What brought fantasy goodness were the Jacksonville Jags and the New Orleans Saints. If you played this game heavily, as you should’ve considering both teams have two of the worst defenses, then you had a good week.

Week 16’s shortcomings help make Week 17 worthwhile for a lot of teams and their postseason aspirations, but we will get to that later.

The New York Jets got revenge on the Patriots, who are showing how much injuries are starting to exploit this team (but I bet that changes in the postseason).

Denver needed overtime to upend the Andy Dalton-less Bengals. the Cardinals thumped Green Bay, showing they may just be the best team in the NFC after all.

Now let’s look at grades for Week 16.

Scale Week 16 Grades Total Grades
1 or less – F A – 1 A – 9
2 – D B – 4 B – 69
3 – C C – 4 C – 44
4-6 – B D – 2 D – 48
7-8 – A F – 3 F – 51

That Broncos/Bengals game provided our lone A for the week, but it was a perfect 8-point A…a 100 in comparison.

Overall, we had 9 grades with C or better, so another solid showing by Vegas.

Alas, let’s get to the final regular season Vegas’ buy and sell in our look into Week 17. We will continue to run “What Happened in Vegas?” through the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Week 17 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML
NY Jets at Buffalo 43 -1.5 – NYJ -150 – NYJ
New England at Miami 45 -8 – NE -550 – NE
New Orleans at Atlanta 52 -1.5 – Atl -205 – Atl
Baltimore at Cincinnati 42.5 -7 – Cin -280 – Cin
Pittsburgha at Cleveland 47 -8.5 – Pit -400 – Pit
Jacksonville at Houston 45 -5.5 – Hou -275 – Hou
Tennessee at Indianapolis N/A -6 – Ind N/A
Washington at Dallas 40 -4 – Dal -160 – Dal
Philadelphia at NY Giants 52 -3.5 – NYG -170 – NYG
Detroit at Chicago 45 -1.5 – Chi -125 – Chi
Tampa Bay at Carolina 47 -9.5 – Car -420 – Car
Oakland at Kansas City 43.5 -6.5 – KC -265 – KC
San Diego at Denver 40 -7.5 – Den -280 – Den
Seattle at Arizona 46.5 -3.5 – Ari -170 – Ari
St. Louis at San Francisco 37.5 -3.5 – Stl -165 – Stl
Minnesota at Green Bay 48.5 -3 – GB -155 – GB

Somehow, the Washington Redskins clinched the NFC East. Without a plethora of injuries plaguing the Cowboys, the Eagles’ coaching snafu (bye, bye Chip) and the Giants’ defensive woes, the Redskins were able to sneak their way into a division title.

I am a Cowboys’ fan, but I want them to lose to better their draft position for a QB of the future. They take on the Redskins this week in nothing more than a meaningless rivalry game, but I am not sold the Redskins can do much of anything in the playoffs as they are the worst team in the NFC to clinch a playoff berth.

In the AFC, a double-digit win team is not going to make the playoffs while a mediocre team from the AFC South will get in. The NFL needs to do away with divisions and allow the best teams to play in what makes the NFL great – the postseason.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s check out what I am buying and selling in Week 17, shall we?

Week 17 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML
NY Jets at Buffalo 43 -1.5 – NYJ -150 – NYJ
New England at Miami 45 -8 – NE -550 – NE
New Orleans at Atlanta 52 -1.5 – Atl -205 – Atl
Baltimore at Cincinnati 42.5 -7 – Cin -280 – Cin
Pittsburgh at Cleveland 47 -8.5 – Pit -400 – Pit
Jacksonville at Houston 45 -5.5 – Hou -275 – Hou
Tennessee at Indianapolis N/A -6 – Ind N/A
Washington at Dallas 40 -4 – Dal -160 – Dal
Philadelphia at NY Giants 52 -3.5 – NYG -170 – NYG
Detroit at Chicago 45 -1.5 – Chi -125 – Chi
Tampa Bay at Carolina 47 -9.5 – Car -420 – Car
Oakland at Kansas City 43.5 -6.5 – KC -265 – KC
San Diego at Denver 40 -7.5 – Den -280 – Den
Seattle at Arizona 46.5 -3.5 – Ari -170 – Ari
St. Louis at San Francisco 37.5 -3.5 – Stl -165 – Stl
Minnesota at Green Bay 48.5 -3 – GB -155 – GB

Full lines haven’t been released for Indy and Tennessee, but you can write that game off in DFS (except maybe Hilton) as the Colts’ need a miracle parlay to make the playoffs while the Titans are fighting for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Week 17 is unique. All games are divisional games and all games will be on Sunday, something we haven’t had all season long. I’ll be interested to see how these games grade out, considering divisional Vegas lines have been erratic all year long.

Meanwhile, what here’s what I am buying and selling this week for DFS.

BUYING

Cam Newton/Greg Olsen – Angry after a loss, the Panthers’ need a win to clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and the No. 1 seed. Facing a hapless Tampa Bay Bucs, I expect Cam and Greg Olsen to show out. Olsen hasn’t had a huge week in awhile and the Tampa 2 defense the Bucs run is susceptible to big-time TE play. Panthers roll (that’s foreshadowing to a sell, by the way).

Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski – Two QB/TE combos in the buy? No way! But Brady and Gronk are in the exact same boat as the Panthers. They are coming off a loss and are playing for the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage. Tom is angry after a loss, I guarantee that, and the Dolphins won’t like him when he’s angry.

Brian Hoyer/DeAndre Hopkins – Hoyer has exited concussion protocol and gets a chance to win the division on Sunday against the Jaguars. I probably would’ve been forced to have some exposure to Brandon Weeden if he played, considering the matchup, but now I love what’s in store for the Texans. They have all the motivation needed to play well against the Jags who have given up 3 or more TD passes to QBs in 4 of their last 7 games. Two of those games were against the Titans and Matt Hasselbeck’s Colts. In Week 6, Hoyer went for 293 and 3 TDs while Nuk went nuclear with 10 catches for 142 yards and 2 TDs. Jags stop the run well, so how do you think the Texans will score?

Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Willams and Antonio Brown – The Steelers really put themselves in a pickle by losing to the Ravens last week, so they need to win and a Jets’ loss to get into the postseason. They won’t know the outcome of the Jets game before they play on Sunday, so they will have to put the pedal to the medal. The Browns are in the bottom rung of defenses against the pass and run. I expect Roeth and Brown to be the hammer and DeAngelo to swoop in to be the nail in the coffin.

Selling

Minnesota/Green Bay over/under – I don’t trust Green Bay’s offense right now, and while the Pack could all of a sudden get things clicking, I think the absence of Jordy Nelson has really hurt this team’s upside. I dislike the Vikings’ offense even more. The Vikings have allowed more than 23 points in a game only twice. One of those games just so happened to be against the Packers, but the Vikings are going to be as healthy on defense as they have been all year. Lambeau is a tough place to play, but it certainly doesn’t have that unbeatable mystique it once had. However, I don’t expect the Vikings to be able to put up a ton of points here either playing on the road against a Packers’ team coming off an embarrassing loss with the division on the line. I expect a 17-10 type grind it out game.

New Orleans/Atlanta Over/Under – I probably will regret this, but with the highest total on the board, I certainly don’t trust much about this game. There’s no motivation for this game as both teams are eliminated from the postseason. I could easily see this game as one both teams might play some younger guys to see what they have, but it’s also the last game of the season and without football for the next six months, I also could see guys wanting to give it their all in their final game of the year. With that said. Atlanta’s defense isn’t terrible, but their offense is. Even against the worst defense in the league, I can’t trust Matt Ryan to do much of anything. Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman should get theirs, but putting the ball in the endzone is a major struggle for the Falcons, and is why they aren’t playing past this weekend.

Seattle/Arizona O/U – Seattle can improve its seeding by winning this game. Arizona can stake claim to the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs…but that’s only if the Panthers’ lose. I don’t expect the Panthers to lose, so Arizona, playing a late game, shouldn’t have much motivation other than facing a rival. Seattle is coming off a loss to the lowly Rams and travels to face Arizona at home. While I think Arizona wins and wants to have momentum going into their first-round bye, I could see the Cardinals resting their starters for part of the game. Last week the Cardinals/Packers were at a 50-point O/U and came in way under. I don’t give this matchup much hope to meet its lofty-ish O/U either due to the lack of motivation I expect in this game.

Sleeper Play – Giants vs. Eagles

I have a suspicion that lots of money could be won using players from the Eagles/Giants game. Even before I read that the third place team from the NFC East will face the Rams in a London game next year (and this game has that implication on the line as loser finishes third), I just felt using players from this game should be considered. Odell Beckham will want to play well coming off of his suspicion and the Eagles have been burned all year by various WRs. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly is gone in Philly. I think this is going to be an overall sense of relief for many players on this team. With Pat Shurmur as interim head coach, the team’s offensive coordinator, i feel, could shift focus to a DeMarco Murray-led run game. I think Murray’s displeasure with Kelly (now departed), coupled by all the money the Eagles gave him, spells lots of work for the Cowboys’ castaway in the last week of the season. If I were the Eagles, I would feed him the ball to see what he’s got now that Chip is gone. See if he’s worth keeping or see if some team will take on his salary and part ways. Chip Kelly’s release is the best thing that could’ve happened for Murray.

Team Vegas Records Through Week 16 Actual Records Through Week 16
Atlanta Falcons 8 – 6 – 1 8 – 7
Arizona Cardinals 14 – 1 13 – 2
Baltimore Ravens 8 – 7 4 – 11
Buffalo Bills 6 – 7 – 1 7 – 8
Carolina Panthers 12 – 3 14 – 1
Chicago Bears 2 – 13 6 – 9
Cincinnati Bengals 11 – 3 – 1 11 – 4
Cleveland Browns 4 – 11 3 – 12
Dallas Cowboys 5 – 10 4 – 11
Denver Broncos 11 – 4 11 – 4
Detroit Lions 4 – 11 6 – 9
Green Bay Packers 13 – 2 10 – 5
Houston Texans 7 – 8 8 – 7
Indianapolis Colts 7 – 8 7 – 8
Jacksonville Jaguars 3 – 12 5 – 10
Kansas City Chiefs 10 – 5 10 – 5
Miami Dolphins 6 – 9 6 – 9
Minnesota Vikings 9 – 6 10 – 5
New England Patriots 15 – 0 12 – 3
New Orleans Saints 6 – 8 6 – 8
New York Giants 7 – 8 6 – 9
New York Jets 12 – 3 10 – 5
Oakland Raiders 5 – 10 7 – 8
Philadelphia Eagles 9 – 6 6 – 9
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 – 8 – 1 10 – 5
San Diego Chargers 6 – 9 4 – 11
San Francisco 49ers 1 – 14 4 – 11
Seattle Seahawks 13 – 2 8 – 7
St. Louis Rams 7 – 8 7 – 8
Tampa Bay Buccanneers 4 – 10 – 1 6 – 9
Tennessee Titans 3 – 11 – 1 3 – 12
Washington Redskins 4 – 11 8 – 7

Good luck and Happy New Year!Lastly, we have the Vegas and season records for the NFL. This part of Vegas will end after next week when we review how Vegas projected teams each week.

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