Game Thoughts: We could be watching the final game of
a potentially Hall of Fame career this weekend when the Chargers
head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. Philip Rivers has been
dealing with a thumb injury but it appears as though he will play
and he should have a full group of receivers for this final regular
season contest. Rivers himself isn’t a great fantasy player
at this point in his career but he’s still decent enough
to make a few of his pass catchers fantasy relevant.
Keenan Allen has now caught at least five passes in each of his
past six games, including his Week 11 contest against this same
Chiefs defense where he went for eight catches, 71 yards and a
touchdown. Allen has long been a consistent fantasy contributor
and should be in line for another heavy target share, so feel
confident slotting him in as a low-end WR1 this week.
Mike Williams doesn’t have quite the volume that Allen does
but he’s still been a solid fantasy contributor down the
stretch. He failed to get into the end zone this past week after
back-to-back games with a touchdown, but don’t be surprised
if he scores once again this week. He remains one of the best
jump ball receivers in the game and the Chargers could be throwing
early and often. He’s a low-end WR2 in standard leagues
and more of a WR3 in PPR leagues due to his lack of volume, but
he has top-12 upside here in Week 17.
Tight end Hunter Henry has certainly cooled off down the stretch
this season but the tight end position is just so terrible that
it’s hard to rank him outside the TE1 range in this game.
He did have a nice, six catch, 69-yard performance when these
teams played back in Week 11 so he’s a safe bet to turn
in a quality fantasy performance.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: It’s been much easier to attack the
Chiefs on the ground than through the air from a fantasy standpoint
this season, so fantasy owners should be feeling optimistic about
the Chargers’ running back duo heading into Week 17.
Melvin Gordon was held to just 15 yards on nine carries in Week
16 against the Raiders, but he did score two short-yardage touchdowns,
which continues to solidify him as one of the best goal line backs
in the game. That alone makes him a quality fantasy player, but
when you add in the fact that he’s caught at least five
passes in each of his past three games, it’s easy to see
why Gordon possesses so much weekly upside. He only produced 90
total yards without a touchdown when the Chargers faced the Chiefs
earlier this season, but he’s a safe high-end RB2 play this
week with RB1 upside.
Austin Ekeler continues to be one of the league’s best fantasy
contributors as a pass catcher from the running back position
and that’s really helped prop up some fairly ugly rushing
performances throughout the season. Ekeler’s upside is huge
in any game as we’ve seen in the past, but the thing that
makes him so good is that he possesses such a high floor. He and
Gordon should be ranked pretty close to one another in most games,
but we’re going to give the slight edge to Ekeler in this
one because the Chargers could find themselves needing to pass
more than they usually do and that would play a bit more into
Ekeler’s skill set than it does Gordon’s even though
both are great contributors in the passing game.
Game Thoughts: The Chiefs do need to win in order to
give themselves an outside shot at a first-round bye in the playoffs
so expect that their starters will be on the field for the entirety
of this game unless it gets completely out of control. That’s
a great thing for fantasy owners of members in the Chiefs passing
game, particularly Patrick Mahomes who hasn’t been quite
the elite fantasy quarterback that he was in 2018, but is still
posting easy top-half QB1 stats on the season.
Mahomes turned in one of his weaker performances of the 2019 season
when these teams met back in Week 11, but don’t be scared
- this is still an elite fantasy QB who has week-winning performances
in his range of outcomes in any contest. The Chargers are a top
five defense against opposing QBs this season, but don’t
get cute - keep Mahomes in your lineup.
Similarly, we shouldn’t be worried about wide receiver Tyreek
Hill. Hill has been struggling a bit down the stretch but he’s
still contributing decent enough fantasy production and he always
has that gigantic big-play ability. He’s a WR1 with the
upside to be the top-scoring player in all of fantasy.
Travis Kelce continues to be the best fantasy player at tight
end and a true difference maker at a position that is mostly underwhelming.
Kelce has scored at least 9.8 PPR fantasy points in every game
this season and he’s averaging over 20 PPR fantasy points
per game over his past six contests. That includes a Week 11 game
when he punished the Chargers for seven catches, 92 yards and
a touchdown. Consider him the best tight end on the board once
again this week.
The other Chiefs receivers just aren’t doing enough to be
considered anything other than deep DFS fliers.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The Kansas City running back group has
been a confusing and disappointing situation all season and that
continues as we head into Week 17.
Damien Williams made his return to the lineup in Week 16 after
missing three games and immediately took back his “starting”
role, carrying the ball 16 times for 65 yards while adding three
catches for an additional 27 yards and a touchdown. It was a surprisingly
good fantasy performance against a very good Chicago defense and
it should give us confidence in this game, but it’s hard
to be convinced that the Chiefs won’t continue to split
the touches in the backfield between Williams, LeSean McCoy and
McCoy and Thompson themselves aren’t fantasy relevant at
the moment but they might just touch the ball enough to keep Williams
out of RB1 range. In fact, if he doesn’t get into the end
zone, it’s probably going to be very difficult for Williams
to contribute anything better than mid-level RB2 numbers.
Game Thoughts: The Jets’ final game of the season
comes with quite a bit of unpredictability. The matchup should
be terrible as the Bills allow just 13.7 fantasy points per game
to quarterbacks, but we’re mostly in the dark on what Sean
McDermott plans to do. He’s said that some guys will sit
while others will start. Basically, we have no idea to what extent
he will play the starters. The best we can do is assess the situation
based on need. The Bills cannot move from the 5 seed, which makes
me highly skeptical they try very hard. That means Sam Darnold,
Robby Anderson, and Jamison Crowder could be sneaky contrarian
options this week. Darnold had an awesome three game run from
Week 10-12, where he was a QB1, but hasn’t finished higher
than QB16 since. Crowder had that anomalous game against the Ravens
surrounded by four massive duds. Anderson has hit double digits
in five straight games. He would be my preferred choice if the
Bills rest Tre’Davious White.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: On the final week of the season, don’t
expect anything different from Le’Veon Bell. Regardless
of whether the Bills play starters, Bell is nothing more than
a floor option. He hasn’t finished higher than RB22 over
his last three games and while some players might be motivated
to end the season strong, Bell knows how good he is and should
be quite content with this being his final game in a Jets uniform,
regardless of his performance. Bell is not someone to target this
Game Thoughts: I would be very surprised if we didn’t
see a whole lot of Matt Barkley this week. Josh Allen may very
well start to get in a series or two of work before giving way
to Barkley in a game that doesn’t matter. Even so, unless
McDermott comes out and declares Allen and guys like Cole Beasley
and John Brown out, you can’t go all in on the backups.
That renders all three of them off the table this week.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The same goes for Devin Singletary. Frank
Gore didn’t touch the ball last week. He should touch the
ball plenty against the Jets. If Singletary is ruled out, Gore
will get a Jets defense allowing 87.9 rushing yards per game,
second fewest in the league. If T.J. Yeldon is active, I might
prefer him to Gore. Either way, you can’t trust any of these
backs with playing time so uncertain.
Bench: Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, John Brown
Saints @ Panthers
- (Green) Line: NO -13.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: After playing a nearly perfect game in
Week 15, Drew Brees had nowhere to go but down last Sunday. He
was still lethal, however, completing 27 of 38 passes for 279
yards and three touchdowns in a come-from-behind victory over
a hungry Titans squad. This week, Brees and company draw the free-falling
Panthers, who have dropped seven in a row; that includes a narrow
loss to the Saints on Nov. 24 where Brees passed for 311 yards
and three scores. He's dealing with a knee injury, but it's not
expected to keep him out. As such, Brees is a high-end QB1.
Michael Thomas hauled in 12 passes last week, establishing a
new single-season record for receptions with 145. Like Brees,
Thomas (hand) is dealing with a minor injury, but he should play
Sunday with a chance to extend his record. Jared Cook (3-84-2
last week) remains the only other legitimate fantasy starter as
he has shaken off a slow start and come on strong in the second
half -- he caught six passes for 99 yards against Carolina back
in Week 12. Both Thomas and Cook are must-starts.
For the season, the Panthers rank 13th against the pass, allowing
228.8 yards per game, but they haven't put up much of a fight
since their loss to the Saints and were downright embarrassed
last week by the Colts. Carolina has shown nothing of late that
suggests they're capable of (or interested in) slowing Brees in
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Probably the most welcome sight of the
Saints' Week 16 win was that of Alvin Kamara rushing for a pair
of touchdowns after scoring just once over the team's first 14
games. He finished with 110 total yards (80 rushing, 30 receiving)
and is a high-upside RB1 against the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense;
a group that's yielded 145.4 yards per game on the ground. For
that reason alone, Latavius Murray could be a matchup-based Hail
Mary for someone stuck with a resting or injured starter.
Game Thoughts: As bad as things had gotten under Kyle
Allen, the move to Will Grier was a reminder it could always get
worse. Seeing the first meaningful action of his NFL career, the
rookie tossed three INTs and was a check-down machine, completing
15 of his 27 passes to Christian McCaffrey, who accounted for
119 of Grier's 224 passing yards in a 38-6 loss to the struggling
Colts. Needless to say, Grier shouldn't be within a mile of fantasy
lineups in Week 17.
While Grier's struggles were undeniable, the loss of top wideout
D.J. Moore (concussion) early on to a concussion didn't help matters.
Without Moore, the likes of Jarius Wright and Chris Hogan were
thrust into larger roles alongside normal No.2 Curtis Samuel.
That trio collectively accounted for five receptions for 52 yards.
It's unclear if Moore will clear the concussion protocol, but
if he's active he'd be a viable WR3. After that, Samuel could
get some love as a flex with additional upside if Moore doesn't
Greg Olsen returned last week but offered little, catching two
of his five targeted passes for 33 yards. He could be used as
a starter if you're desperate, but I'd lean toward other options
and keeping Olsen on the bench. The Saints are 17th against the
pass this year, surrendering 238.7 yards per game, and they've
dealt with a number of injuries, signing former Seahawk DeShawn
Shead this week in another effort to bolster the secondary.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Logically, it makes zero sense to keep
piling touches on the ultra-talented McCaffrey in a lost season,
but Carolina doesn't seem to care: he ran 13 times for 54 yards
last week, giving him 28 total touches, which was slightly above
his season average of 25.8. If there's anything statistical for
the Panthers to chase in Week 17 it's CMC's chance to lead the
NFL in touchdowns; his 18 TDs trails Green Bay's Aaron Jones by
just one. Look for the Panthers to load up McCaffrey once again,
even against the league's fifth-ranked run defense.
Game Thoughts: What do Sam Darnold, Kyle Allen, Derek
Carr, and Gardner Minshew have in common? They all had far worse
skill position players around them than Baker Mayfield, yet all
of them managed to score more fantasy points per game than Mayfield
Mayfield enters Week 17 as the No.29 quarterback in fantasy points
per game, despite having Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick
Chubb, and Kareem Hunt as offensive weapons. Mayfield barely completed
more than 60% of his passes, while throwing 18 interceptions and
lowering his QB rating from 93.7 to 79.1.
The Browns stink, and Mayfield proved to be one of the biggest
busts at the quarterback position. But that does not mean he won’t
end 2019 on a high note in a meaningless game against a Bengals
defense that just secured the first pick in next year’s
draft by giving up 419 passing yards and four touchdowns to Ryan
Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins.
Owners who play fantasy into the final week of the season dream
for matchups like these, with two teams already playing golf in
their minds and players on offense looking to pad their stat sheets
with fluff stats.
The whole game is garbage time, and garbage time is the best
time to get silly fantasy production.
Despite his terrible season stats, Mayfield is not a bad play
in this game, and neither are Landry or Beckham. Perhaps the Browns
will use this time to feed the ego of OBJ and give him a monster
final game with the hope of getting him to buy into being a Brown
If you made your title game after wasting your first or second-round
pick on Beckham Jr., kudos to you and your fantasy skills. This
will be your reward, as Beckham needs at least 46 yards to hit
1000 on the season, and you know he is not ok with posting just
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb has a 92-yard advantage over
Christian McCaffrey for the rushing title, and you know Freddie
Kitchens will want to ensure that he gets that title based on
his press conference touting how well the team has run the ball
The Bengals are the perfect team to pad stats against in all
aspects of the game, as they rank in the bottom ten in points
allowed to running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers.
The only point of playing this game between two teams eliminated
from playoff contention is for Freddie Kitchens to convince the
Cleveland owner to keep him as head coach in 2020 (not likely),
and for disappointing players like Mayfield and Beckham Jr. to
artificially inflate their stats.
The stands will be half empty, and sarcastic jeers will rain
down from the crowd. But your fantasy team will benefit from a
game like this, and all skill position players on the Browns should
be in play.
Game Thoughts: Like his counterpart across the field
in Baker Mayfield, 2019 was a season to forget for Andy Dalton.
His Bengals secured the first overall pick on the 2020 draft that
will presumably be used to select his replacement. He was benched
mid-season in favor of Ryan Finley, only to be given back his
starting job after Finely proved not to be the quarterback of
The funny thing is Dalton has not been that bad and is on pace
to post the third-best fantasy season of his career. His 20.8
fantasy points per game rank his 14th on the year, ahead of Jared
Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Aaron Rodgers.
If given a chance to have a full offseason to work with Zac Taylor
and the offense again, Dalton could actually be a decent quarterback
next year. But that will not happen, as the Bengals look primed
to move on from the Red Rifle in favor of Joe Burrow.
If Dalton had A.J. Green all year and a healthy offensive line,
he could have been far more successful and made a push to be a
QB1 in fantasy. Instead, his time is likely over in the Queen
This game is Dalton’s last stand. A chance for Dalton to
prove to another NFL team that he still has ammo left in his arm
and the ability to be a starter in the league.
With Mayfield and the Browns likely lighting up the Cincinnati
defense, don’t be shocked to see Dalton and Tyler Boyd put
up some great numbers of their own. Cleveland has given up the
13th-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Wide receivers have
not fared quite as well, but Boyd has been on a tear over the
last three weeks, with 229 yards and two touchdowns.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon Needs just 24 yards to reach
1000 on the season and has done a solid job salvaging what was
a dreadful start to the year. After rushing for 27 total yards
against the Seahawks and 49ers his first two games and not posting
a 100-yard game until Week 10, Mixon ended the year with two solid
games out of his last three, including 146 yards and a score against
these same Browns back in Week 14.
Mixon did burn his owners last week with 50 yards on 21 carries,
but a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he was reportedly
under the weather and not himself.
Look for Mixon to bounce back with a vengeance against his divisional
rival, with 100 total yards and a score well within the realm
Game Thoughts: The Packers wrapped up the NFC North title
with a win on Monday Night Football against the Vikings, giving
Aaron Rodgers his sixth NFC North title as the starting quarterback
for the Packers.
Although they have a home playoff game secured by winning the
North, the Packers have much to play for on Sunday against their
divisional foe Lions, as a win over Detroit and a loss by the
San Francisco 49ers against the Seahawks would lock up home-field
advantage for Green Bay throughout the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers disappointed fantasy owners last week against the
Vikings, with 2016 passing yards and zero touchdowns, to go along
with one interception. Rodgers did get a two-point conversion,
but it did little to help the unfortunate owners who were forced
to start Rodgers in the fantasy super bowl.
Rodgers ended the 16-week fantasy season as the No.13 quarterback
in fantasy points, behind Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, and Kyler
Murray. The writing was on the wall last year that Rodgers’
reign as a fantasy stud was near the end. His disappointing 2019
season confirmed the truth that Rodgers is no longer a QB1.
If you are playing in leagues that continue playoffs into Week
17, Rodgers production should be far better, assuming the Packers
do not run roughshod over the Lions with Aaron Jones. The Lions
give up the sixth-most points to opposing quarterbacks and wide
receivers, and the third most to running backs.
Green Bay should have no issues scoring at will against the Lions.
The question is, will Rodgers get some stat-buffering touchdowns
to ensure he does not set a career-low in passing touchdowns,
or will Aaron Jones continue to build on his breakout sophomore
Davante Adams missed the first time the two teams played this
season but should be considered a must-start based on his back-to-back
100-yard games against Chicago and Minnesota. If he can hang a
c-note on those two teams, there is little doubt he can do the
same this week.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: There is only one player who has more
fantasy points than Aaron Jones at the running back position in
2019, and that player, Christian McCaffrey, went first overall
in a ton of drafts this summer, while Jones proved to be the steal
of the draft in the second or third round.
Jones enters Week 17 with 19 total touchdowns and 255.5 fantasy
points. He has five touchdowns in his last three games, and two
performances of over 134 rushing yards. Needless to say, he is
a must-start and a likely Super Bowl winner for those still playing
fantasy in Week 17.
Both Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman lit up the Lions in Denver
last week for a rushing touchdown each, making it 21 total rushing
touchdowns allowed by what should be a much better defense under
Jones should feast on this unit, especially in the passing game.
Detroit ranks first in receiving touchdowns allowed and second
in receiving yard to running backs. Don’t be surprised to
see Jones and Rodgers hook up for a passing touchdown or two on
Game Thoughts: David Blough completed just 12 passes
last week for 117 yards against the Broncos with the game plan
for the Lions clearly wanting to avoid the mistakes by the rookie
Blough has just four passing touchdowns in his four starts and
continues to hamper the fantasy production for everyone not named
Kenny Golladay in the Lions offense.
Golladay has been a monster this season and jumped squarely into
WR1 consideration in drafts next season with 1118 receiving yards
and a league-best 11 receiving touchdowns. When you consider the
fact that he put up the third-most fantasy points at the position
with eight games of Blough and Jeff Driskel throwing him the ball,
Golladay has been one of the most impressive players all season.
You should start Golladay in any matchup, as his touchdown production
makes him a threat to score regardless of the coverage. However,
other than Golladay, it would be wise to avoid all other players
on the Lions, including any of the running backs.
The Packers defense is playing its best football right now, and
the pressure they are creating on quarterbacks is wreaking havoc
on opposing offenses. Kirk Cousins was under constant pressure
on Monday Night, as Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith dominated
the Vikings offensive line.
I anticipate the Green Bay pass rush will cause similar issues
for the Lions offensive line, and it would not surprise me to
see Blough throw multiple interceptions.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: It was nice to see Kerryon Johnson return
the field after missing most of the season with another injury.
The draft-season hype who turned out to be a monster bust rushed
for 42 yards on 10 carries against the Broncos, with Bo Scarbrough
and Ty Johnson also getting work.
Look for Johnson to get more carries this week with the Detroit
coaching staff giving more volume to the former Auburn Tiger.
The way to beat the Packers is on the ground and not in the passing
game, and the Lions will want to limit the pass attempts for Blough
like they did last week against Denver. This means more work is
in store for the Lions backfield trio and a chance for a possible
With that said, this game could be a complete blowout and none
of the Lions players in the rushing game could have value. If
you made it this far, chances are you have much better options
than Johnson, Scarbrough, or Johnson.
Bears @ Vikings
- (Swanson) Line: MIN -1.0 Total: 37.0
Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins ended the regular 16-week
fantasy football season as the No. 22 ranked quarterback (min
10 games), with 19.8 fantasy points per game. On a positive note,
he threw a career-low six interceptions and nearly completed 70
percent of his passes.
On a negative note, he threw for a career-worst 3603 passing
yards and will need four passing touchdowns this week against
the Bears to reach 30 on the season.
At times, Cousins was dominant, with nearly 700 combined passing
yards and eight touchdowns against the Eagles and Lions in Weeks
6 and 7. But he was dreadful down the stretch, with three total
passing touchdowns and no games of over 250 passing yards in his
last three games.
Adam Thielen returned to the team in Week 15 after missing half
the year with a hamstring injury. His fantasy owners likely wished
he never returned to the field, as he burned owners who played
him because of his name value and draft cost, with three total
catches for 27 yards in his last two games, including a goose
on four targets last week against Green Bay.
Starting Thielen this week would be a mistake based on the fact
that he has not produced since returning to the field, and he
does not look to be 100%.
The Vikings are locked into the 6th seed in the playoffs and
have nothing to play for in this game other than fine-tuning an
offense that has been misfiring as of late. It would be smart
for the Minnesota coaching staff to sit Thielen, Dalvin Cook,
and any other players dealing with injuries as winning or losing
this game changes nothing for their playoff standing.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook owners who made the playoffs
likely spent all of their remaining FAAB on Mike Boone with the
hope of Boone coming through with a legendary performance in the
fantasy Super Bowl.
Boone looked sharp against the Chargers in Week 15, with 56 yards
and a pair of touchdowns in the Vikings’ 39-10 blowout win.
Instead of becoming a fantasy legend, Boone busted with 28 yards
on 11 carries for 3.3 fantasy points.
If you are still playing fantasy and are considering playing
Boone again this week against the Bears, the matchup is not terrible,
but Boone proved last week he is anything but a safe play.
Chicago ranks 17th in points allowed to running backs on the
season, with an uncharacteristic 14 rushing touchdowns allowed.
Aaron Jones torched them for two touchdowns in Week 15, and Todd
Gurley posted 97/1 back in Week 11.
Game Thoughts: 2019 was not kind to the Bears and quarterback
Mitchell Trubisky. In fact, the entire season is one to forget.
One the Bears failed to make the playoffs, Trubisky regressed
a full five fantasy points per game from the previous season,
and the running game that all Chicago fans hoped would explode
was a complete dud.
When head coach Matt Nagy goes back and looks at the film, he
will notice two undeniable things. First, his first-round bust
quarterback is not accurate when throwing out of the pocket and
often misses open receivers downfield. Second, Trubisky and the
offense is much more efficient when the quarterback uses his legs
to move the pocket and get first downs scrambling. He may get
hurt, but that is the only way Trubisky will make it as an NFL
The lone bright spot for the Bears this season on offense was
wide receiver Allen Robinson, who overcame Trubisky’s terrible
play to catch 89 balls for 1097 yards and seven touchdowns.
With the Vikings having little to play for and the Bears playing
all of their starters with the goal of finishing the season on
a high note, it would not surprise me to see Chicago have a solid
offensive performance this week.
Robinson owners should continue to play their must-start wide
receiver. Although he completely burned owners with one catch
for two yards last week, Anthony Miller should bounce back this
week and be a viable low-end flex option.
Minnesota enters Week 17 giving up the ninth-most points to opposing
wide receivers. Robinson had a solid 7/77/0 game against cornerback
Xavier Rhodes back in Week 4 and should but up that stat line
as a floor, with a ceiling of 100 yards or more and a score.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: The Bears scored the sixth-fewest points
combined at the running back position in 2019 - not exactly what
we all thought would happen when the team drafted David Montgomery
in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft.
The rookie from Iowa State was supposed to be the breakout running
back of the year, and his amazing runs in the preseason catapulted
him into the first three rounds of most drafts this summer.
Unless he rushes for 224 yards against the Vikings, Montgomery
will not follow in the footsteps of the departed Jordan Howard
and reach 1000 rushing yards as a rookie, and Bears fans can’t
help but wonder if the team made a mistake by moving on for Howard,
who played well for the Eagles earlier in the season before suffering
From a matchup standpoint for fantasy owners, Minnesota ranks
21st in point allowed to running backs. Aaron Jones showed the
world that the Vikings can be run on, but Jones is a far more
dynamic runner right now than Montgomery and the passing game
of the Bears does not make opposing defenses worry like the Packers.
Even with the Vikings playing for nothing in this game, it will
be hard for Montgomery owners to play him with any confidence.
A rushing touchdown is not out of the question, but expecting
a monster game may be a mistake.
Dolphins at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -16.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: The Dolphins’ season has long been
over, but this is a team playing with a lot of heart right now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is just out there having fun. Unfortunately,
the Patriots still need a win to secure the second bye and that
means putting an end to the Fitzmagic. The Patriots allow 170.7
passing yards per game and have allowed 12 touchdowns against
25 interceptions. The Dolphins are not a team to target for your
DFS lineups. DeVante Parker has been fantastic all season, but
he will see a whole lot of Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots allow
just 9.2 fantasy points per game to WR1s. Mike Gesicki has been
on the streaming radar the past few weeks, but the Patriots are
also elite against tight ends, allowing just 6.3 fantasy points
per game to the position. Basically, avoid Dolphins.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Patrick Laird failed to seize his opportunity,
but with Myles Gaskin hurt and this being the final game of the
season, the Dolphins have no incentive to do anything other than
feed Laird and go home for the offseason. Even so, it’s
entirely possible the Dolphins don’t score any touchdowns
making Laird nothing more than a volume based desperation flex
and given that Week 17 is primarily for DFS, you are not starting
Laird. The Patriots allow 11.3 fantasy points per game to RB1s.
Game Thoughts: As bad as Tom Brady has been, he usually
finds a way to torch the Dolphins. He was the overall QB4 back
in Week 2 when these teams first met and in a week where some
of the top options won’t be playing or trying very hard,
Brady is definitely worth considering. Only the Cardinals allow
more fantasy points per game to quarterbacks than the Dolphins’
23.2. Julian Edelman continues to fight through multiple injuries
and will do so again with this game having meaning. After eight
consecutive games with double digit targets, Edelman has just
11 total over his past two games. Everyone is on the table against
the Dolphins, but Edelman did completely flop two weeks ago against
the Bengals mostly due to the fact that he’s far below 100%.
It’s something to keep in mind. N’Keal Harry is showing
signs of why he was many analysts’ top prospect, but he’s
simply not getting the volume. He’s a touchdown hopeful
this week and nothing more. Neither Ben Watson nor Matt LaCosse
has been involved enough to warrant consideration.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: One of Sony Michel’s five games
with double digit fantasy points game against the Dolphins back
in Week 2. I could say the positive game script will benefit him,
but after 16 weeks, we know that’s not true. Michel did
play 42% of the snaps last week and has 40 carries over his past
two games. The volume makes him a contrarian play, but he’s
still losing work to both James White and Rex Burkhead and Michel
just isn’t a good football player. Burkhead put up RB1 numbers
last week so you can fully expect him to be relegated to a rotational
role this week. White has been a model of consistency all season.
He flopped last week and may very well do so again. When these
teams first played, the Patriots won 43-0 and White was needed
on just 31% of snaps, touching the ball a mere six times. Bill
Belichick will do what he wants so there’s always the possibility
he decides to just feature White, but the process play is to fade
him this week.
Game Thoughts: With a win Sunday, the Falcons would have
one of the NFL's more impressive second-half resumes: six wins
against two defeats, including victories over New Orleans and
San Francisco. Unfortunately for Atlanta, a 1-7 start doomed them
to play a meaningless Week 17 affair with fellow also-ran Tampa
Bay, who handled Matt Ryan (23-for-46, 271 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT)
in a Week 12 matchup that the Bucs won handily. After a midseason
lull, Ryan has topped 300 yards passing in four of his last six
games, including 384 last Sunday against J-Ville.
Injuries have thinned the herd at receiver for Atlanta, but the
result has simply been more looks for top pass catchers Julio
Jones (10-166-0 last week) and Austin Hooper (7-82-0). Both of
them, along with Ryan, are high-upside No.1s at their positions
for Week 17. Beyond that, only Russell Gage (5-49-0) might be
of interest for those desperate for help on the waiver wire.
As they have for most of 2019, Tampa Bay brings a defense that's
tough against the run and exploitable via the pass into the finale.
For the season, the Bucs sit 29th in pass defense, surrendering
269.1 yards per game through the air. As noted, they played one
of their better games in Atlanta, who did not have Hooper available,
but nothing the Buccaneers have put on film this year would make
me shy away from the Falcons' top players this Sunday.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Like Hooper, Devonta Freeman did not play
in the Week 12 matchup with Tampa Bay. His presence should help,
and the veteran is coming off arguably his best game of a disappointing
2019 -- 22 touches for 127 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Brian Hill (seven carries, 66 yards) even got in on the act, but
the Bucs pose a much tougher test than Jacksonville; for the season,
nobody has allowed fewer rushing yards than the Buccaneers at
just 72.9 per game.
Game Thoughts: If you thought that missing Mike Evans
(hamstring) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) would result in a more
balanced, conservative approach from the Buccaneers, then you
don't know Bruce Arians. Despite the injuries, Jameis Winston
attempted 48 passes -- he also ran twice and was sacked three
times, giving the team 53 drop backs against 19 called runs. The
former Seminole topped 300 yards for the 11th time this season
and left him within shouting distance of Peyton Manning's single-season
record for passing yardage.
Entering Week 17, Winston has thrown for 4,908 yards. That puts
him 569 yards behind Manning. It's a long shot to be sure, but
what else do the Bucs have to play for? Such a quest would be
made much easier if Godwin returns from his hamstring injury,
though that's still up in the air. One player that should be on
the field is Breshad Perriman, who topped 100 yards receiving
for a second straight game and has moved into borderline top-20
status for fantasy wideouts.
O.J. Howard (3-46-0) wasn't great last week, but he was targeted
seven times and would still hold opportunity-based TE1 status
in Week 17. If Godwin is up, he'd be worth rolling the dice on.
If not, Justin Watson (5-43-1) could be a desperation play similar
to Gage on Atlanta's side. For the season, the Falcons are 23rd
against the pass (248.3 per game), and they allowed 313 passing
yards to Winston in Week 12.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Tampa Bay's running game has been a source
of frustration throughout 2019, so why should Week 17 be any different?
Against the Texans, Ronald Jones (14-77-1) was far more effective
than Peyton Barber (5-13-0), but Arians has proven that past-week
performance means nothing when it comes to projecting the next
game so keep Jones as an RB3 and Barber a weak flex against a
Falcons defense that has yielded 109.3 rushing yards per game
this year (15th).
Game Thoughts: This AFC North matchup is a tale of two
teams sitting on the opposite ends of the playoff picture setting.
The Steelers are in the hunt with the Titans and Raiders for the
final wild card spot, while the Ravens have clinched home-field
advantage throughout the playoffs and a first-round bye.
The Steelers need to win or tie in their matchup against the
Ravens to have a shot to make the playoffs, although technically,
there are two scenarios in which Pittsburgh can still get in with
a ton of help from three other teams.
Although the Ravens have already come out and said they will
sit starters on both sides of the ball, the last thing any Raven
player or coach wants to do is help the Steelers make the playoffs.
After getting benched in favor of Mason Rudolph last week, Devlin
Duck Hodges returns to the starting QB role with Rudolph out for
a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Neither QB has been worthy
of fantasy consideration this season; however, Hodges has flashed
some rapport with James Washington.
JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to the field last week for the first
time since Week 11. In a matchup against one of the worst secondaries
in the league, Smith-Schuster managed just two catches for 22
yards for 2.2 fantasy points.
The passing weapons, including Smith-Schuster, just don’t
have much value with Big Ben out of the lineup, and starting them
against even backups for the Ravens is risky.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner suffered a thigh injury last
week against the Jets, making him very questionable for this week
against the Ravens. Conner continues to be an injury risk with
ten games played this season, many of which he left early with
various shoulder, knee, and thigh injuries.
It is unfortunate for Conner owners that they will likely be
without their first-round pick in the championship game, but at
least there is some clarity on his situation, and he won’t
burn his owners with another game in which he leaves early with
The Steelers used four running backs last week against the Jets,
with Jaylen Samuels, Kerrith Whyte, Benny Snell, and Conner sharing
22 carries. With Conner out, Samuels and Snell will likely see
the majority of work, with the former working in as the primary
Hopefully, fantasy owners have better options than starting backup
running backs for the Steelers who are running in an offense led
by Duck Hodges. If you are hard-pressed and need a flex play,
Snell could be in line for a rushing touchdown, especially if
Brandon Williams does not play in the middle of the Ravens defensive
Injuries to keep an eye on for the Steelers in addition to Conner
are center Maurkice Pouncey, who missed practice on Wednesday
with a knee injury and cornerback Steven Nelson (groin).
Game Thoughts: If you are playing fantasy in Week 17
and you were the lucky one in your league to own Lamar Jackson,
you are not a happy camper heading into this week’s games,
as Jackson and other starters on the Ravens offense will not play
in this meaningless game against the Steelers.
The Ravens locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs
and a first-round bye in their win last week against the Browns.
In a smart move by Jim Harbaugh and the coaching staff, Jackson
and Mark Ingram will sit and rest, with Robert Griffin III making
the start at QB against the Steelers.
RGIII is still an athletic quarterback who can make plays with
both his feet and his arm, yet expecting anything near the production
Jackson provided is a huge mistake. RGIII will no doubt lead the
Ravens on a few scoring drives, but the rushing yards will not
be there, and the Ravens won’t be very motivated to play
their hardest in this meaningless contest.
Star guard Marshall Yanda will not play, which is a hit to both
the passing and ground attack, and tight end Mark Andrews may
also sit to rest his ankle in preparation for the playoffs.
Outside of Jackson and Andrews, the Ravens passing options have
been hit or miss this season, and banking on them with RGIII under
center may be too risky for owners in the fantasy championship.
Only the Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers have averaged fewer
fantasy points this season than the Ravens, and the 1376 combined
receiving yards by the Baltimore wide receiver corps is nearly
200 yards fewer than the Eagles for last place. By comparison,
the Tampa Bay Bucs have 3402 receiving yards at the WR position.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Veteran Mark Ingram is getting a well-deserved
few weeks off to rest his injured calf, giving Gus Edwards and
Justice Hill more work this week against a Steelers defense that
gives up the 5th-fewest points to opposing running backs on the
If Jackson and Yanda were active and if the Ravens were trying
to win this game, Edwards would be worth a start even against
a tough Steelers defense. But with nothing to play for and a question
of effort and motivation up in the air, it would be somewhat risky
to play either player in your championship game.
With Ingram’s calf issue a concern and Edwards the presumed
starter in the playoffs if Ingram were to be out, it would not
surprise me to see Hill get more work than last week, and the
Ravens might even call up a running back from the practice squad
like De’lance Turner or Christopher Ezeala.
Bottom line, you likely do not want to play anyone on Baltimore
this week if you can avoid it, as there are just too many question
marks to rest your title hopes on with the Ravens.
Redskins at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -11.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: With Dwayne Haskins out due to a sprained
ankle, it will be Case Keenum making the start. As inept as the
Cowboys are as an organization, they are going to win this game
convincingly. The Redskins will struggle to move the ball; and
the Cowboys allow just 226.2 passing yards per game. Keenum did
manage 221 yards and two interceptions back in Week 2 and while
Terry McLaurin was much better before Haskins took over, he suffered
a concussion last week. Even if he clears the protocol, he’s
not going to play in a game that doesn’t matter. The best
shot at fantasy value comes from Steven Sims, who has 28 targets
over his past three games. He will be the de facto WR1 for the
Redskins this week, followed by Kelvin Harmon and someone named
Cam Sims. Suffice it to say you can sneaky start Sims or avoid
this passing attack altogether.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson will get the start and
the privilege of barreling into a motivated Cowboys’ defensive
line. Peterson has been useful over the past four games, reaching
double digit fantasy points in all four. He’s also found
the end zone once in each game. The Cowboys have allowed 14 rushing
scores and that will be Peterson’s only shot at a helpful
fantasy day. Chris Thompson will mix in on passing downs, but
is not a realistic option. The Redskins are just anxious to end
Game Thoughts: It’s abundantly clear that Dak Prescott
is not healthy. That shouldn’t matter against the Redskins,
who Prescott lit up for 269 yards and three touchdowns back in
Week 2. His performance this week will come down to how the Cowboys
score. There will be points to go around, but with Prescott’s
ailing shoulder, the team may lean more on the running game. Amari
Cooper and Michael Gallup are both viable options as the Redskins
allow 13.7 and 13.9 fantasy points per game to WR1s and WR2s,
respectively. Cooper is also battling through various injuries,
but should have little trouble against a defense that has allowed
31 passing scores. Jason Witten found the end zone back in Week
2, but that’s all he is – a touchdown hope and a prayer.
You can do better. Randall Cobb has been a nonfactor since his
midseason stretch of useful games and is well off the fantasy
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: This projects as a game where Ezekiel
Elliott should eat. With Prescott and Cooper banged up, Zeke may
touch the ball 30 times. No team allows more fantasy points per
game to RB1s than the 21.5 the Redskins allow. Positive game script
and injuries are all coming together for Elliott to end the season
on the highest note possible. Bold Prediction: Zeke is the overall
RB1 in Week 17. Get him in your lineups.
Titans @ Texans
- (Green) Line: TEN -3.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: For the second straight week, the Titans
lost out on a chance to lock down a spot in the AFC playoffs,
dropping a 38-28 decision to the Saints. Now, Ryan Tannehill (272
yards, 3 TDs in Week 16) will need to lead his team into Houston
to do what they couldn't do two weeks ago, topple the Texans.
The veteran passed for 279 yards and a pair of scores in the first
meeting with Houston and has worked his way up to borderline top-10
status, particularly with injuries and rest taking other QBs off
the board in a must-win endeavor.
After topping 100 yards in three of his last four games, A.J.
Brown managed just one catch for 34 yards in Week 16, though a
49-yard touchdown run helped salvage his value. Still, it underscored
the volatility with Brown, who offers WR2 value with legit downside.
With Brown locked down, Tajae Sharpe emerged from obscurity to
haul in five passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Don't bank
on a repeat. It was only his second game with more than 35 yards
receiving this season.
Corey Davis (3-40-0) and Jonnu Smith (3-63-1) continue to operate
on the cusp of fantasy relevance, but neither player deserves
a spot in your Week 17 lineup despite the year-long struggles
of Houston's pass defense, which sits 30th in the league with
270.3 yards allowed. That being said, if you're in dire need you
could roll the dice on Smith, who had five grabs for 60 yards
against the Texans in Week 15.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: With Derrick Henry (hamstring) inactive
last Sunday due to a hamstring injury, the Titans turned to veteran
Dion Lewis, who ran 15 times for 68 yards against the Saints.
Henry is expected back this Sunday in a must-win game, and his
fresh legs should offer solid RB1 value against the Texans (112.8
rushing yards allowed per game; 20th), even though he ran for
a modest 86 yards in the first meeting.
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson's quiet second half continued
last week as he completed just 19 of 32 passes for 184 yards,
no TDs and an interception. Depending on what happens earlier
in the day, it could be Watson's final regular-season start as
the Texans will be locked into the No. 4 seed if the Chiefs topple
the Chargers. Bill O'Brien has been mum on his plans, but it seems
highly unlikely he'd risk the health of key personnel with no
opportunity to move up.
That question hangs over everyone's value, including DeAndre
Hopkins, who caught five passes for just 23 yards last week. It
also makes the return of Will Fuller (groin) in Week 17 extremely
unlikely regardless of the Chiefs outcome. As I've pointed out
several times this season, Fuller is critical to Houston's success
as his speed opens things up for everyone else. Without him, the
Texans tend to struggle. Kenny Stills (5-57-0 last week) would
be the next man up, and though I don't trust him he could be a
WR3 or flex if you're short on options.
If Watson and Hopkins play a full 60, they remain top-tier fantasy
options. The problem is that it may not be obvious until the afternoon
time slot whether they'll suit up, and even if they do who knows
how much they'll play? The Titans sit 24th in pass defense (259.2
yards per game), and both Watson and Hopkins played well in the
first meeting, but you're taking a real risk counting on either
of them this Sunday.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Facing the NFL's top run defense, Carlos
Hyde managed just 27 yards on 17 carries, a woeful 1.6 yards per
carry, but did score his sixth touchdown of the season. Duke Johnson,
meanwhile, ran twice for four yards and caught a 12-yard pass.
Look for a closer split in Week 17, especially if the Texans are
locked into the fourth seed come kickoff time, limiting Hyde's
upside. Defensively, the Titans have allowed 104.2 rushing yards
per game, good for 11th in the league.
Colts @ Jaguars
- (Green) Line: IND -3.5 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: After looking disinterested in a Monday
night thumping at the hands of the Saints in Week 15, the Colts
found someone even more checked out than them last Sunday, blasting
Carolina in a 32-point blowout. Despite the lopsided score, Jacoby
Brissett did almost nothing, completing just 14 of his 27 passes
for 119 yards and no touchdowns (he did run one in). That was
the fourth time in six games that Brissett has passed for fewer
than 175 yards; doubtless the Colts will have some decisions to
make in the offseason.
With Brissett throwing for just 119 yards, T.Y. Hilton led the
way with a paltry 26 yards on three receptions. The usually explosive
Hilton has endured a miserable 2019, battling injuries and doing
little when on the field. You can roll the dice on him as a WR3,
but the downside appears significant. Beyond that, it's a wasteland.
Zach Pascal (1-6-0) has been wildly inconsistent, and Jack Doyle
(2-17-0) has failed to step up in the aftermath of Eric Ebron
landing on IR.
It's difficult to believe the Jags were one win from the Super
Bowl less than two years ago, largely on the strength of an elite
defense. Now… it's a mess. Jacksonville currently sits 20th
in passing yardage allowed at 242.3 per game, but even if they
were dead last I'd be hesitant to go with anyone not named Hilton
this Sunday. Back in Week 11 the Colts ran all over Jacksonville,
which is the road map I expect them to follow.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Much like J-Ville in their first matchup
with Indianapolis, the Panthers had no answer for the Colts ground
game last Sunday as Marlon Mack (16 carries, 95 yards and a TD)
and Jordan Wilkins (9-84-1) ran wild. The last time these two
teams got together, Mack reeled off 109 yards on 14 carries before
bowing out with a broken hand -- Jonathan Williams then ran for
116 in relief. Jacksonville has shown a bit more pride recently,
but they still rank 28th for the season (139.8 yards per game).
I love Mack as an RB2 with major upside.
Game Thoughts: About the only positive thing you can
say about Gardner Minshew's Week 16 performance is at least he
didn't injure himself. Beyond that, all bets are off as the rookie
completed just 13 of 31 passes (indoors!) for 181 yards and a
TD in a non-competitive loss to the Falcons. The mustachioed one
simply hasn't been the same since being benched for Nick Foles,
averaging 173 yards passing in four December contests. There doesn't
seem to be much upside with Minshew right now, and any decision
to play him would be based purely on hope.
Of course, Minshew's struggles ripple through the receiving corps
where D.J. Chark (2-18-0 last Sunday), Dede Westbrook (2-5-0)
and Chris Conley (2-56-1) have all flatlined after quick starts.
I'd still consider Chark the one to play; he lit up the Colts
for 104 yards and a pair of TDs the last time these two teams
locked horns and could still offer WR3 value with a little upside.
I'm staying away from Westbrook, who hasn't topped 25 yards in
a game since Dec. 1, but could see Conley as a flex given that
he's been on the receiving end of Minshew's last three TD passes.
Indy is 22nd in the NFL in passing yards allowed (246.4 per game)
and pretty well locked down Carolina's Will Grier in Week 16 in
what was the rookie's first start. Both teams are looking toward
the offseason, which makes projecting tougher than usual since
you never know which team will actually show up to play.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: After averaging 4.0 yards per carry or
less in seven straight games, Leonard Fournette carried the ball
15 times for 71 yards (4.7 YPC) against the Falcons. It was a
solid performance for a player that got off to a great start but
has failed to maintain his early pace, much like the rest of the
offense. His heavy workload of nearly 23 touches per game affords
him RB1 value, even against the eighth-ranked run defense that
held him to a season-low 23 yards in their first meeting.
Eagles at Giants
- (Katz) Line: PHI -4.5 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: These teams played just three weeks ago
and Carson Wentz threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. It comports
with Wentz’s entire season, which has been thriving against
bad pass defenses and struggling against everyone else. This is
not going to be an easy win for the Eagles so Wentz may very well
have to throw. The Giants allow 23.0 fantasy points per game to
quarterbacks. The only problem is Wentz’s pass catchers,
or rather the lack thereof. Already down Alshon Jeffery, DeSean
Jackson, and Nelson Agholor, it is a near certainty that Wentz
will be without Zach Ertz (ribs) as well. That leaves Dallas Goedert
and Greg Ward to soak up as many targets as they can handle. It
could also result in Boston Scott being used more as a receiver.
The Giants give up 20.1 fantasy points per game to WR1s, but
are stifling against tight ends, allowing just 6.5 fantasy points
per game. Nevertheless, Goedert is an elite option this week because
there is no one else while Ward is on the table as well. After
playing over 90% of the snaps in back to back weeks, JJ Arcega-Whiteside
saw his snap share drop to 65% last week, likely due to his incredibly
poor play. The opportunity has been there for a while, but Arcega-Whiteside
just doesn’t belong in the NFL. It’s Goedert and Ward
only this week.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders has been scorching hot over
the past month, posting RB1 numbers in three of his last four
games. He’s seen every down usage and while it should be
easy to project more of the same, Jordan Howard is back this week
and we have no way of knowing what Doug Pederson plans to do.
Ideally, he would utilize Boston Scott as a pseudo slot receiver,
allowing Sanders and Howard to share the backfield with heavy
weight towards Sanders. Before Howard went down, he had wrested
control of this backfield, though. Conventional wisdom suggests
Sanders’ recent play has earned him the primary role, but
Howard is going to get carries. The Giants only allow 13.6 fantasy
points per game to RB1s so Sanders might be someone to fade based
on concern regarding his usage.
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones balled out last week, finishing
as the overall QB1 in a road win over the Redskins. Jones has
been completely unreliable all season, but his ceiling is as high
as anyone’s. He’s now been a top three quarterback
four times this season. Eli Manning started when these teams met
three weeks ago and had tremendous success in the first half.
The Giants should’ve won that game, but Manning fell apart
in the second half. Jones’ prospects for success are much
better and while the Giants have no love for the Cowboys, you
can bet they’d love to end their season by ending the Eagles’
season as well.
The Eagles allow 18.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
The Eagles have played better pass defense as of late, but they
were still torched by Darius Slayton the last time around and
their season long numbers are lackluster. No team is worse against
WR3s. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Slayton are all in play
this week, but it stands to reason one of them will fail. Your
guess is as good as mine. Perhaps taking a shot on Tate as a contrarian
move is smart.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley finally looked like Saquon
Barkley again last week. It was likely too little too late for
fantasy owners and chasing that production this week seems like
a trap. The Eagles are a pass funnel defense, allowing just 14.5
fantasy points per game to RB1s. Barkley did catch four passes
last week including a long receiving score, but he only totaled
67 yards in these teams’ last meeting. Many people will
assume Barkley is back, and he very well might be, but pivoting
off him might be the smarter play.
Raiders @ Broncos
- (Caron) Line: DEN -3.5 Total: 41.0
Game Thoughts: With just one multi-touchdown game over
his past seven, it’s easy to say that Derek Carr should
not be considered for fantasy purposes in anything other than
deep two-QB and Superflex leagues. That doesn’t mean that
we have to completely disregard his pass catching weapons, however.
Wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has started to look better
again over the past two weeks, having finally put together back-to-back
double-digit PPR fantasy days for the first time since early this
season, but he’s still only a borderline Flex option at
The wide receiver who could be more interesting this week is actually
Hunter Renfrow who made his return to the lineup this past week
after missing three games. He posted a seven catch, 107-yard,
one touchdown performance on nine targets against the Chargers,
which was the best fantasy game thus far in his rookie season.
It’s tough to trust him given his lack of historical production
but if he’s going to lead the team in targets then he’s
at least a viable cheap DFS option.
Tight end Darren Waller continues to be one of the breakout stars
of the tight end position this season and that won’t likely
change here in Week 17. He caught seven passes for 70 yards when
these teams played back in Week 1 and that was his first game
ever with the Raiders. He’s more involved in the offense
now than he was earlier this season so look for another nice fantasy
day out of Waller.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Josh Jacobs is still
questionable to play this weekend and will likely be a game-time
decision, making things difficult again for fantasy owners who
don’t know whether or not they’ll have the potential
Offensive Rookie of the Year. Jacobs missed both Weeks 14 and
16, but played in Week 15 when he saw 26 touches against the Jaguars.
The Raiders need to win if they hope to have a shot at making
the playoffs but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll
risk the long-term health of their first-round draft pick running
back. If Jacobs is in, we’ll consider him a mid-level RB2
because he could very well concede touches to DeAndre Washington
who has played fairly well in relief of Jacobs.
If Jacobs is out, look for Washington to again lead the backfield
and give fantasy owners a decent RB2 performance himself. He doesn’t
have much value if Jacobs does play, however, other than to play
Game Thoughts: He’s looked like the best quarterback
that Denver has put onto the field this season but the fantasy
production still hasn’t been there for rookie quarterback
Drew Lock. Lock has been held to fewer than 13 fantasy points
in three of his four starts, including this past week in what
should have been a smash matchup against a bad Detroit defense.
We simply can’t trust him in fantasy lineups, but the quarterback
position does seem to have a glimmer of hope going for 2020 in
Lock might not be a fantasy asset, but he is doing something that
we should appreciate as fantasy owners - he’s feeding his
top receiver. Courtland Sutton has now seen 10 targets in each
of his past two games and he’s been targeted at least five
times in every game this season. He hasn’t scored since
his two-touchdown performance in Lock’s debut, but Sutton
should still be considered a fairly strong play this week against
an Oakland defense that he cooked for 120 yards on seven catches
in his NFL debut back in Week 1.
Tight end Noah Fant hasn’t been a major beneficiary of the
move to Lock, however, as he’s failed to reach five targets
in a single game since the rookie QB became the starter. Fant
still has some big play ability and can produce TE1 games on limited
targets, but it’s tough to trust him if the ball isn’t
coming his way.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: A double-digit Broncos
victory over the Lions in Week 16 led to Phillip Linsday’s
second 100-yard rushing performance of the season and one of his
best overall fantasy days of 2019. The Raiders might not be as
much of a pushover as the Lions have turned out to be but there’s
still plenty of reason to feel optimistic that another solid fantasy
day is coming for Linsday here in Week 17.
The Raiders are only a middle-of-the-pack defense and their offense
has struggled in the second-half of the 2019 season which has
led to plenty of short fields for opposing offenses. The Broncos
don’t have a particularly high-powered offense themselves,
but they could find themselves in some good field position situations
this week which would certainly benefit the Broncos running backs,
particularly Lindsay who has been the far more productive back
of the two down the stretch.
Royce Freeman remains a touchdown-or-bust type of back, but he
has only scored once in his past seven games. That’s just
not enough for us to trust him in this game.
Cardinals @ Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -7.5 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray was knocked
out of the Cardinals’ Week 16 game against the Seahawks
with a hamstring injury and it appeared as though we might have
seen the end of his season. That doesn’t sound like it’s
the case, however, as Murray is now expected to start in the final
game of a lost Cardinals season. This is great news for fantasy
owners of other Cardinals players who would otherwise have to
deal with Brett Hundley behind center. Unfortunately, Murray’s
hamstring will likely limit one of his most valuable assets -
his rushing ability. With that concern, it’s hard to trust
Murray as a QB1 for fantasy this week.
With Murray limited, we’ll probably want to limit exposure
to Cardinals offensive weapons as well. That means being lower
on Christian Kirk than usual, so we’ll drop him to a PPR
Flex option. Larry Fitzgerald on the other hand, may be playing
the final game of his NFL career so the Cardinals may very well
opt to feed him the ball. It’s certainly possible and even
likely that he’ll just fade off into the sunset with another
less-than-stellar fantasy performance, but with the Cardinals
having nothing else to play for, why not feed your future Hall
of Fame WR? Fitz is still only a WR3 given the risk, but there’s
some upside here.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With David Johnson and Chase Edmonds phased
out of the offense, it has been the Kenyan Drake show down the
stretch for the Cardinals. Drake was absolutely a league winner
in Weeks 15 and 16, scoring a ridiculous six touchdowns with 330
total yards over that stretch, and he will probably be the featured
player in the Cardinals offense again here in Week 17.
He’ll be against a Rams defense that has given up over 300
rushing yards with four total touchdowns over their past two games,
so Drake should be considered a pretty solid RB1 in his final
game of 2019.
Game Thoughts: Jared Goff’s season has been a rollercoaster
but he’s at least making a strong push down the stretch,
having scored at least 16 fantasy points in each of his past four
games. The up-swing actually started back in Week 13 when the
Rams played this very same Cardinals team in Arizona, when he
threw for 424 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a dominant Los
It’s odd to say that Cooper Kupp is sort of a touchdown-dependent
fantasy player right now, but that’s where we’re at.
He’s scored in four straight games, but he’s been
held under 70 yards in all of those games and he hasn’t
been targeted more than six times in a game since Week 12. He’s
still a quality fantasy asset especially against this Arizona
team that has struggled mightily against slot receivers this season,
but he’s not a WR1.
The player in this passing game who should be considered a WR1,
however, is Robert Woods, who has now caught at least six passes
in five of his past six games. He absolutely destroyed the Cardinals
when these teams played a few weeks back, catching 13 passes for
172 yards on an impressive 18 targets. The Rams might not feel
the need to pass as much in this game, but Woods still has gigantic
upside with an excellent floor given his target share.
Brandin Cooks finally scored this past week for the first time
since Week 2 but he still hasn’t reached 60 receiving yards
in a game since all the way back in Week 4. The targets just aren’t
there with any sort of consistency and it’d be pretty terrifying
to trust him in your lineup in Week 17.
Tight end Tyler Higbee, however, has been and might again continue
to be a league-winner. Higbee is producing at a historic pace,
having now eclipsed 100 receiving yards in each of his past four
games. That stretch started back in Week 13 against this very
same Cardinals defense when he smashed them for seven catches,
107 yards and a touchdown. Gerald Everett is finally back but
this is Higbee’s position right now, so don’t be surprised
to see him turn in yet another strong TE1 fantasy performance
here in Week 17.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley’s monstrous
touchdown production continued this past week as the running back
scored his 13th and 14th touchdown of the year despite failing
to exceed 50 total yards. Gurley hasn’t reached 100 rushing
yards in any game this season and he’s been used very sparingly
in the passing game so his yardage upside just isn’t great
in any game, but there might not be a better goal line back in
all of football so it’s hard to rank him outside of the
top-12 at the position against a defense that’s as bad as
Gurley produced 95 rushing yards with a touchdown and 20 receiving
yards when these teams played back in Week 13, so feel confident
placing him in your lineup once again here in Week 17.
49ers @ Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: The final regular season game of the decade
will take place on Sunday night and features two teams who will
be competing for the NFC West championship and a first round bye
in the playoffs as the 49ers head to Seattle to face the Seahawks.
These teams battled in an overtime thriller back in Week 10 in
what was one of Jimmy Garoppolo’s worst performances of
the season. He still managed to throw for 248 yards and a touchdown,
but he also threw an interception and completed just 52.2 percent
of his passes - his worst completion percentage thus far in 2019.
It is worth noting, however, that the 49ers were without their
top pass catching weapon, tight end George Kittle, in that game.
Kittle has been an absolute monster in the second half of 2019
as he’s now averaging over 18 PPR points per game over this
past seven starts. Very few players at any position put together
that type of production, but it’s especially impressive
for a tight end. Kittle is a rock star at a position that has
been terrible throughout most of the season so continue to ride
the hot hand while you can.
The only wide receivers we really care about in San Francisco
from a fantasy standpoint are veteran Emmanuel Sanders and rookie
Deebo Samuel. Sanders has the narrative surrounding him of being
a consistent contributor, but realistically he’s been consistent
at one thing over the second half of the season - and that’s
disappointing fantasy owners. He’s been held under double-digit
PPR points in six of his past seven games, with the one exception
being a huge Week 14 performance against the Saints.
The truth is that Samuel has actually been by far the more consistent
fantasy contributor of the two, having now reached double-digit
fantasy points in six of his past seven games. Of course, he lacks
the single game explosion like the one Sanders had in Week 14,
and he did have to save his fantasy day with a rushing touchdown
this past week, but he’s still been by far the better fantasy
player in the second half of the season. Samuel benefitted from
the 49ers being without Kittle and Sanders when these teams played
back in Week 10, but it’s still worth noting that he led
the team with eight catches for 112 yards in that game despite
being the only real pass catching weapon the team had.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: The Raheem Mostert show continued this
past week as the veteran scored a rushing touchdown for the fifth
straight week. He’s still not seeing a complete bell cow
workload but Mostert is touching the ball enough, and close enough
to the goal line, to be considered a pretty safe RB2 in just about
The Seahawks have been getting punished by opposing running backs
in recent weeks, having conceded six rushing touchdowns to the
position over the past three weeks. That includes a dominant performance
by Arizona’s Kenyan Drake this past week who ran over and
through the Seahawks defense for 166 yards and two scores.
Game Thoughts: We expected that Seattle would have no
problem throwing the football against a seemingly overmatched
Arizona secondary, but that turned out to be anything but the
case this past week as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks turned
in one of their worst performances of the season in a clutch spot.
Wilson threw for just 169 yards and a touchdown, completed just
barely 50 percent of his passes and turned in his sixth straight
fantasy game of fewer than 20 points.
It’s going to be difficult to make the decision to bench
Russell Wilson in a championship fantasy week, but the reality
is that this is not a particularly great spot for him. Even when
the Seahawks were able to get the win over the 49ers in Week 10,
Wilson still threw for just 232 yards and one touchdown with an
interception - and he had the benefit of overtime to pad those
stats a bit.
The 49ers have the seventh-best fantasy defense against opposing
quarterbacks this season and other than a huge five-touchdown
game by Drew Brees, they’ve held every other quarterback
they’ve faced to two or fewer passing touchdowns. We know
that Wilson is capable of some big fantasy games himself, but
the truth is that we just haven’t seen it down the stretch
and it’s tough to believe that it’s suddenly going
to happen against a really good San Francisco defense.
If you’re looking for some optimism, there’s a real
chance that Wilson ends up airing the ball out quite a bit now
that the Seahawks will be without both Rashaad Penny and Chris
Carson for the remainder of the season. The team is more system-based
from the running back position than some would like to admit,
but that doesn’t mean that they won’t lean more heavily
on their star quarterback when they need a victory.
Tyler Lockett has continued to be a peaks-and-valleys type of
receiver in the second half of the 2019 season, but it’s
been a lot more valleys than peaks. He has two games where he
combined for 66.2 PPR fantasy points, but he’s otherwise
been held to fewer than 10 PPR fantasy points in five of his past
seven games. That includes a Week 10 dud against the 49ers when
he was held to three catches for 26 yards. Lockett is seeing more
targets in recent weeks which should give us some optimism about
his outlook here in Week 17, but he’s still very much a
boom-or-bust type of player, so we’ll call him a high-upside
Fellow Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf has been the opposite of
Lockett in many ways throughout the second half of 2019, as he’s
produced double-digit PPR fantasy points in all but two of his
past eight games. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had quite the
big boom weeks that Lockett has. It seems logical that a player
with Metcalf’s skill set would struggle with consistency
while exploding with some big games, but the big games really
haven’t been there. Metcalf has just one game of over 17
PPR fantasy points this season, but he’s contributed 10
games of 10 or more PPR fantasy points, so the consistency has
surprisingly been there. Metcalf caught six passes for 70 yards
when these teams played earlier this season so continue to look
at him as a solid WR3 or Flex play.
Tight end Jacob Hollister has now failed to get into the end zone
in five straight games since Seattle’s Week 11 bye. The
last time he scored? You guessed it - against the 49ers in Week
10 when he was targeted a season-high 10 times. Hollister isn’t
an elite option by any means but the position is tough to mine
value from, especially this late in the season, so don’t
feel bad about putting him in your lineup if you’re in need.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: The Seattle backfield
has been riddled with injuries this season and we’re now
left without a clear-cut situation to depend on for fantasy purposes.
The team signed veteran Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin from
free agency, but Pete Carroll has indicated that sixth-round rookie
Travis Homer is “ready to go.” Homer has carried the
ball eight times over the past four weeks, including five times
this past week, but we should know better than to trust what Pete
Carroll has to say regarding personnel decisions.
Realistically, this entire backfield is a crapshoot. Turbin can
probably be ruled out as he’s never been much more than
an occasional spell type back throughout his career, but it’s
tough to know what Seattle will do between Homer and Lynch. Homer
probably gives the highest floor, but Lynch would seemingly be
the best option if you’re scraping the barrel and looking
Neither player is a particularly strong play against a 49ers defense
that has given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing
running backs this season.