- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Dolphins at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -3.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: Thanks to the Raiders’ complete
ineptitude in forgetting Mack Hollins was on the field last week,
the Dolphins have a very simple win and in scenario. Even though
the Bills shut down the Patriots last week, this has not been
a great defense otherwise. Tre’Davious White will look to
shut down the Dolphins WR1, which may or may not be DeVante Parker,
who has been limited in practice with a hamstring injury for two
weeks now. If Parker suits up, he will be difficult to trust as
Brian Flores seems intent upon self-sabotage in starting the vastly
inferior quarterback on his team, Tua Tagovailoa. I am certainly
not writing off Tua as a bust, but there is no dispute as to the
fact that he is not even close to as good as Ryan Fitzpatrick
right now. With Fitzpatrick, there would be intrigue in the Dolphins’
passing game. With Tua, no thank you.
Mike Gesicki and Jakeem Grant have been the Dolphins’ primary
passing game options with Parker out. At least we know there won’t
be any late game Tua benching this week as Fitzpatrick is out
due to a positive Covid test. The Bills allow over 15 fantasy
points per game to the tight end position. Gesicki with Fitzpatrick
would be a must start, but with Tua he’s merely a matchup
based play. As for Grant, there’s just not enough volume
there and the Bills are strong against the slot.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Unfortunately, the Dolphins were on the
road last week so I was unable to report to you fine readers that
I cracked the code to the Dolphins backfield! There is a clear
workhorse every week and you want him…assuming you can figure
out who it is. The thing is – it’s not that much of
a secret because there’s a hierarchy. It goes: Myles Gaskin
– Salvon Ahmed – DeAndre Washington. Whichever running
back highest on the hierarchy is active, that’s the one
you want. Last week, even though Ahmed absolutely smashed the
week prior, Gaskin was active and was immediately given his old
role…and he smashed. The Bills are average at defending
running backs and Gaskin is utilized well in the passing game.
He was actually the team’s leading receiver last week. Since
Gaskin is healthy and active this week, you want him in your lineup.
Game Thoughts: Thanks to the Steelers comeback win last
week, the Bills have something to play for this week. While the
Steelers seem disinterested in making sure a potential playoff
matchup with the Bills is at home, the Bills have given us no
indication that they aren’t going to try and win to lock
up the two seed. That keeps Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs on the
field and in fantasy lineups.
Outside of a 2.5 game blip in the middle of the season, Allen
has been lights out. He’s accounted for four touchdowns
in three of his last four games and his ascendance this season
propelled Diggs to finish the fantasy season as the overall WR3.
The Dolphins have one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL in
Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, but no one has been able to stop
Diggs this year. Diggs posted an 8-153-1 line back in Week 2 and
has hit 130 receiving yards in three straight.
Cole Beasley will miss the final week of the regular season with
a leg injury (and is no lock to play in the first round of playoffs).
That puts Gabriel Davis opposite Diggs as an every down receiver.
Davis’ production hasn’t matched the snaps. He is
not worth a spot in lineups. Dawson Knox has gotten some increased
burn the past couple weeks, but is hard to trust against a Dolphins
defense that allows just 10 fantasy points per game to tight ends.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary and Zack Moss continue
to split snaps just about evenly (Moss played exactly one more
snap than Singletary last week). With the Bills a pass first offense
and a Josh Allen first goal line team, there’s not much
weekly upside in Singletary and Moss. Last week, Moss only scored
because of two egregious drops by Bills’ receivers. The
week before, it was Singletary that scored. Singletary has the
slight leg up because at least he sees a couple targets a week.
Moss hasn’t caught a pass since Week 13. But with these
two mired in an even timeshare and the Dolphins solid against
running backs, you can avoid Singletary and Moss.
Ravens @ Bengals
- (Green) Line: BAL -12.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: Whatever switch got flipped during the
team's COVID outbreak has completely turned around what had been
a disappointing season. Last week's 27-13 win over the Giants
was Baltimore's fourth straight as Lamar Jackson threw for 183
yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. Jackson was active
as a runner as well with 13 carries accounting for 80 yards. That
brings Jackson's four-game averages to 174 yards passing, 83 yards
rushing and three total TDs.
Mark Andrews (6-76) remains atop the pecking order for targets,
notching his fifth straight game with 60-plus receiving yards.
The only asterisk is his lack of opportunities in the red zone
recently -- after scoring five times in his first five games he
has just two TDs over his last eight. Many of those chances have
gone to Marquise Brown (4-25-1), who has now scored a touchdown
in four of his last five games. The yardage continues to be inconsistent,
but Brown has moved back into WR3 territory for the finale. Jackson
and Andrews, meanwhile, are top-five options at their respective
Cincinnati hasn't had many answers defensively this season, currently
sitting 23rd in pass defense (249.2 yards per game). They took
it on the chin last Sunday, allowing Deshaun Watson to amass 324
yards and three TDs through the air. The Bengals could be without
starting CB William Jackson (concussion) on Sunday after he suffered
a head injury in Week 16, further weakening a shaky group.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Just in case you thought the Week 15 deactivation
of Mark Ingram was a fluke, the veteran was a healthy scratch
again last weekend. While Gus Edwards (15-85) led the team in
carries, J.K. Dobbins (11-77-1) made the house call, which was
his fifth consecutive game with a touchdown. While both played
sparingly in the earlier meeting with the Bengals, Baltimore averaged
6.7 yards per carry as a team. For the year, Cincy ranks 25th
in yards per game (130.9) and 29th in YPC (4.8). View Dobbins
as an RB2/RB3 with Edwards as a flex with upside.
Game Thoughts: Coming off a game in which Ryan Finley
completed just seven passes for 89 yards, Brandon Allen returned
from injury to complete 29 of 37 passes for 371 yards and two
touchdowns in one of the more unexpected performances of 2020.
Even taking into account that it came against Houston, which has
pretty much packed it in already, it was still impressive from
someone that hadn't topped 250 yards in any of his six previous
starts. Things will get much tougher Sunday, though, so don't
trust Allen to post fantasy-relevant numbers again.
With Tyler Boyd (concussion) out, Tee Higgins (6-99-1) and A.J.
Green (4-64) served as the top wideouts. It was another encouraging
performance from Higgins in what has been a strong debut campaign.
The rookie is within striking distance of 1,000 yards despite
the loss of Joe Burrow 10 games into the season and has been the
safest play since the injury. He's a possible low-end WR3 with
a little juice. Green, meanwhile, has been up and down and isn't
worth using in what's likely his final game in Cincinnati.
Baltimore enters the final weekend ranked 13th against the pass
at 232.5 yards per game and is one of just seven teams with single-digit
interception totals. They've been forced to function without CBs
Marcus Peters (calf) and Jimmy Smith (shoulder) the past two games,
but it's possible one or both could return. The Ravens registered
seven sacks of Burrow in the first meeting, so the pass rush could
be an issue here as well.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Not that anyone was expecting Joe Mixon
(foot) to return at this stage, but the team removed any suspense
and announced he would not play. That leaves Giovani Bernard (16-65)
and Samaje Perine (13-95-2) as the options against the Ravens'
ninth-ranked run defense, which has yielded 106.2 yards per game
on the year. Of the two, Bernard holds more value due to his exploits
as a receiver, making him an RB3 with Perine as more of a flex
with some downside.
Game Thoughts: For most of the first three quarters last
Sunday, the Steelers looked terrible offensively. Then Ben Roethlisberger
hit a deep shot to Diontae Johnson for a touchdown that turned
the game around as they toppled the Colts to claim the AFC North.
While they could finish as either the No. 2 or 3 seed, Pittsburgh
has decided to prioritize health and start Mason Rudolph in Week
17. Rudolph went 5-3 in eight starts last season, but his numbers
fluctuated between mediocre and poor with his performance against
Cleveland (221 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs) ranking as the worst.
Although there has been no official word on anyone other than
Big Ben, it's probably safe to assume that Johnson (8-74-1) and
JuJu Smith-Schuster (9-96-1) will operate in a reduced capacity.
It's even possible that one or both could be inactive. Chase Claypool
(4-54) could also fall under this category, though the rookie
seems more likely to play given his relatively light usage and
ongoing touchdown drought. This might also be a spot to let James
Washington (2-20) get extended work.
On the other side, the Browns find themselves in must-win mode
after an upset loss to the Jets. Cleveland allowed just 175 yards
passing to Sam Darnold -- well below the 243.5 yards per game
they've surrendered this season -- but among his 16 completions
were two TDs. There's a lot to sort out here, but let's manage
expectations for the three primary wideouts as low-end WR3s or
flex options. Rudolph shouldn't be played while Washington could
be a one-week flier for those in dire need.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Pittsburgh ran 12 times last week, not
including kneel downs, and gained just 22 yards. James Conner
(5-21-1) was reasonably effective despite sparse usage while Benny
Snell (6-0) literally went nowhere. Given Conner's durability
issues, it's hard to imagine they'll ask much of him in the finale.
That could mean more touches for Snell, though his effectiveness
has fluctuated wildly this season. With Cleveland a solid 12th
(tie) against the run, you'd be hard pressed to play either back
as more than a semi-risky flex.
Game Thoughts: Obviously the big story last week was
Cleveland's top four receivers being unavailable due to COVID,
which forced Baker Mayfield to target his backs and tight ends.
And target them he did, throwing a season-high 53 times in a loss
to the Jets. Mayfield completed 28 of them for 285 yards, but
he didn't throw any TD passes and fumbled three times, including
two critical ones. It was still well above his first meeting with
Pittsburgh when he threw for just 119 yards and two INTs. Expect
better in the rematch against a team with questionable motivation.
All four wideouts were activated this week and should be available
Sunday, which is great news for the team's playoff chances. Prior
to last week, Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins had enjoyed a
strong December with Landry averaging a 7-58 line and Higgins
a 5-80 with both scoring twice in three games. Back at full strength,
Mayfield is a low-end QB1 with Landry a borderline WR2 or WR3
for Week 17. Despite better production over the last three games,
Higgins remains a flex play. Desperate owners could also take
a look at Donovan Peoples-Jones, who has hauled in some long passes
With 15 games in the books, only the Rams have allowed fewer
passing yards than the Steelers (196.3 per game). They're also
the only team in the NFL with more than 50 sacks on the year.
A lot of that starts with T.J. Watt (15 sacks), though, and you
have to wonder if the Steelers will use this weekend to rest him
and other key contributors.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: With the Browns receiving corps in tatters,
the Jets focused on stopping the run. They were largely successful.
Nick Chubb (11-28-1) and Kareem Hunt (4-11-1) were held in check,
though both found the end zone. Cleveland should have a more diverse
attack this Sunday against a potentially disinterested opponent
that is looking ahead to the playoffs. While Pittsburgh remains
a solid run defense (106.1 yards per game; eighth), Chubb is still
playable as an RB1 with Hunt as an RB3.
Vikings @ Lions
- (Green) Line: MIN -6.5 Total: 54.0
Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins completed 27 of 41 passes
for 291 yards, three TDs and zero turnovers on Christmas... and
Minnesota still lost by three scores. Such is the current state
of Minnesota's sieve-like defense. Luckily for Cousins, it's time
to break out the Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme for Detroit's
equally inept D. While his first matchup with the Lions resulted
in just 220 yards it did include three touchdowns, and that was
at the height of the Vikings' ground-based approach.
Outside of his red-zone exploits it hasn't been a great year
for Adam Thielen (8-97-1), who enters the final weekend of the
season ranked 27th in the NFL in receiving yards and needing 132
to notch the third 1,000-yard season of his career. Justin Jefferson
(6-85) topped that mark back in Week 13 and has done a nice job
of making Vikings fans not feel so bad about watching Stefon Diggs
run wild in Buffalo. Irv Smith (6-53-2) has also made strides
this year and should be on draft-day radars for 2021.
Over the last two weeks, the Lions have allowed 764 yards and
nine TDs through the air. Take a moment to absorb that and then
realize that Blaine Gabbert played two of those eight quarters
in relief of Tom Brady. Brutal. With nothing left to play for
it wouldn't be surprising to see the Vikings hunt statistical
milestones, such as getting Thielen to 1,000 yards, so you can
consider him, Cousins and Jefferson as No. 1s. Even Smith could
be plucked off the waiver wire and played if you're in a bind.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook (15-73-1) reportedly won't
play Sunday following the passing of his father, thus ending his
season with 1,918 total yards and 17 TDs on an insane 356 touches
in 14 games. That's the kind of workload that should give owners
pause when it's time to draft Cook in Round 1 next season. In
his place will either be Alexander Mattison, who is dealing with
a concussion, or a combo of Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah. Of
that group only Mattison would be of interest if he plays, and
given that Detroit somehow found time to give up 306 yards and
four TDs rushing the last two weeks he'd be a possible RB2.
Game Thoughts: Already bothered by thumb and rib injuries,
Matthew Stafford rolled his ankle early on last Saturday and didn't
return. Although he said he'd like to play if he can in Week 17,
it seems dubious at best that the Lions would trot him out there
in a meaningless affair. As such, the expectation is that Chase
Daniel will make his first start of the year after relieving Stafford
in each of the last three games. Daniel is an experienced journeyman,
but he doesn't move the needle.
With Daniel and David Blough seeing most of the Week 16 snaps,
Marvin Jones (3-19), T.J. Hockenson (4-23) and Danny Amendola
(5-37) failed to impress with the team's only touchdown last week
coming on a punt return. This is likely the end of the line for
Jones in Motown as he, along with Kenny Golladay, is set to become
a free agent. Jones is again the best fantasy option on the outside
as a borderline WR2/WR3 while Hockenson retains steady TE1 value
no matter who is under center.
Part of this fairly optimistic outlook stems for Minnesota's
porous defense. For the year the Vikings rank 24th in pass defense
at 256.9 yards allowed per game, and even that is probably overstating
their standing as teams have taken to simply running over them
in recent weeks. To that end the Vikings have allowed 85 points
in their last two games.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Nothing went right last Saturday with
D'Andre Swift (10-45) accounting for 70 of the team's 186 total
yards. He could close his rookie season with a bang, though, as
the Vikings are coming off a game in which they gave up 264 yards
and SEVEN touchdowns on the ground -- and that was when they still
had a shot at the playoffs. With nothing on the line Sunday there's
no reason to expect dramatic change. That gives Swift RB1 appeal
and could even lead to some flex appeal for Adrian Peterson (4-10),
who might see more action with Daniel under center.
Jets at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -3.5 Total: 40.0
Game Thoughts: While some teams mail in later in the
season, Sam Darnold was doing everything he could to avoid losing
his job to Trevor Lawrence. Mission accomplished. The Jets, winners
of two straight, close out the season in a meaningless game in
New England. With nine targets last week, Jamison Crowder reestablished
himself as the primary option for the Jets. He’s really
the only member of this passing game worth throwing into lineups.
Breshad Perriman managed to not catch any of his six targets last
week and hasn’t been useful since Week 12. The Denzel Mims
breakout is just not happening. Chris Herndon and Braxton Berrios
both found the end zone last week, but they do not belong anywhere
near lineups. The Patriots have been friendlier to the slot than
the outside, which bodes well for Crowder, and not much else.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: One would think that with the Jets’
season long over, they’d want to see what they have in their
young running backs like Ty Johnson, Josh Adams, and the recently
activated La’Mical Perine. If Adam Gase had his way, he
would see what he has in his “young upstart” favorite,
Frank Gore. Unfortunately, Gore will not play this week due to
a lung issue. Perine out-touched Johnson last week, but his season
is over due to a positive Covid test. The Patriots are not super
friendly to running backs, but they are a bit of a run funnel
defense. This projects to be an ugly, low scoring game. There
could be a volume based floor for Johnson, but no Jets running
back has had any sort of a ceiling since 2019 Le’Veon Bell.
There’s not much to see here.
Game Thoughts: Things I am sure of: Cam Newton is done.
Things I am also sure of: Cam Newton is still better than Jarrett
Stidham. Things I am not sure of: whether Newton or Stidham will
start this week. My guess is it will be Newton. At this point,
I do think the Patriots know what they have in Stidham –
he’s not the answer. Of course, neither is Newton, who muscles
up every bit of strength he has to fire passes 10 yards down the
field at his receivers’ feet. Newton has five touchdown
passes on the season but did rush for two last time he faced the
Jets and has 12 rushing touchdowns total, but you want no part
of Newton or this entire passing attack. Somehow, Newton and Stidham
combined for just 78 passing yards in extreme negative game script
last week. Jakobi Meyers led the team with six targets. If you
must pick someone from this game, it’s Meyers. N’Keal
Harry is a bust and Damiere Byrd is just a guy.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: With Damien Harris done for the season,
Sony Michel got another chance to be the primary back. He looked
better than he has his entire career but there’s still nothing
here for fantasy. The only Patriots running back that sees any
involvement in the passing game is James White, but it’s
not nearly enough to generate fantasy relevance. Michel would
need a touchdown to even be an RB2 and banking on rushing touchdowns
on a bad offense whose real goal line back is its quarterback
is not something you want to do. For what it’s worth, J.J.
Taylor looked better than Michel. Perhaps he gets an extended
look this week. Either way, this backfield remains the avoid it
has been all season.
Cowboys at Giants
- (Katz) Line: DAL -2.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Somehow, both NFC East games have significant
playoff implications. The Cowboys will play the Giants to determine
which team wins the NFC East if the Eagles beat Washington on
There are two paths of analysis here and it will be up to you
to choose which one you believe. On the one hand, the Cowboys
offense has been en fuego since Andy Dalton returned from his
concussion and stint on the Covid list. Dalton has thrown multiple
touchdowns in five of his last six, including four straight. The
Cowboys have put up point totals of 37, 41, and 30 over the past
three weeks. They scored 37 points against the Giants back in
Week 5 and Dalton took over for an injured Dak Prescott to lead
a game winning drive. By all accounts, the Cowboys are the superior
team and should have no trouble moving the ball and winning this
On the other hand, I’ve been a Cowboys fan a long time
and I’ve seen this play out numerous times over the entire
post Troy Aikman era. Whether it’s Tony Romo, Kyle Orton,
or Dak Prescott, the Cowboys find a way to not show up in these
games. In a must win last season, the Cowboys faceplanted against
The Giants allow under 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks
and are average against receivers. Dalton has been a legitimate
streaming option for a while now, but I would caution against
him this week. Amari Cooper has been reliable all season and is
coming off a 121 yard game, but he was only targeted six times
last week. Michael Gallup is getting more involved and CeeDee
Lamb is rising fast. Dalton Schultz is also good for a handful
of targets a week. There are a lot of options and it’s difficult
to know who to trust, especially in a game where you just know
the Cowboys are going to flop.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: One quality outing will not make me back
off my stance that Tony Pollard is better than Ezekiel Elliott.
With that being said, Zeke objectively played well last week and
actually had a strong fantasy game despite not scoring. The last
time the Cowboys played the Giants, Elliott scored twice and had
a strong game on the ground. One area the Giants struggle with
is defending running backs out of the backfield. The Cowboys would
do well to give Zeke another four target game like he had last
week. Pollard did play 47% of the snaps last week, but managed
just 12 yards on nine carries. He’s not anywhere near the
fantasy radar when Zeke is playing.
Game Thoughts: Week 17 will mark the first time since
Week 12 that Daniel Jones started a football game on consecutive
weeks. Jones hasn’t reached a 60% completion percentage
since Week 10 and his passing touchdown against the Ravens last
week was his first since Week 9. Jones is very clearly not the
answer at quarterback for the Giants.
Hopefully, he can continue getting the ball to Sterling Shepard,
who had his best game of the season last week with nine catches
for 77 yards and a touchdown. Shepard is the clear WR1 for the
Giants. He missed the last meeting between these two teams and
although the Cowboys defense has been much better lately, this
is still a secondary allowing nearly 40 fantasy points per game
to the wide receiver position.
After Shepard, it’s Darius Slayton playing the second most
snaps, but the targeting just isn’t there. Evan Engram had
a volume based day last week with 10 targets. He’s been
unreliable all season and will remain so this week. For what it’s
worth, he managed just one catch for 16 yards the last time he
faced the Cowboys.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The run of Wayne Gallman, RB1, has come
to an end. Gallman hasn’t found the end zone since Week
12 and hasn’t even posted RB3 numbers over his past three
games. He’s still the lead back and it’s not like
Dion Lewis or Alfred Morris are a real threat to do anything,
but the falling snap share and the constant negative game script
has worked against Gallman. The Cowboys allow about 19 fantasy
points per game via rushing and if the Cowboys fail like they
always do, game script won’t get away from the Giants in
this one, but Gallman is not someone you need in your fantasy
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the 4-11 Falcons close out
another disappointing season against Tom Brady and the playoff-bound
10-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With 326 fantasy points on the season,
Ryan is technically a QB1 as the No.12 quarterback in fantasy
football. Yet, anyone who has owned Ryan this season would agree
that he has been disappointing.
His 21.8 points per game are nearly five points per game fewer
than Ryan’s MVP season in 2016, and his 64.9% completion
percentage is his lowest since 2011. As bad as Ryan has been this
season, he did throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns two
weeks ago against the Bucs.
Tampa Bay is locked in as the No.5 seed and the top of three
wild card teams, making this a meaningless game. Bruce Arians
is on record saying he is playing to win and will not rest starters,
but don’t be surprised to see him pull veteran skill position
players fairly early.
The Falcons are just padding their stats. Calvin Ridley will
play and is a solid start as he looks to build upon his breakout
third season in which he has caught 82 passes for 1322 yards and
nine touchdowns in just 14 games. The Falcons clearly have a 1A
1B situation at wide receiver with Ridley and Julio Jones, with
the latter a possible cap casualty in 2023, if not sooner.
Jones is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury that
has kept him out multiple games. I doubt he will return in what
is a meaningless game for both teams.
Chances are if you made it to the week 17 Super Bowl and started
Hayden Hurst, you were a happy camper last week. Hurst’s
5/47/1 line tied with Eric Ebron for sixth-best on the slate and
came after more than a few disappointing weeks. The Bucs have
given up the 11th-most points to tight ends this season and are
not a bad matchup for Hurst and Ryan.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: After starting the season as a reliable
touchdown-scoring machine in his first season with the Falcons,
Todd Gurley ranks as the No.71 running back in total points over
the past five games.
To say he fell off the map would be an understatement. The former
fantasy MVP does not have a touchdown since Week 9 and has averaged
under three yards a carry during that span. The Falcons will likely
put Gurley out to pasture this offseason, and so should fantasy
Atlanta will use a combination of Ito Smith, Brian Hill, and
Gurley against the Bucs, making all of them un-rosterable against
a Tampa Bay defense that has given up the fewest points to running
Game Thoughts: For those fantasy managers who ended their
season in Week 16, Tom Brady proved to be a league-winner with
348 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in just over a half
of play against the lowly Lions. Brady hit Gronk for a pair of
touchdowns, along with a TD pass to both Chris Godwin and Mike
Evans, before sitting out the second half.
Head coach Bruce Arians said his team is playing to win, and
he plans on playing starters this week against the Falcons. While
we would like to take Arians at his word, it would not surprise
us to see Brady and the passing weapons for the Bucs play less
than a full 60 minutes in what is a meaningless game for playoff
As good as Mike Evans has been this season, with a career-high
13 receiving touchdowns in 15 games, he has actually averaged
a full point per game less than he did last year. However, the
most significant drop off in the Tom Brady era of Tampa Bay Bucs
football is Chris Godwin, who went from 13.4 points per game in
2019 to just 9.2 this year.
Rob Gronkowski ranks 10th in fantasy points per game with 6.8.
He has seven touchdowns dating back to Week 6, including two last
week against the Lions. Even if he plays in this game, it is hard
to imagine that he will play a full number of snaps. A touchdown
is certainly in play, and the Falcons are a plus-matchup for tight
ends as the third-worst defense in points given up to the position.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Ronald Jones missed the last two games
while on the COVID-19 list. In his stead, veteran Leonard Fournette
rushed for three touchdowns in those two matchups but failed to
impress with only 83 rushing yards on 23 carries. He did supplement
the poor rushing efficiency with some work in the passing game,
with 48 yards on six catches.
Rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn saw a season-high 15 carries against
the Lions and could be in line for a ton of work in this game.
Fantasy managers who are in a Week 17 Super Bowl will not likely
be open to starting him, but those playing DFS could give him
It is not a great matchup for running backs, as the Falcons are
29th in points given up to RBs. However, he is an inexpensive
play, and he could get a ton of action with Arians opting to rest
his veteran tailbacks.
Chargers at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: LAC -3.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Chargers rookie Justin Herbert broke Baker
Mayfield’s record for the most touchdown passes in NFL history
by a rookie and appears poised to run away with the NFL Offensive
Rookie of the Year award this season. He’s been a breakout
fantasy star this season and he’ll have one final opportunity
to play against the defending Super Bowl champions before he wraps
up an excellent rookie campaign.
Herbert has now scored at least 15 standard-scoring fantasy points
in 12 of his 14 starts so far this season, making him a remarkably
consistent fantasy asset and he’s likely to finish as a
QB1 for the season. His first start actually came against the
Chiefs - his Week 17 matchup - back in Week 2 when he threw for
311 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for a touchdown and
throwing just one interception. He’s a reliable fantasy
QB1 this week in what looks like it could be a shootout.
Tight end Hunter Henry is out and wide receiver Keenan Allen is
unlikely to suit up for the season finale which again puts the
team in an interesting situation regarding pass catchers. Mike
Williams would seemingly be the team’s top option but he’s
now had multiple opportunities to be the team’s top pass
catcher and hasn’t performed well enough to justify putting
into fantasy lineups. Instead it’s been Jalen Guyton and
Tyron Johnson who’ve out-performed Williams while unfortunately
not being reliable enough options themselves to really be considered
for fantasy lineups here in Week 17.
The Chargers passing game, without Allen and Henry, is too much
of a crapshoot right now and it’s something that should
be avoided from a fantasy standpoint.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: We’ve seen a reduction in touches
for running back Austin Ekeler in recent weeks which should have
fantasy owners a bit worried heading into Week 17, but he’s
still touched the ball at least 12 times in every game since returning
from injury so there’s still plenty of floor for him at
the moment. Combine that with legit double-digit catch upside
and Ekeler is a player who is a must-start.
Ekeler touched the ball 20 times for 148 total yards when these
teams met back in Week 2 which also happened to be Justin Herbert’s
NFL debut. That surprising circumstance certainly led to Ekeler
getting a higher-than-usual touch share, but that does give us
an idea of what Chargers coaches think about this matchup.
The Chiefs have been fairly locked in against opposing running
backs as of late, but there’s enough touch opportunity in
this one to consider Ekeler a strong RB1 in this matchup.
Game Thoughts: The NFL MVP race appears down to Aaron
Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, but we won’t see the Kansas
City quarterback this week as the Chiefs have locked up the top
seed in the AFC playoffs and will not risk injuries to Mahomes
or their other top offensive weapons.
Kansas City will instead turn to veteran backup QB Chad Henne
who does not have much fantasy value himself in this one. He’s
a low-floor, low-upside option who will likely be without both
Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as well, so there’s just not
much to be excited about.
If you’re looking for an oddball cheap DFS option who could
have potential for a decent target share then it would appear
that Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman will be Kansas City’s
top pass catchers this week. Neither player offers much in terms
of consistency, but they could both see high single digit targets
in this one and both players have shown explosive playmaking ability
in the past.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: With Le’Veon Bell also likely out,
Darrel Williams seems most likely to see a heavy increase in workload
this week along with Darwin Thompson. Williams actually carried
the ball 10 times for 46 yards while catching four passes for
27 yards this past week so it’s not like he’s a completely
new player in this offense, but Williams lacks the explosiveness
and pass catching prowess to really be an RB1 even in what should
be a decent matchup. The Chiefs offense without their starters
just isn’t likely to score a ton of points in this one so
Williams’ upside is limited. Nevertheless, he’s probably
going to touch the ball at least a dozen times so he’s a
viable Flex option or even a low-end RB2 if you’re in need.
Saints @ Panthers
- (Swanson) Line: NO -6.5 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints
head to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers
have been eliminated from playoff contention and have nothing
to play for, while the Saints are chasing home-field advantage
and a first-round bye.
To secure the top spot, the Saints need to win, and the Packers
need to lose for New Orleans to earn the lone first round bye.
For this reason, it is safe to assume that Sean Payton will utilize
Brees and the other starting skill position players to ensure
victory. However, it would not surprise us to see him rest starters
in the second half should the Saints take a commanding lead.
Brees threw for a modest 287 yards and two screws the first time
these two teams met back in Week 7. He also added one of his two
rushing touchdowns on the year to finish with 28.6 fantasy points.
Over the past five weeks, the Panthers have given up the 8th-most
points to opposing quarterbacks, including a combined seven passing
touchdowns and nearly 600 yards to Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford.
The problem for Brees and the passing weapons for fantasy purposes
is the fact that New Orleans has the league’s best rushing
attack, and the Panthers are one of the worst defenses at stopping
the run. It would not be surprising to see another run-heavy approach,
with Brees limited on his pass attempts and the team leaning on
Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, and Taysom Hill.
Another reason why Brees and the Saints passing weapons may disappoint
is a lack of a scoring threat from the opposing Panther offense.
Carolina will be without Mike Davis, and the team placed offensive
tackle Trent Scott on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
Tre’Quan Smith missed last week with an ankle injury and
is not likely to play, while Michael Thomas is still out and on
Emmanuel Sanders and Marquez Callaway will once again be the
primary wide receivers on Sunday for Brees, with the former garnering
more value for fantasy managers.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara proved to be a fantasy football
Thanos for anyone lucky enough to play him against the Vikings.
He set the modern NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in a
game against a Minnesota defense that was down a few key starting
linebackers and defensive lineman.
While we do not anticipate another monster game from Super Kamario,
he is a smash play this week against a Panthers defense that gave
up 145 and a touchdown to Aaron Jones two weeks prior and nearly
100 combined yards and a score to J.D. McKissic last week.
It is not really if Kamara will score, but rather, how many scores
will he log before he is rested by the coaching staff. There is
also the threat of a poaching TD from Hill or Murray.
Game Thoughts: Teddy Bridgewater’s first season
with the Panthers should be viewed as a success. Not just because
Bridgewater successfully returned from a gruesome knee injury
and played in nearly a full-season, but also because he proved
to be a viable starting QB in the NFL and someone you can stream
At 21.1 points per game, Bridgewater was better on a per-game
basis than Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield,
Philip Rivers. His five rushing touchdowns are just two behind
Lamar Jackson, and his completion percentage is nearly five points
higher than Tom Brady’s.
Chances are, if you made your fantasy super bowl in Week 17,
you have better options at QB than Bridgewater. Yes, Teddy two
gloves has been solid, but he is not someone you should start
in a game like this against a team like the Saints, who have been
playing much better defense over the four quarter of the season.
The Panthers will likely be on their fourth-string running back,
and three of their starting lineman from the start of the season
are out or on IR.
New Orleans did give up three passing touchdowns to both Patrick
Mahomes and Kirk Cousins in their last two games, but those are
high powered offenses with a full cache of starting weapons.
Both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson saw ten targets last week,
with Moore finding the end zone on an otherwise forgetful 7/39
day. Both are in play in this game. However, the most interesting
wide receiver to play is Curtis Samuel, who may see a ton of carries
at running back with Davis out.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Mike Davis averaged more fantasy points
per game this season than James Conner, Todd Gurley, Cam Akers,
and J.K Dobbins, and the veteran journeyman back posted his first
season of over 1000 scrimmage yards.
It was a great season for Davis, who did his best to fill the
void left by Christian McCaffrey and his many injuries.
With Davis doubtful with an ankle injury, the team will lean
on Trenton Cannon and Rodney Smith. Neither player is a great
option and should be avoided in season-long leagues, as the Saints
are one of the best run defenses in the league and give up the
second-fewest fantasy points per game.
The one player in the ground game that is worth a start is Curtis
Samuel, the Swiss Army knife player who is both a WR and a capable
running back. Look for Samuel to post around 100 total yards in
this game and garner his most touches of the year.
Game Thoughts: Coming off of a stinker against the Panthers
in Week 16, Aaron Rodgers was in complete control in snowy Lambeau
Field last Sunday night. He hit on 21 of his 25 passes for 231
yards, 4 TDs and an interception as the Packers rolled over a
talented Titans squad, 40-14. It wasn't enough to lock up the
top seed, however, so No.12 will go back to work this Sunday against
the Bears. Rodgers threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns against
them back in Week 12, but with a playoff spot on the line you
should expect a spirited effort from Chicago.
As with Rodgers, Davante Adams had a rough day against Carolina.
He responded in a big way in Week 16, catching 11 passes for 142
yards and three TDs while putting on a clinic in route running
and making contested catches. With Adams having a huge night and
the run game churning out yardage the rest of the team combined
for just 10 receptions, 89 yards and a score (to Equanimeous St.
Brown). Allen Lazard (2-14) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (0-0)
were nonfactors, and Robert Tonyan (1-17) saw his five-game scoring
streak come to a halt.
While this wouldn't be considered among Chicago's best defenses,
they still rank a solid 13th against the pass this season at 231.2
yards allowed per game. They could be down two CBs, however, as
neither Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) nor Buster Skrine (concussion)
have practiced in any capacity this week. While Rodgers and Adams
remain solid No. 1 options, Tonyan (5-67-1 vs CHI) has slipped
a bit to be a low-end TE1. Beyond that you'd be taking a shot
in the dark with Lazard or MVS.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Green Bay's backfield depth was on full
display last Sunday with Jamaal Williams (hip) inactive with a
hip injury. That pushed A.J. Dillon (21-124-2) into the No. 2
role, though he actually ended up getting a lot more carries than
Aaron Jones (10-94) as Dillon's fresh legs and bruising style
were a good fit for the weather. Williams appears ready to return,
which means we may see little of Dillon in Week 17. Although the
Bears allowed 182 rushing yards in Week 12 against the Packers,
the return of Akiem Hicks should help stabilize things. Consider
Jones an RB1/RB2 for the finale and Williams as a flex.
Game Thoughts: Even with the Bears scoring 30 or more
points in four straight games, Mitchell Trubisky has not posted
gaudy numbers. In that stretch he's averaging 250 yards, 1.75
TDs and 0.5 INTs per contest. He did throw for three TDs against
Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, but much of that came after
the game got away from the Bears which is not something they'd
like to see again. If you're in a two-QB league you could roll
with Trubisky as a decent QB2.
Allen Robinson caught 10 passes last Sunday, setting a new career
high for receptions (100) and pushing his season total to 1,213
yards,. He hasn't been as prolific in the red zone -- his six
TD grabs are second on the team -- but did score twice against
Green Bay. Robinson didn't practice on Thursday with a hamstring
issue, though the belief is they're just being cautious. Unless
something changes Robinson is a WR1. Jimmy Graham (4-69-2) is
coming off his best game of the season but still isn't a great
play. Cole Kmet (2-18) and Darnell Mooney (4-39) are names to
file away for 2021.
Green Bay's passing defense has been trending up for a while and
they now rank sixth in the NFL at 219.4 yards per game. An improved
pass rush explains some of it, as does the development of Darnell
Savage, who has four INTs in his last five games; two of them
came in the first matchup with Chicago.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: After averaging 76 total yards per game
over his first nine, David Montgomery has increased that to 138
combined in the last five. He has also scored seven TDs in those
five games after scoring just twice up until that point. The Packers
rank 14th against the run (113.1 yards per game), but they looked
good in slowing down Derrick Henry last Sunday. The addition of
Damon Harrison might also provide a boost. Still, given Chicago's
renewed focus on the ground game, Montgomery should be a borderline
Jaguars @ Colts
- (Swanson) Line: IND -14.0 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: The Jags head to Lucas Oil Stadium to
take on the Colts in what is a must-win game for Indianapolis
and a meaningless game for the Jags. The Colts must win and get
some help from the Titans, Browns, Ravens, or Dolphins to earn
a ticket to the postseason.
The Jags have already secured the No.1 pick in the draft, and
Jacksonville fans are already dreaming of sunnier days with golden
boy Trevor Lawrence under center.
Until then, they must endure another game of Mike Glennon leading
the NFL’s third-lowest scoring offense against one of the
league’s stingiest defenses. The Colts rank in the bottom
half in points allowed to all skill positions, including the 19th
most points to opposing quarterbacks.
Although Derek Carr, Deshaun Watson, and Big Ben each posted
three touchdowns against the Colts in the previous three games,
I doubt that Glennon or Gardner Minshew will have the same level
of success. Especially considering that rookie sensation James
Robison will not play in his second-straight game.
Both D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault scored receiving touchdowns
last week against the Bears. Chark has been a disappointment this
season based on preseason rankings and projections, but he could
continue his hot streak and score in this game as a boom/bust
Chark is listed as questionable with a shin injury, another of
many injuries that have sidelined the receiver this season. Mark
Long of the Associated Press reports that head coach Doug Marrone
is unsure if Chark will play, so be sure to check the inactive
report before kickoff.
Last week I wrote about how the Bears were the worst in points
allowed to tight ends, and Tyler Eifert or James O’Shaughnessy
could score a touchdown. Neither player saw more than 20 yards
in the best possible matchup. Avoid them in this game at all costs.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Dare Ogunbowale saw the lion’s share
of carries last week with James Robinson out with an ankle injury
and will likely be the main back again this week against the Colts.
Ogunbowale posted 78 yards on 17 total touches and no scores -
not exactly amazing stats, but it would have been a solid performance
had he reached pay dirt.
The Colts have done a solid job limiting fantasy production for
everyone not named Derrick Henry, who rushed for nearly 300 yards
and three touchdowns in his two matchups this season vs. the Colts.
No other player has more than 100 rushing yards or multi-scoring
games vs. Indy, which is an indication that Ogunbowale is not
someone you should have in your lineup in Week 17.
Game Thoughts: With 4,005 passing yards and 23 touchdowns,
Philip Rivers enters Week 17 as the No.18 fantasy quarterback.
His 19.4 points per game were his worst average since 2012 when
he threw for only 3600 yards.
At times, Rivers has been a streaming quarterback, but his low
passing volume and the fact that the Colts defense does not typically
force a ton of plays from the offense to keep pace limits his
The Jags present an excellent matchup as a unit that gives up
the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks, but they also
give up the fourth-most points to opposing running backs, and
head coach Frank Reich would like nothing more than running the
ball over and over again against the Jags.
T.Y Hilton is a top-5 wide receiver over the past five games,
with 408 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He is not likely
going to be peppered with a ton of targets in what could be a
low-volume game for Rivers, but he could be in line for a big
play or two.
Zach Pascal has been the team’s best wide receiver over
the past two weeks and is a great DFS play if he is matched up
against Barcoo. Pascal has three touchdowns and 143 yards against
Houston and Pittsburgh in Weeks 15 and 16.
Starting CB Sidney Jones was placed on injured reserve with an
Achilles injury. Look for Rivers to test rookie Luq Barcoo, who
has just three games of action under his belt.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: It took a while, but rookie Jonathan Taylor
is finally living up to his early-round draft stock as the No.5
ranked running back over the past five weeks. Only David Montgomery,
Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, and Nick Chubb have more fantasy
points over that span.
Taylor saw 18 of the team's 26 carries last week against the
Steelers and scored twice. In this matchup against a Jags defense
that gives up the fourth-most points to opposing running backs,
I would be shocked if Taylor does not have a similar performance
with more yards.
Prediction: Indianapolis 34, Jacksonville 17
Titans @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -7.5 Total: 56.0
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill enters this AFC South showdown
against the Texans as the No. 8 quarterback in fantasy football
with 360.9 points. His 24.1 points per game are the most in his
eight-year career, with the former Dolphin setting career marks
in both passing and rushing touchdowns.
If you were fortunate enough to draft Tannehill late, you struck
gold, as he scored more fantasy points than other quarterbacks
who were drafted well before him, like Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan,
and Carson Wentz.
If the Titans win, they are in, while the Texans have nothing
to play for other than the part of the spoiler. In divisional
games like this, pride often takes over, and teams play up to
the level of their opponent. However, the Texans do not have the
defense to stop the Titans and Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill
and his receiving weapons are going to have a field day on play-action
The trio of Tannehill, A.J. Brown, and Corey Davis are all start
worthy and should be in your lineup. Davis disappointed last week
against the Packers, yet that goose egg had more to do with the
weather than anything.
An already weak defensive unit will likely be without starting
linebacker Whitney Mercilus and safety Eric Murray, who were both
placed on the COVID-19 reserve list following a positive test.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry nearly rushed for 100 yards
last week against the Packers in the frozen Green Bay tundra.
The fact that he did not reach the end zone he was likely a disappointment
for his fantasy managers, yet the 94 rushing yards in a blowout
game were impressive.
Now he gets the league’s worst run defense in a game in
which his team must win to move on to the playoffs. It will be
indoors in the climate-controlled NRG stadium, and the Texans
have already mailed it in. It is hard to think of a better situation
than this for Henry and his fantasy managers.
Perhaps the only thing to worry about is the possibility of the
team benching Henry in the second half. He appears to have the
rushing title locked up, and the all-time rushing record seems
out of reach.
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson suffered an ugly-looking
elbow injury last week against the Bengals. Interim head coach
Romeo Crennel said that if healthy, Watson would play despite
the fact that this game has no bearing on the Texans’ future,
aside from the fact that a loss would give them a higher draft
If Watson plays, he is a great start. The Titans, like the Texans,
are a terrible defense that provides ample opportunities to score.
Watson himself posted 335 yards and four scores against Tennessee
back in Week 6.
Brandin Cooks posted a monster 7/141/2 game against the Bengals
last week, making him a league-winning stud for managers who completed
their season in Week 16. Those still playing and those active
in DFS should give him a look in this matchup.
Will Fuller, Cooks, and Randall Cobb each scored a receiving
touchdown against the Titans back in Week 6. Both Fuller and Cobb
are out, making Keke Coutee, and even Chad Hansen, low-end WR
3 options this week, assuming Watson is playing.
Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil sustained a foot injury against
the Bengals and is doubtful for this matchup. His absence is a
great concern for the Texans and could be the deciding factor
for the team sitting Watson.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: It may surprise fantasy manager to learn
that David Johnson averaged more points per game in 2020 than
Kareem Hunt, Kenyan Drake, Ronald Jones, Melvin Gordon, and Todd
He was not flashy and did not look like his former league-winning
self, but he got the job done when he was needed most down the
stretch. He posted three-straight games of 10 or more fantasy
points, including 25.9 points last week.
Fire Johnson up against the Titans, a team that ranks 5th in
fantasy points per game to running backs.
Raiders at Broncos
- (Caron) Line: LV -2.0 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: Now eliminated from playoff contention,
the Raiders-Broncos game is simply for pride and potentially a
final hurrah for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Carr can’t
really be blamed for the Raiders falling short in Week 16 against
the Dolphins as he threw for 336 yards and a touchdown while also
rushing for a score, but he’s certainly a player who’s
on the hot seat headed into the offseason. A big Week 17 performance
won’t likely be enough to secure him the starting role in
Las Vegas for 2021, but it could make the team less likely to
invest significantly in his replacement.
Carr’s Week 17 matchup against Denver is one he should be
able to exploit from a fantasy standpoint. The Broncos have been
terrible against opposing QBs as of late. It is true that Denver
held Carr in check when these teams played back in Week 10, but
that also needs some context as the Raiders won that game by multiple
scores and were leaning heavily on their rushing attack to simply
put the game away. It was also the game which saw Drew Lock throw
four interceptions, so there just wasn’t much of a need
for Carr to throw the ball. The Raiders have been letting Carr
sling the ball quite a bit as of late so don’t look for
a repeat of that Week 10 game.
If Carr is allowed to throw more this week, as we expect, then
look for Darren Waller to continue to put up week-winning performances
for fantasy owners. The 2019 breakout tight end has now exceeded
100 yards in three of his past four games and he’s been
the team’s target leader by a wide margin. He’s a
matchup nightmare and has to be considered the top tight end on
the board this week.
Nelson Agholor and “consistent” should never be used
in the same sentence, but hey - it’s 2020 and things are
wild. The former consensus bust receiver has now gone over 20
PPR fantasy points in three of his past six contests and he’s
seen at least six targets in every game over that stretch. It’s
tough to ever really be confident in playing a guy like him, but
he’s someone who’s been producing as of late and he’s
clearly separated himself as the team’s top wide receiver
down the stretch. He’s still only a WR3 for fantasy, but
you could do worse if you’re scrambling for some upside
near the bottom of your lineup.
The other wide receivers on this roster including Henry Ruggs
III, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones are just not
seeing enough passes come their way to be real options for fantasy
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs owners have been fairly disappointed
as of late as the Raiders running back has failed to reach even
12 PPR fantasy points in three of his past four games, but it’s
tough not to be excited about this Week 17 matchup against the
Broncos. With nothing to play for, Denver has been really exploited
by opposing running backs throughout the second half of the season
and no player has done more damage against them this season than
Jacobs did back in Week 10 when he ran the ball 21 times for 112
yards and two touchdowns while also adding four catches for 21
yards. Backup Devontae Booker even had a huge game in that contest
as he added 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
While the gameflow in that Week 10 matchup was a bit unusual in
that it was a multiple-score lead for the Raiders, it’s
still worth noting that the Raiders had tremendous success running
the ball against the Broncos and will likely lean heavily on their
running game again this week. Consider Jacobs an RB1 in this one.
Game Thoughts: Another ugly passing performance from
Drew Lock has Denver fans calling for a quarterback change and
Week 17 may be the last time that we see Lock starting for the
Broncos. Fantasy owners will likely be happy to hear that as Lock’s
erratic play has really limited the success of rookie Jerry Jeudy
along with the other pass catchers in Denver, including tight
end Noah Fant. Fant has been pretty solid as of late, though,
having been targeted a surprising 20 times over the past two weeks.
He’s converted on 14 of those passes for 133 yards and a
touchdown which is not exceptional but it’s enough that
he’s probably Denver’s top pass catching option heading
into this matchup with Las Vegas and a low-end TE1 for fantasy.
Wide receiver Tim Patrick was, at one point, a viable fantasy
option but he’s now been targeted five or fewer times in
five straight matchups so that fantasy relevance has come to a
screeching halt. Jeudy has taken over as the team’s top
target-earner, including surprisingly seeing a career-high 15
targets this past week against the Chargers. Don’t look
for that type of target volume again here in Week 17, but Jeudy
was at least useful when these teams met back in Week 10 when
he caught four passes for 68 yards on eight targets, so he’s
a decent Flex option if you’re in need.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: With Phillip Lindsay on injured reserve,
we got our first glimpse of Melvin Gordon as the Broncos’
feature back in Week 16. He ran the ball 16 times for 79 yards
in that game and while he failed to catch a pass or score a touchdown,
he at least gave fantasy owners some hope heading into this final
week as he was by far the team’s touch leader out of the
Gordon has given us a few multiple-touchdown games this season
and that’s really been where he’s been a big fantasy
contributor as he’s not being utilized much in the passing
game, but he did have a season-high six catches when he faced
the Raiders back in Week 10.
Given his projected workload and the Raiders’ 30th-ranked
defense in fantasy points given up to opposing running backs this
season, there’s plenty of reason to have confidence in Gordon
in this game. Look for him to produce solid RB1 numbers this week
with a potential for multiple touchdowns.
Cardinals at Rams
- (Caron) Line: ARI -3.0 Total: 40.5
Game Thoughts: A tough road matchup against one of the
NFL’s best defenses would be reason enough to consider benching
Kyler Murray in your championship week, but add to it the fact
that the young scrambler is dealing with a leg injury that may
hamper his rushing ability and this may be the one time where
it actually makes sense to sit the fantasy football stud.
Murray performed reasonably well when he matched up against the
Rams back in Week 13 when he threw three touchdown passes, but
he only threw for 173 yards with an interception. Perhaps most
interestingly, he rushed for just 15 yards in that contest - the
fewest he’s had all season. With the leg injury rearing
its ugly head this is not a particularly strong matchup for Murray.
Murray remains one of the highest-scoring quarterbacks in all
of fantasy football so it’s entirely possible that teams
competing for a title in Week 17 just do not have another viable
option, and he’s still capable of producing big numbers
in practically any matchup, but just keep in mind that his upside
might be limited in this one.
To go along with the risks associated with Murray, top wide receiver
DeAndre Hopkins is also dealing with an injury of his own that
stemmed from a play near the end of the first half in Week 16.
While he’s expected to suit up, Hopkins’ hip is giving
him problems and he might be more limited than usual in this one.
To make matters worse, Hopkins will likely be shadowed by star
cornerback Jalen Ramsey who has been performing at an elite level
this season. Hopkins did have a solid enough day against the Rams
back in Week 13 when he caught eight passes, albeit for just 52
yards, but he did score a touchdown, so there’s some hope
that he’ll again be peppered with targets in this one. Do
understand that, like Murray, this is a tough matchup and Hopkins
does have a more limited upside than usual.
Other Arizona receivers are probably players to avoid again this
week. Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald just are not seeing
enough volume to justify having in your lineup unless Hopkins
surprises us and misses the game.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: He’s failed to reach even four yards
per carry in five of his past six games, but the Cardinals remain
committed to Kenyan Drake and he’s touched the ball at least
12 times in each one of those contests. That kind of workload
is difficult to come by in today’s NFL and in an offense
as good as Arizona’s it’s allowed Drake to remain
a strong fantasy asset even in spite of his lack of per-touch
efficiency. Drake has now scored six touchdowns in his past six
contests, including one against the Rams back in Week 13, and
he should be in line for another strong workload here in Week
17, especially if Kyler Murray’s injury situation is worse
than the team is letting on.
With backup running back Chase Edmonds being knocked out of the
game in Week 16 and missing practice throughout the week leading
up to this game, there’s a possibility that Drake will see
an even larger share of the Cardinals’ backfield touches
this week than he typically does. His efficiency and this tough
matchup does make it difficult to rank him as an RB1, but he’s
a strong RB2 here in Week 17.
Game Thoughts: Thumb surgery will keep Jared Goff off
the field in Week 17 and the Rams will turn to backup quarterback
John Wolford. Wolford steps in with zero NFL experience in what
is a game with playoff implications. While Goff has been less
than stellar this season and has had plenty of moments where it
looks like the team should be looking to move on from him, at
least he had experience playing in this offense. Goff being out
puts a huge cap on the Rams offense here in Week 17 against the
Cardinals, a team that he threw for 351 yards against earlier
To make matters worse, the Rams will also be without wide receiver
Cooper Kupp who was added to the team’s COVID-IR list on
Tuesday. Kupp will likely be replaced in the lineup by a few different
players, but look for Josh Reynolds and rookie Van Jefferson to
see the biggest bumps in playing time. Neither player has been
consistent enough to warrant a fantasy start themselves in traditional
leagues, but both could be cheap dart throws in DFS.
The player who should see the biggest increase in work would be
wide receiver Robert Woods who was already the team’s highest-scoring
receiver prior to this news. Woods caught 10 passes for 85 yards
when he faced the Cardinals back in Week 13 so look for him to
be heavily targeted again in this one. Don’t be scared off
by a matchup with Patrick Peterson as Peterson has not been the
lockdown corner that we’ve seen from him in years past.
Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett could both be in line
for a big of a target share boost in this one as well, but they
cannibalize one another too much in this offense to make either
of them worthy of trusting in your fantasy championship.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: The Rams placed Darrell Henderson on season-ending
IR this week which would seemingly lead the way for Cam Akers
to again take over the primary role in the backfield here in Week
17, but the rookie is dealing with an ankle injury himself and
appears to be trending toward being inactive in this contest.
If that happens, look for the Rams to turn to veteran Malcolm
Brown to take the lion’s share of the backfield touches
in this matchup.
Brown himself has been dealing with a shoulder injury but he’s
been practicing, albeit in limited capacity, this week and appears
to be ready to suit up. This may be a low-upside offense here
in Week 17 as the team will be without quarterback Jared Goff,
but that could also mean more touches for whoever ends up being
the lead back. If it’s Brown, consider him a solid RB2 this
week as the Cardinals rank as a top 10 matchup on the year for
running backs and are coming off a Week 16 disaster wherein they
gave up 204 total yards and a touchdown to San Francisco’s
Seahawks at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SEA -6.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: A short rushing touchdown helped save
Russell Wilson from another otherwise mediocre fantasy performance
this past week. The Seahawks QB has now failed to reach 23 standard-scoring
fantasy points in eight straight contests after doing so in six
of his first seven games to start the 2019 season. While he’s
maintained a decent enough floor to make him not look like a complete
disaster, the second half of the season has lacked the upside
for Wilson to even finish as a QB1 most weeks.
Now in an important Week 16 matchup he’ll face a 49ers defense
that he lit up for four touchdowns and 261 yards through the air
back in Week 8. The Seahawks haven’t been passing nearly
as frequently lately as they were earlier in the season, but Wilson
does know this defense and it’s a matchup he’s capable
of exploiting. It’s a good enough situation that he should
still be considered a low-end QB1 even though he’s barely
holding onto that designation.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Tyler Lockett has now failed to reach
even 13 PPR fantasy points in eight of his past nine games. He
was one of the highest floor/upside combination receivers in the
league early in the year, but his production has really tanked
since Wilson’s production has dropped off in the second
half of the season. Lockett had just four catches for 33 yards
on five targets when these teams met back in Week 8, so don’t
expect much here. Continue to view Lockett as a low-end WR3/Flex
DK Metcalf remains one of the most consistent fantasy receivers
this season and his production hasn’t dropped off significantly
even with Wilson’s struggles. Metcalf has only failed to
reach 11 PPR fantasy points in three games this season while he’s
exceeded 18 points in eight games. He absolutely torched the 49ers
for 12 catches, 161 yards and two touchdowns on a whopping 5 targets
when these teams met back in Week 8, so feel confident putting
him in your lineup again this week. His combination of floor and
upside makes him an ideal WR1 for this Week 17 matchup.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: With just four total touches over his past
two games, Carlos Hyde has been all but phased out of the Seattle
offense down the stretch, leading the way for Chris Carson to
take over his role as the team’s top running back once again.
Carson has now touched the ball 36 times over the past two weeks
and while his results haven’t been great due to his lack
of touchdown scoring, he’s a strong bet to see upper-double-digit
touches again this week in what could be a game that Seattle controls.
Carson missed the earlier matchup between these teams in Week
8, but it was DeeJay Dallas who carries the majority of the workload
in that game, rushing the ball 18 times while catching five passes
and scoring two touchdowns. Look for Seattle to lean on their
back heavily again in this one and Carson is a low-end RB1 in
this matchup given his touch floor.
Game Thoughts: He hasn’t yet thrown for even 200
yards in a game this season, but C.J. Beathard does appear to
be the stronger quarterback for the 49ers between he and Nick
Mullens. While San Francisco has nothing left to play for this
season, don’t tell their players that as they surprised
the Cardinals this past week in a road victory and appear to still
be very interested in playing spoiler to their divisional foes.
They’ll have another opportunity to do so this week against
Beathard threw for three touchdown passes this past week, but
he’ll now be without top wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and
Deebo Samuel. He will, however, have George Kittle back as the
tight end made his return to the lineup in Week 16 when he caught
four passes for 92 yards. Kittle is really the only player in
this San Francisco passing game worth considering for fantasy
purposes, but he showed this past week that he’s back to
being a big time playmaker so he should be viewed as a high-end
TE1 once again.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The lead back role in the San Francisco
offense has been a fantasy goldmine for the past few seasons and
it continued this past week when Jeff Wilson demolished the Cardinals
for over 200 total yards and a receiving touchdown. Wilson appears
to be in line to see the majority of the backfield opportunities
once again this week and should be viewed as a strong RB2 in this
Seattle hasn’t been particularly good against opposing running
backs as of late, having given up big days to Wayne Gallman, Alfred
Morris and J.D. McKissic in recent weeks. They’ve been solid
against the position overall this season but a higher-than-usual
workload for Wilson should mean a solid floor for him in this
at Eagles - (Katz) Line: WAS -2.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: No matter what happens in the Cowboys-Giants
game, Washington controls its own destiny. Win and in. It seems
simple enough, but this is a team that was forced to start and
bench Dwayne Haskins on three separate occasions. Haskins is now
unemployed and has likely thrown his last NFL pass.
It feels like Washington will send out Alex Smith even at less
than 100%, but given what Smith went through with his leg the
past two years, even with a playoff berth on the line, they may
exercise extreme caution. While Taylor Heinicke is exponentially
better at football than Haskins, he is a definitive downgrade
from Smith. Whomever starts at quarterback will almost certainly
be without Terry McLaurin, who sure looks like he is dealing with
a high ankle sprain. With McLaurin out, Logan Thomas has vacuumed
up a whopping 28 targets over the past two weeks. The Eagles struggle
against the tight end so this is a great matchup for Thomas to
see another double digit target count.
Cam Sims was the de facto WR1 last week. He saw nine targets,
but he caught just three of them. That’s a combination of
Sims not being anything special and Haskins being a special kind
of terrible. With Smith, Sims may be worth a sneaky cheap start.
With Heinicke, discretion is the better part of valor. The other
Sims, Steven, also started in two receiver sets, but he still
played just 65% of the snaps. You can safely ignore him.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Antonio Gibson returned last week, but
played just 30% of the snaps. With Washington trailing throughout,
they leaned on J.D. McKissic, who only carried the ball four times,
but was targeted 10 times. McKissic is game script dependent,
especially with Gibson back in the lineup. With Washington on
the road and possibly starting Heinicke, McKissic probably has
the slight edge over Gibson this week. The Eagles have not been
kind to receiving backs, but McKissic is like a quasi-wide receiver,
especially given the lack of talent at the position with McLaurin
out. As for Gibson, his snap share should increase, but you’re
probably hoping he punches in a short touchdown.
Game Thoughts: Jalen Hurts has shown enough the past
three weeks to warrant a full season’s look as the starter.
From a fantasy perspective, there’s nothing more we need
to see – he’s a locked in QB1. Hurts did not have
his best game last week and still reached 20 fantasy points because
of his rushing. Hurts has rushed for 69, 63, and 106 yards in
his three starts.
Washington allows just 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks,
but Hurts’ rushing ability makes him matchup proof. Unfortunately,
there’s not any clear pass catcher to pair with Hurts. No
Eagle caught more than three passes last week. DeSean Jackson
had a vintage 81-yard bomb touchdown, but wasn’t targeted
the rest of the game and he hasn’t practiced as of Thursday.
Zach Ertz and Jalen Reagor tied for the team lead with seven
targets each, but both only caught three for 33 and 30 yards respectively.
Dallas Goedert played a season low 56% of the snaps, which is
very discouraging, and also didn’t practice as of Thursday.
He may not play. Meanwhile, Greg Ward was actually the leader
in snaps at 90%. Washington is the best team in the league at
defending the slot, so don’t get any ideas with Ward. Basically,
it’s Hurts or bust here.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders has been a true workhorse
the past three weeks, averaging about an 80% snap count. Last
week, he salvaged his day with a touchdown, but he just hasn’t
really gotten much going on the ground outside of a long touchdown
run three weeks ago. Sanders is averaging 18 touches a game over
his past three games and that type of volume combined with Sanders
being a decent running back puts him in the must start category,
even against a defense that allows fewer than 20 fantasy points
per game to the running back position. Boston Scott has been relegated
to pure backup.