If you're reading this, you either still have a league championship this weekend, really love fantasy football or you're wading into the Daily Fantasy waters. Week 17 can be a weird week with players resting and some being shut down – and we don’t have many games where both teams are playing for something - so we’ll navigate all of that in this slightly abbreviated version of this column.
As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.
Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. Remember, you control your own team. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 17 games with a PPR light…
Packers @ Lions
|45.9%||30||Opp. Rush %||41.6%||12|
|54.1%||3||Opp. Pass %||58.4%||21|
- All eight of Brett Hundley's touchdown passes have come on the road this season.
- Jamaal Williams played a season-high 93 percent of the snaps last week.
- In the nine games since their Week 7 bye, Detroit has allowed 151.2 yards from scrimmage and 27.9 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.
- Over that span, they have allowed 12 top-20 scoring running backs and 11 touchdowns to the position.
- Matthew Stafford has thrown multiple touchdown passes in six consecutive games versus the Packers, tied for the longest streak for an opponent in Green Bay history.
- Eric Ebron leads all tight ends with 20 receptions over the past three weeks, while ranking second in targets (28) and receiving yards (210) over that span.
- Over that timeframe Ebron has received 23.2 percent of the team targets over the past three weeks after just 12.6 on the season prior.
- Over that same time, Marvin Jones has received just 12.5 percent of the team targets (after 20.5 percent prior) and Golden Tate 17.9 percent (after receiving 21.7 percent prior).
Trust: Marvin Jones (he’s not getting the volume he was in the middle of the season, but has tormented the Packers with lines of 6-205-2, 5-76-0 and 7-107-2 in his three games versus them with the Lions)
Bust: DET RBs (the three-way split here between Tion Green, Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah went 7-11-7 last week, which is enough to leave this group alone considering collectively this is the worst rushing team in the NFL), Brett Hundley (he’s been “better” on the road, but is still sporting a 4.4 Y/A over his past three games, which is far too shallow to buy in on), Randall Cobb (he’s the only Packers’ wideout you can have any type of floor expectations for based on short receptions, but is averaging just 30.6 yards per game over his past five starts with Hundley under center)
Reasonable Return: Matthew Stafford (he has limped to the finish line here with five straight weeks at QB15 or lower, but is at home indoors against a pass defense that has allowed 16 or more points to opposing passers in seven of their past nine games), Golden Tate (he’s slowed down along with Stafford, but should be bounce back against a defense he’s posted back to back WR1 scoring weeks against), Eric Ebron (I do believe that both Jones and Tate bounce back to close the season, but just keep riding the wave with Ebron while the Packers have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends over the past four weeks), Jamaal Williams (the only trepidation with Williams is that he’s attached to a significant road dog, but after back to back tough draws against Carolina and Minnesota, he gets a run defense that has gotten smashed by opposing backs since their bye), Kenny Golladay (he's a deeper play because as mentioned, I believe Tate and Jones rebound here, but he played a season-high 95 percent of the team snaps last and saw eight targets while he's also not a victim if the Lions pull the rug out on the starters here)
Jaguars @ Titans
|41.9%||14||Opp. Rush %||38.0%||3|
|58.1%||19||Opp. Pass %||62.0%||30|
- The Jaguars have scored 30 or more points in four straight games, their longest streak as a franchise.
- The Jaguars allowed four touchdowns on 11 plays inside of their own 10-yard line last week after allowing just six touchdowns on 18 plays inside of their 10-yard line all season prior.
- Tennessee ranks sixth in the league in yards per play at home (5.8) while ranking 26th on the road (4.7).
- The Titans are the only team in the league with more rushing touchdowns (18) than passing touchdowns (13).
- Marcus Mariota's 2.8 percent touchdown rate ranks 38th in the league after ranking fourth in the NFL with a 5.5 percent touchdown rate over his first two seasons.
- Derrick Henry has double the runs (18) of 10 or more yards compared to DeMarco Murray (nine) on 36 fewer rushing attempts on the season.
Rest Alert: The Jaguars are locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Doug Marrone has claimed the Jaguars will treat this like any other game, but all Jaguars could be potentially compromised to a degree if you’re using them in lineups.
Trust: Derrick Henry (with DeMarco Murray dealing with a torn MCL, he’s going to finally get a shot at a full workload and may do so against a defense that will rest players at some juncture of the game and even if not, has allowed seven top-20 scorers at the position since their Week 8 bye)
Bust: Marcus Mariota (he’s been a QB1 just three times all season and even with the possibility of Jacksonville resting guys along the way here, he’s been far too lackluster to bank on outside of wishful thinking), Rishard Matthews (even with Jacksonville playing their worst game defensively a week ago, they still weren’t damaged by wideouts and have allowed more than five receptions to just three wide receivers all season), Corey Davis (coming off his best game, it will be hard to chase that performance when his best path to production is Jacksonville pulling key defensive contributors)
Reasonable Return: Delanie Walker (his yardage totals have dropped three straight weeks, but targets should still be funneled in his direction given the matchup and he notched a TE5 scoring week when these teams last met back in Week 2), Blake Bortles (he’s been a QB1 in five straight starts and is the highest scoring quarterback overall over that span while the Titans are 26th in passing yards allowed), Leonard Fournette (he’s run for 3.2 YPC over the past six weeks, but has maintained his usage and scoring upside as he’s scored in three straight games with 21 or more touches in each of those games), Keelan Cole (he’s the first Jaguars rookie to every have back to back 100-yard receiving games and has four straight weeks as a WR2 or better), Dede Westbrook (he’s had just 6.9 percent and 14 percent of the team targets over the past two weeks, but still has managed double-digit points in four of his past five games)
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Bills @ Dolphins
|44.4%||25||Opp. Rush %||43.1%||18|
|55.6%||8||Opp. Pass %||56.9%||15|
- Miami averages 25.5 points per game at home as opposed to 12.4 points per game on the road, the largest gap in the league.
- Buffalo has rushed for 98.9 yards per game on the road (21st) as opposed to 149.9 per game at home (third).
- Miami allows just 71.0 rushing yards per game at home (fourth) while allowing 135.1 per game on the road (29th).
- In two career games visiting the Dolphins while with the Bills, LeSean McCoy has 37 total yards on 20 touches while having 350 yards from scrimmage on 71 touches in Buffalo.
- From Week 9 on, the Bills have allowed 179.4 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields, the most in the league.
- Over that span, backfields have rushed 248 times for 1,169 yards (4.7 YPC and 146.1 yards per game) with 13 touchdowns.
- Miami's three rushing touchdowns would be the fewest they've ever had in a season. Their previous low is five rushing touchdowns in 1966.
- At 895 receiving yards, Jarvis Landry needs 105 yards to avoid becoming the first ever wide receiver to record over 100 receptions in a season while failing to reach 1,000 yards receiving. Three running backs have reached those marks.
Trust: Charles Clay (his only TE1 scoring week since returning from injury came against the Dolphins, who have allowed the second-most receptions to opposing tight ends on the season), Kenyan Drake (his numbers were depressing last week, but is in for a bounce back spot at home against the league’s worst run defense over the past several weeks)
Bust: Kelvin Benjamin (he has double-digit points in two of his past three games, but is visibly running around on a hobbled leg, while he was shut down by Xavien Howard when these teams met two weeks ago), DeVante Parker (he’s bounced back with double-digit targets in each of his past two games, but you’ll need that game script to set up again as both came on the road with 49 and 38 targets available as a team while Miami played extreme catchup), Jay Cutler (he’s hit 15 points just three times all season while facing the defense that has allowed the fewest passing touchdown on the season)
Reasonable Return: LeSean McCoy (his unbelievably low numbers on the road in Miami are still part of a tiny sample that could just be variance, but the Bills have long standing been a better team at home than on the road over the past two seasons, which have impacted McCoy altogether), Tyrod Taylor (he’s been a QB1 in just one of his six starts on the road this year, but Miami has allowed 17 or more points to opposing passers in five of their past seven games), Jarvis Landry (his floor is among the league’s best, but I’d expect the game script to be more in check than when he tallied 10 catches when these teams met two weeks ago)
Bengals @ Ravens
|45.5%||29||Opp. Rush %||41.8%||13|
|54.5%||4||Opp. Pass %||58.3%||20|
- Since their Week 10 bye, opposing wide receivers have averaged 177.2 receiving yards per game versus the Ravens after averaging 113.1 per game over their opening nine games.
- Over that span, they have allowed five top-20 scoring wide receivers after allowing just three over their first nine games.
- Andy Dalton has thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in nine of 12 career games against Baltimore and in five the past six meetings.
- Bengals' running backs have rushed for 494 yards on 108 carries (4.6 YPC) and three touchdowns over their past five games.
- Over the 10 games prior, Cincinnati running backs rushed for 595 yards on 195 carries (3.1 YPC) and three touchdowns.
- Baltimore has allowed 77.1 rushing yards per game since Week 8, second in the league.
- Joe Flacco has been higher than QB15 in just three of 18 career games versus the Bengals.
Bust: Andy Dalton (his track record versus Baltimore speaks for itself while the highest a passer has finished on the road in Baltimore this year has been QB15)
Reasonable Return: A.J. Green (he has double-digit targets in three of his past four games and while the Ravens have been gashed by lead wideouts in the yardage department even prior to the Jimmy Smith injury, they still haven’t allowed a wide receiver to score a touchdown since Week 9), Joe Flacco (his history versus the Bengals is alarmingly poor, but he’s a big home favorite with a moderate team total, so I don’t want to leave him for dead while he’s scored 16.7 points or more in each of his past four starts), Alex Collins (he’s shown the past two weeks that he still needs to find the end zone to hit his apex, but even without the trips to the paint, has been the RB29 in each of his past two games while the Bengals have allowed double-digit points to 15 backs since their Week 6 bye), Giovani Bernard (he has double-digit points in each of his past four games and with Joe Mixon likely sidelined to close the year, Bernard will continue to be a useful option, even in a tougher matchup), Mike Wallace (it’s not flashy, but he’s averaged 11.4 points per game over his past eight games with WR3 or better finishes in six of those weeks)
Bears @ Vikings
|42.3%||16||Opp. Rush %||38.7%||5|
|57.7%||17||Opp. Pass %||61.4%||28|
- The Vikings have allowed a league-low eight touchdowns at home this season.
- Minnesota is allowing just 58.6 rushing yards per game at home this season, the fewest in the league.
- Jordan Howard scored 94.9 points with four RB1 scoring weeks and six touchdowns over his four games versus the AFC North this season while scoring 102.2 with two RB1 weeks and two touchdowns over his other 11 games played.
- After having at least five receptions in each of his first 11 games played, Adam Thielen has four or fewer catches in three of his past four games.
- Stefon Diggs has 25.5 percent of the team targets over the past three games after receiving 16.3 percent of the targets over his previous six games played.
Bust: Jordan Howard (he’s alternated high scoring weeks with duds all season long and runs into the league’s stingiest run defense at home in a must win game to secure a first-round bye), Mitchell Trubisky (no quarterback has finished higher than QB16 in Minnesota), Case Keenum (he’s a floor play at best this week as the Vikings should control the game without asking him to do a lot while the Bears have been a fantasy defense that have limited opposing passers, allowing just four QB1 weeks on the season), Kyle Rudolph (he’s run just 11 and 16 pass routes the past two weeks as he deals with a knee injury, leaving him as untrustworthy for use in lineups), Kendall Wright (the Vikings haven’t allowed an opposing wide receiver to catch five passes or hit 60-yards receiving in a game over any of their past four games)
Reasonable Return: Jerick McKinnon (he had just eight touches last week, which was his lowest total in a game since Dalvin Cook was lost for the season, but the Bears are 21st in receptions in allowed to running backs, which can give McKinnon a higher floor than Murray), Stefon Diggs / Adam Thielen (both are in the fringe WR2/WR3 mix this week as the Bears haven’t allowed a top-30 receiver in any of their past three games and we’re not expecting Keenum to post high totals here), Latavius Murray (he needs a touchdown to hit value, averaging just 6.9 points per game in games in which he failed to reach the end zone since taking over in the backfield, but as a lead back attached to a huge home favorite, he’s hard to ignore completely)
Panthers @ Falcons
|37.1%||2||Opp. Rush %||40.5%||8|
|62.9%||31||Opp. Pass %||59.5%||25|
- Cam Newton is averaging 8.5 rushing points over his past 10 games, which would rank 13th among all running backs for the season.
- Atlanta is allowing 83.8 rushing yards per game over the past five weeks (third) after allowing 115.9 per game prior.
- Carolina passes 66.2 percent of their plays on the road as opposed to 53.3 percent at home, the largest gap in the league.
- Devin Funchess has just 11 receptions for 149 yards on 22 targets over his past four games after catching 17-of-25 targets for 286 yards over his first three games after the Kelvin Benjamin trade.
- Carolina is allowing a league-low 84.4 rushing yards per game on the road.
- Since their Week 11 bye, the Panthers are allowing 302.6 yards per game to opposing passers, the most in the league.
- Over that span, opposing wide receivers have put up 14.4 receptions for 229.8 yards per game receiving with eight touchdowns, all league highs over that span.
Trust: Cam Newton (Atlanta has allowed the third-most rushing points to opposing quarterbacks while allowing a QB1 in seven of their past 10 games), Julio Jones (Carolina has struggled versus opposing WR1s over the back half of the season, including allowing 6-118 to Jones when these teams met earlier in Carolina)
Bust: Jonathan Stewart (he needs a touchdown to be viable and the Falcons have been sound versus the running game from opposing backfields), Greg Olsen (he is a threat to score against an Atlanta team that has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three of their past five games, but can’t be counted on for a lot of production as he’s now gone over 27 yards in just one of six games on the season), Tevin Coleman (you need a touchdown from him as he’s getting just 9.9 touches per game with Freeman in the lineup and has two or fewer catches in nine of 15 games), Devonta Freeman (he’s had more than 15 touches in just one of his past eight games playing with Coleman while the Panthers have allowed just three backs to reach 70 yards rushing all season)
Reasonable Return: Christian McCaffrey (he posted 94 yards from scrimmage when these teams met in Week 9 while the Falcons are 31st in receiving points allowed to running backs), Devin Funchess (he’s dealing with a shoulder injury and a loss of targets, but he’s still the favorite from this receiving unit to score a touchdown while Atlanta has allowed five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over their past three games), Matt Ryan (his highest scoring game of the season came when these teams first played while the Panthers are allowing opposing passers to throw for 8.1 yards per attempt since their bye), Mohamed Sanu (he’s only a WR3/flex option as he’s hit 50-yards receiving in just two of his past eight games with more than three receptions in just three of those games, but the Panthers have allowed double-digit points to multiple wide receivers in each of their past three games)
Texans @ Colts
|44.4%||24||Opp. Rush %||47.4%||32|
|55.7%||9||Opp. Pass %||52.6%||1|
- The Colts are last in the league with 0.8 passing touchdowns per game, their lowest total in a season since 1993 (0.6).
- Indianapolis is last in the league in red zone conversion rate (37.8 percent), their lowest rate as a franchise since red zone data has been tracked going back to 1994.
- Jacoby Brissett has been sacked a league-high 51 times, the second-most in franchise history behind Jeff George in 1991 (56).
- T.Y. Hilton has 1,117 receiving yards in 11 games versus the Texans, second all-time for a Houston opponent behind Reggie Wayne (1,636 yards) who played 24 games against Houston.
- Houston has allowed the most pass plays of 40 or more yards (17) on the season.
- The Colts rank last in the league in yards allowed per completion (13.0 yards) while Houston ranks 30th (12.7).
- The Colts are 20th in passing touchdowns allowed, but are just one of three teams that have not allowed more than two passing touchdowns in a game along with the Vikings and the Chargers.
- Houston has scored more than 16 points just once in nine games not started by Deshaun Watson.
Trust: T.Y. Hilton (as bad as things have gone, he needs just 48 yards to reach 1,000 yards for the fifth straight year. He has 23 percent and 36 percent of the team targets over the past two weeks, while the Texans have been not only vulnerable to him, but vertical passing options in general)
Bust: Lamar Miller (he’s been out-touched by Alfred Blue now in each of the past two weeks and has just 158 total yards over his past three games), T.J. Yates (we can sell the matchup here as the Colts are 24th in scoring allowed to opposing passers, but he’s now been the QB27 and QB31 in his two starts)
Reasonable Return: Jack Doyle (he’s never sexy, but continues to provide a safe bed of receptions as he ranks second for all tight ends with 76 receptions while Houston is 29th in receptions allowed to opposing tight ends), Jacoby Brissett (he’s faced a tough run of pass defenses over the past month, but Houston has allowed 15 or more points to 10 of the past 12 quarterbacks they’ve faced), Frank Gore (he’s averaged 84.1 yards from scrimmage over his past eight games with RB2 or better scoring weeks in six of those games), Will Fuller (with DeAndre Hopkins not expected to play, Fuller will be in line for a target spike against a secondary that has allowed the highest rate of receptions to fo for 20 plu syards on the season)
Saints @ Buccaneers
|New Orleans||Rank||@||Tampa Bay||Rank|
|41.0%||11||Opp. Rush %||43.4%||20|
|59.0%||22||Opp. Pass %||56.6%||13|
- The Saints have allowed 1.6 offensive touchdowns on the road this season (second in the league), the second-fewest per game they've allowed in franchise history (1.4 in 1991).
- Tampa Bay has scored 21 points or fewer in five straight games for the first time since Winston's rookie season.
- New Orleans is allowing opposing passers to throw for 225.3 yards per game when Marshon Lattimore plays as opposed to 256.5 yards per game with him out or forced to leave the game early.
- Jameis Winston has never finished higher than QB16 in five career starts virus New Orleans.
- The Saints ' 22 rushing touchdowns are their most in a season since 1979.
- Drew Brees' 4.3 percent touchdown rate is his lowest so far in a season since 2007, but his 8.1 yards per pass attempt are his highest in a season since 2011.
Trust: Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram (the Saints still need to win to secure a home game in the first round while the combo has accounted for 48 percent of the New Orleans yardage and 55 percent of their offensive touchdowns)
Bust: Jameis Winston (his history versus the Saints is poor and that largely came when they were the worst pass defense in the league while the Saints have smothered quarterbacks when fully healthy this season), Mike Evans (he posted his first 100-yard game of the year last week , but the Saints have allowed just two WR1 scoring week to an opposing lead receiver with Lattimore active since their Week 5 bye while Evans was held to a season-low 13 yards in the first meeting between these teams), TB RBs (they are still insisting on letting Doug Martin hang around for touches as opposed to just giving Peyton Barber the crux of opportunities down the stretch while the game script should force them out of the run regardless), Cameron Brate (we can keep clinging on to hopes of a touchdown, but he has just 14 catches over his past eight games and the Saints have allowed just four TE1 weeks on the season)
Reasonable Return: Michael Thomas (he played a season-low 64 percent of the snaps last week as he dealt with a hamstring injury, something the Saints will surely be cautious with to close the season, but Tampa Bay has been the premier target for us for wide receiver plays, allowing the most receiving yardage to the position), Ted Ginn (he has more than four receptions in just three games all season, but Tampa Bay is a target for us while they are also allowing a league-high 51 completions on throws 15 yards or further downfield), Drew Brees (the last time he was a QB1 was Week 11 and the last time he threw more than two touchdowns was Week 3, but he’s still attached to one of the highest totals of the week and has been just as efficient passing the ball as ever without the touchdowns), Adam Humphries (with both Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson injured and Mike Evans having to deal with Lattimore, targets should naturally find Humphries while the Saints have been the most vulnerable as a pass defense to interior receivers)
Browns @ Steelers
|45.4%||28||Opp. Rush %||40.8%||10|
|54.7%||5||Opp. Pass %||59.2%||23|
- The Steelers have scored on a league-high 53.9 percent of their possessions at home this season.
- Opponents are converting 68.2 percent of their red zone possessions versus the Browns into touchdowns, the highest rate in the league.
- At 406 touches now for the season, Le'Veon Bell is just the second Pittsburgh player to accrue over 400 touches in the regular season, joining Barry Foster in 1992, who totaled 426 touches.
- Ben Roethlisberger has thrown multiple touchdowns in seven straight games, the longest streak of his career and the longest streak in franchise history.
- Since losing Ryan Shazier, the Steelers are allowing 5.7 YPC to opposing running backs with five rushing touchdowns.
- In the 11 games prior, opposing backs were averaging 4.2 YPC with six rushing touchdowns.
- Duke Johnson's 68 receptions are the most ever by a Cleveland running back in a season, surpassing Greg Pruitt's 65 receptions in 1981.
- DeShone Kizer's 21 interceptions are the most ever by a Browns' rookie quarterback in a season.
- Kizer has the most games this season averaging fewer than 6.0 yards per pass attempt with nine.
Rest Alert: The Steelers are already planning on resting key startersm including Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. Even players such as Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster may have their days cut short.
Bust: Martavis Bryant (he garnered just 13 percent of the team targets and has had more than four receptions in just two games this season while the Browns have allowed just one reception over 30 yards to a wide receiver over their past six games), DeShone Kizer (he’s thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in every game but two as he’s leaned on his legs for fantasy production while the Steelers are 26th in rushing yardage allowed to opposing quarterbacks), Josh Gordon (his yardage has dropped in each of his four games played as Kizer’s accuracy and inefficiency has been a major hurdle for him to overcome in generating production), Isaiah Crowell (the Steelers have been slashed in the run game since Shazier was lost for the season, but Crowell is still at major risk to being scripted out at any moment as he has just one rushing attempt in the second half of games over the past two weeks)
Reasonable Return: Duke Johnson (the one positive in a sea of misery for the 2017 Browns, Johnson has double-digit points in six of his past seven games), Vance McDonald (if you’re going to target a tight end here based on matchup, McDonald has played as the primary receiving option at the position while Jesse James has been more of a blocking option when the two are available and McDonald should not be impacted heavily by a loss of reps), Isaiah Crowell (the Steelers have been slashed in the run game since Shazier was lost for the season and Crowell has decreased odds to be completely scripted with the Steelers playing backups)
Jets @ Patriots
|NY Jets||Rank||@||New England||Rank|
|44.0%||22||Opp. Rush %||38.5%||4|
|56.0%||11||Opp. Pass %||61.5%||29|
- Tom Brady has thrown an interception in five consecutive games for the first time since 2002.
- Rob Gronkowski has 32.2 percent of the New England targets over his past four games after receiving 19.2 percent of the team targets prior.
- The Jets allow 3.1 offensive touchdowns per game on the road, 31st in the league.
- Over his past four games, Bilal Powell has had a rushing attempt on 56.8 percent of his snaps after a 39.2 percent rate prior.
- The Jets are last in the league in points per play (.147) over the past three weeks.
- The Jets average 3.9 yards per play over that span, also last in the league.
- The Jets average 66 more rushing yards per game at home (141.6) as opposed to on the road (75.6), the largest gap in the league.
Trust: Rob Gronkowski (the Pats need to win to secure the No. 1 seed, so expect them to play this game straight up unless it gets out of hand. Gronk is on a complete tear right now with 94.4 points over his past four games while the Jets are 28th in touchdowns allowed to opposing tight ends, including a pair to Gronk himself back in Week 6), Dion Lewis (it’s possible that New England will ease off him as he’s coming off a career-high 29 touches, but even in a reduced capacity, the Jets have allowed 416 total yards to opposing backfields over the past two weeks)
Reasonable Return: Tom Brady (he’s been subpar over the past month for the standards he’s set, hitting 300-yards passing just twice over his past 10 games with more than two touchdown passes in just three of those weeks, but can still be counted on to a floor option against a defense that is 27th in passing points allowed to quarterbacks), Brandin Cooks (he’s had just nine catches over his past four games, but the Jets are prime slumpbuster as they’ve allowed WR1 scoring games to the past four lead receivers that operate primarily on the boundary), Bilal Powell (he’s the only Jet worth exploring as the Patriots are allowing a league-high 4.8 YPC to backs while ranking 25th in receiving points allowed to the position), Mike Gillislee (it’s likely that this game is in grasp and New England doesn’t want to pile on Lewis while they don’t have to, leaving Gillislee as an option to salt away the season)
Washington @ Giants
|44.1%||23||Opp. Rush %||45.0%||26|
|55.9%||10||Opp. Pass %||55.0%||7|
- The Giants are allowing 28.4 points per game at home, the most in the league.
- The Giants have a -92-point differential at home, the largest in the league this season and the second largest in franchise history behind the 1971 season (-98).
- The Giants have allowed 100-yards rushing in 13 games this season, the most in the league.
- The Giants are allowing a league-high 18.0 passing points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
- Since Week 8, Jamison Crowder is the WR13, ranking 11th in targets (66), 10th in receptions (44) and ninth in receiving yardage (615) over that span.
- Wayne Gallman leads all running backs in targets (24) and receptions (19) over the past three weeks.
- Washington is allowing 144.6 rushing yards per game over their past 10 games, 31st in the league.
Trust: Jamison Crowder (he’s turned in just one dud performance over the past eight weeks while drawing a team he put up 7-141-1 against in Week 12 that has been gashed by slot receivers)
Bust: Eli Manning (whether he plays the entire game or not, he’s scored single-digit points in six of his past nine games)
Reasonable Return: Wayne Gallman (he’s stacking consistent points in the receiving game that have led to three straight RB2 or better weeks while still getting 40 percent of the team carries against a weak run defense to contribute in the run game), Kirk Cousins (he has been all or nothing three weeks as a top-3 scorer over the past nine games with the other six at QB16 or lower, but he still has multiple touchdown passes in five of his past six games and the Giants have allowed multiple touchdown passes in seven of their past nine games), Josh Doctson (he still has yet to have more than four catches in a game, but the matchup is in place and he’s shown scoring ability with three touchdowns over his past five games if the catches ever do come), Samaje Perine (he has just 2.9 YPC over his past four games, but is still getting 19.8 touches per game since the injury to Chris Thompson against a soft defense)
Cowboys @ Eagles
|40.7%||9||Opp. Rush %||33.4%||1|
|59.3%||24||Opp. Pass %||66.6%||32|
- Ezekiel Elliott returned to play 66 snaps last week, the most he's ever played in an NFL game.
- Dez Bryant has gone 22 straight regular season games without reaching 100-yards receiving, the longest draught of his career.
- Bryant has scored a touchdown on 4.8 percent of his targets after scoring on 8.6 percent of his career targets prior to this season.
- Dak Prescott has been a QB1 in just two of his past nines and the QB17 or lower in seven of those games.
- Dallas is allowing a league-low 4.0 yards per play over the past three weeks.
Rest Alert: The Eagles have secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC and Doug Pederson has hinted that players may rest. All Eagles are off the table as a result.
Bust: Dak Prescott (eliminated from the postseason, Dallas has already hinted that Cooper Rush will get playing time this week), Dez Bryant (his disappointing season will come to an end as he’s had fewer than 20 percent of the team targets in four of the past five weeks with just 16 catches total over that span), Jason Witten (he’s been a TE2 in 10 of his past 13 games)
Reasonable Return: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas may protect him after such a heavy workload in his return, but he needs 120 yards rushing to get to 1,000 on the season, something within grasp)
Raiders @ Chargers
|43.5%||21||Opp. Rush %||43.1%||19|
|56.5%||12||Opp. Pass %||56.9%||14|
- Keenan Allen leads the league in targets (56), receptions (34), yards (515) and first downs (29) on third down this season.
- The Chargers are allowing 145.2 rushing yards per game in games in which Denzel Perryman has missed or left due to injury as opposed to 108.2 yards rushing per game with him fully active.
- Marshawn Lynch ranks fifth in the league in rushing yardage (467 yards) since the Raiders’ Week 10 bye.
- Oakland is last in the league in drives to end inside of the red zone at 1.9 per game.
- The Chargers are second in the league in allowing drives to reach the end zone at 2.3 per game.
- Derek Carr is averaging just 4.8 yards per pass attempt over his past three games after averaging 7.2 Y/A for the season prior.
Trust: Antonio Gates (he posted season highs across the board while playing a season-high 55 snaps and running 35 routes and this week gets an Oakland defense that is last in the league in receptions and receiving yardage allowed to opposing tight ends)
Bust: Derek Carr (he’s playing his worst football of the season the past few weeks and has been the QB20 and QB26 over his past two starts against the Chargers), Amari Cooper (he’s scored a touchdown in three of his past four games played, but the Chargers have allowed just two wide receivers to catch a touchdown since their Week 9 bye), Michael Crabtree (he’s gone over 52 yards in just one of his past seven games played with Cooper active and as mentioned, the Chargers are stifling scoring upside to wideouts)
Reasonable Return: Marshawn Lynch (he’s averaged 92.8 yards from scrimmage over the past six weeks, but touchdowns are still needed to get him to his ceiling as he’s been the RB24 or lower in all eight games this year in which he’s failed to score), Philip Rivers (The Oakland defense has allowed just 6.2 yards per pass attempt over their past five games, but much of that appears to be partly induced by the strength of quarterback play they’ve faced and Rivers has had one of the best fantasy floors of the season as he’s had at least 15 points in 11 of 15 games this year, tied for the second most at the position), Branden Oliver (we’ll revisit this if Melvin Gordon’s situation improves over the remainder of the week, but Oliver will inherit a major workload in the backfield with Austin Ekeler also wearing a cast on his left hand), Keenan Allen (he has double-digit points in six straight games, but Oakland hasn’t allowed a WR1 scoring week to a primary slot WR all season and just one top-30 week to players that work from the slot)
Cardinals @ Seahawks
|40.3%||6||Opp. Rush %||42.9%||17|
|59.7%||27||Opp. Pass %||57.1%||16|
- Russell Wilson has posted just 4.6 yards per pass attempt the past two weeks after averaging 7.5 yards per attempt prior.
- Since their Week 8 bye, Arizona is allowing just 74.0 yards per game rushing (second) and 204.9 yards per game to opposing passers (sixth).
- Seattle is last in the league with three red zone possessions over the past three weeks.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Patrick Peterson has defended the slot for a total of 27-of-453 snaps versus the Seahawks since the start of the 2014 season.
- In those seven games, Baldwin has received 26 percent of the team targets, posting 45 receptions for 634 yards and two touchdowns with at least 13 points in five of those games.
- With his 101st reception last week, Larry Fitzgerald joined Jerry Rice as the only players to have three straight seasons with 100 or more receptions after turning 30-years old.
- Fitzgerald currently leads all players in NFL history with 6.0 receptions per game after turning 30-years old.
Trust: Larry Fitzgerald (outside of DeAndre Hopkins, no receiver has done more with less this season and he has 38 targets over the three starts made by Drew Stanton, including catching 10-of-14 for 113 yards when these teams last met in Week 10)
Bust: ARI RBs (it’s a bad running game to begin with and it’s being split into three parts between Kerwynn Williams as the front man, Elijhaa Penny as the short yardage option and D.J. Foster as the receiving option), Drew Stanton (he’s been the QB18 or lower in all three of his starts), Jimmy Graham (he’s a threat to score a touchdown as he’s scored in seven of his past 10 games, but he’s had just eight catches over his past five games and has just two receiving yards over the past three weeks while the Cardinals are second in the league in allowing just 5.9 yards per target to opposing tight ends), Mike Davis (he’s finished higher than RB35 just once while Arizona has shut down opposing run games since their bye), Paul Richardson (he’ll draw Patrick Peterson the most of the Seattle wideouts), Tyler Lockett (he’ll have the opportunity to make plays with Richardson drawing Peterson most of the game and Graham all but disappearing from the offense, but Lockett has had more than two catches in just one of his past seven games)
Reasonable Return: Russell Wilson (he hasn’t played well the past two weeks and Arizona has gotten it together defensively since the bye, but they still allow the most rushing points to the quarterback position), Doug Baldwin (he’s been a strong part of the offensive success for Seattle versus Arizona in the past, but we’d prefer to hang our hats on more volume than the 5.4 targets per game he’s had over the past seven weeks)
49ers @ Rams
|San Francisco||Rank||@||LA Rams||Rank|
|46.4%||31||Opp. Rush %||40.4%||7|
|53.6%||2||Opp. Pass %||59.6%||26|
- The 49ers have scored on 57.5 percent (23-of-40) of their possessions in Jimmy Garoppolo's four starts, the highest rate in the league over that span.
- Garoppolo’s 1,250 passing yards are the most ever for a quarterback in his first four starts for a quarterback that has changed teams.
- Jared Goff's 23 passing touchdown increase from his rookie season is the third largest increase for a quarterback that has thrown 200 or more passes in each of his first two seasons, trailing Blake Bortles (+24) and Dan Marino (+28).
- Todd Gurley's 123.1 fantasy points are the most ever scored throughout the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) and his 94.6 points are the most ever scored over Weeks 15-16.
- Gurley joins Marshall Faulk as the only players ever to score 40 or more points in both Week 15 and Week 16 in a season, Faulk did it in both 2000 and 2001.
Rest Alert: The Rams are locked into an opening round home game and Sean McVay has already expressed interest in resting players.
Trust: Jimmy Garoppolo (he’s gotten better in each of his four starts with back to back top-10 scoring weeks while he may be operating against a defense missing several pieces), Marquise Goodwin (we knew last week would be a tougher draw for him, but he’s still had 27.3 percent of the team targets in Garoppolo’s starts and will get work in against replacement defenders)
Reasonable Return: Carlos Hyde (it’s possible that Matt Breida may get a longer look in the season finale, but Hyde still tallied 24 touches and 60 percent of the rushing attempts a week ago while the Rams wil be without Aaron Donald defensively)
Chiefs @ Broncos
|42.3%||15||Opp. Rush %||45.2%||27|
|57.7%||18||Opp. Pass %||54.8%||6|
- C.J. Anderson has 62.4 percent of the Denver rushing attempts over the past four weeks after having 45 percent over his previous nine games.
- Over that span, Anderson leads the league in runs of five or more yards (34), which are 40.9 percent of his carries. His rate of runs of five or more yards was 32.6 percent prior.
- Demaryius Thomas is averaging a career-low 11.6 yards per reception.
- This is the fourth consecutive season in which Thomas' yards per reception were lower than the year before and the third straight that his receptions (5.1) and yardage (59.5) per game decreased.
- Denver is allowing a touchdown pass once every 15.7 pass attempts, the highest rate in the league. League average outside of them is once every 24.9 pass attempts.
Rest Alert: The Chiefs are locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC and have already planned on resting players during the final week.
Trust: C.J. Anderson (he’s had 15 or more points in three of the past four weeks while the Chiefs starters are already 21st in rushing yardage allowed to opposing running backs and may not play at all or the entire game)
Bust: Paxton Lynch (he was such a nightmare in his first start of the year that it’s hard to have any usable expectations here regardless if Kansas City brings out their B squad or not)
Reasonable Return: Demaryius Thomas (the probability of facing backups has him in play, but managed a lousy 5-18-0 line in Lynch’s last start and has cleared five receptions in just two of his past 10 games)
Trust = Player to outperform baseline expectations
Bust = Player to underperform baseline expectations
Reasonable Return = Baseline Play that won't hurt you
**All Vegas Lines are taken from Yahoo listings on Tuesday Evenings