NFL Week 17 is often one of the more challenging weeks of the season for managers and for fantasy analysis, as many teams will sit starters or take them out of the game early on if their playoff fate is already decided. However, there are still intriguing matchups this week with teams fighting for their playoff lives, other teams jostling for playoff positioning, some Quarterback-Wide receiver tandems trying to build chemistry, and individual players on the verge of achieving significant milestones. Read on to find out what my best picks are for fantasy managers this week!
NFL Week 17 Quarterback Fantasy Analysis
Although there are some starting quarterbacks who will not be playing due to rest, there are still several good fantasy starting options this week, from dual-threat QBs to rookies with favorable opponents.
Lamar Jackson (Salary: $8,000)
The Ravens go into Week 17 fighting for a playoff spot, which means Jackson will certainly be playing and Baltimore will put it all on the line, unlike some other teams in the final week of the regular season. Jackson has been particularly effective running the ball as of late, being credited with at least 80 yards rushing in three of Baltimore’s past four games. Jackson also has accumulated eight total touchdowns over his past three games. Look for the Ravens signal-caller to continue that production this weekend.
Justin Herbert (Salary: $7,100)
Herbert is coming off of three straight good-to-great performances and is going up against a Chiefs defense that will likely be resting at least some starters. Go with the hot hand here, and the cupcake matchup is a nice bonus. Also, you will save salary at one of the more expensive positions, as Herbert is a relatively affordable $7,100. Given the performance, I anticipate, picking Herbert is an extremely efficient usage of your limited cap space.
NFL Week 17 Running Backs Fantasy Analysis
Derrick Henry (Salary: $9,400)
Yes, Henry is going to be expensive this week. Let’s get that out of the way here, right now. It doesn’t matter. There are several things going in your favor if you have Henry on your team this week. First, the Titans will clinch a playoff seed with a victory. Look for them to go to the best running back early and often, and to stick with him late in the game to run out the clock as I anticipate Tennessee with a two-touchdown lead late in the game against Houston.
Henry scored two touchdowns and ran for over 200 yards the last time these two teams played. With 223 rushing yards needed for Henry to eclipse the 2,000 yard rushing mark for the season, at the very least expect him to get close to that number, and probably add a couple touchdowns for good measure. In other words, expect a monster stat line.
NFL Week 17 Best Wide Receiver Matchups
Antonio Brown (Salary: $5,500)
Antonio Brown now has touchdowns in back-to-back games. Going into week 17, we must take into consideration that Tom Brady knows AB got a late start to the season, and I find it likely that Brady will try and give Brown a few extra targets to build their chemistry and get Brown into a rhythm going into the playoffs.
Despite the Buccaneers having locked up their spot in the playoffs, Brady is still expected to start, as Tampa looks to earn a matchup against one of the NFC East teams. Expect that streak to continue here in week 17 against a porous Falcons secondary.
Calvin Ridley (Salary: $8,500)
On the other side of this Tampa Bay-Atlanta matchup, we feature Calvin Ridley against an almost equally poor Tampa Bay pass defense. With Julio Jones having been ruled out of the season finale due to injury, expect Ridley to continue his efficient and productive ways of recent. Ridley has produced totals of at least 100 receiving yards in the last three consecutive games, all of which came without Julio.
NFL Week 17 Tight Ends Fantasy Analysis
George Kittle (Salary: $6,000)
I really don’t like signing tight ends that cost around or above the $6,000 mark, but I will make an exception here. Kittle is one of the best pure tight ends in the game right now, finally healthy going into a decent matchup against Seattle. With breakout star receiver Brandon Aiyuk out, there is also quality value in this pick, as you can expect Kittle to see a healthy dose of targets, even more than he usually does. Expect Kittle to see at least double-digit targets, and don’t be shocked if he records triple-digit receiving yards with at least one trip to the end zone.
Hayden Hurst (Salary: $3,700)
Hurst has had an up-and-down season, but he is coming off two straight games with touchdowns, and he has a quality matchup with a Buccaneers team that has allowed eight scores to tight ends this season. Go with the matchup here, and remember that Hurst also has the upside of possibly seeing more targets without Jones in the lineup. With all things considered, the fantasy analysis for Hurst is looking good, at a low budget.
Defense/Special Teams Best Matchups
Cleveland Browns – Versus Pittsburgh Steelers (Salary: $2,500)
My reasoning for this is simple enough: The Steelers are resting several key players in week 17, including at least quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey, and possibly several other offensive starters. Take the Browns defense to have a field day against Mason Rudolph.
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