With Week 16 in the rear view mirror, most head-to-head fantasy leagues have concluded. However, some leagues play through Week 17 and will find value in reading “The Dive” this week. With several games with temperatures forecasted in the 30s and 40s as well as the likelihood of several fantasy studs resting, Week 17 presents a variety of unique challenges for fantasy owners.
Take a dive with me as I discuss several players that you may need to count on for a Week 17 win.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ season has been a major disappointment as they sit at 3-12 heading into the final week of the season. Blake Bortles has been a fantasy bust for owners, but enjoyed his finest performance of the season last weekend when the Jags upset the Tennessee Titans with Bortles posting 325 passing yards passing and a touchdown. Bortles will battle the Indianapolis Colts, who allow the 7th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, in Week 17 and can be considered a low-QB2 with an above average matchup.
Week 17 forecast: 250 passing yards; 15 rushing yards; 2 TD
RB Bilal Powell
With Matt Forte out for Week 17, Bilal Powell will receive the bulk of the carries against the Buffalo Bills this weekend. Powell has averaged 116 total yards over the last three games along with 2 scores. Powell and the New York Jets will welcome the Buffalo Bills to town as they’ve given up the 3rd most fantasy points to running backs. In fact, Buffalo has allowed eight touchdowns and an average of 160 rushing yards per game. Start Bowel as a RB2/flex with a high ceiling.
Week 17 forecast: 100 total yards; 1 TD
WR J.J. Nelson
Arizona Cardinals’ second-year receiver J.J. Nelson has likely helped a few teams advance in the playoffs with his recent performances. In fact, Nelson has scored five times in his last four games, three of which were plays that generated at least 42 yards! If you are looking for fireworks in your Week 17 matchup, then start Nelson who visits the lowly Los Angeles Rams’ secondary. The Rams have been horrendous guarding wide receivers lately and allowed six touchdowns to opposing wideouts over the last two games. Look for Nelson to sneak behind the secondary and make another big play!
Week 17 forecast: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD
TE Dennis Pitta
Unlike the wide receiver we just discussed, this Baltimore Ravens tight end will not be providing fireworks to your team. However, he will bring some consistency, which has been challenging from the tight end position this season. Joe Flacco has targeted Pitta at least five times in six of the past seven games. With a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have surrendered the 4th most points to opposing tight ends, Pitta may be in line for a productive start. The veteran tight end has averaged almost 40 receiving yards per game against the Bengals during his career so look for another solid performance in Week 17.
Week 17 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
DST Oakland Raiders
After a rough start, the Oakland Raiders defense has been sharp over the second half of the season. They have generated at least two turnovers in every game since Week 9 while also applying more quarterback pressure, which has translated to more sacks. Oakland will visit the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos who have allowed double-digit fantasy points to opposing defenses in 8 of the last 11 weeks. With their playoff chances wiped away, Denver is expected to start Trevor Siemian while getting Paxton Lynch some work as well. Since Oakland still has a chance to secure home field advantage for the playoffs, they will not be showing any mercy to their division rivals who stand in the way. Start Oakland’s defense if your current defense has a difficult matchup or has been struggling of late.
Week 17 forecast: 11 points
Week 16 results…Not my best, not my worst!
Week 16 projection: 250 passing yards; 2 TD
Week 16 results: 322 passing yards; 2 TD 1 INT (good call)
Week 16: 80 total yards; 1 TD
Week 16 results: 56 total yards (bad call)
Week 16 projection: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 16 results: 38 receiving yards (bad call)
TE Dion Sims
Week 16 projection: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 16 results: 10 receiving yards (bad call)
DST Green Bay Packers
Week 16 projection: 12 points
Week 16 results: 8 points (ok call)