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THE DIVE: Week 17 “Trophy or Bust”

Did Santa Claus bring you a fantasy football championship trophy or coal last weekend? Or, does your league play into Week 17 for the championship game?   Whatever the case, Week 16 was packed full of highlight reels as well as major disappointments. Todd Gurley continued to make his case to win NFL MVP with a 276 total yards along with a pair of touchdowns, and helped many fantasy managers become victorious! This will likely be his season finale as he expected to be rested for Week 17. Running backs Dion Lewis, Giovani Bernard, and C.J. Anderson along with quarterbacks Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Blake Bortles also posted top fantasy performances, which likely helped their managers earn the coveted trophy.

Weather should be frigid and below freezing in this weekend’s games held in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tennessee, New England, New York, Philadelphia, and Denver so plan your lineups accordingly. Take a final dive with me in 2017 as we review several players and a defense that will help you bring home the title this weekend!

QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Although Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins failed to meet their expectations for 2017, they are finishing on a strong note. Washington will aim to win their third straight in Week 17 when they visit the New York Giants. Cousins has thrown 13 touchdowns over his last six games, and will be facing a defense that has allowed the most fantasy points including the most passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Start Cousins with confidence.

Week 17 forecast: 250 passing yards; 2 TD

RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Guess who’s back as the Cincinnati Bengals primary ball carrier? Giovani Bernard answered when opportunity knocked especially with his Week 16 performance of 168 total yards along with a touchdown. With Jeremy Hill done for the season and Joe Mixon battling both a knee injury and concussion symptoms, Bernard appears to be in store for another monster performance. He will battle the Baltimore Ravens’ defense who have given up the 13th most fantasy points to opposing running backs including six touchdowns over the last five games. Consider Bernard a low-end RB2 or Flex with a high ceiling this weekend, especially with the struggling passing offense.

Week 17 forecast: 100 total yards; 1 TD

WR Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars’ undrafted rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole appeared on the fantasy radar beginning in Week 13 when he scored a touchdown, but then “opened up shop” in Week 15 with a 186 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 15. Cole should be considered a WR2 or Flex for Week 17 when the Jaguars visit their division rival Tennessee Titans who have surrendered the 7th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Although Cole did little against Tennessee in their first contest in Week 2, he is now one of Blake Bortles’ primary targets and should have another gem!

Week 17 forecast: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD

TE Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins

Veteran tight Vernon Davis became the starting tight end after Jordan Reed was sidelined for the season, but had been relatively inconsistent despite the increased opportunity. Although he hasn’t topped 50 yards receiving since Week 11, Davis has scored in two of his last three games. With a matchup against the New York Giants’ secondary who has allowed the most fantasy points including most touchdowns to opposing tight ends, Davis should be a key target for Kirk Cousins this weekend.

Week 17 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD

D/ST Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs win the 2017 award for “Most Streaky Team” of the season.   After winning their first five games, they were defeated in six of their next seven games.   Today, they prepare to visit the Denver Broncos for Week 17 with a three game winning streak on the line. Although the offense has looked much better recently, the defense has been a key success factor with five sacks, nine forced turnovers, and limited opponents to 15 points or under over the last three games. Pick up Kansas City for an appealing matchup against Denver’s offense who has allowed the 2nd most points to opposing defenses.

Week 17 forecast: 11 points

Good luck in Week 17!

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.