For those of you with a Week 17 championship coming up and a waiver wire that is still open.. we dedicate this column to you! If you’re still playing fantasy football at this point in the season, be prepared. The players who got you to this point, may not be the players who will win you a league championship. It’s also very important to pay attention to any news involving many teams in this final week as some players will play very limited snaps while others may not play at all.
I also want to thank you all for taking the time to read our articles. I think I speak for the rest of the Sharks staff when I say we really appreciate your patronage and we hope you had another fun and successful year of fantasy football. This year was especially tough, and for me, fantasy football made it a lot easier to get through it. I wish you all good health and a Happy New Year!
RB Gus Edwards, Baltimore
Gus Edwards took over as the main running back after J.K. Dobbins left with an apparent chest injury and didn’t get another carry. He took 15 carries for 85 yards in the Week 16 contest and is now averaging 7.29 yards per carry over the last four games. If Dobbins doesn’t play, Edwards could be a goldmine of fantasy points with the opportunity he will receive.
Cincinnati will be the opponents for Baltimore in Week 17. In their last two games, Cincinnati has surrendered 84 rushing yards to Benny Snell and 128 rushing yards to David Johnson. On top of that, Cincinnati allowed 109 rushing yards to Baltimore in Week 5. Edwards has filled in well whenever the team needed him. You can find him on the waiver wire in 60-75 percent of fantasy leagues.
QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago
Chicago control their own destiny in regards to making the playoffs this week. Trubisky has been a considerable part of that successful formula after Chicago lost six straight games earlier in the season. Trubisky has thrown 10 touchdowns since retaking the starting role and also added a rushing score in Week 16. The added success of David Montgomery has allowed Chicago to have more positive opportunities in the passing game too, which Chicago will need this week.
Green Bay will be facing Chicago, and the Green Bay defense has been a tougher matchup for fantasy quarterbacks this year. In Week 12, however, Trubisky did throw for 242 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay. Trubisky is available in more than 75 percent of fantasy leagues.
TE Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota
Irv Smith Jr. was second on the team in targets with nine, only trailing Justin Jefferson by one. In fact, the Minnesota tight ends were targeted 15 times in Week 16. Without Kyle Rudolph again, Smith Jr. took another start and scored another two touchdowns. Tyler Conklin has also been involved in Rudolph’s absence but should not be considered for fantasy as Smith Jr. still gets the majority of targets and has better hands.
Detroit will host Minnesota in a Week 17 divisional showdown. Detroit has surrendered four tight end scores in the last four weeks, including two to Rob Gronkowski in Week 16. Smith Jr. has the size and potential of a top tier fantasy tight end as he continues to shine. He is more than 85 percent available in fantasy leagues.
WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City
Kansas City has locked up the first-round playoff bye going into Week 17. It’s very likely that the team will choose to rest some players for some, if not all, of their next game. Mecole Hardman was originally brought in to take the role of Tyreek Hill with his 2019 status in jeopardy at the time. Hardman makes big plays with his speed and agility and could find himself as the No. 1 target in the Kansas City offense this week.
Kansas City will host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17. While the Chargers have been a tough matchup for receivers this year, they did allow Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage to combine for 13 receptions and 206 yards in Week 14. If you’re looking for a big payout at wide receiver or flex this week, Hardman could be your man. He is unrostered in more than 70 percent of fantasy leagues.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay punched their postseason ticket after a one-sided victory over Detroit in Week 16. The game was completely out-of-hand by the second-half so Tampa Bay chose to bench a number of players. Vaughn took 15 carries for a respectable 62 rushing yards (he had only 11 carries on the season before Week 16). With no chance for a better playoff seed, Vaughn could get another hefty workload this week.
Atlanta will be the Week 17 opponent for Tampa Bay, making for a less than ideal matchup. However, Atlanta did allow Leonard Fournette to score two rushing touchdowns in Week 15. Vaughn is over 95 percent unrostered in fantasy. He’s a deep dart throw who could be a Week 17 savior.
WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
With season highs in targets, receptions and receiving yards, Sterling Shepard put up a very good fantasy day against a strong Baltimore defense. He scored and put up a team high 77 receiving yards on nine catches. Without Golden Tate (ankle) on the field, Shepard is the most reliable pass catcher on the team.
Dallas makes for a very favorable Week 17 matchup. Since its Week 10 bye, Dallas has allowed an average of six catches and 87.5 receiving yards per game to wideouts. The availability of Shepard falls between 40 percent and 55 percent in fantasy leagues. If the Giants are going to take the division crown, they’ll need to rely on Shepard to do it.