Monday - Mar 8, 2021

Home / Commentary / RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 17


Welcome back for the Week 17 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 17 game profile below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Browns Ravens
Quarterback 15th 30th
Running Back 11th 29th
Wide Receiver 11th 30th
Tight End 6th 11th
Defense/Special Teams 18th 26th
Vegas Line: Ravens -5.5
Vegas Over/Under: 40.5
  • None of note.
  • David Njoku – The Browns tight end went over 35 receiving yards last Sunday (3-73-1 to be exact) for the first time in a month. The Browns would be wise to attack the middle of the field with their talented sophomore tight end, as the Ravens allow the 9th-most receiving yards per game to the position.
  • Lamar Jackson – The Chargers held Jackson to his lowest rushing total as a starter (39 yards), though he was still able to throw for a career-high 204 through the air. Look for the young upstart to keep making plays this week in a game the Ravens need in order to make it to the postseason.
  • Gus Edwards – Since Week 11, Edwards is averaging 96 rushing yards per game, and has not carried the ball fewer than 14 times in any of those contests. Cleveland has allowed the 8th-most rushing yards to opposing backfields this season.
  • Ravens D/ST – Cleveland certainly doesn’t look like an offense to pick on with opposing D/STs in fantasy anymore. However, the Ravens are playing some of their best defensive football of the season right now, having limited four of their last five opponents to 17 points or less.
  • Baker Mayfield – Look for Mayfield to cool off after his smoking hot performance in Week 16. Baltimore has allowed the third-fewest passing yards and and just 1.2 passing touchdowns per contests this season.
  • Jarvis Landry – Baltimore allows the 5th-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts, and hasn’t let one score since Week 11.
  • Nick Chubb – Starting running backs have averaged just 45.7 rushing yards per game against the Ravens since their Week 10 bye.
  • Kenneth Dixon – A lost fumble in Week 16 isn’t going to help Dixon’s case for more touches.
  • Ravens Wide Receivers – No Baltimore wideout is averaging more than 4.5 targets per game with Lamar Jackson under center.
  • Ravens Tight Ends – Rookie Mark Andrews remains the most impressive of this group, but his timeshare with Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle does not appear to be going anywhere.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Dolphins Bills
Quarterback 14th 32nd
Running Back 5th 7th
Wide Receiver 23rd 30th
Tight End 12th 31st
Defense/Special Teams 3rd 2nd
Vegas Line: Bills -5
Vegas Over/Under: 
  • Bills D/ST – The Dolphins are the NFL’s third-worst offense in terms of total yards gained per game, and their offensive line is ranked 30th in pass protection per Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rates.
  • Dolphins D/ST – Both defenses are viable here, as the Bills are the NFL’s second worst offense in terms of total yards gained and points scored per game. Buffalo’s turnover differential is also the NFL’s fifth-worst at -8.
  • LeSean McCoy – He’s rushed for a grand total of 10 yards over the Bills’ last two games, however, there’s hope this week as the Dolphins have the NFL’s second-worst rush defense.
  • Dolphins Wide Receivers – Don’t expect much from this ragtag group, as the Bills have allowed the fewest receiving yards to opposing wideouts.
  • Dolphins Running Backs – Three different running backs carried the ball at least four times for Miami last Sunday: Kenyan Drake (6), Kalen Ballage (4), and Branden Bolden (4). Drake led the group in yards from scrimmage (54), but it was Bolden who cashed in a short yardage touchdown. The Dolphins run game has upside given the matchup, but picking the right guy is a crapshoot.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Eagles Redskins
Quarterback 6th 18th
Running Back 14th 19th
Wide Receiver 3rd 13th
Tight End 25th 24th
Defense/Special Teams 19th 8th
Vegas Line: Eagles -7
Vegas Over/Under: 
  • Eagles D/ST – The Redskins offense is averaging just 15.3 points per game over their last four.
  • Nick Foles – Went ballistic with 471 passing yards and four touchdowns last Sunday against the Texans, as Foles seems to be channeling 2017 all over again. Washington’s pass defense has allowed the 11th-most passing yards per game, and they just parted ways with their most talented safety in D.J. Swearinger (management decision).
  • Zach Ertz – The best fantasy performance of the season by a tight end against Washington actually came from Ertz in Week 13 (9-89-0). With 113 catches on the season, Ertz has broken Jason Witten‘s NFL record of 110.
  • Alshon Jeffery – He’s put up 282 receiving yards in two games with Foles under center.
  • Jamison Crowder – He’s averaging 70.3 receiving yards per game with a touchdown in three contests with Josh Johnson under center for Washington. While it’s been a down year overall for the 4th-year wideout, opportunity should be aplenty against the Eagles’ patchwork secondary.
  • Golden Tate – Since going 7-85-1 against Washington in Week 13, Tate has averaged just 21 receiving yards per contest over the Eagles’ last three.
  • Eagles Running Backs – Darren Sproles‘ re-emergence has complicated Philadelphia’s backfield situation even further, as the veteran put up 108 total yards and score last Sunday, while leading the running back corps in snap share (46 percent). Carrying the ball just 11 times for 21 yards in that same contest, it would appear Josh Adams‘ stranglehold on lead back duties has loosened bit.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Lions Packers
Quarterback 16th 17th
Running Back 15th 20th
Wide Receiver 22nd 5th
Tight End 18th 22nd
Defense/Special Teams 9th 21st
Vegas Line: Packers -7.5
Vegas Over/Under: 
  • Davante Adams (knee) – He’s 134 receiving yards away from breaking Jordy Nelson’s single season Packers receiving record (1,519), so expect Adams to be fed accordingly. The newly anointed superstar already gouged the Lions for a 9-140-1 line back in Week 5. Update: Adams has yet to participate in practice this week due to his injury, and would need to get back on the field Friday to have a shot at suiting up for the season finale.
  • Aaron Rodgers – Comes off his first dominant fantasy performance in over two months last Sunday, one in which Rodgers went 37 of 55 passing for 442 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 32 yards and two scores on the ground. Despite appearing like an unfavorable matchup on paper, Detroit is ranked last in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.
  • Kenny Golladay – Went 4-98-1 against Green Bay back when Marvin Jones and Golden Tate were still in the Lions’ lineup. The Packers allow 75.8 receiving yards per game to opposing no. 1 wideouts.
  • Jamaal Williams – Was able to turn 21 touches into 156 total yards  and a touchdown as the Packers’ lead back against the Jets last week. Volume for Williams should be there again in a contest the Packers are heavily favored to win.
  • Jimmy Graham – He’s gone over 35 receiving yards just once in the Packers last seven games. Graham has been targeted more than 5 times only once over that same span as well.
  • Matthew Stafford – A back injury continues to hamper Stafford, as he’s now failed to throw a touchdown pass in three of his last six games played.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.