Friday - May 14, 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 (and Monday night). While the information conveyed s not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used to evaluate 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. 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 matchup/usage concerns, require lowered 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.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Browns Bengals
Quarterback 14th 7th
Running Back 12th 9th
Wide Receiver 25th 21st
Tight End 10th 20th
Defense/Special Teams 8th 7th
Vegas Line: Browns -2.5
Vegas Over/Under: 44.5
  • Nick Chubb – Barring a complete disaster here, Chubb will finish the season as the 2019 NFL rushing leader.
  • Joe Mixon – His sluggish performance last Sunday against the Dolphins (73 scoreless total yards on 23 touches) is being attributed to Mixon playing through an illness. Expect better results against a Browns defense allowing the 7th-most rushing yards per game to opposing backfields. Mixon put up a a season-high 186 total yards and a score against the Browns back in Week 14.
  • Odell Beckham – Has been held to under 90 receiving yards in every Browns game since the team’s bye. The Bengals’ secondary is nothing special, though they did limit Beckham to just 2-39-o back in Week 14.
  • Jarvis Landry – Surprisingly leads the Browns in all major receiving categories despite technically being the team’s no. 2 wideout. Landry needs just 36 receiving yards this week to set a new single-season high.
  • Baker Mayfield – Few players are probably ready for the 2019 season to end so they can hit the reset button like Mayfield. Over the Browns last six games, Mayfield has been held to less than 200 passing yards four times.
  • Tyler Boyd – Over the Bengals’ last five games, Boyd is averaging 77.8 receiving yards per contest with four touchdowns.
  • Tyler Eifert – Injuries at receiver have led to Eifert being more involved over the last three weeks, as he’s amassed a 11-150-1 line over that span.
  • Andy Dalton – The Browns allow just the 8th-fewest passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Dalton has just thrown for multiple touchdown passes in one contest since Week 5.

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Dolphins Patriots
Quarterback 2nd 32nd
Running Back 7th 31st
Wide Receiver 2nd 32nd
Tight End 13th 26th
Defense/Special Teams 3rd 28th
Vegas Line: Patriots -15.5
Vegas Over/Under: 45
  • Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder) – He’s put up 72 receiving yards or more in four of the Patriots last five games played.
  • Patriots D/ST – At home, and favored by more than two touchdowns. When these two teams last met in Week 2, New England turned Miami over 4 times while generating 7 sacks and two defensive touchdowns.
  • Sony Michel – He’s racked up 185 rushing yards over the Patriots last two games, but continues to be a non-factor as a receiver. Michel hasn’t scored since Week 7, but stands a good chance of doing so here against one the NFL’s worst rushing defenses.
  • Tom Brady – Averaging just 216.7 passing yards per game since the Patriot’s Week 10 bye, though Miami’s defense has made just about every quarterback look good this year.
  • DeVante Parker – Tough to fade one of fantasy’s hottest receivers since the beginning of November, but expect Parker to be erased from the equation by CB Stephon Gilmore and company.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Bears Vikings
Quarterback 26th 23rd
Running Back 17th 24th
Wide Receiver 27th 6th
Tight End 5th 25th
Defense/Special Teams 5th 27th
Vegas Line: Vikings -1
Vegas Over/Under: 37
  •  Allen Robinson – Wide receivers have feasted against Minnesota’s secondary week in/week out. Robinson went 7-77-0 against the Vikings in Week 4, a contest Minnesota was actually trying to win, so this Sunday should be a doozy.
  •  David Montgomery – Has been held to 86 rushing yards or less in all but one game this season. Minnesota has allowed the 4th-most rushing yards to opposing running backs over the last four tweeks.
  • Anthony Miller – Teammate Javon Wims inexplicably saw 9 targets to Miller’s two last Sunday evening against the Chiefs. Expect the usage to tip back in Miller’s favor for the Bears’ season finale.
  • Mitchell Trubisky – Prior to Week 16’s dud, Trubisky had been averaging 298.6 passing yards per game with 10 total touchdowns between Weeks 12 and 15.
  • All Vikings Players – With Minnesota unable to improve their playoff seeding, it’s likely many starters will play limited snaps, or potentially be held out altogether. Dalvin Cook (shoulder) was already expected to be rested, while Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen are all candidates to be put on ice. Backup QB Sean Mannion would likely play most of the game, thus limiting the fantasy potential of any remaining Minnesota pass catchers.

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Chargers Chiefs
Quarterback 28th 20th
Running Back 14th 5th
Wide Receiver 29th 31st
Tight End 24th 8th
Defense/Special Teams 19th 31st
Vegas Line: Chiefs -8.5
Vegas Over/Under: 44.5
  • None of note.
  • Melvin Gordon – With the spread tilted heavily in favor of Kansas City, Gordon may not be fed his usual diet of carries.
  • Austin Ekeler – Christian McCaffrey isn’t the only running back chasing 1,000 receiving yards, as Ekeler finds himself just 50 away from that milestone.
  • Keenan Allen  – He’s drawn double-digit targets in four of the Chargers’ last six games. Over the course of Allen’s career, he’s averaged 69.8 receiving yards per game against the Chiefs.
  • Mike Williams – Interestingly, Williams hasn’t gone for fewer than 50 receiving yards in a game since Week 7.
  • Philip Rivers – Threw for 353 yards the last time he faced Kansas City, but also turned the ball over four times. Rivers should be able to compile decent garbage time stats as long as you can stomach the miscues.
  • Damien WilliamsSpencer Ware (shoulder, IR) saw his return to Kansas City last just three games, while LeSean McCoy continues to be randomly deactivated for “load management” reasons. Williams looks like he’s regained the Chiefs’ no. 1 running back job after putting up 92 total yards and a score on 19 touches in Week 16.
  • Travis Kelce – Seems to be bucking his recent negative history against the Chargers, dropping a 8-74-1 line on them earlier this season.
  • Patrick Mahomes – The Chargers held Mahomes to just 182 yards passing with a score and a pick back in Week 11. Overall on the season, Los Angeles has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks.
  • Tyreek Hill – The Chargers have allowed the 4th-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts, though Hill has put up at least 55 in every game this season in which he wasn’t injured.
  •  None of note.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Jets Bills
Quarterback 15th 31st
Running Back 16th 20th
Wide Receiver 8th 30th
Tight End 29th 28th
Defense/Special Teams 1st 11th
Vegas Line: Bills -1.5
Vegas Over/Under: 36
  • None of note.
  • Le’Veon Bell – Count on another 24-28 touches for Bell as the Jets continue to justify the bloated contract they gave him last off-season.
  • Jamison Crowder – Went 14-99-0 on 17 targets when facing this same Jets team back in Week 1. Crowder’s slot role should get him matched up against weaker CBs.
  • Jets D/ST – Could be a decent play on the hopes Josh Allen gets shut down early and replaced by backup Matt Barkley.
  • Bills Players – Buffalo has nothing to play for, and are thus very likely to rest or limit their starters, making it tough to rely on anyone.
  • Robby Anderson (calf) – Likely less than 100 percent, and contending with a Bills defense allowing the 5th-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts.

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.