Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh – Another week, another high-end fantasy performance out of Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger completed 33-of-50 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16 against New Orleans, good for a total of 31.6 fantasy points on the day. Roethlisberger has now totaled at least 22 fantasy points in 8-of-15 games this season and enters Week 17 with 345 total fantasy points, which ranks second among quarterbacks. He’s been performing at a high level for a significant portion of the season and needs to be viewed as a legitimate, high-end QB1 with a high weekly upside for the rest of the season. A Week 17 contest against a Cincinnati defense that has surrendered the fifth-most passing yards per game (282), second-most passing touchdowns this season (31), and ranks 32nd in fantasy points allowed per game (21.4) to opposing quarterbacks is another highly favorable matchup for the veteran quarterback, especially when you factor in Pittsburgh is fighting for its playoff lives and needs a win in Week 17 to remain in the playoff hunt. Keep Roethlisberger locked into your starting quarterback spot and be ready for another 22-plus fantasy point performance against Cincinnati this week.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers – Melvin Gordon returned to action in Week 16 against Baltimore and had a respectable performance against a stout defense. Gordon ran the ball 12 times for 41 yards with one rushing touchdown and had three receptions for 13 receiving yards, good for a 14.4 points per reception (PPR) league point day. It wasn’t the high-end performance we’ve grown accustomed to from Gordon this season, but it was a step in the right direction after Gordon missed the previous three games to injury. Prior to getting injured, Gordon had tallied at least 20 PPR points in 9-of-10 games and was one of the best fantasy running backs out there. His expanded usage as a receiver out of the backfield made Gordon all the more valuable, and his highly efficient play backed it all up. Fast forward to the present, and Gordon appears to be fully healthy and ready to wreak havoc on a porous Denver defense in Week 17. Denver’s defense has allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game (111) and ranks 16th in PPR points allowed per game (24.2) to opposing running backs. It’s an intriguing matchup for Gordon, so if you’re still competing for a fantasy championship and have Gordon on your roster, he should be viewed as a must-start, mid-level RB1 for this week’s matchup against a struggling Denver defense.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee – Derrick Henry has been lighting up the stat sheet over the previous four games and is making a strong case for being a Top 20 fantasy running back for 2019. The top-notch play we’re witnessing from Henry is what many (myself included) fantasy analysts expected out of him throughout the entirety of the 2018 season. For reasons unknown, Henry struggled early on and was not as efficient as he has been lately. Since Week 7, Henry has scored a massive 12 touchdowns and is averaging 18.3 PPR points per game over those nine games. In his last four games, he’s carried the ball 71 times for 532 yards (an average of 7.5 yards per carry) and has scored eight touchdowns. He’s playing exceptionally well and will look to continue his superb play in Week 17 against Indianapolis. This contest between Tennessee and Indianapolis has significant implications on the AFC playoff race, as the winner of this game will punch its ticket to the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, while the loser will end up being on the outside looking in. Expect Tennessee to pound the rock with Henry early and often to keep Andrew Luck and the high-octane Indianapolis offense off the field. View Henry as a legitimate, mid-level RB2 with high-end RB2 upside this week and be sure to plug him into your RB2 or Flex spot for an intriguing matchup against a below-average Indianapolis defense.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh – Antonio Brown has seemingly flown under the fantasy radar this season. The emergence of Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Michael Thomas onto the fantasy scene has resulted in Brown being somewhat of an afterthought in the elite fantasy wide receiver circle. Well, let’s put all of that to rest now, because Brown has been and will continue to be one of the premier fantasy wide receivers on the planet for the rest of this season and once again in 2019. Brown had a gargantuan performance in Week 16 against New Orleans. He hauled 14 of a team-high 19 targets for 185 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s 31-28 loss, which resulted in a 46.5 PPR point performance. That performance was the best of the season for Brown, who now enters Week 17 averaging an impressive 22.2 PPR points per game this season, which ranks second among wide receivers. Brown has tallied at least 21 PPR points in 8-of-15 games this season and ranks second among wide receivers in targets (168) and first among wide receivers with 15 touchdowns. He is an elite fantasy option and the go-to target for Ben Roethlisberger in the Pittsburgh offense. He’ll come at a significant discount in your 2019 draft, which is going to scream “value pick.” A Week 17 matchup against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards per game (173) to opposing wide receivers is an enticing matchup for the ninth-year player out of Central Michigan, so continue to ride the hot hand with Brown and don’t shy away from ponying up the dough to get him into your daily fantasy (DFS) lineup, as well. View him as an elite, high-end WR1 for the rest of the season.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England – With Josh Gordon being suspended indefinitely, a void has been left in the New England passing attack. Enter Julian Edelman, who is primed to step up and take on an expanded role as Tom Brady’s primary target in the passing game. In his first game without Gordon on the field in Week 16, Edelman was impressive, logging six receptions (on a team-high 10 targets) for 70 receiving yards and a touchdown in New England’s 24-12 win over Buffalo. Edelman has now recorded at least 70 receiving yards or a touchdown in nine of the previous 10 games and is firmly entrenched as a reliable, mid-level WR2 for the rest of the season. He has recorded at least 16 PPR points in eight of the previous 10 games and now gets to go up against a New York Jets defense in Week 17 that he’s already had success against this season. Edelman caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jets, and should easily eclipse those numbers this coming week. New York’s defense ranks 31st in receptions allowed per game (15.5), receiving yards allowed per game (204.2), and PPR points allowed per game (43.6) to opposing wide receivers this season. It’s an enticing matchup for the veteran receiver and one that should see him go over the 20 PPR point mark this week.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia – Stud. Zach Ertz has been a stud this season. In what has been a wasteland of a position, Zach Ertz has performed at the highest level in just about every game this season. Ertz went wild once again in Week 16, tallying 12 receptions (on a team-high 16 targets), 110 yards and two touchdowns in Philadelphia’s thrilling last-second victory over Houston. His performance in Week 16 resulted in a whopping 37 PPR points, which actually is his second-best fantasy performance of the season up to this point. Ertz has now tallied at least 17 PPR points in 9-of-15 games this season and ranks in the Top 3 among tight ends in targets (152), receptions (113), receiving yards (1,148), receiving touchdowns (8) and total PPR points (285.8). He has also recorded at least 70 receiving yards or scored a touchdown in 11-of-15 games this season. He gives fantasy owners a distinct advantage on a weekly basis at the tight end position with his superb play. He is the cream of the crop at his position and with Nick Foles back under center and playing at a high level for the second consecutive season, the sky is the limit for Ertz in Week 17 against a deteriorating Washington defense. View Ertz as an elite, high-end TE1 in every sense of the word for the rest of the season.
Other Players to Like:
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans
David Johnson, RB, Arizona
Sony Michel, RB, New England
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco
Evan Engram, TE, New York