Wednesday - Feb 20, 2019

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PLAYERS TO TARGET: Week 17

Week 17 is always tough to read. Some players will be rested, others will start, only to sit out the entire second half. There is so much uncertainty this week I find myself avoiding almost a full third of the league based on coach’s decisions. I’ll avoid another third based on bad players or bad matchups which leaves me with about 10-12 teams with players I feel confident in using! I’ve dug through the madness to the best of my ability to try to bring you what I feel are the most reliable options this week – all things considered.

Best of luck in your title games!

QB Opponent Matchup rating vs. position  Notes
Russell Wilson, Seattle vs. Arizona 11th The matchup isn’t spectacular but Wilson certainly can be when needed! Guess what, this week it’s needed!
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland 13th
The Chargers need to win if they have any hope of sneaking into the playoffs, and Oakland is absolutely beatable via the air. Expect Rivers to come out with guns blazing.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis vs. Houston 2nd
Neither team has any playoff aspirations at this point but both sport dreadful defenses for one reason or another and both have displayed capable offenses in good matchups this year. Could be a nice place to seek out your Week 17 points.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Carolina 21st Atlanta controls their own fate. Win and they’re in. Lose and they leave the door open for Seattle in the afternoon slate.
Kirk Cousins, Washington at New York Giants 1st
It’s the end of the year and there’s nothing left to play for aside from a chance to beat up on a division rival. The Giants rank second-to-last in pass defense and have been ultra generous to quarterbacks this season.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Green Bay 7th
Even if the opponent is handicapped, it still feels good for any Detroit team to beat Green Bay. This is Detroit’s super bowl and it’s a plus matchup for the quarterback!
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 26th
I’m officially a believer after seeing Garoppolo beat up on the vaunted Jacksonville defense. San Francisco is playing for the future and the fans right now, so don’t worry about game flow if the Rams sit their starters.
Brett Hundley, Green Bay at Detroit 19th
The matchup is better than it looks on paper and Hundley has shown useful flashes since Green Bay came off the bye (don’t tell that to Jordy Nelson though!) He put up 18 points when these teams last met back in Week 9 so there is a reasonable floor expectation.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo at Miami 15th
I hate trusting Taylor but Buffalo needs to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Matchup is just fine; we just need Taylor to keep things under control. Certainly not a given.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore vs. Cincinnati 18th
Win and in, that’s all there is to this recommendation. Flacco hasn’t been great this year but he is averaging 18.6 fantasy points per game over his past four contests.
   
RB Opponent Matchup rating vs. positon  Notes
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo at Miami 3rd
Buffalo needs some help and that starts by helping itself with a win! Getting a win starts with its all-world running back having a nice game. Given the matchup, McCoy should get fed the ball non-stop in this contest.
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers vs. OAK 12th
He absolutely crushed Oakland when these teams faced off in Week 6, rumbling for 36 points in points per reception leagues in that contest. Oakland can’t sell out to stop him so I’d expect at least half of that point total provided Gordon can find the end zone at least once.
(NOTE: Gordon will be questionable for this game with an ankle injury, so monitor his status).
Kenyan Drake, Miami vs. Buffalo 1st
Drake is Miami’s best chance at victory in Week 17, which is just fine given the matchup. Buffalo has been absolutely hammered by opposing rushers on the year, including a 23.3-point outing (points per reception leagues) allowed to Drake in Week 15.
Alex Collins, Baltimore vs. Cincinnati 2nd
He saw 55 percent of the snaps last week and now faces the league’s second-most generous defense for opposing running backs in a “win and in” scenario for Baltimore. This should be a prime spot for production.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay at Detroit 4th
He’s dominating the backfield snaps (95 percent among Green Bay running backs in Week 16) and draws an excellent matchup to close out the season. Expect Williams to state his case this week for lead back duties in 2018.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 6th
Hyde hasn’t been great lately but neither have his matchups. The Rams sport the sixth-most generous defense for opposing running backs so there’s reason to expect a strong finish to Hyde’s fringe RB1 season.
Lamar Miller, Houston at Indianapolis 11th
I’ll never trust Miller fully but in a week with so much uncertainty his standard 18-carry, 68-yard and a touchdown outing looks pretty enticing given the opponent.
Samaje Perine, Washington at New York Giants 9th You’ll want to make sure he’s active but if so, he’s as good a start as any against an opponent he put up 130 all-purpose yards against in Week 12.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta vs. Carolina 30th
The matchup isn’t a slam dunk but Atlanta must win and Freeman’s services will be needed. His 70 percent snap share certainly bodes well for his Week 17 usage too.
C.J. Anderson, Denver vs. Kansas City 22nd
Averaging 26 touches over the past two weeks, it seems Denver is content to ride Anderson into the ground much like it’s done as a whole this season! Fine by me. Keep feeding him!
Mike Davis, Seattle vs. Arizona 24th An Atlanta win in the early slate should seal Seattle’s fate but that’s not likely to affect Davis’ workload since he’s just a rental running back anyway.
Marshawn Lynch, Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers 10th
The Oakland offense isn’t what we expected coming into the season but Lynch plays with a ton of heart and is dominating opportunities. Lynch isn’t the future of this team like Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are. I’d expect Oakland to ride the old warhorse all the way to the stable in Week 17.
   
WR Opponent Matchup rating vs. position  Notes
Julio Jones, Atlanta vs. Carolina 7th He hit this Carolina defense for 118 yards back in Week 9 … if only he could add a score to that yardage total.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at Indianapolis 8th
Hopkins is unstoppable. That catch he made against Pittsburgh at the edge of the end zone was absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous is what we’ve come to expect out of Hopkins, much like we expect him to torch Indianapolis in Week 17! He beat them for 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 9.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs. Houston 5th
One last hurrah for these two bottom feeder teams in Week 17! Hilton got warm in Week 16, pulling down 100 receiving yards against a tough opponent. He should be blazing hot in this game after putting 175 yards and two scores on this defense in Week 9.
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland 21st
He didn’t do much when these teams met in Week 6 but these Chargers are playing much better football since then. Expect Allen to add to his current target total (fourth-most in the league with 137) as Philip Rivers leans on his WR1 in a must-win matchup.
Marvin Jones, Detroit vs. Green Bay 6th
Golden Tate is technically the WR1 but Jones has played like one much more frequently this season. Jones’ best game of the season came against Green Bay in Week 9 when he went for 107 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions.
Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 25th
Aside from running into Jacksonville last week, Goodwin has been red hot, hauling in 28 receptions since Week 12! He is also leading the team in targets over that span with 39; that’s 22 more looks than any other San Francisco receiver.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle vs. Arizona 17th Must win for Seattle to keep playoff hopes alive. Baldwin caught five passes for 95 yards when these teams met back in Week 10.
Jamison Crowder, Washington at New York Giants 13th
He has had 47-plus yards and a score in each of his past two weeks. That is solid enough but don’t forget Crowder smashed this team for 141 yards and two scores on Thanksgiving.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Seattle 12th
Fitzgerald might be playing his last game, he might not. Who knows? What I do know is that he is a fierce competitor who will not want to end his career with a mediocre game.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans 18th
Evans finally came alive last week so let’s hope he keeps it going! Even if Tampa Bay is only playing for pride, you know it would love to get a win over New Orleans!
Deonte Thompson, Buffalo at Miami 29th No disrespect to Kelvin Benjamin or Zay Jones but Deonte Thompson is the WR1 in Buffalo right now. Buffalo needs to win and Thompson has been Tyrod Taylor’s go-to lately so he’s Buffalo’s WR1 I “trust” the most this week.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Detroit 14th
This is betting that Davante Adams sits in a game that has nothing at stake. Cobb should be the de-facto WR1 with the Brett Hundley/Jordy Nelson connection proving so ineffective this season.
   
TE Opponent Matchup rating vs. position  Notes
Charles Clay, Buffalo at Miami 5th Miami is generous against opposing tight ends this year and the Buffalo wide receivers have been wholly ineffective. There is a good chance Clay leads the way in Week 17.
Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland 7th Gates got rolling last week with Hunter Henry down for the count. Another choice matchup in a must-win game should keep his old wheels turning!
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis vs. Houston 6th
I’m loving everything about this matchup from every skill position! Doyle caught eight passes during their last outing, which you should love to have out of your tight end any week!
Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. Washington 3rd
Engram was a big letdown in this game on Thanksgiving but I can’t imagine Washington’s ever-generous defense holds this talented rookie in check twice in the same season.
NOTE: Engram left the game with a rib injury last week so this is only if he plays.
Vernon Davis, Washington at New York Giants 1st Proceed with caution here as Davis was mostly a blocker during this matchup in Week 12. If he gets going in the passing game though, watch out!
George Kittle, San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 17th
Kittle is healthy and getting a good share of snaps among San Francisco tight ends lately with 47 percent over the past two weeks. Averaging 11.2 points per game (points per reception leagues) over that span is solid enough with all of the Week 17 uncertainty.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle vs. ARI 19th
Graham has been a bit of ghost for a few weeks but he got in the endzone again in Week 16. He scored twice against this team in Week 10 so there is reason for optimism this week!
Ben Watson, Baltimore vs. Cincinnati 18th
Watson has been a solid points per reception league option the last two weeks and draws a fair matchup in this “win and in” Week 17 contest. This isn’t a high volume attack but his 10 targets over the last two weeks are respectable at such a thin position this week.
Eric Ebron, Detroit vs. Green Bay 26th Ebron has been one of the hottest tight ends in football the past three weeks but this isn’t a choice matchup against a Green Bay team that shut him down in Week 9.
Vance McDonald/Xavier Grimble, Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland 2nd
Pittsburgh is likely to rest its starters so one of these guys should have a good game in such a juicy matchup! I’ll be trying to read the tea-leaves to figure out which one to start, but if I had to guess I’d say its McDonald.

About David Olivarez

David has been writing fantasy football content steadily since 2012 on the web and has been a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association since 2014. He focuses on Daily Fantasy Sports and Trade Analysis. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter!