Although most fantasy leagues hold their championship round in Week 16 for various reasons including playoff contending teams benching their stars, there are some leagues that play through Week 17. Additionally, Daily Fantasy Sports and Rotisserie format leagues generally compete for the entire regular season. With Week 16 chock-full of surprises including the Carolina Panthers finally losing, the New York Jets upsetting the New England Patriots in overtime, and the ragtag Baltimore Ravens team hurting their rival Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes, who knows what Week 17 will bring!
Take a dive with me as I review several key players that should end the season strong during Week 17.
QB Brian Hoyer
Hoyer has not played since December 13th after suffering his second concussion in the last month. With that being said, he is in the final stage of concussion protocol and Coach Bill O’ Brien said he will start Week 17 as long as he is medically cleared. The Texans’ quarterback has an enticing matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars who have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and were just torched by a hobbled Drew Brees. Hoyer threw three touchdowns against the Jags in their matchup in October and looks for an encore performance with Week 17 with playoff implications. Start Hoyer with confidence if he is cleared.
Week 17 Projection: 250 passing yards; 2 touchdowns
When Mark Ingram went down for the season, C.J. Spiller was the likely candidate to thrive as the New Orleans Saints’ starting running back. Anyone who snagged Spiller from the free agent pool with a waiver or made a blockbuster trade has been sorely disappointed. Veteran running back Tim Hightower has been the beneficiary and thrived again in Week 15 with 169 total yards and two touchdowns. With New Orleans removed from playoff contention, look for the Saints to feature Hightower even more in Week 17 when the Saints visit the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing backs. While many Week 17 games may be plagued with rain or other severe weather conditions, Hightower will play in the Georgia Dome, which should only add to his effectiveness.
Week 17 Projection: 125 total yards; 1 TD
It appears that the Philadelphia Eagles are out of playoff contention after losing to their division rival Washington Redskins in Week 16. They definitely did not meet the expectations of their highly-touted Chip Kelly offense. However, wide receiver Jordan Matthews has caught fire over the last two games averaging over 131 receiving yards and scoring in each. Matthews and quarterback Sam Bradford’s chemistry appears more fluid. The Eagles’ wideout should be started in Week 17 against the New York Giants who have surrendered the 12th most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.
Week 17 Projection: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD
TE Zach Ertz
After a disappointing first half of the season, Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz has earned Tier-1 numbers during the second half. In fact, Ertz has been targeted by Sam Bradford 30 times over the last two games, with the tight end averaging 100 receiving yards. Ertz’ breakout should continue in Week 17 as he faces the New York Giants who have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Start Ertz for Week 17 unless you have a top tier tight end.
Week 17 Projection: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD
Defense/Special Teams Indianapolis Colts
Although the Indianapolis Colts defense has improved over recent games, this recommendation is based on their Week 17 opponent. The Colts host their division rival Tennessee Titans whose offense has been in absolute shambles recently. Tennessee suffered four turnovers to the Houston Texans in Week 16 and should struggle again in Indy. Although the situation should be closely monitored, it appears that backup Zach Mettenberger will be the likely starter unless Marcus Mariota’s knee recovery speeds up. It is likely that Tennessee will rest their star rookie quarterback, which only improves the Colts’ matchup. The Colts have averaged over three sacks per game over their last five games and should tee off on the Titans this weekend.
Week 17 Projection: 12 points
Week 16 Results:
QB Kirk Cousins
Week 16 Projection: 250 passing yards; 2 TD
Week 16 Results: 365 passing yards; 4 TD (EPIC call)
RB Cameron Artis-Payne
Week 16 Projection: 75 total yards; 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 56 total yards (bad call)
WR DeSean Jackson
Week 16 Projection: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 40 receiving yards (bad call)
TE Benjamin Watson
Week 16 Projection: 60 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 16 Results: 5 receiving yards (bad call)
Defense/Special Teams Detroit Lions
Week 16 Projection: 11 points
Week 16 Results: 6 points (ok call)