Each week there are some obvious starts and sits in fantasy football. Other decisions are not quite so simple. Here are some of my picks for Championship Weekend in my final edition of Studs, Duds & Sleepers of the season.
QB: Trevor Lawrence (JCK) at HOU: The Texans have beaten the Jaguars nine straight times, including 13-6 in Week 5. The last three of those games had Lawrence under center and he was picked off five times in those contests. However, three 30+ FP efforts in his last five games suggests the tides have turned for the second-year signal caller. He’s now sitting at QB5 on the season and is definitely a high-end QB1 in this must-win game.
RB: James Conner (ARI) at ATL: Conner has become the focal point of the Cardinals’ offense in recent weeks, averaging 21.6 touches per contest over his last six outings. He’s also scored in three straight games and has seven touchdowns during that span. Atlanta has allowed eight fantasy running backs to get 18+ FP this season. Expect Conner to add his name to that list.
WR: Tyreek HilI (MIA) at NE: Six targets on Christmas vs. the Packers was a big disappointment and led to Hill’s second-lowest PPR output of the season. Now Tua Tagovailoa is in concussion protocol again. Hill saw a season-high 15 targets in Teddy Bridgewater’s last start vs. in Week 6 and turned in his second-best fantasy day of the season. Hill is in my top 3 at WR in Week 17 vs. a Patriots’ D that has given up the fourth-most FP to wideouts over the last five weeks.
TE: T.J. Hockenson (MIN) at GB: He might be hard-pressed to match his effort on semifinal’s weekend (13/109/2), but Hockenson is primed for another big day as the Vikings travel to Green Bay. He’s scored in each of the last two versus the Packers while playing for the Lions. Given the fact Green Bay has allowed seven scores to tight ends since Week 9, I like his chances here to keep that streak going in Week 17.
Get ready for this week’s NFL action with James Adams & Skeeter Robinson…
QB: Geno Smith (SEA) vs. NYJ: Smith was one of the great stories for most of the season, but fantasy managers shouldn’t expect a fairy tale ending. Over his last three games he’s only averaging 239 yards per game with three interceptions. He might get Tyler Lockett (hand) back this week which will help, but a matchup vs. a stingy Jets’ D makes him a poor starting option in fantasy either way.
RB: J.K. Dobbins (BAL) vs. PIT: After hitting the century mark in each of his first two games back, he was held to just 59 yards last time out. In Week 14 he lit the Steelers up (15/120/1), but Pittsburgh has been mostly solid against the run. Over the last five weeks only four teams have allowed fewer FP to the position. With the Ravens clinching a playoff spot, they’re trying to manage Dobbins’ snaps which limits his fantasy ceiling. He’s a flex option at best for me here.
WR: Mike Evans (TB) at CAR: Watching Tom Brady trying to get the ball to Mike Evans right now is painful. With the offensive line continuing to take hits, there’s just not enough time for Brady to get the ball deep and that makes Evans’ WR1 upside unobtainable. With no TD’s since Week 4 and just three games all season with more than five catches, Evans is outside my top 25 wideouts for championship weekend.
TE: Darren Waller (LV) at SF: Only three teams have ceded fewer FP to tight ends this season than the 49ers. Given the nature of things at the position it might be tough for some fantasy managers to sit Waller, but he’ll be hard-pressed to finish as a TE1 in this matchup given his recent production.
QB: Jared Goff (DET) vs. CHI: Since the Bears traded Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith they’ve seen five quarterbacks reach 27+ FP in eight games. No team has allowed FP to quarterbacks over the last five weeks. Goff sits at QB10 on the season and is a solid bet to be a top 10 quarterback easily this weekend.
RB: Tyler Allgeier (ATL) vs. ARI: As the season winds down the Falcons’ rookie running back is seeing his workload increased. With Atlanta now officially eliminated for the playoffs they need to assess whether or not he can be the main guy or not before the offseason begins. He needs 193 yards to get to the 1000-yard mark and should get a nice start on that vs. the Cards.
WR: Jahan Dotson (WAS) vs. CLE: The rookie is finally healthy and now scored at least 16 PPR points in three straight games. The matchup isn’t great vs. the Browns, but Dotson is still worth rolling out as a WR3/flex option while he’s red hot.
TE: Cole Kmet (CHI) at DET: Kmet scored twice and finished with 74 yards on four catches last time out vs. the Lions back in November and put up eight catches for 65 yards the last time he played in Detroit in 2021. With the one highest totals on the entire Week 17 slate, he’s a sneaky play in season-long as well as DFS.
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