Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 17

December 31, 2021

If you are still alive in your league, it means you are in the semi-finals or finals – so congrats and welcome to the first ‘Studs, Duds, and Sleepers’ of 2022! Our staff is picking up right where we left off, and after a record setting 16 straight weeks of  ironclad, foolproof nuggets of fantasy football knowledge in 2021, we are restarting our streak in 2022. So welcome to the first week of ironclad, foolproof nuggets of fantasy football knowledge – 2022 style!



Joe Burrow, Cin (vs. Chiefs):  

Burrow completed more than 80% of his passes last week for 525 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions and gets a Chiefs pass defense which ranks in the bottom eight of the league in terms of yards surrendered. This game has the chance to turn into a track meet, and as a result, there are a lot of players in this game to like from a fantasy standpoint!

Patrick Mahomes, KC (at Bengals): 

Player number two from the Bengals/Chiefs matchup is the other quarterback. Mahomes has eight touchdowns to one interception over his last three games and the Bengals pass defense ranks in the bottom five in terms of yards surrendered. 

Others receiving votes:

Matthew Stafford, LAR (at Ravens): 

Stafford ranks second in touchdowns (36) and fouthe in yards (4,339) and gets a decimated Ravens secondary which is coming off a week of surrendering 525 yards to Joe Burrow and the Bengals.. 


Running backs:

Jonathan Taylor, Ind (vs. Raiders): 

The NFL’s leading rusher has surpassed 100 yards on the ground in six of his last seven games, eight of his last 10 and nine of his last 12. He also has a touchdown in 11 of his last 12 games and gets a Raiders run defense which ranks in the bottom half of the league. With Wentz likely out, the Colts will be leaning on Taylor even more than usual.

Nick Chubb, Cle (at Steelers): 

The Steelers rank dead last in terms of rushing yards per carry (4.8) and rushing yards per game (a whopping 142.7) and Chubb is tied for the league lead with a 5.5 yards per carry average. The Browns are going to ride Chubb until the Steelers show they can stop him…and I don’t think they can. 

Others receiving votes:

Javonte Williams, Den (at Chargers): 

For some reason, the Broncos only ran the ball 14 times last week with Drew Lock starting. I have to think they learned their lesson and will lean on the run game this week against the Chargers porous run defense. 


Pass Catchers:

Cooper Kupp, LAR (at Ravens): 

Kupp and Stafford against the Ravens secondary…see above! 

Travis Kelce, KC (at Bengals): 

The Bengals gave up 21 receptions, 276 yards and two touchdowns to George Kittle and Mark Andrews combined…and that was with Jimmy Garopolo and Josh Johnson throwing the ball. With Mahomes throwing it, this could get ugly. The Bengals cannot cover tight ends in general, let alone with the depleted linebacking corps they will be rolling out this week. 

Others receiving votes:

Tee Higgins, Cin (vs. Chiefs): 

Higgins is the fourth and final ‘Stud’ from this matchup. He has put up 100+ yards in four of his last five games and is coming off a career best 12 catches on 13 targets for 194 yards and two touchdowns. 




Matt Ryan, Atl (at Bills): 

It’s been eight weeks since Ryan threw for 300 yards or multiple touchdowns. During that timespan, he has three games with zero touchdowns and four games with sub 200 passing yards. He gets a Bills defense this week which gives up less than 175 yards on average through the air. Not a good matchup here.  

Taysom Hill, NO (at Panthers):

No matter who takes snaps this week for the Saints, they are not worthy of a start. While Hill does provide some running upside, he has only thrown a touchdown in one game this year…a game in which he threw four picks! I don’t see him having a good day against a Panthers pass defense which gives up just 182 yards per game through the air. 

Others receiving votes:
Trevor Lawrence, Jax (at Patriots):  

If you are in any way still rostering, let alone thinking about playing Lawrence, you aren’t playing for anything of significance in your league. With or without Urban Meyer, Lawrence has been terrible this season, tied for first in interceptions (14) while tied for 29th in touchdowns (9). Since throwing for three touchdowns in Week 1, he has just 6 in his last 14 games, zero in his last four and one in his last seven…and now rushing touchdowns in that span. He isn’t going to bust out of this slump against Bill Belichick. 


Running backs:

Dolphins Running Backs (at Titans): 

The Dolphins leading rusher is averaging 3.5 yards per carry, has just 590 yards on the season, That makes it six straight games of 40 yards or less and three times in his last six games he has failed to reach 10 yards.

Chuba Hubbard, Car (vs. Buccaneers): 

Hubbard may be the Panthers “lead back” but he had just six carries for nine yards last week.  has five straight games of 40 yards or less, and during that stretch, has just two receptions. He is an emergency play only at this point.

Others receiving votes:

Michael Carter, NYJ (at Saints): 

It is going to be tempting to start Michael Carter after his 118 yard effort on just 16 carries, but he goes from a bottom five run defense with nothing to play for (the Jags) to a top three run defense which just surrendered 14 yards on nine carries to non-quarterbacks and has everything to play for (Tampa), not to mention, the Jets are likely to be trailing early.


Pass Catchers:

Saints Pass Catchers (at Panthers): 

It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback for the Saints, they cannot throw the ball since Jameis Winston went down. The Saints have failed to surpass 200 yards passing in each of their last three games and four of their last five. 

Kyle Pitts, Atl (at Bills): 

Pitts is coming off three straight solid outings, but he only has one touchdown and hasn’t scored a touchdown in 10 games…and he gets the top pass defense this week in frigid Buffalo. If you have a solid backup tight end, I would start them over Pitts this week.

Others receiving votes:

Jason Moore, LAC (vs. Broncos): 

With Mike Williams and Austin Ekler out last week, Moore was the top non-running back in terms of receiving yards. That being said, he only saw four targets, catching three for 56. Williams looks to be out again this week, but the Chargers get a really tough Denver defense and I expect Justin Herbert to struggle this week. 




Jalen Hurts, Phi (at Washington): 

Hurts gets a depleted Football Team defense that is decent against the run, but terrible against the pass. When thest teams met in Week 2, with a healthier Washington defense, Hurts threw for 296, ran for 38 and accounted for three total touchdowns. 

Jared Goff, Det (at Seahawks): 

Goff has a TD:INT ratio of better than 2:1 and gets a Seahawks defense which ranks ahead of only the Ravens in passing yards surrendered. Goff has thrown for three touchdowns in two of his last three games and has multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games. During that span, he has nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. Being in Seattle will make things a bit tougher, but the former Ram is familiar with playing in Seattle.

Trey Lance, SF (vs. Texans):

I can’t see Garoppolo playing this weekend, and even if he does, I have to think Lance will spell him from time to time. If that is the case, I could see Lance having a big day with his legs against a Houston run defense which ranks 30th in yards per game and has nothing to play for.


Running backs:

Elijah Mitchell, SF (vs. Texans): 

Sounds like Mitchell will be back this week and if the 49ers are without Garoppolo, I expect a run heavy offense of Lance, Mitchell and Deebo. 

Ronald Jones, TB (at Jets): 

Jones didn’t lead the Bucs in terms of yards because Ke’Shawn Vaughn broke off a 55 yard touchdown run, but he did out carry Vaughn 20 to 7, put up 65 yards, one touchdown and had three targets to Vaughn’s one. He also gets the second worst run defense in the league this week in the Jets.

Rashaad Penny, Sea (vs. Lions): 

Penny put up 135 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries last week against a Bears run defense which ranks two spots ahead of this week’s opponent – the Lions. He may not put up another 135 yards, but another 100+ yards is certainly possible.  


Pass Catchers:

A.J. Brown, Ten (vs. Dolphins):

For the first time in four weeks, Brown looked like a WR1 last week, hauling in 11 of his 16 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. While it was against a depleted 49ers secondary, the defense he gets this week – the Dolphins – statistically rank eight spots below the 49ers. 

Deebo Samuel, SF (vs. Texans): 

See my analysis for Lance and Mitchell…the 49ers should be very run heavy this week, and that will include Samuel. 

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det:

He was here last week, and after nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, he finds himself right back on this list! Over his last four games, he has 46 targets, 35 receptions, 340 yards and three touchdowns and gets the league’s second worst pass defense this week.


  • Categories: NFL

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