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 Week 17 in the latest edition of Studs, Duds & Sleepers.
QB: Jalen Hurts (PHI vs. ARI): Hurts has failed to throw for multiple scores in four of his last five games, but he continues to run for TD’s. After three rushing touchdowns in the last two games Hurts set a new single-season NFL record for quarterback rushing scores with 15. This week he gets the Cardinals, who have ceded the seventh most fantasy points (22.8 ppg) to quarterbacks this season.
RB: Jahmyr Gibbs (DET at DAL): Fantasy managers that reached on Gibbs in drafts this summer and reaping the reward now. He has scored 24+ PPR points in back-to-back games to start the fantasy playoffs and has now become just the third Lion ever to run for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. This week he faces a Dallas’ D that has shown some vulnerability of late as they’ve allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game to running backs over the last five weeks.
WR: Deebo Samuel (SF at WAS): After laying an egg last week, I am jumping back on all 49ers this week as they face off vs. a lowly Commanders’ defense. Washington is yielding the second-most fantasy points to wideouts on the season and over the last and more than any team over the last five weeks (44.6 PPR ppg). There have been 10 wide receivers that have already scored 20+ PPR points vs. the Commanders this season. Look for Samuel to become the 11th player to hit that mark.
TE: Trey McBride (ARI at PHI): After failing to reach 40 yards receiving for just the third time in his last nine games a week ago, look for a nice bounce back from McBride in Week 17. Since Kyler Murray returned in Week 10, McBride has exploded with a 44-456-1 stat line. The Eagles have been better of late vs. TE, but still are allowing the 12th most fantasy points per game to the position for the season.
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QB: Matthew Stafford (LAR at NYG): Stafford has been stellar of late, but between expected game flow and the matchup with the Giants he is outside my top 15 QB’s this week. Four of the last five quarterbacks outside of the NFC East to face New York have been held to under 20 fantasy points. Stafford has surpassed that threshold in five straight outings, but he could struggle to get there this week.
RB: Derrick Henry (TEN at HOU): After scoring 10 touchdowns and averaging 203.6 rushing yard per game in his previous matchups with the Texans, Henry was held scoreless and to just 10 yards on 20 combined touches in Week 15 vs. his divisional foes. At home and with so much on the line, look for Houston to stifle Henry again. The Texans have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2023.
WR: George Pickens (PIT at SEA): Pickens exploded for his career-best 35.5 PPR points in last week’s win vs. Cincinnati. However, if you added up his total points in his previous four contests they’d fall short of that number. In fact, Pickens has already crossed double digit PPR points twice in his last seven games. With the Steelers hitting the road this week and playing in Seattle things won’t come as easy for Mason Rudolph. Avoid the Steelers’ passing attack as a whole on championship weekend.
TE: Kyle Pitts (ATL at CHI): Don’t chase last week’s points with Pitts either. He has scored twice in the last three games after only scoring once in his previous 12 contests. Aside from David Njoku’s Week 15 explosion vs. the Bears, Chicago has only allowed two other tight ends to eclipse 50 receiving yards all season.
QB: Baker Mayfield (TB vs. NO): Over the last three weeks only Lamar Jackson has put up more fantasy points at quarterback than Baker Mayfield. This week he gets to face off vs. a Saints D at home in a game that can lock up the division for the Bucs. Mayfield has thrown for multiple scores in four of his last five contests and passed for three touchdowns and 246 yards in Week 4 at New Orleans. He’s locked in as a top-10 play at QB this weekend.
RB: Justice Hill (BAL vs. MIA): Hill got 13 touches in the Ravens’ first game without Keaton Mitchell and I would expect similar volume this week vs. Miami. He’s not only going to get carries, but should see a handful of targets out of the backfield. With a total approaching 50 points in this week’s tilt with Miami, his anticipated volume puts Hill in flex consideration in larger formats.
WR: K.J. Osborn (MIN vs. GB): With all the injuries in Minnesota, Nick Mullens is running out of options to throw the ball to. That puts Osborn in the mix as a potential WR3/flex option for fantasy managers that have hit hard by injuries. Over the last three weeks only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to wideouts than the Packers.
TE: Gerald Everett (LAC at DEN): Like Osborn above, Everett should also benefit in a higher target share due to injuries to some of his teammates. Game flow could also impact the veteran as the Chargers are a near touchdown underdog at Denver. The Broncos have given up the most fantasy points and touchdowns to opposing tight ends and since Easton Stick took over three weeks ago Everett has caught 17 balls and been targeted 24 times.
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