Week 17 Fantasy Football Studs & Duds

Monday, January 2, 2017
© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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The 2016 NFL Regular Season is in the books, and while there is no podcast today, I’ve got you covered with the studs and a few duds from the regular season finale.  Week 17 is a curious thing as the top NFL teams have their playoff positions locked down and the bottom dwellers have nothing to play for and in many cases would just improve their draft positions with a loss.  This lays the groundwork for players being rested, and others who normally ride the pine to get their day in the sun.  I’ll do my best to guide you through the week that was, generally forgiving injured/resting players.

Studs
Quarterbacks

Carson Palmer @ LA
-255 passing yards, 3 TDs, INT
In a 44-6 drubbing of the Rams, Palmer did more than enough to carry his team in the absence of David Johnson.

Matt Ryan vs NO
-331 passing yards, 4 TDs
If not for the next guy on this list, Matt Ryan would be the #1 QB in fantasy.

Aaron Rodgers @ DET
-300 passing yards, 4 TDs, 42 rushing yards
Mr. Rodgers has done it again.  He is the #1 QB in fantasy and did so en route to backing up his guarantee that the Packers would run the table and win the division.  It’s his neighborhood, we all just live in it.

Landry Jones vs CLE
-277 passing yards, 3 TDs, INT
Proof that Week 17 football is basically the Upside Down.

Sam Bradford vs CHI
-250 passing yards, 3 TDs, INT, 24 rushing yards
Bradford has been a pleasant surprise down the stretch.  Since Week 14, Sammy Biscuits has averaged 303.75 yards/game with 7 TDs.

Tom Brady @ MIA
-276 passing yards, 3 TDs
The Steelers and the Cowboys rested starters on Sunday, but not the Patriots.  Tom Brady will never miss an opportunity to thrash a division opponent.

Running Backs

Shaun Draughn vs SEA
-21 carries, 41 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 4 receptions, 68 receiving yards
This wasn’t a bad spot for 49ers RBs.  If there’s a weakness in this Seattle defense, it’s on the ground and in the short passing game.  Draughn filled in valiantly for the injured Hyde.

Devontae Booker vs OAK
-14 carries, 57 rushing yards, TD, 2 receptions, 52 receiving yards, TD
This was Booker’s best yardage day as a pro (109 total yards) and he scored twice but I am still concerned about his role once C.J. Anderson returns next season, as he was still out-touched by Justin Forsett 22-16.

Mark Ingram @ ATL
-20 carries, 103 rushing yards, TD, 6 receptions, 29 receiving yards
A fellow writer commented that Ingram has had the quietest top 10 RB season he’s ever seen.   He’s not wrong,

Devonta Freeman vs NO
-12 carries, 96 rushing yards, TD, 5 receptions, 81 receiving yards
It frustrates me to no end that the Falcons have been so successful when rotating Freeman with Tevin Coleman.  If you combined these two RBs into one player you’d get 2,246 total yards and 22 TDs.

Isaiah Crowell @ PIT
-19 carries, 152 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards
The Crow couldn’t crack the end zone at the big ketchup bottle, but the yardage was there.  Somehow, amazingly, his 19 carries marked his season high.

DeAngelo Williams vs CLE
-23 carries, 67 rushing yards, TD, 3 receptions, 27 receiving yards, TD
Someone will be featured in the Pittsburgh backfield each, and every week.  It’s just the way they do things in Pittsburgh, so with Bell resting it was DeAngelo’s turn.

Bilal Powell vs BUF
-22 carries, 122 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 15 receiving yards, TD
When given the opportunity Blah Plow has been impressive this season.  This week he took advantage of a Bills defense that was still reeling from getting trounced by Ajayi and the Dolphins.

Jerick McKinnon vs CHI
16 carries, 89 rushing yards, TD, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, TD
McKinnon has been dealing with nagging injuries this season but he got right in a big way for the final game of the season.  110 total yards and 2 TDs might help to make Minnesota more comfortable in moving on from AP.

Corey Grant @ IND
18 carries, 122 rushing yards, TD, 2 receptions, 15 receiving yards
Week 17 Nonsense Stud of the Week: Corey Grant.

Rex Burkhead vs BAL
-27 carries, 119 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 2 receptions, 25 receiving yards
When Jeremy Hill was declared Out, Burkhead was a no-brainer volume play and he delivered.  He looked good doing it too.

Charcandrick West @ SD
-16 carries, 58 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 2 TDs
This is how far the Week 17 silliness has gone.  Spencer Ware was rested.

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas @ ATL
-10 receptions, 156 receiving yards, TD, 14 targets
In an alternate universe where the Cowboys are just a lifestyle and not an NFL franchise, Thomas would be the OROY.

Julio Jones vs NO
-7 receptions, 96 receiving yards, TD, 9 targets
It just goes to show how talented Julio Jones is that we can look at this stat line and think, “eh…”

Julian Edelman @ MIA
-8 receptions, 151 receiving yards, TD, 13 targets
Edelman bested his previous season-high in receiving yards by 50 yards in this contest.

Jarvis Landry vs NE
9 receptions, 76 receiving yards, TD, 12 targets
This is a textbook Jarvis Landry day and the reason he can be a solid WR2 in PPR formats, even with average QB play.

Kelvin Benjamin @ TB
-6 receptions, 93 receiving yards, TD, 7 targets
For most of this season, Benjamin has been the victim of Cam Newton’s inconsistent play, but he got his in Tampa.

DeAndre Hopkins @ TEN
-7 receptions, 123 receiving yards, 11 targets
Do you think Osweiler watched Tom Savage over the last couple weeks and it finally clicked, “Oh, I need to throw it to Hopkins, gotcha!”

Rishard Matthews vs HOU
-9 receptions, 114 receiving yards, TD, 13 targets
Don’t forget about Matthews this offseason.  He isn’t a sexy name, nor is he part of a high-powered offense, but he has had 100 yards and/or a TD in 10 of his 16 games in Tennessee.

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz vs DAL
-13 receptions, 139 receiving yards, 2 TDs, 16 targets
I want to blame a Dallas defense that was probably just mailing it in, but I know next year I am going to drink the kool-aid on Ertz and rank him as a top 5 TE.

Kyle Rudolph vs CHI
-11 receptions, 117 receiving yards, TD, 15 targets
Rudolph was the entire passing game for the Vikings on Sunday and he did it against a Bears defense that was one of the 10 best in the league at defending the TE.

Antonio Gates vs KC
-5 receptions, 55 receiving yards, TD, 8 targets
On its face, this line is fairly pedestrian, but with this TD Gates tied Tony Gonzalez’s record for career TDs by a TE with 111.

Honorable Mentions

Drew Brees @ ATL
-350 passing yards, 2 TDs, INT

Tyreek Hill @ SD
-15 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 95-yard punt ret TD

Zach Zenner vs GB
-20 carries, 69 rushing yards, TD, 4 receptions, 41 receiving yards

Jordan Reed vs NYG
-5 receptions, 40 receiving yards, TD, 6 targets

Gary Barnidge @ PIT
-5 receptions, 40 receiving yards, TD, 5 targets

Dennis Pitta @ CIN
11 receptions, 91 receiving yards, 16 targets

Duds
Quarterbacks

Cam Newton @ TB
-237 passing yards, TD, 3 INTs
It was the turnovers that got to Cam in this contest.  His 23 combined TDs this season ties a career low.

Joe Flacco @ CIN
267 passing yards, INT
Probably not someone owners were counting on to carry their team, but Flacco was disappointing nonetheless.

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin @ SF
2 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 4 targets
Coming off a monster performance in Week 16, this is extra poopy.

Alshon Jeffery @ MIN
-1 reception, 10 receiving yards, 3 targets
This was a baffling performance from a talented WR who desperately needed a big game to boost his value as a free agent this offseason.  Perhaps even more puzzling than his performance were his postgame comments where he guaranteed that “we” will win the Super Bowl next season.

Adam Thielen vs CHI
-1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 target
Thielen needed just 40 yards to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career.  He got 7.

Running Backs

Thomas Rawls @ SF
8 carries, 14 rushing yards, TD
He was probably used sparingly in preparation for the postseason but I expect a better YPC than this when you face the 49ers defense.

Latavius Murray @ DEN
5 carries, 11 rushing yards, 1 reception, 14 receiving yards
Again, low volume but you are supposed to be a stud RB.  2.2 YPC just isn’t good enough.

Todd Gurley vs AZ
14 carries, 40 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 37 receiving yards
I don’t know which is worse, Gurley’s stats or the fact that he led the entire Rams offense in carries, rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards.

Rob Kelley vs NYG
-12 carries, 33 rushing yards
The entire Redskins team looked like they had their luggage packed and ready for their offseason trip to the Bahamas.  Poor effort all around.

Dallas Cowboys Running Back @ PHI
-18 carries, 60 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 41 receiving yards
As a cumulative score, these numbers look decent.  That is until you consider that these stats are the combined totals of Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Alfred Morris.  Zeke owners deserved more from their handcuff.

Darren Sproles vs DAL
-9 carries, 32 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 4 receiving yards
Sproles was supposed to be the only RB in town with Mathews and Smallwood missing this game.  I will own zero shares of a Doug Pederson backfield going into 2017.

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen @ TB
3 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 4 targets

Delanie Walker vs HOU
5 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 8 targets

Travis Kelce @ SD
-1 reception, 8 receiving yards, 2 targets

This is what I have been warning about for the last two weeks.  With the injuries to top end options at the TE position, (Reed, Gronk, Eifert) it has been tough to predict success.  You were better off going with the cheaper DFS options than paying up for guys like this who just ended up crapping your team.

Dishonorable Mentions

Any Player Who Decided Their Personal Health and Playoff Hopes Were More Important Than Week 17 Fantasy Football
Seriously… so selfish.

Obviously… not serious.


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