This is it. Week 17. The Finals.
All that work you put in is about to pay off and there is just one more Sunday left in the 2021 fantasy season. But with the virus running rampant through the NFL, winning that championship certainly won’t be easy.
It’s certainly understandable to hit the panic button. Not only is it nerve-wracking to be on the precipice of winning a title, but so many players are getting ruled out that many of us are having to dig deep to even put in a full lineup this week.
There’s never been a championship Sunday with this much uncertainty, but the simplest advice I can give is to try not to overthink things. Stay the course. This isn’t the week to get cute with lineups…but that advice also comes with a warning.
While nobody is going to tell you to sit Dalvin Cook or Brandin Cooks, recent history is telling us that players fresh off the reserve/COVID list are anything but full strength. Tyreek Hill destroyed many teams last week. Allen Robinson said he last 10 pounds and Tyler Lockett dropped eight.
These are some of the things to keep in mind. If you have a tough choice between two WR3s and one just came off the list, you should certainly take that into consideration. And those of us that stay the course and stick with our studs shouldn’t be shocked when they don’t have their best performance this week when we need it most.
For those of you looking for help off the waiver wire or to your bench for fill-ins with some Week 17 upside, here are some sleepers to consider.
Tyler Huntley (QB) Baltimore Ravens – It’s looking like Lamar Jackson is going to miss another start, so Huntley is poised to make get the starting nod once again in Week 17. Although the matchup with the Rams is less than ideal, Huntley has been terrific in Baltimore’s last three games. During that span, he’s completing over 71% of his throws, has a 3-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio, and is also averaging over 53 yards on the ground with an additional pair of TDs. Huntley should be a priority add for fantasy managers who will now be without Kirk Cousins in the finale.
Trey Lance (QB) San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers lost both of Lance’s starts earlier this season and the rookie struggled with accuracy. He did, however, average over 19 fantasy points in those starts thanks to elite rushing ability. Head coach Kyle Shanahan remarked that Lance is far more comfortable in the offense now and has had an excellent month of practice. For all of you out there that have been HODLing Lance all season, he’s got a superb Week 17 matchup against an anemic Houston defense and offers top-10 upside to break in 2022.
Jaret Patterson (RB) Washington Football Team – Antonio Gibson was just placed on the reserve/COVID list and has precious little time to be cleared in time for Sunday’s tilt against the Eagles. J.D. McKissic is also on IR, which puts Patterson in a good spot to see a fairly significant workload against a Philadelphia allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs.
Dare Ogunbowale (RB) Jacksonville Jaguars – Last week after James Robinson exited the game, Ogunbowale played 85% of Jacksonville’s snaps and racked up 19 touches. While Ryquell Armstead will also be activated for this game, Ogunbowale should be poised to see a heavy dose of carries and targets against a New England defense that has been surprisingly vulnerable to opposing running backs.
Darnell Mooney (WR) Chicago Bears – If Justin Fields, who is trending towards starting, is announced as Chicago’s starter, Mooney offers WR2/3 upside against a hapless Giants squad. Mooney has six top-30 PPR weekly wideout performances in games with Fields under center. New York CB James Bradberry is also slated to shadow Allen Robinson which should funnel even more targets towards Mooney, who is a sneaky bet to put up WR2/3 numbers.
Zay Jones (WR) Las Vegas Raiders – After the Raiders parted ways with Henry Ruggs, Jones has become a prominent part of the Las Vegas passing offense. Starting in Week 9, Jones has been in on over 75% of the Raiders’ snaps and he’s averaged 7.2 targets per game over the last five. He’s also snagged 5-plus receptions in 4-of-5 and should be a good bet for another 6-plus targets this week against an average Indianapolis secondary.
John Bates (TE) Washington Football Team – No team has allowed more fantasy points to tight end than the Eagles, who are allowing 17.7 fantasy points per game to the position. Bates has out-snapped Ricky Seal-Jones in each of Washinton’s last three games and played 75% of the club’s snaps last week.