Andy Dalton, DAL (at New York Giants)
Dalton has a few things going for him this week. He’s coming off of his most productive game of the year. The first time he faced the Giants he led a comeback 37-34 win. He’s one of the quarterbacks playing for a playoff berth this week. The Cowboys offense is surging at the right time with a healthy-ish Ezekiel Elliott. Consider Dalton the best of the Week 17 streamers.
Kirk Cousins, MIN (at Detroit)
Cousins isn’t playing for a playoff berth, but the Vikings haven’t let up much offensively after being eliminated from the playoffs. They’ll be without Dalvin Cook this week, but Minnesota is facing a Detroit defense that had one of the worst halves in recent memory last week. Cousins should have a good chance to finish scoring drives this week, and there should be a lot of them.
Drew Lock, DEN (at Las Vegas)
Lock has been the biggest boom/bust quarterback this year, so it’s a question of guessing which one we’ll get week-to-week. The Raiders are always a good bet to bring out of the boom in an opposing offense, although the first time out Lock threw four picks against them. Lock’s four touchdown game against Carolina in Week 14 is the glimmering light of hope for a big game this week.
Daniel Jones, NYG (vs Dallas)
Jones has been a full participant in practice this week, which means that he will likely be unleashed as a runner again (as much as anyone can be unleashed in a Jason Garrett offense) in addition to facing the vulnerable Dallas defense. The Giants put up 34 points against them in the first matchup, and their offense may be opened up a bit if the Cowboys jump out to a lead. Jones is also playing for a playoff berth (they’ll also need the Eagles to beat Washington, just like the Cowboys), which helps build confidence in Week 17 plays.
Alexander Mattison, MIN (at Detroit)
Mattison appears to be on track to return from a concussion this week, and just in time to face the domesticated Lions defense. He’ll share with Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone to some extent, but we should expect Mattison to collect most of the value created by the Vikings strong running game in a good matchup.
Rodney Smith, CAR (vs New Orleans)
Mike Davis is out this week, so Smith will be the lead back against the Saints. He has caught multiple passes in each of the last three games and showed out very well for an undrafted rookie. The Saints have given up five rushing scores to opposing backs in the last three games, and if the Packers open up a lead on the Bears or the Seahawks fall behind the 49ers, the defense may rest some key starters in the second half.
Wayne Gallman, NYG (vs Dallas)
Gallman’s production has slowed down over the last three weeks as the Giants have only mustered 26 total points, but he’ll get the Dallas defense this week in what should be a higher scoring game. Devonta Freeman started the first matchup and scored his only touchdown of the season, so Gallman has a good chance to find paydirt this week.
Malcolm Brown, LAR (vs Arizona)
Darrell Henderson was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury and Cam Akers is trying to get back on the field after suffering an ankle injury of his own in Week 15. That leaves Brown as the last man standing. The Rams offense will be hampered by having to start backup quarterback John Wolford, but that also could be an impetus to establish the run with his hard-changing downhill style. The Rams backs had two running back scores, 118 rushing yards, and four catches for 77 yards in the first matchup with Arizona, so Sean McVay should lean on Brown.
Darwin Thompson, KC (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
The Chiefs are unlikely to play their first line offense much in Week 17, if at all, since they have the #1 seed locked up. That means Le’Veon Bell, who is banged up right now, won’t play, and since Darrel Williams is the presumptive starter, he shouldn’t see much action. Darwin Thompson should get the largest workload of his career in a rare chance to show what he can do under a feature back workload.
Curtis Samuel, CAR (vs New Orleans)
Samuel is having a big second half of the season as a receiver, setting his career highs for receiving and rushing yards in a game just last week. With the Panthers down to their third string running back, Samuel could have a career high in carries this week, along with his usual target load as a wide receiver, giving him a very high ceiling for Week 17.
Keke Coutee, HOU (vs Tennessee)
Coutee has leveled off as a preferred option for Deshaun Watson, catching 21 of the 24 targets Watson has thrown at him over the last four weeks. He hasn’t fallen below 10 PPR points in any of those games, and he could be well above 10 this week as Watson needs 283 passing yards to move ahead of Patrick Mahomes II in the league leaders, and Mahomes is not playing. Short, high percentage targets to Coutee could be the ticket to that number in what should be a shootout as these teams played a 42-36 overtime thriller in the first matchup.
James Washington, PIT (at Cleveland)
We know the Steelers are starting Mason Rudolph on Sunday, but we can’t be sure what their plans are for Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool. Smith-Schuster and Johnson have been on the injury report often enough this year to make using them sparingly smart and the Steelers have already said they have been managing Claypool’s reps to keep him from hitting the rookie wall. Washington could (should?) be the #1 receiver and Cleveland #1 corner Denzel Ward is out for Week 17 on the covid list. Did we mention that Washington’s college quarterback was Rudolph?
Darius Slayton, NYG (vs Dallas)
Slayton hasn’t done much for fantasy teams lately, but he could be needed in a big way against a Dallas team that is looking to put up a lot of points on the Giants. In the 37-34 shootout the first time these teams met, Slayton had 8-129, his season high in yards for 2020. He could easily get behind a suspect Cowboys secondary at least once in this one and make your week.
Cam Sims, WAS (at Philadelphia)
We’re still waiting to see if Terry McLaurin can play this week, but the early signs are not good. Sims becomes the #1 downfield target when McLaurin is out, and if that’s true this week, he’ll face an Eagles defense that just got boat raced by the Cowboys passing game, with all three of their receivers putting up big fantasy numbers. Sims tied his season high in targets with nine last week, and whether the starter is Alex Smith or Taylor Heinecke, he’ll have an improvement in starting quarterback after Dwayne Haskins was released.
Dan Arnold, ARI (at Los Angeles Rams)
Arnold has had his highest target totals of the year in the last two weeks, and that trend should continue against the Rams this week. Jalen Ramsey is a great match for DeAndre Hopkins, and more often than not, he holds Hopkins to a mediocre game. Last time out, Arnold caught two balls for 61 yards and two scores, and he should be a key cog again this week with Larry Fitzgerald nursing a groin injury and Chase Edmonds nursing a myriad of injuries, the latest a hip issue.
Zach Ertz, PHI (at Washington)
This is what it has come to with Ertz, hanging out with the sleepers, but it is important to give some attention to his situation this week with Dallas Goedert trending towards not playing and the Eagles being the only thing that is standing between Washington and a division title. Jalen Hurts has been targeting the tight ends like an Eagles quarterback should, with at least nine tight end targets in each of his first three starts, and seven of them to Ertz in each of the last two weeks. This time around Ertz should get most, if not all of those targets.
Hunter Henry hasn’t been activated from the covid list as of Thursday, which casts a lot of doubt on whether he’ll make the trip to Kansas City for Week 17. Keenan Allen also looks unlikely to play at this point, which sets up Parham and Anderson as sleepers. Parham had more snaps, but Anderson had more targets last week. Both are suitable plays as Parham has more red zone prowess due to his 6’8” frame, while Anderson was the better fantasy play last week and is probably the more skilled route runner.