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RB Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots
Very few people had "Ezekiel Elliott winning fantasy football leagues in 2023" on their bingo cards, but that may be the case. Elliott is far from the elite talent he was earlier in his career, but he's in a role tailor-made for fantasy success. Bailey Zappe is quick to abandon his deep reads and take the check down, which has amounted to 25 targets for Elliott over the last three weeks. The results have been both a high floor and a high ceiling. Elliott has scored 27, 9.6, and 21 PPR points in each of his last three games, being outscored by only Christian McCaffrey, Breece Hall, James Cook, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Rachaad White. When he finds paydirt, you're getting elite RB1 production. When he doesn't, his involvement in the passing game provides a reliable floor. With a Week 17 matchup against the Bills, the Patriots could quickly find themselves in a game where they turn to the passing attack early, and Elliott will be the beneficiary, gobbling up even more targets. He's been hot over the last few weeks and should absolutely be in your lineup against the Bills.
WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
Describing Tee Higgins' early-season production as underwhelming is an understatement. Through Week 14, Higgins was PPR's WR61. A two-touchdown outing in Week 2 inspired hope after a Week 1 donut, but Higgins failed to eclipse 20 fantasy points in another matchup after that. Injuries, drops, penalties, you name it. Seemingly everything has worked against Higgins throughout this season. But with Ja'Marr Chase going down in Week 15, Higgins took full advantage. His injuries appear behind him, and he's heating up at just the right time. Since Chase's injury, only Amari Cooper and Amon-Ra St. Brown are outsourcing Higgins, who has back-to-back outings with over 20 points. The Chiefs-Bengals game in Week 17 may not be the high-flying and star-studded matchup we had hoped when perusing the schedule a few months ago, but Higgins' role in this offense without Chase means volume should be aplenty. Plug him in as a high-ceiling WR2 this week.
TE Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers
This player requires a healthy dose of context. Gerald Everett is technically the per-game TE17 over the last three weeks. His best outing across those matchups was last week, with a meager 11.2 points. But the tight-end landscape has drastically changed. T.J. Hockenson is out for the year. Cole Kmet may miss Week 17. Taysom Hill's role has nearly vanished. Hunter Henry is injured. Darren Waller has not returned to form since his injury. Fantasy managers who lost a plug-and-play TE1 may find themselves in a Week 17 bind. In steps Gerald Everett. Since Easton Stick took over as the starting quarterback, Stick has targeted Everett eight times in every game. And in Week 17, the Chargers face off against the Broncos, who allow the most points to opposing fantasy tight ends. Is Everett a sure thing for Week 17? Absolutely not. Is he guaranteed eight targets every time Easton Stick starts? No. Is he even trending up? Meh. But for fantasy managers who find themselves scouring the waiver wire in Week 17, Everett could provide a reasonable floor and ceiling given his usage with Stick and favorable matchup.
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