Percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.
If the season hasn’t been crazy enough for you yet, Week 16 gave us Rex Burkhead as the overall RB4 on the week and Justin Jackson as the top running back in fantasy. For championship week, don’t be afraid to slot these top 3 picks into your lineup, but be wary of the pretenders.
Top RBs for Week 17:
Dare Ogunbowale, Jacksonville (1%)
Starting running back James Robinson’s season is over after a torn Achilles. It’s a bummer, honestly, and I wish J-Rob a speedy recovery. He’s battled the odds and exceeded expectations at every turn. Of course, his absence provided Dare Ogunbowale with an opportunity in Week 17, and he delivered with 57 yards and a touchdown in the second half of Jacksonville’s loss in New Jersey. “D,” as he’s called by his teammates, looks like he’ll lead the Jaguars backfield the rest of the way, so he’s the top add on the wire this week. New England isn’t the easiest matchup, but the Patriots have been better against the pass than the run in recent weeks, and the guaranteed workload puts Ogunbowale in the RB2 category for fantasy championships.
Jordan Howard (16%) & Boston Scott (15%), Philadelphia
With Miles Sanders already ruled out for Week 17, Jordan Howard is favored to get the starting nod. All season, Philadelphia has seemed more than willing to trust Howard with a larger role, and it seems like he’ll get the shot against Washington. Boston Scott is clearly going to be involved and would be a flex option for managers in need, but Howard is my preferred choice as the starter and goal-line option.
Rex Burkhead, Houston (14%)
Well, hello, Mr. Burkhead! He’s been in the mix to “lead” Houston’s backfield for weeks, but it hasn’t translated into fantasy relevance for Rex Burkhead. Until Week 16, that is. Burkhead went off this week, going for a career-high 149 yards and adding 2 touchdowns. I get it: it’s a risk to place your fantasy season in the hands of the worst backfield in the league. But with Davis Mills continuing to look competent under center, you could do worse than Rex Burkhead. There, I said it.
Other names (Pretenders?):
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (1%) mixed in behind Ronald Jones II, including a highlight-reel 55-yard touchdown run. Vaughn is clearly behind Jones in Tampa Bay, and he’s too risky to start in all but the deepest of leagues.
Craig Reynolds (21%) didn’t help you in Week 16, but he could be a desperation play if D’Andre Swift remains out.
Duke Johnson (11%) was a big name after Week 15, but the backfield in Miami is too crowded to trust any one player.
Ameer Abdullah (17%) was supposed to be a solid option in a negative game script against Tampa Bay, but Carolina’s offense is so dysfunctional that I can’t recommend Abdullah as a flex in 12-team leagues.
Hopefully you jumped on the Amon-Ra St. Brown bandwagon and rode his 11 targets to fantasy semifinal glory. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my own advice and am on the outside looking in after leaving St. Brown on my bench. Don’t be like me. Go for it this week.
Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo (1%)
We were all hyped for Gabriel Davis heading into Week 16, only to see him land on the COVID list. Emmanuel Sanders was active but hasn’t had a fantasy-relevant performance since Week 6. Isaiah McKenzie became Josh Allen’s top target overall, doing his damage out of the slot and finishing with 11 receptions for 125 yards and a score. Davis is unvaccinated, as is Cole Beasley (obviously) and both are unlikely to play in Week 17. McKenzie slots in as a must-start when Buffalo takes on Atlanta.
K.J. Osborn, Minnesota (34%)
After a lackluster Week 15, K.J. Osborn saw 7 targets and turned them into 5 receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. Adam Thielen re-aggravated his high ankle sprain, so Osborn looks like a good bet as Minnesota’s #2 if Thielen misses more time. Minnesota’s Week 11 matchup with Green Bay turned into a 31-34 shootout, so there should be points available.
Others to consider:
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (40%) gets the nod for me if he can clear COVID protocols for Week 17, but Allen Lazard (24%) is a worthy flex option if MVS misses another game.
Jalen Guyton (8%) is a tempting option, as Guyton had scored in three straight weeks before going on the COVID list. Joshua Palmer (5%), in Guyton’s absence, showed out in Week 16 and looked like a receiver coming into his own. Mike Williams, yet another unvaccinated wide receiver, won’t play in Week 17, so I’d feel good about starting Guyton or Palmer behind Keenan Allen. Between the two, I give the nod to Guyton.
T.Y. Hilton (18%) is a dart throw or deep league option against Las Vegas in Week 17. He seems to be the second passing option behind Michael Pittman, and Carson Wentz isn’t afraid to target him in the end zone.
Gerald Everett, Seattle (42%)
Since Russell Wilson’s return from injury, Gerald Everett has seen 4+ targets in all but one game. For a tight end, I’ll take that production any day. To make it even sweeter, the Seahawks play the Lions in Week 17.
Foster Moreau, Las Vegas (22%)
As long as Darren Waller is out, Foster Moreau is a streamer with TE1 upside. In Week 17, Moreau has a plus matchup against Indianapolis, who is giving up the 4th-most points to tight ends this season.
Others to consider:
Evan Engram (31%) is about the safest option in this category, regardless of who is under center in New York. The Giants offense doesn’t provide much scoring upside, but Engram is a comparatively low-risk option at the position. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Tyler Conklin (42%) has been more miss than hit recently, but a high point total against Green Bay should provide some scoring opportunity with a decent floor. If Thielen is ruled out, I like Conklin even more.
Justin Fields (26%) missed Week 16 with an ankle injury. If Fields is active for Week 17, he’s worth starting for the rushing upside and a plus matchup against the Giants.
Taysom Hill (42%) also missed Week 16 and will hope to clear COVID protocols in time for a Week 17 tilt with Carolina. As you’ve undoubtedly heard time and again, go where the rushing quarterbacks are. Start Hill if he’s active.
Others to consider:
Trey Lance (12%) hasn’t had the season fantasy managers had hoped for, but he might be getting the start with Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with multiple injuries to his throwing hand. Lance might start the rest of the season for San Francisco if Jimmy G needs surgery.
When you’re streaming defenses, you play the matchups. My top 3 streaming defenses for Week 17:
Seattle Seahawks (50%) vs. Detroit Lions
Cleveland Browns (39%) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears (16%) vs. New York Giants
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