Week 17 is always wild for fantasy football since teams have different levels of investment and are trying out different players in different spots as they look to the future. For some teams, the future starts with the playoffs next week while others are done until next season.
There are still DraftKings contests in the coming weeks and its never too early to start your prep for next year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the breakout stars in Week 17 and evaluate whether they’re one-week wonders or players to watch the next time they’re on the field.
QB Josh Allen, BUF vs. MIA, $6,000 — 41.46 DKFPThe Bills had a disappointing 6-10 record this season after making the playoffs last season. However, they did get plenty of encouraging signs from their first-round rookie QB. Allen totaled five touchdowns against the Dolphins — three passing and two rushing while throwing for 224 yards and running for 95 yards.
Allen only played 12 games this season, but led the team in rushing with 631 yards and added eight rushing touchdowns to his 10 passing scores. Allen still has a lot of room for improvement as a passer, but proved he can be a fantasy asset with his legs. He also showed he can make plays and help his team get wins, so he looks to be locked in as the Bills’ franchise QB of the future. The Bills have a good defense and will need to improve his receiving options this offseason, but Allen is definitely a fantasy contributor to watch next year.
TE Blake Jarwin, DAL at NYG, $2,800 — 39.9 DKFPJarwin went off in the Cowboys’ 36-35 win over the Giants, catching seven of eight targets for 119 yards and catching the first three touchdowns of his NFL career. He finished the season with 27 catches for 307 yards and established himself as the Cowboys’ top TE headed into the playoffs with Geoff Swaim (wrist) on IR.
The connection between Jarwin and Dak Prescott ($5,800) helped them both to big fantasy games in the finale, but it hasn’t been a consistent one throughout the season. Jarwin hadn’t found the end zone all season before his Week 17 explosion, so he will remain a high-risk play headed into the playoffs. Looking further down the road, Swaim should be fully recovered for next season and will likely at least split reps with Jarwin if not take the job entirely.
WR Chris Godwin, TB vs. ATL, $4,300 — 32.4 DKFPIn the Bucs’ finale, Godwin started again for the injured DeSean Jackson (Achilles) and finished with a strong effort in an NFC South matchup that didn’t have playoff implications for Tampa Bay or Atlanta. Godwin caught six of his nine targets for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns, finishing the season with 842 yards and seven touchdowns.
Tampa Bay has a big decision to make this offseason regarding QB Jameis Winston ($6,100) and has already let go of head coach Dirk Koetter. While the Bucs are in transition, they look set at receiver with Godwin alongside Mike Evans ($7,700). If Godwin is a starter next season and has a good QB situation, he should continue to emerge. He appears to be set up for the mythical “third-year leap” after a slightly under-the-radar solid season this year.
RB Jordan Howard, CHI at MIN, $4,000 — 27.4 DKFPHoward helped the Bears to a big win in Minnesota with his second game of at least 100 yards on the season. He finished with 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his 21 carries while adding a five-yard reception. He continued to share time with Tarik Cohen ($5,900), but the game flow went in his direction this week with more short-yardage opportunities as the Bears played from ahead.
Cohen’s salary has sky-rocketed due to his big-play ability, but Howard finished the season with at least 14 DKFP in each of his last four games. He continues to get enough work to be fantasy relevant in the Bears’ game plan which focuses on him and Cohen along with Chicago’s suffocating defense. Howard has touchdown-dependent upside, but remains high-risk since Cohen gets more work in passing situations and offers more big-play potential. However, if Howard remains so affordable, he’ll be hard to look past next week given his recent performance.
RB C.J. Anderson, LAR vs SF, $5,400 — 27.4 DKFPThe Rams decided to be cautious with Todd Gurley (knee) and give Anderson the start this week in a great matchup against the 49ers. Anderson didn’t disappoint and had another monster game by running for 132 yards and a touchdown on his 23 carries and added 22 yards by catching all three of his targets.
Anderson will take a back seat to Gurley when the Rams start their playoff run in two weeks, and it isn’t clear how much work he’ll get, if any, as Gurley’s backup. Anderson has made the most of his opportunity to show he can still be a contributor in the NFL. He could remain with the Rams this offseason or end up in a place with a clearer path to playing time. If he stays with Los Angeles, he probably won’t have much fantasy value, barring injury to Gurley.
Verdict: Fade (but watch where he lands this offseason)
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI at WAS, $3,800 — 21.0 DKFPThe Eagles got the win they needed to get into the playoffs coupled with the Vikings’ loss to the Bears. Philadelphia cruised to a 24-0 win on the strength of a strong performance from Agholor, who finished with five catches for 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He finished the season with back-to-back games with over 20 DKFP, totaling 156 yards and three touchdowns on 10 catches.
Agholor was boom-or-bust throughout the season and was held under 10 DKFP in his previous five games before his big two weeks to close the season. Despite his late-season surge, he remains the second receiver behind Alshon Jeffery ($5,700). The Eagles’ QB situation is also unsettled, making Agholor even more risky heading into the playoffs.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.