Chargers @ Broncos

Point Total: 41
Spread: Broncos -8.5


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Chargers 15th 2nd 26th 23rd 24.7
Broncos 1st 4th 10th 18th 18.4

The Chargers have nothing to play for in this game expect some pride and the Broncos are playing to keep their first round bye and to possibly even secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

QB/D

With few targets left to throw to, an ailing O-line and a rough matchup against one of the leagues best defenses Philip Rivers can be safely left on your bench this week. The Broncos on the other hand will be at home in a game they need to win in order to secure the division and should be plenty motivated to put this game away as quickly as possible. I like this spot for Denver’s D this week although the price ($4000) makes them hard to roster.

Brcok Osweiler has played well of late, and really held his own against the tough defense of the Bengals week 16. That being said San Diego is good at defending the pass and outside of one big game versus the explosive Steelers, who forced him into passing more, Osweiler hasn’t done much for fantasy. The game total is low and I don’t expect a huge game here from Brock who will likely just be called on to game manage the Broncos to victory this week.

RB

Here are the snaps played from the Broncos last game at RB: Anderson 31, Hillman 33. The Broncos continue to split carries making it really hard to justify playing either of their RBs on a weekly basis. CJ Anderson has run well of late when healthy and busted out a nice TD run last week to give the Broncos the lead versus the Bengals. The Chargers run defense isn’t great but they have improved a bit in the last half of the season and haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since week 6. Anderson’s a decent tournament play in my eyes at only $3700 this week but carries some risk since he’s going to be splitting work evenly with Hillman.

With Melvin Gordon out last week Danny Woodhead played 65% of the snaps and caught 8 balls out of the backfield. With San Diego not expected to score a lot in this game I don’t know how much upside there is for Woodhead here but he could catch 8+ balls again simply due to the strength of the Broncos secondary and their ability to shut down opposing teams WRs. His ppr points and increased workload make him a consideration at RB even in a below average matchup.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Broncos last two games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Demaryius Thomas 16 12
Emmanuel Sanders 13 5
Owen Daniels 5 7

Demaryius Thomas is set to go up against one of the best CBs in the game in Jason Verrett. Verrett’s currently the top graded corner on Pro Football Focus and even though Thomas is capable of beating anyone on any day this isn’t a matchup I’d want to take on this week… Emmanuel Sanders once gain gets a better CB matchup in this game and could be in position to take advantage. Sanders has scored in two straight games now and has been used more by Brock Oweiler of late, both downfield and in the red zone. I don’t love either passing offense in this game but Sanders is cheap enough to be at least considered as a play.

San Diego WR Dontrelle Inman had a nice week 16 but gets a much tougher matchup versus Denver week 17. The Broncos have given up a few big game lately to WRs but the talent between the Chargers receiving corps and the Steelers/Bengals is pretty drastic at this point. Inman could see a lot of targets once again in this game but my inclination would be that fading him and looking for better value options from other games is the right play.

Gameflow: The Chargers should be up for the spoiler role but I don’t think they have the personnel to really threaten the Broncos here. Brock Osweiler isn’t a weekly fantasy stud but he’s been very efficient and makes the Broncos extremely hard to beat given his ability to move the ball with downfield throws and not turn it over. San Diego’s in tough and I like the Broncos to excel this week.

Broncos 24 Chargers 14

Primary Targets:

Broncos D $4000

Secondary Targets:

Danny Woodhead $5000
Emmanuel Sanders $5800
CJ Anderson $3700


Seahawks @ Cardinals

Point Total: 47.5
Spread: Cardinals -7


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Seahawks 2nd 3rd 1st 24th 18.1
Cardinals 7th 7th 6th 16th 18.5

The Seahawks can still get the 5th seed in the NFC with a win and a Vikings loss on MNF. This would be big since they’d play Washington in the first round instead of Green Bay/Minnesota. The Cards can get home field advantage if they win and Carolina loses. Neither team is likely to rest starters.

QB

Carson Palmer has seen his fantasy point total drop the last couple weeks, mainly due to the emergence of his star RB, David Johnson. Palmer faces a Hawks defense this week however who excels in the stopping the run and could force Palmer to air it out more. Considering Palmer blitzed the Hawks for 363 yards and 3 TD in week 10 it’s more than possible he has a big game here. He’ll be a low owned tournament play week 17.

Russell Wilson had a miserable week 16 but looked near unstoppable in his five starts before that. The big question is whether he’ll be able to bounce back in this game. I think he can, although that’s admittedly no guarantee. The Arizona front isn’t quite as tough pass rush wise as St. Louis and should give Wilson a little more time this week to operate. QBs haven’t thrown of a ton of TDs versus the Cards but their fast pace of play has allowed 4 of the last 6 QBs who faced them to break 300 yards passing. I could see Wilson doing the same and adding in some run yards to boot. I really like him for a big bounce back game here week 17.

RB

David Johnson lost a few carries last week to Andre Ellington but it was really only in garbage time when the Cardinals were up 25+. The Cards should continue to rotate Ellington in to keep Johnson fresh but he’ll still see the bulk of the work. More concerning is the matchup with Seattle’s defense who has allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs in the league this year. Johnson is a unique RB because he’s such a good receiver that he could easily pay off in this game just through his yardage and ppr points from that area alone. At $6000 I’m not wild about the matchup or price increase but also realize his talent could overcome both. I think he’s more of tournament play week 17 but still needs to be considered.

The Hawks ran with a pretty equal three way split at RB week 16 between Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown and Christine Michael. None of the three have done much the last two weeks and get a tough assignment against the very solid Arizona run defense here. This is an easy spot to pass on for me.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Cardinals last two games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Michael Floyd 8 8
Larry Fitzgerald 6 6
John Brown 9 4

The passing game for the Cardinals has been unusually quiet the past few weeks mainly due to them blowing out teams and running the ball more. While all three of these WRs could go off in any game, there has been a clear move towards Michael Floyd establishing himself as the number 1 WR lately. Floyd has broken the 100-yard mark in three of his last four games and been a handful for opposing defenders downfield. He’ll likely avoid Richard Sherman and matchup with one of the weaker Seattle DBs in this game making him a great target from this offense this week… At $6700 it’s possible Larry Fitzgerald posts another big game this week versus Seattle. His work over the middle of the field gave the Hawks tons of issues week 10. With his targeting down in recent weeks though, and his price still at $6600, I’d sooner roster Floyd and maybe even David Johnson before I thought of Fitzgerald.

The Arizona secondary is pretty stout and completely shut down the Packers last weekend. You would have to think that Patrick Peterson will likely shadow Doug Baldwin for at least a portion of this game, even if Baldwin works from the slot. Baldwin is playing at such a high level right now that it might not matter who is covering him and in a game where the Hawks are 7 point underdogs he could see a ton of targets… Tyler Lockett might also see some of Patrick Peterson, although again it’s hard to know exactly who Peterson will line against every snap. The rookie could be in for a bounce back game here if the Cards decide to focus too much attention on Baldwin. I think both Seahawks receivers could have big games but I’d view them more as tournament options since knowing which one is going to have a big day could be hard to decipher.

Gameflow: The Cardinals are absolutely rolling right now and will have some motivation to compete hard in this game with the Panthers playing late too. The Hawks could really use a win here however as that would ensure a wild card meeting with the Redskins. I think this game has some real sleeper potential for fantasy but ultimately I don’t see Arizona falling against a division rival at home this late in the season. I think it’s likely the Cardinals continue to roll here.

Cardinals 27 Seahawks 24

Primary Targets:

Michael Floyd $5200
Russel Wilson $7000

Secondary Targets:

David Johnson $6000
Doug Baldwin $6700
Carson Palmer $6500


Rams @ 49ers

Point Total: 37
Spread: Rams -3.5


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Rams 8th 9th 19th 27th 20.7
49ers 16th 19th 32nd 9th 24.7

This game really has zero meaning expect to the players involved. Both teams have been out of the playoff picture for some time.

QB/D

This game has the lowest point total we have seen all year at 37.5 as the odds makers anticipate neither team scoring more than 20. I won’t bore you discussing either QB as neither should be on your radar this weekend for fantasy, but the defenses in a game as low scoring as this one might be should be considered. The Rams are coming off a dominate performance over the hottest QB in the league week 16 and even with some injuries still sport a dominate D-Line. Blaine Gabbert hasn’t turned the ball over a ton but will be under constant pressure in this game. The Rams are definitely a decent target at D this week at an affordable $3000 in salary.

RB

As much as I hate both passing offenses in this game I do think this makes for an excellent spot for a big game from Todd Gurley. The 49ers run defense has been getting crushed lately and have now allowed an incredible 7 rushing TDs against them in their last 4 games, and the most in the league all season. Gurley did get nicked up a bit in last weeks game (where he ran well against a tough Seahawks front) and so if he does end up missing I’d also consider Tre Mason as a play at only $3000. Either way this matchup sets up great either Rams back (if they get a full workload) and I’d consider a healthy Gurley to be in a great spot for a massive game.

With Shaun Draughn on IR the 49ers turned to a combo of DuJuan Harris and Jarryd Hayne last week at RB. On top of sharing carries these two will have to face off with a group who just completely manhandled the Seahawks run game and has only allowed one rushing TD in its last 6 games. There’s better spots to target this week at RB and I’d avoid most things San Fran in this game.

WR/TE

Here’s the targets from the last two weeks for the St Louis Rams receivers:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Tavon Austin 3 7
Kenny Britt 2 4
Jared Cook 6 3

As you can see this isn’t exactly a high volume passing offense and not one I’d want to be relying on for fantasy purposes any time soon. Kenny Britt has excelled with Case Keenum at QB catching a couple deep balls and finding the end zone in two straight games. That being said relying on a player with 6 targets over his last two games isn’t ideal and I’d probably just ignore the last two weeks and find a better spot at WR… Tavon Austin keeps getting used in the run game which does give him a less volatile floor fantasy wise and increases his risk of “breaking one” as well. If you’re feeling frisky Austin would make a nice pairing with the Rams D this week as he still returns kicks and could get you that double bonus if he returns one for a TD… but it’s pretty risky given the lack of offense we’re likely to see in this game overall.

The Rams have defended the WR position very well this year but have actually given up the 6th most yards and receptions to TE’s this season. Vance McDonald is a great athlete who’s been banged up the last couple of weeks but returned last week to post 5-61-1 on the Bears. McDonald led the 49ers last weekend with 7 targets and given how well the Rams cover the WR I won’t be shocked if he leads them in targets and most receiving categories again. He’s someone to consider at TE if you need a min priced play as he’s only 3k this week.

Gameflow: I hesitate to use the word gameflow here because I don’t think they’ll be much “flow” to his game at all. The 49ers haven’t been terrible since turning to Gabbert at QB but are running into a Rams defense who looks like they’re going to end the year on a high note after taking out Seattle last week. The Rams still have a couple of decent RBs which should allow them to score a few points and win this likely very boring game.

Rams 19 49ers 14

Primary Targets:

Todd Gurley $7400
Rams D $3000
Vance McDonald $3000

Secondary Targets:

None


Buccaneers @ Panthers

Point Total: 46.5
Spread: Panthers -10.5


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Buccaneers 17th 23rd 9th 19th 25.3
Panthers 5th 11th 18th 15th 19.9

The Panthers need a win this week to guarantee home field advantage throughout the playoffs while the Bucs are merely playing for pride this week and a chance to knock off one of the best teams in the league.

QB/D

Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense has really stalled the last few weeks. Winston has really padded his stats the last couple of games with late garbage time heroics (including a meaningless Hail Mary last week as the game ended) and gets a tough test this week versus the Panthers who picked him off 4 times in week 4. Winston has improved since then but as mentioned the Bucs passing game has really struggled lately. This is a great bounce back spot for the Panthers as a group and I like their defense as a play week 17.

The Panthers need a win to guarantee home field so there’s no reason to think Cam Newton be limited in any fashion unless the Panthers get up big at some point. With Carolina projected to score around 28 points this is a good spot to deploy Cam for fantasy and I’d even add that he might be fairly under owned in tournaments after he disappointed people in week 16.

RB

Jonathan Stewart looks almost certain to miss week 17 which means the Panthers will likely turn to a duo of Cameron Artis-Payne and Mike Tolbert this week as Fozzy Whitaker is also out for the Panthers. Artis-Payne looked fine when given carries last week and should be in for an expanded role in this game. While the Bucs run defense is solid they’ve given up 4 TDs to RBs over their last 3 games and might be wearing down a bit. The fresh legs of Artis-Payne could be vital in this game where Carolina is expected to win by 10. At $4300 I think he’s a pretty intriguing play and someone I’d target from this game.

Doug Martin had a week 16 to forget fumbling twice in key situations. Martin has lost 30% or so of the workload every week to Charles Sims and really gets his upside capped fantasy wise due to his lack of ppr scoring. Carolina can be beat on the ground but with the Panthers big favorites it’s quite possible Martin sees a smaller than normal workload in this game. It’s a spot I’m content to avoid week 17.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets for the Panthers last two weeks of play:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Ted Ginn 14 3
Philly Brown 4 6
Devin Funchess 7 1

The Bucs are much weaker in defending the pass than the run and make for a decent target this week for the Carolina receivers. Tampa has given up at least 7 receptions to TE’s in each of their last three games and with Ted Ginn hurting, Greg Olsen could be in line for a bump in targets this week. Olsen’s price remains high but if Ginn missed this game he’d be a logical target and someone to pair with Cam for tournaments… The Tampa Bay secondary is one of the weakest in the league coverage wise with all three starting CBs ranking well below league average on Pro Football Focus. If Ginn is healthy and does play week 17 (he missed Wed practice) he’d be a great target as well. Ginn has been a revelation fantasy wise lately stringing together three straight games of 25 points or more (before last week) and his $4900 price tag keeps affordable. Watch the news on Ginn but make him a target if he plays… If Ginn misses? Consider Devin Funchess who is only $3400 in price and should see more snaps in Ginn’s absence. The rookie hasn’t played much lately but could be relied on more this week if the Panthers top WR is out.

Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans has failed to capitalize on some soft matchups this season and gets the tough Josh Norman in coverage this week. Norman has been beaten the last two weeks by two very elite receivers but I don’t necessarily trust the Winston/Evans combo to burn Norman for a third week in a row here. Evans is talented but insanely risky in this bad a matchup… TE Austin Seferian Jenkins looked like he had a nice game last week but outside of a late Hail Mary TD he only played on 29% of the snaps and was a non-factor. He’s a complete fade for me week 17.

Gameflow: Tampa has the personnel to make this a tough game for Carolina but their level of play has really dropped off since they were eliminated from playoff contention. Carolina is a little banged up but really needs this game and would probably like some redemption after finally losing last weekend. I can’t see the Panthers losing twice in a row and especially not to this Bucs team who looks like they’ve lost their will to compete.

Panthers 27 Bucs 17

Primary Targets:

Greg Olsen $6800
Panthers D $3600
Ted Ginn $4900(if healthy)

Secondary Targets:

Devin Funchess $3400 (if no Ginn)
Cameron Artis-Payne $4300


Vikings @ Packers

Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Packers -3.5


DvP Ranks vs QB vs RB vs WR vs TE PPGA
Vikings 12th 13th 13th 12th 19.3
Packers 14th 10th 15th 20th 20.2

This game has the most direct playoff implications of any game on the slate. These two teams are playing for the division title with the loser having to play on the road week 17 as the wild card team.

QB/D

Aaron Rodgers has been a true liability for fantasy this season and hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards or more than 2 TDs in a game since week 10. I don’t know how you can trust him here versus a Minnesota team who has one of the slowest paces of play in the entire league and outside of elite passing offenses, has been pretty decent overall in limiting opposing teams QBs. I’m anticipating a slower, defensive ball game and don’t have much interest in either of these QBs.

Defensively I think the Packers could be a decent target for tournaments at only $2500. The Vikings don’t turn the ball over much but in a pressure filled game with the division on the line I expect the Green Bay pass rush to be going all out. The Packers still rank 5th in the league as a team in sacks and should be able to get some pressure on Teddy Bridgewater who will be playing in the most important game of his career. For a cheap defense you could do worse.

RB

It goes without saying that I expect Adrian Peterson to get a big workload in this game. The last 6 times AP has taken 20 or more carries he’s ended up with over 100 yards in every game but one. The Vikings will likely try and control this game and the clock with Peterson as much as possible this week and if they get out in front Peterson could see up to 30 carries. I like this spot for AP and think the Vikings will do all they can to make Peterson the star of this game fantasy wise.

Eddie Lacy saw most of the snaps at RB for the Packers in week 16 and will probably once again be called on to carry at least 60-70% of the RB work in this game. The Packers would love to get Lacy going early in this game (just like the Vikings would like to do with Peterson), but the poor O-line play of the Packers and poor play of Lacy this year make this scenario less likely. With Minnesota giving up the third fewest TDs to RBs this is a spot I’d avoid this week.

WR/TE

Here’s the passing targets from the Packers last two games:


Player Week 15 Week 16
Randall Cobb 10 4
James Jones 13 13
Richard Rodgers 4 3

So much for Randall Cobb seeing a revival under Mike McCarthy as play caller. Cobb has been a huge disappointment all season and gets a tough matchup this week with Captain Munnerlyn who has been ranked near the top of Pro Football Focus’ coverage grades for CBs all season. I’ll keep avoiding Cobb this week… James Jones is probably the main Packer I’d think about targeting form this game. Jones has seen a ton of targets lately as Aaron Rodgers desperately seeks for a WR who can make a play or two. Jones will be matched up most of the game with the beatable Xavier Rhodes and I won’t be shocked if Jones finds the end zone versus Rhodes who’s really regressed as a cover corner this year. At only $3800 you have to love the fact you’re getting a receiver who has 26 targets over his last two games and will be playing in an important game, in a good matchup. Jones is a must consider and near must play this week.

The Vikings low volume passing game makes targeting any of their receivers tough. I love the talent on Stefon Diggs but he’ll be facing off against the tough Sam Shields who returned this week from a concussion. Ultimately no Viking WR has more than 6 targets in a game over the last two weeks and that’s simply not enough to produce a big game fantasy wise… the Packers do struggle against the TE position but Kyle Rudolph only has 6 targets in his last two games as well. Rudolph’s probably OK as a tournament option as the Vikings might turn to him more if down late but he’s a hardly a sure thing and there’s much better value out there at his price this week.

Gameflow: This should be a fun MNF game seeing as it’s for the division title. The Packers have not impressed me at all this year while the Vikings have truly improved as the season has gone on. Beating the Packers at Lambeau is never easy but the Vikings are simply the better team right now. I’d expect this to be more of a defensive struggle than a shootout and like the Vikings to stand their ground in a close game.

Vikings 23 Packers 20

Primary Targets:

Adrian Peterson $7200
James Jones $3800

Secondary Targets:

Packers D $2500


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