This week will have a bit more abbreviated breakdowns. It’s Week 17, and at this point, you can scroll through the rankings and judge your best plays for yourself… and again, you’re lucky I’m spending any time on helping you in this Week 17 nonsense. Truthfully, you should be (and I am) more interested in these rankings for DFS purposes. Also, for those of you new to this, the explanation is below, and welcome to the free preview for the last week. Make sure to grab the NFL package next year to get access to this article and other goodies we have just for you!
Reminder: Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Case Keenum and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Mike Wallace, but it provides Fantasy Football Matchup Rankings to help you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Week 17 Quarterback Matchups[table “1626” not found /]
Carson Palmer vs. Matt Barkley
Here is more proof that Week 17 is an unnecessary nightmare for Fantasy Football owners. Ben Roethlisberger is sitting, Tyrod Taylor won’t play, Eli Manning could play a quarter/first half/who knows and the next three matchups are elite options. So, we drop down to Palmer (hoping he lasts the entire game), as the Rams allow the ninth highest FPAD for quarterbacks. In fact, the Rams gave up the third most FPPG to quarterbacks over the last four weeks with 1,001 yards and nine touchdowns allowed. Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick had three touchdowns each in the Rams last three games, and Palmer will aim to make it four straight.
As for Barkley, he has eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions plus three fumbles. While the Vikings defense has fallen apart of late, that had a lot to do with facing Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers in back-to-back weeks. The Vikings have forced 12 interceptions and 10 fumbles this year, and the likelihood is high that Barkley ends up with multiple turnovers this week.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Siemian, Blake Bortles
Week 17 Running Back Matchups[table “1627” not found /]
Paul Perkins vs. Rex Burkhead
While the Giants might rest their starters, they’ll likely aim to get more work in for Perkins. Beat reporters have mentioned that Perkins is the Giants best running back (uh, yea guys, he was after the draft) and that he’ll see more work than Rashad Jennings going forward. The only reason Perkins hadn’t seen more opportunities until recently was his poor pass blocking. Perkins has made significant strides in that area and is no longer a swinging gate. With the Redskins unable to stop the run all season and Ryan Nassib likely under center at some point, Perkins should get a decent amount of carries in Week 17.
While Jeremy Hill sounds doubtful – and hey, thanks for the heads up last week Bengals – Burkhead is still a risky play even as the lead option. The Ravens have dominated the running game defensively this year. The Ravens have allowed just six rushing touchdowns this season and an average of 3.79 YPC. The sad part about Week 17 though? While Burkhead loses out in a matchup with Perkins, he’s still a decent flex option due to the backfield messes across the league… all thanks to Week 17.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: DeAngelo Williams, Alex Collins, Bilal Powell, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory
Week 17 Wide Receiver Matchups[table “1628” not found /]
Golden Tate vs. Either Raiders WR
The good news at the receiver position is that there are still plenty of high-end names playing. Tops among them in matchups is Tate. The Packers have the highest FPAD for receivers, and it’s not only because their secondary is among the worse, but the Packers also score often enough to push the opponent offensively. That means more passing and more snaps for the opposing receivers. Remember that spectacular game by Marvin Jones earlier this year? Yea, that came against the Packers. While Jones went into hibernation since, Tate has returned to his lead-receiver ways and is in the WR1 conversation for Week 17.
As for the Raiders receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, this is really about Matt McGloin and less the matchup. Yes, the matchup is as bad as they come with the Broncos on tap… and on the road… but no Derek Carr is bad news for Cooper and Crabtree. Cooper has already proven to be the next Santana Moss, showing up huge for 3-4 games, disappearing for a couple and middling around for the rest, but even Crabtree’s red zone presence will be lost against a team with a league-low six receiver touchdowns allowed and McGloin at quarterback.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Doug Baldwin, Kenny Britt
Week 17 Tight End Matchups[table “1629” not found /]
Coby Fleener vs. Jason Witten
Anyone who follows me or reads my work knows I am not a Fleener fan, not even close. In fact, I pleaded with people not to draft him due to Michael Thomas’ arrival. Hopefully, everyone listened, but it’s Week 17, and here we stand. Cameron Brate is out, the Steelers won’t have Roethlisberger and options are drying up. The Falcons are extremely weak on defense, and that includes defending tight ends. They have the second highest FPAD with 937 yards and eight touchdowns allowed. In their first matchup, Fleener had his best game with seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. No, I can’t guarantee a line like that… it’s still Coby Fleener… but, he ranks ahead of many other options in Week 17.
That includes Witten, as not only do the Eagles shut down the tight end position, but Witten might not play much in Week 17. What does he have to play for at this point of his career, and why would the Cowboys risk an injury to someone with his level of miles? Even if Witten played the entire game, Dak Prescott likely doesn’t, and while Witten scored in the first matchup, it was on three targets, two catches and 16 yards. You can’t play those odds this week… and to say it one last time… you shouldn’t be playing any odds in Week 17 outside of DFS.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Richard Rodgers, Zach Ertz, Charles Clay, Jordan Reed
Main Image Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire