The Week 17 slate is a 15 game doozy with some fresh faces getting chances to completely break the slate. I have narrowed it down to the best targets and fades for the week after digesting the changes for the offenses and defenses this week.
Here are my targets, fades and other research information you may have missed for the Week 17 slate:
Game Script Targets
Browns -9 (vs. PIT)
RB Nick Chubb (CLE, @ NYJ)
The Browns were severely undermanned at WR last week. The tables have turned a bit here now with the Steelers resting starters. The best news for Nick Chubb is that defensive line standouts TJ Watt and Cam Heyward will not be playing. Those are two of the most important pieces to the Steelers defensive front and the Browns will get back their best Offensive Lineman Wyatt Teller. The Browns should stick to their strength in a must win game here and lean on Chubb and the run game.
Saints -6 (@ CAR)
RB Ty Montgomery (NO, @ CAR)
Ty Montgomery could not have asked for a better opportunity to reprove himself as a contributor for a team at RB. Both Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara will miss the game due to being placed on the COVID-19 list, leaving Montgomery as the last RB on the active roster. They were forced to call up Tony Jones Jr. who has yet to play in the NFL. Montgomery’s salary ($4,000 DK, $4,500 FD) is too good to pass up as he could flirt with over 4x value. The Panthers allow the 8th most schedule adjusted FPPG to RBs.
Texans +7.5 (vs. TEN)
WR Brandin Cooks (HOU, vs. TEN)
In an improbable shootout against the Bengals, Brandin Cooks had a monster game. He went 7 for 141 yards and a score on 10 targets. As 7.5-point dogs, Cooks can replicate that performance in a perfect game environment. It is a pace upgrade against the 4th fastest neutral pace offense, and the game has the highest game total of the week (56.5 implied total). The Titans have been suspect in coverage all season long surrendering the 4th most schedule adjusted FPPG to WRs.
WR Justin Jefferson (MIN, @ DET)
Justin Jefferson can have a historic end to his already incredible rookie season. He needs 111 receiving yards in Week 17 to surpass Anquan Boldin for the most receiving yards by a rookie in the Super Bowl era. With Dalvin Cook out for this game, I am expecting the Vikings to rely more on their passing game. In the game that Cook missed earlier this season, Jefferson saw 11 targets. He turned that into 9 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions allow the second most schedule adjusted FPPG to WRs. This is one of the more attractive games on the slate with an over/under of 54 points and two below average defenses.
RB Melvin Gordon (DEN, @ LAC)
Melvin Gordon disappointed last week with Phillip Lindsay out but gets another chance in a great matchup. It was a bit flukey with Gordon seeing zero targets even with no Lindsay. I expect him to see more chances in the passing game. The running game should already be an area that he can pile up yards. Per SIS, the Raiders allow the most fantasy points per carry (0.824).
RB D’Andre Swift (DET, vs. MIN)
Matthew Stafford is expected to be back as the starting QB this week for the Lions. That is a sigh of relief for the playmakers of the Lions offense as the offense looked lost last week after Stafford left due to injury. Swift should see more touches as the lead back with more sustained drives. Already aiding his fantasy upside is the consistent usage in the receiving game. He has 5 targets in each of his past 5 games.
RB David Montgomery (CHI, vs. GB)
David Montgomery has been showered with praises over his good performances the past few weeks but I am not ready to pay the premium for him. His floor is still scary and the Bears offense faces a much stiffer test against the Packers defense. Despite his elevated salary this week, Montgomery only has two Tier 1 finishes at RB this year.
WR Tyler Lockett (SEA, @ SF)
Tyler Lockett’s fantasy production this year was one of the biggest teases of the season. He started the year with a 100 yard and 3 TD game in Week 3. He then said that was not enough and posted a 200 yard and 3 TD game in Week 7. Since then it has been a lot of disappointment. His target share is an uninspiring 21% since Week 8 and has not topped 70 receiving yards. In a negative game script against the 49ers, he projects for more of the same.
RB Ezekiel Elliott (DAL, @ NYG)
Elliott had one of his better games all season last week but some of that could be attributed to Fletcher Cox exiting early in that game. The Giants have had a capable run defense and Elliott was not the same bell cow in Week 16 that we have seen in past seasons. He saw 53% of the snaps and 19 carries to Tony Pollard’s 9. The volume for Elliott has buoyed his fantasy production this season so if the Giants can limit his efficiency he can easily bust here.
Pace of Play
Rams (vs. ARI) - Cardinals fastest neutral game script pace
Texans (vs. TEN) - Titans 4th fastest neutral game pace -> Texans 16th fastest
Vikings (@ DET) - Lions 5th fastest pace
Bears (vs. GB) - Packers slowest neutral pace
Lions (vs. MIN) - Lions 5th fastest neutral pace -> Vikings 9th fastest
Projected Fast Pace Game:
Buccaneers vs Falcons - Both teams are Top 10 in neutral game pace of play