Rich Hribar

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The NFL Week 17 Worksheet

Thursday, December 27, 2018

We’ve reached the end of the road. Some of you are still playing out this week to decide league titles, but for many of us, Week 17 is a hollow week from a seasonal stance.  Luckily, we still have one last full week of DFS before playoff fantasy arrives. With Week 17 being such a weird week in which some games have a preseason-esque vibe and so many leagues being wrapped up, this is always a condensed version of this article. For the final post, we’re just digging right into the player analysis and highlighting a few teams that many not being playing their starters full tilt.


For those that are new here, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.


As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.


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All lines are taken from VegasInsider


Dolphins @ Bills


3.5   Spread -3.5  
18.0   Implied Total 21.5  
20.1 25 Points/Gm 15.1 31
26.1 26 Points All./Gm 23.8 18
54.5 32 Plays/Gm 63.2 17
64.2 23 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.5 6
42.4% 12 Rush% 45.9% 5
57.7% 21 Pass% 54.1% 28
46.8% 30 Opp. Rush % 45.8% 29
53.2% 3 Opp. Pass % 54.2% 4


Trust (spike starting production)


  • Josh Allen:  He’s at home against a defense that has not traveled at all this season. Allen was the QB2 overall in scoring Week 13 in Miami and now gets them as a home favorite. The Dolphins have allowed at least 15 fantasy points to each of the past four quarterbacks they’ve faced on the road with three top-12 scoring weeks to those passers.


On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Robert Foster: He left two huge plays on the table last week, but that’s just the type of volatility the rookie receiver will have with the types of targets he gets. But those targets carry heavy upside. Since Week 12 when Allen returned to the lineup, Foster leads the league with a 23.1 yard average depth of target while ranking 10th of all wide receivers in air yards (110.8 per game).  Miami has allowed the sixth-most receptions of 20-plus yards and Xavien Howard is still unlikely to suit up to close the season.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Ryan Tannehill: He’s been higher QB15 in just 2-of-10 games this season and has thrown for 200-plus yards in just two of his past seven games.
  • Miami RBs: The Dolphins gave Kenyan Drake 39 snaps last week with Kalen Ballage playing 14 and Brandon Bolden eight. Drake led the team with just 10 touches, turning them into 54 yards, but the touch split of 10 for Drake, six for Ballage and five for Bolden was too packed in to chase any starting aspirations for this backfield as road dogs.
  • Miami WRs: There just hasn’t been any target or passing yardage volume here to pursue. When these teams played in Week 13, Miami wideouts caught 12-of-18 targets for 105 yards combined, leaving you to chase a touchdown. If that’s the case, the player to still make a play for is Kenny Stills.


If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • LeSean McCoy: The Dolphins rush defense has been shredded on the road, allowing 148.7 yards per game (30th). McCoy hasn’t been higher than RB33 since Allen returned to the lineup but did manage 19 touches when these teams played back on Week 13. His touch-ceiling is still a question, but he gets one final positive outlook as a home favorite, which keeps him in play as a FLEX option.
  • Zay Jones: He’s averaging 8.3 targets over his past four games with at least nine targets in three of those weeks. With Isaiah McKenzie injured, Jones moved back inside more last week, where he caught three passes for 42 yards and a score. If McKenzie is unable to play, Jones will be back to being the full-time slot option, where he caught two touchdowns against this Miami defense three weeks ago.


Falcons @ Buccaneers


AtlantaRank@Tampa BayRank
1.5   Spread -1.5  
24.8   Implied Total 26.3  
25.3 11 Points/Gm 24.3 13
26.1 25 Points All./Gm 28.7 30
62.3 23 Plays/Gm 66.6 3
65.0 26 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.5 12
34.4% 30 Rush% 36.9% 27
65.6% 3 Pass% 63.1% 6
39.9% 12 Opp. Rush % 43.0% 22
60.1% 21 Opp. Pass % 57.1% 11


Trust (spike starting production)


  • Mike Evans: He has at least 86 yards in five of his past six games with 19 targets over the past two. Evans is averaging 17.7 yards per catch and has caught 61.5 percent of his targets on the season, the highest rates of his career. Although slowed down for a 4-58 line when these teams last played, Evans still has a strong track record against his division rival, averaging 16.9 points per game against them with a touchdown in 5-of-9 games.


On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Matt Ryan: His yardage has dipped, averaging 215.8 passing yards per game over the past four weeks with a high of 262 yards. He also shouldn’t be expected to have a fully-operational Julio Jones after Jones was used sparingly in Week 16 fighting through injury. The Buccaneers have also not been as giving to opposing passers over the back half of the season, allowing two or fewer touchdown passes in each of their past 11 games.
  • Calvin Ridley/Mohamed Sanu: With Jones not 100 percent last week, Sanu led the team with eight targets while Ridley matched Jones with five targets himself. If Jones is going to be less than his usual self, both secondary options will be elevated again to WR3 status with upside.
  • Austin Hooper: He has just three targets over the past two games but draws a favorable matchup against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed 10 TE1 scoring weeks on the season, including a 9-71-1 line to Hooper himself back in Week 6.
  • Jameis Winston: He’s had his three toughest matchups all in a row, but now gets one last favorable one to close the year. Winston has had a stellar track record against Dan Quinn’s defense in Atlanta. Winston has finished as a top-12 scorer in five of six career games against the Falcons, passing for three or more touchdowns in each of their past four meetings, including a 395-yard, four touchdown game in Atlanta in Week 6. Winston would be a full tier higher, but Dirk Koetter has potentially been hinting that Ryan Griffin could see time in this game.
  • Adam Humphries:  With Winston under center, Humphries has 72 targets this season, which trails only Mike Evans (73) by one. There’s a wide gap to the next-highest player on the team (Chris Godwin at 52 targets), making Humphries the most bankable option after Evans in a game where we’re inherently high on Winston. It also helps that Atlanta is much worse versus slot options, ranking 27th in points allowed to opposing slot wideouts.
  • Brian Hill: With Tevin Coleman unlikely to practice, Hill may have a chance to build off the 115-yard rushing performance he had last week in just eight carries. Those eight carries were the most Hill has ever had in a game, but he was 4.54 40-yard speed back at the combine in 2017 while amassing 1,763 and 1,927 yards from scrimmage over his final two seasons at Wyoming. The Buccaneers have allowed a league-high 21 touchdowns to opposing backs, so there are worse darts to throw if Coleman is held out.
  • Chris Godwin: With DeSean Jackson looking unlikely to play, Godwin would once again be elevated, this time in a positive matchup for the passing game. If Winston plays the entire game, Godwin could be a value and top-30 wideout, but also stands to lose some shine if Griffin enters the game for an extended stretch.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Julio Jones:  With this game holding no relevance, Jones may not be pressed into playing heavily. In Week 16, Jones played a season-low 24 snaps (50 percent of the team total). Julio has a great track record versus the Bucs and could do something on just a few opportunities, but Jones has been playing through hip and rib injuries the past few weeks and should not be pushed hard here.
  • Tevin Coleman:  He’s scored at least eight touchdowns for the third consecutive season and has a career-high 1,022 yards from scrimmage, but his 2018 season has still been lackluster for the runway that Devonta Freeman’s early season injury created. Coleman hasn’t had more than 11 touches in a game since Week 10 and is dealing with a groin injury.
  • Peyton Barber: He’s averaging 18.8 touches per game over his past six games, so there’s some volume to lock onto. Unfortunately, he’s turned all those touches into 67.8 total yards per game and his fantasy floor is solely tied into him falling into a short-yardage touchdown opportunity.
  • Cameron Brate: He’s always a threat to score in a game in which we’re high on Winston, but Brate can’t be counted on for any type of a floor, catching 11 passes for 91 yards total over his five games with O.J. Howard sidelined.


Panthers @ Saints


CarolinaRank@New OrleansRank
8   Spread -8  
18.0   Implied Total 26.0  
22.9 17 Points/Gm 32.7 2
24.5 21 Points All./Gm 21.3 9
62.9 20 Plays/Gm 63.9 11
59.8 4 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.7 8
40.2% 18 Rush% 46.3% 4
59.8% 15 Pass% 53.7% 29
39.8% 11 Opp. Rush % 35.1% 3
60.2% 22 Opp. Pass % 65.0% 30


  • Rest Alert: The Saints have secured the top seed in the NFC and should be expected to either fully rest starters or limit their snaps in this game. Teddy Bridgewater and Dwayne Washington should play heavily with backups.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Christian McCaffrey: Ron Rivera has already stated the team may shut him down this week as there’s nothing left for the Panthers to push him for. If that’s the case, Cameron Artis-Payne could get the bulk of backfield opportunities to close the year.
  • Kyle Allen: If the Saints rest the core of their defense, this may have a preseason vibe to it, but Allen is being thrown into a tough spot to finish the season. Especially if McCaffrey is held out.
  • CAR WRs: We shouldn’t expect the Panthers to throw 57 more times this week and everyone here has a pedestrian combination of ceiling with a low floor, but if you’re solely chasing volume, Curtis Samuel has the edge on D.J. Moore at this point.
  • Ian Thomas: We were in this same spot with Thomas two weeks ago and he caught two passes for 14 yards. The Saints may sit starters here, but have squished opposing tight ends this season, allowing a season-high of 54 yards to an opposing tight end this season with just four touchdowns.


Lions @ Packers


DetroitRank@Green BayRank
8.5   Spread -8.5  
17.8   Implied Total 26.3  
19.5 27 Points/Gm 25.1 12
24.0 19 Points All./Gm 24.6 22
63.1 18 Plays/Gm 64.7 7
59.1 1 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.0 17
38.7% 21 Rush% 33.0% 31
61.4% 12 Pass% 67.0% 2
44.0% 27 Opp. Rush % 43.2% 23
56.0% 6 Opp. Pass % 56.8% 10


Trust (spike starting production)


  • Aaron Rodgers:  We can’t expect Rodgers to add another 17 fantasy points from rushing this week, but he’s now thrown 42 or more passes in three of his past four games. Volume isn’t everything, but that type of volume offers a high floor attached to player like Rodgers. Detroit should be expected to shave that volume down, but are a defense to target for efficiency, ranking 31st in yards per attempt (8.2 Y/A) and 31st in touchdown rate (6.4 percent) allowed this season. 
  • Davante Adams: The number one wideout in fantasy has double-digit points in every game this season and a top-10 weekly scorer in six of his past seven games. Adams has double-digit targets in each of his past four games and has at least six receptions in three straight games versus the Lions, including a 9-140-1 line earlier in the season.
  • Kenny Golladay: Even in a tough draw last week, he received a massive 15 targets. Since Week 10, Golladay ranks fourth of all wideouts in target volume (71) and third in air yards. Although he’s still had down moments along that stretch, he gets a favorable outlook this week after three straight tough matchups. Green Bay has allowed the most touchdowns (11) to opposing lead wideouts and allowed Golladay himself to post a 4-98-1 line when these teams last met in Week 5.
  • Jamaal Williams: He’s been the RB11 and the RB2 the past two games, with 97 and 156 yards from scrimmage on 16 and 21 touches. A Packers running back now has a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, giving him scoring upside as well. Without Da’Shawn Hand and Ezekiel Ansah a week ago, Detroit allowed 136 yards on 30 touches to Minnesota backs.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Matthew Stafford:  A throw-away season for him comes to a merciful end. Stafford has been the average QB21 per week this season with just one week higher than QB14.
  • Lions RBs: After Zach Zenner had gotten more opportunity the previous two weeks, LeGarrette Blount received a team-high 11 rushing attempts last week and even had four targets. Blount turned that opportunity into 24 yards.

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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
Email :Rich Hribar

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