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Freedman’s Week 17 fantasy football breakdown

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Matthew Freedman

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This week can’t be any worse than last week was, can it?

Here are the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends who stand out to me in this Sunday’s 14-game main slate based on our expert rankings and fantasy projections as well as the Week 17 betting odds and our wealth of football content across FTN FantasyFTN Daily and FTN Bets.

Note: As NFL news breaks throughout the week and NFL inactives are announced Sunday morning, my perspective on some players in this piece may change. For my most up-to-date thoughts on players, consult our rankings.

To see all my Week 17 bets, check out our FTN Bet Tracker. Use the highly original promo code FREEDMAN to get 20% off your FTN subscription.

 

 

Freedman’s favorite quarterbacks for Week 17

Below, I take a look at my favorite quarterbacks for both fantasy football and DFS for Week 17.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (vs. Atlanta)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 1
  • Spread: -14.5
  • Total: 44

After having his worst game of the season in Week 13, when he completed just 50% of his passes for 145 yards in a wind-strewn 14-10 Monday Night Football divisional loss to the Patriots, Josh Allen has balled out over the past three weeks with 832-8-2 passing and 27-197-1 rushing.

Despite his up-and-down performances this year, Allen is still the No. 1 fantasy quarterback (26.1 DraftKings, 24.5 FanDuel), in part because of his elite usage: He’s No. 1 at the position in end-zone throws (56) and No. 2 in red-zone carries (24, per our Red Zone Report). Allen is getting the opportunities that matter.

Also, the Bills are No. 1 in early-down pass rate.

Allen is on the positive side of his career-long Vegas splits as a favorite (per our Splits Tool).

  • As favorite: 24.6 DraftKings | 23.5 FanDuel | 247.1 yards & 1.9 touchdowns passing
  • As underdog: 22.0 DraftKings | 21.0 FanDuel | 220.8 yards & 1.4 touchdowns passing

Check out all the premium stats and tools we offer in our industry-leading FantasyHQ product

The Falcons are No. 3 in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (20.4 DraftKings, 20.0 FanDuel, per our Fantasy Points Allowed Tool). They’re No. 29 in defensive pass DVOA (25.7%, per Football Outsiders) and defensive dropback success rate (51.9%, per Ben Baldwin’s RBs Don’t Matter website).

This is a matchup Allen should win. He leads all quarterbacks with his ceiling projections in our state-of-the-art optimizer

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 6
  • Spread: -3.5
  • Total: 44.5

Jalen Hurts hasn’t passed for 300 yards since the first month of the season. It doesn’t matter — because this week he plays the Football Team, who are No. 1 in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (24.7 DraftKings, 23.6 FanDuel).

Against Washington in Week 15, Hurts dominated with 296-1-1 passing and 8-38-2 rushing (29.6 DraftKings, 28,.6 FanDuel).

With his Konami Code running ability, Hurts has an incredibly high floor/ceiling combination. Since his first start last year in Week 14, Hurts is the No. 5 fantasy quarterback (23.4 DraftKings, 22.3 FanDuel).

For the season, he is No. 1 among all quarterbacks with 28 runs of 10-plus yards, 33 carries inside the red zone, 22 carries inside the 10-yard line, and 13 carries inside the five (per our Advanced Rushing Stats Tool). 

Upside quarterbacks for Week 17

Here are some quarterbacks I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (at Cincinnati): Over the past three weeks, Mahomes is 926-8-1 passing and 7-52-0 rushing. He finally seems to be coming out of his midseason malaise. Mahomes is the No. 1 fantasy quarterback since his 2018 MVP campaign (25.6 DraftKings, 23.8 FanDuel). The Chiefs are No. 1 in our official FTN Power Rankings.

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NY Jets): Brady is No. 1 in the league with 632 pass attempts, 422 completions, 4,580 yards and 37 touchdowns passing, and 116 red-zone attempts (per our NFL Player Stats Tool and Advanced Passing Stats Tool). The Jets are No. 32 in defensive dropback EPA per play (0.251).

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (at Baltimore): Stafford is coming off a 197-yard, three-interception performance, but he’s still No. 1 with five games of 300 yards and three touchdowns passing. The Ravens are No. 2 in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (21.5 DraftKings, 20.3 FanDuel), and they have a position-friendly funnel defense that ranks No. 6 in rush DVOA (-17.4%) but No. 30 in pass DVOA (28.3%).

Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina): Hill (COVID-19) missed last week, but I expect him to return to action with the league’s new protocol. In his seven starts at quarterback, Hill has been a Tim Tebow-esque fantasy QB1 (21.8 DraftKings, 21.0 FanDuel).

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (vs. NY Giants): Fields isn’t a great player yet, but over his past four full games he has had fantasy QB1 production with 975-5-4 passing and 34-257-1 rushing (21.9 DraftKings, 20.7 FanDuel). If I cared more about this blurb, I would write a second sentence. 

Mac Jones, New England Patriots (vs. Jacksonville): Jones has underwhelmed over the past month with 463-2-4 passing and a 52.5% completion rate in three games, but the Jaguars are a league-worst 4-11 against the spread (ATS) and are utterly exploitable, ranking No. 31 in defensive pass DVOA (29.2%) and defensive dropback EPA per play (0.236).

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Houston): In Weeks 4-5, Lance was 349-2-1 passing and 23-130-0 rushing with a 2-point conversion in six quarters of action. With more time to learn the offense, he could be better now in relief of starter Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb), who is unlikely to play this weekend. The Texans are No. 32 in defensive dropback success rate (52.8%). Lance is one of our top Week 17 quarterback streamers.

Monitor our weekly practice report to track Garoppolo’s health status.

Freedman’s favorite running backs for Week 17

Below, I take a look at my favorite running backs for both fantasy football and DFS for Week 17.

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Las Vegas)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 1
  • Spread: -7
  • Total: 44.5

You don’t need me to tell you about Jonathan Taylor: He’s the guy who will be taken No. 1 overall in 2022 fantasy drafts.

Remember when he started the season with three straight scoreless games? He has a touchdown in every game but one since then. That’s what happens when a guy leads the league with 78 carries in the red zone and 28 carries inside the five-yard line.

Taylor is No. 1 in the league with 297 carries, 1,626 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing and 1,962 yards and 19 touchdowns from scrimmage.

The Colts are No. 2 on the season with a 48.2% rush rate (per our NFL Pace & Run/Pass Report), and they are home favorites; I expect them to continue to rely on the running game and Taylor in particular with quarterback Carson Wentz (COVID-19) uncertain to play. 

The Raiders are top-six in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (28.3 DraftKings, 24.6 FanDuel).

Taylor is one of our top-five Week 17 slate breakers and the No. 1 player in Jeff Ratcliffe’s Week 17 fantasy flex rankings.

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NY Jets)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 6
  • Spread: -13
  • Total: 45.5

Last week, in relief of starter Leonard Fournette (hamstring, IR), Ronald Jones led the Buccaneers backfield with 35 snaps, 20 carries, and three targets. He leveraged that usage into an inefficient 81 yards — but he did score a touchdown.

This week, he has multi-touchdown upside against the Jets, who are No. 29 in defensive rush DVOA (0.6%) and No. 27 in defensive pass DVOA against running backs (21.3%). You put those two factors together, and the Jets are No. 1 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (35.0 DraftKings, 30.5 FanDuel). 

Even though the Buccaneers are No. 1 in the league in pass rate (65.9%), I expect them to lean more on the running game than they usually do, given that they are on the road, favored, and at far less than full strength in the passing game without wide receiver Chris Godwin (knee, IR), probably wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring, COVID-19) and maybe even wide receiver Breshad Perriman (COVID-19).

Check out our Week 17 Injured Reserve Tracker to see who is on IR for each team and when they are eligible to return. 

Even if Jones is once again outproduced by Day 2 selection-turned-special teamer-turned-backup Ke’Shawn Vaughn (7-70-1 rushing last week), he should still see enough action to put up fantasy points against a soft opponent.

It helps that the Buccaneers are No. 1 in projected line yards per rush attempt (5.24, per our NFL Offensive Efficiency Tool).

Jones is one of our top Week 17 SuperDraft DFS plays.

Upside running backs for Week 17

Here are some running backs I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Denver): Ekeler (COVID-19) missed last week but has been activated from the reserve list and should suit up this weekend. Ekeler doesn’t have prototypical lead-back size, but he has alpha production with 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns from scrimmage with a 2-point conversion on 173 carries and 79 targets in 14 games. Against the Broncos in Week 12, he leveraged 12 carries and eight targets into 99 yards and a touchdown. 

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Kansas City): Since the Week 10 bye, Mixon has 603 yards and seven touchdowns on 130 carries and 14 targets in six games. The Chiefs are No. 31 in defensive rush success rate (46.8%). Mixon leads all running backs in Matt Jones’ RB Workload Score.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots (vs. Jacksonville): No. 2 back Rhamondre Stevenson (COVID-19) should return to action this week, and his presence will diminish Harris’ upside, but he should still see significant usage as a double-digit home favorite. Harris has either 100 yards or a touchdown rushing in every game but one this year with 10-plus carries — and the last time he didn’t hit that usage threshold was Week 4.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs. NY Giants): In his seven games since returning from injury in Week 9, Montgomery has a 114-19 edge in carries and a 37-9 edge in targets over all other Bears running backs (per our NFL Volume Report). Montgomery has a strong offensive line-vs.-defensive line matchup against the Giants, who are No. 8 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (26.4 DraftKings, 22.9 FanDuel).

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos (at LA Chargers): The Broncos offense stagnated last week with backup quarterback Drew Lock starting, but Williams has a great matchup against the Chargers, who are No. 32 in defensive rush DVOA (4.8%) and defensive rush success rate (47.6%). Williams is still beneath veteran Melvin Gordon on the depth chart, but he has game-breaking talent with 473 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries and 21 targets in five games since the Week 11 bye.

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (at Indianapolis): This is a suboptimal spot for Jacobs as a road underdog against the Colts, who are No. 3 in defensive rush DVOA (-21.1%), but he is averaging 14.4 carries and 5.3 targets per game since the Week 8 bye. 

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Detroit): Over the past month, Penny is 54-346-3 rushing and 4-33-0 receiving on five targets in four games. He could benefit from a run-heavy gamescript as a significant home favorite against the Lions, who are top-six in fantasy points allowed to running backs (27.7 DraftKings, 24.7 FanDuel). Penny is the No. 1 player in Jeff Ratcliffe’s Week 17 waiver wire rankings.

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (at Seattle): Swift (shoulder) is practicing fully this week and should return to action after leaving Week 12 early. Even as a timeshare back on a losing team, Swift still has 972 yards and six touchdowns on 137 carries and 67 targets in his 10 full games. The Seahawks are No. 2 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (30.7 DraftKings, 26.1 FanDuel). 

Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams (at Baltimore): Michel should once again lead the Rams backfield given that Darrell Henderson (knee, IR) is out and Cam Akers (Achilles) is returning from a serious injury suffered in July. The Ravens defense has been ravaged by injuries and COVID-19, and Michel has 458 yards and two touchdowns on 89 carries and 11 targets over his past four games. 

See our Week 17 Injury Report for a full breakdown of all the fantasy-relevant players with notable injury situations.

Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (at Cincinnati): Starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire (collarbone) seems likely to miss Week 17, and Williams has dominated in five games without Edwards-Helaire this year with an average of 94 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 13.8 carries and 5.4 targets. Williams is one of our top Week 17 NFL DFS value plays.

Jeff Wilson, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Houston): Starter Elijah Mitchell (finger) hasn’t played in three weeks, and he’s still yet to return to practice, so I’m skeptical about his availability. In his four games without Mitchell this year, Wilson has averaged 16.8 carries and 1.8 targets, and the Texans are top-four in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (28.0 DraftKings, 24.9 FanDuel). 

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (vs. Atlanta): In the five games since change-of-pace back Zack Moss was made a gameday inactive in Week 12, Singletary has totaled 63 carries and 15 targets. He could have a sizable workload as a two-touchdown home favorite against the Falcons, who are No. 26 in defensive rush success rate (43.2%).

D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (vs. Miami): Foreman had just nine carries and 17 yards as part of a dirty three-man committee last week, but he still led the backfield in rush attempts and scored a goal-line touchdown. Without veteran Adrian Peterson (released), Foreman has led the Titans backfield over the past four games with 63-281-2 rushing. Benny Ricciardi is betting on the Titans to win.

Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington): Starter Miles Sanders (hand) is out, so Howard (neck) will likely be the lead back as long as he can play through his stinger. In his three games without Sanders this year, Howard is 41-211-3 rushing as an injury fill-in. The Eagles are No. 1 in rush rate (51.2%), and Howard was a nice 15-69-0 rushing against the Football Team in Week 15 and is one of our top Week 17 deep fantasy sleepers.

Dare Ogunbowale, Jacksonville Jaguars (at New England): “Don’t be angry, don’t be sad, don’t sit crying over good times you’ve had. There’s a girl right next to you, and she’s just waiting for something to do. And there’s a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove. And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.” Ogunbowale was 17-57-1 rushing and 2-15-0 receiving on four targets as an in-game fill-in for James Robinson (Achilles, IR) last week, and last year he had 150 yards on 28 carries and 12 targets as the Robinson replacement in Weeks 16-17. Ogunbowale should be rostered even in dynasty.

Duke Johnson, Miami Dolphins (at Tennessee): Last week, Johnson didn’t come close to the 22-107-2 rushing performance we saw in Week 15, but he still led the Dolphins backfield with 13 carries and 23 snaps. He’s probably the best and most well-rounded back the team has.

Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans (at San Francisco): In six games since the Week 10 bye, Burkhead leads the Texans with 87 carries, to which he has added 14 targets. Last week, Burkhead was a DFS tournament winner.

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington): Scott is likely to see action as the No. 2 back behind Jordan Howard with starter Miles Sanders (hand) out. In his three games without Sanders this year, Scott is 33-181-2 rushing and 2-24-0 receiving on three targets.

 

 

Freedman’s favorite wide receivers for Week 17

Below, I take a look at my favorite wide receivers for both fantasy football and DFS for Week 17.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (at Baltimore)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 1
  • Spread: -4.5
  • Total: 46.5

I love writing about Cooper Kupp — because I can use basically the same blurb I wrote last week.

He’s No. 1 in the league with 177 targets, 132 receptions, 1,734 yards receiving, 80 first-down receptions and 14 touchdowns receiving.

He’s also No. 1 with 782 yards after catch, 147 first-read targets, and 35 red-zone targets (per our Advanced Receiving Stats Tool). And he’s No. 2 in the league — behind only Justin Jefferson — with a 75.2% WOPR (per our Air Yards Tool).

WOPR (Weighted Opportunity Rating) is a stat created by Josh Hermsmeyer of FiveThirtyEight. It combines market shares of targets and air yards.

In Kupp’s worst game of the season — a 5-64-0 receiving letdown in Week 4 — he still had a decadent 13 targets.

He has either 90 yards or a touchdown in every game but one. He has 10-plus targets in every game but one. His floor is almost every other receiver’s ceiling.

With his usage, Kupp’s matchup almost doesn’t even matter — but it just so happens that the Ravens are No. 5 in most fantasy points allowed to wide receivers (39.1 DraftKings, 31.6 FanDuel). Against the Ravens, Kupp gets a matchup upgrade (per Jeff Ratcliffe’s Week 17 WR/CB breakdown).

The Rams are the top team in our NFL DFS Stacking Model. I expect Kupp to be one of the top players in our Week 16 DFS Cheat Sheets.

Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NY Jets)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 8
  • Spread: -13
  • Total: 45.5

Last week Antonio Brown was a triumphant 10-101-0 receiving on 15 targets in his return to action. He was a “good process, good outcome” DFS play.

Naturally, he enjoyed an artificial boost in volume without wide receivers Mike Evans (hamstring, COVID-19) and Chris Godwin (knee, IR) and running backs Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and Giovani Bernard (hip/knee, IR), and he could see similar usage this week.

And even if Brown regresses toward his seasonal average of 9.5 targets per game, that is still elite volume capable of supporting top-tier production. In six games, Brown is a robust 39-519-4 receiving on 57 targets.

What really needs to be said about the matchup? The Jets are No. 32 in defensive pass DVOA (30.7%), and Brown is No. 1 this week with a 92.4 matchup grade against sixth-round rookie cornerback Brandin Echols (per our WR/CB Tool).

We project Brown to be one of the week’s most popular DFS plays, and he’s the No. 1 player in our Week 17 NFL Simulation Model.

Upside wide receivers for Week 17

Here are some wide receivers I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Houston): Samuel’s path hasn’t been straightforward, but it has been rather smooth. Since the Week 6 bye, Samuel is 39-699-2 receiving on 57 targets with 38-279-6 rushing in nine games. With backup quarterback Trey Lance, he had 71 yards and a touchdown on nine targets and a carry in Week 5.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (at Cincinnati): Hill had just 19 scoreless yards on two targets last week, but Hill has lived by the sword just as often as he has died by it. For the season, he’s No. 3 in receptions (104), No. 4 in targets (146), No. 5 in yards receiving (1,197), and No. 6 in touchdowns receiving (9), on top of which he’s 8-94-0 rushing. Ever since Jeremy Maclin’s injury cleared the way for Hill to see steady work in three-wide sets in Week 10 of 2016, Hill has been a top-five producer (19.5 DraftKings, 16.1 FanDuel). 

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Denver): Allen had his worst game of the year last week with 4-35-0 receiving on six targets, but since returning in Week 8 from the bye he has an elite average of 10.3 targets, which he has leveraged into 57-623-4 receiving in eight games. Against the Broncos in Week 12, Allen was 7-85-0 receiving on 10 targets.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (vs. Miami): Brown was a big-balled 11-145-1 receiving on 16 targets last week in his return from injury, and he could see similar volume and success this week without No. 2 wide receiver Julio Jones (COVID-19).

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Arizona): With perimeter cornerback Robert Alford (pectoral, IR) out for Week 17, the Cardinals are likely to move slot cornerback Byron Murphy to the outside, which means that Lamb will have an exploitable matchup in the slot against backup cornerback Antonio Hamilton. Even with his forgettable 4-66-0 receiving performance last week, Lamb has averaged 8.7 targets in his seven full games since the Week 7 bye.

Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins (at Tennessee): In his eight full games with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Waddle is 61-627-5 receiving on 79 targets with a one-yard rushing touchdown. The Titans are No. 1 in most yards (85.1), touchdowns (0.7), and fantasy points allowed to slot wide receivers (19.1, per our Advanced DVP Tool). 

Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders (at Indianapolis): Renfrow’s volume has decreased over the past two weeks (eight targets), but in his eight games without former No. 1 wide receiver Henry Ruggs (released) since the Week 8 bye Renfrow is 54-550-4 receiving on 63 targets, and he has averaged 8.2 targets per game since tight end Darren Waller (knee, back, COVID-19) exited Week 12 early. With Waller on the reserve list, Renfrow has double-digit upside. 

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Detroit): Lockett disappointed last week with 3-30-0 receiving on six targets, but he’s still 44-807-5 receiving with a dynamic 12.3 yards per target in his 10 full games with quarterback Russell Wilson this year. He has a fantastic matchup against cornerback Will Harris, who has allowed 0.48 fantasy points per route this year (per our Advanced WR/CB Tool).

DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Washington): Smith has been a boom/bust producer this year with 83.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns in his four games with a score and just 44.4 yards in his 11 games without a score. Facing a Football Team that ranks No. 3 in most fantasy points allowed to wide receivers (40.7 DraftKings, 33.0 FanDuel), Smith is in a position to go off.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (at Seattle): Here’s what I said about St. Brown in my July piece on 10 upside wide receivers to draft: “I don’t want to overstate St. Brown’s potential, but the last receiver selected on Day 3 of the draft with St. Brown’s combination of five-star pedigree, first-year college production, and immediate opportunity was Stefon Diggs.” Nailed it. St. Brown’s four best games have all occurred in the past month, in which time he is 35-340-3 receiving on 46 targets with 4-26-0 rushing. The Seahawks are No. 28 in defensive pass DVOA (22.0%).

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (at San Francisco): Cooks is top-eight with a 27.5% share of targets, 39.5% share of air yards, and 68.9% WOPR. With 966 yards receiving, Cooks is on the precipice of his sixth 1,000-yard season, and the 49ers are No. 28 in defensive pass DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers (21.0%). I’m betting on the Texans to cover.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati): Brown has 73 targets in seven games since the Week 8 bye. “And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.” 

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (at Cowboys): In the slot, Kirk will avoid the coverage of cornerback Trevon Diggs, and in his five games this year without No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (knee, IR) he has averaged eight targets.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers (at New Orleans): Moore’s once-promising season has been sabotaged by quarterback play, but he is a somewhat encouraging 21-290-0 receiving on 43 targets with a 2-point conversion over his past four games. Moore is top-six in the league with a 36% share of first-read targets, 42% share of end-zone targets, and 27% share of red-zone targets (per our Market Share Tool). Moore was 8-79-1 receiving on 11 targets against the Saints in Week 2.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams (at Baltimore): Jefferson last week had his worst performance of the season (1-6-0 receiving), but he’s still 17-275-3 receiving on 35 targets with 2-20-0 rushing in six games without No. 2 wide receiver Robert Woods (knee, IR) since Week 10. Jefferson has a matchup to target against the Ravens, who are without starting perimeter cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (pec, IR) and Marcus Peters (knee, IR), 

Elijah Moore, New York Jets (vs. Tampa Bay): Moore (quad, IR) is 50/50 to play (per Connor Hughes) after missing the past three games. A return to action would be welcome, as he is 35-472-5 receiving on 57 targets with 5-54-1 rushing in seven games since the Week 6 bye. Moore is the No. 1 non-quarterback on the season with +12.65 units of anytime touchdown profits (per our Anytime Touchdown Scorer Tracker).

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Arizona): Gallup has 51 targets in seven games since returning in Week 10 from injury, and in his five games with Amari Cooper in that span he has out-targeted the heralded receiver (33-29). Under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Gallup has rivaled Cooper in their production with quarterback Dak Prescott (Gallup, 69.0 yards receiving vs. Cooper, 68.5 yards receiving). Gallup is basically Arbitrage Cooper.

Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina): Callaway is No. 1 among all Saints pass catchers in targets (73), receptions (40), yards receiving (601), and touchdowns (6). The Panthers are No. 25 in defensive pass DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers (11.5%). 

Laquon Treadwell, Jacksonville Jaguars (at New England): Megaquon is technically the fill-in No. 3 receiver to the fill-in No. 3 receiver, but in his five games in this role — since Jamal Agnew (hip, IR) was sidelined for the remainder of the season in Week 12 — Treadwell is No. 1 on the Jaguars with 22 receptions and 294 yards receiving and barely No. 2 with 33 targets, 376 air yards, and a 46.2% WOPR. Gotta earn that @SuccessfulQuon Twitter handle.

Zay Jones, Las Vegas Raiders (at Indianapolis): In each of the past four weeks, Jones has a snap rate of at least 75%, with which — against all odds — he ranks No. 1 on the team with 351 air yards and No. 2 with 29 targets. 

Freedman’s favorite tight ends for Week 17

Below, I take a look at my favorite tight ends for both fantasy football and DFS for Week 17.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at Cincinnati)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 1
  • Spread: -5
  • Total: 51

Travis Kelce (COVID-19) missed last week but he has since been activated from the reserve list and should suit up this weekend.

Although Kelce has been the No. 1 fantasy tight end in each of the past five years, this season he trails Mark Andrews in scoring.

Even so, Kelce has still been so productive this year (17.9 DraftKings, 14.1 FanDuel) that he’s essentially a mid-range fantasy WR1 at the tight end position. 

Kelce’s superiority over the rest of the league is almost boring at this point. For the season, he’s 83-1,066-7 receiving on 122 targets. He has either 60 yards or a touchdown in 10-of-14 games.

Kelce is on the positive side of his career-long splits as a favorite.

  • Favorite (105 games): 5.8 receptions | 75.9 yards receiving | 0.49 touchdowns
  • Underdog (31 games): 5.5 receptions | 64.0 yards receiving | 0.42 touchdowns

Going back to last postseason, Kelce is 114-1,426-10 receiving on 162 targets with a four-yard rushing touchdown in his most recent 17 games.

The Bengals are No. 28 in defensive pass DVOA against tight ends (21.6%).

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington)

Key numbers (at time of writing):

  • FTN Ranking: No. 5
  • Spread: -3.5
  • Total: 44.5

For much of his four-year career, Dallas Goedert has been long on talent and short on opportunity, flirting with fantasy relevance but rarely giving investors full satisfaction.

But that changed in Week 7, when the Eagles traded longtime starter Zach Ertz. Now, Goedert is essentially Joe Walsh without Don Felder.

In his eight full games without Ertz, Goedert is 33-515-2 receiving on 48 targets with a 2-point conversion. His 11.0 yards per target this year speaks to his big-play ability.

The Football Team is without strong safety Landon Collins (foot, IR), so the matchup is better than it usually would be, and when Goedert faced them in Week 15 he went off with 7-135-0 receiving on nine targets.

Upside tight ends for Week 17

Here are some tight ends I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (vs. LA Rams): Andrews is No. 1 at the position with 132 targets, 1,328 air yards, 1,187 yards receiving, 40 red-zone targets, and 14 end-zone targets. Since the Week 8 bye, he has averaged 10.1 targets per game, and for the season Andrews is the No. 1 tight end with 256.1 expected fantasy points

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Houston): Kittle is prone to the occasional pooptastic performance — such as last week’s 2-31-0 receiving sludgefest — but since returning to action in Week 9 he is a titillating 46-644-6 receiving on 57 targets in eight games. The Texans are No. 31 in defensive pass DVOA against tight ends (27.0%).

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NY Jets): No. 1 wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring, COVID-19) is uncertain to play, and No. 2 wide receiver Chris Godwin (knee, IR) is out. Although he had just two targets last week, he had 45 targets in the five previous games after returning from injury in Week 11. The Jets are No. 32 in defensive pass DVOA against tight ends (29.7%). 

Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals (at Dallas): No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (knee) is out, and in five games without Hopkins since joining the team Ertz (44) has out-targeted wide receivers Christian Kirk (40), A.J. Green (23), Rondale Moore (23) and Antoine Wesley (20). Ertz is one of our top Week 17 tight end streamers.

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (vs. Jacksonville): The dude has nine touchdowns over the past 12 games, and he’s No. 2 at the position with 11 end-zone targets. In our Prop Shop, he has -105 odds at BetMGM to score a touchdown this weekend.

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (at Baltimore): In his four games without No. 2 wide receiver Robert Woods (knee, IR) since Week 10, Higbee has averaged 5.5 targets with a position-high 95% snap rate. The Ravens are No. 5 in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends (16.1 DraftKings, 12.7 FanDuel).

Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders (at Indianapolis): No. 1 tight end Darren Waller (knee, COVID-19) is on the reserve list, so Moreau seems likely to draw another start in his absence. In his five games this year without Waller, Moreau has averaged 47.8 yards and 4.2 receptions on 5.6 targets. The Colts are No. 3 in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends (17.2 DraftKings, 13.4 FanDuel).

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Kansas City): In Weeks 1-3, Uzomah had no more than two targets in any game, but since Week 4 he’s had no fewer than two targets in any game — he has averaged 4.3 targets — and he has leveraged his usage into 41-422-5 receiving in 12 games.

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos (at LA Chargers): Since returning from injury in Week 8, Okwuegbunam has 33.5 yards per game. In that same span, No. 1 tight end Noah Fant has 35.7 yards per game. With a 79.2% catch rate and 8.4 yards per target for his career, Okwuegbunam is essentially a co-No. 1 tight end with Fant. The Chargers are No. 2 in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends (17.6 DraftKings, 14.3 FanDuel). 

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NY Jets): Brate is No. 2 at the position with 24 red-zone targets and No. 5 with seven end-zone targets. Since the Week 9 bye, Brate has a not-horrible 3.7 targets per game. 

John Bates, Washington Football Team (vs. Philadelphia): With starter Logan Thomas (knee, IR) out over the past three weeks, Bates has played more snaps (70% snap rate vs. 50%) and run more routes (66 vs. 55, per Pro Football Focus). Seals-Jones has out-targeted him (12 vs. 6), but Bates has outproduced him (4-93-1 receiving vs. 6-33-0). The Eagles are No. 1 in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends (17.8 DraftKings, 14.6 FanDuel).

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