Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you either survived week 15 and made the finals, or (like me in several leagues) are playing for 3rd place this week. Keeping with the theme of December, week 15 was a huge mess for the players we expected to be good. Aaron Jones and Keenan Allen both got hurt. Adam Thielen, Rob Gronkowski, and Saquon Barkley likely lost of lot of people their semifinals, and Derrick Henry eclipsed 30 points again.
As much as we would like it not to be the case, lots of leagues still play in week 17. The default ESPN game has two-week playoff matchups, so the finals are week 16 and 17. Fortunately, no team has clinched home-field advantage in the real playoffs, so everyone should play their starters, and it’s possible that the Saints, Rams, and Chiefs still want to play in week 17. If you’re in one of these leagues, there are 5 teams I think you can use both this week and next week: LAR, NE, and MIA in tier 1, and DAL and IND in tier 2. If you’re using someone else, SEA (82% owned), KC (44%) and HOU (96%) all have great matchups in week 17.
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Let’s Talk About This Week
If you’re in a league with a good commissioner, week 16 is it. Do or die. Hopefully you’ve been planning ahead and have a defense ready for this week. If you need to (spend all of your FAAB to) pick someone up, there are some good options this week, including Tennessee (51% owned) and Miami (18%).
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
Tell Me About the Top Picks
- TEN vs WAS: I expected this game to have a low total, but I did not expect Tennessee to be favored by a whopping 10 points. Washington’s point projection of 14.5 last week was already the second-lowest of the season by any team, and now they’re projected for 13.5.
- LAR @ ARI: This one is a no-brainer. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the league. Last week, one of the worst defenses in the league (Atlanta) held Arizona to 14 points with 3 turnovers and 7 sacks. This should be a massacre.
- NE vs BUF: You can always rely on New England’s D/ST to get good matchups late in the season because you can always rely on the rest of their division being horrible. This year is no different. I fully expect Josh Allen to run for 100 yards against New England, but that’s the only thing I expect Buffalo’s offense to do.
- MIA vs JAC: Jacksonville only put up 13 points against Washington last week, and Miami is substantially better than Washington (though that says a lot more about Washington than it does about Miami). The Dolphins are available in most leagues, and they’re my top pick this week from among teams you’re likely to be able to get.
- CHI @ SF: Chicago is a defense you’d start against anybody. San Francisco is an offense you’d start anybody against. This is a match made in fantasy heaven.
- DAL vs TB: Despite Dallas’s offense getting totally embarrassed by Indianapolis last week, their defense was fine, holding the Colts to 23 points. Tampa Bay is horrible, so this is the perfect opportunity for Dallas to get right (and win the division).
- IND vs NYG: Dallas had been looking like an offensive powerhouse since acquiring Amari Cooper, and Indianapolis shut them out. Coming off that performance, the Colts should have no trouble with the horrible Giants offense.
- DEN @ OAK: I’m running out of ways to say “The Raiders suck.” You would start worse defenses than Denver in Oakland.
- MIN @ DET: Somehow, both the Eagles and the Lions lost the Golden Tate trade. Both teams have been horrible since then. Minnesota should have an easy time with Detroit’s floundering offense.
- PHI vs HOU: I’m a little surprised to see the Eagles favored here. I guess the market has a lot of faith in Nick Foles. With an implied points against of just 22 and the highest sack projection of the week, Philadelphia just cracks starting ranks.
- CLE vs CIN: Cleveland’s defense is legit, and the Bengals suck without Andy Dalton (that feels really weird to say). I’m not someone who thinks “revenge” games mean anything, but I’m going to enjoy watching Hue Jackson lose to his former team.
Jacob Herlin is a Senior Data Analyst for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, follow him @jacoblawherlin.