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Fantasy Football Week 17 Lineup Land Mines (2022)

Fantasy Football Week 17 Lineup Land Mines (2022)

The premise behind this article is simple. Identifying fantasy football land mines — a guy you’re probably thinking about starting, but here’s why he might be a land mine that explodes your starting lineup — for the upcoming week.

Proceed with caution, and don’t be afraid to pivot to another option — preferably a higher-ranked option from my Week 17 fantasy football rankings.

Brace Yourself and Take Cover.

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Geno Smith (QB – SEA)

  • The Seattle Seahawks quarterback has failed to crack more than 15 fantasy points over his last two games, with zero QB1 finishes over that span.
  • Seattle owns a sub-20 implied team total in a brutal home matchup versus an elite Jets defense that is allowing the league’s third-lowest passing TD rate (45%).
  • Gang Green is also allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to QBs (14.6) since Week 6.

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Najee Harris (RB – PIT)

  • Since Week 6, the Baltimore Ravens have completely shut down opposing running games.
  • They rank 6th in fewest fantasy points allowed, facing the fifth-lowest number of rushes per game (19), allowing just 66 rushing yards per game – the third-best mark in the NFL over that span.
  • Baltimore ranks No. 2 overall in rush defense DVOA.
  • Steelers running back Najee Harris rushed for just 33 yards on 12 carries when these teams met back in Week 14, and only salvaged his fantasy day due to a TD score. If he fails to find the end zone, he could emerge as a colossal bust in Week 17.

Rachaad White (RB – TB)

  • Rachaad White started in Week 16, but it was really the Leonard Fournette show. Fournette out-carried White 20 to 7, doubling his rushing yardage with the extra volume (72 vs. 36).
  • Fournette totaled an elite 71% opportunity share as he played a massive role in the receiving game catching 9-of-10 targets (21%) for 90 yards. He also ran more routes than White (48%). The rookie did salvage his fantasy outing with 4 catches of his own for 17 yards, including a TD score.
  • Still, the lopsided snap share in favor of a healthy Fournette (60% vs. 36%) makes White impossible to trust in an underrated tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
  • Carolina ranks No.1 in fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs since Week 10.
  • Per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart and the 33rd team’s trenches matchup tool, the Bucs OL suffer from a bottom-three run blocking grade against the Panthers.
  • The last time the Bucs faced Carolina, they not only lost, but both White and Fournette were held under 5 fantasy points. Woof.

Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)

  • Alvin Kamara‘s touchdown drought finally ended in Week 16 with him finding the end zone against the Cleveland Browns.
  • As a result, the Saints running back posted his first RB1 finish since Week 8.
  • But all that glitters is not gold for Kamara looking ahead at next week’s tough matchup featuring the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.
  • Philly has allowed the 5th-fewest rushing yards per game to RBs since Week 12.
  • AK41 has struggled immensely in tougher matchups all year long, and Week 17 figures to be no different.
  • Not to mention, TD equity might be tougher for Kamara to find, considering tight end Taysom Hill out-carried him 3-to-1 inside the 10-yard line in Week 16.

Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)

  • Devin Singletary (48% opportunity share) and James Cook (41% opportunity share) split backfield duties, with both Buffalo RBs delivering productive games in Week 16.
  • Singletary went 12 for 106 and 1, while Cook rushed for 99 yards and 1 score on 11 carries.
  • Singletary had the bigger edge on snaps (58% vs. 41%) and routes run, but the dual usage overall from all angles suggests we have a classic 1A-1B backfield.
  • Over the last four weeks, Cook has definitely solidified his role on offense, averaging a 40% snap rate. He has never hit that number prior to Week 13.
  • But the timeshare will make Singletary or Cook tough to trust in a matchup versus a stingy Bengals front.
  • Cincy ranks 7th in run defense DVOA with defensive lineman D.J. Reader back in the lineup the last 5 weeks.
  • They also rank 5th in fewest fantasy points per game and third in fewest rushing yards allowed to RBs over that time span.

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Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)

  • The Washington Commanders have made the switch at quarterback, going from Taylor Heinicke to Carson Wentz
  • Terry McLaurin boasted a 30% target share from Weeks 7-15, with Heinicke as the full-time starter. With Wentz from Weeks 1-6, his target share was at 16%.
  • Meanwhile, Curtis Samuel‘s target share fell from 22% with Wentz to 15% without him.
  • In Week 16, we already saw Terry McLaurin‘s target share fall to 14% in a game that Wentz entered in late. Wentz targeted TMC once. He favored Logan Thomas (6 targets) and Samuel (3 targets (3) more.
  • With a run-heavy game plan on deck versus Cleveland, McLaurin doesn’t have major upside in the fantasy championships.
  • The Browns are allowing the 7th-fewest fantasy points to WRs and 2nd-fewest to slot WRs. 3rd fewest receptions allowed (9) per game since Week 7.
  • The Commanders are also at a big disadvantage in pass protection with a bottom-4 pass-blocking grade per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart and the 33rd Team’s Trench matchup tool.

Darius Slayton (WR – NYG)

  • Tough matchup coming for Darius Slayton in Week 17 versus the run-funnel Indianapolis Colts.
  • Their defense ranks sixth in rush rate this season foreshadowing a big workload for Saquon Barkley and not necessarily Daniel Jones like last week.
  • That will bring the Giants WR numbers back to earth after an outlier performance versus the Minnesota Vikings.
  • Indy has been particularly stingy versus No. 2s, allowing the third-fewest yards (39.8) to opposing secondary WR options.
  • And since Week 13, Slayton has been more of a number 2 than true No. 1, actually trailing both Isaiah Hodgins (20%) and Richie James Jr. (21%) in target share and fantasy points scored.
  • The way to attack the Colts has been through slot WRs, as they have allowed more points to slot WRs than any other team since Week 13 when starting slot CB Kenny Moore exited the lineup with an injury.
  • Unfortunately, Slayton’s routes are bound to the perimeter, making him the least likely to take advantage of the Colts’ weakness inside.

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)

  • Trust the process, folks. We have gone a perfect 4-for-4 fading the No. 2 WRs facing the New York Jets of the past month.
  • So yes, that means it’s time for Tyler Lockett to ride the pine, especially with him returning from a broken finger.
  • New York has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing WRs since Week 6.
  • They rank 5th in DVOA versus No. 2 WRs allowing the 2nd-fewest receiving yards (35 yards per game) to opposing No. 2 WRs.
  • Just say no to pass attacks going up against the Jets’ “No Fly Zone.”

Adam Thielen (WR – MIN)

  • Adam Thielen was irrelevant again in Week 16, catching just one pass for 6 yards on 5 targets.
  • Back-to-back dud weeks for Thielen with a meager 9% target share despite Kirk Cousins averaging 50-plus pass attempts tells you everything you need to know about his fantasy prospects for the rest of the season. He cannot be trusted.
  • Especially versus the Green Bay Packers defense that ranks 1st in DVOA versus No. 2 WRs this season.
  • Thielen was also limited to just 3 catches for 36 yards when these teams met back in Week 1.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR – ARI)

  • Since Week 11 – when star cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to the starting lineup – the Falcons have allowed the fewest passing yards per game to QBs (150) and the fewest receiving yards per game to WRs at just 79 total yards.
  • They also rank No. 1 in the NFL in fewest fantasy points per game allowed to WRs (17.9), specifically out wide, where WRs have scored just 4.1 fantasy points per game to perimeter WRs.
  • DeAndre Hopkins runs 70% of his routes from the boundary, so he’s likely in for another subpar outing a week removed from an abysmal 10-target 1-catch game on Sunday night football, even with Colt McCoy back under center in Week 17.
  • In Weeks 10, 11 and 14 with McCoy under center, Hopkins boasts a 31% target share with 12.3 targets, 89 receiving yards, and 17 PPR points per game.
  • He’s had at least 79 receiving yards in every game that McCoy has played the majority of snaps.
  • In the one game McCoy played 54% of the snaps (Week 15 @ Denver), Hopkins still finished with 7 catches for 60 yards.

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Darren Waller (TE – LV)

  • I am still very unsure what the Raiders are doing with Darren Waller.
  • A week after he came back it wasn’t shocking that he had a reduced role.
  • But in Week 16, Las Vegas had him running a route on just 49% of dropbacks. That was worse than in Week 15 which was at 66%. Woof.
  • Hard to project more than middling production from Waller – 4 for 58 on 5 targets was his Week 16 stat line – if he is not being used like an elite fantasy tight end.
  • Especially with a tougher matchup for TEs on deck versus the SF 49ers No. 1-ranked defense.
  • They rank 5th in DVOA versus tight ends this season and have allowed the fifth-fewest yards to the position.
  • And since Week 8, they are allowing the second-fewest receiving yards per game for tight ends at 32 per game.
  • Derek Carr has also been benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham, making Waller that much more of a strong fade in Week 17.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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