With Week 16 of the NFL season in the books, it’s time for one last waiver cycle in the world of fantasy football.
With most of the postseason field set, Week 17 is always one of the toughest weeks to project. While some playoff-bound teams will be resting their biggest stars, other squads are more likely to shake things up on offence, perhaps giving their less experienced players a chance to prove themselves.
For those reasons, most commissioners schedule their fantasy leagues to end with either Week 15 or Week 16 – but there are some leagues that play through the end of the regular season, and for those owners, this is championship week. Below, read up on 10 streaming options that could make the difference as we head down to the wire.
Giovani Bernard, RB
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Week 16 stats: 116 rushing yards, 52 receiving yards, 7 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Bernard has taken full advantage of Joe Mixon’s injury-plagued second half. The North Carolina product had himself a day against the Lions’ banged-up run defence, turning in the best single-game rushing performance of any Cincinnati player this season. This fantasy endorsement is contingent on Mixon’s health, but even if the rookie plays, Bernard may have won himself a bigger share of the workload for Week 17.
Josh Doctson, WR
Team: Washington Redskins
Week 16 stats: 61 receiving yards, 2 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Doctson’s abysmal 15.4% catch rate on Sunday won’t do him any favours as he campaigns to keep his starting job for 2018, but for now, his role in the Redskins offence is assured. Kirk Cousins targeted him on 13 occasions, more than double his next-favourite receiver.
Matt Breida, RB
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Week 16 stats: 74 rushing yards, 8 receiving yards, 1 reception, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Breida torched the Jaguars’ vaunted defence for 74 yards on just 11 carries, making him an intriguing option for Week 17. The 22-year-old has yet to get more than 13 touches in a single game, but with Carlos Hyde set to hit free agency, expect the 49ers to take a long look at their rookie.
Dede Westbrook, WR
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 stats: 74 receiving yards, 4 receptions
One thing to know: With Marqise Lee sidelined with a sprained ankle, Westbrook’s reign as Blake Bortles’ most reliable receiver should extend for at least one more week. As the AFC South champs, the Jaguars have nothing to play for, but after appearing in just six games this year, his mileage count is low enough to demand playing time.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Week 16 stats: 242 passing yards, 3 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
One thing to know: While analysts are raving about Garoppolo’s perfect reads and winning intangibles, fantasy owners have a much simpler reason to get excited about him: volume. The 49ers are giving their new signal caller every opportunity to showcase his arm as he finishes out his rookie contract, and he has responded by topping 240 yards in all four of his starts.
Antonio Gates, TE
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
Week 16 stats: 81 receiving yards, 6 receptions, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Gates certainly isn’t what he used to be, but he does have enough talent to post another solid week, especially with Hunter Henry sidelined with a kidney injury. The veteran scored Los Angeles’ only receiving touchdown of the day on Sunday. With a playoff spot on the line, expect to Chargers to enter Week 17 at full tilt.
Mike Gillislee, RB
Team: New England Patriots
Week 16 stats: 28 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards, 1 reception, 1 touchdown
One thing to know: Sunday’s game was Gillislee’s first in weeks, and he provided solid production. The Florida product got six goal-line carries, so with the Patriots’ prolific offence, he should get more scoring opportunities in Week 17. He’ll be a viable streaming option, especially if James White remains sidelined.
Joe Flacco, QB
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Week 16 stats: 237 passing yards, -2 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
One thing to know: You won’t feel good about letting Flacco determine the outcome of your season, but that doesn’t mean you should rule him out as a last-minute pickup. With 17 points or more in each of his last four games, he’s a high-floor, low-ceiling kind of player – and that could be enough for a win, depending on who you’re facing.
Steven Hauschka, K
Team: Buffalo Bills
Week 16 stats: 3/4 field goals, 1/1 PATs
One thing to know: Hauschka is no Pro Bowler, but he’s still a viable option if you’re looking to upgrade at kicker. The Bills didn’t have any trouble moving downfield the last time they faced the Dolphins, just two weeks ago.
Week 16 stats: 11 points allowed, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries
One thing to know: This has been one of the hotter units in the NFL over the past few weeks. The Redskins terrorised Brock Osweiler and the Broncos in Week 16, causing a number of mistakes thanks to their hungry pass rush. Their next matchup is another favourable one: the Giants.
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