If you're playing into Week 17, you don't just need to keep an eye on injuries or know who has the best matchups. You also need to know the playoff implications of each game on the schedule to know who might be sitting out this week and which backups might be worth starting. Dave Richard has the playoff implications of every Week 17 game covered, along with his picks for starts, sits, sleepers, and busts for each game.
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
Playoff implications: With a win, the Buccaneers will play the NFC East champions, a fortuitous spot to be in given their collective ineptitude. A loss would send the Buccaneers to the sixth seed -- and a tougher matchup in the playoffs.
The line wants us to believe: Atlanta will play another close game. Let's give the Falcons some credit -- they've lost four straight but all by five or fewer points. The line feels inflated for Tampa Bay, as if people have disregarded the Falcons' improved defense. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Falcons put up enough of a fight to stay within six points.
Hayden Hurst TE
ATL Atlanta • #81
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I'm not saying the Falcons have given up on the run, but over their past four games they've called running backs runs an average of 32% of the time (all losses). So not only have Fantasy managers lost faith in their runners, but their coaches have as well. That sets Matt Ryan up for another high-volume pass game, this time against a Buccaneers pass defense that's let up 20-plus Fantasy points to seven of the past nine quarterbacks including a monster 33 points to Ryan in Week 15. His O-line gave him serious protection in that game and must come through again to help Ryan this week. That will be made easier with both Shaquil Barrett and Devin White going on the Covid-19 list, leaving the Bucs real thin on pass-rush masters. Tampa Bay has seen tight ends find at least 12 PPR points in three of their past four, including Hurst in Week 15 (12 points). Hurst has also scored in consecutive games and seems worthy of a Week 17 start as a touchdown-dependent tight end.
Playoff implications: The winner will claim the NFC East crown (and the NFC's No. 4 seed) if Washington loses to Philadelphia.
The line wants us to believe: The Giants will be competitive. The oddsmakers want you to take Dallas. They're begging you to. They even started the week with the Giants as the favorite and then shifted to the current line! You're giving just a couple points against a Giants offense that's posted 19, 17, 7, 6 and 13 points in their past five! And the Cowboys have posted 30-plus points in three straight! The Giants have either won or lost by three or fewer points in every divisional game so far this year. The oddsmakers must be banking on a close game. I don't see it that way at all but I don't like losing, either.
DAL Dallas • #13
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Over the past four weeks, Gallup has consistently beaten single coverage with physicality and improved suddenness while proving to have good chemistry with Andy Dalton. With the likelihood that James Bradberry will see more of Amari Cooper than Gallup, expect the third-year receiver to continue besting his opposition, most likely Isaac Yiadom (six scores allowed this year). You should especially buy in because he's collected more targets (29), catches (18), yards (256) and touchdowns (four) in his past four games than any Cowboys receiver. New York's pass defense has rarely allowed big numbers to multiple receivers in the same game, but it did yield at least 12 PPR points to three Cowboys wideouts in Week 5, including Gallup, and has seen three wide receivers score on it in the past two weeks.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #3
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Want safe? In nine games with Daniel Jones throwing at him, Shepard has averaged 5.5 receptions. Jones and Shepard connect on 79.4% of targets, too, so it's always an efficient time. Problem is, Shepard is still running short routes even though he's not playing in the slot as much as he used to. He's averaging 8.9 yards per catch from Jones this season, which has led to 10 or fewer PPR points in five of those nine games. Not that the Cowboys pass defense is suffocating, but it has been beaten by speed merchants lately, not shifty possession-types like Shepard. He's a non-starter in non-PPR and is only usable as a high-floor, low-ceiling receiver who has scored in consecutive games once since his rookie year.
Evan Engram TE
NYG N.Y. Giants • #88
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Last week's target boost to 10 was his highest since Week 9, and it resulted with seven catches. That's nice, but it's not something we're used to with Engram. Sadly, the 9.3 receiving average he posted in Week 16 is absolutely in line with what we've seen from him much of the year. That's contributed to Engram delivering just six or fewer non-PPR points in four straight, and eight PPR points or less in three of four (last week was the exception). Dallas has given up a pair of touchdowns to tight ends in its past six games; Engram has one touchdown catch in 2020.
Playoff implications: None whatsoever.
The line wants us to believe: The Jets' past two weeks were make-believe. I can't decide if this is a sucker line or not. It's not cool to give Adam Gase credit for anything good, but the Jets' consecutive wins aren't flukes at all. Meanwhile, how in blazes could anybody back the Patriots when their entire offense has become a poor one-dimensional jalopy squad?! My guess is that the idea of making the Patriots a home underdog against the Jets is unfathomable. But they should be! Gimme the Jets.
Offensively, the Patriots have hit rock bottom. They can still run the ball fairly well but their passing game ranks 30th in pass yards per game and 32nd in passing touchdowns with an embarrassingly poor eight touchdown throws. That's been a huge factor in four of the past five DSTs to face the Pats scoring at least 11 Fantasy points. Enter the Jets defense, which has been actually solid against the Rams and Browns in consecutive weeks. Even without Quinnen Williams in Week 16, the New York pass rush was responsible for four sacks and two forced fumbles. With at least nine Fantasy points in its past two games, the Jets actually have appeal in their season finale.
Playoff implications: Absolutely zilch.
The line wants us to believe: The Lions will score more than three touchdowns. The Vikings' defense isn't bad, but the implied point total of 23.75 for the Lions without Matthew Stafford (or with a banged-up Stafford) is pretty aggressive. Detroit's defense doesn't have a pass rush or even good cover corners. Each of the Lions' last seven losses were by seven-plus points. This should be a blowout for the Vikings.
Kirk Cousins QB
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 33 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Over the past five weeks, the Lions have allowed a passing touchdown once every 7.1 completions. That's kind of a fun stat, one of many that can illustrate just how pathetic the Lions defense has become. Here's another: The Lions have registered just 21 sacks on the season including two or fewer in every single matchup. So if Cousins is cool in the pocket, and if the Lions can't slow down the pass, there's every reason to believe he could fire three or more touchdowns. Four of the past five quarterbacks to throw against the Lions have had at least 30 Fantasy points, and Cousins has set a Fantasy floor of 21 points, the minimum he's had in eight of his past 10.
Irv Smith TE
MIN Minnesota • #84
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
That Week 15 game Smith had versus Chicago sticks in my craw -- he dropped a touchdown in the game and would otherwise have a sweet three-game scoring streak coming into Week 17. At the very least it's evidence Smith gets end-zone looks on a seemingly weekly basis from Cousins, including a pair of them in his last game. Detroit's defense has been annihilated by tight ends all year, contributing at least nine PPR points to the position in eight of its past 10. Smith is worth taking the chance on.
Playoff implications: A Steelers win and a Bills loss would give Pittsburgh the No. 2 seed in the AFC. They can't be any lower than the No. 3 seed. The Browns clinch a wild-card spot with a win.
The line wants us to believe: The Browns' loss last week was completely circumstantial. The oddsmakers expect us to overlook the Browns' disappointing loss to the Jets and focus solely on the Steelers playing a bunch of backups. I agree that the Browns won't see the Steelers' best players much if at all, but I'm not sure we can trust the Browns to beat anyone by 11-plus points. They've only done such a thing in three of their 10 wins. I don't buy the Browns defense as a strong unit -- I'm thinking the Steelers find a way to keep it reasonably close.
Kareem Hunt RB
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The Steelers have made it clear they intend to rest and/or limit the participation of several players. That should impact their defense, which had already been going through a rough patch defending the run. The Bengals and Colts' running backs each totaled two scores over the past two weeks, and the Colts especially hammered Pittsburgh on the ground at 4.5 yards per rush. Hunt has basically averaged 12 touches in his games with Nick Chubb in 2020, but he gets more carries than catches in their wins. Hunt's best Fantasy games typically involve a touchdown, and it feels like he'll have a good shot to get one if the Steelers are pulling back in any way.
PIT Pittsburgh • #19
Age: 24 • Experience: 5 yrs.
It's not because of anything Johnson or Smith-Schuster have done, and it's definitely not because of anything the Browns do defensively, but Mike Tomlin's preference this week to "preserve and protect players with a rotational mindset" suggests that no typical Steelers starter has a shot to play a full game. That includes Ben Roethlisberger, who won't play at all. So with playing time up in the air and Mason Rudolph at quarterback, all bets are off as to how reliable any Steelers receiver will be. That goes double for Johnson, who Roethlisberger seemingly was addicted to throwing to game after game. Rudolph seemed to spread targets around evenly in his 2019 games between Johnson (48 from Rudolph), Smith-Schuster (46) and James Washington (42).
Playoff implications: Baltimore will clinch a wild-card spot with a win.
The line wants us to believe: The Bengals' two-game win streak doesn't matter. I got suckered pretty good last week betting against the Bengals, but I'm going to do it again. The Ravens have won four straight, with three by 14-plus points. It's probably a fair line and not something meant to trap people into overrating the Ravens, which is good since that's the side I want to be on.
Gus Edwards RB
BAL Baltimore • #35
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Here's some news you could use: Edwards has cemented a seven-point non-PPR floor in nine of his past 10 games. Obviously that includes some starts where his backfield mates weren't healthy, but it's a lot of games where he's getting around 10 touches but still coming through. Last week he gobbled up 17 touches for over 100 total yards in a blowout win. We can't rule out something similar happening against the Bengals (four total touchdowns to running backs in their past three), especially since Baltimore has a playoff spot riding on the game. He's much more likable in non- and half-PPR.
Tee Higgins WR
CIN Cincinnati • #85
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
I can't wait to see Higgins in his second year with Joe Burrow for, hopefully, 16 games. Until then, we have one more game with Higgins catching passes from Brandon Allen. It hasn't been all bad -- Allen has targeted Higgins 7.5 times per game over four starts, totaling 15-plus PPR points twice and 10-plus PPR points every time. Baltimore's secondary is a little shaky with Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters not at 100 percent, and Cincinnati figures to trail in the matchup.
Playoff implications: The Bills earn the AFC's No. 2 seed with a win (they can still get it if they lose and if the Steelers lose). At worst, they'll be the No. 3 seed. The Dolphins make the playoffs if they win, though they can also back in if they lose IF one of the Ravens or Browns also lose.
The line wants us to believe: The Bills won't rest everybody. If the Bills were going to sit Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and others, this line would be way in Miami's favor. But if the Bills were going to for sure play their starters for four quarters, there's no way this line would be minus-2. Not that I think the Dolphins are the better team -- they were insanely lucky to win last week. I just don't feel comfortable taking the Bills without knowing how much Allen will definitely play.
Mike Gesicki TE
MIA Miami • #88
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Gesicki has corralled at least nine non-PPR Fantasy points in three of his past four and was close to making it a tremendous 4 for 4 last week. Buffalo has been good against the tight end position all season but hasn't faced a challenging schedule. Two tight ends scored on them recently -- Jordan Reed in Week 13 and Noah Fant in Week 15 on heavy target volume. Any return from DeVante Parker shouldn't impact Gesicki, especially since he's already shaken off his cobwebs whereas Parker hasn't and might not be at 100 percent even if he does play.
Playoff implications: Seattle has a top-3 seed locked up. A win and a Saints loss OR a Packers loss will get them into the No. 2 spot. A win and losses by the Packers AND Saints will give Seattle home-field advantage!
The line wants us to believe: The Niners' win last week was phony. Their defense hung in there and didn't break against the Cardinals, but it'll be their offense that'll have to make gains against Seattle's improving squad. It's a tough spot for the Niners, especially with receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams not there. Five of Seattle's past six wins have been by more than six points, so they should be capable of covering.
SEA Seattle • #3
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
It's evident the Seahawks are trying to lean on a balanced offensive approach. Over the past two weeks the Seahawks' rushers have registered 40 carries, but only one was longer than 15 yards. They're not winning or losing specifically because of their run game, but their dedication to it is part of the reason why Wilson's numbers haven't been great. Tyler Lockett playing at under 100 percent is another issue, but so too is Wilson's accuracy. He's posted a bad-throw rate north of 20 percent in each of the past two weeks, something he hasn't done in consecutive games all season (but come close to). If he's throwing less than normal, that's bad. San Francisco has held five of the past six quarterbacks it has faced to 20 or fewer Fantasy points. It's pretty fair to trust Wilson for about that many Fantasy points this week ... while he's had at least 21 in two of his past three, he's also had that many in two of his past five.
Jeff Wilson RB
SF San Francisco • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Seattle's run defense is pretty decent -- over the past nine games the Seahawks have held running backs to 3.9 yards per rush, and over the entire season only two rushers have had 100 yards on the ground (can you name them without Googling?!). But Wilson is the clear feature workhorse in the 49ers offense, succeeding on 70% of the snaps in Week 16 with a ludicrous 22-183-0 line with a 21-yard touchdown catch. That makes five out of six games with 10-plus carries on the season where he's had 10-plus non-PPR Fantasy points. Wilson might just be the 49ers' stud running back of the future!
Playoff implications: The winner has his ticket punched to the postseason. The loser can still get in but it'll take some help from the Packers.
The line wants us to believe: Los Angeles' injuries are too much to overcome. Look, it's not like Jared Goff was playing special football anyway. The line is meant to take advantage of bettors who see Goff and Cooper Kupp out for the game. Arizona's been playing terrible and Kyler Murray has a leg issue that could limit his effectiveness. In a game like this, I don't mind taking the points, especially if those points come with the better defense playing at home.
MIA Miami • #34
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
It's simply a case of Brown being in the right place at the right time. Assuming Cam Akers doesn't make a quick recovery from his ankle sprain, Brown figures to be the full-time running back for the Rams against Arizona. This Cardinals defense has taken a hit over its past six games, letting up 5.0 yards per rush and nine total touchdowns (six rushing) to running backs. With a playoff spot on the line and a backup quarterback who needs all the help he can get, Brown figures to be a safe bet for 15 touches. He's also been used reliably as a short-yardage running back in the past, so that chore should fall on his shoulders if given the chance. He's my favorite running back in the game.
Kyler Murray QB
ARI Arizona • #1
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The last time Murray played with an injury, he turned in four straight sub-24 point Fantasy games with minimal rushing production (Weeks 11 through 14). One of those games was against the Rams, a weird three-touchdown, 174-yard, two-turnover game. Murray wasn't banged up until he hurt his leg late last week -- but before then, he just wasn't on point and couldn't connect for a score against the 49ers. Now he moves on at less than 100 percent in a rematch with massive playoff implications versus the Rams' top-ranked pass defense. It's a difficult spot to trust him in knowing there's a real chance he does next to nothing as a rusher.
Kenyan Drake RB
LV Las Vegas • #23
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
The matchup is tough -- in its past 12 games, the Rams have held every running back they have faced to under 80 total yards. That includes Drake, who hit paydirt versus L.A. in Week 13. Drake's actually one of six running backs to score on the Rams in their past eight games, a favorable trend for sure. It also helps Drake if Murray doesn't run as much given his leg injury, as well as Chase Edmonds as a question mark to play. Drake's in a big-time spot -- he's worth trying as a low-end starter.
Playoff implications: To make the playoffs, the Colts need to win and have one of the Titans, Dolphins, Ravens or Browns lose. If the Colts win and Titans lose, the Colts win the AFC South.
The line wants us to believe: The Jaguars are playing out the string. All the talk around Jacksonville has been about Trevor Lawrence, not anything on the football field in the here and now. There's no evidence that the Jaguars have been competitive in any of their past three games, all against playoff-caliber teams. Philip Rivers and Jonathan Taylor will make that skid hit four.
IND Indianapolis • #17
Age: 39 • Experience: 17 yrs.
There's the narrative that Rivers might ball out in what might be his final regular-season game (and maybe his final game, period). That's definitely a possibility. But what really inspires confidence is Rivers' matchup against a Jaguars pass defense that's allowed 20-plus Fantasy points to each of the past nine signal-callers. This is a much-changed unit from what Rivers saw back in Week 1, and Rivers threw for 363 yards at that time. Rivers is a trust-worthy low-end Fantasy starter.
Zach Pascal WR
IND Indianapolis • #14
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
How sneaky can a receiver be with 12-plus non-PPR/15-plus PPR points in his last two games? While T.Y. Hilton's numbers have slid, Pascal's have taken off. He's led the Colts in catches (eight), yards (143) and touchdowns (two) in their past two with one fewer target than Hilton. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's more of a jack-of-all-trades receiver without any special traits. He won't burn past defenders often and he had a fourth-down, game-on-the-line pass bounce off his hands last week against the Steelers. But despite that stuff, he's used on downfield routes as well as mid-range stuff. Not having Michael Pittman on the field should boost his playing time too. Jacksonville's allowed at least 98 yards to one receiver in 11 straight games and at least one touchdown to a wideout in seven of its past eight. If Hilton continues to receive tighter coverage, Pascal can come through. He's at least a good DFS option and at most an appealing replacement off waivers for those with wide receiver issues.
Playoff implications: The Titans are AFC South champs with a win. And if that happens, the Dolphins will pick third in the NFL Draft in April since they have the Texans' first-round pick.
The line wants us to believe: Tennessee's defense can handle Houston's offense. Playing on the road for the second straight week isn't easy, but the Titans have a favorable matchup with plenty to play for. I wouldn't expect a let-down game. Four of Houston's past five losses have been by seven or fewer points; each of Tennessee's past three wins have been by 19 points. Betting against Deshaun Watson never feels good, but with the way things have gone you have to buy in.
TEN Tennessee • #17
Age: 33 • Experience: 10 yrs.
There's definite concern about Derrick Henry trying to book a 223-yard game to get 2,000 rush yards. But the greater concern for the Titans is winning the game to clinch the AFC South crown. That's not to say the Titans couldn't do both, and just because Henry rumbles for a ton of yards doesn't mean Tannehill won't get numbers. In Henry's past two games against the Texans he's had over 200 rush yards ... and Tannehill still had 36 and 21 points. He's an efficient marvel of a quarterback taking on a Texans pass defense giving up 21.7 Fantasy points per game to opposing passers.
Corey Davis WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Davis' target share has become uneven over the past five weeks, creating some inconsistency. He hasn't had consecutive games with six-plus targets since Weeks 10 and 11. One reason for the lack of throws last week: he was running a bunch of deeper routes and Tannehill didn't have the time to wait for him to get open because he was getting blitzed plenty. That's a problem the Titans shouldn't have this week against the Texans. However, if Henry is set to get a ton of touches in an effort to record 2,000 rush yards and help the Titans win, then that leaves fewer targets for Davis. He's fallen through his PPR floor of 10 points in two of his past three games, but I wouldn't count him out from reaching it again.
Playoff implications: LOL
The line wants us to believe: The Raiders will rebound from last week's shocking loss. The whole world will bet the Raiders because they practically did win last week. Yes, they're a cluster of a squad, but so too are the Broncos. Neither team will mail it in. Neither team is particularly good, either, but the Raiders offense is more reliable.
NE New England • #15
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
We've been playing hot potato with Agholor through the back-half of the NFL season, but the downfield speed he's displayed meshed with the 49 targets he's had through the past six weeks (8.2 per game) makes him irresistible. And while Denver's pass defense has shed just one touchdown to a wideout in its past four, it's also let up plenty of catches and yardage -- four wideouts have 15-plus PPR points in its past three. That's a good sign for Agholor, who had 100-plus yards in two of his past three. He simply has too much upside in a good matchup to pass on.
Noah Fant TE
DEN Denver • #87
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fant's on a late-season target spree -- 20 in his past two games, to be exact. He's turned that into 14 receptions, 133 yards and a score. That's not exactly efficient, but that kind of volume figures to stay consistent in Week 17 nonetheless, making him an easy start in PPR formats. Las Vegas' pass defense has been laughable for much of the season, but only two tight ends have collected more than seven non-PPR points against it since Week 8. Touchdowns were involved, something Fant's had thrice all year. I'd be careful trusting him in non-PPR.
Playoff implications: None. The Chiefs have clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC and intend to "rest up some guys." Patrick Mahomes has already been ruled out, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce shouldn't play much, if at all.
The line wants us to believe: Not even the Chargers can blow this game. Everyone knows the Chiefs won't play many starters, but are the Chargers capable of taking advantage? Let's give them some credit -- the Bolts have won three straight, but all three by exactly three points against equally bad teams. The Chiefs covering 3.5 wouldn't surprise me at all.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Herbert's struggled to find even 20 Fantasy points over his past five games (he's done it once), but he figures to be in a great spot in the season finale. Kansas City's defense has let up 24-plus Fantasy points to six of the past seven quarterbacks it has faced, and now it's assumed several starters will see limited playing time, if they play at all. It should benefit Herbert, even if he doesn't have Keenan Allen at his disposal.
KC Kansas City • #31
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) and Le'Veon Bell (knee) both have injuries they're nursing heading into the playoffs. With a meaningless game on deck, Williams figures to have a bunch of playing time again after handling 70% of the snaps in Week 16 and totaling 73 yards on 14 touches. Consider that a relative floor against a Chargers defense that's not playing as well as its recent numbers would indicate (one running back touchdown, 4.4 yards per carry allowed over its past five). Working with a backup O-line and potentially in tandem with Darwin Thompson could further limit Williams' numbers. Consider him a flex at best.
Playoff implications: The Packers clinch the NFC's top seed with a win. The Bears clinch a playoff spot with a win, but can also get in with a loss and a Cardinals loss.
The line wants us to believe: Nothing's changing in this rivalry. Mitchell Trubisky has beaten the Packers once in six starts. Matt Nagy has beaten the Packers once in four games. As a franchise, the Bears have beaten the Packers three times in their past 21 meetings!! Trubisky and the Bears offense has come alive against awful defenses, and the Packers defense seems to be peaking at the perfect time. I expect a Packers blowout.
GB Green Bay • #85
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Tonyan's ugly Week 16 stat line will freak a lot of Fantasy managers out. Don't let it keep you from starting him. Tonyan's streak of seven-plus non-PPR/10-plus PPR points snapped at five straight last week, but he's in the fortuitous spot of playing a Bears defense that's given up a touchdown and/or 60-plus yards to a tight end in six of its past eight. Expect Tonyan to be the perfect target for Aaron Rodgers off of play action in the red zone.
BUF Buffalo • #10
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Green Bay's defense is actually peaking at the perfect time, and there's no doubt it will put up a big fight with the No. 1 seed in the NFC on the line. Trubisky has played great over his past five games, though that hasn't always meant huge Fantasy points. But his bugaboo has long been playing poorly in tough matchups, which this one feels like. The Packers have held opposing passers to 17 or fewer Fantasy points in seven of their past nine games. Trubisky was one of the lucky ones to overcome the trend, but it involved a lot of garbage time production.
Playoff implications: New Orleans still has a chance at the No. 1 seed, but they'll need the Packers to lose and the Seahawks to win. Otherwise, a win clinches the second seed.
The line wants us to believe: Last week is indicative of how both teams really play. New Orleans ran wild on the Vikings and Carolina scooted past Washington. But before last week, the Saints had lost two straight and the Panthers had either won or lost by one score over their past four. I think the Panthers defense is overrated but they find ways to score every week. The Saints don't score 50 points every week. I think the Panthers hang around but don't win.
Jared Cook TE
LAC L.A. Chargers • #87
Age: 34 • Experience: 13 yrs.
There shouldn't be much trepidation in starting Cook this week -- a tight end has come through for 10-plus PPR points against the Panthers in 10 straight games! That fits Cook just fine as he's posted at least eight non-PPR/11 PPR points in three of his past four. There's always a chance the Saints rest their veterans during the game, but that's about the only concern for Cook in what should be a successful matchup.
Playoff implications: Washington wins the NFC East with a victory over the Eagles. If it loses, then the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game earlier on Sunday claims the division.
The line wants us to believe: The Eagles aren't nearly as bad as people think. I suppose the public perception is that Washington is the best team in the East and Philly is no good because they got blown out by the Cowboys. Washington has the best defense in the East, and that's going to have to be what pulls them through since their quarterback options aren't very good. Check that: their run game could be very good and Philly could be at a real disadvantage without Fletcher Cox on the D-line.
Jalen Hurts QB
PHI Philadelphia • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Hurts has proven to be far from a perfect prospect -- more than 20% of his throws aren't on target and he lacks consistency from play to play. But Fantasy managers should care most about Hurts' production, not about HOW he puts it all together. He's sensitive to pressure, but that leads to rushing yards. He's not consistently reading defenses well, but he's more than willing to uncork a deep shot. Typically, when a young quarterback doesn't show good traits on film, he runs the risk of performing poorly. Ron Rivera's defense has allowed just one multi-score quarterback in the past six weeks, but many of the guys it faced weren't world-beaters. Hurts' rushing prowess and deep-ball potential carries him into the top-12 among Fantasy quarterbacks, but if Washington's D-line harasses Hurts enough, he won't have eye-popping numbers. He's worth trying one last time as a low-end top-12 quarterback based on the upside he possesses.
Zach Ertz TE
PHI Philadelphia • #86
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
The opportunity to pick up all of the tight-end targets for the Eagles puts Ertz into start territory. Just over 30% of all of Hurts' targets this season have gone to tight ends, including the games before Ertz was on the field and Dallas Goedert was the main tight end. Ertz does have a little more late-route acceleration than he did earlier this year, and he's not running a bunch of throwaway short routes either. That's a decent combo for him to connect for nice gains from Hurts, but it takes Hurts finding him on the regular for a big game to happen. He's a low-end starter I'd feel safer using in full PPR.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
I would anticipate more playing time for Gibson following his return last week. For the most part he looked good, collecting at least 5 yards on six of his 10 carries. There seemed to be some issues getting in rhythm with his O-line, but after a few carries it seemed resolved and he broke off runs for 13 and 22 yards. Philadelphia's run defense has allowed 11 or more non-PPR points to a running back in seven straight games, and now it figures to be without run-stuffer Fletcher Cox in a meaningless game. There's plenty of optimism for Gibson to have a good-to-great performance.