Welcome to FY’s top-50 flex plays for the week (standard scoring). Rankings represent the order I would be most comfortable inserting each player into my lineup; tiers further separate our fantasy assets to help establish the probability of fantasy dominance. Keep player availability in mind as the week progresses. Below, you will only find players I feel have a good chance to play this week.
Week 17 is upon us. Most of us watched another chance at a season-long league championship slip by us in the last few weeks. If you’re one of the lucky few that captured a fantasy title, then I offer my congratulations! If you’re one of the outliers who plays in a 17-week league, then I offer you this paraphrase of Voltaire/Evelyn Beatrice Hall: I disapprove of how you play, but I will rank to the death your options for playing it.
Beyond season-long leagues, daily fantasy games are still on the docket for Week 17. Now is the perfect time to give those a go. With teams sitting starters and limiting reps, and players nursing injuries, we’re going to see a lot of guys in unfamiliar roles. That makes the coming week arguably the most unpredictable of the year. The randomness in fantasy scoring will turn the daily fantasy scene into Friday night at the local Bingo hall, giving less experienced players a little better shot.
Whether you are into daily fantasy or are in one of those absurd 17-week leagues, let me try to make some sense of the chaos that promises to be Week 17.
Top 50 Flex Players Week 17
Player/Team Position (Rank) Opponent
1. D. Johnson/ARI RB(1) @LA
With different situations impacting many fantasy stars, David Johnson is the lone inhabitant of Tier 1. With 20 total touchdowns and over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, he’s the top non-QB on the year and has a 30-point lead over second-place Ezekiel Elliott. DJ should finish the season strong as he looks to put the finishing touches on an epic fantasy year. The Cardinals are out of the playoffs and have no real reason to underwork their bellcow.
2. J. Nelson/GB WR(1) @DET
3. M. Evans/TB WR(2) CAR
4. J. Jones/ATL WR(3) NO
5. T. Hilton/IND WR(4) JAX
Trust is the name of the game this week. Jordy Nelson visits division rival Detroit in a game that just happens to be for the NFC North title. Jordy has been on a tear the last four weeks with five TDs and 437 yards. With the division title on the line, the run should continue.
Tampa Bay still has a shot at the playoffs but needs some help. Mike Evans enters the week as the third-ranked receiver in standard scoring even though he hasn’t cracked 100 yards since week 12. He has over 1,200 yards and 11 TDs on the year.
Julio Jones played just over 60-percent of the Falcons’ offensive snaps last week. He only managed four catches for 60 yards, but more importantly, he finished the game unscathed. With a first-round bye on the line, and possibly a receiving yardage crown as well, I expect Julio’s playing time and production to see an uptick this week.
The Colts’ season is done, but T.Y. Hilton has a receiving yardage lead to hold onto. You can bet Hilton and QB Andrew Luck are aware of that.
6. L. McCoy/BUF RB(2) @NYJ
7. D. Murray/TEN RB(3) HOU
8. J. Howard/CHI RB(4) @MIN
9. D. Freeman/ATL RB(5) NO
10. B. Cooks/NO WR(5) @ATL
11. M. Thomas/NO WR(6) @ATL
12. D. Baldwin/SEA WR(7) @SF
At this point, the Bills have nothing but pride to play for. After firing head coach Rex Ryan, the reins get turned over to former OC Anthony Lynn. Lynn, who’s rumored to have a great shot at winning the gig for next year, will be looking to show the powers-that-be that he is capable of running the show. If he wants to put his best foot forward, LeSean McCoy will be busy. Shady is easily the Bills’ best foot on offense. With EJ Manuel slated to start at QB, Lynn has all the more reason to go run-heavy.
DeMarco Murray should finish a stellar season strong. He has lost some red zone carries to teammate Derrick Henry the last few weeks, but with starting quarterback Marcus Mariota out with a broken leg, look for the league’s third-best rushing attack to be heavily utilized.
Jordan Howard continues his run up 2017 draft boards. He’s posted five straight weeks of over 100 yards from scrimmage and is as trustworthy as any, even on a three-win team.
As mentioned, Atlanta has a first-round bye on the line this week, meaning Devonta Freeman should continue to be busy as long as the score doesn’t get out of hand. Thankfully, the Falcons play the Saints, who can put up points and should be able to keep the outcome in doubt for all four quarters.
Speaking of the Saint/Falcon match-up, I expect that Drew Brees will be chucking the rock all over the field in an attempt to play spoiler against his longtime rivals. Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas should benefit as Brees carves up a brutal Falcon pass defense (26th).
Seattle needs to win to have any hope at a first-round bye. Doug Baldwin has scored a touchdown the last two weeks and should see that streak continue against the league’s worst defense.
13. J. Edelman/NE WR(8) @MIA
14. G. Tate/DET WR(9) GB
15. A. Jeffery/CHI WR(10) @MIN
16. D. Hopkins/HOU WR(11) @TEN
17. A. Robinson/JAX WR(12) @IND
18. D. Adams/GB WR(13) @DET
19. L. Blount/NE RB(6) @MIA
20. L. Murray/OAK RB(7) @DEN
21. M. Ingram/NO RB(8) @ATL
22. S. Ware/KC RB(9) @SD
23. T. Montgomery/GB RB(10) @DET
24. J. Ajayi/MIA RB(11) NE
25. R. Kelley/WAS RB(12) NYG
26. B. Powell/JETS RB(13) BUF
27. J. Stewart/CAR RB(14) @TB
28. T. Gurley/LA RB(15) ARI
The uncertainty is growing. Julian Edelman is Tom Brady’s favorite target with Gronk done, but with the Raiders (the only team that can catch New England for first in the AFC) losing Derek Carr, the Pats may feel inclined to rest some starters. The importance of the no. 1 seed was drastically reduced with Carr going down. Bill Belichick won’t fear facing a Matt McGloin-led Oakland team, regardless of location.
With his team in a match-up for the division title, Golden Tate will be busy against Green Bay’s 29th-ranked pass defense. Tate has had a great second half of the season, putting up 54 catches his last eight games. He gets a boost in any PPR leagues/formats.
Alshon Jeffery is playing for a contract. He has an 11-181-1 line in two games with quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley may not know which team he is throwing to, but he offers lots of opportunity for big plays and Jeffery will continue to take advantage.
Okay, so clearly Houston QB Tom Savage wasn’t as ready for the starting role as I hoped. After a horrible first half against Cincinnati, the Texan offense showed a bit of life in the second half with another come from behind win. DeAndre Hopkins finished his day with three catches for 43 yards on six targets. Even though the Texans have the division locked up, the chemistry between the QB and his no. 1 target needs work before the playoffs.
I’m not sure what interim head coach Doug Marrone said to the Jaguar players last week, but whatever it was, it worked. Allen Robinson benefited from the Jags’ new-found competence and finished the week with 147 yards receiving. Does the competence continue against the 24th-ranked Indy pass defense?
Davante Adams’ last seven weeks have been the epitome of boom or bust with four games over 10 points and three games under four points. I don’t trust him, but with the Packers in a title match-up and the uncertainty that surrounds Week 17, Adams is more playable than most weeks.
LeGarrette Blount keeps scoring touchdowns. The Patriots are playing for something this week (kind of). Even if he sits, he’ll probably still find a way to add to his league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns.
The Oakland Raiders received a lump of coal for Christmas and now Matt McGloin is taking over starting quarterback duties. In a game the Raiders desperately need to win, expect McGloin to get a lot of practice handing the ball off to Latavius Murray.
Mark Ingram is New Orleans’ best running back and is capable of busting big plays. The Saints will be looking to upset rival Atlanta, which owns the 23rd-ranked defense. Ingram should have an impactful day after going for over 100 total yards and a TD in these teams’ first meeting of the year.
Spencer Ware is 79 yards short of his first 1,000-yard rushing season. The Chiefs draw the oh-so-sad San Diego Chargers who just awarded the Cleveland Browns their first win. With the Chargers in such a giving mood this holiday season, Ware is next in line to receive a gift in a game the Chiefs need to win.
Ty Montgomery is a tough call. Two weeks ago, he looked like a star. Last week, he received nine carries. With the Pack in a meaningful game, Montgomery is more attractive this week than most.
In Week 16, Jay Ajayi hit Buffalo for 200 rushing yards for the second time this year. But he may see a reduction in snaps this week as the Dolphins have a playoff spot locked up and may want to keep Ajayi fresh.
The team with the offensive nickname that resides in Washington still has a chance to sneak into the playoffs, which keeps Rob Kelley an intriguing option. Facing a New York Giant team expected to rest starters, Washington’s offense may be in for a prolific day.
With backfield mates Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson out, Bilal Powell is the last man standing at running back in what has been a lost season for the Jets. Powell has the ability to pile up yardage and against the same Bills team Ajayi just steam rolled.
The defending NFC champion Panthers will not have a chance to defend their crown. In a meaningless game, they may be wise to sit their oft-injured franchise players. The unpredictability of Carolina’s game-plan keeps Stewart low in the ranks this week.
I ranked Todd Gurley RB(8) last week because he had the softest possible match-up (49ers). Shame on me. He did finish 15th among running backs, but the inability of the Rams offense to do anything was on full display in a loss to the worst defense in football. The only reason Gurley remains this high is potential usage in an offense with no passing game.
29. T. Kelce/KC TE(1) @SD
30. D. McFadden/DAL RB(16) @PHI
31. A. Blue/HOU RB(17) @TEN
32. D. Williams/PIT RB(18) CLE
33. A. Collins/SEA RB(19) @SF
34. T. Coleman/ATL RB(20) NO
35. J. Hill/CIN BAL RB(21) BAL
36. F. Gore/IND RB(22) JAX
37. K. Dixon/BAL RB(23) @CIN
38. D. Lewis/NE RB(24) @MIA
39. S. Smith/BAL WR(14) @CIN
40. S. Watkins/BUF WR(15) @NYJ
41. J.J. Nelson/ARI WR(16) @LA
42. A. Thielen/MIN WR(17) CHI
43. D. Inman/SD WR(18) KC
44. T. Williams/SD WR(19) KC
45. L. Fitzgerald/ARI WR(20) @LA
46. T. Hill/KC WR(21) @SD
47. E. Sanders/DEN WR(22) OAK
48. D. Thomas/DEN WR(23) OAK
49. J. Landry/MIA WR(24) NE
50. D. Parker/MIA WR(25) NE
And Bingo begins. With the unpredictability Week 17 brings, Tier 5 could easily be 20 players longer. Even teams with nothing to play for could choose to sit franchise players for fear of injury. Week 17 offers very little predictability. For Tier 5, I offer this: each player in the NFL has enough talent that it could be his day and, in Week 17, the sun will shine on players who have had minimal relevance up to this point. Get in on the exciting Bingo action by building your team with players in good situations.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the Bingo hall that promises to be Week 17.