Underdog Battle Royale Picks: Week 17
It has been a tumultuous few weeks in the NFL as COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head.
Two of my eight picks wound up missing Week 16 due to landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list (Tyler Huntley & Gabriel Davis) after I optimistically thought that banking on a backup quarterback and another team's WR4 would be great plays in what truly feels like the longest season ever.
Thankfully, a few other plays had particularly good days, as the week was not a total loss despite teams rolling out Frankenstein rosters at some positions.
With Week 17 quickly approaching, let's take a look at some plays I like in this week's Battle Royale Contest!
Week 17 Spread and Over/Under
- Dallas (-5.5) vs. Arizona - O/U 51.5
- Cincinnati (+5) vs. Kansas City - O/U 50
- Baltimore (+3.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams - O/U 46.5
- New York Jets (+13) vs. Tampa Bay - O/U 46
- Washington (+3.5) vs. Philadelphia - O/U 46
- Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5) vs. Denver - O/U 45
- Buffalo (-14.5) vs. Atlanta - O/U 44.5
- Indianapolis (-6.5) vs. 44.5
- San Francisco (-12.5) vs. Houston - O/U 44.5
- Seattle (-7) vs. Detroit - O/U 42.5
- New England (-15.5) vs. Jacksonville - O/U 42
- Tennessee (-3.5) vs. Miami
- New Orleans (-7) vs. Carolina - O/U 38
- Chicago (-6) vs. New York Giants - O/U 37.5
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams sit at 11-4 on the season and as the currently no. 3 seed in the NFL playoffs for the NFC, but could still secure the no. 1 overall seed by winning out these final two weeks and having a few other things break their way.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford and his team need to be on top of their game to get this done and have as good a chance as any to go off against the Ravens. Our rankings suggest that Stafford has the easiest matchup of any quarterback on the slate this weekend, and are projecting him for 18.4 fantasy points (QB9).
Not only do the Rams need to secure wins, but Stafford himself could use a bounce-back week after throwing for just 197 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in last week's win over Minnesota.
The Ravens are fresh off allowing 498 passing yards and four touchdowns to Joe Burrow and the Bengals last week, and feature a secondary that's been so decimated by injuries that it's hard to imagine that everyone on the team even knows one another at this point.
Running back Darrell Henderson is also set to miss this week's game with an MCL injury, which could open up more passing opportunities for Stafford, although backup running back Sony Michel has looked good when called up. Nevertheless, I can't fade quarterbacks against the Ravens at this point in the season, so fire up Stafford and company in some of your lineups.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
It was just two weeks ago against the Football Team that Jalen Hurts totaled 27.6 fantasy points (QB6) thanks in part to 296 passing yards and one touchdown while he also added another 38 rushing yards and two scores.
Now, Hurts and the Eagles, who have a chance to make the playoffs this season, are heading to Washington to face the Football Team again in Week 17.
The Football Team has been reeling of late, having now dropped each of its last three games, all against NFC East rivals Dallas and Philadelphia. Their struggles finally came to a head on national television last Sunday night when they lost 56-14 to Dallas, as poor offensive play and fighting amongst its defensive members only added to the embarrassment.
Hurts has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks on the season, currently sitting as the overall QB5 on the year at 21.4 points per game. His elite rushing upside only adds to a decent passing floor, as the second-year quarterback has rushed for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns while also throwing for 2,930 yards and another 16 scores.
Washington looks like a team in shambles at 6-8 after appearing like a team that was ready to sneak into the playoffs. Philadelphia on the other hand is ready for a playoff berth, and should be playing with some added motivation against an underwhelming defense. Our rankings project Hurts at the overall QB5 on the week with 20.1 projected points.
Jeff Wilson, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been without rookie running back Elijah Mitchell for the last three weeks, and may be without him again in Week 17 against the Texans. It is worth noting that there are reports that Mitchell "has a chance" to play in Week 17, which makes this play one to monitor, but backup running back Jeff Wilson could be in a prime smash spot if Mitchell sits.
All offseason, best ball drafter aggressively targeted this Week 17 matchup between San Francisco and Houston, in hopes that a playoff team could be buoyed by some potentially elite offensive talent going against a bad Texans' roster.
While some of those plays could still work out, more people were chasing Raheem Mostert and rookie Trey Sermon than they were Mitchell and Wilson. With that being said, Wilson is an interesting play without Mitchell.
Our rankings project Wilson as having the fourth easiest matchup for running backs this week, and in the three games Mitchell has missed, Wilson has totaled 53 opportunities for 232 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 12.6 points per game over that span.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo may also miss this game after suffering an injury in Week 16 against the Titans, whose absence this week could force the 49ers to lean even more heavily on the run. Outside of some of the obvious top backs, Wilson is an easy smash for me if Mitchell sits for a fourth-straight week.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
The Bills have had somewhat of a rotation of running backs this season, but over these last five weeks, Devin Singletary has seen 12 or more carries in three of those games and has rushed 63 times for 257 yards and two touchdowns over that span while also catching another 13 passes for 116 yards.
Singletary has found the end zone in each of the last two weeks, and has averaged 16.2 points per game in that brief time.
Backup running backs Zack Moss and Matt Breida have been mere afterthoughts over that span, and now Singletary looks to be in line for another solid week against a Falcons defense that is allowing 120.9 rushing yards per game (11th most).
Our rankings project Singletary as the RB11 on the week at 15.1 points, and suggest that he has the eighth-easiest matchup of any running back this weekend.
Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
As of late, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa cannot help but target rookie wide receiver, Jaylen Waddle. Once teammates at Alabama, Tagovailloa and Waddle have reunited in Miami, and that reunion has led to massive fantasy success as of late, particularly for Waddle.
Waddle has totaled 10 or more targets in each of his last three games, and has rewarded that high volume with 28 receptions for 319 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 19.3 points per game on Underdog over that span.
Those who drafted Waddle also benefit from the fact that Miami has almost no running game to speak of, as the Dolphins rank 30th in rushing yards per game (86.6) and 21st in rush attempts per game (25.5).
Waddle is projected as the WR10 on Underdog this weekend with 12.4 points, while our rankings project him for 13.4 points despite being ranked as the WR13 on the weekend.
Ja'Marr Chase/Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
I couldn't pick one receiver here, so I'm picking both.
The Bengals and Chiefs face off this weekend in a game that carries a ton of meaning as the Bengals have shocked everybody this season on their way to a 9-6 record and an AFC North title within their reach.
Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow has led two of the league's best young receivers to 1,000+ yard seasons with two games still left to go, and hooked up with Tee Higgins 12 times in Week 16 for 194 yards and two touchdowns (37.4 points). The rookie wide receiver took a proverbial "back seat" to Higgins last week but still finished with seven receptions for 125 yards (16.0 points) on 10 targets.
This weekend's matchup against Kansas City is currently projected to be the second-highest scoring game of the weekend at 50 points, which could be signaling massive fantasy days for several offensive players on both sides.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
It would have been fun to include Deebo Samuel against the Texans in this article (I do love him this week), but there's a good chance that you may need a top pick in your drafts to land Samuel in a smash spot this weekend. By all means, if Samuel falls to you in round one, take him.
However, a 49ers player who could be just as meaningful to their offense this weekend, and easier to acquire is tight end George Kittle, who is projected as the overall TE3 on the weekend on both Underdog Fantasy and in our rankings (10.5 points).
Kittle has provided plenty of elite tight end weeks this season, and had totaled 425 receiving yards and three touchdowns from Weeks 13-15 before going for just two receptions and 21 yards on three targets last week against the Titans.
Nevertheless, Kittle remains a featured player in San Francisco's offense. Despite missing three games due to injury, Kittle has posted a receiving line of 65/871/6 and could sneak his way into a 1,000-yard season with a strong last two weeks.
Going up against an underwhelming Texans defense that has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, Kittle could be in line to finish as the overall TE1 in Week 17.
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
In Week 15 against the Football Team, Goedert had one of his best performances of the season, catching a season-high seven passes for 135 yards (also a season-high) on nine targets (another season-high).
Goedert has had the breakout season we all hoped for heading into 2021, and is sitting on 50 receptions for 759 yards and four touchdowns, which included back-to-back 100+ yard weeks in Weeks 13 and 15.
The Football Team has surrendered the 15th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but our rankings like Goedert heading into his rematch against Washington, projecting him for 10.2 points (TE6) on 4.6 receptions for 60.2 yards and 0.3 touchdowns.
If I'm not able to secure one of the elite tight ends on this weekend's slate, Goedert is an easy pivot for me given what we saw him do against Washington just two weeks ago.