Every week of the NFL season, we will identify the failures of fantasy football, especially for those of you who are looking for a flow in deeper formats (including IDP-leagues). These are players available in most of ESPN’s fantasy leagues (or in the near future) who have exciting matches in the coming week, so they should be eligible for your roster.
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Although you may see some overlap with the Pickup Field Yates column published on Monday, the important difference is that the options mentioned in this column only focus on this week’s games and not on players’ values for the rest of the season.
Do you need options to replace your injured players? Or do you want to take out an opponent in the championship to get a player who could help you fight? I will be joined by a panel of fantastic analysts to name a few.
Here are some of our favorites from week 17:
Phillips Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (14.8% growth; relative to Jaguars)
Prior to the Steelers’ fight on passes last week, Rivers had five straight multiple-asset outs and scored at least 17 fantastic points in seven of the last nine games in the standard ESPN standings. With the Colts struggling to qualify for the post-season in a busy AFC play-off zone and the Jaguars short on defense and set to head the list next spring, Rivers will be a strong contender, especially since Jacksonville has given Rivers the third most imaginative point this season. -Jim McCormick
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (22.5% above; in Bengal)
I don’t know what else he needs. That’s right. It’s an average of 5.2 meters per gate. Not last month, not this year…. in my career (402 years). Last weekend he led the Ravens by 15 points against the Giants. Although I don’t call him the best dog in that backfield, I expect Baltimore to hammer a lot of bricks against the second worst running defense in terms of yards per reach (5.1) under the running backs. -Kyle Soppe, ESPN Fantasy Researcher
Lammicle Perine Jets, New York Jets (5.6% aboard; aboard Patriots)
With Frank Gore already eliminated for the Jets division game in Week 17 against the Patriots and New York’s Ty Johnson looking for third place (after playing only five games in the last two), he remains Perine as a potential option out of the Jets’ court. The fact that the Patriots have allowed a generous 4.7 meters per carry this season in the backfield, which is in sixth place in the championship, reinforces Perine’s fancy profile. -J.M.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (43.9% increase; giants)
Gallup was one of the big stars of Week 16 (6-121-2, 30.1 fantastic points) and had his best match of the season against the Eagles, but the arrow has been pointing upwards for some time. It took a few weeks to adapt to life without Roof Prescott, but Gallup has achieved an average of 7.6 targets per race over the past eight years and the final target in four consecutive races. Don’t look now, but Andy Dalton threw multiple touchdown passes in his four December games, and this attack works (finally!) fantastic again. -C.S.
Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders (34.8% growth, Broncos)
Twelve. This is the number of recipients that have scored more fantastic points than Agholor since week 11. These 12 names are excluding D.C. Metcalfe, Adam Thielen and Cooper Cupp. Derek Carr plays at a high level and this Raiders team scored 37 points against the Broncos in their first game of the season. So there’s a lot of potential to tap into when things get complicated. -C.S.
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts (1.7% increase for Jaguars)
Consecutive races of more than 15 points are a good trend when the season ends, especially when the top seeds count and the Jaguars are the opponents. Jacksonville is in the top three in defense in terms of percentage of completions, yards per completion and touchdowns – defensive weaknesses that give Pascal a chance to move into the top 30 on a position in a week when some stars could see their options limited. -C.S.
Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings (6.1% increase; from Lions)
The Vikings are about to break through, as Smith Jr. has made some great fantasy appearances in two of his last three outings and reached the height of his career with nine goals in week 16. The talented sophomore team scored two touchdowns against Detroit last time, which is promising for this second game. -J.M.
Defence/Special Forces (D/ST)
Dallas Cowboys (14.6% height; by giants)
It is a bit of a gamble, because this Dallas defense has given the most points to the opponents in the history of the franchise. And yet the series of awards in recent weeks includes seven forced changes and a touchdown of this D/ST. Next are the Giants, a team that gives up the ball on 12.3% of the shots, putting them in 12th place in the league. -J.M.
Individual defensive players (IDP)
Line of defence
Marcus Golden, Arizona Cardinals (+7.3%; under Rams)
With a bag in two of the last three games and a meeting with the Rams reserve quarterback this week, Golden is in a good position to help fantasy managers finish strong. -J.M.
David Long Jr, Tennessee Titans (8.1% squat; in Texas)
I accompany Long Jr. to this position for the second week in a row because of his consistently solid game and his great availability in the ESPN leagues. 21 tackles and an average of almost 15 fantastic points on the ESPN rating scale over the past two weeks confirm the high expectations for the lineman for the second consecutive year in week 17. -J.M.
Donovan Wilson (8.3% on the field; giants)
In this confrontation with the error-prone attack of the Giants, Wilson raises his fancy ceiling by 33 passes in his last four outings and a truly encouraging return and turnover rate as security for the Cowboys. -J.M.