Fantasy Football: Five Week 17 matchups to exploit

By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed, or aFPA, is 4for4’s answer to biased statistics. By removing bias, we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. As the season moves along, the data changes. Regardless, aFPA is arguably the best tool available to gain an edge when using waivers and building lineups.

Another point to make: I could offer players such as Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes pretty much every week, especially when they face awful units according to aFPA. That does everyone a disservice, so I will do my best to avoid players rostered in the majority of fantasy leagues.

Here are the best plays for the final week of this column, Week 17. Thank you for reading throughout the season. It means a lot.

Jared Goff vs. Chicago Bears

There are a couple of reasons to roster Goff. First, the Bears' defense is bad, ranking 22nd or worse in aFPA against QBs, RBs and WRs. Another reason is the injury to Jamaal Williams. Williams was the lead rusher for the Lions before getting hurt, and if he does not suit up this week, D'Andre Swift and Justin Jackson will see all the work. Swift (13) and Jackson (3) both out-targeted Williams (2) in the passing game over the past two weeks. A dome in Detroit is also good news for Goff. Justin Fields is expected to play for Chicago, so points should be put up by both teams.

Tyler Allgeier vs. Arizona Cardinals

No team is playing as many useless games as the Arizona Cardinals. Everything is in flux as their season winds down. Allgeier can add insult to injury and embarrassment in Week 17 against the 31st-ranked defense in RB aFPA. Allgeier has seen his workload increase, with 35 carries coming in the past two games. His 4.11 yards per carry last week was his worst since Week 10, but he supplemented his rushing work with 4/43/0 in the passing game. Cordarrelle Patterson will loom in a true RBBC, but the Cardinals offer little resistance and the Falcons are not hiding their willingness to #EstablishIt with Desmond Ridder under center.

Falcons RB Tyler Allgeier has a fantasy matchup in Week 17 that's worth taking advantage of.
Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier has a fantasy matchup in Week 17 that's worth taking advantage of. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Gabe Davis @ Cincinnati Bengals

The preseason hype was loud and everywhere you turned as a fantasy football player. Well, the 2022 fantasy season ends with more hype. The Bengals' defense has gradually moved to the bottom of WR aFPA and landed with a thud at 31 of 32 teams. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers had monster games in Week 16, Russell Gage was made relevant in Week 15, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s 71 receiving yards in Week 13 are good for his third-most of the season. The Bengals' defense is a less pronounced pass funnel, but with Josh Allen being the top runner in the Bills' offense, the focal point does not change as they go forward with Week 17’s game plan. Davis is the team’s aDOT leader by four yards, and a matchup against Cincy could mean big plays early and often as we have seen from him in the past.

Trey McBride @ Atlanta Falcons

Despite being surrounded by a myriad of mediocrity, the rookie tight end has been OK. McBride has played at least 73% of snaps since the Cardinals lost Zach Ertz for the season, and his target share has increased since the team’s Week 13 bye. He has the 11th-most TE targets since Week 14, which is more than enough to be a streaming option. Add in a matchup against the 29th-ranked defense in TE aFPA, and we have a recipe for success.

New York Giants defense vs. Indianapolis Colts

Did you see what the Chargers did to Nick Foles? The Giants have been a Jekyll/Hyde defense, but Indy coming to town also comes with defensive positivity. The Giants are 17th in sack percentage but are recording a sack on 9.24% of snaps the past three weeks (6th over that time) and 8.46% of the time at home (8th). Not only are the Colts riding the struggle bus on offense, but the offense is also allowing the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses.

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Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur levels for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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