NFL Week 17: Optimal Flex Plays

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·5 min read
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  • Kansas City Chiefs
    Kansas City Chiefs
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Philadelphia Eagles
    Philadelphia Eagles
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Odell Beckham Jr.
    Odell Beckham Jr.
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Darrel Williams
    Darrel Williams
    American football running back
  • Elijah Moore
    Elijah Moore
    American football wide receiver



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What a wild ride it has been. If you’ve tuned in and read these articles this season, we are family now. I don’t get sentimental, so before you start thinking I do, just remember we have a fantasy championship to win! Injuries and COVID have punched our fantasy playoffs in the gut, but it's cool. We’ve made it. You may be in a position in Week 17 where you’re starting someone you don’t want to, but you know you have to. In Week 16, players in this column like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Odell Beckham and Ronald Jones helped us advance to the next round. In Week 17, a few players stepping in for injured teammates may be the key for you to end your season on a high note.

Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of the equation, Williams is probably an RB2 at worst, so maybe I’m cheating, but what are you going to do? Fight me? Williams is here as a flex because you likely picked him up off waivers or kept him as a handcuff. Since CEH returned from his injury in Week 11, Williams has still been able to register as RB40 in PPR formats. Without CEH in the lineup during Weeks 6-10, Williams was RB4 averaging 17.8 ppg. He will face a stout Bengals defense (against running backs in fantasy), but the volume will be there. Williams has 41 receptions, 403 yards and two touchdowns in the receiving game so we know the PPR value is solid. The Bengals/Chiefs game currently has the second-highest over/under in Week 17 at 49.5 points. Williams can win you your championship.

Elijah Moore, WR, Jets
There is a chance Moore is not ready to come off injured reserve ahead of this weekend -- coach Robert Saleh gave him a 50/50 shot -- but he will be worth a look if he does. Moore gained great momentum in Weeks 7-13 where he was WR3 in all of fantasy during that span averaging 17.7 ppg. Despite playing with several different quarterbacks, Moore was able to put together a six-game stretch of 45 targets, 34 receptions, 459 yards and five touchdowns. Zach Wilson is gaining confidence more by the day, but Moore has yet to be effective with him. The Jets will face a Bucs secondary that currently has two of its starting defensive backs (Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting) on the COVID list. The Jets are massive underdogs in Week 17 (-13.5), so Wilson will certainly look to find Moore often.

Jordan Howard or Boston Scott, RB, Eagles
This one should be like taking candy from a baby for running backs. The Eagles literally just ran for 238 yards against Washington in Week 15. Howard contributed 69 of those yards while Miles Sanders led the charge with 131. With Sanders out for Week 17, Scott gets a bump in value. Scott took 12 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 16. Scott is also second for the Eagles in rushing touchdowns with five. What is interesting here is Howard’s Week 17 status is uncertain as he suffered an injury in Week 16. If Howard misses Week 17, we could see Scott in full RB2 mode. The Eagles are the top rushing offense in football going against the eighth-worst fantasy defense in Washington. Somebody in this backfield will eat. For the sake of this article, let's hope it’s not Kenneth Gainwell.

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Odell Beckham, WR, Rams
While Beckham is not getting a lot of catches and yards, he is scoring a ton. Beckham comes in at WR17 over the last five weeks. Most of this is due to the fact that he’s scored a touchdown in four of his past five games. We’ll take it. Facing the Ravens in Week 17, I see no reason why he can’t score again. None of us know who even plays in the Ravens defensive backfield due to all the injuries. In Week 16, the Ravens gave up a total of 22 catches, 404 yards and three touchdowns to Bengals wide receivers Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. That is embarrassing no matter what. It won’t get any easier for the Ravens with Beckham, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson coming to The Bank.

Melvin Gordon or Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos
The dynamic RB duo had their worst showing of 2021 combining for only 8 yards on 14 carries in Week 16 against the Raiders. They will have a chance to bounce back in Week 17 against the Chargers, the second-worst team in fantasy against running backs. The Chargers defense is coming off of a game in which they let journeyman running back Rex Burkhead have a career day (22 carries, 149 yards and two touchdowns). I’m pretty sure that history has shown us that Williams and Gordon are better than Burkhead. Drew Lock wasn’t horrible in Week 16, but he didn’t show that he was better than Teddy Bridgewater, at all. If Lock gets the call again and he hands off to his backs 55 times, he’ll be fine.

Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
Pollard was in this column last week and didn't do much against the WFT despite the Cowboys running them off the field. The run game wasn’t needed much as Dak Prescott and his pass catchers were in their bag. Pollard will face the Cardinals in Week 17. While the Cards defense is sixth-best against backs in fantasy, they’ve given up 126 yards rushing in each of their last two games. It’s also important to note that overall the Cards have had only the 26th best fantasy defense over the past three weeks. Pollard should see double-digit touches in a game that has the highest over/under in Week 17 at 51.5 points. Chase Edmonds on the other side is a nice play as well.