Strange things happen once we get down to the final weeks of each NFL season. In week 16, the top scoring games included the Lions and Panthers who hit 60 points, the Commanders and 49ers who scored 57, and the Broncos and Rams who combined to score 65 points. Just like we drew it up! Last week, I picked the Seahawks and Chiefs to hit their over and that just didn’t happen. The Seahawks managed just 10 points and the Chiefs cruised to a 24-10 victory.
For week 17, I’m highlighting two games that have shootout potential and are littered with positional matchups we can target for fantasy, DFS, and prop betting; BUF @ CIN and MIN @ GB.
BUF (-1.5) @ CIN over/under 49.5
The first matchup is between the Bills and Bengals and the over/under is one of the higher totals on the week at 49.5. Often times when we get to this point in the season, there is concern for fantasy and DFS about teams resting players because playoff spots may be clinched and health is more important than the outcome of some games. That isn’t the case for these teams. The Bills and battling for a first-round bye with the Kansas City Chiefs while the Bengals have a one game lead on the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North.
Both the Bengals and Bills rank inside the top six this season in points scored. Even looking at recent trends, both offenses remain elite despite dealing with weather and difficult matchups down the stretch. The Bills are 2nd in offensive efficiency since week 12 with the Bengals ranking 5th. On the other side, while the Bills defense has been good all year, they have given up a lot of points to good offenses in recent weeks. Buffalo’s defense allowed 29 points to the Dolphins in week 15, 25 points to the Lions in week 12, and 30 points to the Vikings in week 10. The Bengals offense is better than all three of those teams and Joe Burrow has done nothing but prove he’s more than capable of performing in big games. For Cincinnati, their defense ranks just 17th in efficiency since week 12 so Buffalo shouldn’t face much resistance there.
With these two elite offenses and plenty to play for in week 17, there’s a handful of matchups I feel good about going into the weekend.
There’s only two QB’s who average more fantasy points per game than Josh Allen; Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. This week, Jalen Hurts remains sidelined with his injury and Patrick Mahomes plays the Denver Broncos. Denver is the worst matchup for opposing QB’s in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position. The Chiefs won’t need to do much to secure a win against Denver. The Bills should be in a shootout with the Bengals which gives me confidence in taking Allen against the field once again this week.
Play: Josh Allen > the field
I’m taking Chase over most receivers this week including Davante Adams. Since week 12, Davante Adams has averaged just 12.4 half-PPR fantasy points per game. Despite Adams ranking as the WR3 on the season, the Raiders have struggled to keep their star involved in the offense down the stretch. Chase is averaging 16.4 points per game on the year and 15.5 since week 12. The Raiders also get a tough matchup this week against San Francisco.
Play: Ja’Marr Chase > Davante Adams
On the season, Stefon Diggs ranks as the overall WR4. Since week 13, Diggs hasn’t topped 6 fantasy points which has been brutal for fantasy managers/DFS players. The Bills have won all three of those matchups though despite the poor utilization of Diggs. This is a good bounce back spot though, as Buffalo will need their number one WR to walk away with a win against the Bengals.
AJ Brown on the other hand is once again without the services of Jalen Hurts and the Eagles get the Saints who are the 10th worst matchups for opposing WR’s. I like Diggs over Brown this weekend.
Play: Stefon Diggs > AJ Brown
MIN @ GB (-3.5) over/under 48.5
The second matchup I’m highlighting this week is between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. This game has an over/under of 48.5 and like the Bengals/Bills game, has plenty of playoff implications involved. The Vikings are in the hunt for a first-round bye, trailing the Eagles by just a game and the Packers need to win out to make the playoffs. In short, no one should be resting starters and points should be plentiful.
The Vikings lead the league in beating their overs on the season with Green Bay 12th in the same stat. Both teams have offenses that outperform expectations regularly, or more importantly, defenses that allow points. Minnesota has given up the 5th most points on the year and Green Bay has given up the 15th most.
Over the last four weeks, the Packers have scored points at a higher rate versus what they were doing in the first half of the season. Since week 12, Green Bay has scored at least 24 points in each matchup. The Vikings since week 11, haven’t scored fewer than 23 points. That’s enough offense on both sides to give me confidence in a couple of positional matchups.
The first is obvious, Justin Jefferson over….everyone! The only receiver to be within two points of Justin Jefferson in per game average is Cooper Kupp…a player we don’t have to worry about this week. Jefferson averages 19.8 half-PPR fantasy points per game with Tyreek Hill being the next active WR behind him at 17.6 points per game. Tyreek Hill gets the New England Patriots defense and has Teddy Bridgewater likely starting for the Dolphins. Give me Jefferson.
Play: Justin Jefferson > Tyreek Hill
The number one TE on the season is Travis Kelce. He has averaged 16.4 half-PPR fantasy points per game. Roughly six more than the next TE. That next TE is TJ Hockenson. Hockenson is coming off of a 13 catch, 109 yard, and two TD performance. He also ranks second in points per game since week 11, averaging 12.6. The TE above him in that span is Evan Engram, who is on a tear of his own. Engram and the Jaguars play the Texans this week who allow just 12 points per game to the position. Additionally, the Jaguars don’t have to win this week to clinch the AFC South title (they get Tennessee in week 18). For those reasons, give me Hockenson over Engram this weekend.
Play: TJ Hockenson > Evan Engram
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