Free-agent finds for Week 17: Key championship pickups
We've reached the final week of the NFL regular season, and for those reading this column, that probably means you're entering the finals of your ESPN fantasy league, or you're in the second week of a two-week championship matchup.
In previous NFL seasons, one factor fantasy football players had to consider was the possibility of NFL teams sitting notable studs in Week 17 because the game had no implications. This is less of a concern this season. Despite only two playoff spots remaining up for grabs, there is plenty at stake in terms of seeding, so Week 17 should feature most team's regular starters.
That means fantasy owners shouldn't have to seek out too many contingency plans this week because of players resting. As a matter of fact, your lineup should mostly set itself. Play the guys you've been leaning on heavily. But below is a list of players who could serve as viable fine-tuning pieces to help you win your championship this Sunday.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (40.9 percent): For the fourth straight week, Powell led the Jets in fantasy points among running backs, posting 90 total yards on 12 touches in a win over the Patriots. He was in the conversation for low-end RB2 consideration in PPR formats leading into Week 16, and he's probably a borderline top-25 play in standard scoring for Week 17.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Buffalo Bills (8.9 percent):Gillislee found the end zone on Sunday for the third straight game. He had nine carries, eight fewer than Karlos Williams, but that came in a game that LeSean McCoy sat out with an injury. If McCoy returns to action on Sunday against the Jets, I wouldn't recommend using Gillislee. If McCoy sits, Gillislee can be a flex consideration.
Dontrelle Inman, WR, San Diego Chargers (6.4 percent): Inman has assumed the No. 1 receiver role in San Diego on an offense that has been up and down of late. Coming off an eight-catch, 82-yard, one-touchdown effort in Week 16, Inman is likely to be near the top 30 of wide receivers in my Week 17 ranks. He faces a tough matchup against Denver but certainly has value based on volume of targets.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns (36.3 percent): If you play in a standard scoring league, Crowell is going to be a notable name for flex spots. He posted 14 or more fantasy points in two of his last three outings. He faces a stingy Steelers run defense in Week 17, but if he gets 15 touches, Crowell has a chance to do enough to make him a worthwhile play.
Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (40.1 percent):The fifth-leading receiver in terms of yards among running backs, Sims has previously been mentioned for PPR leagues. He has now eclipsed 1,000 total yards, and has been good for just about 10 touches per game.
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (34.7 percent):Much like Sims, Riddick is a terrific receiver. He has double-digit points in nine of 15 games this season in the PPR format, and is a worthwhile flex play for Week 17 in those leagues, especially ones with 12 teams or more. He is an electric player in the open field.
Keshawn Martin, WR, New England Patriots (8.1 percent): The statuses of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendolaremain up in the air for Week 17, as the Patriots still have something to play for against the Dolphins; with a win, they would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If Edelman and Amendola sit, Martin has value as a deeper-league PPR option.
Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers (12.2 percent):The matchup against Denver is not good for Week 17, but Brown has had 31 total touches in the past two weeks. He's a deep-league add, and new owners will hope he gets some goal-line work for San Diego.
DuJuan Harris, RB, San Francisco 49ers (5.5 percent): If Shaun Draughn returns to the field in Week 17, Harris' value probably goes away. But after signing with San Francisco last week, he led the team with 11 rushes for 73 yards. He's a deep-league flex play.
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions (29.4 percent): Any owners adding Bell will be hoping he gets the goal-line work for Detroit. He has seen that quite a bit lately, with three 1-yard rushing touchdowns in his past five games. He'll be a flex play in standard scoring for deeper leagues.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, Seattle Seahawks (12.2 percent):Looking for a PPR flex consideration in a deeper league? Consider Kearse, who in the past three weeks has double-digit scoring in PPR: 14, 18 and 12 points, respectively. The Seahawks' passing offense cooled off a bit against St. Louis in Week 16, but the play of the group in the five preceding weeks is too good to ignore, even in a tough matchup against Arizona.
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