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Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Joe Mixon, Michael Gallup, Derek Carr

The fantasy football booms and busts do not take a break for the holidays.

If you are fighting for your fantasy league’s championship and subsequent gold trophy/prize money, you are going to need one of more of your guys to be a fantasy boom while none of your guys can afford to be a bust. If you are participating in a million-dollar DFS contest to end the NFL’s regular season, the same rule applies --- no busts, only booms!

Here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for Week 17!  Good luck, RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Week 17 Lineup Booms

Joe Mixon (CIN, RB) vs. CLE

Mixon has had no trouble mincing the meat of Cleveland’s front seven during his career. The center of Cincinnati’s running attack has had 160 combined yards or more in three of his last four games against Cincy’s state and division rival. It would be nice for the 1-14 Bengals to end the season on a high note, and Mixon should personally have no trouble against a Myles Garrett-less run defense that has been gashed for 648 rushing yards over its last three games.

Michael Gallup (DAL, WR) vs. WAS

Gallup has virtually become Dak Prescott’s top target in recent weeks because Amari Cooper has more leg problems than Johnny Depp has legal problems. Gallup has either scored a touchdown or had 55-plus yards in six of his past seven contests. While Washington’s pass defense in ranked in the top half of the league, the Redskins have surrendered over 600 passing yards and eight touchdown tosses in its last two games. Look for Gallup to build on his first 1,000-yard year and help Dallas be victorious in its must-win game this Sunday.

Jonnu Smith (TEN, TE) at HOU

Smith has thrived as Tennessee’s top tight end in the wake of Delanie Walker’s season-ending injury, accounting for 209 combined yards and a pair of scores over his last three starts. Houston’s 30th-ranked pass defense will not suddenly become staunch in a game that is meaningless for the Texans, especially since it is far from meaningless for Smith and his Titans since a playoff spot is on the line. Smith should be Ryan Tannehill’s second-favorite option this Sunday and go for 75 yards and a TD just when Titans fans and fantasy players need it the most.

Russell Gage (ATL, WR) at TB

Gage has been the one who has benefitted the most since No. 2 wideout Calvin Ridley was finished for the season by an abdominal injury. Gage has been targeted at least six times and caught five-plus passes in four of his last five outings. Tampa Bay’s defense might be No. 1 against the run but it has struggled all season long versus the pass (29th). Gage’s workload might expand if banged-up superman Julio Jones sits out of this game that does no favors for either team involved. Do not be shocked to see Gage have six catches for 80 yards and a TD, which would be his best game of the season if it happens.


Week 17 Lineup Busts

David Carr (OAK, QB) at DEN

Carr is coming off a solid 291-yard game with one touchdown pass and one touchdown run, which now gives him three decent performances in a row. If you think he is going to head into the 2020 campaign in Las Vegas on a great four-game stretch, though, you are as sadly mistaken as those who think President Trump does not tweet enough. Denver’s sixth-ranked pass defense should lock down Tyrell Williams and Co. in the Broncos final home game of the season, and Carr has only thrown for multiple touchdowns in one of his last half-dozen games against his AFC West rivals. This is a week to expect a Carr clunker.

Gus Edwards (BAL, RB) vs. PIT

Edwards gets to fill in for the injured Mark Ingram in a game where the top-seeded Ravens will be resting a whole bunch of starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson. Edwards has two major obstacles that will likely keep him from having a fantastic fantasy day, however. One is a hungry Pittsburgh defense that is ranked in the top 10 against the run and is playing for its playoff lives. The other is that explosive No. 3 RB Justice Hill will split the touches with Edwards and could get more carries late in the game depending on how the contest shakes out. Edwards might be looking at a 10-carry, 40-yard game when all is said and done.

Christian Kirk (ARI, WR) at LAR

Kirk went without a catch in Week 16 and has not reached the end zone since his spectacular three-touchdown game all the way back on November 10, so fantasy players should already be tempering their expectations with him. But with L.A.’s top cover corner Jalen Ramsey ruled out for the game, and because of Kirk’s low price tag in DFS leagues, some people out there are probably willing to take a chance on him. I would not personally take the risk on this feast-or-famine player who has been more of the latter than the former this season, especially if Arizona’s signal caller, Kyler Murray, does not play due to his hamstring injury.      

Cole Beasley (BUF, WR) vs. NYJ

Week 17 is always a fantasy fiasco because you never know which stars will sit, which will play one half and then sit, and which will play the full game. Beasley and many of his Buffalo teammates are in that boat since as of the writing of this column we have no idea what the Bills plan is for this Sunday. Chances are Beasley could play a quarter or two while other starts like quarterback Josh Allen, receiver John Brown, running back Devin Singletary and key members of the defense get the whole game off. Buffalo cannot rest all of its starters, but Beasley’s playing time could definitely be limited to protect him, which could end up killing the chances of the fantasy players who put him in their lineups.

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