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The final week of the NFL’s regular season is upon us, and whether you are in your fantasy league’s championship game or trying one last time to win thousands of dollars in a one-day contest, picking the right booms and busts is a must.

My apologies for skipping out on last week’s column quicker than Bill Belichick skips out of a press conference after giving reporters a handful of one-word answers. Because my fantasy football season ended abruptly under a cloud of injuries and ineffective players (I’m talking about you, Marcus Mariota and Mike Gillislee!), I was able to take my mind off my fantasy troubles in the Bahamas for a week and think more about fruity cocktails than fickle flankers. But I am back for the final week of under-the-radar booms and busts for the 2017 NFL season!

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the 17th week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 17 Under-the-Radar Booms

Antonio Gates (TE, SD) vs. OAK

Gates may be 700 years old, but it does not matter to Chargers QB Philip Rivers. If Gates and Keenan Allen are on the field, those are the two targets Rivers always aims for first. With Hunter Henry sidelined for the season with a lacerated kidney, Gates is back as Los Angeles’ top tight end. He proved he still has some diesel left in his tank by catching six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown last week, and for an encore this week he could post similar numbers against Oakland’s 21st-ranked pass defense. The Raiders have not done well covering tight ends in recent weeks as they allowed New York’s Evan Engram, Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz to all have good games against them over the past month. In a must-win game for the Chargers that the Raiders may have trouble being amped up for, look for Gates to have another outstanding outing.

Latavius Murray (RB, MIN) vs. CHI

Minnesota must defeat longtime division enemy Chicago to lock up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs, so it will be all systems go for every skilled position player on the Vikes offense. That means Murray, who has racked up at least 65 rushing yards in seven of his last nine games and has scored a half-dozen touchdowns over that span, should be in for another for another solid Sunday workload. Chicago might have the ninth-ranked run defense in the league, but the Bears have not been facing any world-beating rushing attacks the past month, so it is debatable how valid their ranking is. The Vikings should be able to impose their will against the under-talented Bears in a game that means much more to Murray’s squad than the defense trying to stop him.

Geronimo Allison (WR, GB) at DET

Green Bay has shut down receivers Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson for the season, so Allison will be pressed into starting duty and work outside while veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb works inside on Sunday. Detroit has the 28th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and Green Bay will likely be trailing and throwing in the second half of the contest, so Allison should see 8-to-10 targets. While Cobb is the better PPR player, Allison is the one who could break a couple 25-yarders and has the height to make a play in the red zone for a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers understudy Brett Hundley has had more success with his taller receivers (Adams) than his smaller ones (Nelson), so Allison could be a nice DFS surprise this Sunday.


Week 17 Under-the-Radar Busts

Eli Manning (QB, NYG) vs. WAS

Fantasy owners might be inclined to believe that Manning would love, love, LOVE to end his nightmarish season on a high note by blistering the Redskins for 400 yards and four touchdown tosses. There are more problems with this theory than there are with the flat-Earth theory, though. Manning has not fared well against Washington in recent games, averaging just 214 passing yards and throwing just one touchdown pass compared to three interceptions over his last three outings against the rival Redskins. He also will be passing to his most shorthanded receiving corps of the season since tight end Evan Engram and best wideout Sterling Shepard are both out with injuries, as is Tavarres King. That means Roger Lewis and Travis Rudolph will be Manning’s top two targets this weekend, which is akin to sticking Sidney Crosby on a line with Norm from Cheers and Flo from Progressive. Manning is trending towards busting more than booming.

Eric Decker (WR, TEN) vs. JAC

Even though Jacksonville has nothing to play for this week, the Jags are not resting the stars that have made their pass defense No. 1 in the NFL. So before you think Decker, who is in the middle of his most productive stretch of the season, is a low-priced WR you would like to hang your hat on this week, know that he will be hard-pressed to find open areas in the Jaguars secondary since everyone is supposedly suiting up. Tennessee has a passing attack that seemingly has a different No. 1 pass catcher every week. One game tight end Delaine Walker is the main man. The next game rookie Corey Davis steals the spotlight. Then Decker has a 10-target week. There are too many variables that make Decker too risky this weekend.

 Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI) vs. DAL

Agholor had one catch for minus-two yards in his first game against Dallas this year, so what he does for an encore can only be better, right? Even if he is better, it will not be by too much. While Philadelphia is starting its starters, there is no telling how long they will play. At best Agholor plays most of the game but has Nate Sudfeld throwing to him from the second quarter on, and at worst Agholor himself is benched after a couple series. There are several other receivers who will be playing the entire game with an NFL-caliber quarterback and against a defense that is worse than Dallas'. G’ in another direction if you are looking for one-week rental receiver in your DFS contest or your fantasy finale.


More Week 17 Lineup Prep