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Week 17 Busts? Players Who May Disappoint

Michael Carter - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome back RotoBallers! As we head into Week 17 of the NFL season, it is the most important part of the year, THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND.

It's more critical than ever to make the right lineup decisions and start the right players to put out your optimal lineups, as managers are right on the brink of achieving their goal of winning a fantasy championship.

Listed below will be some players who could be in for a disappointing performance relative to their overall expectations. No matter how bad of a matchup some of these players may have, fantasy managers likely aren't in a position to leave them on their bench. Having said that, there are a couple of guys who are by no means a must-start in Week 17.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Should I Start Michael Carter in Week 17?

The rookie out of UNC has shown some flashes of his potential throughout this season, most recently in Week 16 where he carried the ball 16 times for 118 yards while adding two receptions. Carter will now face an elite run defense in an all but certain negative game script, so he is an extremely risky start as we head into the fantasy football championship round. He has shown his pass-catching capability which means he isn't a must-sit option, but going against the Bucs who have given up the third-fewest rushing yards this season means he will likely need to find the end zone to salvage limited production in terms of yardage.

We have seen rushing lines of eight carries for 18 yards, 16 carries for 39 yards, and 11 carries for 37 yards from Carter against the very good defenses of Miami, Buffalo, and New England, so it is more than likely we see a performance similar to one of these prior games. Carter hasn't exactly been that much of a threat to find the end zone this season, as he has scored just touchdowns this season. Tevin Coleman handled 14 carries to Carter’s 16 last week, so it is likely we see another close to even split in this one. Considering it is highly unlikely that the Jets will be in a position to run the ball 30+ times, Carter finds himself relegated from RB2 territory to a FLEX option in Week 17.

 

Should I Start Devonta Freeman in Week 17?

Freeman will go against the stingy run defense of the Rams in Week 17, who have given up the sixth-fewest rushing yards and the second-fewest yards per carry this season. Freeman’s workload has been limited the past two weeks because of the negative rushing game scripts, as he has carried the ball just six times in each of the past two games. We could see much of the same against the Rams, as the Baltimore offense figures to be playing from behind in this one.

The potential return of Lamar Jackson helps out Freeman a bit, but still, the veteran is an easy fade this week based on this matchup. It seems the Ravens are heading back to a closer to even split between Freeman and Latavius Murray, as the two have 12 carries in the past two weeks. In a negative rushing game script, Freeman will be the favored option in the backfield because of his ability to catch passes, but Jackson and Tyler Huntley have shown they can move the ball downfield without relying on check-downs to their running backs. Freeman should likely find the bench in standard-sized leagues but is in the FLEX discussion in deeper formats.

 

Should I Start Terry McLaurin in Week 17?

To make things simple, McLaurin has shown nothing over the past five weeks that should make fantasy managers confident in starting him in Week 17. The third-year wideout is an undeniable amazing talent, but the state of the Washington offense makes it extremely challenging for him to produce any sort of noteworthy numbers. Not to mention, his matchup against Darius Slay for the second time in three weeks does no favors for his outlook as well.

McLaurin was held to two receptions for 51 yards in their meeting in Week 15 on just four targets. Although he is Washington’s No. 1 wide receiver, he hasn't seen the volume that a true WR1 should be getting. With just 18 targets in the past four games, McLaurin is an easy fade against one of the league’s best cornerbacks. He could break his touchdown slump in this one, but that is hard to count on considering he has found the end zone only five times this season and has just one score since Week 8.

 

Should I Start Marquise Brown in Week 17?

Brown will draw a tough matchup with the talented secondary of the Rams, with none more talented than cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The speedster from Oklahoma has been able to command a lot of targets in all but two games this season, as he’s been held under six targets on just two occasions. However, he hasn't surpassed 60 receiving yards in six consecutive games and hasn't found the end zone since Week 7.

The common theme with Brown struggling over the past number of weeks has been the emergence of Mark Andrews as the best tight end in fantasy football. Andrews has found the end zone six times in the past seven games, so he has clearly become the go-to option when the Ravens offense is in scoring position. There are enough targets to go around for both Brown and Andrews to thrive in the passing game, but it has been a rare occasion to see both of them have strong outings in the same game this year. With Ramsey likely matching up with Brown in coverage for some of this game, it is hard to count on the third-year wideout breaking out of his slump. His outlook would be a bit better if Jackson is able to return to action, but he would still be in FLEX territory rather than a WR2 option.

 

Should I Start Jared Cook in Week 17?

Cook will go up against the stingy pass defense of the Broncos, who have given up the fourth-fewest PPR fantasy points to the tight end position this season (8.41). Cook has got some meaningful looks in the past three weeks, as he has been targeted 17 times over that span. However, Mike Williams will potentially be returning to action in Week 17, while Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton have begun to come on strong to close out the season.

There could be fewer opportunities for Cook, who almost certainly needs to find the end zone to have solid fantasy production in this one. In his last meeting with Denver, the big tight end was able to total just 25 receiving yards, but he was able to find the end zone which ultimately salvaged his day. With so many weapons at the disposal of Justin Herbert, it is hard to rely on a touchdown to save his performance in this one. Some better options could be Tyler Higbee, C.J. Uzomah, and Gerald Everett.



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