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Week 17 Receivers
WR Notes: With Adam Thielen (ankle) back on the shelf, Justin Jefferson will not be stopped vs. a Packers defense he ripped for 8/169/2 in Week 11. … Antonio Brown came off injured to reserve to 10 catches and 15 targets. That was against a strong Panthers pass defense. Now he gets the “everything funnel” Jets. With Ronald Jones as their lead back, the Bucs may not establish as much as they otherwise would as 13-point road favorites. 8-10 catches feels like Brown’s floor. … Tyreek Hill played only 42 percent of the Chiefs’ snaps in his Week 16 return from the coronavirus list. That number undoubtedly would have been higher had the game been competitive. We know it will be higher in this 51-totaled contest in Cincinnati. The pass-funnel Bengals are coughing up the fourth most passing yards. … With Jimmy Garoppolo likely out and Elijah Mitchell maybe back, it’s a little hard to know what to expect from Deebo Samuel against the Texans one week after he re-emerged as a pass catcher. All we know is, Kyle Shanahan is going to put Samuel in position to make plays.
The Titans unsurprisingly went all in on A.J. Brown upon his Week 16 return. They may have no choice but to repeat for his Week 17 follow-up with Julio Jones and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine dealing with COVID uncertainty. Regardless of his teammates’ status, Brown has an interesting matchup in a Dolphins defense allowing the seventh most receiver fantasy points on the year but fewest over the past month. That is due in large part to an impossibly soft schedule, something Ryan Tannehill doesn’t necessarily contradict. Ultimately, it is impossible to bet against “A.J. Brown, WR1” when he’s healthy. … Opposing Brown will be Jaylen Waddle, who has harnessed nine-plus receptions in three straight appearances. His volume is a metronome, and the Titans’ pass defense is bad. Only Minnesota surrenders more WR fantasy points. … Keenan Allen was one of the fantasy semifinals’ most wrenching duds. With Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton likely back from the COVID-19 list, fantasy managers can operate under the assumption that last week’s valley was a function of the Bolts missing so many key cogs.
Hopefully the Cardinals’ offense actually gets on track, pushing the Cowboys and creating volume for CeeDee Lamb. Behind Lamb, Amari Cooper got the Week 16 squeaky wheel treatment, with his seven receptions, 11 targets and 85 yards all second-half-of-the-season highs. I feel safe returning Cooper to the land of the WR2s. … Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins annihilated the Ravens. The Chiefs are a much tougher test for the fantasy finals. Kansas City’s recent dominance has been helped along by a soft schedule, but they shut down the Cowboys in Week 11. At the end of the day, Vegas is expecting 51 points, the Bengals are going to have to throw, and Chase and Higgins are special talents. You can keep your expectations high. … Week 16 was yet another “burn the tape” moment for the Seahawks’ passing “attack.” It was Tyler Lockett’s worst game in ages. The Lions are one of just three teams to allow opposing passers to average north of 8.0 yards per attempt. We have to bet on Lockett and Metcalf’s talent. … We are to the point where Darren Waller’s (knee) return would probably help Hunter Renfrow/boost his rank by becoming a second Raider to command defensive attention over the middle of the field.
The one true PPR god for the season’s stretch run, Amon-Ra St. Brown could be missing Jared Goff (knee) for another week. ARSB survived Goff’s Week 16 absence, but I am not sure I can keep him in the top 20 if we get another Tim Boyle day vs. the Seahawks. … Brandin Cooks (COVID-19) is back for the Texans. A.J. Brown’s Week 16 highlighted the 49ers’ continued wide receiver vulnerability. … Michael Pittman will be an untrustworthy WR2 against the Raiders if Carson Wentz can’t get the league’s new COVID-19 “protocol.” Since it’s barely a protocol at all, Wentz will likely be out there. … Not even Lamar Jackson’s (ankle) healthy return would be enough to make Marquise Brown a safe WR2, but we know his volume will remain intact. With that floor, the ceiling could return at any given moment. … Even with his targets floor remaining in the 10 range, it is easier to find reasons not to trust D.J. Moore was a WR2 than fire him up in the top 24. … With Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis both off the COVID-19 list, Isaiah McKenzie feels like a one-off despite his dominant Week 16 form. There’s also a question of how much passing volume the Bills will generate as 14.5-point home favorites.
Odell Beckham has taken a fairly comfortable lead on Van Jefferson in recent weeks, but both remain safely in the top 36 vs. a Ravens pass defense that can’t stop giving up monster completions. … Terry McLaurin is barely cracking the top 100 in average half PPR points over the past five weeks. Things seem like they are going to get worse before they get better in this offense. … Fantasy managers probably never want to hear another word about Kadarius Toney until the Giants change coaches, coordinators and quarterbacks, but his nine Week 16 targets are hard to ignore. There is essentially no other place for Mike Glennon/Jake Fromm to funnel the ball. … K.J. Osborn is feeling like a PPR layup with Adam Thielen (ankle) on the shelf. Touchdown road ‘dogs, the Vikes will have to keep throwing. … DeVonta Smith is in the WR60 range in average half PPR points over the past five weeks. … It’s the wildlands beyond the top 40. Many former PPR lifehacks like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Russell Gage have graduated to the top 36. Jakobi Meyers has zero ceiling. Kendrick Bourne has zero floor. The Broncos wide receivers might as well not exist with Drew Lock under center. It’s a tough, tough scene.