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Play At Your Own Risk

Flirting with Disaster: Week 17 Risky Picks

by Jennifer Eakins
Updated On: December 29, 2021, 2:44 pm ET

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It’s the final countdown. I’ve been singing the Europe song for the entire time I’ve been researching for this article, so now you have to, as well. There are actually more words besides the final countdown which I was slightly surprised to find. ”We're leavin' together, but still it's farewell, and maybe we'll come back, to Earth, who can tell? 

The end of this fantasy season means we’re done for 2021, but you know we’ll all be back for some more pain and glory in 2022. With everything on the line, roster decisions are more crucial than ever, so here are a handful of players to consider swapping out for Week 17. Or at least lower any expectations for greatness.  

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Las Vegas Raiders 
No one is benching Taylor for their championship game, including myself. However, it should at least be discussed that he has the potential for a real letdown in Week 17. While the Raiders are a great matchup due to their run-funnel defense, the Colts are rolling with a rookie QB and an offensive line that has been depleted.   

Parts of the o-line may return this week which could help things, but for now, Taylor’s output may not be what we’re used to in 2021. While benching the 22-year old isn’t going to happen, expectations should at least be lowered for what Taylor may bring to the table on Sunday. 

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
There are only so many people who would include a QB who just threw for 525 yards and four touchdowns in the next week’s bust article, and apparently, I am one of them. While last week’s performance was pretty impressive, Week 17 is a fresh contest and the Bengals have a difficult opponent to face. 

According to research done by my 4for4 co-worker TJ Hernandez, the Chiefs are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per pass attempt in the NFL over the last six weeks with just .29, just behind Miami’s .26. Kansas City has held three of their last four opposing QBs to 12.0 fantasy points or under, which could make for a tough day for Burrow. If he’s the reason you’re playing this week, congrats, but you may want to go with another QB in the title game. 

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos 
Allen is coming off a rough outing of just 4-35-0, despite being the clear No. 1 weapon for the Chargers in Week 16. On Sunday LA should have Austin Ekeler back with the possibility of Mike Williams, plus they have a difficult matchup against a pretty stout Denver secondary.  

The 29-year-old will most likely be shadowed by Patrick Surtain ll, which could limit Allen’s both fantasy and real-life production for the second-straight week. Sitting him may not be in the cards for you, but consider him a lower WR2 for your Week 17 matchups. 

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Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons @ Buffalo Bills 
Any time I say anything anti-Pitts readers get upset with me, but I’m just here to present all angles of the fantasy realm. Like Burrow above, Pitts is coming off one of the best performances of his NFL career, but will meet up against a buzz saw in the Bills in Week 17. 

Buffalo surrenders the third-fewest fantasy points to TEs in the league, along with the fewest to WRs which covers most of the rookie’s potential routes run. With the TE position so slim, Pitts is a must-start but should be considered as more of a TE2 this week on the road in Buffalo. 

D.J. Moore, WR Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Pour one or a few out for Moore’s 2021 season, as he’s dealt with a brutal QB situation and the loss of Christian McCaffrey which affected the entire dynamic of the Carolina offense. Moore has only had one 100+ yard outing since Week 4 and has not found the end zone in five contests. 

This week he’ll match up with a pretty respectable New Orleans secondary, and still has a shaky QB duo tossing him the rock. Moore may be alright in PPR formats with a decent floor, but his chances of scoring a touchdown are slim. 

Jennifer Eakins

In addition to contributing for NBC Sports EDGE, Jennifer Eakins is an analyst and podcast co-host for 4for4 Fantasy Football. When not writing or talking about the NFL, you can find her in the mountains outside Denver or on Twitter @themondaymommy