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Fantasy Matchups

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Week 17 fantasy football matchups for NFL 2021 season

This is it, the final week of the fantasy football season, otherwise known as championship week. If you are reading this, you are likely competing for a fantasy title this week. Best of luck and take it home! But I just wanted to take a quick second to thank everyone for reading, listening and watching any of my and the entire teams work this season. Without you, none of this is possible.

Now, onto the real goal of the week, which is securing those fantasy titles! COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head so you will have to continue to monitor the news and make sure all your players are playing this week. Use this article along with the Week 17 rankings, that are constantly updated, to help set those lineups!

Best QB matchups

Jalen Hurts at Football Team: Hurts came into the season dubbed as a player with league-winning upside. Currently sitting as a top five fantasy QB, he hit on that upside. But he can really be a league-winner this week by going off in a great fantasy championship matchup! He faces Washington, which allows 22.93 fantasy PPG to QBs. Not only is that the most in the NFL, but no other team even allows 20 per game. We just saw what Dak Prescott and the Cowboys did to Washington. Hurts should be started this week. 

Josh Allen vs. Falcons: Allen has been balling out – topping 20 fantasy points in three straight and over 30 in two of them. He is the QB1 on the season in terms of total points and fantasy PPG -- in fact, he has a chance to be the top scoring fantasy QB in two straight seasons -- a feat that has not been reached since Daunte Culpepper in 2003 and 2004. This week he faces the Falcons who allow 19.36 fantasy PPG, the third-most in the NFL. He is the QB1 on the week and should be valued as such in 2022 drafts as well.

Other favorable QB matchups: Aaron Rodgers vs. Vikings, Joe Burrow vs. Chiefs, Tom Brady at Jets, Matthew Stafford at Ravens.

Best RB matchups

Ronald Jones at Jets: The Jets give up a league-high 33.56 fantasy PPG to RBs this season -- no other team even allows 30 per game. The Jets also allow the most yards (173.6) and touchdowns (17) per game to running backs, as well as the sixth-most catches per game (6.2) to the position. However you slice it, the Jets are the best possible matchup a running back can have. Jones is the lucky benefactor this week. Last week he saw 22 touches and turned it into over 16 fantasy points, but if he sees volume like that this week he has a chance to turn it into a whole lot more. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who saw a secondary role last week, was able to show off his explosiveness with a 55-yard TD run. He is a deeper flex option due to his explosiveness in this great matchup. He also could see mop up duties if this game gets out of hand fast.

D’Andre Swift/Jamaal Williams at Seahawks: Seattle gives up 29.81 fantasy PPG to RBs, the second-most in the NFL this season. They particular struggle against backs in the passing game, giving up the most catches (7.3) and receiving yards (66.7) per game to backs. To put that into perspective, no other team allows even seven catches or over 56 receiving yards per game to backs. That bodes well for Swift, who was averaging over six targets and five catches per game before he was injured. Swift is the preferred play of the two here, but there are questions as to how much usage we should expect. That makes him an RB2 this week, while Williams is a deeper flex option. 

Other favorable RB matchups: Jonathan Taylor vs. Raiders, Jeff Wilson vs. Texans, Melvin Gordon/Javonte Williams vs. Broncos.

Best WR matchups

Davante Adams vs. Vikings: Look, Adams is as must-start as must-start can get, but he is especially appealing this week against the Vikings. In three matchups dating back to last season, Adams is averaging 34.13 fantasy PPG against Minnesota, with over 30 fantasy points in all three. He should win a lot of people championships. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was activated off the COVID list this week, and he had been seeing consistent volume before being sidelined. He comes in as a WR3 or flex option with upside in this strong matchup.

Jaylen Waddle at Titans: Waddle is a must-play on volume alone, as he has seen double digit targets in three straight games and in six of his last nine games. In that stretch, he has shown he brings a safe floor of double digit fantasy points, but has over 15 in the majority and lately is bringing an even higher ceiling scoring over 20 fantasy points in three of his last four (18 in the other). It also doesn't hurt that on the year the Titans have allowed 41.37 fantasy PPG to receivers, the second-most in the NFL. He is the only Dolphin receiver you should be excited to start. DeVante Parker, who did not see a target last week, is just a deeper flex option despite the matchup.

Other favorable WR matchups: DeVonta Smithat Washington, Stefon Diggs/Cole Beasley/Gabriel Davis/Isaiah McKenzie vs. Falcons, Cooper Kupp/Odell Beckham Jr./Van Jefferson at Ravens.

Best TE matchups

Ricky Seals-Jones/John Bates vs. Eagles: The Eagles allow the most fantasy PPG to tight ends (17.83), which includes giving up the most catches pre game (6.5) and total touchdowns (12) to the position. The matchup is the reason the Washington tight ends are in play as a streaming option, but the usage makes them a little tricky. Bates played 74 percent of the snaps while RSJ played 46, and Bates out targeted Seals-Jones three to one against the Cowboys. That could be a changing of the guard, or it could have just been because it was a blowout. RSJ did see seven targets against the Eagles just two weeks ago. He is the preferred option, but both are in play as deeper streaming options this week.

Noah Fant/Albert Okwuegbunam at Chargers: The Chargers allow 16.96 fantasy PPG to tight ends, the second-most in the NFL. They give up an average of 66.7 yards per game, the second-most in the league, and are tied with Philly allowing a league-high 12 touchdowns to the position. Fant failed to reach five fantasy points against them earlier this season, but the matchup keeps him in play as a TE2. Okwuegbunam is a deeper sleeper in this matchup.

Other favorable TE matchups: Darren Waller at Colts, Mo Alie-Cox vs. Raiders, Tyler Higbee at Ravens.

Toughest QB matchups

Matt Ryan at Bills: The Bills allow just 11.69 fantasy PPG to QBs this season, the fewest in the NFL. In fact, only five QBs have topped 15 fantasy points against the Bills, while seven have been held below double-digits. Ryan has been so up and down this season, but in this matchup, it is simply a week to get away from the longtime Falcons QB.

Trevor Lawrence at Patriots: Look, if you are starting Lawrence at this point you are in a bad place. No one should be starting him in championship week. I mean, he has one passing touchdown in his last eight games and topped 15 fantasy points once in that span. Plus, he faces the Patriots who have allowed just 12.26 fantasy PPG to QBs. Stay far, far away from the longhaired rookie.

Other tough QB matchups: Justin Herbert vs. Broncos, Dak Prescott vs. Cardinals, Taysom Hill vs. Panthers.

Toughest RB matchups

Chuba Hubbard at Saints: The Saints allow just 18.27 fantasy PPG to RBs this season, which includes just 72.5 rushing yards per game. Hubbard, who has to worry about Cam Newton stealing touchdowns and Ameer Abdullah taking targets, has not topped double-digit fantasy points since Christian McCaffrey was injured the first time. It's been weeks of single digits. There is no way you can trust him in the championship round.

Duke Johnson/Phillip Lindsay/Myles Gaskin at Titans: The Titans have allowed just 18.91 fantasy PPG to running backs this season, the second-most in the NFL. Plus, last week we saw Miami use all three of these running backs, with Johnson and Lindsay recording 13 carries each and Gaskin seeing all three running back targets. It led to them all scoring less than five fantasy points in a tough matchup against the Saints. In anther tough matchup it's best to just avoid this backfield all together.

Other tough RB matchups: D’Onta Foreman/Dontrell Hilliard vs. Dolphins, James Conner/Chase Edmonds at Cowboys, Josh Jacobs at Colts.

Toughest WR matchups

Russell Gage at Bills: The Bills allow a league-low 25.79 fantasy PPG to receivers this season, which includes just 119 yards per game and five touchdowns. Gage had shown a safe floor of double-digit fantasy points and a higher ceiling as of late, until last week where he scored just 5.6 fantasy points. A repeat performance is definitely a possible in this tough matchup. Gage is the only Falcons receiver even worth considering using this week, but even he is more just of a boom-or-bust WR3 or flex option.

Terry McLaurin vs. Eagles: Philly has allowed just 27.27 fantasy PPG to WRs this season, the second-fewest in the NFL. Plus, things have been rough as of late for McLaurin. He's had six targets or fewer in five straight games with single-digit fantasy points in five straight. McLaurin has basically become a single-digit fantasy output who occasionally will sprinkle in a 20-point game. In a tough matchup, the only people who should fear Scary Terry are the ones who have to start him. Sit him this week if you can.

Other tough WR matchups: Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Raiders, Marvin Jones/Laquon Treadwell at Patriots, Jerry Jeudy/Courtland Sutton at Chargers.

Toughest TE matchups

Dalton Schultz vs. Cardinals: The Cardinals have allowed just 7.62 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the second-fewest in the league. That includes just two touchdowns all year to the position. Still, Schultz sees enough weekly volume and is attached to one of the best offenses in football. In what could be a very high scoring game, Schultz is still in play as a TE1 despite the matchup.

Kyle Pitts at Bills: The Bills have allowed just 7.77 fantasy PPG to tight ends, the third-fewest in the NFL. But, Pitts has been playing well as of late. Pitts is good for at least six targets per game, but lately the red zone usage and air yards have been up. Pitts has topped 11 fantasy points in three straight games. Due to the recent usage, he remains in play as a TE1. Also, Pitts lived up the expectation that he would be the best rookie TE in recent history. He may not have lived up to our massive fantasy expectations, but that's on us. A big year is coming for Pitts next year!

Other tough TE matchups: James O'Shaughnessy at Patriots, Jared Cook vs. Chargers, Mike Gesicki at Titans.

Notable Receivers with the Best WR/CB Matchups (per PFF):

  1. Tyler Lockett
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. Justin Jefferson
  4. Cooper Kupp
  5. Davante Adams
  6. Courtland Sutton
  7. Deebo Samuel
  8. A.J. Brown
  9. Tim Patrick
  10. Amon-Ra St. Brown
  11. DK Metcalf
  12. Jarvis Landry
  13. Brandon Aiyuk
  14. Jaylen Waddle
  15. Kendrick Bourne
  16. Stefon Diggs
  17. Jerry Jeudy
  18. CeeDee Lamb
  19. Tyreek Hill
  20. Tee Higins

Notable Receivers with the Toughest WR/CB Matchup (per PFF)

  1. Marquise Brown
  2. Jalen Reagor
  3. Rashod Bateman
  4. Van Jefferson
  5. Zay Jones
  6. Robby Anderson
  7. Byron Pringle
  8. K.J. Osborn
  9. Russell Gage
  10. Josh Palmer
  11. Darnell Mooney
  12. Christian Kirk
  13. Kenny Golladay
  14. A.J. Green
  15. Tyler Johnson
  16. Ja'Marr Chase
  17. Breshad Perriman
  18. Kadarius Toney
  19. Chase Claypool
  20. Allen Lazard

Make sure to follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter and Instagram.

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