Banking your season on fantasy football wide receivers took another hit in week 16. Only three players scored 15 or more points, featuring Larry Fitzgerald, Jakeem Grant and Ted Ginn.
Those don't exactly scream consistently big-time producers in fantasy football. Hopefully 2018 will tone down the excitement we saw in the past two years for wide receivers, and will return once against to running backs. That should finally create some value with contributing wide receivers.
I'll take a look at 2018 early next year. For now, here's the week 17 wide receivers start 'em, sit 'em guide in fantasy football.
Keelan Cole vs. Tennessee Titans
I know I'm out on quarterback Blake Bortles this week, but that doesn't completely eliminate his most effective wide receiver.
Cole has been more than adequate in recent weeks, going for at least 99 yards receiving in each of the last three games. Most importantly, his target share is increasing, jumping from three in week 14, to nine in week 15 and 13 in week 16.
Expecting 13 targets again would be too much to ask for in this matchup. But if he can garner close to that nine-target mark, he should easily contribute WR2 production for your fantasy team. The Titans have been giving up major yards through the air in recent weeks. I'm down on Bortles, but Cole should have enough production to earn a start for your team.
Demaryius Thomas vs. Kansas City Chiefs
I sat Thomas in week 16 based on the matchup with Washington and he tallied only 52 yards receiving.
He should get a reprieve this week against Kansas City. The Chiefs are a bottom-10 defense in fantasy points against wide receivers, and they rank 27th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Denver's passing game is atrocious, but even those numbers, should excite some of the biggest Denver passing game skeptics. Thomas is basically the only weapon available, so he'll get a decent share of targets. That should turn into production in week 17, so he's safe to start as a WR2.
Jamison Crowder vs. New York Giants
His targets aren't off the charts. But he's becoming a main weapon inside the red zone, so he should get some consideration this week, especially against the Giants secondary.
Crowder has scored in three of the last five games. He has the potential to be a high yardage receiver, too. However, in recent weeks, he hasn't seen that kind of output. In the absence of yards, he's made up for it with touchdowns in the last two games.
This week offers an opportunity to not only get into the end zone, but also tally a major amount of yards. The Giants are the worst team in defending wide receivers in fantasy football, and who knows what kind of product we'll see in week 17? The motivation is at an all-time low and injuries are piling up.
The Redskins shouldn't have any trouble throwing the ball, so Crowder makes the most sense as a wide receiver option.
Michael Crabtree vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are legit against wide receivers. And I don't trust the Raiders to show up in this matchup.
Crabtree didn't show up, along with the rest of the offense, in week 16 on the road against Philadelphia. And after two heartbreaking losses and two cross-country trips, I don't see the motivation for Crabtree and company in week 17.
Los Angeles gives up just 12.4 points per game to fantasy wide receivers, the fourth-best mark in the NFL. The Chargers also are allowing a shade over 150 yards per game passing in the last three games. This is a game to avoid for the Raiders skill position players.
Ted Ginn vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's tempting to start Ginn this week, especially after last week's fantasy point total.
But don't get sucked into just looking at points. Ginn has five or fewer targets in six of the last eight games. During that period of time, he only has two touchdowns, including one last week.
Tampa Bay is terrible against the pass, but the Saints are really good at spreading the ball around to different players. That will be the case once again in week 17, limiting Ginn's fantasy potential.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Dallas Cowboys
I was hot on Jeffery's potential in week 16, only to see him not catch a ball against Oakland on Monday night.
Being new to the offense, I thought Nick Foles would lean on Jeffery as a No. 1 wide receiver. That was not the case, so there's too much mystery surrounding Jeffery heading into the final week.
The matchup isn't bad, but I'm not sure I can trust Foles and Jeffery in this spot. Foles missed Jeffery on multiple occasions in week 16, and the passing game just isn't the same unit we became accustomed to earlier in the season. Even with a decent amount of targets in recent weeks (other than week 16) Jeffery's been mostly a touchdown-dependent wide receiver.
Find a better option for week 17.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH