Alex Collins ready to rumble in Week 17 fantasy

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In case it slipped your mind, NFL football fans have the opportunity to vote on top performers at the running back and quarterback position following every week of action, this, of course, being the last.

The candidates at quarterback last week were Jared Goff, Jameis Winston and Blake Bortles. At running back, Todd Gurley, Bilal Powell and Dion Lewis were all featured following big games. You can check out the Week 16 winners here and return to cast your vote every week.

Now, let's take a look ahead at some quarterbacks and running backs that could be up for nomination after Week 17 and might help lead your fantasy squad to a playoff win.

Air Analysis:


Russell Wilson vs. Cardinals

Russell Wilson was a fantasy stud all season long ... Until fantasy owners needed him the most. After a surprisingly productive game against the Jaguars in Week 14, Wilson threw for just 142 yards and a touchdown in Week 15 and lost a fumble. In Week 16, he threw for just 93 yards and two touchdowns. So after you rode Wilson into the fantasy playoffs and continued to start him, there's a slim chance that you actually won your league since he provided just 11.58 and 14.62 points in the final two weeks respectively. Seahawks have failed to total 150 yards of offense in back-to-back games.

In Week 17, Wilson faces the Cardinals in Seattle. On the road against Arizona in Week 10, Wilson threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns, providing fantasy owners with a 19.42-point game. The Arizona defense has been one to pick on in terms of fantasy quarterback matchups all season, though from a season-long perspective the Cardinals' 16.52 FPPG allowed to opposing signal-callers is about middle-of-the-pack. And we know Russell Wilson is one of the most productive quarterbacks running the ball. He's on pace to lead the Seahawks in rushing this year and has already racked up 550 yards on the ground. If he can collect 238 pass yards in this game, he'll become the first quarterback in NFL history to have multiple seasons of 4,000 pass yards and 500 rush yards. In his favor in terms of fantasy scoring goes, is the fact that the Cardinals have allowed five rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks this season, most in the NFL.

Next Gen Stats: Because the Seahawks offensive line is a mess, Wilson has had to throw on the run frequently. Per Next Gen Stats, he owns the highest percentage of throws outside the tackle box this season with a rate of 24.6 percent compared to the NFL average rate of 11.3 percent. His passer rating on those throws is 80.2 with a 6:1 TD:INT ratio. Meanwhile, the Cardinals passer rating allowed, 96.6, on throws outside the tackle box is the second-highest this year with a 4:1 TD:INT ratio. In addition, Wilson has been money on tight window throws with the second-most touchdowns in close quarters, eight, while the Cardinals have allowed the second-most tight window touchdown completions, seven, this year.

Philip Rivers vs. Raiders

Similarly to Russell Wilson as explained above, Philip Rivers was hot heading into the fantasy playoffs and just when you thought you could trust him for a hefty stat line, he came up short. The last two weeks, Rivers has thrown two touchdown passes and three picks, with 7.08 and 15.6 fantasy points against the Chiefs and Jets respectively, two beatable pass defenses. But there's reason to believe that in the final week of the regular season, he could post numbers worthy of a FedEx Air and Ground nomination.

First, the Chargers need to beat the Raiders to have any shot at the playoffs (plus a few other things go their way). So you know Rivers will be out there giving it all he's got. In his last five home games, Rivers has thrown nine touchdown passes and zero picks, so he's got that home field advantage thing going on too, despite some less productive games lately. The Chargers' workhorse running back Melvin Gordon is questionable with an ankle injury, and while Gordon says he's going to play, Los Angeles could go more-pass heavy, which would make sense against the Raiders.

Oakland has allowed 21 passing touchdowns to quarterbacks and has just five interceptions all season. Their pass defense ranks 21st in football this season so Keenan Allen, who has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL the last six weeks with 664 yards on 49 receptions, should have no trouble finding space while additional targets Tyrell Williams and Antonio Gates only boost Rivers' upside.

Ground Analysis:


Alex Collins vs. Bengals

In a season in which Alex Collins was cut by the Seattle Seahawks, he's closing in on 1,000 rush yards (needs 105 more) and stands as fantasy's RB20 in standard scoring. Collins hasn't been as productive the last two games with just 5.2 and 6.6 fantasy points in those outings respectively, but he's got some upside in Week 17.

Since the Ravens Week 10 bye, the team owns a 5-1 record and averages 29.7 points per game as they make a surprising late-season playoff push. And Collins has played a huge role in their late-season offensive surge. He's averaging 19.5 touches per game dating back to Week 11, with 117 total touches, a 57 percent share of the team's running back opportunities. Collins is also responsible for 510 scrimmage yards, or a 53 percent share among the Baltimore backfield and has scored five of the unit's eight touchdowns in the last six games. Even in the last two games that he struggled with efficiency, Collins still had 17 and 21 touches. So there's no sign that he'll see a downtick in volume.

That's great news because the matchup is encouraging too. The Bengals have the 31st-ranked run defense in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 128.5 rush yards per game. No team in the league has been run against more often, as Cincinnati boasts 403 rush attempts against. They've also allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs, 800. Don't be afraid to roll Collins out there in Week 17, no matter what fantasy football format you might be playing.

Mark Ingram at Buccaneers

It's no secret that Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are the best running back duo in the NFL this season. But for all the love that Kamara has received in fantasy football circles (and for good reason) it's almost like Mark Ingram's production has gone overlooked. So, yes, I realize Ingram isn't a sleeper, but the pool of running backs to write about that are playing in actual games that matter this weekend is slim (he's the RB5 in standard), and I felt like giving Ingram some love. So here we go.

Since Week 6, no running back in the league has more rushing touchdowns than Ingram's 12. And in that same span, he's piled up 919 rush yards, 1,191 scrimmage yards, and owns a 5.3 yards per carry average.

This week Ingram has an amazing matchup against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay ranks as a bottom-10 unit in terms or limiting fantasy backs, allowing 19.67 FPPG to the position. That includes 14 rushing touchdowns allowed, third-most in football. He's worth whatever it takes to use him in DFS and obviously if you own Ingram in a season-long league, make sure he's out there this week. The Saints will be playing for the win as they're looking to clinch the NFC South.

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