I want to sit here and drag all of you who are playing in Week 17 championships. But I can't do it. We all have friends (or family) who have set up a league to play in a championship in Week 17 and there is nothing we can do about it. It's like going over to your relatives for the holidays. You're going to have spotty internet connections, sleep on a blowup mattress (at best) and spend more time watching HGN than ever before, but you love them, so you keep going through with it. And sometimes you get some excellent cheesecake so there is always that.
So I can't really do it. I want to. But I can't. Mostly because I'm in the same boat. Maybe we could get NFL.com to stop offering Week 17 championship options, but some of you feel really strongly about this and believe this is a true test of fantasy acumen. But really, you just end up looking like a lot of those folks in those commercials where they're all, "Hey some people just like pouring pickled onions in their trousers," or something like that. So do what you've got to do.
I'm here to help you with a few sleepers.
Is he really the second-coming? Jimmy Garoppolo
Yeah, he is. I'll have more words on this in Unpopular Opinions this week. But I did want to touch on it here. But what Jimmy GQ did this week against the top-ranked Jaguars defense is truly astonishing. Coming into this start, he had more passing yards in his first three starts for the 49ers than Joe Montana and Steve Young combined. COMBINED. I'm sort of sitting here trying to remember what his matchup is this week, and then I just realized, I don't care. (It's the Rams, and it's tough. But again, I don't care.)
I know he's not a sleeper but he's a quarterback with a good matchup: Philip Rivers
All right, Rivers wasn't great fantasy-wise against the Jets last week. But that's OK. There was a couple of missed connections with Keenan Allen. There was also a huge penalty that was missed. But let's put that all behind us. Because one of the most important things we need here is a quarterback who has something to play for. And the L.A. Chargers are still in the mix, so you have to like that. I also love the matchup. The Raiders were fine against the Eagles. But that was Nick Foles, and this is Rivers, who has averaged close to 20 fantasy points per game against them in their last two.
Rivers might be a hot pick, give us a contrarian quarterback: Matthew Stafford
Oh boy, he really failed against the Bengals (as I thought). Sorry, I shouldn't point out that I thought that. I had Foles as a sleeper last week, so I had better not get too big for my britches. I would take a look at Stafford against the Packers this week. A true dark match of Week 17. I really love this matchup, though. The Packers have allowed a ton of fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last couple of weeks.
Alright, a true sleeper: Jacoby Brissett
Why doesn't he play more? Peyton Barber
I was hanging with a couple of my friends and one of them mentioned during a break in the Bucs action that Barber runs like he still needs to make a car payment. Which I took to mean that he's running with purpose? I don't know, but I thought it was clever. But yeah, watching him run, it's clear he's the most motivated of the Bucs backs. And again, if the team is going to move on from Doug Martin during the offseason, it would make sense for them to give Barber an extended look.
Are we doing this again? Mike Gillislee
I know, we got sort of lucky last week as ol' Gill got into the end zone against the Bills. But was it really luck? As we pointed out headed into Week 16, Gillislee was going to take over the Rex Burkhead role (I mean, as well as you can replace the GOAT). And Burky had a pair of touchdowns against the Bills a few weeks ago. It would be tough to go to the well again this week the Jets, even though they do allow a lot of fantasy points to running backs this season.
He could see a huge workload. The Raiders have allowed a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. And I'd be all over Oliver if he got the start this week.
A week late, but: Chris Godwin
He was a Danger Zone pick two weeks ago. It didn't work out. Which is fine. But he had six targets in Week 16, and turned that into three receptions for 98 yards. Maybe there is a budding chemistry with Jameis Winston. I expect some volume with the Bucs in evaluation mode this week.
Is this guy for real? Corey Davis
Oh man, Davis had a day against the Rams on Sunday. He looked like the guy we wanted him to be all season. Finally getting it going with six catches for 91 yards. This is the guy we wanted to see. And I don't want to look at every struggling offense and be, "If they had Sean McVay they would be at the top of the NFL," but that won't keep me from saying such things. I know people are down on Marcus Mariota. And it's like one of those things where you say, "Hey if this actor could just get the right role," but it feels pretty true in this case. It's sometimes hard to watch the Titans offense. And with them challenging for a playoff berth this season, it doesn't seem like they will make a move in the coaching staff. But it would be great if they did. All that said, I do kind of like Davis this week.
A little late but: Eric Ebron
He had eight targets against the Bengals and got into the end zone. And that led to a bunch of texts I received from my friends that said, "Oh wow, Ebron is still in the NFL." Which is kind of mean, but I get the sentiment. I like the Lions this week against the Packers. Seriously, this is a week perfectly suited for Jim Caldwell. One last push to keep his gig in Detroit, which I hope happens.
I wish I had identified this for you sooner. But the Steelers still have something to play for, and McDonald will be targeted in this offense.