The second last week of the 2021 NFL season is officially upon us. Congratulations to those owners who advanced to their respective fantasy league finals. Along with this, many players are still fighting for final positioning and to avoid a last-place punishment. Once again, posing a unique challenge, people are constantly being placed on and activated from the COVID-19 reserve list. This means that general fantasy managers are left with many lineup challenges and start and sit decisions.
Back with our second last fantasy sleepers article, our picks were successful last week. Efficient in the Atlanta Falcons victory over the Detroit Lions, Matt Ryan completed 18 of his 24 passes for 215 yards while tossing one touchdown. Furthermore, Michael Carter rushed for a season-high 118 yards in the New York Jets victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Evan Engram also added a late touchdown in the New York Giants 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Once again, happy Week 17 to everybody, and good luck in all your matchups.
Be sure to catch up on all of our Fantasy Football coverage.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill benefitted from the return of star wide receiver AJ Brown a week ago. He tossed for 209 yards while adding in a passing score in the Titan’s narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. However, the 33-year-old signal-caller has finished outside the top 15 for quarterbacks in six of his last seven games. Mainly relying on his rushing numbers to provide a floor for owners, the former first-round pick has found the end zone in two of his last three contests. Set to square off against a stingy Miami Dolphins defense on Sunday, stream him if you require help at the position.
Turning their season around after a 1-7 start, Brian Flores’s group has beaten up on some poor passing attacks. This has allowed the group to give up the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers over the last month of the year. However, with over 258 yards per matchup still surrendered to the position, the group has also given up 20 passing touchdowns through 16 weeks. Capable of posting high-end QB1 numbers with the return of Brown and Julio Jones, Tannehill can be viewed as a comfortable QB2 in your lineups.
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
Scott has struggled to get consistent carries in the crowded Eagles backfield all year long. Although, after starting running back, Miles Sanders left the game with a hand injury a week ago, the 26-year-old led the way on the ground for Nick Sirianni’s group. He carried the ball 12 times for 41 yards while adding in a rushing score. This led to a finish as RB25 in full-point PPR leagues. Without Sanders again this week, the Penn State alumn has already been ruled out. Jordan Howard is also questionable heading into the weekend with a stinger.
Start Scott in a divisional battle with the Washington Football Team. Unable to find any consistency on defense all year long, Washington is ranked eighth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game, with 104.2 given up per contest. However, the group has allowed two of their last three opponents to finish inside the top 15 for the week in PPR scoring. If Howard is a go on Sunday, look for Scott to still play a significant role in Philadelphia’s offense. As a result of this, he is a comfortable FLEX option.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vaughn has quickly carved out a more prominent role in the Buccaneers backfield in the absence of Leonard Fournette. The second-year man carried the ball seven times a week ago for 70 yards while adding in a rushing score. He finished as RB21 in full-point PPR and RB14 in standard-scoring fantasy leagues. Vaughn has now seen his snap count rise from 26 percent in week 15 to 36 percent in week 16.
Set to square off against the lowly Jets in a cross-conference matchup on Sunday, play him as a FLEX option. Limping along to the regular season’s finish line, Robert Saleh’s team has given up over 118 yards per game on the ground to the position. Furthermore, they have also surrendered 6.2 receptions per contest, leading to over 55.5 receiving yards in each matchup. Likely to be a blowout; look for the Vanderbilt alumn to have a solid floor.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Kmet is fresh off two of the best performances of his 2021 campaign. The 22-year-old hauled in six receptions for 71 yards during the Bears’ Week 15 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He finished as TE9 in full-point PPR leagues. Following this up a week ago, the Notre Dame product caught four balls for 49 yards in the team’s narrow victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
With a steady volume in Chicago’s passing attack all year long, the 6’6 tight end trails only Darnell Mooney in targets. In a week 17 battle with the Giants, start him. New York is once again one of the worst teams in football in 2021. The Giants are ranked 15th in the league against tight ends. They give up 5.5 receptions per game to the position, leading to just over 51 receiving yards. Likely to have either Andy Dalton or Justin Fields back to start on Sunday, Kmet offers high-end TE2 upside.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
On Wednesday, the Packers activated Valdes-Scantling off the reserve COVID-19 list. This was after the 27-year-old was inactive for Green Bay’s victory over the Cleveland Browns. He emerged as one of the go-to targets in Matt Lafleur’s offense over his last four games. The 27-year-old averaged a 70 percent snap count rate over that period. Set to play their bitter rival in the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, start him as a WR3.
Torching Mike Zimmer’s team in their previous matchup, the University of South Florida alumn recorded four receptions for a season-high 123 yards while adding in a touchdown score. This led him to finish as WR6 in PPR leagues for the week. A boom or bust option with the Vikings secondary continuing to struggle mightily down the stretch, expect Rodgers to get Valdes-Scantling involved early. Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues and 16 percent of ESPN leagues, look for the upside to be there in a high-scoring NFC North bout.
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