This is it, the final week of the 2022 fantasy football season. Your league title rests on who you decide to start and who you leave on the bench for the most import matchup of the season. For those difficult decisions, my list below of players that I love and hate in Week 17 should help lock in those lineups. Good luck and may you hoist the trophy, collect the cash, and brag endlessly until next year.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 17 of the 2022 Season
Love: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Week 17 is as good of a time as ever for Aaron Rodgers to put up 20 or more fantasy points. That’s something he hasn’t done at all this season after averaging 21.47 points per game last season. The absence of Davante Adams in Green Bay this season is painfully noticeable.
I love Rodgers, though, to not only redeem a less-than-ideal 2022 fantasy football season but a dreadful start. In Week 1, he put up a sickening 4.70 points against the Minnesota Vikings. This week, for the fantasy football finals, he gets the Vikings in Green Bay with playoff hopes still alive.
The Vikings are allowing the most passing yards per game this season. In fact, four of the last five quarterbacks to face the Vikings have surpassed 330 passing yards. That list includes Daniel Jones, Mac Jones, Jared Goff, and Dak Prescott.
Rodgers may not have rookie Christian Watson’s dynamic play out there this Sunday, but he will have Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Romeo Doubs. Additionally, running back, Aaron Jones, who leads the team in receptions, will have a great matchup as the Vikings allow the sixth-most reception yards to running backs. I know his body of work has been disappointing, but I love Aaron Rodgers to bounce back when it matters most in Week 17.
Some Extra Love:
Gardner Minshew looks like he’s going to make his second straight start for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jalen Hurts is still nursing a shoulder injury. Last week, on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, Minshew finished as the overall QB5 after throwing for 355 yards, two touchdowns, and punching in another on the ground. In Week 17, he gets the New Orleans Saints at home. If the Eagles win, they will clinch the top seed in the NFC as well as improve their 2023 draft capital as they own the Saints’ first-round pick. Minshew has plenty of talent around him to put up points again in Week 17. I love him to repeat as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in fantasy football finals.
Hate: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Though the Purdy-led 49ers are on a four-game win streak, he has scored 16.96 or fewer fantasy points in three of those games. I’m not discrediting Purdy’s play by any means, but we’re trying to win fantasy football championships. I hate the idea of counting on him to do so in Week 17.
The big knock against Purdy for fantasy football purposes is his lack of rushing upside. He has just 11 total rushing attempts, including kneel-downs, for a total of six rushing yards. He’s punched in one rushing touchdown, but I expect the 49ers backfield to take care of that in a great matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders plan to start Jarrett Stidham at quarterback on Sunday. That should lend to a very positive game script and domination of time of possession for San Francisco. Additionally, their defense should pick Stidham apart and may even find the end zone themselves, which takes a possible scoring opportunity away from Purdy. Las Vegas is also allowing the ninth-most points per game to running backs. Christian McCaffrey should go off, as well. If you’re starting Purdy, you’re hoping he scores early and often through the air. I’m not willing to bank on that with my league’s title on the line.
Love: Brian Robinson, Washington Commanders
I love Brian Robinson at baseline given how incredible his story is and how far he’s come this season. His expected role and matchup in Week 17 are that much more of reasons to love him to wrap up the 2022 fantasy football season.
Antonio Gibson is starting to look highly questionable as he deals with both foot and knee injuries. Head coach Ron Rivera claims neither are anything to worry about, but as of Wednesday, he has yet to practice. That leaves Robinson in a fantastic position to see a heavy workload, especially if Gibson does not play. Regardless, Robinson has 55 carries to Gibson’s 19 in their last three games together.
The playoff-hopeful Commanders are favorites at home against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17. Cleveland is allowing the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season. That includes the sixth-most rushing yards, a fantasy-friendly 5.23 yards per carry, and the third-most rushing touchdowns to the position. Robinson is going to feast in this matchup with a larger than usual role in a must-win game.
Some Extra Love:
Zonovan Knight should bounce back in Week 17 for the New York Jets after failing to gain positive yards on just six carries last week. With Mike White expected back at quarterback, the entire offense should see a boost in production. Knight averages 15.26 points per game with White under center and 2.3 without him. The Jets run game takes on the Seattle Seahawks who are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards and second-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Knight leads all Jets running backs in carries in every game since their Week 10 bye. I love his chances of making them count in Week 17 to help fantasy managers win their leagues.
Hate: Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., Miami Dolphins
With Jeff Wilson back in action in Week 16, after leaving in Week 14 and missing Week 15, the Dolphins backfield was a near dead-even split. Both Mostert and Wilson saw an even 11 opportunities. Wilson saw an extra target while Mostert had one extra carry. While Mostert averaged more than one yard per carry better than Wilson, it was Wilson who punched in a one-yard touchdown run.
The Dolphins are traveling to New England to face an elite Patriots defense. They’ve allowed the least amount of rushing touchdowns (3) and total touchdowns (4) to running backs this season. Given the backfield split and tough matchup, it’s hard to imagine starting either of these backs, especially if you’re choosing between the two. Additionally, the Dolphins will have Teddy Bridgewater under center as Tua Tagovailoa sits with a concussion. This offense has everything working against them in Week 17. I’m fading the backfield if I can.
Love: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
Cooks joins others on the Week 17 list of players I love that are in line for redemption as it pertains to fantasy football. He returns to fantasy relevancy after scoring for the first time since Week 4 last week and seeing nine targets in the Houston Texans passing game. Nico Collins is now on Injured Reserve leaving Cooks as the clear-cut top receiving option, assuming he’s healthy.
For those willing to trust Cooks after an incredibly up-and-down season, he should score double-digit fantasy points again in Week 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game means nothing to the Jags as their playoff chances and NFC South title rest solely on their Week 18 matchup with the Tennessee Titans. The Jags are allowing the third-most receiving touchdowns to wide receivers (18) this season. If they choose to sit certain defensive players for next week, I love Cooks even more, especially to get into the end zone.
Some Extra Love:
Romeo Doubs is a plug-and-play option that I love for Week 17 assuming his fellow rookie teammate, Christian Watson (hip), is unable to go for the Green Bay Packers. Since returning from an injury of his own, Doubs has seen an increase in routes run as well as targets in each of his last two games. He’s drawn a target on nearly a third of his routes run since coming back. He still has more targets (61) than Watson (54) on the season and is a good bet to eat into Watson’s 21% target share from the last two weeks if he sits. Against a Minnesota Vikings defense allowing the most passing yards per game, I love Doubs’ chances at late-season heroics this week.
Hate: Richie James, New York Giants
Richie James is averaging 13.03 points per game in his last six with the Giants. He has double-digit fantasy points in four of those six games in part to a receiving touchdown in three of them. He is coming off of a week where he led all Giants with 12 targets in a narrow loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Still, with all of that said, I hate his matchup and am fading him in the most important week of the season.
While James’ success is a bright spot amongst a lackluster group of Giants pass catchers, Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins are still leading him in snaps played during James’s run of success. The entire group draws a tough Indianapolis Colts pass defense that’s allowed less than one touchdown per game to wide receivers and the fifth-least amount of points to the position.
James is a touchdown-dependent option operating out of the slot. If I had to choose between him and Hodgins, I prefer the latter. Hodgins has six or more targets as well as a touchdown in three of his last four games. He is averaging 15.45 points in his last four with a larger percentage of routes run in that span than James, as well. This game has an Over/Under of 38.0 with the Giants as six-point favorites. I’m not banking on a ton of production from this New York passing attack. They are all flex plays at best.
Love: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Kmet is averaging nearly six targets per game since Week 9. He is the clear-cut top target in the Bears’ passing game, especially since Darnell Mooney’s season ended due to injury. In fact, Kmet has a 25.2% target share in his last four games without Mooney.
Kmet’s matchup for the fantasy football finals is one of the best out there. The Detroit Lions pass defense is one of the worst in the league, especially as of late. Not only have they allowed the third-most passing yards per game this season, but they are also leading the league in passing yards allowed (310.3) over the last three weeks.
It’s worth noting Kmet’s last matchup with the Lions yielded 23.4 PPR fantasy points. He caught four of his seven targets for 74 yards and two touchdowns. I love his ceiling in Week 17 as the go-to guy for quarterback Justin Fields with his excellent matchup. Given the inconsistency at the tight end position for fantasy football, Kmet should definitely be in starting lineups.
Some Extra Love:
Tyler Conklin, like Zonovan Knight (above), becomes fantasy relevant again with Mike White at quarterback for the Jets. In three games with White, Conklin averaged six targets per game. He has six targets total in his last two with Zach Wilson under center. Conklin gets a Seattle Seahawks defense that allows the third-most yards to tight ends on just the 18th-most receptions this season. He should be able to rack up fantasy points on chunk plays. I love his chances of getting in the end zone, too, as Seattle is tied for the third-most touchdowns to tight ends.
Hate: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Since allowing three touchdowns to Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce in Week 11, the Los Angeles Chargers defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown to the position since. In fact, in their most five recent games, tight ends have totaled just 12 receptions for 165 total yards against the Chargers.
Tyler Higbee is on a heater as of late, but this matchup with the Chargers gives me pause about starting him to claim a fantasy league title. He saw nearly 60% of his targets with Baker Mayfield at quarterback in last week’s game alone while nearly 40% of his points are from touchdowns. Most tight ends are touchdown-dependent, but I hate Higbee’s chances of scoring in Week 17.
It’s hard to sit Higbee after topping 30 points last week and finishing at the top of the position, but if you have a more trustworthy option, with a larger handful of successful games and a better matchup, I would start them instead. There aren’t a ton of options in the Rams passing game, which increases Higbee’s value, but I do think they lean on the run against a porous Chargers run defense.