I cannot believe it is Week 17 and the fantasy football championship round for many of us this week. This season has been a crazy one in my opinion. I cannot remember a season when we had so many quarterback injuries and so many veteran quarterbacks being benched by their head coach. It always seemed like I would get one injured star player back and then another would get injured and go on short-term injured reserve that same week or the following week. So with that in mind, I decided to put together a list of what I am calling golden ticket playres for each position group. These are players who are not widely owned and have the upside to help put you over the top in your fantasy matchup this week. These are not players you will start over a top ten or top twenty player at their position, but they are players to target if you need a fill-in starter for this week or just want to shoot for an upside play.
Quarterback: Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets
Joe Flacco is the perfect player to start my golden tickets with this week. He is facing one of his former teams this week, and it came out earlier this week that he wanted to return to the New York Jets after the Aaron Rodgers injury in Week 1 but the Jets never called him until after the first game he played with his new team the Cleveland Browns. Flacco was then quickly signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster by the Browns so the Jets could not sign him. That was a smart move by the Browns, as the team has been on a roll with Flacco over the last four weeks. Over his last four games played Flacco has complied a 59.4% completion rate with 1,307 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, which is good enough to be the fantasy QB8 during that stretch of games. I can see Flacco having another big game this week in a revenge game against the Jets and winning a lot of people a fantasy championship, especially in 2-QB or Superflex leagues.
Running Back: Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons
Khalil Herbert is my golden selection for the running back position. He could be an excellent pick-up this week if you are in need of running back help as he is widely available and the Chicago Bears want to see what they have in him going into next season. I thought this would be rookie Roschon Johnson’s time going into the season, but he has not been able to supplant Herbert from the starting lineup when both are healthy. Herbert ran 20 times for 112 yards and a touchdown last week, and I am expecting much of the same this week as the Bears want to run the football and use play-action passes to keep quarterback Justin Fields from seeing too much pressure in the pocket. I expect Herbert to have another nice week of over 100 total yards and a touchdown in Week 17.
Wide Receiver: Demarcus Robinson, L.A. Rams at New York Giants
Demarcus Robinson is my golden ticket selection for the wide receiver position. He has had a great three-week stretch since he was inserted as the L.A. Rams’ number three wide receiver. In his last three games played he had 11 receptions on 19 targets for 172 yards and three touchdowns. I picked him up in three leagues this week as I have had multiple wide receiver injuries in a few leagues over the last three weeks and he is probably going to start for me in at least two of those leagues. He gets a favorable matchup against the New York Giants’ defense this week, so I expect Robinson to see a lot of targets and it is possible that he could go over 100 receiving yards with a touchdown in Week 17. If you are desperate at the wide receiver position, he could be a player to put you over the top in your championship matchup.
Tight End: Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Chigoziem Okonkwo is my golden ticket selection from the tight end position for Week 17. Okonkwo was one of my sleeper tight ends to start this season, as I always try to draft one safe and one upside tight end to start the season. Unfortunately, I had to cut him by Week 4 or Week 5 as he was not receiving many targets each week, but he has had a great five-week stretch to close the season. Over the last five games he has 21 receptions on 27 targets for 252 yards and one touchdown. It should also be pointed out that last week was his best week of the season, with six receptions on seven targets for 63 yards and one touchdown, so I am expecting the Titans to target him heavily this week against the Houston Texans’ defense. The Texans’ defense had a hard time stopping Joe Flacco and David Njoku last week and I am expecting the Titans and Okonkwo to have a nice game this week. I can see Okonkwo having six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown, so he might not win the week for you, but he is widely available and has the potential to put you over the top in your fantasy matchup this week.
Good luck to everyone in their fantasy championship matchups this week! Hopefully you can find these Golden Ticket players of the week on your waiver wire and they will help you take home the championship!