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NFL Predictions Week 17: Odds Projections, Fantasy Stars to Target and More

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) runs past Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 34-27. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Fred Vuich/Associated Press
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

In a mostly failed attempt at manifesting meaningful Week 17 matchups, all 32 NFL teams face a division foe. For fantasy football players, this means rematches across the board.

Gamers get a rare opportunity to study previous head-to-head showdowns for trends. They shouldn't read too much into an outcome defying the overall numbers, however. Don't assume a star will struggle against a weak defense again. Don't bank on a no-name catching the same team off guard twice.

These three prominent players are poised to please their fantasy investors one last time before the regular season concludes.

NFL Week 17 Odds
AwayHomeOddsO/UPick
New Orleans SaintsAtlanta FalconsATL -65331-28 ATL
New York JetsBuffalo BillsNYJ -2.541.524-23 BUF
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersCAR -10.54623-20 CAR
Detroit LionsChicago BearsCHI -145.524-21 DET
Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCIN -941.523-13 CIN
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland BrownsPIT -10.54733-13 PIT
Washington RedskinsDallas CowboysDAL -43914-13 DAL
Jacksonville JaguarsHouston TexansHOU -6.545.528-26 HOU
Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsIND -6N/A20-17 IND
Oakland RaidersKansas City ChiefsKC -743.523-14 KC
New England PatriotsMiami DolphinsNE -9.54730-20 NE
Philadelphia EaglesNew York GiantsNYG -3.55134-31 NYG
Seattle SeahawksArizona CardinalsARI -6.54730-24 ARI
San Diego ChargersDenver BroncosDEN -941.520-13 DEN
St. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ersSTL -337.517-15 STL
Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay PackersGB -345.527-24 MIN
Betting via obtained from Odds Shark

All betting info courtesy of Odds Shark

 

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

What did you think was going to happen without Odell Beckham Jr.?

While the New York Giants wide receiver served a one-game suspension last Sunday night, bad Eli Manning showed up in full force. The erratic quarterback followed two four-touchdown outings with 234 passing yards, one score and three interceptions, damaging anyone foolish enough to keep him in their Week 16 starting lineup.

His last foray with the Philadelphia Eagles didn't go well; he registered 189 yards, a touchdown and two picks during a 27-7 loss. Last year, however, he redeemed a dud at Philadelphia by closing 2014 with 429 yards, 185 to Beckham.

Only the New Orleans Saints—whom Manning torched for six touchdowns earlier this season—have relinquished more NFL.com fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Eagles. With his star receiver back and the matchup shifted to a promising home slate, trust Manning to end the season strong.

 

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Nick Wass/Associated Press

DeAngelo Williams is a star rusher about to receive a full workload against the NFL's worst rushing defense. But that's also what everyone said the first time the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cleveland Browns.

Heading into their Week 10 meeting, Williams had replaced the injured Le'Veon Bell as the starting running back, compiling 225 yards the previous week. The sky was the limit, but he finished with 69 yards on 18 touches.

Since then, Williams has averaged 116.4 yards per game. Better yet, the 32-year-old has scooped up six scores over those five matchups. As a heavily utilized part of Pittsburgh's No. 3-rated offense, that's no accident. According to NFLsavant.com, he has amassed 34 red-zone rushes, which ranks No. 7 despite him spending five games as Bell's understudy.

When leading the depth chart, he has a case as fantasy's top running back. Per NFL.com's standard scoring, he's the position's third-best scorer:

2015 RB Scoring Leaders
RankPlayerPTS*
1Devonta Freeman, ATL230.0
2Adrian Peterson, MIN217.9
3DeAngelo Williams, PIT189.3
4Doug Martin, TB188.5
5Todd Gurley, STL187.4
NFL.com

His last game against Cleveland appealed to all fantasy players for good reason. The Browns have surrendered an NFL-worst 135.0 rushing yards per contest. This time around, the Steelers need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, so Williams should get plenty of touches during a blowout. 

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

It has taken the entire season for everyone to appreciate Eric Decker as an elite wide receiver.

Looking at his game log, the New York Jets wideout hasn't had a bad performance this season. He has spread out his 11 touchdowns in 11 separate games, and he accrued 276 yards through the other three. Four catches for 81 yards, a solid line for most pass-catchers, represents his worst output of 2015.

Brandon Marshall tops him in receptions (101), yards (1,376) and touchdowns (13), but it's not a zero-sum game. NFL Network's Alex Gelhar observed both receivers' ability to coexist peacefully:

During the Jets' five-game winning streak, Decker has found the end zone four times. The other time he collected a season-high 101 yards on a dozen targets against the Giants. Per the team's Twitter page, he discussed his team's roll:

The Buffalo Bills were supposed to terrorize offenses after hiring head coach Rex Ryan. Instead, they rank No. 23 in passing defense and surrendered at least 20 points in five straight games before shutting down Kellen Moore's Dallas Cowboys.

Decker is tied with DeAndre Hopkins for most red-zone targets, per NFLsavant.com. Many unappreciative owners may realize this too late, but he's a worthwhile top-10 receiver.

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