Well, folks, we’ve done it. We’ve reached the final regular-season week of the 2021-2022 NFL season. It’s been so fun outlining my favorite starts and sits each week, and this week was no different. OK, I lied about that last part. This was an extremely challenging week to pick because we won’t know exactly what players are playing until game time—and even then, we may see players play limited reps during their games.
I outlined each playoff team’s situation below, starting with teams that should be approached as normal.
Playing to Get In: 49ers, Chargers, Colts, Raiders, Ravens, Saints, Steelers
I’d avoid these next teams entirely until there’s confirmation on who’s playing. The only exceptions should be the Bills, Patriots, Cardinals, and Rams because they can clinch the division. The Bills and Rams have the upper hand.
Clinched But Can Impact Seeding: Bengals, Bills, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chiefs, Cowboys, Patriots, Rams, Titans
Teams like the Bengals have already said certain players will not play. Stay extra vigilant with updates before kickoff on Sunday and before the two Saturday games. Meanwhile, there is no real reason for the Packers and Eagles to play. The Packers are locked into the No. 1 seed and the Eagles can only get the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. Avoid normal starters from them.
Clinched and Probably Resting: Packers, Eagles
Have any more fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB!
Start: Kirk Cousins vs. CHI
It was tough to decipher which quarterbacks will fully play, so like with most players I touched on in this article, Cousins has no motivation for sitting out. Cousins hasn’t been the hottest quarterback over the last few weeks, though a final matchup against Matt Nagy could change that. Here’s a fun stat for you: Of the seven quarterbacks to throw more than 210 yards against Chicago this season, only one (Tyler Huntley) failed to score more than 16 points. For reference, Cousins is averaging 264.7 passing yards. I expect Cousins to sling the ball well enough at home, especially if Dalvin Cook doesn’t play. I like Trey Lance this week, too. His rushing upside sets a solid floor against Aaron Donald and the Rams.
Other Players to Consider: Derek Carr vs. LAC, Trey Lance at LAR
Sit: Ryan Tannehill at HOU
I was tempted to include bigger names who may not play the full game, but that seemed too easy. While Tannehill could also sit the second half or longer, let’s say he does play the full game. Tannehill hasn’t been a great fantasy quarterback in recent weeks, whether the Titans have won or not. He’s only hit 16 points once since Week 11. It doesn’t help that Houston is 9th in FPA (Fantasy Points Allowed) to quarterbacks. Don’t be fooled into thinking Tannehill is a good, cheap option against the Texans.
Other Players to Consider: Jalen Hurts vs. DAL, Tom Brady vs. CAR, Patrick Mahomes at DEN
Start: Devin Singletary vs. NYJ
Like I said earlier, Buffalo could shrug their shoulders and forgo a division title. After all, they have the leg up on the Patriots, who could lose to the Dolphins… just kidding. In all seriousness, Singletary has been too hot for Buffalo to keep on the bench. His production over the last four weeks has increased from 14.9 points in Week 14 to 23 points in Week 17. And the cherry on top? No team has allowed more points to running backs than the Jets. This game is set up perfectly for another huge week from Singletary, even if he’s benched halfway through.
Other Players to Consider: Dare Ogunbowale vs. IND, Rhamondre Stevenson at MIA, Chuba Hubbard at TB
Sit: Devonta Freeman vs. PIT
On the surface, this seems like a great matchup for Freeman. The Ravens are playing a must-win game against the 30th-ranked defense in FPA to running backs. Not so fast, my friend! Are we sure Freeman is even *looks around* good? He’s been wildly inconsistent as Baltimore’s primary back. In his last four games, he put up 12.2, 3.4, 10, and 8.7 points, respectively. Freeman has been better with Lamar Jackson, so perhaps he gets a boost when Jackson returns. For now, though, I just feel like there are better options than Freeman, who could easily see just six carries again.
Other Players to Consider: Packers replacement RBs at DET, Ke’Shawn Vaughn vs. CAR, Rex Burkhead at TEN
Start: Laquon Treadwell vs. IND
The Jaguars are in a similar situation as they were last week: They’re playing a good, run-heavy team that has to win. That could translate to a negative game script for Jacksonville. What does that mean for Jaguars’ receivers? You guessed it: More targets! If you are a regular reader of my fantasy content here at The Draft Network, then you know how high I’ve been on Treadwell lately. Since Week 12, Treadwell has averaged 4.6 receptions, 63.5 receiving yards, and 11.02 points. He’s been the ultimate definition of consistency. Although he doesn’t have much upside, Treadwell will be cheap enough to be in all lineups. He seems like an easy 10-14 points at minimum.
Other Players to Consider: Braxton Berrios at BUF, Marquez Callaway at ATL, Josh Reynolds vs. GB
Sit: Terry McLaurin at NYG
After starting the season on the Terry McLaurin hype train (yikes), I’ve done a complete 180 in the last couple of weeks. I even suggested you drop him altogether. So it should come as no shock that he’s my Sit of the Week. Look, it’s nice that he scored 13.1 points last week, but he failed to reach double-digit points in the previous five games. And while the Giants are pretty average at defending wide receivers—they’re 17th in FPA—McLaurin‘s situation and lack of production are too concerning. Don’t trick yourself into starting him this week.
Other Players to Consider: DeVonta Smith vs. DAL, Russell Gage vs. NO, Tee Higgins at CLE
Start: Pat Freiermuth at BAL
Freiermuth hasn’t exactly had the greatest stretch of four games. His highest point total in that time was 11.2 points. Never fear, for I am forecasting a bounce-back week in a pivotal matchup at Baltimore. And there just aren’t many good tight ends to start this week. At least with Freiermuth you know he has a solid enough floor to be a low-end TE2. The Ravens are 17th in FPA to tight ends, so I’m expecting Freiermuth to be at least a low-end TE1.
Other Players to Consider: Gerald Everett at ARI, Harrison Bryant vs. CIN
Sit: Dawson Knox vs. NYJ
I have Knox here for two main reasons. The first reason is this should be a relatively lopsided game. If that’s the case, I’d expect Buffalo to run the ball a ton and to bench their star players. Now you may be thinking, “But Zach, then why would I start Singletary?” Well, a positive game script likely means more runs and fewer passes. For a player who’s averaging fewer than five targets a game, Knox’s involvement would take a much harder hit than Singletary’s. Besides, Knox has seen just five targets over the last two games despite playing roughly 94% of the overarching snaps. He’s too risky to start this week.
Other Players to Consider: Hunter Henry at MIA, Cole Kmet at MIN