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Fantasy Insider: Strong Starts & Value Plays For Your Championship Round

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com is in his seventh season of Fantasy Football analysis on Seahawks.com. Scott is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame and a former FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award Winner. He can be heard on FNTSY Radio every morning and seen on FNTSY Sports Network daily on CenturyLink’s sports package and Dish Network.


If you have made it this far in your 2017 Fantasy Football season, then you are on the verge of tremendous glory. While there is no radio row or NFL Experience and the tons of hoopla that surrounds a real Super Bowl to commemorate the big Fantasy game, it means just as much to you on a personal level. And inside your head, there may as well be a crush of media asking a lot of questions. Because many Fantasy players obsess and second-guess themselves when they get to their league’s Super Bowl. But as any Seahawk who played in one of their two recent real Super Bowls might tell you, the biggest game is no time to crumble under pressure. Earl Thomas or Bobby Wagner might confirm, if asked, that they approach the big game the same they do every week. So don’t overthink things, second guess yourself too much, or sweat small details more than you normally would. Don’t worry about who the opposing team has, because all you can control is setting your own lineup. Make sound and clear decisions, stick with them, and hopefully a league trophy will soon be delivered by your mail carrier. 

Quarterbacks

*Case Keenum vs. GB: *He has been ultra-consistent over the last six games, scoring in the 17-point and above range in each of the past six weeks on NFL.com. Over the past four weeks, the Packers have allowed the most Fantasy Points Per game to opposing QBs on NFL.com (24.47). Keenum is having a surprising breakout year and is ready to lead you to a Fantasy championship this week. 

*Nick Foles vs. OAK: *Don’t be overly concerned about him being rested this week, because the Vikings must lose to the Packers on Saturday for the Eagles to wrap up the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, and Foles still needs reps with only one start so far and the second round of the playoffs still three-plus games away. Foles had a four TD starting debut last week and faces Oakland’s 23rd-ranked pass defense.

*Blake Bortles vs. SF: *Bortles is surging at the best time of the Fantasy season, with two or more TDs in each of his past four games and a pair of 300-yard outings in two of the last three. He is tied for the NFL lead with seven TD passes in December. The 49ers have allowed 18.99 FFPG to opposing QBs on NFL.com this season, the third-highest total in the league. 

Running Backs

*Alex Collins vs. IND: *Expect a bounce-back week for Collins as he continues to finish off an impressive campaign in which he rose to somewhat unexpected prominence as Baltimore’s lead runner. Over the past four weeks, the Colts have allowed 543 rushing yards to opposing RBs, the second-highest total in the league. 

*Jerick McKinnon vs. GB: *He caught seven passes for 114 yards last week and now faces a Packers team that has allowed the most receptions (34) and the second most receiving yards (311) to opposing RBs over the past four games. McKinnon is a nice upside play for Week 16. McKinnon has 184 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in his past two games against Green Bay. 

Dion Lewis vs. BUF: Look for Lewis to seize a significant opportunity as the Patriots are missing Rex Burkhead and can certainly run the ball effectively against the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the most FFPG to opposing RBs on NFL.com this season (22.01) and the most rushing yards of any AFC team (1,536). Lewis had 92 rushing yards vs. Buffalo in Week 13. 

*Theo Riddick vs. CIN: *He has re-emerged as Detroit’s clear No. 1 Fantasy producer at RB, and Riddick continues to be a very viable flex play in PPR formats, as he also has three rushing TDs in his past three games. No team has allowed more receiving yards to RBs than the Bengals this season (772). 

Wide Receivers

*Doug Baldwin vs DAL: *You won’t bench him in most cases, but even if you have a loaded WR crew, he has to get into your starting mix, as you’ll get a big rebound week from Baldwin. You can’t doubt him in a must-win game for the Seahawks this week. The Cowboys have allowed an NFL-high 19 TD passes to opposing WRs, including six over the past four weeks, second-highest in the league during that span. Baldwin has three TDs in his past six road games. It’s time for four in seven. 

*Kendall Wright vs. CLE: *He has 17 catches for 188 yards over his past two games as the Bears’ passing game has started to evolve more under rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky. Wright will be a fine PPR league play as a Fantasy WR3 this week, as the Browns have allowed an AFC-high 61 receptions to opposing WRs over the past four games. 

*Martavis Bryant vs. HOU: *With Antonio Brown out, Bryant must step up and play a more important role for the Steelers this week. The Texans’ secondary presents an ideal opportunity for Bryant to have one of his best games of the season. Houston has allowed 23.86 FFPG to opposing WRs this season, the fourth-highest total in the league. 

Mike Wallace vs. IND: Like Bryant, he is listed as one of my Top 10 WRs to use if you are without Antonio Brown this week. Wallace has caught at least five passes in three of his past four games and 277 receiving yards in his past three. He is needed to play a larger role in the Baltimore offense with Jeremy Maclin out and the Colts having allowed 22.78 FFPG to opposing WRs this year, the third highest figure in the league. 

Tight Ends, Defense/Special Teams & Kickers

If you need to stream a TE this week, consider Vernon Davis *vs. Denver and *Jesse James vs. Houston. … The Bears are a prime defensive play against the Browns, and Washington is a good deeper play vs. the Broncos. … If you need to replace Greg Zuerlein at kicker, Robbie Gould, Phil Dawson and Josh Lambo have all been among the most productive players at the position in the past four weeks.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

Expect a quick turnaround from the Seattle offense this week. Dallas has allowed 26 TD passes, the third highest total in the NFC. Russell Wilson has 15 TDs in his past six road games and two or more passing TDs in eight of his past nine games. … The receiving TD numbers above in the Baldwin outlook also bode well for Paul Richardson. Tyler Lockett is also worth a play in deeper leagues. … Mike Davis has 65-plus scrimmage yards in two of his past three games and deserves some flex consideration. 


For more from Scott Engel and the RotoExperts team to help you prepare for Super Bowl week, please visit RotoExperts.com and fntsy.com/radio. Here are Scott’s Week 16 Fantasy Football Lineup Rankings

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