2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview

by Richard Savill
2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview

When it came to announcing, John Madden owned it. Period. I recall how Chris Collinsworth nervously took the chair Madden once occupied next to Al Michaels. He knew he wasn't replacing just anyone. Calling games with Michaels is a large enough star-struck duty in itself. And especially considering that Al Michaels has near-matching credentials in his own right.

Remember when broadcasters experimented with "announcer-less" games? Yeah, that did not go over so well. We want eyes and ears connected to a voice at the games. Relating to viewers something of the atmosphere, background, adding knowledge, insight, and humor to the event.

John Madden had all that and more. It's hard to quantify all the nebulous influences his legacy bestowed upon how we watch football today. No other sport had a personality in its midst quite like him. We can talk about Bob Uecker in baseball or Don Cherry in hockey, but Madden had a different and much more elevated presence in the NFL far beyond the level of a mere sports personality.

Pat Summerall and John Madden

Most recall John Madden's pairing with Pat Summerall during the 1980s and 1990s as the undisputed "A" broadcast team for the NFL. Even the network plugs they did had a certain charm. "Coming up tonight on CBS, it's Angela Lansbury and 'Murder, ... She Wrote.'" With that slightly sustained comma.

Madden and Summerall brilliantly superseded the time-worn Howard Cosell cigar era with a fresh approach. Every retrospective you've seen in the days since his passing always include words like "doink", "boom", and other catch-phrases which became Madden trademarks. Including his telestrating doodles to compliment the narrative. The good times.

And he kept Thanksgiving the best of anyone. No one ever heard of a Turducken until Madden came along. This and all the other things he did for NFL football is just too immense to capture in this small intro.

Rest in Peace, John Madden.

By the way, it's championship week. John Madden inspiration pushed me make time to write one more Blurbview for 2021.

The 2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview is next.

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2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview

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The Games this Week2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. Time to set those lineups and watch 'em play.

Early Sunday: Chiefs (11-4) at Bengals (9-6) +5.5 49.5

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The Bengals proved themselves against a divisional rival; now they face a conference rival. How does this work out?

As we saw last week, Joe Burrow can certainly dish out some damage on offense when he posted club and league highs in passing yards for a single game. However, the Chiefs' defense crumpled the Pittsburgh aerial offense in Week 16. Najee Harris somehow managed 93 yards on 19 totes, but much of that yardage came in garbage time.

Burrow Mobility

Burrow has dynamic mobility in the pocket, as the young ones do, so the Chiefs will pursue Burrow constantly in this game. Joe Mixon too will help to wear down the front, making the second half much easier for Burrow to inflict pain with Higgins, Chase, and Boyd. So if your downfield Bengals have a slow first half, do not despair.

For the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire will sit out, and those with Darrel Williams should expect a reasonable return. Williams has tall upside, but this time around, Derrick Gore may cut slightly more into the backfield pie than during the previous CEH injury outage.

Fun Fact: Joe Burrow had 299 passing yards before halftime in Week 16 - the most in a first half by an NFL quarterback this season.
Sleeper: Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
Pick Poll: Chiefs 77%
Weather: 34° Overcast

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief...

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Rams (11-4) at Ravens (8-7) +3.0 46.5

The question of the week: Can you start Cam Akers in your fantasy final? Frankly, I would not chance it. That is, unless your projection looks so bad versus your opponent that a "might as well" approach seems like the only thing left. The result of this game has major playoff ramifications in so many AFC and NFC scenarios. May your Kupp runneth over...
Pick Poll: Rams 84%
Weather: 61° Overcast

Giants (4-11) at Bears (5-10) -6.0 37.5

The Bears proved their prowess in the snow last week in Seattle, but that wasn't ice cold. This game is a bit too chilly to expect high fantasy totals, but at least Saquon Barkley looks like a better Flex option than in recent outings. No other Giants should be anywhere near your championship roster. For the Bears, their sideline will somehow look warmer than the Giants'.
Pick Poll: Bears 91%
Weather: 21° Overcast

2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Blurbview

Falcons (7-8) at Bills (9-6) -14.5 44.5

A single loss eliminates the Falcons, but they are still out if the 49ers and Eagles win. Where has Cordarrelle Patterson been these past two weeks? I am ranking Patterson as a risky RB/WR #30 or thereabouts. Kyle Pitts is a yes, and Russell Gage is a playable Flex. For the Bills, do not chase Isaiah McKenzie points. As for the rest, use due diligence as the weekly ranks suggest.
Pick Poll: Bills 98%
Weather: 24° Foggy
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Raiders (8-7) at Colts (9-6) -7.5 45.0

The Raiders are out with a loss if the Chargers and Ravens win, or four other combos. On Tuesday, Carson Wentz went on the list, and you have to suspect Jim Irsay really shook the tree with shouts over the phone. Within a half hour, the league further relaxed the protocols. The Colts need just a win and nothing else for a playoff spot. Jonathan Taylor wins big for you, congrats.
Pick Poll: Colts 82%
Weather: Dome

Buccaneers (11-4) at Jets (4-11) +13.0 45.5

Tom Brady continues his pursuit of the MVP title. Aaron Rodgers perhaps has the upper hand, but what a matchup for Brady to hammer a point. If you have Antonio Brown (Q), you can put the champagne in the ice bucket too. However, this could easily be a Gronkfest instead. Sit all the Jets and I would go as far to say that dropping them for other options on waivers is a better idea.
Pick Poll: Buccaneers 98%
Weather: 56° Overcast

Jaguars (2-13) at Patriots (9-6) -15.5 41.5

Although Dare Ogunbowale has the lead touch upside for the Jags, I would consider playing him hazardous for a fantasy championship. Even a DFS start looks dubious because the matchup is terrible. The Patriots need a win plus a loss from either the Dolphins or Raiders and they are in. If your decision comes down to a player in this game, go with the other choices.
Pick Poll: Patriots 98%
Weather: 50° Overcast

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Dolphins (8-7) at Titans (10-5) -3.5 41.0

There are 10 different scenarios where the Dolphins are out if they lose. Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, and A.J. Brown are the only safe options to play in this game. DeVante Parker is not safe, but startable. D'Onta Foreman looks like a risky Flex now considering how this backfield timeshare is developing. Tennessee clinches the AFC South with a win.
Pick Poll: Titans 79%
Weather: 40° Overcast

Eagles (8-7) at Washington (6-9) +3.5 46.0

Without Miles Sanders, we return to an uncomfortable backfield split, which is too much guesswork for any fantasy starters. Continue to ride Jalen Hurts and Antonio Gibson for your final. If Terry McLaurin comes up in a 50-50 "who to start" decision, give the edge to McLaurin. This game has more potential for boom than bust for downfielders on both sides.
Update: Jaret Patterson is a risky fill, but as a volume play he can Flex. (Dec 31 13:52 ET)
Pick Poll: Eagles 76%
Weather: 63° Overcast

Late Sunday: Cardinals (10-5) at Cowboys (11-4) -5.5 51.5

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Originally scheduled for the early window. It makes sense, I suppose, because the other big game of Week 17 (Chiefs at Bengals) would clash. The NFL continues to flex everything for television audiences. As with almost every game this week, major playoff implications abound.

The Cardinals are noticeably weaker without DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup. Christian Kirk and A.J. Green just do not have the same ability to get open. This game will test young Kyler Murray's scrambling ability with Micah Parsons in the hunt.

James Conner may be active, but his presence could likely be light duty in comparison to Chase Edmonds. So Edmonds owners can relax somewhat, whereas Conner owners need to weigh the risk.

For the Cowboys, only Michael Gallup did not get a party invitation last week against Washington. Perhaps Dak Prescott will remedy that this week in another "all-play" fantasy game script.

As for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Zeke holds the front and Pollard continues as a tough-to-trust Flex option.

Just a reminder, this game will have that annoying glare through the windows of AT&T, which hampers the receivers' tracking of the ball. This is one of the reasons the schedulers have put most of the Dallas games on the early slate this season.

Fun Fact: The Cowboys lead the league in interceptions with 25. Trevon Diggs has 11 of those and also leads the league. Diggs has equal to or more interceptions than 14 teams have in total.
Sleeper:  Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Pick Poll: Cowboys 69%
Weather: Dome

Other Late Games in Brief...

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2021 Fantasy Football Week 13 Blurbview

Panthers (5-10) at Saints (7-8) -7.5 38.0

Sam Darnold returns as starter for the Panthers; Taysom Hill for the Saints. Well, Ian Book certainly isn't ready for prime time, and as a result, the Saints now have just four scenarios in which they can make the playoffs. Taysom Hill can help win your fantasy final along with Alvin Kamara. Sit all the Panthers, including D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
Pick Poll: Saints 86%
Weather: Dome

Texans (4-11) at Forty-Niners (8-7) -15.0 45.0

The Texans seem to relish the role of playoff spoiler. As was the case all season, Brandin Cooks remains the only starter from Houston. Jimmy Garoppolo has "a chance" to start, but Trey Lance will likely be the guy. This is important for your other fantasy starters on this team. Lance prefers to run for space than command the pocket; which could dampen their upside somewhat.
Pick Poll: Forty-Niners 96%
Weather: 53° Clear
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Lions (2-12-1) at Seahawks (5-10) -7.0 42.5

Depending on the Seahawks for the championship, eh? A few weeks ago, that might have been the kiss of death. The recent record seems to indicate that Rashaad Penny steps up in good matchups and the Lions are just that. Confidence for Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf remains low, but they must start. What about Amon-Ra St. Brown of Detroit? That's a yes and for 2022 too.
Pick Poll: Seahawks 89%
Weather: 38° Drizzle

Broncos (7-8) at Chargers (8-7) -5.5 45.0

Both teams need to win out to make the playoffs and have help. The Chargers should have Austin Ekeler back for your final, as well as Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton. The Broncos always clog up offensive hopes, but with Drew Lock, things have a chance to open up. If you have Justin Herbert, there's hope for a good day in this one.
Update: Jared Cook, Jerry Jeudy - list. Cook was always a touchdown or bust option this season. Next man up at TE, Stephen Anderson, projects the same. As for Jeudy's impact, Tim Patrick is a "safer" Flex now if he comes off the list, but Courtland Sutton (Q) remains as is. (Dec 31 16:50 ET)
Pick Poll: Chargers 91%
Weather: Dome

Feature Games

Sunday Night: Vikings (7-8) at Packers (12-3) -6.5 47.5

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If the Eagles beat Washington or the Falcons somehow defeat the Bills earlier in the day, the Vikings face elimination in this game and must win to stay alive.

The Packers can lock up the top seed with a win and a Cowboys' loss to the Cardinals. Either way, the Packers need a win to keep the Cowboys at bay. The Cowboys hold the advantage in tie-breaks with the Packers.

Fantasy Festival of Points?

Good question. With temperatures hovering just above 0° Fahrenheit, that's getting damn cold and not just chilly. Granted, the 5°F high forecast for this game is balmy in comparison to the famous Ice Bowl (-15°F) of 1967, but taking off that warm coat to get on the field? You feel it.

Under warmer conditions, I'd normally say yes to a bonanza of fantasy points. The game script screams for it. On this occasion, temper zee eggs - for the receivers anyway. That said, you can't sit Davante Adams or Justin Jefferson*. I think they both manage fantasy norms and red zone looks always magnetize in their direction.

It's still good for the ground crew on both sides, as you'd expect, right? The only issue Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook need to prepare for is extra emphasis on ball securement.

Update: Kirk Cousins is on the list. This really throws shade on all your Vikings downfielders. Even Dalvin Cook takes a hit. *You have to start Jefferson and Cook and have a white knuckle ride through the final. (Dec 31 13:51 ET)

Fun Fact: The average NFL passing game over the last 8 years in single-digit weather or colder: 16 completions, 160 yards, 0.3 touchdowns. This stat came via Paul Charchian on Twitter.
Sleeper: A.J. Dillion, RB, Packers
Pick Poll: Packers 93%
Weather: 9° Clear

Monday Night: Browns (7-8) at Steelers (7-7-1) +3.0 41.0

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It's a de facto playoff game. The winner stays alive, and the loser goes home.

Ben Roethlisberger made a statement to reporters that this would be his last game at Heinz Field. This is something you should say after the game and not before. In my humble opinion, that is.

But Ben is right. Even if the Steelers beat the odds and make the playoffs, Week 18 and the post-season would be on the road for Pittsburgh.

Fantasy Final of the Finals

The game script will not favor you much if your deficit is too large. It's just not that kind of game.

Look for Nick Chubb and Najee Harris to score, but beyond that, you are just looking for fantasy norms in the passing game with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Anything above is a bonus.

The receivers on the Browns, as you know by now, are hit or miss. Yet I sense that Donovan People-Jones could cash in this week with 10+ fantasy points.

Fun Fact: Ben Roethlisberger has six game-winning drives in 2021. Most in the league to this point.
Sleeper: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Browns
Pick Poll: Browns 65%
Weather: 31° Clear

In the Booth on Sunday

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CBS Early

Chiefs at Bengals: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Giants at Bears: Spero Dedes, Jay Feely
Dolphins at Titans: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green
Jaguars at Patriots: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

FOX Early

Rams at Ravens: Adam Amin*, Greg Olsen
Eagles at Washington: Aaron Goldsmith, Mark Schlereth
Raiders at Colts: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma
Falcons at Bills: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez
Buccaneers at Jets: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

*Kevin Burkhardt is out this week, Adam Amin switches to Rams @ Ravens and Aaron Goldsmith takes Amin's original spot with Eagles @ Washington

CBS Late

Broncos at Chargers: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis
Texans at 49ers: Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta

FOX Late

Cardinals at Cowboys: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Lions at Seahawks: Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib
Panthers at Saints: Brandon Gaudin, Matt Millen

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1 comment

2021 Fantasy Football Week 17 Start-Sit - Fantasy Six Pack December 31, 2021 - 7:31 am

[…] sure to not miss the  Week 17 Blurbview – with updates throughout the weekend! A concise preview of all the games, players, weather, […]


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