Amazing. In a year full of unknowns and sporadic adaptations due to a worldwide pandemic, the 2020 season is officially coming to a close this week after a full, 17-week schedule. While there were many hiccups along the way, fantasy football managers should be in their glory that they were able to finish this wild season that was at odds of being completed back in September. Yet fielding a full team in the last week of any regular season comes with its fair share of obstacles. Check out this list of Week 17 fantasy ‘must-starts’ that can help bring home those championship bragging rights.
Week 17 Fantasy Must-Starts
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Sure, it may sound weird to mention ‘Kirk Cousins’ in the same breath as ‘fantasy championship’. But he could be just what fantasy managers are looking for if they have a quarterback need going into fantasy championship Sunday (e.g. Patrick Mahomes resting or Russell Wilson’s average play as of late). Averaging 2.5 passing touchdowns over his past six games and totaling 270 yards or more in six of his last seven, Cousins continues to deliver the consistency of a mid-range QB1. With the Detroit Lions, who have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, on deck to close out the Minnesota Vikings season, expect a championship-caliber performance from the quietly effective signal-caller.
Highest-graded 2nd Half QBs:
1. Aaron Rodgers – 93.8
2. Patrick Mahomes – 91.4
3. Kirk Cousins – 89.3
4. Tom Brady – 88.1 pic.twitter.com/iATYOSfqeU
— PFF (@PFF) December 23, 2020
Running Back: Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins
An outstanding find for the Miami Dolphins, Myles Gaskin was becoming their primary back until a knee injury put him on the injured reserve list midway through the season. After missing four games and then returning for just one, he was placed on the COVID-19 list for Weeks 14 and 15. During both of his absences, running back Salvon Ahmed burst onto the scene with a few solid games, including a spectacular 100-plus yard day in Week 15 (Miami’s first back to do so since 2018). Enter Week 16 – the first time both backs had been healthy at the same time. Who would control the backfield? Fantasy owners who made the plunge to stick with Gaskin were heavily rewarded. Posting 169 total yards and two receiving touchdowns, Gaskin dominated the backfield putting an end to the question of which tailback will lead in Miami. In a must-win game against a red-hot Buffalo Bills team in Week 17, look for the Dolphins to give their main playmaker plenty of usage to keep their playoff hopes alive throughout this one.
Myles Gaskin PPR points in his last 5 games:
🔹 Week 16 – 33.9
🔹 Week 13 – 14.1
🔹 Week 8 – 13.3
🔹 Week 6 – 16.6
🔹 Week 5 – 20.1 pic.twitter.com/6Trk2FIpBP
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 28, 2020
Wide Receiver: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2007 as they completely dominated the porous Lions defense on Saturday. While there are numerous mouths to feed in Tampa Bay (and Tom Brady has been doing an excellent job at feeding them all), Mike Evans seems to be benefiting the most with his new quarterback, averaging a hefty 8.8 targets per game over the past six. After a monster game last week (10 catches for 181 yards and two scores), expect the Brady-Evans connection to continue as the Buccaneers look to take down their rival, the Atlanta Falcons, for the second time in three weeks. Evans has 13 touchdowns on the season and has already matched his catch total from last year (67). Worried about the Buccaneers resting their stars? Don’t be. If Tampa wins on Sunday, they travel to whatever NFC East team happens to slip into the playoffs; an excellent matchup for this top wildcard playoff team.
Mike Evans joined elite company in becoming 1 of just 7 players in NFL history with 8,000+ receiving yards and 60+ receiving touchdowns in their first seven seasons.
– Mike Evans
– Larry Fitzgerald
– Marvin Harrison
– Calvin Johnson
– Randy Moss
– Jerry Rice
– Sterling Sharpe
— Buccaneers Communications (@BuccaneersComms) December 26, 2020
Tight End: Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team
While showing a glimpse of brilliance throughout the first three-quarters of the season, statistically it just didn’t pan out for Logan Thomas. But after a huge game in an incredible upset of the then-undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, Thomas has become a shining star for the depleted tight end position, totaling 35 catches on 44 targets, 305 yards, and a score through the past four games. Even with the array of quarterbacks under center for the Washington Football Team, Thomas has still managed to produce with great success as a trusted go-to target as he emerges at the tight end position. With Alex Smith’s potential return, and their season on the line in Sunday night’s finale for the division (somebody’s gotta win the NFC East, right?), look for Thomas to continue to score points for fantasy managers when it matters most.
Logan Thomas plays really hard. Excellent signing. pic.twitter.com/cyrAYGQdr6
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 27, 2020