Bold NFL Predictions for Week 17
After a little holiday break filled with intense fantasy matchups, eating way too much food, and making sure to visit every side of the family, I’m back with bold predictions. I hope everyone had a great weekend and I hope you made it to all of your league championships. I was fortunate enough to win one league so far and I’m working on my second championship of the season this upcoming week. As for the bold predictions, it’s been far from victorious. In Week 15, we had a definite rough patch going one for six. For the misses, Justin Herbert did not finish as the QB1, the Texans did not upset the Chiefs (although, it was close), Jerry Jeudy did not dominate, Alvin Kamara was not a fantasy star, and David Njoku was not even close to being a top play. The only hit was that Ezekiel Elliott would extend his touchdown streak to seven games which has now been extended to eight after last week. Bold predictions aren’t for the weak. You have to be comfortable with falling on your face every so often, and I’m obviously willing to do that. Entering Week 17, let’s dust off the misses from previous weeks, mentally recover from the holiday-induced food comas and get back to dominating some bold predictions.
Justin Fields finishes as the QB1 for the week
This one is pretty simple. Justin Fields, the QB5 on the season, is playing against the worst defense in football. I don’t like to make cookie-cutter predictions like this, but the writing is on the wall. In his first matchup against the Lions this season, Fields threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns but did most of his damage on the ground with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard score in the fourth quarter. He absolutely feasted and they had no answer for him. Six weeks later and the circumstances for both sides are still the same. Justin Fields is still really good and the Detroit Lions’ defense is still really bad. Since Week 10, they have allowed three different quarterbacks to rush for a touchdown. They simply cannot stop quarterbacks on the ground. Through 16 weeks, they rank last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and last in rushing yards allowed to the position. Enter Justin Fields who ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing yards (first among quarterbacks) despite missing a game due to injury. It’s also worth noting that he’s just 196 yards shy of breaking the record for the most rushing yards for a quarterback in a single season. One can only assume that he’s aiming for the record given there isn’t much else to keep him motivated with the Bears being eliminated from playoff contention. Predicting a player to finish as the position leader for the week is always tough, but I have a good feeling about this one. This is the perfect matchup for a running QB and Fields is the best there is. Look for Justin Fields to finish as the QB1 for the week with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with a mediocre passing line.
Seattle beats New York and ends losing streak
Geno Smith and the Seahawks have been a great story in the NFL this season. Through 16 weeks, they find themselves in second place in the NFC West and vying for a Wild Card spot with just two weeks to go in the regular season, resulting in Smith’s first Pro Bowl selection of his nine-year career. However, they are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season. They’ve lost three straight games and their playoff hopes are slipping. It also didn’t help that in the middle of their playoff push, they had to face San Francisco and Kansas City. Nevertheless, they are still alive in the NFC and have a chance to punch their ticket to the postseason with two straight wins. It has to start with this Week 17 matchup with a Jets team that has been dealing with a losing streak of its own. While they should have quarterback Mike White back this week, they are still far from perfect. The running game has been non-existent, mustering just 50 yards against a bad Detroit defense in Week 15 before managing to gain just 66 yards on the ground in last week’s matchup with Jacksonville. White might be an upgrade for the Jets’ offense, but I don’t think he’ll be able to work wonders. This Seahawks team is just more put together at this point in the season. Geno Smith has been playing well, the run game has been efficient, and this team will be backed by one of the loudest home crowds in the NFL. In a must-win game for both teams, I’m picking the Seahawks to get a big win in front of the 12th Man.
Dalvin Cook eclipses 100 yards and scores against Green Bay
This has been a weird season for Dalvin Cook. At some points, he’s looked like the top-tier running back that we all know and love. At other points, he’s looked like a complete bust relative to his ADP. He rushed for just 64 yards against the Giants last week and hasn’t scored a touchdown since his Week 14 matchup with the Lions where he mustered just 23 yards on the ground. Even with his recent struggles, he’s the RB8 on the season with 1,109 yards and eight touchdowns through 16 weeks. You can’t keep great players contained for long and that includes Dalvin Cook. He’s due for a nice week and it should come against one of the worst run defenses in the league this week in Green Bay. The Packers have allowed the fifth most rushing yards to running backs this season, giving up 100-yard games to four different players. Green Bay as a team has been playing better as of late, but they are still weak at stuffing the run, giving up the ninth-most rushing yards per attempt to running backs since Week 13. In a game that should be in the Vikings’ favor for most of the contest, there should be plenty of opportunities for Dalvin Cook to get going. I’m predicting that the three-time Pro Bowl running back notches his third 100-yard game of the season and scores his ninth touchdown of the year.
Cam Akers flashes once again
Where has this guy been all season? After entering the 2022 campaign with high hopes, Cam Akers has been unplayable for most of the year. That was until Week 13 when he rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown against Seattle before scoring another touchdown against the Raiders a week later. He was serviceable against Green Bay in Week 15 with 65 yards on 12 carries, but he really broke out last week with 118 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in a win over the Broncos. This is the Cam Akers everyone thought they would get when they drafted him in the fifth round this season. Better late than never I guess. After flashing his talent over the last few games, he’s in a great spot to do it again this weekend. The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, giving up the second-most yards per attempt and seventh-most rushing yards per game. Moreover, they have given the most 100-yard games to running backs this season with eight. Last week, despite beating the Colts by 17 points in a blowout win, they allowed Zack Moss to rush for 65 yards on just 12 carries. No matter the game script, Cam Akers will have his chance to feast on this crosstown rival. I’m expecting the three-year vet to rush for at least 75 yards and a touchdown, building on his Week 16 performance.
Mike Williams finishes inside the top 5 for the week
After an extended absence in the middle of the season, Mike Williams has come back strong. Over the last three games, he’s averaged 86.3 yards per game on 4.7 catches, including 116 yards and a score against Miami in Week 14. Justin Herbert has been getting the ball to his playmakers and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue in this week’s matchup with the Rams. They give up the 13th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, ranking bottom-six in catches allowed. Star corner Jalen Ramsey has been hunted by opposing quarterbacks this season, and I expect him to be lined up against Mike Williams on the outside for most of the game. If Herbert can find Williams early and get him into a groove, he should be unstoppable throughout. In a tone-setting game for the Chargers, I expect the passing game to be a point of emphasis ahead of their upcoming playoff game. Just Herbert should be sharpening his iron and that includes getting Mike Williams the football over the course of the next two games. I’m predicting Williams to have at least 100 yards and a touchdown on five or more catches against the Rams this week and finish as one of the top pass-catchers of Week 17.
Courtland Sutton scores his second touchdown of the season
Why haven’t I learned my lesson? Why do I find myself drawn to this horrible offense that has shown almost zero signs of improvement? Am I delusional? I’m not sure, but I do know that Courtland Sutton has a nice matchup this week with the Kansas City Chiefs. Through 16 weeks, the Chiefs have had one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They give up the most passing touchdowns per game and the 10th-most passing yards through 16 weeks. They’ve been on a roll lately, but there is work to be done in the secondary. In Denver’s last matchup with its AFC West rival, Russell Wilson threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Sutton was not active for that game, but leading receiver Jerry Jeudy was able to score three times in his absence. This week, I’m expecting the Chiefs to give up another big performance to Wilson and the Broncos. That should mean that Courtland Sutton gets his fair share of opportunities to find the endzone for the first time since Week 4. I want to finish the last two weeks of the regular season on a high note, so this is extremely risky. However, this is the ‘bold predictions’ article, not the ‘play it safe’ article. Let’s ride with Broncos Country one last time and watch Courtland Sutton score his second touchdown of the season.
Will Holtz is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism. He has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and hopes to help fantasy managers become fantasy champions. When he is not writing about fantasy football, he writes about the NBA and spends time with his family and girlfriend.