Paddy Power Fantasy: Week 17 Studs and Duds in the NFL

The regular season is at an end.


As the clock ticks towards another year, another decade, and another postseason, Week 17 came and went with a flurry of games that didn’t matter and the unrivalled joy of everything not going exactly as the Patriots had planned for a change.

Ultimately though, with back-ups aplenty and most of the playoff berths already locked up, these games just don’t matter…unless you’re winning fantasy competitions!

Let’s have a look at who kept that fire alive for you in Week 17, one way or another:

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Stud: Dak Prescott – QB – Dallas Cowboys

Quick question fantasy fans; outside of MVP Lamar Jackson, who has been the best fantasy quarterback in football this year?

Would it surprise you to know that it’s the signal-caller for an 8-8 franchise, staring down the barrel of another empty off-season and look set to fire their head coach? Because it is indeed Dak Prescott!

Dak has had some bumps along the road in terms of results this year, but the Cowboys QB has never been to blame for their underwhelming season.

On Sunday he continued to show why the Cowboys are going to break the bank to pay his contract extension, as he led a 47-16 demolition of the hapless Washington Redskins. Dak threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns – three of them to Michael Gallup – while also adding 35 rushing yards for America’s Team.

Even a lost fumble couldn’t take the shine off this performance. What might have felt like a dark day for Dallas fans was certainly a great one for fantasy owners who plugged in Dak in Week 17.

Stud: Damien Williams – RB – Kansas City Chiefs

It’s been a weird year for Williams. He ended last season as the undisputed starting running back for the Chiefs after the ignominious departure of Kareem Hunt.

Then he got injured in the off-season, they drafted a speedy rookie in Darwin Thompson and Andy Reid split his backfield by bringing in old favourite LeSean McCoy on the eve of Week 1. Suddenly Williams was in a bad position for both himself and fantasy owners.

He has struggled with both fitness and game time all season long, but the last two weeks have seen a return to form. He saved his best for last as Williams carried the ball for 124 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns against the waning LA Chargers.

He also contributed 30 yards on 4 catches to show the exact kind of totals that Chiefs fans and fantasy managers alike want to see as Kansas City look forward to January football.

Stud: Tyler Higbee – TE – LA Rams

Tyler Higbee is the late-season gift that just keeps on giving!

We picked him out two weeks ago as a stud and mentioned his consistent production, and he continued that on Sunday against the team where his surge in form kicked off in Week 13; the Arizona Cardinals.

Including that game, Higbee has now gone for 522 total yards in his last 6 games, which made him an excellent value play in your fantasy line-ups this week. The rematch against the Cardinals in Week 17 saw Higbee catch eight balls for 84 yards.

He’ll be disappointed that he failed to reach the century mark in yards for the first time since week 12, but fantasy owners can be consoled by the fact that he also found the endzone for the third time this season.

The Rams may not be playing any more football this year, but since returning from injury Higbee has been a bright spark down the stretch for them and for your fantasy roster!

Dud: Mitchell Trubisky – QB – Chicago Bears

Remember on Thanksgiving when the Bears overcame an early David Blough flurry for a comeback win and Mitchell Trubisky was officially fixed? That was just over a month ago.

Trubisky is not fixed and Bears fans who know their team passed on Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are all too aware of that fact.

Trubisky showed his limitation once more in Week 17 against a Vikings team that was resting all of their starters. Despite a narrow win, the former second overall pick in the draft managed to throw for just 207 yards on 26 passes, and failed to notch a touchdown pass for the seventh game this season.

These are the numbers of a guy who just isn’t good enough, no matter how much scheming offensive ‘guru’ Matt Nagy can conjure up. It’s time for the Bears and fantasy fans to remove him from your plans.

Dud: Phillip Lindsay – RB – Denver Broncos

What are we to do with Phillip Lindsay? He always looks like a great value pick, and even in a season where it was expected that he would be sharing the backfield more with Royce Freeman, he has managed to run for over 1,000 yards.

That’s the benchmark of fantasy respectability. In a good match-up at home against a Raiders team who needed to win, all the Broncos had to do was grind out the clock and hand it off to their young running back.

They did try, giving Lindsay the ball 18 times in the backfield, but he could only turn that into 53 yards on the ground, and he failed to register a single catch in the passing game.

It’s the 10th game out of 16 this season that the second-year runner has failed to reach 60 rushing yards, and with uncertainty at the QB position and an already-crowded running back room around him, Lindsay needs to have a big third year to stick around in Denver. Let’s hope he delivers, for all our fantasy teams’ sakes.

Dud: Michael Thomas– WR – New Orleans Saints

Wait, what? The best receiver in fantasy football was a dud this week? Surely the Saints were resting all their starters? Or playing a really tough secondary perhaps? Did he get injured and leave the field?

The answer is no – it just turns out that Michael Thomas is actually human, and not a machine built to catch footballs and rack up fantasy points.

In an easy win against the coachless Carolina Panthers, Thomas failed to capitalise on his typically heavy workload. He caught just four of the nine balls tossed his way for a paltry 37 yards. The record-breaking wide receiver was outscored in fantasy this week by Russell Gage, Isaiah Ford and Vyncint Smith – and that’s not a typo, that’s actually how Smith spells his first name.

To add further insult to injury, his four catches mean that he fell just one catch shy of reaching 150 catches on the season, which would at least be a nice round number to remember whenever anybody brings up the record. Shame on you!

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