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Under the radar fantasy football starts for Week 17

We take a look at some under the radar fantasy football plays for Week 17 of the NFL season.

Gerald Everett #7 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs with the ball while being chased by Rasul Douglas #31 of the Buffalo Bills in the first quarter at SoFi Stadium on December 23, 2023 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Week 17 is here and it’s time to look at some under the radar plays for your fantasy championship games. Injuries and matchups can help uncover players ready for opportunities and this week is no different.

Quarterbacks

Kyler Murray, Cardinals at Eagles

Murray hasn’t had a lot of fantasy appeal since returning this season, but he’s still running the ball and had his first two passing touchdown game last week against the Bears. He has three rushing touchdowns in the six games he’s played as well. The Eagles pass defense remains one of the worst in the league, allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Derek Carr, Saints at Buccaneers

Carr hasn’t shown much this season and even with good numbers over the last two weeks, I’m not ready to trust him. The good news is that he gets a useful fantasy matchup with the Buccaneers, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers vs. Saints

On the other side of this matchup, Baker Mayfield gets the much tougher defense, but has been playing well of late and even put up good numbers against the Saints early in the season. This is a huge game for the Buccaneers, as a win gets them into the playoffs. Mayfield followed up his tremendous 381 yards/4 TD outing against the Packers with a 283 yards/2 TD game against the Jaguars last week. The Saints on the other hand are coming off one of their worst pass defensive performances, as Matthew Stafford threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first 300+ yards game they gave up this season.

Jarrett Stidham, Broncos vs. Chargers

Stidham is a bit of a wild card, but he does get a strong matchup against the Chargers at home. We saw Stidham in a similar spot last year when he put up a big fantasy game against the 49ers in an overtime loss after taking over for Derek Carr. Add in that he rushed 14 times for 84 yards in his two starts to end last season, and there is some real hope for fantasy points.

Running backs

Tyjae Spears, Titans at Texans

The Titans don’t have any chance to get into the playoffs, so these last two weeks should be about getting their young players a little more work. Spears has seen a noticeable uptick in work over the last month, with 22 (targets/carries), 15, 10, 15 in his last four games.

The Texans have the fifth-worst DVOA against running backs in the receiving game and should be able to get a lead with C.J. Stroud back. Spears could be set up for a healthy amount of work in the passing game.

Zamir White, Raiders at Colts

White’s value of course is tied to Josh Jacob’s availability this weekend, as he is dealing with a quad injury and listed as doubtful. We’ve already seen what White can do with a big workload these last couple weeks and as long as Jacobs is out, he is a start.

Wide receivers

Demarcus Robinson, Rams at Giants

Robinson has been on fire of late, scoring a touchdown in four straight games and picking up a season high six receptions for 82 yards last week against a good Saints defense. This week he gets a much easier defense, as the Giants the sixth-most receptions and seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Demario Douglas, Patriots at Bills

Douglas is back from injury and coming off a game where he caught 5-of-9 targets for 74 yards from Bailey Zappe. Zappe has been better for the Patriots offense than Mac Jones and despite New England needing to lose for a better draft pick, they’ve won two of their last three. They already beat the Bills once this season and Douglas had a decent game, catching 4-of-6 passes for 54 yards and rushing once for 20 more yards. That game was the start of an uptick in work as well. We can expect a safe workload in a game they should be trailing.

Tight ends

Gerald Everett, Chargers at Broncos

The Broncos have allowed the most fantasy points and touchdowns to tight ends this season, while also ranking dead last in DVOA against tight ends. Those stats are great for Chargers tight end Gerald Everett, who has seen eight targets in each of his last three games, which leads the team over that stretch. He’s caught 17 of those, but hasn’t put up big yardage or touchdowns. This week the Chargers will be without Keenan Allen and Josh Palmer. That leaves no receivers that should demand targets, likely giving Everett the most targets again this week.

Juwan Johnson, Saints at Buccaneers

Johnson saw an uptick in snaps and usage last week and has caught a touchdown in each of his last two games. The Buccaneers rank sixth-worst in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and we’ve seen Kyle Pitts, Tucker Kraft and Evan Engram all have strong games over the last three weeks when facing Tampa Bay.