NFL Challenge: Fantasy analyst Adam Rank's Week 17 picks
Last Updated: 27/12/18 6:30am
Fantasy analyst expert Adam Rank takes on the NFL Challenge, picking his team for the final week of the 2018 regular season...
Each week you get to pick a passing offense, rushing attack, defense and special teams unit to pick up points for your team while, on top of that, you can select a quarterback, running back and wide receiver to score additional points. Register to play by clicking here.
Adam Rank: Week 16 points
|Seahawks passing offense||28|
|Titans rushing offense||15|
|Rams special teams||7|
|Jared Goff, QB (Captain)||36|
|Nick Chubb, RB||11|
|DeAndre Hopkins, WR||10|
Welcome to Week 17. This is where things will get a little bit tricky. The Saints have locked up the top overall seed and home-field advantage in the NFC with their win over the Steelers. Here's a fun fact to drop in conversation over the holiday week, no Super Bowl participant has won a single road playoff game since the 2012 postseason - the Ravens and 49ers won at least one road playoff game en route to a meeting in Super Bowl XLVII. That doesn't matter much in fantasy football, but it's a fun fact.
But that also means to avoid the Saints players this week from the NFC. The Cowboys are also locked into their No 4 seed, so they might not much incentive to play their starters for this week either. The good news is the Rams and Bears both have a shot at the No. 2 seed, so all of those players are available to you. The AFC is also wide open, so we don't have too many teams to avoid this week, which is huge. Let's make some picks...
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Pittsburgh Steelers passing offense
Obviously, if you have one more chance to use the Chiefs offense, you need to do that right here. If not - and I advised burning through them a long time ago - the Steelers are another great option. The Steelers must win at home against Cincinnati and then count on a lot of help from - wait for it - the Browns. Oh yes, how the tables have turned for the Steelers. But the Browns have some spirit this week, so it's not a complete lost cause. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints on Sunday. It was the 20th time in his career he has topped 380 in a game. The bummer is that he's 1-4 in his last five such games. Well, it's a bummer if you're a Steelers fan. It's great for the rest of us.
New England Patriots rushing offense
The Patriots have scored at least two rushing touchdowns in six games this season. In fact, Sony Michel scored his first touchdown since Week 12 on a four-yard run in the first quarter against the Bills last weekend - on a drive where the Patriots ran the ball on every down. Seriously, it looked like the Patriots were trying to protect Tom Brady like he was some sixth-round rookie. It was incredible. The Patriots gained 390 yards against the Bills. And yeah, 273 came on the ground. Look, if the Patriots want to run the ball like it's the 1970s, I'm here for it. I'm getting them into the lineup.
Baltimore Ravens defense
The Ravens defense was absolutely dominant against the Chargers on Saturday night. The Chargers had looked like the best team in the NFL heading into that game, but the Ravens changed that notion with a ferocious pass rush that harangued quarterback Philip Rivers all night. The Ravens defense allowed less than 200 total yards to the Chargers. I'm not sure if Baker Mayfield hates somebody on the Ravens - because it really seemed to motivate him against the Bengals and former coach Hue Jackson - but he's going to need to play his best game.
Houston Texans special teams
I'm sure that I'm merely going to just jinx Ka'imi Fairbairn by just putting this out there, but the dude is automatic. He had only one field goal against the Eagles, but he did have five the previous week against the Jets. So I'll do the disingenuous fantasy analyst thing and say, 'hey look, he's made six of his last six field goals in his last two games'. It sounds more impressive that way and really fits my narrative much better. But again, the Texans really need to win to seal the AFC South. The Jags defense rose to the occasion down in Miami. But that was the Dolphins and so barely counts. Also, this is a dome game. Love it.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Captain)
All right, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm going to double-up on the Steelers here. Look, Big Ben loves rising to the occasion when the narrative warrants it. This is why he always plays well when he lets the world know that he's hurt. This is exactly what he does. And really, let's not rule out the Browns upsetting the Ravens. So I look for Roethlisberger to once again go after that 380-yard mark. He might even get to five touchdowns this week.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
He's simply been too hot to leave on the bench right now. I need to say this, though. Blaine Gabbert. You're at the goal line last week against Washington, and I know you're supposed to play-fake that stuff and throw it to MyCole Pruitt. That's right, MyCole Pruitt! But you couldn't audible out of that and just give it to our guy? Unbelievable! That's like when you send your mate out for beers and he shows up with American lagers. I'm American and I don't like that stuff. I don't feel like this is going to be a great matchup because the Colts did a nice job on Saquon Barkley last weekend, but I'm playing the volume.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Hey, if you don't feel great about doubling-up with the Steelers, you could look towards Nick Foles. Did you know that Foles is the Eagles franchise leader with four 400-yard passing games? I know, it's kind of weird with stats like that because teams didn't throw the ball that much until recently. It's like saying hey, this is the fastest plane in history. But the history of flight hasn't been that long when you consider all of recorded history. But, anyway, we are talking about Alshon Jeffery here. Foles loves him. Jeffery averaged five receptions per game for 54 yards with Carson Wentz at quarterback. He goes for six receptions for 121 yards with Foles. This one is pretty easy.