The best fantasy football stashes for Week 17
By: Malcolm McMillan
Well it is finally here. The end of the road. Week 17 (for most) represents the final week of the fantasy football season. After this, it is booking tickets to Cabo to celebrate the end of an exhausting 2021, and if you are lucky getting to watch your NFL team make a run at the Super Bowl.
Unless you play in a dynasty league.
If you play in a dynasty fantasy football league, you know that the season never ends for you, even if it is—admittedly—about to slow down significantly. Before that happens though, there is still a week to make some significant moves, and some players that could boost their stock going into 2022. This week the focus is going to be on those players; guys who could boost their stock for 2022 with a good Week 17 performance. Dynasty managers can then either hold these assets or flip them for a nice return on investment before the offseason gets underway.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn: RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ke’Shawn Vaughn has arguably been a bust so far in his career. Does it help him to be on a win-now team with two talented veteran running backs ahead of him in the depth chart? No, be even with that caveat it has still be disappointing. Last week though, there were finally signs of life. With starter Leonard Fournette out, Vaughn put in a solid relief performance behind Ronald Jones II. In fact, it was more than solid. In point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, Vaughn finished RB21 with 13 points. This week, Fournette is still out, and Vaughn gets an even better matchup against the abysmal New York Jets. So the stage is set for him to boost his stock.
This opportunity could not come at a better time. Last year, Fournette played well with Jones II injured, and turned it into a starting role this year. Now it could be Vaughn’s turn to shine, and given he is the only running back on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster in 2022 (for now), capitalizing on that opportunity could turn his career around.
Jaret Patterson, RB: Washington Football Team
While he was an impressive college player, Jaret Patterson was never expected to be a star in the NFL. He is undersized, and his athletic profile is nothing impressive despite his gaudy college stats. Plus, he is strictly a downhill runner, so the odds were against him to break through the Washington Football Team depth chart. However, he did just that, making it onto the 53-man roster despite his undrafted free agent status. Since making it that far though, he has stalled out as an occasional relief runner for starting running back Antonio Gibson.
Week 17 could change all that. Pass catching running back J.D. McKissic is already on injured reserve, and now Gibson is out on the COVID-19/reserve list. That leaves the backfield—potentially—solely in the hands of Jaret Patterson against a Philadelphia Eagles run defense that gave up two rushing touchdowns to the Washington backfield just two weeks ago, but not much else. If Patterson has a good performance against the Eagles, he could boost his stock going into 2022, when he and Gibson are the only running backs (currently) on the roster.
Deonte Harty: WR, New Orleans Saints
2021 has been a wild year for Deonte Harty, who started the year as Deonte Harris. The New Orleans Saints wide receiver has been suspended, been on the COVID-19 reserve list and changed his name and that was just in the past month. Prior to that, he flashed as one of the two wide receivers of note for the Saints (the other being Marquez Callaway). Now that he is back off the COVID-19 list for Week 17, he has a change to flash again against a reeling Carolina Panthers.
There are a couple of things going for Harty going into 2022. First, the Saints have a potential opening for a top wide receiver with Michael Thomas doing his best to be off the team in 2022. If they cannot trade Thomas, it may be worth it to cut the bridge-burning veteran receiver, as a post-June 1st cut would save the cap-starved Saints $15.8 million against the cap. Harty, as a restricted free agent, would be easy (and cheap) to bring back for 2022. His top HOG rate and targets per route run certainly indicate the Saints see something in him, and it would be surprising if they did not bring him back.
If the Saints do not bring Harty back for 2022, a great Week 17 performance would entice teams currently window shopping for a wide receiver. The 24-year old is currently trending up, and would be an attractive option for any team needing an intermediate to deep threat at wide receiver.