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High-upside wide receiver options for fantasy football in Week 17

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Berry hates Cooper, loves Nelson in Week 17 (2:15)

Matthew Berry lists the wide receivers to target and avoid for fantasy in Week 17. (2:15)

Last season, IBM introduced IBM Insights, a tool that uses Watson AI to analyze thousands of fantasy articles, blogs, websites and podcasts and provides support data to assist with fantasy football decisions.

Watson outputs an estimated scoring range for each player, as well as projecting the chances that a player will exceed the upside estimate ("boom") or fall short of the low-end estimate ("bust") on any given week.

For those looking for a tool to concentrate various web opinions into one location to help make roster moves, IBM offers Watson's Insights as an unsupervised, quantitative supplement to the more in-depth, personalized analysis that you would normally expect from an ESPN analyst.

This article points out a few notable insights from Watson for Week 17 of the NFL season, as of early Friday afternoon.


Wide receiver decisions

While wide receivers can provide some of the best fantasy value in a given week, it can be difficult to decide ahead of time which ones to start. Because most of the 32 teams in the NFL regularly run three-wide-receiver sets, there are a plethora of options available each week with the potential to score. IBM Insights provides information that can help make these decisions easier. Let's take a closer look at a few of the wide receiver options IBM Insights projects with the best value for this week.

Projections higher than rank

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

  • Weekly rank 63, 20th among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 21.2 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 8.8 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 26 percent

  • Bust chance: 24 percent

Golladay is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game with a chest injury, but he did play through that same injury last week to the tune of six receptions on 15 targets for 58 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. On Sunday, if he plays, he is projected for high volume against a weaker Packers pass defense. He's a bit of a risk due to the injury designation, but if he plays, Insights has him tagged as a potential WR1.

Watson's Insight: Golladay is a high-risk/high-reward play this week, potentially a WR1 if healthy, according to Insights.

Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

  • Weekly rank 145, 42nd among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 17.7 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 6.2 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 26 percent

  • Bust chance: 26 percent

Reynolds has been solid, if unspectacular, since taking over Cooper Kupp's role after Kupp got injured. He has between two and six receptions in five straight games, with a high mark of six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. Before Kupp went down, Reynolds notched a two-touchdown effort in Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. In the final game of the season, Insights tags Reynolds as a nice potential streaming option with WR2 projections.

Watson's Insight: Reynolds is a player who is available in many leagues that Insights has tagged as a potential WR2 for the season finale.

Most likely to go boom/least likely to bust

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

  • Weekly rank 108, 32nd among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 14.1 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 3.4 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 25 percent

  • Bust chance: 7 percent

Shepard had a huge game last week against the Colts, grabbing six receptions for 113 yards. With Odell Beckham Jr. officially shut down for the season, Shepard has another chance to operate as the No. 1 wideout, though he will be facing a strong Cowboys defense.

Watson's Insight: Shepard produced No. 1 wide receiver numbers last week, and Insights identifies him as a likely boom candidate this week against the Cowboys.

Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Weekly rank 232, 70th among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 15.5 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 4.1 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 26 percent

  • Bust chance: 6 percent

Crowder has missed much of the season due to injury, but he has averaged 3.7 receptions for 70.3 yards during the past three weeks, including a touchdown reception in Week 14. Insights projects him with more than four times the likelihood to boom than to bust this week, making him a potentially sneaky flex play in the season finale.

Watson's Insight: Crowder has been productive of late, and Insights identifies him as much more likely to boom than to bust to end the season.

Insights provided by IBM Watson in partnership with ESPN.