Congratulations if you are still playing for a fantasy championship. This year’s final week of the regular seaosn could get a little crazy with players resting and teams having nothing to play for, so make sure you pay attention to reports this week about your guys.
START OF THE WEEK: Aaron Rodgers (@ DET)
The Packers will have the most to play for out of any team in Week 17, so Rodgers is the #1 quarterback play (if the Redskins win, the Packers and Lions are playing for one playoff spot). Rodgers lit up the Lions in the first half of their first meeting, but he had a quiet second half. #12 should light them up all game with the way Green Bay’s offense has been playing in the second half of the season.
START: Kirk Cousins (vs NYG)
Cousins and the Redskins are right up there with the Packers as far as what they’re playing for (i.e. a playoff spot). The Giants have a tought defense, but there’s a good chance the starters don’t play all game with the #5 seed locked-in. Even if they did, Cousins would be a good play; the Redskins will rely on their quarterback’s arm to get them into the postseason.
START: Philip Rivers (vs KC)
If this is indeed the Chargers last game in San Diego, expect Rivers and the offense to go out with a bang. The Chiefs will come out ready to play since a win could potentially get them the two-seed, but I can picture Rivers having a big day one final time in San Diego.
START: Sam Bradford (vs CHI)
Despite injured weapons all around him, the worst offensive line in the league, and an underachieving defense on the other side of the ball, Bradford has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this season. Sammy Sleeves will have one more chance to prove himself to the Vikings or someone else for 2017.
SIT OF THE WEEK: Ben Roethlisberger (vs CLE)
As of this writing, it is still unclear if Pittsburgh will rest Roethlisberger and their other star players. Either way, Big Ben should be benched for a more reliable option, because if he’s active, it probably won’t be any longer than a series or two.
SIT: Dak Prescott (@ PHI)
The same could be true for Dak Prescott. Although there seems like there’s more of a chance that the rookie plays than Big Ben, it would be a shock to see Dak playing into the second half this Sunday. Tony Romo probably won’t see the field either; it will be Mark Sanchez against his former team.
SIT: Eli Manning (@ WAS)
Eli is said to be playing this week, but for how long remains anyone’s guess. Even if they said he was playing the whole game, Manning hasn’t been a good option all season. Look somewhere else.
SIT: Blake Bortles (@ IND)
As far as playing time is concerned, Bortles is probably one of the safer options this week. But is he someone you want to be trusting in your fantasy championship? I don’t think so.
START OF THE WEEK: Mark Ingram (@ ATL)
Angry Mark Ingram has looked like an elite NFL running back. Tied for second in the NFL with 5.1 yards per carry, Ingram needs 60 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Against Atlanta’s favorable run defense, expect Sean Payton to make sure it happens.
START: Darren McFadden (@ PHI)
McFadden has been the clear backup to Ezekiel Elliott since returning from a long absence, and he could be in-line for the start this week if Zeke is rested altogether. Remember, McFadden had 1,000 rushing yards for Dallas as the starter just last season, including 117 yards against the Eagles last November.
START: Fitzgerald Toussaint (vs CLE)
The former three-year starter at running back for the Michigan Wolverines could get an NFL start this Sunday. Le’Veon Bell isn’t going to play to avoid injury, and DeAngelo Williams could also be out or have a limited role as he works back from a knee injury. That leaves Toussaint as the starter, and he’s in a great spot against Cleveland.
START: Alfred Blue (@ TEN)
Blue was the starter on Christmas Eve with Lamar Miller out, and he showed well, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown. Houston is the #4 seed no matter what happens this Sunday, so Miller will probably be held out so he’s healthy in two weeks. The Titans are not an imposing matchup, so Blue is a high-end RB2.
Others: Tevin Coleman (vs NO), Derrick Henry (vs HOU)
SIT OF THE WEEK: Ezekiel Elliott (@ PHI)
McFadden is a Start, so Elliott must be a Sit. Zeke has an insurmountable lead for the rushing title, and the Cowboys have the #1 seed locked-up, so there is no reason for Elliott to play this Sunday. If he is active, you’re basically just hoping he dominates on the first series or two of the game before being pulled.
SIT: DeMarco Murray (vs HOU)
The Titans spent a second-round pick on Derrick Henry in the offseason, so, being out of the playoff race, they might give him a heavier workload this Sunday. Murray has looked a little worn down recently, but he’s still a solid play. I just wouldn’t consider him an RB1 for Week 17.
SIT: Spencer Ware (@ SD)
Ware is dealing with a rib injury, so Kansas City could decide to ease up his workload or make him inactive as they prepare for the postseason. The Chiefs would get the #2 seed with a win and a Raiders loss, but they can probably afford to rest Ware with Charcandrick West and now Tyreek Hill getting snaps at running back.
SIT: Doug Martin (vs CAR)
If you’re a Martin owner, you probably know he was inactive last week as a healthy scratch. What a fall from a guy that signed a five-year deal for nearly 36-million dollars this offseason. Even if he is active for Week 17, which looks unlikely, Martin is impossible to trust.
Others: Isaiah Crowell (@ PIT), Rashad Jennings (@ WAS)
START OF THE WEEK: Ty Montgomery (@ DET)
Yes, he is a running back but, logistics. Did you really think I wouldn’t have Ty Montgomery as a Start in the last Start/Sit of the season? Montgomery had a quiet Week 16 after his 162-yard Week 15, but it was because he wasn’t needed as Aaron Rodgers torched Minnesota with Jordy Nelson. The Packers and Lions will play this week for the NFC North title, so Mike McCarthy will rely on his dynamic playmaker. He is an RB1/WR1.
START: Eli Rogers (vs CLE)
With Antonio Brown out to rest for the playoffs, Eli Rogers could be the focal-point of Pittsburgh’s offense this week. Now, Big Ben (also rest) won’t be throwing him the ball, but Rodgers does have the pleasure of facing the Browns. Sammie Coates could also be a good option.
START: Steve Smith Sr. (@ CIN)
Steve Smith Sr. will suit up for the final time this Sunday in Cincinnati. The future Hall of Fame wideout will probably be fed targets to close out his illustrious career, and it’s not like he doesn’t have anything left in the tank. Smith caught all seven of his targets last week for 79 yards and a score.
START: Marqise Lee (@ IND)
The Jaguars went off last week in the first game without Gus Bradley, and that included Allen Robinson having a big day. Robinson will probably see a lot of Vontae Davis on Sunday, so that leaves Marqise Lee with some favorable coverage. Finally healthy, Lee will be a popular breakout candidate in 2017.
Others: Adam Thielen (vs CHI), Golden Tate (vs GB)
SIT OF THE WEEK: Odell Beckham Jr. (@ WAS)
He is supposedly playing this week, but I would want no parts of Odell in my lineup. First of all, “playing” could be one series. Also, even if he does play more than that or the majority of the game, Josh Norman is sure to shadow his buddy in a game that Washington needs to win.
SIT: Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree (@ DEN)
I probably would have had these two as Sits against Denver no matter what, and now they definitely are with Derek Carr (leg) out for the Raiders. New quarterback Matt McGloin probably won’t have great chemistry with either guy, so you probably either need a deep ball or another big play. If forced to play one, I would lean Cooper.
SIT: Dez Bryant (@ PHI)
Bryant did it all last week, but he could do nothing this week. Brice Butler could be a good option against the weak Eagles cornerback group with Dez expected to be rested.
SIT: Brandin Cooks (@ ATL)
I wouldn’t bench Cooks without some really good replacements, but the Saints’ speedster has never done much against the Falcons for whatever reason. Over the past two years, Cooks has lines of 4/41, 5/22, and 2/13 against Atlanta.
Others: Jarvis Landry (vs NE), Kenny Britt (vs ARI)
START OF THE WEEK: Charles Clay (@ NYJ)
No one has been hotter than Charles Clay over the past three weeks. The Bills tight end has scored four times in the past three games, including twice last week in his 90-yard effort. With the Jets declining to guard tight ends recently, Clay is a solid TE1. Hopefully E.J. Manuel likes throwing to him.
START: Zach Ertz (vs DAL)
Ertz was quiet in last week’s victory over the Giants, but he should bounce back for a big game to carry some momentum into 2017 and get everyone in the fantasy community all hyped-up for no reason. That sums it up pretty well, I think.
START: Antonio Gates (vs KC)
Well, it looks like Gates is going to be back in 2017. I had him here as a Start with the expectation that this would be his final game, but he says he does not want to go out like this (a losing season). I thought the Chargers would do all they could to get him two scores to pass Tony Gonzalez, but now he will have all of next season. Still, Rivers could look for his long-time teammate in what could be the final game played in San Diego.
START: Xavier Grimble (vs CLE)
Ladarius Green is dealing with a concussion, and after having issues with them over the summer, there is probably a 0% chance he plays with the #3 seed being Pittsburgh’s no matter what. Green’s history could mean Jesse James also sits as the insurance policy for the playoffs, and if so, Grimble will be in-line for a star(t)ing role against Cleveland’s awful defense against tight ends.
Others: Vernon Davis (vs NYG)
SIT OF THE WEEK: Jordan Reed (vs NYG)
He is likely going to be active this week, but Reed has been completely ineffective on the field since he’s been playing with his shoulder injury (not including the game of the injury). Vernon Davis is the better option for the regular season finale.
SIT: Delanie Walker (vs HOU)
Walker has been one of the best fantasy tight ends this season, but Houston has defended the position well. Plus, Marcus Mariota (leg) is out and it’s unclear how effective Matt Cassell will be.
SIT: Hunter Henry (vs KC)
Now that Antonio Gates says he is leaning towards coming back next season, Henry is less of a Sit than before. He is going to stay though, because my point with Gates stands (last Chargers game in San Diego) and the Chiefs have been tough against tight ends anyway.
SIT: Jason Witten (@ PHI)
Like the rest of the Cowboys, Witten needs to be taken out of lineups. Especially at his age, he probably will see little-to-no playing time on Sunday.
START OF THE WEEK: Arizona Cardinals (@ LA)
Arizona hasn’t been as good defensively recently, but the Rams might be the league’s worst team recently. I like Jared Goff’s future (dependent on the next head coach for LA), but he just had no help this season.
START: New England Patriots (@ MIA)
New England quietly has the league’s #1 scoring defense, as they are allowing 15.7 points per game (2.2 less than second-place Seattle). The Dolphins are playing well with Matt Moore under center, but Bill Belichick will have his team ready to get home-field advantage in the AFC.
START: Denver Broncos (vs OAK)
Denver would be a Sit with Derek Carr healthy, but fantasy owners can safely start this unit with Matt McGloin in for Oakland. McGloin is probably one of the better backups in the league, but Denver is a tough pull for his first start.
START: Buffalo Bills (@ NYJ)
Turnover-machine Ryan Fitzpatrick always finds his way back into the lineup for New York. The Bills won’t have their defensive game-planners after head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan were fired, but it probably won’t matter against Fitz.
SIT OF THE WEEK: Pittsburgh Steelers (vs CLE)
The Steelers seem like a good play against Cleveland, but the Browns are hot after their win on Christmas Eve. Really though, Pittsburgh will be resting guys, so Cleveland will have a better game-flow and a better chance of putting the ball in the end zone. Also, Cody Kessler is in for the concussed RGIII, and Kessler has been efficient under center in his rookie campaign.
SIT: Detroit Lions (vs GB)
Aaron Rodgers will be at the top of his game with the title of King in the (NFC) North on the line. House Lannister does have a Lion as their sigil…
SIT: New York Giants (@ WAS)
New York has nothing to play for, while Washington has everything to play for. It’s as simple as that.
SIT: Miami Dolphins (vs NE)
If there’s one thing that you learned from reading my content this year, I hope it’s that you don’t start defenses against Tom Brady.
Best of luck if you’re playing for a championship in Week 17.