Week 17 NFL Matchup Preview Part One
Be sure to check out Part Two of our Week 17 NFL Matchup Previews.
SUNDAY – January 1, 2017
1:00 PM EST
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
QB Joe Flacco: Eliminated from playoff contention, Joe Flacco will end his 2016 season in Cincinnati against the middle of the pack Bengals defense. He hasn’t played well enough to consider him someone to close your season out with if it hasn’t ended already
RB Terrance West/Kenneth Dixon: Fullback Kyle Juszczyk began cutting into the West/Dixon timeshare last week and vultured a TD in his limited snaps. Both West and Dixon have been performing much the same as far as fantasy production goes. Both are risky RB3 options Week 17 in Cincinnati.
WR Steve Smith Sr./Mike Wallace: Very tough matchup as the Bengals have given up the 2nd fewest points to WRs this season. I still expect Steve Smith Sr. to get plenty of targets in a meaningless game for the Ravens. Flacco will find a way to give Smith every opportunity to end his career on a high note. Mike Wallace’s targets will take a hit leaving less opportunity for him to make a big play. He is better served on the bench.
TE Dennis Pitta: Coming off of an 11 target, 8 reception game, Dennis Pitta will have a chance at another big game as he faces the Bengals defense that has been very weak against the TE position this year. Consider Pitta a TE1 this week.
QB Andy Dalton: Don’t even consider playing Dalton against the Ravens without A.J. Green or Tyler Eifert.
RB Jeremy Hill/Rex Burkhead: It was obvious that Jeremy Hill’s knee injury played a role in his terrible performance last week. He is very hard to trust this week considering that fact he was very limited and now faces one of the top run defenses in the league. Rex Burkhead would be a better play between the two and I would still look elsewhere given the matchup.
WR Tyler Boyd/Brandon LaFell: Great matchup for both WRs as the Ravens have given up the 10th most fantasy points to WRs. Tyler Boyd takes a back seat to LaFell for me in this one. Boyd has slowed down the past few weeks as LaFell has had 91 yards or more in 3 of his last 4 games and has 2 TDs in that span as well. Boyd is bench worthy while LaFell is a true WR2 this week.
TE C.J. Uzomah: With Tyler Eifert on IR, Uzomah will start at TE for the Bengals. He will see an increase in targets but do not expect him to turn it into production against the Ravens.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Cam Newton: Newton has been terrible for the Panthers this season, so don’t expect that to change in the last week. I’m sure Cam is looking forward to the offseason and putting this year behind him as he will go through the motions on Sunday as no more than a low-end QB2 at best.
RB Jonathan Stewart: Look for Stewart to bounce back this week as this game should not get out of hand as quickly as last week’s game did. Stewart will be more involved this week against the defense that has given up the 10th most fantasy points to RBs making Stewart a solid RB2 play.
WR Kelvin Benjamin/ Ted Ginn Jr.: Benjamin had the better game last week but Ted Ginn Jr. has been the more consistent fantasy option for the most part of the season. Consider Benjamin a high-risk flex and Ginn in the WR2/WR3 realm.
TE Greg Olsen: Tampa Bay has been good against TEs this year but Olsen should still be able to give you low-end TE2 production at the very least to end the season.
QB Jameis Winston: Winston has thrown for multiple TDs in back to back games but has thrown for more INTs than TDs in those 2 games. Winston will have a good matchup this week to give you fantasy production and the Panthers are not so scary against QBs this season. Jameis Winston is a low-end QB1 this week.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers: It has already been reported that Doug Martin will be inactive Week 17 making Jacquizz Rodgers the starting RB for the Bucs season finale. Rodgers has produced when in the starting role for Tampa Bay this season and will get plenty of work as the lead back yet again on Sunday. I would give him a start as my RB2 or flex.
WR Mike Evans: Evans could reach 100 catches this year with 9 more catches in Sunday’s game against the Panthers terrible pass defense. A tall order but Evans has 2 games this season with over 9 receptions. Start him. He is a WR1 and will get plenty of targets from Winston to end their season.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
QB Tom Savage: Has yet to throw a TD in his 2 games as the starting QB for the Texans. He has a golden opportunity to change that against a terrible Titans defense but that does not make him fantasy worthy.
RB Lamar Miller/Alfred Blue: I would be shocked to see Lamar Miller in the Texans season finale as they have already clinched a playoff spot and Miller could benefit from the week off. Regardless, If Miller plays or it’s Alfred Blue getting the start or taking the bulk of the carries, you can’t trust either option this week as the Titans have given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to RBs this season.
WR DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller: I would play both of these receivers this weekend. I’m not suggesting you stack them but if you have either of of them, they are both worth a play against the horrible Tennessee secondary. Hopkins is obviously the better play of the two but Will Fuller is highly capable of having a big game against a vulnerable defense, even with Tom Savage at QB.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: Was still targeted last week as he normally has been this season. I would expect similar production from Fiedorowicz again this week against the Titans.
QB Matt Cassel: It’s the Matt Cassel show on Sunday. Not really. Don’t start him.
RB DeMarco Murray: It’s the DeMarco Murray show on Sunday. No, really. Start him. Temper your expectations for Murray to get most of the running back duties as this would be the perfect opportunity to see how much Derrick Henry can handle this week.
WR Rishard Matthews: Matthews has a tough matchup with Matt Cassel throwing to him this week. I would look elsewhere for production Week 17.
TE Delanie Walker: Scored a TD last week but did so on only 3 receptions for 23 yards making Walker a TD-dependent TE2 to end the season.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
QB Blake Bortles: Bortles will finish the year out against a team that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to QBs. He could play well again this week as he did last week but Bortles playing well doesn’t happen often. He is a low-end QB2 at best.
RB Chris Ivory: With T.J. Yeldon officially on IR, Chris Ivory will take over as the Jags lead back on Sunday. Ivory will get plenty of work against the 6th worst defense against RBs this season. Consider Ivory no more than a decent flex option at best.
WR Allen Robinson/Marqise Lee: Robinson had a great game last week but did not top 31 yard receiving in the 5 weeks prior to last week’s game. Hard to trust that he is back in the groove of things after one game and faces a Colts defense that has allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points to WRs. Marqise Lee shouldn’t be trusted either. He has been more consistent, but his production doesn’t warrant a start in this matchup.
QB Andrew Luck: The Colts will not sit any starters for their season finale on Sunday against the Jaguars. This is welcoming news for anyone playing fantasy football with Andrew Luck on their team in Week 17. Expect luck to end his season with a bang, at home against the Jaguars. He should be considered a QB1 this week.
RB Frank Gore: Gore has been solid all season and will continue to be a solid RB2 heading into this week. Robert Turbin is getting some more snaps but not enough to take enough away from Gore this weekend.
WR T.Y. Hilton/Donte Moncrief: T.Y. Hilton will be a WR1 this week, especially with the expectation of Donte Moncrief being out this game.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
QB Tom Brady: Brady is a QB1 at Miami this week in a game that will give them home field advantage in the playoffs if they win.
RB LeGarrette Blount/Dion Lewis: With Lewis back, the carries for Blount have decreased but his touchdown opportunities have not suffered making Blount an easy start this week vs Miami. Lewis isn’t a terrible flex option but has limitations if he doesn’t score from outside the 10-yard line with Blount scooping up all of the goal-line work.
WR Julian Edelman/Malcolm Mitchell/Chris Hogan: Edelman is a WR1 this week as Brady’s top target against a defense that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs. Malcolm Mitchell’s production has taken a hit in the last 2 weeks making him no more than a desperate flex option. Hogan is simply a boom or bust candidate every week with a big emphasis on the bust.
TE Martellus Bennett: Bennett was lucky enough to catch a TD pass last week but his targets have just not been there. He is very hard to trust as a TD-dependent, low-end TE2.
QB Matt Moore: Matt Moore has done well for the Dolphins in the past two games. Don’t expect him to make it a 3rd week in a row against a New England team that needs a win to lock up home-field advantage in the playoffs.
RB Jay Ajayi: Has a very tough matchup against New England’s stout run defense. He should still be heavily involved in the offense making him an RB2 play this week.
WR Jarvis Landry/Kenny Stills/DeVante Parker: Do not expect much from this receiving group this week. Even Landry is a hard play against the Patriots who have given up the 4th least points to opposing WRs. Keep them all on the bench unless you have to Landry to fill your WR spot.
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
QB Matt Barkley: Has thrown 8 INTs in the past 2 games and now faces a very tough Vikings defense. He is not fantasy relevant this week.
RB Jordan Howard: Howard has a challenge ahead of him to end his season. The Vikings are great against the run. Howard is a great RB making him a high-end RB2 as the focal point of the Bears offense as he ran for over 100 yards and scored a TD in his last game against the Vikings.
WR Alshon Jeffery/Cameron Meredith: Alshon has been very productive since returning from his suspension. This game will be very tough to have a lights out performance, but Jeffery is good enough to give you solid WR2 production even against the Vikings. Meredith has 25 targets in the past two games and that cannot be ignored. I would start him but with the expectations that he is more valuable to me in PPR.
QB Sam Bradford: Had a fantastic week against the Packers last week. He isn’t a terrible start, but his typical TD production does worry me in a game where I expect both teams to rely heavily on their run game. Consider Bradford a low-end QB2 at best to end the year.
RB Jerick McKinnon: McKinnon has been the Vikings best option for weeks. He will provide low-end RB2 production in this matchup. Peterson will likely sit and Asiata is nothing more than a TD-reliant desperate flex option.
WR Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen: Diggs is questionable with a hip injury in a meaningless game for the Vikings but would be a decent WR2 consideration if he suits up against the Bears defense. Adam Thielen has reached “must start” status and should be a WR1 yet again in the Vikings season finale.
TE Kyle Rudolph: Has a tough matchup as the Bears have given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to TEs this season. He is just too talented to not be considered a high-end TE2 with TE1 upside if Diggs is limited or sits.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
QB EJ Manuel: If you are looking for a last-minute, sneaky stream, EJ Manuel is your guy. He will be motivated to show off his skills as he becomes a free agent after the season. He will have a chance to shine against a Jets team that has completely imploded and has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs this year.
RB LeSean McCoy: McCoy is questionable after missing Wednesday’s practice with an illness. No need to make him play on Sunday in a game that has no meaning for the Bills on Sunday. If he plays, he is a must start. If for some reason McCoy is held out of the Bills season finale, Mike Gillislee will be a decent RB2 with RB1 upside against the Jets.
WR Sammy Watkins: Coming off of a big game, Sammy Watkins will still be a solid WR2 option with EJ Manuel at the helm for the Bills.
TE Charles Clay: I recommend starting Clay for a second week in a row. I was right about him last week and I think that EJ Manuel will lean on him a ton as backup QBs use TEs as security blankets. He should be a TE1 for the third straight week.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: With Bryce Petty on IR, Fitzpatrick will get the start for the Jets. I would not start him against the 10th best defense against the QB this season. The Jets are terrible and Fitzpatrick isn’t going to help.
RB Bilal Powell/Matt Forte: Both RBs missed practice on Wednesday. If Forte plays, he will be very limited. Do not start him. Powell will be a very good RB option against the Bills defense that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to RBs.
WR Brandon Marshall/Robby Anderson: Neither WR will be a fantasy option this week against the Bills 10th best defense against WRs this year. If you are desperate and must choose out of the two, Anderson gets a slight edge as Marshall has not done anything fantasy relevant in 5 weeks.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
QB Dak Prescott: The Cowboys have not said whether or not they will be resting their starters so playing Dak would be quite a risk. I would avoid him this week as he would not play a full game even if he does get the start. Mark Sanchez will take over if he doesn’t get the start.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: Zeke is a little different and worth checking in on his game status this week. If he plays, he should be in your lineup. He may only play 3 quarters or even one-half of football, but he still presents you with plenty of value in half a game. Darren McFadden will likely see a ton of work this weekend.
WR Dez Bryant: Dez could give you some value if he starts this week but unlike his teammate, Zeke I do not see Dez giving you much value in limited play. Bryce Butler will have a decent matchup but it won’t matter with the likes of Mark Sanchez throwing to him.
TE Jason Witten: Keep Witten on the bench as he is an older veteran that will need the rest heading into the playoffs.
QB Carson Wentz: Hasn’t been a great fantasy option but worth a look in a meaningless game as Dallas will look to sit some key defensive players. Not a terrible stream, QB2 this week.
RB Darren Sproles: With Mathews on IR, Sproles will get a ton of work on Sunday. He should provide solid RB2 numbers against an incomplete Dallas defense.
WR Jordan Matthews: Matthews has been injured and not very productive in the past 2 weeks. I would leave Jordan on the bench even with this tasty matchup as you can expect the Eagles to control the clock with the speedy Darren Sproles and the run game.
TE Zach Ertz: A great matchup to end his season, Zach Ertz will face a Cowboys defense that when at full strength have given up the 5th most fantasy points to TEs this season. You can safely play Ertz as your TE1.