Week 17 NFL Matchup Preview Part Two
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 17 NFL Matchup Previews.
Sunday, January 1st, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
QB Robert Griffin III: Robert Griffin appears on track to start for the Browns, but this game looks to be a terrible mess. Stay away.
RB Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson: The Steelers are allowing the 7th most points to opposing RBs, in a game we can expect a run-heavy game plan. Isaiah Crowell should be a solid RB2 while Duke Johnson is a flex option.
WR Terrelle Pryor, Corey Coleman: The Browns appear to be doing everything possible to limit the passing game, limiting both WRs upside. Neither is fantasy relevant this week.
QB Landry Jones: The Steelers are resting all of the studs. This is precisely why your league should not be playing a championship game in Week 17.
RB DeAngelo Williams: It’s pretty safe to assume that the Steelers will be comfortable running the ball on 75%+ of their plays, making DeAngelo Williams an interesting option to replace Le’Veon Bell.
WR Eli Rodgers: Assuming that Landry Jones throws roughly 15 passes, there is no reason to tie your fantasy hopes to such a low-volume passing offense.
TE Jesse James: Same as above, just avoid everyone not named DeAngelo Williams
Sunday, January 1st, 2016
4:25 PM EST
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
QB Matt Ryan: The Falcons can clinch a first-round bye with a win. The Saints allow the 11th most points to opposing QBs. Matt Ryan is a high-end QB1 this weekend.
RB Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman: Both Atlanta RBs are back to scoring solid points. Devonta Freeman is an RB1 while Tevin Coleman is a low-end RB2.
WR Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel: Julio Jones is still limited in practice, but it’s trending towards him playing. Double check early Sunday. Taylor Gabriel is a WR2, regardless of Jones’ status.
QB Drew Brees: Drew Brees against a Falcons team allowing the 2nd most points to opposing QBs makes him a #1 overall candidate.
RB Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower: Atlanta allows the 10th most points to opposing RBs, making Mark Ingram a borderline RB1 and Tim Hightower a flex option.
WR Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Willie Snead: All three WRs should be in starting lineups.
TE Coby Fleener: Coby Fleener hasn’t been a fantasy stud this year, but a matchup with the Falcons team allowing the 5th most points to opposing TEs makes him an interesting streamer.
New York Giants at Washington Redskins
QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning had more passing attempts last week than he did the previous two weeks combined. It took him 63 attempts to finally have a nice yardage game. In a game that means far more to the Redskins than the Giants, a conservative game plan can be expected. Eli Manning is probably best left on the bench.
RB Rashad Jennings, Paul Perkins: Paul Perkins has taken the slightest edge in the committee, but not enough to be trusted for fantasy purposes. Rashad Jennings is not a consideration either.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz: Odell Beckham is a must start, but both Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz are barely flex options.
QB Kirk Cousins: The Redskins must win to have a shot at the playoffs, making Kirk Cousins one of the best starts of the week.
RB Rob Kelley: The volume has been there, but Rob Kelley is dealing with a knee injury. Keep an eye on the injury report before locking him into your lineup.
WR DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon: DeSean Jackson is dealing with a jaw injury that may hinder his availability for Sunday. All three WRs are WR2/flex options in a must win game.
TE Jordan Reed: The reports are that Jordan Reed may play, making him a decent TE play if he’s healthy.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
QB Matt McGloin: Against Denver? NO.
RB Latavius Murray: The Broncos are allowing the 12th most points to opposing RBs, making Latavius Murray a great RB1 start.
WR Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree: Matt McGloin vs the stifling Denver defense severely caps the upside of both WRs. It’s not a stretch to consider benching both if you have other options.
QB Trevor Siemian: While the Raiders allow the 8th most points to opposing QBs, Siemian has thrown just one passing TD in his last three games. There is also talk of the Broncos using Paxton Lynch at some point in the game, removing any streaming interest from Siemian.
RB Devontae Booker, Justin Forsett: Neither RB has done enough to warrant a starting spot in a fantasy lineup, but the Broncos may give Devontae Booker a little extra work. He’s still not worth starting.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders: As the QB position goes, so will the WRs. While both have been solid plays most weeks, it’s hard to see much upside with a possible time-share at QB. Both are low-upside WR2s.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
QB Carson Palmer: Neither team has anything to play for, except a better draft position. Don’t expect a high-flying game from the Cardinals, limiting the upside of Carson Palmer in what would be a good matchup.
RB David Johnson: While there is not any current news pointing to this, the Cardinals would be best to rest their stud to avoid any unnecessary injuries. You’ll be forced to start him in your lineup and this is just another reason to avoid Week 17 championship games.
WR Larry Fitzgerald: Larry Fitzgerald is the only WR worth trusting on the Cardinals. With a rumbling of retirement and nothing to play for, the Cardinals may have a Fitzgerald centric game plan. He’s a solid WR2 start.
QB Jared Goff: This game might compete with the Browns-Steelers for the lowest score of the week. Jared Goff should not be anywhere near a fantasy lineup, even if the Rams decide to “unleash” the rookie to see what they have in him.
RB Todd Gurley: The game plan may actually center on Jared Goff to “see what we have” and take the workload off the disappointing sophomore. Todd Gurley returns to middling RB2 status.
WR Kenny Britt: If the Rams decide to get a good look at Jared Goff, Kenny Britt should be the recipient of a few extra targets. He’s a decent WR2 start.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
QB Alex Smith: The Chiefs have locked up a playoff spot and may end up with a conservative game plan and early exits for their starters.
RB Spencer Ware: It’s fair to assume this will be a run-centric game plan, making Spencer Ware a solid RB2 if he plays the entire game.
WR Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill: It may be a low-volume passing game, limiting Jeremy Maclin to low-end WR2 status. Tyreek Hill continues to have great fantasy games, but it’s not coming from the passing game. He has zero receptions in his past two games, both of his TDs coming on long-running plays. The results say start him, the usage says bench him.
TE Travis Kelce: There is not a hotter TE in the league. Kelce is a must start, even if he doesn’t play the entire game.
QB Philip Rivers: Philip Rivers should be a solid QB in a meaningless game.
RB Ronnie Hillman: next man up.
WR Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman: Both Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman should be decent WR2 starts for the week.
TE Antonio Gates: The Chargers clearly focused on Antonio Gates last week and are, perhaps, prepping his swan-song. He’s a solid TE starter.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
QB Russell Wilson: The Seahawks can clinch a first-round bye with a win, so you can expect the starters to play right up to the point that this game is in the bag. That might be as early as halftime against the hapless 49ers whose best outcome is a loss to maintain their early draft slot. There may be enough fantasy points in the first half to be worth starting Russell Wilson, but it’s a high-risk play.
RB Thomas Rawls: The 49ers allow the most points to opposing RBs, making Rawls a must-start option, even if he doesn’t play the entire game.
WR Doug Baldwin: Doug Baldwin had a monster game last week, but the prospect of a short day limits his upside.
TE Jimmy Graham: The target volume has decreased recently and eliminated Jimmy Graham from must-start status.
QB Colin Kaepernick: The expectation would be for the 49ers to get one last look at Colin Kaepernick before they make a decision on his future with the team. He’s been a decent fantasy QB and should be good enough to start if you’ve been using him thus far.
RB Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris: With Carlos Hyde going down to a knee injury, both Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris should see plenty of work. Both are low-end RB2/flex worthy.
TE Garrett Celek: The TE spot has been the only fantasy viable receiver for the 49ers, but there is little upside.
Sunday, January 1st, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
QB Aaron Rodgers: The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win. This should be a normal Aaron Rodgers day and a safe start.
RB Ty Montgomery: The RB position for the Packers has been all over the map. Ty Montgomery is a fine RB2 start and flex option in leagues where he is still listed as a WR.
WR Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb: Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams are must-starts in this must-win game. Randall Cobb is trending towards playing, but was not winning fantasy games for you prior to his injury and can probably be left on the bench.
QB Matthew Stafford: The Lions are also in a must-win scenario, making Matthew Stafford a great QB start.
RB Zach Zenner: Zach Zenner took over the primary RB role and is expected to maintain that role in this important game. He’s a decent RB2.
WR Golden Tate: Golden continues to be a solid PPR asset and should be a WR2 this week.
TE Eric Ebron: Eric Ebron appears to be the #2 option in the passing game recently, and had a great matchup against a Packers defense allowing the 12th most points to opposing TEs.