Exploit the Bucs’, Raiders and Packers’ Defenses in Week 17
It is my hope that you’re not playing in Week 17 but if you are, then you will need to pay attention to reports right up until game time about which teams plan to play their starters and which will not. Teams headed to the playoffs that have little or nothing to play for are Jacksonville, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. There are several other playoff teams that only have their seeding left to be determined. Those are Pittsburgh, New England, Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, and the Rams. How important moving up a spot is to them will determine who will start and how long they will play certain players. Good luck.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Saints need to win to clinch the NFC South, so they will start all of their normal regulars and so should you. Ted Ginn and even Brandon Coleman could also be started if you have players on teams that have nothing to gain this week.
- Oakland Raiders: The Chargers need to win and get help to clinch a wildcard spot. Melvin Gordon is likely to try and play through an ankle injury, but he will be a risky start. Brandon Oliver would get the start if Gordon is unable to go.
- Green Bay Packers: This is a meaningless game but Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are still must-starts. Eric Ebron has also been in play as he looks like he may have finally figured out how to use his gifts.
- Cleveland Browns: The Steelers can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win and the Patriots lose. The Pats are playing the Jets; yeah, that’s not going to happen. I might expect Ben Roethlisberger and company to play a half but anything after that is gravy. Still, I can’t sit Le’Veon Bell.
- San Francisco 49ers: It’s just seeding for the Rams. Will that be enough of a reason for them to play Todd Gurley and Jared Goff the entire game? Apparently not, as Gurley and Goff have already been announced as out for Sunday. I’ll pass on the Rams.
- New York Jets: The Pats will play their starters until if/when the game gets out of hand. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis are must-starts. Brandin Cooks is a likely start but he has been slumping something awful of late.
- Buffalo Bills: I’ll start Kenyan Drake and Jarvis Landry but that’s it out of Miami.
- New York Giants: This could be the last game for Kirk Cousins in a Washington uniform. It’s also the last game for him to show teams why he should be among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. I have a feeling that Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Vernon Davis, and Cousins could all have big games here.
- Houston Texans: Will anyone watch this game? Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle start for me, that’s it.
- Atlanta Falcons: Carolina can win the NFC South with a win and a Saints loss. They will play it straight. I still might sit Devin Funchess He hasn’t played well of late, is battling an injury, and will see a bunch of Marcus Trufant on Sunday.
- Indianapolis Colts: I guess you may have to start Lamar Miller but really, outside of DeAndre Hopkins, there just isn’t much to see here.
- Carolina Panthers: Atlanta will clinch a wildcard spot with a win. Start your Falcons as you normally would.
- Cincinnati Bengals: The Ravens also clinch a wildcard spot with a win (or a Titans or Bills loss). Joe Flacco could be a start in two-QB leagues. I also like Mike Wallace as a flex option.
- Chicago Bears: The Vikings are likely to be the second seed in the NFC and get a first-round bye. A win would clinch that scenario but so would a Saints win, a Carolina loss or a Rams win. They may elect to rest a player or two in the second half if any one of these scenarios looks close to happening.
- Arizona Cardinals: Seattle clinches a spot with a win and an Atlanta loss. Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham start, and Mike Davis will be in flex consideration.
- New Orleans Saints: Jameis Winston has played well of late and could be a start consideration here. That maybe it, though, outside of Mike Evans and possibly Cameron Brate. I would hope you could do better than Brate, though.
- Tennessee Titans: The Jags have an interesting decision to make. If they defeat the Titans, then they would likely face the Bills or Chargers on wildcard weekend. A loss, however, likely presents a re-match versus the Titans. Who would they rather play? Do they care? At this point in time, they say all their regulars will start. That may be so but even if Marquise Lee does play, he sits for me, as I have a hard time seeing him make it through the entire game.
- Los Angeles Rams: Yeah, I like Jimmy Garoppolo’s future also but he’s not a QB1, not yet anyway.
- Philadelphia Eagles: The game doesn’t mean anything for either team, but the Cowboys say they will start their regulars. You would think Ezekiel Elliott gets fed an awful lot here as he needs 120 yards to break the 1000-yard mark.
- Miami Dolphins: Buffalo can make the playoffs with a win and a Ravens loss, or a win and losses by the Chargers and Titans. Go LeSean McCoy, go. Charles Clay could also be a start if you’re desperate.
- Dallas Cowboys: I expect Philly to play their regulars for no more than a half. Doug Pederson is a disciple of Andy Reid, and Reid believed in resting his regulars in a meaningless game.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: I’ll start Josh Gordon, Isiah Crowell, and Duke Johnson but don’t expect huge games out of any of them.
- Washington Redskins: It looks like Eli Manning will start for the Giants but he could be replaced by Davis Webb at just about any time during this game. It will be difficult to trust Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram (rib) in this game. The running game may be no different as Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa may split the running load.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: If the Titans win, they get in; it’s that simple. The Jags say they will start their regulars, so life won’t be easy for Tennessee. I’m not starting DeMarco Murray (knee) even if he does play. I know the Jags’ defense has been leaky of late but starting any Titan will be risky in this one.
- Detroit Lions: DeVante Adams and Jordy Nelson are out for this game and really, outside of Jamaal Williams and possibly Randall Cobb if you’re desperate, there is no one to start from the Pack.
- Denver Broncos: Pat Mahomes will start as the Chiefs rest Alex Smith and possibly several others. It will be difficult to trust and start any of your Chiefs in this game.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Paxton Lynch will start for Denver and that may be all you need to know about starting Demaryius Thomas. I’ll have to give consideration, however, for J. Anderson as this could be a run-heavy game for Denver.
- Los Angeles Chargers: The Raiders have played hard on defense the past two weeks versus Dallas and Philadelphia but offensively, they have packed it in. I’ll pass on anyone outside of maybe Marshawn Lynch if you need a running back.
- Seattle Seahawks: It’s Larry Fitzgerald here and that’s it.
- New England Patriots: I don’t care who is starting at QB, Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, I’m not starting either QB and really don’t want to start anyone else on the Jets either aside from the extremely hot Bilal Powell.
- Baltimore Ravens: Giovani Bernard is about as hot as a running back can be right now. He may be a must-start whether Joe Mixon plays or not.
- Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Howard has killed me all season, and although I wouldn’t expect big things here, he’s probably among the best that you have on your roster.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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