Welcome to Week 17 of the National Football League regular season. Most Fantasy leagues have concluded, but some tread on into the final week of the NFL season. Plus, a lot people are still playing DFS, and there will be values galore this week with injuries, resting players, etc.
Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) vs. Panthers: Winston will be facing the league’s worst passing defense when Carolina comes calling. Yes, that’s how far the defending NFC champs have fallen as they close out a disappointing season.
Colin Kaepernick (49ers) vs. Seahawks: If you’re thinking about Kaep for your Week 17 game, don’t. He will struggle mightily against a Seattle pass defense THAT has allowed just 15 touchdown passes through 15 games.
DFS Value Play
Tom Savage (Texans) at Titans ($5,400 at DraftKings): Savage gets the starting nod for the regular season finale, and he could flourish against the AFC’s worst passing defense. Tennessee has allowed 270.9 yards per game with 53 pass plays of 20 or more yards.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) has been dealing with a nagging sore shoulder for the past few weeks, and is officially listed as questionable. QB Joe Webb is the backup, and would play if needed, as QB Derek Anderson (illness) is out with an illness. Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (hernia) has been dealing with a severe groin injury and has met with doctors to determine if he needs hernia surgery. With the Bills out of the playoff picture, Taylor is out and QB E.J. Manuel is in.
Latavius Murray (Raiders) at Broncos: With QB Derek Carr out with an injury, the Raiders will lean more upon the run game. Denver is outstanding against the pass, but leaky against the run. The Broncos allowed 135.2 yards per game on the ground with 15 rushing scores. Murray will flourish.
Darren Sproles (Eagles) at Cowboys: It’s a last man standing situation in the Philly backfield, as they have three backs on the Reserve/Injured list, with only Sproles, RB Byron Marshall and practice squad add RB Terrell Watson as the healthy bodies. None are worth using against Dallas and their top-ranked rush D.
DFS Value Play
DeAngelo Williams (Steelers) vs. Browns ($5,500 at DraftKings): Williams and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint ($4,300) will divvy up the carries with RB Le’Veon Bell (rest) sidelined. Williams is expected to see a lion’s share of the work, and he will be working against the league’s 31st-ranked rush defense, as Cleveland allows 147.6 yards per game.
San Diego Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (hip, knee) has been ruled out, and RB Kenneth Farrow (shoulder) is on the Reserve/Injured list. That’s good news for RB Ronnie Hillman, who could run wild and is a solid pick in seasonal leagues, as well as a DFS value.
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (knee, groin) will not face the Bears in the finale, and Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (shoulder) is listed as questionable and could be limited as the team preserves him for the playoffs. Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller (ankle) is also out, so RB Alfred Blue will start again. Kansas City Chiefs RB Spencer Ware (ribs) is a game-time decision and risky Fantasy play, and RB Bilal Powell (knee, illness) will give it a shot, but don’t expect much if he is active. Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (knee) is listed as questionable, and is a risky play as well.
Allen Robinson (Jaguars) at Colts: In a case of too little, too late for most Fantasy owners, Robinson will shine in the season finale in Indianapolis. He threw up a season-high 147 yards last week against Houston, hauling in nine balls on 12 targets. He’ll look like a No. 1-caliber Fantasy receiver again this week, leaving owners shaking their heads after a five-game stretch with just 11 grabs for 105 yards.
Odell Beckham (Giants) at Redskins: While the Giants are expected to play their starters in the finale in Washington, and the Redskins are rather poor against the pass, it could be a cameo for ODB. The Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed, so they might not risk their top offensive option for very long. Or at least they shouldn’t.
DFS Value Play
Eli Rogers (Steelers) vs. Browns ($4,000 at DraftKings): If you don’t like the run game for Pittsburgh, how about Rogers as the primary receiver with WR Antonio Brown (rest) sitting? Rogers has shown glimpses of brilliance in the past, and while he has QB Landry Jones and not Big Ben throwing to him, Rogers should get free for some big plays.
Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) was listed as a limited participant in practice Friday, and is officially questionable for the finale. He is too risky to use in a championship game in seasonal leagues, or in DFS play. Rams WR Kenny Britt (shoulder) is listed as doubtful due to a shoulder ailment. Even if he plays, a matchup against the No. 5 pass defense is not good for Fantasy purposes.
Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel (foot) came on near the end of the season with big scoring plays, but he has been ruled out for the finale due to a foot ailment. On a positive note, the Falcons said Friday that there will be no snap count for WR Julio Jones (toe) in the finale.
Charles Clay (Bills) at Jets: Clay (knee) has been practicing and appears to be on track to play in the finale despite a questionable tag. The Jets have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends, which is good news for Clay. He has four scores over his past three games, and he looks to add to his tally and finish up strong. With QB E.J. Manuel playing, it’s even better news, as Clay should see more targets as a safety valve.
Antonio Gates (Chargers) vs. Chiefs: Gates has an ugly matchup for the regular season finale, as Kansas City allowed just 54 catches, 627 yards and two scores against opposing tight ends. The two scores are the fewest among all teams. The good news is Gates sounds like he is leaning toward a 2017 return and not retirement, as he feels he has unfinished business.
DFS Value Play
Dennis Pitta (Ravens) at Bengals ($3,400 at DraftKings): Cincinnati allowed the fourth-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Pitta will finish up the 2016 season on a rather high note. He has three or more catches in six of his past seven games, including Nov. 27 against the Bengals.
Steelers TE Ladarius Green (concussion) has been ruled out for the regular season finale against the Browns, so TE Jesse James will work against the league’s No. 21 pass defense. Cleveland has allowed an NFL-high 33 TDs via the pass.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Giants, too, but he has been banged up for a while and is too risky. Avoid. Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is also ruled out for Week 17, as is Broncos TE A.J. Derby (concussion).