Week 17 Matchup Rankings
Although most Fantasy Football leagues are done, there are some that are still playing. Some head to head leagues count Week 17 and there are some total point leagues that are still competing. This column will be dedicated to those leagues, as it will be my last for the 2015 NFL season. The good news, for those owners that are still playing, is that aside from the Washington Redskins, there shouldn’t be any teams that will sit their regulars to rest for the playoffs. What you will need to watch out for, though, is teams resting players with injuries because they have no reason to play them and risk their health as they head into the offseason. Good luck in Week 17.
- New Orleans Saints: Well, Matt Ryan did play pretty well versus the Panthers, and this is the Saints we are talking about; it’s not like they are stopping anyone anytime soon. I might even play Roddy White in this one if I’m desperate for a wide receiver.
- Atlanta Falcons: It’s hard to see how this game doesn’t turn into a shootout, and with Drew Brees having proving last week that he can play with plantar fasciitis, I’m on board here. Willie Snead is a flex play.
[caption id="attachment_102260" align="alignright" width="321"] Blake Bortles will likely finish the season as a QB1. Photo Credit: Keith Allison[/caption]
- Cleveland Browns: How did the Steelers lose to Baltimore last week? If you look at Ben Roethlisberger’s passing touchdowns on the road and at home you will get a pretty good idea why. Colin Kaepernick has more passing TDs on the road this season. Still, everyone starts from Pittsburgh here, up to Markus Wheaton anyway.
- Miami Dolphins: Who starts for the Patriots this week? They still have something to play for. A win and they get a first-round bye, but I still have my doubts that either Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman will play. The game is important but the Dolphins just lost to the Colts with Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Hasselbeck behind center. Somehow I think Tom Brady can figure out a way to beat Miami.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers laid an egg last week versus the Falcons, but in some ways that was good for their Fantasy owners, as now they are forced to play their starters to avoid losing the first overall seed. Jonathan Stewart is still unlikely to play this week, as the risk is just not worth the reward.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Well, the Eagles are a mess and Odell Beckham is back and probably motivated to have a pretty big game. Eli Manning is still an iffy start, though, so he won’t be in my Top 12.
- Chicago Bears: Calvin Johnson woke up last week with six receptions. Golden Tate has become a Top 25 WR for me and someone I want to start if at all possible.
- Baltimore Ravens: A.J. McCarron suffered a sprained left wrist on the last play of the game Monday night but he’s still probable to start Sunday. I like Marvin Jones this week in the flex, as Baltimore may have played their Super Bowl last week in defeating the Steelers.
- New York Giants: Who knows how the Eagles will play this week after dismissing Chip Kelly as head coach? The Giants’ defense has been a sieve through the air. This doesn’t mean I want to start Sam Bradford or Jordan Matthews, but they do deserve a second look to make sure they aren’t better than what you currently have. Zach Ertz, however, is a must-start for me this week.
- Detroit Lions: Alshon Jeffery has been put on IR, so he is done for the season. Outside of TE Zach Miller there is no one I want to use in the Chicago passing game.
- Green Bay Packers: Is it me or do the Vikings seem to be winning in spite of Teddy Bridgewater rather than because of him. Maybe that’s too harsh, but I still don’t want to start anyone in the Vikings’ passing game.
- San Diego Chargers: We are going to hear a lot of noise about Peyton Manning this week but he will do nothing more than back up Brock Osweiler. I’m starting Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. If I have a choice in the running game, give me C.J. Anderson over Ronnie Hillman.
- Oakland Raiders: Spencer Ware should play more this week than last week, but I’ll still start Charcandrick West. I’ll pass on Alex Smith, though, unless you don’t have any other options.
- Houston Texans: Sure, the Houston defense has been what we thought they would be at draft time, but there is still no way I can bench Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, or Allen Hurns. The running game, however, I may be able to do without.
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Hoyer is back but that shouldn’t matter one way or the other, DeAndre Hopkins still starts.
- Tennessee Titans
- Dallas Cowboys: As mentioned above, be very careful with any Washington player you might be thinking about starting.
- Buffalo Bills: Can Rex Ryan keep the Jets out of the playoffs? Probably not; all of my Jets go here, although, I’d strongly consider benching Chris Ivory if there are other options.
- Minnesota Vikings: Whatever ails the Green Bay offense is unlikely to be cured this week. I don’t think I can sit Aaron Rodgers, but he is the only player anywhere near close to a must-start for Green Bay.
- San Francisco 49ers
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnny Manziel is probably out with a concussion, not that it really matters. Isiah Crowell, however, is someone to think about. He’s playing well of late and, more importantly, he’s getting into the end zone; he has three touchdowns in his last three games.
- Washington Redskins: I don’t care if the Redskins start players from the local high school team, Darren McFadden is the only player to consider starting for the Cowboys.
- Seattle Seahawks: The Cardinals have already let it be known that they will go all out to win Sunday. The last time these two met, in Seattle, the Cards put up 39 points. I’m not afraid to start any Cardinals player.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Be very careful with Amari Cooper this week. He was a bust versus San Diego because he obviously wasn’t healthy. He’s had 11 days to heal but is still limited in practice. Cooper will be a dangerous start Sunday versus a KC defense that could be back at full strength if Justin Houston and Tamba Hali return.
- New England Patriots: The Dolphins are such a mess that even defensive players’ wives are getting in on the act (criticizing the offense). Outside of Jarvis Landry there is no one else I want to start here.
- Louis Rams
- Arizona Cardinals: The Cards and Hawks got into a shootout last time they played, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do so again. Marshawn Lynch won’t play Sunday. It’s the smart move, as the Hawks are only playing to decide whether they will play at Washington, Green Bay, or Minnesota in the wild card round. Outside of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin, I’m not seeing any must-starts here from Seattle either.
- Carolina Panthers
- New York Jets: Rex may really want to beat the Jets and keep them out of the playoffs, but I still don’t see him or the team rushing LeSean McCoy back to the lineup. Sammy Watkins will get start consideration for me, but I’m not loving the matchup and I’ll pass on Tyrod Taylor.
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Denver Broncos
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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