Fantasy Football Week 17 Lineup Cheat Sheet: Starts, sits and sleepers

Week 17 Rankings: Standard | PPR

The Lineup Cheat Sheet combines Fantasy analysis and game-flow predictions with a confidence scale to give you a definitive answer on who to start in your leagues.

The higher the number next to a player's name, the more confident you should be to start him. If a player isn't listed, don't start him.

Numbers are based on non-PPR scoring but are typically applicable to PPR formats.

To find a specific player, use your search function -- CTRL-F on PCs and Command-F on Macs. If neither of those are options, or if you're on a mobile device, you can search by game.

If you're still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) using #CBSFLCS and I'll give it a look, time permitting.

Bears at Vikings

Milestones within reach:

  • Sam Bradford is 98 passing yards away from a new career-high.
  • Jerick McKinnon is 88 rush yards away from a new career-high.
  • Adam Thielen is 40 yards away from 1,000.
Bears Vikings
Matt Barkley 4.8 Sam Bradford 6.5
Jordan Howard 8.7 Jerick McKinnon 6.85
Cameron Meredith 8.7 Matt Asiata 5.5
Alshon Jeffery 6.7 Adam Thielen 8.3
Deonte Thompson 3.7 Cordarrelle Patterson 3.9
Daniel Brown 3.0 Kyle Rudolph 8.2
Bears DST 4.6 Vikings DST 7.6

Start Him

Cameron Meredith WR / Chicago Bears (2016 stats)
TAR: 91 REC: 62 YDS: 827 TD: 4

All he's done his past three games is land at least six catches and deliver 10-plus Fantasy points in each. Meredith also has the good fortune of playing in the slot, which is where the Vikings' pass coverage is the weakest. Jordy Nelson scored from the slot last week, Philip Dorsett the week before and Bryan Walters the week before that. Check your waiver wire to see if Meredith is still out there.

Start Him

Jerick McKinnon RB / Minnesota Vikings (2016 stats)
ATT: 143 YDS: 450 TD: 1 TAR: 49 REC: 40 REC YDS: 234 REC TD: 1

This isn't a throwaway game for McKinnon -- he's auditioning for a starting job next season. His track record isn't so great (he's topped 10 Fantasy points once in his past seven), but the Bears' run defense track record isn't so great either (4.8 yards per rush, 7.0 yards per catch, six total touchdowns to running backs in the past six games). Minnesota could end up playing with a lead at home, giving McKinnon a good shot at 15 touches.

Jaguars at Colts

Milestones within reach:

  • Frank Gore is 36 rush yards shy of his ninth 1,000-yard season.
  • T.Y. Hilton is one touchdown away from tying a career-high (already has a career-high in catches and yards).
Jaguars Colts
Blake Bortles 7.4 Andrew Luck 8.0
Chris Ivory 7.0 Frank Gore 8.5
Allen Robinson 8.1 Robert Turbin 4.5
Marqise Lee 8.0 T.Y. Hilton 9.2
Bryan Walters 3.3 Phillip Dorsett 3.4
Jaguars DST 4.2 Jack Doyle 2.6
Colts DST 5.8

Start Them

Blake Bortles QB / Jacksonville Jaguars (2016 stats)
CMP%: 58.5 YDS: 3,604 TD: 22 INT: 16 ATT: 55 RUSH YDS: 338 RUSH TD: 3
Marqise Lee WR / Jacksonville Jaguars (2016 stats)
TAR: 96 REC: 57 YDS: 765 TD: 3

Indy's defense came back to earth last week when the Raiders skewered them for three passing touchdowns. Bortles, meanwhile, seemed to have better mechanics and got a lot more out of his top receivers in a pass-happy offense against the Titans. With the Jags run game on fumes and Bortles seemingly finding his way, both could deliver nice numbers. Lee particularly has the feel of a No. 2 receiver.

Cowboys at Eagles

Playoff implications: Cowboys have the No. 1 seed in the NFC locked up and are expected to at least partially rest starters.

Milestones within reach:

  • Ezekiel Elliott needs 178 rush yards to break Eric Dickerson's all-time rookie rushing record. Elliott is a lock to win the league's rushing crown (even if he doesn't play).
  • Jason Witten needs 27 yards to pass Michael Irvin's team mark for receiving yards (11,904).
  • Carson Wentz could break the Eagles' single-season passing record with 380 yards. Wentz already has the team rookie passing record.
Cowboys Eagles
Dak Prescott 3.6 Carson Wentz 4.4
Darren McFadden 6.55 Darren Sproles 7.6
Ezekiel Elliott 4.0 Jordan Matthews 6.1
Dez Bryant 4.95 Nelson Agholor 2.3
Cole Beasley 3.0 Dorial Green-Beckham 2.1
Terrance Williams 2.7 Zach Ertz 7.7
Brice Butler 2.6 Eagles DST 5.6
Cowboys DST 3.6

Start Him

Darren Sproles RB / Philadelphia Eagles (2016 stats)
ATT: 85 YDS: 406 TD: 2 TAR: 66 REC: 49 REC YDS: 423 REC TD: 2

Who else is there to run the ball in Philadelphia? Sure, Byron Maxwell will help Sproles out, but no one is as prepared to handle all the running back duties than Sproles. He's had a couple of weeks this season where he's handled the bulk of the snaps and touches. This week he'll see a Cowboys defense missing several starters and uninterested in playing recklessly. He should have a chance at racking up 100 total yards.

Bills at Jets

Milestones within reach:

  • Bilal Powell is 27 yards shy of his first 1,000 total yard season.
Bills Jets
EJ Manuel 5.6 Ryan Fitzpatrick 4.2
LeSean McCoy 9.5 Bilal Powell 7.1
Mike Gillislee 6.45 Quincy Enunwa 4.6
Sammy Watkins 7.5 Robby Anderson 3.65
Robert Woods 1.6 Jets DST 3.0
Charles Clay 7.0
Bills DST 8.1

Risky Starter

Sammy Watkins WR / Buffalo Bills (2016 stats)
TAR: 43 REC: 24 YDS: 399 TD: 2

If Tyrod Taylor were starting then Watkins would be a no-brainer. But with EJ Manuel it's a little risky. This is a Buffalo offense that doesn't prefer passing and should get into a game where they won't have to throw a ton. And if Manuel isn't the passer Taylor is then the number of quality targets Watkins gets will slide. Even with a nice matchup, Watkins feels a little risky.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Playoff implications: Technically the Buccaneers are still alive for a playoff spot. They need to win and have a bunch of breaks go their way, including a Titans win and a Giants-Redskins tie.

Milestones within reach:

  • Greg Olsen is eight catches and 54 yards shy of new career-highs.
  • Jameis Winston is 155 passing yards away from a new career-high, 267 passing yards away from breaking an NFL record for most yardage in a quarterback's first two seasons and two touchdowns away from 30 total scores.
  • Mike Evans is one touchdown away from tying his career-high.
Panthers Buccaneers
Cam Newton 6.9 Jameis Winston 6.8
Jonathan Stewart 6.7 Jacquizz Rodgers 7.4
Ted Ginn 5.2 Peyton Barber 3.4
Kelvin Benjamin 4.5 Mike Evans 9.1
Devin Funchess 2.2 Brandon Myers 3.1
Greg Olsen 8.3 Buccaneers DST 5.4
Panthers DST 4.8

Start Him

Jacquizz Rodgers RB / Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016 stats)
ATT: 112 YDS: 485 TD: 2 TAR: 15 REC: 12 REC YDS: 94 REC TD: 0

Without Luke Kuechly the Panthers have allowed five touchdowns on the ground in five games (three in the 10 with him). Rodgers' track record suggests he's a volume back, meaning he'll need carries to come through for Fantasy owners. That should be bankable given the state of the Buccaneers' running back depth chart. Every time Rodgers has at least 15 carries he's delivered 12-plus Fantasy points. Maybe he's a little touchdown dependent but he should still be given the nod.

Giants at Redskins

Playoff implications: Giants have the NFC's No. 5 seed locked up. The Redskins would get the No. 6 seed with a win.

Milestones within reach:

  • Odell Beckham is 128 yards away from a new career-high. He's also four catches away from 100.
  • Pierre Garcon is 55 yards shy of his second 1,000 season.
  • DeSean Jackson is 29 yards shy of his fifth 1,000-yard season.
Giants Redskins
Eli Manning 5.0 Kirk Cousins 9.0
Rashad Jennings 5.9 Rob Kelley 7.2
Paul Perkins 5.6 Chris Thompson 3.2
Odell Beckham 8.4 DeSean Jackson 9.0
Sterling Shepard 6.25 Pierre Garcon 6.35
Victor Cruz 1.8 Jamison Crowder 4.2
Giants DST 2.2 Vernon Davis 3.9
Redskins DST 6.6

Sneaky Sleeper

Pierre Garcon WR / Washington Redskins (2016 stats)
TAR: 107 REC: 75 YDS: 945 TD: 3

The Giants' starters likely will not play the whole game. That opens the door for Washington's offense to roll, and considering the suspect state of its run game, it should mean a lot of passing. Garcon's been good for at least nine Fantasy points in two of his past three games and at least 13 Fantasy points over his past four in PPR leagues. Without the Giants' best defenders on the field, Garcon seems to have a modest floor (70 yards) to make Fantasy owners feel safe about starting him.

Texans at Titans

Playoff implications: Texans have clinched the No. 4 seed. Bill O'Brien never has had the luxury of resting players in Week 17 before but does come from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, so he could follow Belichick's lead and rest starters or let them play for about a half.

Milestones within reach:

  • DeMarco Murray is one rushing score away from 10.
  • Tom Savage has yet to throw a regular-season touchdown.
Texans Titans
Tom Savage 3.4 Matt Cassel 3.0
Alfred Blue 6.6 DeMarco Murray 7.9
DeAndre Hopkins 5.8 Derrick Henry 5.4
C.J. Fiedorowicz 5.0 Rishard Matthews 7.1
Ryan Griffin 2.8 Delanie Walker 7.6
Texans DST 6.8 Titans DST 5.2

Risky Starter

Alfred Blue RB / Houston Texans (2016 stats)
ATT: 89 YDS: 392 TD: 1 TAR: 12 REC: 9 REC YDS: 28 REC TD: 0

We're working under the assumption the Texans rest Lamar Miller because they have nothing left to play for. You'd think that would mean Blue would carry the load, but perhaps the Texans will opt to limit his reps to make sure he's fresh for the playoffs. Moreover, the Titans' run defense is pretty good. Last week they gave up a goal-line score but it was only their sixth on the season. They've yielded only two rushing touchdowns to backs at home, and they're holding running backs to 3.9 yards per run. Since he's not a lock for 20 touches nor a touchdown, Blue is barely a No. 2 Fantasy rusher.

Ravens at Bengals

Milestones within reach:

  • Andy Dalton is 20 pass yards shy of 4,000 and 314 yards shy of a new career-high.
  • Steve Smith is 238 yards from passing Tim Brown for the sixth-most career receiving yards in NFL history.
  • Mike Wallace is 16 yards shy of his third 1,000-yard season.
  • Dennis Pitta is 32 yards away from a new career-high.
Ravens Bengals
Joe Flacco 4.0 Andy Dalton 5.2
Terrance West 6.4 Rex Burkhead 5.2
Kenneth Dixon 5.7 Brandon LaFell 5.1
Steve Smith 7.9 Tyler Boyd 4.0
Mike Wallace 4.3 Cody Core 2.9
Dennis Pitta 5.4 Bengals DST 4.4
Ravens DST 7.2

Sneaky Sleeper

Terrance West RB / Baltimore Ravens (2016 stats)
ATT: 188 YDS: 756 TD: 5 TAR: 40 REC: 30 REC YDS: 219 REC TD: 1

It hasn't been pretty, but each of the past four starting running backs against the Bengals has amassed 10-plus Fantasy points. West seems to have a little bit better grip on playing time than Kenneth Dixon, so he should get the most chances to roll at Cincy. There will be an emphasis by the Ravens to get Steve Smith the ball in what looks like his final career game, and that will make defending the pass a priority for the Bengals. All of that plays into the defensive fronts West will see.

Browns at Steelers

Playoff implications: Steelers have clinched the No. 3 seed. Mike Tomlin once rested several key starters in 2007, lost their finale and lost in the first round of the playoffs. In two meaningless Week 17 games since, his healthy starters played into at least the second quarter (and were long gone by the fourth).

Milestones within reach:

  • Terrelle Pryor is 87 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 181 yards shy of his fifth 4,000-yard season.
  • Le'Veon Bell needs 116 total yards for 2,000 total (in 13 games!).
  • Antonio Brown is a touchdown catch away from tying his career-high.
Browns Steelers
Cody Kessler 3.2 Landry Jones 3.8
Isaiah Crowell 6.95 Fitzgerald Toussaint 4.9
Duke Johnson 3.1 DeAngelo Williams 4.3
Terrelle Pryor 6.4 Eli Rogers 4.4
Corey Coleman 2.8 Darrius Heyward-Bey 1.9
Gary Barnidge 1.8 Cobi Hamilton 1.7
Browns DST 3.8 Steelers DST 7.0

Start Him

Isaiah Crowell RB / Cleveland Browns (2016 stats)
ATT: 179 YDS: 800 TD: 7 TAR: 49 REC: 37 REC YDS: 303 REC TD: 0

The Steelers' run defense is tough but chances are several starters are going to either play a half, if at all. Crowell figures to be a workhorse for the Browns as Duke Johnson is banged up. Already near the end of a career-year, Crowell needs a touchdown to match his personal best of eight in a season. Expect him to get a chance to score.

Saints at Falcons

Playoff implications: Falcons clinch the NFC No. 2 seed with a win. A loss would sink them as far as the No. 4 seed.

Milestones within reach:

  • Drew Brees is 142 yards shy of 5,000 and 227 yards shy of placing within the Top 6 all-time in single-season passing yards (it would be his fourth season placing in the Top 6).
  • Michael Thomas is 19 yards shy of 1,000.
  • Mark Ingram is 60 rush yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.
  • Matt Ryan is 107 yard shy of a career-high and 387 yards shy of 5,000.
  • Devonta Freeman is 17 rush yards shy of 1,000.
Saints Falcons
Drew Brees 8.6 Matt Ryan 9.2
Mark Ingram 8.0 Devonta Freeman 8.6
Travaris Cadet 3.15 Tevin Coleman 6.3
Tim Hightower 2.9 Julio Jones 9.3
Michael Thomas 8.6 Mohamed Sanu 2.0
Brandin Cooks 8.2 Falcons DST 5.0
Willie Snead 5.4
Coby Fleener 4.2
Saints DST 3.4

Risky Starter

Tevin Coleman RB / Atlanta Falcons (2016 stats)
ATT: 110 YDS: 476 TD: 8 TAR: 36 REC: 28 REC YDS: 406 REC TD: 2

Since coming back from injury Coleman has averaged 10.2 carries, nearly two catches and 63.6 total yards per game. New Orleans' run defense has yielded 4.4 yards per rush over its past three games (two against woeful Tampa Bay). Devonta Freeman is still the lead dog on offense but Coleman's high upside makes him a usable flex.

Patriots at Dolphins

Playoff implications: Patriots clinch the AFC No. 1 seed with a win. Dolphins have a wild-card spot clinched; can get to the No. 5 seed (and a date at Houston) if they win and the Chiefs lose.

Milestones within reach:

  • Julian Edelman is 45 yards shy of his second 1,000-yard season and 102 yards away from a new career-high.
  • Jarvis Landry needs 98 yards to set a new career-high.
Patriots Dolphins
Tom Brady 9.4 Matt Moore 6.6
LeGarrette Blount 8.4 Jay Ajayi 7.15
James White 5.3 Damien Williams 3.0
Dion Lewis 4.4 DeVante Parker 6.8
Julian Edelman 7.8 Kenny Stills 6.5
Chris Hogan 7.2 Jarvis Landry 6.2
Michael Floyd 4.35 Dion Sims 3.0
Martellus Bennett 7.5 Dolphins DST 2.4
Patriots DST 6.2

Start Him

Martellus Bennett TE / New England Patriots (2016 stats)
TAR: 68 REC: 52 YDS: 668 TD: 6

The Dolphins' linebackers and safeties have been banged up for a while. Teams with reliable tight ends have taken advantage -- the Ravens and Bills are two recent offenses that roasted them. The Patriots should do the same with Bennett, who had 114 yards and a score vs. the Dolphins in Week 2 when Gronk was sidelined and Tom Brady was suspended. He's a Top 12 tight end in a game the Pats must win to earn the top seed.

Chiefs at Chargers

Playoff implications: Chiefs are in the playoffs no matter what but they can land the AFC No. 2 seed and a bye with a win and Raiders loss.

Milestones within reach:

  • Spencer Ware is 79 rush yards away from 1,000.
  • Philip Rivers is three touchdowns shy of tying his career-high. He's also one interception shy of matching his career-high.
  • Tyrell Williams is 11 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.
  • Antonio Gates is two touchdowns away from passing Tony Gonzalez for most touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.
Chiefs Chargers
Alex Smith 4.6 Philip Rivers 5.8
Spencer Ware 7.3 Tyrell Williams 7.4
Tyreek Hill 7.3 Dontrelle Inman 5.9
Jeremy Maclin 3.5 Antonio Gates 4.0
Travis Kelce 9.0 Hunter Henry 2.95
Chiefs DST 7.8 Chargers DST 2.6

Sit Him

Philip Rivers QB / San Diego Chargers (2016 stats)
CMP%: 60.6 YDS: 4,117 TD: 31 INT: 19

Rivers is in trouble. His offensive line is in as bad of shape as it was last season. His run game is a question mark. His opponent has dominated him -- one passing touchdown total over four straight meetings. The Chiefs have lots to play for, Rivers doesn't. Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford, Matt Moore and Sam Bradford figure to have better games.

Raiders at Broncos

Playoff implications: Raiders are in the playoffs no matter what. They clinch a bye with a win and the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win and a Patriots loss. If they lose and the Chiefs win they'll be the No. 5 seed. The Broncos are eliminated.

Milestones within reach:

  • Michael Crabtree is 44 yards away from his second-ever 1,000-yard season.
Raiders Broncos
Matt McGloin 2.8 Trevor Siemian 2.6
Latavius Murray 7.05 Justin Forsett 4.7
DeAndre Washington 3.5 Emmanuel Sanders 5.6
Jalen Richard 3.25 Demaryius Thomas 5.75
Michael Crabtree 5.7 Broncos DST 6.4
Amari Cooper 5.3
Clive Walford 2.4
Raiders DST 7.4

Sit Them

Michael Crabtree WR / Oakland Raiders (2016 stats)
TAR: 137 REC: 84 YDS: 956 TD: 8
Amari Cooper WR / Oakland Raiders (2016 stats)
TAR: 124 REC: 79 YDS: 1,114 TD: 4

As a Raider, Crabtree's best game against Denver in three tries is 54 yards. Cooper's best game in three career games against Denver is 56 yards. It's hard to envision Crabtree or Cooper putting up big numbers against the Broncos to begin with -- tack on Matt McGloin replacing Derek Carr and it's mission impossible.

Seahawks at 49ers

Playoff implications: Seahawks need a win and a Falcons loss to land the NFC No. 2 seed and a bye in the NFC. Otherwise the Seahawks will be the No. 3 seed with a win, the No. 4 seed with a loss.

Milestones within reach:

Seahawks 49ers
Russell Wilson 7.8 Colin Kaepernick 5.4
Thomas Rawls 6.9 Shaun Draughn 5.8
Alex Collins 4.35 DuJuan Harris 3.3
Marcel Reece 2.8 Jeremy Kerley 4.1
Doug Baldwin 8.5 Rod Streater 3.4
Jimmy Graham 8.1 Garrett Celek 4.05
Seahawks DST 9.3 49ers DST 3.2

Start Him

Thomas Rawls RB / Seattle Seahawks (2016 stats)
ATT: 101 YDS: 335 TD: 2 TAR: 17 REC: 13 REC YDS: 96 REC TD: 0

Maybe if Rawls were about to run against a good defense we'd call him risky, but this is the 49ers we're talking about. The last time the Niners held a starting running back to under 10 Fantasy points was Week 1 (poor Todd Gurley). Perhaps there's a chance Rawls loses some work to the likes of Alex Collins and Marcel Reece, especially if the Seahawks have a big second-half lead, but even so, Rawls is in the right place at the right time.

Cardinals at Rams

Milestones within reach:

  • With 100 total yards, David Johnson will become the first NFL player to have 100 total yards in 16 straight games, breaking Barry Sanders' record.
  • Larry Fitzgerald is 20 yards away from his eighth 1,000-yard season and eight catches shy of a new career-high.
Cardinals Rams
Carson Palmer 7.6 Jared Goff 2.4
David Johnson 9.6 Todd Gurley 7.5
J.J. Nelson 7.7 Tavon Austin 3.8
Larry Fitzgerald 6.3 Brian Quick 2.5
John Brown 3.55 Lance Kendricks 2.0
Jermaine Gresham 3.0 Rams DST 4.0
Cardinals DST 8.0

Start Him

J.J. Nelson WR / Arizona Cardinals (2016 stats)
TAR: 62 REC: 30 YDS: 493 TD: 6

With 18 targets in his last two games (at least seven in each), Nelson's getting a genuine look from the Cardinals coaching staff. His big-play ability was on display last week at Seattle and a few weeks back against Washington, but he's also come through with red-zone touchdowns at Miami and New Orleans. The Rams' pass defense hasn't been good over the second half of the season and Carson Palmer should still unleash some deep lobs. Take the chance on Nelson.

Packers at Lions

Playoff implications: The winner is the NFC North champion and gets a home game in the first round of the NFC playoffs. If the Redskins lose earlier in the day, both teams are in. If the Redskins win then the loser is out.

Milestones within reach:

  • Jordy Nelson needs one more touchdown to tie his career-high.
  • Davante Adams is 34 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season.
Packers Lions
Aaron Rodgers 8.8 Matthew Stafford 7.2
Jordy Nelson 9.4 Zach Zenner 6.5
Davante Adams 8.9 Dwayne Washington 3.05
Ty Montgomery 7.15 Golden Tate 8.8
Jared Cook 3.2 Anquan Boldin 3.75
Packers DST 6.0 Marvin Jones 3.6
Eric Ebron 5.2
Lions DST 2.8

Start Him

Matthew Stafford QB / Detroit Lions (2016 stats)
CMP%: 65.5 YDS: 3,980 TD: 22 INT: 9

He's recorded more than 20 Fantasy points only once in his past nine games, but the Packers' pass defense is beatable and Stafford's going to have to come out firing if he's going to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers. In Week 3 he registered 385 yards and three touchdowns at Green Bay and has come through with at least two touchdowns and 200 yards in each of his past four against the Pack. Stafford might not lead the Lions to a championship but he'll help your Fantasy team win one.

Risky Starter

Ty Montgomery RB / Green Bay Packers (2016 stats)
ATT: 69 YDS: 413 TD: 3 TAR: 51 REC: 41 REC YDS: 331 REC TD: 0

After demolishing the Bears in Week 15, Montgomery didn't get anything going in Week 16. The matchup might have played a part, but it was a major reminder that Aaron Rodgers runs the Packers offense, not a running back (or wide receiver, or whatever Montgomery is!). The two touchdowns the Lions allowed to a rusher last week were just the fourth and fifth they've given up on the ground all season. Montgomery's nice, but he's not Ezekiel Elliott. Remember: he's had 10-plus Fantasy point only twice since Week 9.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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