More Week 17: Waiver Wire — Rankings — Start 'Em and Sit 'Em — Cheat Sheet
One of the reasons we try to avoid playing a Fantasy championship game in Week 17 is the risk of star players not being at our disposal. It's no fun making it to your Super Bowl and being without the guys who got you here.
But many of you are daring enough to take on this challenge, and for that we applaud you. And there is something to be said for managing your roster in all types of scenarios.
This year, some of the players who might not play in Week 17 because of their team's playoff implications are from the Eagles (No. 1 seed in the NFC), Jaguars (No. 3 seed in the AFC), Chiefs (No. 4 seed in the AFC) and Rams (no chance at a first-round bye). We don't know exactly what those teams plan to do, but we're starting to get an idea.
For example, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said "we are going to play to win and do everything we possibly can to win this game, period." That's good news, potentially, if you own Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette, although it's not a guarantee those guys play more than a half.
Rams coach Sean McVay said "it is one of those deals where I think you might see us rest some guys," and it was announced Thursday that Todd Gurley and Jared Goff won't play this week. Imagine making it to your championship game with Gurley, the Fantasy MVP, and not being able to start him?
The Chiefs are going with Patrick Mahomes over Alex Smith, which likely means Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are out also. And the Eagles have yet to indicate what will happen with their starters.
Now, you still have the ability to win your Fantasy league even if key players are out. There are plenty of quality replacement players available if your top guys sit. And we're here to help with our usual allotment of start and sleeper suggestions, as well as the players to avoid.
We hope this has been a fun Fantasy season for you, and a fruitful one at that. We appreciate you sticking with us all year, and don't forget we'll have plenty of coverage throughout the offseason.
Good luck in Week 17, and happy New Year to everyone. The 2017 season has been great, and 2018 will be even better.
Editor's Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.
Start of the Week
It's finally happening. Derrick Henry is finally getting his chance to be the lead back for the Titans – or so we hope.
DeMarco Murray is dealing with a third-degree MCL tear in his right knee. It's a significant injury, and it would be a surprise to see Murray play in Week 17 against Jacksonville. But coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday the Titans weren't ruling Murray out yet.
We'll see what happens as we get closer to Sunday, and this is a must-win game if Tennessee wants to advance to the NFL playoffs. If the Titans win, they're in, which is why Murray wants to play – and why Mularkey would use him if healthy.
But he's clearly not 100 percent, and this is the excuse the Titans need to let Henry get a heavy workload. He's been their best running back this season, and now he can prove it in a big spot against the Jaguars.
The other part of this story is what Jacksonville will do with its starters since the Jaguars are locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Marrone has said the starters will play, but does that mean a full game, three quarters or just the first half? Only Marrone knows as of now.
Either way, I like Henry's chances as at least a No. 2 Fantasy running back given his expected workload. He has four games in his career with at least 14 carries, and he's scored at least 12 Fantasy points in a standard league in all of them.
Two of those games have come against Jacksonville. In Week 8 last year, Henry had 16 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 37 yards. And in Week 2 this year, Henry had 14 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.
It also should help Henry's cause that Tennessee is 8-1 in games where he plays at least 19 snaps, with the lone loss coming last week against the Rams. But even if Henry starts it doesn't mean he's guaranteed to succeed.
The Jaguars run defense has been impressive since acquiring Marcell Dareus in a trade from Buffalo in late October. Prior to last week, Jacksonville did not allow a running back to score on the ground for six games in a row. That streak ended in Week 15 at San Francisco when Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida both scored, and now we'll see what happens this week.
Henry definitely has the chance for a big game if Murray is out. That's what we're expecting, and Henry is worth starting in a must-win game for the Titans.
I'm starting Henry over: Devonta Freeman (vs. CAR), Jordan Howard (at MIN), Alex Collins (vs. CIN), Lamar Miller (at IND) and Latavius Murray (vs. CHI)
|21.3 projected points|
Kirk Cousins Washington Redskins QB
|Cousins ended his four-game streak of scoring fewer than 20 Fantasy points in Week 16 against Denver when he had 27, and he should stay hot against the Giants this week. He had 242 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Giants in Week 12 for 19 Fantasy points, and he's scored at least 19 points in three of his past four meetings with New York. The Giants allow the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Cousins should end his 2017 campaign on a high note with a strong performance.|
|20.7 projected points|
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
|The Chargers need to win in Week 17 against Oakland and get some help to make the playoffs, and it will likely all come down to Rivers since Melvin Gordon (ankle) could be out. Rivers only had 17 Fantasy points at the Jets in Week 16, and he was held to 16 points at Oakland in Week 6. But he's facing a Raiders team that is eliminated from the postseason and is on the road for the second time in as many weeks. This is a potential blow-up spot for Rivers, and I like him as a top-five Fantasy quarterback in Week 17.|
|22.2 projected points|
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
|Stafford doesn't have anything to play for this week since the Lions were eliminated from the postseason following last week's loss at Cincinnati, but he should still do well here. He has a great track record against the Packers with at least 20 Fantasy points against Green Bay in four games in a row, including 26 points in Week 9. The Packers have allowed four of the past five opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, and Stafford has the potential to be a top-five Fantasy quarterback in Week 17.|
|21.0 projected points|
Cam Newton Carolina Panthers QB
|Newton scored 19 Fantasy points against the Falcons in Week 9, and he should have the chance for another quality outing in the rematch that has playoff implications for both teams. Atlanta has allowed three of the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, and the Falcons have allowed three quarterbacks this year to score at least 10 points with their legs, including Newton. In his past five games at Atlanta, Newton is averaging 21.4 Fantasy points, and he should be in that range again this week.|
|19.7 projected points|
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
|He's 4-0 as a starter and continues to improve as a Fantasy quarterback, including a standout performance against the Jaguars in Week 16 with 25 points. He's now scored at least 22 Fantasy points in consecutive games, and he could make it three in a row this week against the Rams. Los Angeles is expected to be resting players for the playoffs, and that would only enhance Garoppolo's value. He's closing the 2017 season strong and making a case to be a top-10 Fantasy quarterback in 2018.|
- Tyrod Taylor (at MIA): The Bills can still earn a wild-card berth with a win against Miami, a Ravens loss or losses by both the Titans and the Chargers. Taylor just scored 24 Fantasy points against the Dolphins in Week 15, and he's scored multiple touchdowns against Miami in three games in a row. In his past two trips to Miami, Taylor has 498 passing yards and four touchdowns and 47 rushing yards and a touchdown. He's scored at least 23 Fantasy points in four of his past five games against the Dolphins.
- Joe Flacco (vs. CIN): Baltimore will clinch the No. 5 seed in the AFC as a wild card with a win against the Bengals. Flacco has scored at least 20 Fantasy points in four games in a row, and I would trust him as a No. 1 quarterback this week against Cincinnati. The Bengals have allowed three of the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points, and Flacco should take advantage of this matchup with a playoff berth on the line.
- Jacoby Brissett (vs. HOU): Brissett has the chance to end his year on a high note against the Texans. He scored 23 Fantasy points against Houston in Week 9, and the Texans allow the third-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year. Three of the past four opposing quarterbacks have scored at least 20 Fantasy points against Houston, and Brissett is worth using in two-quarterback leagues in Week 17.
|7.8 projected points|
Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles QB
|Like Goff, you can't trust Foles this week because of a potential lack of playing time. Coach Doug Pederson hasn't indicated how much Foles will play against Dallas since the Eagles are locked into the No. 1 seed in the NFC. We don't expect to see much of Foles, which makes him a risky starting option. If we find out prior to Sunday that Foles is playing all four quarters, consider him a low-end starting option against the Cowboys. But it's doubtful Foles will be on the field for the second half of this matchup since Philadelphia has nothing to play for in Week 17.|
|17.8 projected points|
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|There could be an opportunity for Prescott to play well this week if the Eagles decide to rest players on defense, and that could happen. But there's a storyline brewing in Dallas that should make you leery of playing Prescott this week. Owner Jerry Jones indicated this week that backup quarterback Cooper Rush will get some playing time at Philadelphia, as well as several other younger players. It's a situation to avoid, especially since Prescott has struggled of late. He has just 18 Fantasy points combined in his past two games against Oakland and Seattle, and he had minus-2 points against the Eagles in Week 11.|
|15.3 projected points|
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
|Carr had a game to forget in Week 16 at Philadelphia, which was a snapshot of what his season has been all year. He had too many turnovers and missed open receivers, and he finished the game 15-of-29 passing for 140 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Raiders come into the season finale on a three-game losing streak where Carr has failed to top 5.15 yards per attempt while completing just 55 percent of his passes, and he has five turnovers compared to four touchdowns over that span. Oakland has nothing to play for this week on back-to-back road games, and Carr had eight Fantasy points against the Chargers in Week 6.|
|15.2 projected points|
Eli Manning New York Giants QB
|Evan Engram (ribs) and Sterling Shepard (neck) are banged up this week, which makes things even worse for Manning in what has been a forgettable season. Manning has one game with more than 11 Fantasy points in his past five outings, including scoring 2 points against Washington in Week 12. There's also a chance Manning could be benched during the game so the Giants can evaluate rookie quarterback Davis Webb. Manning isn't a recommended option even in two-quarterback leagues.|
|11.4 projected points|
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals QB
|Dalton is another passer to avoid in two-quarterback leagues this week, and he's struggling coming into Week 17 at Baltimore. He's combined for 22 Fantasy points in his past three games, including passing for fewer than 150 yards in two of those outings. Dalton started his season with minus-4 Fantasy points against the Ravens in Week 1, and he will likely end his disappointing year with another down performance against Baltimore.|
Winston has played well over his past four games since coming back from a three-game absence due to a shoulder injury, and he has at least 21 Fantasy points in two of those outings. But Tampa Bay's offensive line woes continue to be a problem, and he's been sacked 18 times in his past four games. The Saints just sacked Matt Ryan five times in Week 16, and New Orleans has limited Ryan twice and Bryce Petty to fewer than 15 Fantasy points in each of the past three games. For the season, the Saints are allowing just 16.8 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Winston has one game with multiple passing touchdowns in his past five meetings with New Orleans. He's also passed for 210 yards or less in four of those games.
|11.7 projected points|
Kenyan Drake Miami Dolphins RB
|Drake had his first down game in a month in Week 16 at Kansas City with five Fantasy points when he had 13 carries for 57 yards and no catches on three targets. It's the first time since Week 11 that he failed to either score a touchdown or gain more than 100 total yards, and it's the first time since Week 8 that he failed to catch a pass. He will easily rebound this week against the Bills, and Drake had 16 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown and six catches for 35 yards at Buffalo in Week 15. The Bills have allowed six running backs to score or gain 90 rushing yards in the past four games with six touchdowns scored over that span. Drake should close the season with a dominant performance at home.|
|10.8 projected points|
C.J. Anderson Denver Broncos RB
|The workload for Anderson has been awesome over the past month, and he should get plenty of touches again in Week 17. He's had at least 19 touches in four games in a row, and he's scored at least 10 Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four outings. He's coming off a monster game at Washington in Week 16 with 20 Fantasy points on 16 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 45 yards on nine targets. Even with Paxton Lynch likely starting for the Broncos this week, Anderson should get plenty of work against a Chiefs defense that could be resting starters.|
|9.7 projected points|
Jamaal Williams Green Bay Packers RB
|Aaron Jones (knee) is unlikely to play in Week 17, so Williams should get plenty of work in a favorable matchup against the Lions. And if he gets to at least 13 carries, he should have the chance for a big game. There have been 11 running backs with at least 13 carries against Detroit this year, and nine of them have scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Williams has at least 13 carries in six of his past seven games, and he's scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four of those. He also scored a touchdown against the Lions in Week 9 with one carry for 1 yard, but he added two catches for 32 yards on two targets when he was the backup to Jones.|
|13.9 projected points|
Dion Lewis New England Patriots RB
|Lewis has either 90 rushing yards or a touchdown in six of his past seven games, and he's caught five passes in two of his past three outings as well. Mike Gillislee (knee) and Rex Burkhead (knee) are out again for the Patriots, which should give Lewis the chance at another big workload in a shared role with James White, who is returning from last week's absence due to an ankle injury. Lewis had 29 touches in Week 16 against Buffalo with 153 total yards and two touchdowns when he was our Start of the Week. This should be another dominant performance for Lewis in Week 17.|
|10.0 projected points|
Frank Gore Indianapolis Colts RB
|Could this be the last game for Gore in the NFL? He's 34 and set to become a free agent this offseason, and he could be headed for retirement -- and eventually the Hall of Fame. He's the NFL's fifth-leading rusher of all time, and he's just 253 yards behind Curtis Martin at No. 4. We doubt he gets there against the Texans, but he could get 1,000 rushing yards for the 10th time in his career. He's 139 yards shy of 1,000, and hopefully he goes out with a bang and reaches that milestone. Gore is playing well of late with at least 13 Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past five games, and Houston has allowed nine touchdowns to running backs in the past five outings. Six running backs have scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league over that span, and Gore should end his season -- and potentially his career -- on a high note.|
- Duke Johnson (at PIT): Johnson has scored at least 10 Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his past six games, including three in a row, and he has 16 catches in his past three outings. The Steelers have allowed a running back to score a touchdown or gain 90 total yards in five games in a row, with seven running backs doing that over that span. Johnson is a borderline starter in standard leagues and a must-start option in PPR.
- Giovani Bernard (at BAL): We'll find out if Joe Mixon (ankle) is able to play this week, but at this point we'd rather see Bernard as the starter for the Bengals, with Mixon getting ready for 2018. Bernard has been great for the past month since Mixon started dealing with concussion and ankle injuries. He comes into Week 17 at Baltimore with at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four games in a row, including three games with at least 10 points. And this isn't exactly a daunting matchup since the Ravens have allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in five games in a row. If Mixon is out, Bernard has top-10 potential in the final game of the season.
- Samaje Perine (at NYG): Perine, despite dealing with an ankle injury prior to Week 16 against Denver and an Achilles injury during the game, appears to be fine for Week 17 against the Giants. The last time he faced the Giants in Week 12 he had 24 carries for 100 yards and three catches for 30 yards on four targets, and New York has allowed a running back to score or gain 80 total yards in four of the past five games.
- Branden Oliver (vs. OAK): We'll see if Melvin Gordon (ankle) is able to play this week against the Raiders, but if he's out, Oliver would start in a must-win game for the Chargers. The Raiders have allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, and I would consider Oliver a top-20 Fantasy running back this week if he starts. Oliver has three games in his career with at least 14 carries, and he's scored at least 13 Fantasy points in a standard league in three of them.
- Theo Riddick (vs. GB): The Packers have struggled with pass-catching running backs all season, and Riddick had four catches for 62 yards against Green Bay in Week 9. Since then, the Packers allowed 10 catches to Baltimore's running backs in Week 11, 12 catches to Le'Veon Bell in Week 12, six catches to Tampa Bay's running backs in Week 13, eight catches to Cleveland's running backs in Week 14 and six catches to Christian McCaffrey in Week 15.
|7.0 projected points|
Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers RB
|Stewart has been awful for the past two games, and his worst game of the season was in Week 9 against Atlanta. Stewarts has three combined Fantasy points in a standard league in his past two outings against Green Bay and Tampa Bay with 18 carries for 46 yards and two catches for 8 yards. If Stewart doesn't score a touchdown, his Fantasy production is minimal, and he only has two games this season with more than 70 rushing yards. He had 11 carries for 21 yards and lost two fumbles against Atlanta in the first meeting this year, and he only has one touchdown against the Falcons in their past five meetings.|
|9.9 projected points|
Lamar Miller Houston Texans RB
|This is more about Miller and the state of the Texans offense than it is about the matchup with the Colts. Miller continues to lose work to Alfred Blue, and he only has 19 carries in his past two games and three catches over that span. Miller has gone four games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 12. With DeAndre Hopkins (calf) out, Houston should struggle to move the ball, and Miller is just a No. 3 running back at best in the final week of the season.|
|7.9 projected points|
Kerwynn Williams Arizona Cardinals RB
|Williams continues to lead the Cardinals ' backfield in touches, but he's yet to post a dominant stat line heading into Week 17 at Seattle. He has at least 16 carries in four games in a row, but he's scored nine, eight, six and six Fantasy points in a standard league in each outing over that span. Despite all the work, Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, and he only has three catches for 29 yards on five targets in his past four games. Seattle has allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in three games in a row, but those three were Fournette, Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. Williams, clearly, isn't in the same category as that trio.|
|7.7 projected points|
Peyton Barber Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
|Barber was still the featured running back in Week 16 at Carolina despite Doug Martin returning to action, and Barber had at least 13 touches for the fourth game in a row. But he's struggled in his past three outings with a combined 14 Fantasy points in a standard league over that span, and this should remain a crowded backfield again in Week 17 against New Orleans. We'll see how much work Martin gets, but even if Barber again gets at least 13 touches it might not matter much given his recent lack of production. Barber is just a flex option at best in Week 17.|
|4.5 projected points|
Jay Ajayi Philadelphia Eagles RB
|You know the story by now with the Eagles. It's doubtful they will play their starters much in Week 17 against Dallas, and Ajayi might not play at all. We could see Philadelphia lean on LeGarrette Blount , Corey Clement , Kenjon Barner or even Wendell Smallwood this week, and Ajayi is a risky starting option since the Eagles want to make sure he's 100 percent for the playoffs. He's played well of late with either 80 total yards or a touchdown in three games in a row, but he has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his past five outings.|
The last time I expected Howard to struggle was Week 14 at Cincinnati, and he finished with 26 Fantasy points in a standard league, so take that into account. But this is a much different scenario since the Vikings are No. 2 in Fantasy points allowed to running backs, and Howard has struggled lately aside from his performance against the Bengals. He has five Fantasy points or less in a standard league in three of his past five games, and he only ran for 44 yards on 22 carries last week against Cleveland, although he scored two touchdowns. He had 19 carries for 76 yards against Minnesota in Week 5, and I would expect him to be in the same range this week.
|9.1 projected points|
Marvin Jones Detroit Lions WR
|Jones hasn't scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in the past month, but he's been solid with at least eight points in two of his past four outings. He's worth trusting this week given his track record against the Packers. In three games with Detroit against Green Bay, Jones has 18 catches for 388 yards and four touchdowns on 28 targets, including Week 9 this year when he had seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. The Packers have allowed 21 catches for 267 yards and five touchdowns to receivers in their past three games.|
|8.0 projected points|
Brandin Cooks New England Patriots WR
|It's been a tough stretch for Cooks of late. He comes into Week 17 against the Jets with three Fantasy points or less in a standard league in three of his past four games, including one point in Week 16 against Buffalo. For those Fantasy owners who survived that performance, look for Cooks to rebound in a big way this week. The Jets have allowed four of the past five opposing No. 1 receivers to score or gain 100 receiving yards. And Cooks had six catches for 93 yards on nine targets against the Jets in Week 6.|
|8.7 projected points|
T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts WR
|Hilton had a solid outing in Week 16 at Baltimore with six catches for 100 yards on 12 targets. It's just the fifth time this season he's scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, but I expect him to finish the season strong in Week 17 against the Texans. Hilton's best game of the season was Week 9 at Houston when he had five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and the Texans allow the third-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers. In his past two games against Houston, Hilton has 14 catches for 290 yards and three touchdowns, so this is a matchup he tends to exploit.|
|8.0 projected points|
Jamison Crowder Washington Redskins WR
|Crowder had his best game of the season in Week 12 against the Giants with seven catches for 141 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. And he comes into this Week 17 matchup on a two-game scoring streak against Arizona and Denver. Crowder has at least 13 Fantasy points in a standard league in two of his past three games against the Giants, and New York has allowed a slot receiver to score at least 11 Fantasy points in two games in a row with Larry Fitzgerald and Nelson Agholor. It should help all the Redskins that Giants standout safety Landon Collins (broken arm) is out for this game.|
|7.8 projected points|
Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers WR
|I expected Goodwin to struggle in Week 16 against Jacksonville given the matchup, and he finished with just three catches for 37 yards on six targets. It was his first game with fewer than seven Fantasy points in a standard league since Week 9, which was well before Garoppolo took over as the starting quarterback. But Goodwin should bounce back this week against the Rams. We'll see who they plan to rest on defense, but the Rams have allowed four receivers to score at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in their past four games. And Goodwin had 33 targets for 24 catches and 319 yards in his first three games with Garoppolo before getting stuffed by the Jaguars.|
- Keelan Cole (at TEN): I would have Cole and Dede Westbrook (5.5 projected points) as must-start receivers if I knew Jacksonville would play its starters the whole game, but you have to build in some risk with these guys since the Jaguars could decide to rest them. Cole is on fire of late with at least 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in four games in a row. And Westbrook has at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four games.
- Mohamed Sanu (vs. CAR): Sanu scored against the Panthers in Week 9 with three catches for 23 yards on three targets, and Carolina has allowed multiple receivers to score at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four of the past seven games. That should happen again this week with Julio Jones and Sanu both scoring at least eight points.
- Josh Doctson (at NYG): The Redskins were really trying to get Doctson going in Week 16 against Denver since he had a season-high 13 targets, and he finished with two catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Thankfully he scored because failing to corral 11 targets is not good, but it's great to see Doctson a featured part of this offense. He actually has at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his past six games, and he's a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver in this matchup with the Giants. He had two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown on four targets against the Giants in Week 12.
- Mike Wallace (vs. CIN): Wallace was a letdown in Week 16 against Indianapolis with four catches for 60 yards on six targets, but he should rebound this week against the Bengals, who have struggled with No. 1 receivers since Adam Jones (groin) was hurt in Week 13. Three of the past four No. 1 receivers against the Bengals -- Brown, Kendall Wright and Stefon Diggs -- have scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league, and Wallace has the chance to reach that number this week. He's a low-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues.
- Kenny Golladay (vs. GB): Golladay just had a season-high eight targets in Week 16 at Cincinnati, and it would be fun for him to bookend his rookie campaign with a touchdown in Week 17 against Green Bay. Golladay opened the year with 18 Fantasy points against Arizona in Week 1 thanks to two touchdowns, but he hasn't scored since. Hopefully he'll be featured in the offense again this week, and the Packers have allowed the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
|6.6 projected points|
Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders WR
|Cooper had one big play in Week 16 at Philadelphia when he caught a 63-yard touchdown, and he scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league for the first time since Week 7. He's only done that three times this year, and he struggled the first time he faced the Chargers in Week 6 when he had five catches for 28 yards on six targets. We'll see if Cooper is fed targets if Michael Crabtree (hamstring) is out this week, but Cooper has six catches for 56 yards combined in his past two meetings with the Chargers.|
|7.2 projected points|
Devin Funchess Carolina Panthers WR
|Two things have plagued Funchess over the past two weeks, which has caused him to struggle with his production. The first thing is a nagging shoulder injury, which has forced him to miss practice time. And the second has been the return to health of tight end Greg Olsen. In his past two games, Funchess has combined for four catches for 30 yards on eight targets. This was after he scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in five games in a row. Funchess could easily break out this week against the Falcons, and he had five catches for 86 yards on seven targets against Atlanta in Week 9. But it's hard to trust him when he's not 100 percent, and Olsen's return has definitely lowered the ceiling for Funchess' Fantasy value.|
|5.9 projected points|
Kelvin Benjamin Buffalo Bills WR
|Benjamin will likely need to score a touchdown -- and get credit for it -- to help Fantasy owners this week because it's doubtful he'll have a big day otherwise. He's failed to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league since Week 5, and he struggled with the Dolphins in their first meeting in Week 15 when he had two catches for 20 yards on two targets. He'll likely see a lot of emerging cornerback Xavien Howard, and Benjamin is just a low-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.|
|5.9 projected points|
Rishard Matthews Tennessee Titans WR
|We'll see how long the Jaguars plan to play their star cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in this matchup, and that will determine how Matthews does this week. He's coming off a down game in Week 16 against the Rams with two catches for 48 yards on four targets, and he struggled against Jacksonville in Week 2 when he had three catches for 43 yards on five targets. Matthews could easily go off if Ramsey and Bouye sit or don't play a full game, but he could also get shut down given how well Jacksonville's secondary has played this year.|
|7.6 projected points|
Robby Anderson New York Jets WR
|The game script for Week 17 against the Patriots should be perfect for Anderson. The Jets will likely be chasing points, New England could start resting players if the score gets out of hand and Anderson could thrive with garbage-time production. The only wrinkle in that scenario is Petty, who has been bad for Anderson's Fantasy value. In the three games since Josh McCown (hand) got hurt, Anderson has 13 catches for 118 yards and no touchdowns on 25 targets. He had four catches for 76 yards against New England in Week 6, and I would expect that to be the ceiling for Anderson this week if he doesn't score. He should be considered just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.|
All the Eagles, Chiefs and Rams starting receivers
The theme of Week 17 is who will play due to impending playoff implications, and it appears like the Eagles, Chiefs and Rams will all rest multiple starters, especially at quarterback. Andy Reid has already said Mahomes will start, so don't expect Hill to play. And with the Rams benching Goff then you can't count on Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp or Sammy Watkins. Foles may play some, but once he leaves the game against Dallas, you should expect Alshon Jeffery and Agholor to follow him. It's risky to trust these receivers, and Fantasy owners should just plan ahead and bench the main guys from Philadelphia, Kansas City and the Rams in Week 17.
|6.2 projected points|
Eric Ebron Detroit Lions TE
|Things have finally clicked for Ebron, and he's playing great coming into Week 17 against Green Bay. He has either 90 receiving yards or a touchdown in three games in a row, and he just had his best game of the season in Week 16 at Cincinnati with five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. He has 26 targets over his past three games, and he should continue to remain a featured part of the offense this week. Ebron has become a must-start Fantasy tight end in all leagues.|
|5.4 projected points|
Antonio Gates Los Angeles Chargers TE
|I expected Gates to be more involved in the offense in Week 16 at the Jets with Hunter Henry (kidney laceration) out, and Gates was better than I anticipated. He had season highs in targets (eight), catches (six) and yards (81), and he scored just his third touchdown of the year. Gates should again see a healthy amount of targets in Week 17 against Oakland, and the Raiders have allowed a tight end to score at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in three of the past four games.|
|5.2 projected points|
Charles Clay Buffalo Bills TE
|Clay just had five catches for 68 yards on nine targets in Week 15 against Miami, and he has 19 targets in his past two games. He almost scored in Week 16 at New England, and he finished with four catches for 37 yards. The Dolphins allow the second-most Fantasy points to tight ends, and Clay is a top-10 Fantasy option in Week 17 against Miami, which is his former team. Who doesn't love a revenge game?|
- Benjamin Watson (vs. CIN): Watson has scored a touchdown in two of his past four games, and he has 10 targets for nine catches, 114 yards and a touchdown in his past two outings against Cleveland and Indianapolis. He has a great matchup against the Bengals in Week 17, and Cincinnati has allowed a tight end to score in three games in a row.
- Vernon Davis (at NYG): Let's try this again. The last time Davis faced the Giants in Week 12 he had one of the most disappointing performances of the season for any player at any position. Davis had no catches on one target, and he ruined many Fantasy owners that week. He's now scored two touchdowns in his past three games, and we hope he can take advantage of this matchup with New York in Week 17 since the Giants allow the most Fantasy points to tight ends this year.
- Vance McDonald (vs. CLE): McDonald was the lead tight end in Week 16 at Houston with four catches for 52 yards on five targets, and he has a great matchup in Week 17 against the Browns. Cleveland is No. 5 in Fantasy points allowed to tight ends, and Jesse James had six catches for 41 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets against the Browns in Week 1.
|4.7 projected points|
Jared Cook Oakland Raiders TE
|It's hard to trust Cook in Week 17 given the matchup with the Chargers and his recent lack of production. He has three Fantasy points or fewer in five of his past six games, and he was held to two catches for 14 yards on three targets against the Chargers in Week 6. The Chargers are also No. 4 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to tight ends, and only three tight ends have scored touchdowns against Los Angeles this year.|
|5.0 projected points|
Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys TE
|Witten continues to struggle as the season comes to a close, and he enters Week 17 at Philadelphia with a nine-game streak of scoring single digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. And that includes scoring two touchdowns over that span. He hasn't topped 50 receiving yards in six games in a row, and he was held to one catch for 7 yards on one target against the Eagles in Week 11. This is not the time to trust Witten as a starting Fantasy tight end in the majority of leagues.|
|6.1 projected points|
Cameron Brate Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE
|It's going to take Brate scoring a touchdown for him to help your Fantasy team, and he's only found the end zone in one game in his past 10. He's also dealing with a back injury that caused him to miss practice Wednesday, although he is expected to play. Still, he's been held to fewer than 50 receiving yards eight games in a row, and the Saints are No. 5 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends this year.|
You know the drill by now, and you should put Travis Kelce in this category as well. Ertz and Kelce are the two premier tight ends who will likely not play or see limited action this week because of the upcoming NFL playoffs. For the Eagles, they can easily replace Ertz with Trey Burton, who has done well both times Ertz has been out this season due to injury. Burton is a sleeper to consider in deeper leagues against Dallas. And the Chiefs will likely give more playing time to No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris, who is also worth using as a sleeper at Denver this week.
Redskins (at NYG) – 11.4 projected points
Washington had one of its best performances in Week 12 against the Giants with 18 Fantasy points, and the Redskins come into Week 17 for the rematch with at least 15 Fantasy points in consecutive games against Arizona and Denver. Washington has an interception in three games in a row, nine sacks in the past two games and has held the Cardinals and Broncos to a combined 26 total points. The Giants have five interceptions in their past three games, and they have scored 17 points or less in five of their past six outings.
- Patriots (vs. NYJ): The Patriots DST had two interceptions and four sacks against the Jets in Week 6, and three DSTs in a row have scored at least 11 Fantasy points against the Jets. Petty should be in for a long day at Gillette Stadium in Week 17.
- Saints (at TB): Winston has been sacked 18 times in his past four games, and he just had three lost fumbles against the Panthers in Week 16. The Saints DST scored 22 Fantasy points against Tampa Bay in Week 9 and has scored at least 11 Fantasy points in three games in a row.
- Bills (at MIA): The Bills DST just scored 13 Fantasy points against the Dolphins in Week 15 with three interceptions and three sacks, and Buffalo held Miami to 16 points. With a playoff spot on the line, the Bills defense should be able to harass Jay Cutler into some turnovers this week.
Panthers (at ATL) – 9.4 projected points
The Panthers DST has been rolling of late with at least 13 Fantasy points in three games in a row, but it scored just eight points against Atlanta in Week 9. The Falcons have only allowed an opposing DST to score double digits in Fantasy points against them twice in the past 11 games, and it was New Orleans twice. Aside from the Saints, the Falcons have not been a good matchup for opposing DST, so plan to avoid the Panthers DST this week.
Forbath is playing well coming into Week 17, and he should have the chance for another quality performance against the Bears at home. Chicago is No. 10 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing kickers, and Forbath has scored at least 10 Fantasy points in three games in a row. He's 8 for 9 on field goals over that span and 6 for 6 on extra points.
- Stephen Hauschka (at MIA): Hauschka has at least eight Fantasy points in each of his past three road games, and the Dolphins have allowed 31 Fantasy points combined to opposing kickers in their past three games.
- Adam Vinatieri (vs. HOU): The past three opposing kickers against the Texans have scored at least nine Fantasy points, and Vinatieri made five field goals in his past two games against Denver and Baltimore. He had 10 Fantasy points at Houston in Week 9.
- Dustin Hopkins (at NYG): Hopkins has four field goals and five extra points in two games since returning from an eight-game absence due to a hip injury, and he should play well this week against the Giants. He's made 10 field goals and six extra points in four career games against New York.
Elliott only scored seven Fantasy points in Week 16 against Oakland, and he missed his first field goal since Week 11. His opponent that week was Dallas, and Elliott was injured in that game with a concussion. With the Eagles likely resting starters on offense this week, you might want to avoid Elliott in the majority of leagues. And despite being one of the best Fantasy kickers this season, he's been held to single digits in Fantasy points in each of his past four home games.