Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week $2.5 million Fantasy Football contest for Week 17. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $300,000. Starts Sunday, Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to play with Jamey.
It's the final week of the regular season, and while most Fantasy leagues ended in Week 16, some of you are still competing for a title in this scoring period. There could be plenty of issues to deal with as the season comes to a close.
Teams like the Patriots, Colts and Cowboys are essentially locked into their playoff spots, and it's hard to gauge how much their star players will play, if at all. Our guess is the Patriots won't use Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski for a full game, so both are risky options, although I still expect Gronkowski to do enough to remain a starter in all leagues.
The Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray because of his hand injury, but Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten should still see plenty of action. And the Colts said their starters will play in Week 17, and they need to improve their offensive production after several down weeks, so keep Andrew Luck active and start T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) if he plays.
As for the teams out of the playoffs, you have to be prepared for some injured players to sit. For example, Jimmy Graham may be held out because of his nagging shoulder injury, and the Saints have no reason to play him at Tampa Bay. We should have updates on all of these scenarios throughout the week, so stay tuned to the news leading up to Sunday.
For those of you not playing for anything this week, we encourage you to try your hand at FanDuel for some one week action, which should make Week 17 exciting. And once the regular season is over you can play in our Fantasy Playoff Challenge, which makes the postseason an even better experience.
It's been another fun season, and thank you all for your support. We wish you a Happy Holidays and a great new year, and hopefully all your Fantasy leagues were a success this season.
Cam Newton was on my bust list this season, and he comes into this week as the No. 16 quarterback in standard leagues. He has dealt with a litany of injuries to his wrist, ankle, ribs and back, and he's had to overcome a revamped offensive line and receiving corps.
But he has the chance to close the season on a high note and help the Panthers win the NFC South with a victory at Atlanta this week. And he enters this matchup playing well despite being two weeks removed from a car accident with at least 22 Fantasy points in three of his past four games.
This successful stretch started in Week 11 against the Falcons when he passed for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for 30 yards. He also has at least 19 Fantasy points in six consecutive games against Atlanta and is averaging 27 Fantasy points against the Falcons over that span.
The Falcons have only allowed seven quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points against them this season, but safety William Moore (shoulder) is back on injured reserve. I'm counting on Newton to deliver another quality performance, and I'd start him with confidence in this winner-take all game with the Falcons for the NFC South title.
We obviously expect Newton to play well in this matchup, but Ryan will also have a huge game. He's passed for at least 310 yards in four games in a row, and he has multiple touchdowns in four of his past five games. He struggled at Carolina in Week 11 with 268 passing yards and one touchdown, but he's averaged 23 Fantasy points in his past three home games against the Panthers. Having a healthy Julio Jones (oblique) for this game and a banged up Steven Jackson (quad) means Ryan could be doing a lot of throwing to help the Falcons try and win the NFC South.
We'll find out if Roethlisberger's performance against the Bengals in Week 14 was a fluke or not this week because he finally solved the Cincinnati riddle in that first meeting. He had 350 passing yards and three touchdowns at Cincinnati, which was the first time he had multiple touchdowns and no interceptions against the Bengals since 2011. Since that game, Cincinnati has allowed two touchdowns and six interceptions, including holding Peyton Manning to just 16 Fantasy points. And Roethlisberger has struggled with just 28 combined Fantasy points against Atlanta and Kansas City. But we'll still stick with him this week, especially at home where he has 21 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games with an average of 352 passing yards a game.
Wilson was simply amazing in Week 16 at Arizona with 339 passing yards and two touchdowns and 88 rushing yards and a touchdown, which was 39 Fantasy points. He was one point shy of his season-best game, which was Week 7 at St. Louis. He's been great to close the season with at least 18 Fantasy points in six of his past seven games, and he's averaging 24 Fantasy points in his past four meetings with the Rams. St. Louis has only allowed three quarterbacks to score more than 20 Fantasy points this season (Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning are the other two), but this is more about Wilson than the matchup. He's proving to be matchup proof, and he's a must-start option at home with the NFC West title and No. 1 seed in the conference on the line.
Manning has turned into a solid Fantasy quarterback thanks to Odell Beckham becoming an unstoppable force. The two obviously go hand-in-hand, but Manning has three games with three touchdowns in his past five outings. In those three games, Beckham has seven touchdowns. Since Beckham made his NFL debut in Week 5 against Atlanta, Manning has six games with at least 20 Fantasy points in 11 outings. One of his dud games was Week 6 at Philadelphia when he was 13-of-23 passing for 151 yards for six Fantasy points. That was the game Victor Cruz (knee) was injured, and everything fell apart for the Giants. Manning is one of three quarterbacks (Tony Romo on Thanksgiving and Robert Griffin III) to not throw multiple touchdowns against the Eagles, and only four quarterbacks (Newton and the previous three) have failed to get at least 20 Fantasy points against Philadelphia. Manning should correct his mistake from earlier this year against the Eagles, and he's got 542 passing yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions in his past two home games against Philadelphia.
Bridgewater has been the best Fantasy rookie quarterback, and he should finish the season strong in this matchup. He's scored at least 17 Fantasy points in five games in a row, including at least 18 points in four consecutive home games. The last time Bridgewater failed to score at least 17 Fantasy points was Week 11 at Chicago when he had 10, but the Bears have allowed three quarterbacks to score at least 25 Fantasy points since then and have nothing to play for this week. And in Chicago's last three road games at New England, Green Bay and Detroit, the Bears have allowed an average of 39 Fantasy points to Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. While Bridgewater isn't in that tier of quarterbacks by far, that stat does bode well for his chances this week.
SleepersMark Sanchez (at NYG): This could be his last chance as an NFL starter.
Ryan Tannehill (vs. NYJ): He should play well in the rematch at home.
Jay Cutler (at MIN): He had 29 Fantasy points vs. Minnesota in Week 11.
I wouldn't be surprised if Brady came out and had a dominant game against the Bills this week. Buffalo is eliminated from playoff contention after last week's dud at Oakland, and Brady has a tremendous history against the Bills, including 38 Fantasy points at Buffalo in Week 6. But the Patriots also have nothing to play for this week after clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and Brady might not play a full game. Gronkowski might also be rested, and you can probably assume injured offensive guys like LeGarrette Blount (shoulder), Julian Edelman (concussion) and Dan Connolly (neck) will be held out. Brady also was sacked four times by the Jets in Week 16, and Buffalo leads the NFL in sacks, which could play into the decision to limit Brady this week. He might be awesome, or he might play just a half. We're just advising you to use caution with Brady in Week 17.
The Lions have the chance to win the NFC North and earn a first-round bye with a win against the Packers, who they beat 19-7 at home in Week 3. But there's a lot going against the Lions and Stafford this week, so I'd be nervous to start him. The Lions have lost 23 straight games in Wisconsin, the longest road losing streak in NFL history. The last time Detroit won on the road against the Packers was when Stafford was 3 years old. Center Dominic Raiola is suspended for the game, and Stafford has struggled during cold-weather games in December and January. He once had 520 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions at Green Bay in 2011, but in two games since at Lambeau Field he's averaged just 17 Fantasy points. He's also combined for 17 Fantasy points in his past two games against Minnesota and Chicago coming into this matchup, and we're expecting him to struggle this week with everything on the line.
Dalton lit up the Steelers in Week 14 with 302 passing yards and two touchdowns and 22 rushing yards and a touchdown for 30 Fantasy points. He was awesome that day, but we'll see how he fares in the rematch. That was the only game Dalton has been over 17 Fantasy points in his past five outings, and he has more than 20 points just five times this season. You also have to worry about Dalton in a prime-time game. He's played eight prime-time games in his career, including Week 16 against Denver on Monday night, and he's 3-5 in those outings with an average of 204 passing yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Pittsburgh is a disaster in pass defense, so take that into account, but I'd be concerned about starting Dalton in this game even with the AFC North title on the line.
It was great to see Kaepernick finally run the ball with success in Week 16 against the Chargers with 151 yards and a touchdown, and maybe he can do that again this week. After all, the Cardinals just allowed Wilson to run for 88 yards and a touchdown in Week 16, and Kaepernick did have 54 rushing yards at Arizona in Week 3. He had 20 Fantasy points in that game, and he's averaged 22 Fantasy points against the Cardinals in four career meetings, with at least 19 points in every outing. I just don't have faith in Kaepernick to finish the season with a big game since his 29 Fantasy points against San Diego was his first outing with more than 15 points since Week 6. Hopefully he can play well in this matchup, and the Cardinals have allowed three of their past five opponents to score at least 21 Fantasy points. But I'd bet against it with Arizona trying to win this game and solidify its playoff standings.
I thought Griffin would play well in Week 16 against the Eagles, and his performance on the field was solid with 16-of-23 passing for 220 yards and an interception and five carries for 11 yards. He helped the Redskins earn an upset victory, but he was limited to seven Fantasy points. He has failed to score more than 17 Fantasy points in any of his six starts this season, and he will likely be limited again this week. The Cowboys have held Sanchez and Luck to six Fantasy points combined in the past two games, and Colt McCoy had 16 points as Washington's starter against Dallas in Week 8. There's always the chance Griffin can put together a big game against the Cowboys, who could be resting starters for the playoffs. But there's a good enough sample size for Griffin to expect minimal Fantasy production, so plan on sitting him this week.
It seems like Rivers is doing OK with the bulging disc in his back, and he's coming off a tremendous game at San Francisco in Week 16 with 356 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions for 32 Fantasy points. But this is now just two games with more than 15 Fantasy points in his past seven outings, and quarterbacks have struggled against the Chiefs this season. Only three quarterbacks have scored more than 18 Fantasy points against Kansas City this year with Jake Locker in Week 1, Peyton Manning in Week 2 and Wilson in Week 11. The Chiefs held Rivers to 18 Fantasy points in Week 7 and have been able to limit Manning (17 points) and Roethlisberger (14 points) in the past four games. Rivers is the type of quarterback who rises to the occasion in big spots, and a playoff berth is on the line this week. San Diego can easily win this game, but Rivers could also have a down performance statistically. I'd shy away from him this week if you can.
Ingram didn't have a great game in Week 16 against the Falcons, but he did manage to score a touchdown and finish with 10 Fantasy points. That gives him double digits in Fantasy points in eight of the 12 games he's played this season, and he's been a standout running back given the low expectations coming into the year. He should finish on a high note against the Bucs, who have allowed 16 touchdowns to opposing running backs and 13 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Ingram missed the first meeting with Tampa Bay because of a broken hand, but Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson each had over 90 total yards with three total touchdowns. Thomas (ribs) might miss this game, which should mean more work for Ingram in this plus matchup.
The Bengals are going to once again lean on Hill, and we expect him to come through despite a tough matchup. Pittsburgh has allowed one rushing touchdown since Week 8 and only Ingram has reached double digits in Fantasy points over that span, including matchups with Justin Forsett, Steven Jackson, Jamaal Charles and Hill, who was held to eight carries for 46 yards and three catches for 21 yards in Week 14. Giovani Bernard also was limited to six carries for 17 yards and three catches for 19 yards, but Hill has taken off since that game. He has 44 Fantasy points in his past two games against Cleveland and Denver with at least 22 carries in each game. The key for him is work since he's scored double digits in Fantasy points every time he's had at least 15 carries, which has happened six times. The Bengals don't want Dalton to have to win this game, and Hill will do a lot of heavy lifting. We expect the trend to follow if he gets 15 carries, so hopefully the Bengals put him to work this week.
DeAngelo Williams (hand) has the chance to return this week after missing the past three games, but the Panthers would be insane to go away from Stewart now with the playoffs on the line. He has been great in Williams' absence with 66 carries for 352 yards and two total touchdowns in the past three games, and this is an amazing matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. There have been 14 running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Atlanta with 22 touchdowns allowed, and a running back has scored against the Falcons in five games in a row with nine total scores over that span. So even if Williams returns this week you should plan on using Stewart because if his touches are reduced he should still have a quality performance.
Asiata has been great for Fantasy owners the past two games, and he should continue to play well this week because of the matchup. Asiata has three touchdowns in his past two games and 34 Fantasy points combined against Detroit and Miami. He's not running well at 3.5 yards per carry over that span, but he does have 10 catches for 69 yards to help his total output. The key for him is scoring touchdowns, and he should find the end zone this week. Chicago has been a disaster in run defense each of the past four weeks with seven touchdowns allowed and four running backs catching at least five passes over that span, with five scoring double digits in Fantasy points. Asiata should again be considered a Top 15 Fantasy option this week.
There are obviously no guarantees in sports, especially for Fantasy owners, but Morris against the Cowboys is as close to a lock as you will find. He's faced the Cowboys five times in his career, and he's scored in every matchup with at least 14 Fantasy points. In total, Morris has 115 carries against Dallas for 555 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also been at his best this season when Griffin has started with at least nine Fantasy points in six of the seven starts the two have made together, including double digits in points in five of those outings. So since Griffin is still the starter and the opponent is Dallas you should expect Morris to have a dominant performance. I almost want to guarantee it.
SleepersJoseph Randle (at WAS): He should see plenty of action this week.
Chris Ivory (at MIA): He should do well in this tasty matchup.
Dan Herron (at TEN): Even Trent Richardson has a chance vs. Tennessee.
Frank Gore (vs. ARI): He's home and Carlos Hyde (knee) is still hurt.
Latavius Murray (at DEN): He should take advantage of this beat up defense.
There's a chance Jackson (quad) might not play, which would allow rookie Devonta Freeman (sleeper alert) to have a bigger role. But even if Jackson does gut it out in this important game against the Panthers you should try to avoid him. He'll be playing at less than 100 percent, and Carolina already held him to 17 carries for 41 yards and two catches for 6 yards. The Panthers have been tough in run defense for the past six games with only two touchdowns allowed to running backs and none reaching double digits in Fantasy points, including LeSean McCoy, Ingram and Jackson. This might be Jackson's last game in Atlanta, which could be obvious motivation, but we still doubt he will make a big impact. It would be one thing if he was 100 percent healthy, but since he's injured he should remain reserved in all leagues.
Crowell is going to finish this season as the best running back for the Browns, and he will enter 2015 with the chance to be a starting Fantasy option or at least a flex. But he's closing the season with just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past four outings, and we don't have much faith in him this week. The Browns are likely going to start Conner Shaw at quarterback with Brian Hoyer (shoulder) hurt and Johnny Manziel (hamstring) out, so the Ravens will definitely key in on stopping the run. Baltimore, despite being without key defensive lineman Haloti Ngata (suspension) the past three games, has not allowed a rushing touchdown, including matchups with Lamar Miller and Arian Foster. Crowell is barely a flex option this week given the matchup.
It's always hard to figure out who will be the main running back for the Patriots on a given week, and this week is even more complicated with the No. 1 seed in the AFC locked up. It's a meaningless game, and Blount missed Week 16 with a shoulder injury, which means it's doubtful he plays this week. That could mean more work for Jonas Gray, Vereen and Brandon Bolden, and we'd use Gray of this group if you need any of New England's guys. Vereen has been a complete disappointment this season in standard leagues with single digits in Fantasy points in six games in a row and only one touchdown over that span. He had five carries for 4 yards and one catch for 3 yards at Buffalo in Week 6, and the Patriots could limit his playing time this week with the playoffs looming. There's not a lot of optimism for Vereen this week so keep him reserved in all formats.
We liked Gerhart in Week 16 against the Titans, and he came through with 12 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown for 11 Fantasy points, which was his best game of the season. He left with a rib injury, but he is expected to play this week. And since this is a much tougher matchup against the Texans, we would avoid Gerhart if possible. Houston has allowed just eight touchdowns to opposing running backs this season and none in the past four games. Gerhart had just five carries for 19 yards and two catches for 16 yards against the Texans in Week 14, but he was sharing carries with Denard Robinson (foot) then. He should be the lead back this week, but we'd still shy away from using him since it's a tough matchup and he'll likely be less than 100 percent because of his ribs.
Sproles finally had a good PPR game in Week 16 at Washington when he had six catches for 43 yards. But he finished the game with just six Fantasy points in a standard league and has now gone 12 games in a row with single digits in points, including Week 6 against the Giants. Sproles had seven carries for 39 yards and a touchdown in that game, but his usage has been inconsistent all season, making him tough to trust in the majority of leagues. McCoy should have a big game this week, but Sproles will remain in a secondary role and play on special teams. Unless you play in a league that rewards return yardage we would keep Sproles reserved in most formats.
Mason did his job as the Start of the Week in Week 16 with 13 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Giants at home. We liked him in that game because of his home success and the matchup, but none of that applies this week. He'll be on the road against a dominant defense, and you know the Seahawks remember what happened against them in Week 7 when the Rams pulled off a 28-26 upset with Mason getting 18 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. In the past five games, Seattle has allowed just one rushing touchdown and no running back to gain more than 55 rushing yards. This should be a tough outing for Mason, and we would keep him reserved in the majority of leagues.
The last time Benjamin faced the Falcons at home in Week 11 he had a dominant performance with nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. He did most of his damage on Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant, and those two should match up again this week. Benjamin has done well on the road this year with a touchdown in six of seven games, and he has double digits in Fantasy points in eight games overall. He won't win rookie of the year honors because of Beckham, but he's solidified himself as one of the best young receivers in the NFL. We're excited about his outlook for 2015, and he should finish this year strong with another big outing.
We hope Wallace closes the season with another solid performance since he's been great each of the past two weeks against New England and Minnesota with 33 combined Fantasy points. He owes us a big game in the rematch against the Jets since he should have had a touchdown in Week 13. He finished that game with six catches for 69 yards, and the Jets have a beatable secondary with 14 touchdowns allowed to receivers and 14 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Jarvis Landry also has sleeper appeal this week, but Wallace should end his rebound season on a high note. He has 67 catches for 862 yards and 10 touchdowns coming into this game, and one more touchdown will set a new career high. He's also seven catches away from a new career best as well.
Like Morris and the Cowboys, White against the Panthers is almost a guarantee as well. In his past five meetings with Carolina, White has a touchdown in each game and at least 13 Fantasy points. Over that span, White has 40 catches for 536 yards and six touchdowns, and he had eight catches for 75 yards and a touchdown at Carolina in Week 11. He struggled in Week 16 at New Orleans with six catches for 55 yards, which ended a five-game streak of at least nine Fantasy points, and it coincided with Jones coming back from his oblique injury. Still, he had nine targets in the game, and his history against the Panthers, along with his solid production all season and the magnitude of the game at home, makes him a must-start option in all formats.
Jackson had a terrible history against the Cowboys prior to joining the Redskins, but he played well in his first meeting against Dallas with his new team in Week 8 with six catches for 136 yards. He is coming off a big game in Week 16 against the Eagles with four catches for 126 yards, and we expect him to close the season on a high note. The Cowboys have allowed some big games to receivers of late with Cecil Shorts, Beckham, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews and Alshon Jeffery all scoring double digits in Fantasy points in their past six games. Griffin hit Jackson on two plays of 51-plus yards against the Eagles last week, and we hope the two continue to connect on some deep passes in this matchup.
Johnson struggled in a tough matchup against the Dolphins in Week 16 with three catches for 38 yards on six targets, and standout cornerback Brent Grimes might have been part of the problem. The Bears don't have a player like Grimes in their secondary, and Johnson should have a field day. I like Greg Jennings (sleeper alert) in this matchup also since he has a touchdown in four of his past five games, and the Bears have allowed six touchdowns to receivers in the past five games. But Johnson could go off this week and has the higher ceiling. He had six catches for 87 yards on seven targets against Chicago in Week 11, and he has at least six targets in five of his past six outings. We hope Bridgewater continues to look in his direction, and he's a quality No. 2 receiver to trust this week.
SleepersDoug Baldwin (vs. STL): He had 18 Fantasy points vs. STL in Week 7.
Eddie Royal (at KC): He's the best receiver in San Diego with Keenan Allen out.
Kendall Wright (vs. IND): He has 25 catches in his past four vs. Indianapolis.
Albert Wilson (vs. SD): He's the best Kansas City receiver for the past two weeks.
Rueben Randle (vs. PHI): He's got four scores in his past two at home vs. Philly.
Gordon continues to struggle with inconsistent quarterback play, and the Browns will use their third different quarterback in the six games he's played this season when Shaw starts against the Ravens. Gordon comes into this game with no touchdowns in the five games he's played so far and 15 Fantasy points combined in his past four outings. He's been under 50 receiving yards in his past three games, and the Ravens, despite a depleted secondary, should still be able to contain him. Baltimore hasn't allowed a receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points in three games in a row, including matchups with Wallace, Landry, DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson. Only Brian Hartline has scored during that stretch, and we can't trust Shaw to survive this pass rush and get the ball to Gordon on a consistent basis. Next year, when Gordon doesn't have a 10-game suspension to worry about, he should rebound and play at a high level. But this has been a lost year for him, and he should not be started in Week 17.
It was fun while it lasted with Douglas, who helped many Fantasy owners in Week 15 when Jones was out, but should now be put on the bench after Jones returned in Week 16. With Jones and White healthy, Douglas has minimal Fantasy relevance. He has two games this season with double digits in Fantasy points. One was Week 13 against Arizona with White out, and the other was Week 15 against the Steelers when Jones was sidelined. He had four Fantasy points last week at New Orleans, and he also had four points against the Panthers in Week 11. We thought Douglas could play well this season even as the No. 3 receiver since Tony Gonzalez was gone, but he's remained a sidekick who is totally dependent on an injury to improve his value. No one is hurt this week, so keep Douglas out of your lineup.
It's become evident since about Week 6 when Torrey Smith snapped out his early-season funk that he's the better Smith in Baltimore when both are healthy. Torrey Smith recently dealt with some knee pain, so Steve Smith picked up the slack with 13 Fantasy points at Miami. But Steve Smith has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past nine outings. He could easily play well here, and he had five catches for 101 yards at Cleveland in Week 3. But Torrey Smith is the Ravens receiver to trust, especially if Joe Haden (shoulder) is out. Now, if Haden plays, that does improve the outlook for Steve Smith because Joe Flacco could shy away from that side of the field. But we'd still be hesitant to trust Steve Smith based on his overall play over the second half of the season.
Boldin will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when he was a member of the Cardinals. His six-year playoff run included two Super Bowl appearances, so this unfamiliar territory for him. We hope he closes the season on a high note, but he's struggled down the stretch like most of his teammates. He has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past six outings, and he hasn't scored a touchdown or topped 61 receiving yards in five games in a row. He had six catches for 36 yards at Arizona in Week 3, and the Cardinals have allowed just one receiver to score in their past seven games, which was Jones in Week 13. Now, three receivers (Jones, Douglas and Baldwin) have had over 100 receiving yards against this secondary, but Boldin has just one game with more than 100 yards this year. He should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best this week.
Hopkins was able to play in Week 16 against Baltimore despite an injured ankle, but his production was less than stellar with five catches for 38 yards despite 12 targets. He now has eight Fantasy points or less in five of his past six games, and it's hard to trust him with Case Keenum at quarterback. He was also mediocre against the Jaguars in Week 14 with four catches for 49 yards on six targets, and Jacksonville has allowed just one touchdown to an opposing receiver in the past four games, including matchups with Beckham, Hopkins, Johnson, Torrey Smith and Steve Smith. Foster should again lead the way for the Texans, so use caution when starting either of Houston's receivers this week.
It's hard to know what the Patriots will do with their star players this week, and that includes cornerback Darrelle Revis since this is a meaningless game in advance of the playoffs. But if Revis plays the majority of the game you should expect Watkins to struggle. He was shut down by New England in Week 6 with two catches for 27 yards on three targets, and he's also been inconsistent to close the season with two games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past seven outings. If you plan on starting Watkins this week you're doing so with the hope Revis is out or doesn't play much at all. If Revis does play a full game then we anticipate Watkins having another poor performance.
We liked Witten last week against the Colts, and he delivered his best game of the season with seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. That was just his second game of the year with double digits in Fantasy points, but he has seven catches in consecutive games coming into this matchup with the Redskins. The previous time Witten reached double digits in Fantasy points was Week 8 against Washington when he had five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, and he has at least seven Fantasy points in three of his past five meetings with the Redskins. Washington is among the worst teams at defending tight ends this season with 11 touchdowns allowed and seven scoring double digits in Fantasy points, including three in the past four games with Coby Fleener, Jared Cook and Zach Ertz. We expect Witten to stay hot in this matchup, and he should be started in all leagues.
Walker has had to deal with a mess at quarterback this season with Locker, Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst all throwing him passes. He struggled with Whitehurst in Week 16 at Jacksonville with four catches for 54 yards on six targets, and Whitehurst missed him on a wide-open throw in the end zone. The good news is Walker has a great matchup with the Colts, and he scored at Indianapolis in Week 4 with five catches for 84 yards on seven targets. Whitehurst threw him the touchdown in that game, and the Colts have been bad against tight ends all season. Since Week 8, the Colts have allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends and six to score at least seven Fantasy points. We hope Walker can add to that total, and he should take advantage of this favorable matchup.
We're going with Fleener this week only if Dwayne Allen (knee) is out, and it makes sense for the Colts to rest Allen with the playoffs starting next week. Fleener has done well this season when Allen was hurt. Allen left Week 11 against New England with an ankle injury, and Fleener finished with seven catches for 144 yards. Allen missed the next two games against Jacksonville and Washington, and Fleener combined for six catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns in those outings. He also had two catches for 26 yards and a touchdown against the Titans in Week 4, and he had eight catches for 107 yards at Tennessee last year. The Titans have also allowed a tight end to score in three of the past five games, and Fleener should do well as long as Allen is out.
SleepersJermaine Gresham (at PIT): Gresham scored vs. Pittsburgh in Week 14.
Zach Ertz (at NYG): Ertz scored vs. New York in Week 6.
Charles Clay (vs. NYJ): He has 12 catches for 173 yards in his past two games.
Donnell continues to disappoint as the season comes to a close, and he was limited to four catches for 42 yards on five targets against the Rams in Week 16. That's now 10 of his past 11 games with single digits in Fantasy points, and he's only scored double digits in points in three games this year. He was held to one catch for 6 yards against the Eagles in Week 6, and Philadelphia has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end this season and two to reach double digits in Fantasy points. We have no faith in Donnell in this matchup, and he should be benched in the majority of leagues.
It continues to be the same story with Reed that whenever Griffin starts he doesn't play well. In four games this season when both were healthy (at MIN in Week 9, vs. TB in Week 11, at NYG in Week 15 and vs. PHI in Week 16), the duo combined for eight catches for 57 yards and no touchdowns on just 12 targets. Reed played well in the first game at Dallas with seven catches for 40 yards on seven targets, but that was with McCoy as the starter. The Cowboys have struggled with tight ends this season with 10 touchdowns allowed, but you can't trust Griffin to help Reed play well given their track record. I'd rather go with someone like Scott Chandler (at NE), Chase Ford (vs. CHI) or Mychal Rivera (at DEN) over Reed since those guys also have favorable matchups but with quarterbacks who use their tight ends.
Daniels, like the rest of his teammates aside from Torrey Smith, was a complete letdown at Houston last week. Daniels was held to one catch for 7 yards on six targets, and he can't be trusted in Week 17. The last time these teams met was when Dennis Pitta injured his hip and was lost for the season in Week 3. Since then, Daniels has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points and two touchdowns. Cleveland has only allowed three touchdowns to two tight ends this year (Jimmy Graham in Week 2 and Garrett Graham in Week 11), including matchups with Heath Miller twice, Greg Olsen, Walker and both Colts. Daniels is not good enough to trust in this tough matchup.
Cameron showed his playmaking ability with an 81-yard touchdown catch in Week 16 at Carolina, but his flashes of brilliance have been just that – flashes. That was only his second touchdown of the season and just the second time he's reached double digits in Fantasy points. He's struggled with injuries and poor quarterback play this year, but he's also to blame for his down season. He was held to one catch for 23 yards against Baltimore in Week 3 on three targets while playing through a shoulder injury, and the Ravens have only allowed Jimmy Graham and Allen to reach double digits in Fantasy points against them this year. With another new quarterback in Cleveland this week with Shaw under center, I would avoid Cameron in most formats in Week 17.
Barth had his worst game in Week 16 at Cincinnati since joining the Broncos in Week 13 with four Fantasy points. He missed his lone field goal attempt from 49 yards, and he had scored at least eight Fantasy points in his previous three outings. We expect a rebound performance against the Raiders, who have allowed nine kickers to make multiple field goals against them this season, including former Denver kicker Brandon McManus in Week 10 when he had two field goals and five extra points. Barth is a must-start Fantasy kicker based on his potential alone, and he has two games with five field goals in his short stint with the Broncos, which shows his upside in this offense.
SleepersRandy Bullock (vs. JAC): 11 kickers have multiple field goals vs. Jacksonville.
Blair Walsh (vs. CHI): He had nine Fantasy points at Chicago in Week 11.
Graham Gano (at ATL): Nine kickers have multiple field goals vs. Atlanta.
Chandler Catanzaro in Week 16 became the first kicker against the Seahawks to make multiple field goals since Week 8, a span of eight games. Dan Bailey in Week 6 is the lone kicker to make multiple field goals in Seattle this season, and Zuerlein was held to four extra points against the Seahawks in Week 7 with one missed field goal. He only has two games this season with multiple field goals outdoors, and he's missed four field goals outside. He's coming off a solid game against the Giants at home with 11 Fantasy points, but we wouldn't start him on the road at Seattle. He made his lone field goal attempt from 36 yards at Seattle last season but had no extra points.
There's a lot to like about the Texans DST this week, and they scored 14 Fantasy points against the Jaguars in Week 14 with one interception, four sacks and 13 points allowed. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles has been sacked 50 times since he came on in Week 3. He has an interception in all five road games he's played with six over that span, and he's thrown no touchdowns in his past two road outings at Indianapolis in Week 12 and at Baltimore in Week 15. Houston has an interception in eight games in a row with 14 total picks over that span, and the Texans have 11 sacks in their past four outings while holding Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Baltimore to 17 points or less. This should be another dominant performance for the Texans DST.
SleepersDolphins (vs. NYJ): Jets have allowed 46 sacks on the season.
Colts (vs. TEN): Tennessee has allowed 21 sacks in the past five games.
Vikings (vs. CHI): Minnesota scored 39 Fantasy points in its past two home games.
The Panthers DST has been a solid unit for the past three weeks with at least 12 Fantasy points over that span thanks to three interceptions, eight sacks and three fumble recoveries. They held the Saints, Buccaneers and Browns to 17 points or less, but they should struggle this week at Atlanta. The Panthers DST had just eight Fantasy points against the Falcons in Week 11, and only the Steelers DST in Week 15 has reached double digits in Fantasy points against Atlanta in the past eight games, including matchups with the Lions, Cardinals and Packers. Ryan has been sacked just twice in the past four games, and the Falcons have scored at least 20 points in five games in a row. This game should be an offensive bonanza, and the defenses will likely be limited on both sides.
Full Disclosure from Week 16
Everyone wants to end the season with a victory, and hopefully we helped bring you a successful finish in Week 16. It was a successful week for us.
Aside from a few quarterbacks, we had a great Week 16, including the No. 6 finish for me on Fantasy Pros and No. 9 for my colleague Dave Richard out of 122 analysts. If you followed our advice, we hope you won at least one championship this season.
Our Start of the Week in Week 16 was Tre Mason, and he was the No. 15 running back in standard leagues with 13 Fantasy points. He was one of many positive predictions we made.
Including sleepers, we had three Top 10 quarterbacks in Russell Wilson, Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez, and Wilson was the best quarterback for the week. We had three running backs finish in the Top 6 with Matt Asiata, Lamar Miller and Jonathan Stewart. Torrey Smith was a Top 5 receiver, and Jason Witten was a Top 3 tight end.
Our worst suggestion was saying to sit Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers since all three were Top 5 quarterbacks. Unfortunately, we're not perfect, but we did our best this year to help lead you in the right direction.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Pos. rank|
|Tre Mason, RB, Rams||13||13||15|
|Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys||22||34||3|
|Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings||12||20||3|
|Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys||8||15||3|
|Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns||7||5||37|
|Josh Gordon, WR, Browns||7||4||57|
|DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans||7||3||68|
|Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs||20||13||22|
|Roddy White, WR, Falcons||14||5||48|
|Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers||13||4||55|
|Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins||18||37||2|
|Eli Manning, QB, Giants||18||33||4|
|Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers||18||32||5|