Frank Dyevoich | December 29th, 2018
Most fantasy football championships were won in Week 16 so Congratulations to those of you who have brought home that coveted title in 2018! For those of you still competing in Week 17, you are doing it wrong. Week 17 is usually just as unpredictable as the pre-season because many teams have locked up their playoff position and have nothing to play for which results in many teams resting their starters. This messes up the entire fantasy arena because the superstars who carried you all the way through the playoffs are not going to play and you are left searching the waiver wire for backup players that are going to see a ton of volume. Further, some teams that are out of playoff contention also choose to rest their superstars because they do not want them to suffer a serious injury that may threaten their availability in 2019 in a completely meaningless game. Therefore, first and foremost, stop playing your championships in Week 17. For those of you still with a title on the line, the following start/sit recommendations are based on this week’s matchups and whether or not teams have anything to play for in Week 17.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. CIN – Big Ben is the QB2 the season and he helped a ton of lucky fantasy owners win a championship last week with 30+ fantasy points. Fear not, Ben and the Steelers need to win this game if they have any hopes of making the playoffs so Big Ben will come through again for Week 17. Further, the Bengals are the worst defense in the league in almost every category. Projection: 312 yards, 3 TDs.
Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. TB – Ryan has been incredible this season. He enters Week 17 as the QB3 on the year and he gets an opportunity to cap it all off against the Buccaneers. All of his playmakers are expected to play in the season finale so Ryan will have no problem living up to the hype. Projection: 357 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.
Nick Foles (PHI) vs. WAS – Foles is already a legend and now he is adding to his legacy by winning two straight against the Rams and the Texans while facing elimination each week. This week is no different since if the Eagles win and the Vikings lose then they are in the playoffs. I expect Foles and the Eagles to come out swinging against their inept divisional rival. He will finish as a top-ten QB this week. Projection: 374 yards and 3 TDs.
C.J. Anderson (LAR) vs. SF – Todd Gurley has been officially ruled out for Sunday so C.J. Anderson will have another opportunity to show NFL teams that they made a mistake in cutting him. Last week, he burst onto the fantasy scene and helped owners win a title due to his 167 rush yards and a TD, and this week, he will lead the Rams’ backfield once again. It is impossible for RBs not to produce in Sean McVay’s system so look for Anderson to have another RB1 performance and help bring home the title for fantasy owners still contending in Week 17.
Jamaal Williams (GB) vs. DET – Williams absolutely smashed last week and helped fantasy owners win a championship with 95 yards and a TD, as well as six receptions for 61 yards through the air. He will continue to smash this week as he is the only viable RB on the roster and he is guaranteed to see at least 17 touches. If you are still contending for a title, Williams will help you bring it home. Projection: 75 rush yards, 1 TD and 7 receptions for 58 yards.
Sony Michel (NE) vs. NYJ – If the Patriots win on Sunday, then they will lock up the number two seed in the AFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Michel gashed the Jets the last time these two rivals faced off and he should repeat his dominant performance in part 2. He is coming off of 18 carries for 116 yards and a TD against the Bills and that is likely his floor this week. Projection: 131 yards and 1 TD.
Damien Williams (KC) vs. OAK – Williams has been incredible as the RB1 for the Chiefs and the team would be crazy to just hand the job back to Spencer Ware. The Chiefs need to win against the Raiders on Sunday in order to lock up their number one seed in the AFC and Williams provides much more speed and explosiveness than Ware. This will likely be a 60-40 split favoring Williams, and on a team like the Chiefs, both RBs should be productive. Projection: 88 yards, 1 TD, and 5 receptions for 73 yards.
Darren Sproles (PHI) vs. WAS – Sproles showed everyone last week that he still has the same speed and burst as he did when he was 26. He was easily the most productive RB for the Eagles last week, and this week they will lean on him in the red zone in a must-win matchup against the Redskins. Josh Adams is also appealing this week since he should get the most carries against a struggling Redskins defense, but I prefer Sproles in this one. Projection: 52 yards, 6 receptions for 63 yards and 1 TD.
Jeff Wilson (SF) vs. LAR – This one is easy. Matt Breida is dealing with a high ankle sprain and will miss this game so Wilson is the only viable RB on the roster. The Rams are going to beat up on the 49ers so look for Wilson to be heavily involved in the receiving game this week. He should see 17-20 touches in this one and you should set him in your starting lineup and sleep like a baby.
Brian Hill (ATL) vs. TB – This one is easy as well. Tevin Coleman aggravated the leg injury that he has been dealing with and Hill stepped up and put down 115 yards on only 8 carries. If Coleman sits out for the season finale, Hill could be looking at 15-20 touches against a bottom-five run defense. Projection: If Coleman sits, 97 yards, 1 TD and 3 receptions for 22 yards.
Royce Freeman (DEN) vs. LAC – Freeman is the man in Denver now that Phillip Lindsay is done for the year with a fracture and torn ligaments in his wrist. He will get the lions’ share of the workload against the Chargers on Sunday and he could push for 20 touches. Freeman has excellent vision and above-average elusiveness so look for him to break a few tackles and bust off some impressive runs. Projection: 88 yards, 1 TD and 2 receptions for 23 yards.
Julian Edelman (NE) vs. NYJ – Edelman is the clear-cut number one option the passing game and Brady is going to pepper him this weekend against the Jets. The Jets have a top-ten secondary, but their main weakness is Buster Skrine at slot corner and it will be his job to contain Edelman on Sunday. Safe to say Edelman is a lock to finish as a WR2 this week with WR1 upside. Start him confidently. Projection: 8 receptions for 112 yards and 1 TD.
Kenny Golladay (DET) vs. GB – Golladay struggled last week against Xavier Rhodes as expected, but he saw 15 targets and this week he faces the Packers who have not been able to stop anyone in the receiving game. Last week, Robby Anderson went off for 149 yards and a TD and Golladay has an even higher ceiling. He should be the focal point of the offense this week and as such, he is a must-start across all leagues. If he gets 15 targets against the Packers, we could be looking at a 200-yard performance to cap off his breakout Season. Projection: 8 receptions for 127 yards and 1 TD.
Jordy Nelson (OAK) vs. KC – Jordy has not scored a TD since week 5, but has been getting it done in PPR leagues over the last four weeks with 29 receptions for 308 yards on 36 targets. Sometime in the last month or two, the Raiders have decided that they are going to come out swinging and try to win every game which has resulted in some stunning upsets over the Steelers and Broncos. This week they take on the Chiefs who are fighting to keep their number one seed in the AFC so if they have any chance at winning Derek Carr is going to have to air it out to Jordy all game. I think he scores this week as well. Projection: 9 receptions for 97 yards and 1 TD.
DeAndre Carter (HOU) vs. JAX – Carter filled in nicely with six receptions for 61 yards on seven targets after Demaryius Thomas went down with an Achilles injury. Thomas is out indefinitely which means Carter is the next man up. WR Keke Coutee has been a nice find for the Texans, but his hamstrings are thinner than wet toilet paper so he will likely sit out again as well. The Texans need to win this game in order to win the division and DeAndre Hopkins will be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, leaving Carter to eat up chunk yards in the slot. Projection: 6 receptions for 72 yards and 1 TD.
Robert Foster (BUF) vs. MIA – Foster has at least 94 receiving yards in four of his last six games and he should make it five this week against the Dolphins. Both teams are only playing for pride, but expect a hard fought game between these two division rivals. Look for the defensive attention to be on RB LeSean McCoy and WR Zay Jones, which will open things up for Foster and allow him to take advantage of man coverage and mismatches. Projection: 5 receptions for 95 yards.
Kendrick Bourne (SF) vs. LAR – Bourne is the only WR left in San Francisco so his volume should be plentiful. Last week, Dante Pettis went down and has already been placed on Injured Reserve which leaves Bourne as the next man up. He stepped up last week and put down four receptions for 73 yards, but that seems like his floor this week due to the increased volume he should see. Projection: 6 receptions for 83 yards.
Chris Herndon (NYJ) vs. NE – Herndon has joined Robby Anderson as must-start options for the Jets ever since Sam Darnold returned. Last week, Herndon put down his best game of the season with six receptions for 82 yards and a TD. This week, he should be heavily utilized in the passing game since the Jets will likely be trailing in New England. Projection: 6 receptions for 78 yards and 1 TD.
Evan Engram (NYG) vs. DAL – Engram has been the target leader for the Giants during the absence of Odell Beckham, Jr with over a 25% target share. Last week, he fell just short of the goal-line twice, and this Week, he faces the Cowboys who have nothing to play for and could sit their starters for most, if not all, of this game. Engram is a lock for at least 12 PPR points. Projection: 7 receptions for 85 yards and 1 TD.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. WAS – The Eagles need to win this game in order to have any shot at making the playoffs. They are going to play hard and dirty and I expect this game to be a blowout. Further, the Redskins are playing backups at over 50% of their starting positions so I would be surprised if they even put up a fight.
Indianapolis Colts vs. TEN – This matchup is for all the marbles. The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. The problem is that Marcus Mariota is hurt and so the Titans may be forced to start Blaine Gabbert in their most important game of the season. Look for the Colts to blitz often and force several turnovers in this game.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. DEN – The Broncos just had a difficult time scoring on the Raiders. Further, the Broncos have nothing to motivate them as their head coach is likely to be fired and their stars on offense and defense are injured. I expect the Chargers to keep the Broncos score low and force a few turnovers
Drew Brees (NO) vs. CAR – Drew Bress will not play in this game. If he does, it will be for maybe one or two series so he cannot be started under any circumstances. Projection: 0 yards.
Dak Prescott (DAL) vs. NYG – The Cowboys can’t improve their position in the playoffs so their starts may rest in the second half of this game. Dak can’t be trusted to play more than one quarter, and as such, he must be benched in all leagues. Projection: 75 yards and 16 rush yards.
Mitch Trubisky (CHI) vs. MIN – Trubisky was brutal last week as he failed to reach 15 PPR points against the 49ers. This week, he faces a tough Vikings defense that has not allowed a QB to score more than 16 fantasy points in 10 straight weeks. If the Vikings lose this game they are out of the playoffs so look for them to play hard and fast, and stay in Trubisky’s face all game. There is also the possibility that Trubisky does not play the second half in this game depending on how the first half plays out. Projection: 193 yards, 2 INTs, and 27 rush yards.
Baker Mayfield (CLE) vs. BAL – Mayfield goes on the road to face the Ravens, who have held four of the last five QBs that they faced to under 12 fantasy points. The Ravens have all the motivation in the world to play their hearts out and leave it all on the field because a win locks up the division and a loss puts them on the brink of playoff elimination. The Browns have been very impressive since Hue Jackson got the boot, but the Sunday they will all come crashing down to earth. I can’t recommend starting any players on the Browns this week. Projection: 217 yards, 2 INTs, and 16 rush yards.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs. NYG – The Cowboys have nothing to play for so Elliott cannot be relied on to produce this week. It is very possible that he only plays one series in this game, but at most he will play the first half. Bench him. Projection: 23 yards, 1 reception for 12 yards.
Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram (NO) vs. CAR – The Saints have locked up the number one seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs so they will be resting all of their starters on both sides of the ball. As such, fantasy owners must look elsewhere for their production this week. Projection: AK – 0 yards/ MI – 0 yards.
Christian McCaffery (CAR) vs. NO – McCaffery has been an absolute monster this season on route to an NFL record 106 receptions for an RB and a 1,000-yard rushing season. However, the Panthers have nothing to play for and have hinted that they will likely rest their workhorse superstar. Smart move Carolina. Bench him. Projection: 0 yards.
Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. MIN – Howard has had a strong push over the last few weeks, but there is no guarantee that he plays the whole game this week since the Bears have already won the division. The only way for the Bears to improve their position is if the Rams lose to the 49ers which is a near impossibility. They will try and beat the Vikings, but Howard will certainly see a limited number of snaps in this one. Projection: 37 yards.
Lamar Miller (HOU) vs. JAX – Miller is still banged up and D’Onta Foreman has returned from the Physically Unable to Perform list to muddy the waters even further. If that wasn’t enough, the Jaguars have been incredible at stopping all RBs not named Derrick Henry this season. It is a brutal matchup and his workload is uncertain so you must bench Miller this week. Projection: 41 yards and 2 receptions for 17 yards.
Michael Thomas (NO) vs. CAR – The Saints have locked up the number one seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs so they will be resting all of their starters on both sides of the ball. As such, fantasy owners must look elsewhere for their production this week. Projection: 0 yards.
Amari Cooper (DAL) vs. NYG – The Cowboys have nothing to play for so Cooper cannot be relied on to produce this week. It is very possible that he only plays one series in this game, but at most he will play the first half. Bench him. Projection: 3 receptions for 31 yards.
Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. MIN – Robinson is still dealing with a leg injury and the Bears do not have a strong shot at improving their position in the playoffs. I expect Robinson to sit this week, but even if he doesn’t he will not be a huge part of the game plan and he could sit the entire second half. Projection: 0 yards.
Jarvis Landry (CLE) vs. BAL – The Ravens are going to ball out in this game. Landry has been a huge disappointment this season and he is not going to end on a high note either. The Ravens are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to road WRs this year and they just held Keenan Allen to five receptions for 58 yards who is a far superior WR to Landry. Projection: 4 receptions for 42 yards.
Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. AZ – Lockett is going to get the Patrick Peterson treatment this week. Doug Baldwin is the WR1 for the team, but he mainly operates out of the slot and Peterson does not follow WR into the slot. Further, the Seahawks have run the ball more than any other team this year and the Cardinals are the allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing RBs so look for Russell Wilson’s passing volume to be among his lowest of the season. Fade Lockett this week. Projection: 2 receptions for 36 yards.
Trey Burton (CHI) vs. MIN – Trey Burton was a bust. Plain and simple. He had one good game on the season and even in the other games where he scored TDs his reception totals were always extremely low. Matt Nagy has not made the TE a large part of his offense and as such Burton’s numbers have suffered dramatically. Projection: 2 receptions for 21 yards.
Ian Thomas (CAR) vs. NO – The Panthers will be starting their 3rd string QB this week. You can’t trust anyone catching passes for this team and as such you must bench Thomas. Projection: 3 receptions for 18 yards.
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