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Welcome to our Week 17 matchups analysis and starts/sits column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every matchup from every Sunday game to help you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. We'll also be updating this as injury reports come in so check back often.

Contenders in fantasy leagues with a Week 17 championship will know whether or not they are laughing in victory or crying in defeat by the end of Sunday. While it's critically important to play the favorable matchups in the regular season finale, owners should also be cognizant of which of their starters won't be on the field. This article will mention all starters that are confirmed to be sitting as of noon on Friday, December 29, but don't forget to check on Saturday evening and Sunday morning to make sure you don't have a goose egg in your lineup!

Finally, don't forget that all the Week 17 games start at either 1:00 PM ET or 4:25 PM ET. Good luck to those competing and, without further ado, let's dive in.

Editor's Note: Our friends at RTSports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 17 NFL Game Notes

Important notes and credits about data used in this article:

  • Player grades are taken from Pro Football Focus
  • Players with the possibility to miss Week 17 will have three asterisks next to their name (***) along with a more detailed explanation as to why

 

Week 17 Sunday Matchups - 1:00 PM ET Games

Packers at Lions

Matchups We Love:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

While Stafford doesn't have much to play for considering Detroit has been eliminated from playoff contention, he had one of his best performances back in Week 9 when these two teams met with Pro Football Focus giving him the top game grade among quarterbacks that week at 88.1 out of 100. He will be at home, indoors, and is playing a Packers defense that has allowed an average of 21.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks since Week 12.

Golden Tate / Marvin Jones (WRs, DET)

Tate has been lackluster over his last two games with a total of six receptions for 47 yards, but he should bounce back against an incredibly porous Packer secondary that has allowed him to produce at WR1 levels. On the outside, Jones draws a favorable matchup with Green Bay cornerback Davon House who allowed him to catch four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown back in Week 9.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Brett Hundley (QB, GB)

The absence of any form of upside with Hundley takes him away from the streaming conversation in Week 17 despite his improved 4.4 yards per attempt over his past three games. Owners should look elsewhere for a serviceable fantasy quarterback.

Jordy Nelson *** (WR, GB)

With Davante Adams unable to go on Sunday, Nelson will face off against a true fantasy value-killer in Detroit cornerback Darius Slay who ranks as the eleventh best cover corner in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. (*** UPDATE: NELSON DECLARED OUT ***)

Detroit Running Backs

A three-headed rotation in the backfield between Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Tion Green on what is one of the worst rushing teams in the league means no bueno for any Detroit runner. Avoid this situation at all costs.

 

Other Matchups:

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB)

We have seen the radical transformation in offensive philosophy Green Bay takes absent Aaron Rodgers, with the Packers exponentially increasing their rushing attempts. Williams deserves flex consideration against a Detroit rushing defense that has been frequently exposed since their Week 7 bye.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB)

Cobb is the only Green Bay wide receiver with a reception floor when Brett Hundley is throwing the football, but he has only averaged 30.6 yards per game over his past five starts. Still, Detroit has had trouble stopping slot receivers.

Eric Ebron (TE, DET)

Ebron has become a featured asset in Detroit's passing offense with 26 targets over his past three games and at least 90 receiving yards or a touchdown in each. Expect the big-bodied tight end to continue to get his fair share of red zone work in this one.

 

Texans at Colts

Matchups We Love:

DeAndre Hopkins *** (WR, HOU)

Indianapolis has just lost their top cover corner to injured reserve in Rashaan Melvin and Hopkins has proven that he can overcome any obstacle (including a quarterback carousel) on route to leading the league in touchdowns. Owners should monitor a calf injury that has made Hopkins a "game-time call" according to head coach Bill O'Brien. (*** UPDATE: HOPKINS DECLARED OUT ***)

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

Fantasy owners will be relieved to see a matchup with the Houston Texans for Hilton’s final game of the regular season, as he managed to catch five passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in their last meeting. Houston’s defense is a fantasy goldmine for wideouts, having allowed the second-most PPR points to them this year.

 

Matchups We Hate:

T.J. Yates (QB, HOU)

Can Yates bounce back from an abysmal game against Pittsburgh in Week 16 that saw him throw for under 100 passing yards? While the Colts are 24th in scoring allowed to opposing quarterbacks, Yates has never finished higher than QB-27 and is unlikely to outperform third-string expectations.

 

Other Matchups:

Lamar Miller / Alfred Blue (RBs, HOU)

While the Colts rank 27th in rushing yards allowed per game, it's uncertain who will dominate attempts between Miller and Blue in Week 17. Over their past two games, Blue has played 60 snaps compared to Millers 47 and been a stronger runner after initial contact. A full split could result in disappointing fantasy stat lines.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

As the presumed No. 1 wide receiver in Houston for this game if DeAndre Hopkins sits, you have to love the funneling of targets his way. At the same time, the quarterback situation brings room for pessimism about how accurate those targets might be for a wide receiver who operates primarily on deep routes.

Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND)

While Brissett is far removed from his mid-season fantasy surge, he gets a chance to finish the year with a bang against a Houston Texans squad that has allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Consider him a solid streaming option.

Frank Gore (RB, IND)

Gore will have to rush for 139 yards against the Houston Texans to capture his tenth 1,000-yard season of his career. While it’s unlikely he gets there, he has averaged 84.1 yards from scrimmage over his last eight games and Houston has allowed nine touchdowns to running backs in their past five contests.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

Doyle has an exceptionally safe floor as the most targeted player in the Colts offense and should be reliable against the Texans who rank  29th in receptions allowed to opposing tight ends.

 

Bears at Vikings

Matchups We Love:

None

 

Matchups We Hate:

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

The reality for Trubisky's fantasy prospects is that he likely will do more damage on the ground than through the air. The Vikings’ defense allowed Brett Hundley to scramble four times for 50 yards last week and Cam Newton rushed for 75 yards on eight carries against them back in Week 14.

Jordan Howard (RB, CHI)

Howard is in line for one of his bust weeks against a top-shelf group of Minnesota run-stuffers including Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson. The Vikings are the second-best defense in fantasy points allowed to running backs and should limit Howard to similar production like we saw back in Week 5 with 19 carries for 76 yards.

Kendall Wright (WR, CHI)

The Vikings defense has held every wide receiver it has faced to under five catches and 60 yards receiving over its past four games. Now is not the time to get cute with a Chicago pass-catcher.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)

After scoring a touchdown in four of his last five games, Rudolph has fallen off the map while harboring ankle and knee issues. He has run under 17 passing routes in his last two contests and can't be trusted to box out effectively in the red zone against an especially mobile Chicago linebacker core.

 

Other Matchups:

Case Keenum (QB, MIN)

While Keenum currently has the third-most yards off of play-action fakes and should have a decent floor in this one, odds are game script will allow him to operate in small doses without a pressing need to throw much like in last week's matchup with Green Bay.

Latavius Murray/Jerick McKinnon (RBs, MIN)

An early Minnesota lead means plenty of opportunity for the Minnesota backfield, with Murray exhibiting a dominant grip on the majority of rush attempts while McKinnon faces a Bears squad ranked 21st in receptions allowed to opposing running backs.

Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs (WRs, MIN)

With Keenum's services unlikely to be heavily relied on, the passing volume will be absent for both Thielen and Diggs. They should be in the WR2/3 conversation despite the Bears preventing a top-30 receiver in any of their past three games.

 

Jets at Patriots

Matchups We Love:

Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)

The battle for the first seed in the AFC playoffs is still in full motion and Gronk is all but guaranteed to be heavily utilized against a Jets defense ranked 28th in touchdowns allowed to opposing tight ends.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Bryce Petty / Christian Hackenberg (QBs, NYJ)

An exploration of whether the Jets need to look for quarterback help this offseason means neither Petty nor Hackenberg can be depended on. Always avoid a quarterback rotation. Always.

Ardarius Stewart (WR, NYJ)

When Stewart moves to the outside, he will have all that he can handle in Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore who ranks 22nd at the position according to Pro Football Focus. Gilmore's coverage skills were questionable last week, but fantasy owners should be hesitant to conclude that to be the norm.

 

Other Matchups:

Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)

Anderson has 13 catches for 118 yards and no touchdowns on 25 targets in three games without Josh McCown under center. The game flow is all but certain to lean the Jets offense toward the passing game, but the odds of any of their wideouts reaching the end zone are small.

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

Despite being the only elite-graded quarterback in the league according to Pro Football Focus, Brady hasn't had as much fantasy success as many analysts expected. He should still have a solid floor in a matchup with the 27th ranked defense in passing points allowed to quarterbacks.

Dion Lewis / Mike Gillislee *** (RBs, NE)

If Rex Burkhead and James White are out again, a full-on split between Gillislee and Lewis should be in the cards to help distribute the rushing workload. The Jets have allowed four rushing touchdowns in their past three games and 416 total yards to opposing backfields over the past two weeks, giving both flex consideration. (*** UPDATE: GILLISLEE DECLARED OUT ***)

Brandin Cooks (WR, NE)

With only nine catches in his past four games, Cooks' inconsistency should be overlooked considering he will face an especially vulnerable Jets secondary that he has had success against in the past. When the two teams met in Week 6, Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne covered Cooks on all but one of Cook’s targets on the outside and 74 of Cook’s 93 yards were gained in Claiborne’s coverage.

 

Redskins at Giants

Matchups We Love:

Kirk Cousins (QB, WAS)

Cousins shocked the world with 299 passing yards and three touchdowns on 37 attempts against a stingy Broncos defense last week and should be relied upon versus a Giants defense that allowed multiple touchdown passes in seven of their past nine games.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS)

The definitive slot-man in Washington's pass offense gets a juicy matchup against a vulnerable Giants interior cornerback crew that he managed to put up 141 receiving yards and a touchdown on back in Week 12.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Eli Manning *** (QB, NYG)

The question is not whether Manning can produce against an above-average Redskins pass defense, but if he will play the entirety of the contest. History suggests a benching is quite possible.

 

Other Matchups:

Samaje Perine (RB, WAS)

Perine is the definition of a volume-based flex play given his paltry 2.9 yards per carry over his last four games with a bell-cow average of just under 20 touches per game. Washington will depend on him to hold down the majority of the team's rushing attempts once again with Chris Thompson unavailable.

Josh Doctson (WR, WAS)

The Redskins were clearly force-feeding Doctson the ball in Week 16 considering his season-high 13 targets, yet he only managed to convert two such targets into 61 yards and a touchdown. Against a much less scary Giants crew, he has the potential to explode if he can improve his catch rate.

Wayne Gallman (RB, NYG)

Now that Gallman has seemingly garnered an increasing share of touches in the backfield with around 40-percent of the teams carries in recent weeks, his dual-threat ability makes him an especially useful fantasy asset versus Washington's weak run defense.

Sterling Shepard *** (WR, NYG)

Shepard should be a decent WR2/3 play given his reception floor, but Redskins slot cornerback Kyle Fuller is having an outstanding season. He currently grades as the seventh-highest cornerback in the league with an overall grade of 89.9 and will prevent Shepard from producing league-winning numbers. (*** UPDATE: SHEPARD DECLARED OUT ***)

Evan Engram *** (TE, NYG)

Engram's 108 targets are the second-most at the tight end position and his heavy involvement in the passing game makes him the safest option in the Giants air attack, but a rib injury in Week 16 and multiple missed practices in the leadup to Sunday put him on the wrong side of questionable. (*** UPDATE: ENGRAM DECLARED OUT ***)

 

Cowboys at Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

The risk of Elliott being limited in a meaningless game is there, but the fact that he only needs 120 rushing yards to get to 1,000 on the season might inspire an increased willingness to keep him on the field. Elliott owners should be optimistic, but cautious.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Dak Prescott *** (QB, DAL)

With Dallas eliminated from playoff contention, backup quarterback Cooper Rush is slated to get some playing time according to general manager Jerry Jones. Prescott has been mostly unremarkable in recent weeks anyway and would be playing a tough Philadelphia secondary.

Dez Bryant (WR DAL)

Bryant is right at the top of the list of the most disappointing fantasy players of 2017. With fewer than 20-percent of the team targets and only 16 catches in four of the past five weeks, the once-dominant WR1 should be kept out of fantasy lineups as Philadelphia cornerback Ronald Darby shades him.

Jason Witten (TE, DAL)

With the stifling of the Cowboy passing attack comes a lack of receiving work for Witten, who currently has his second-lowest reception total on the year across his 14 NFL seasons. The possibility for value in PPR formats might draw some owners to start him given how he has had at least four receptions in his previous two contests, but a bottom of the barrel floor brings with it a high-risk situation.

All Philadelphia Eagles Starters ***

Philadelphia has secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC and head coach Doug Peterson has been non-committal about the playing time he will give the starters. Quarterback Nick Foles and running back Jay Ajayi are the two most likely players to see extended action but only to the point of building some rapport with the broader offense. Foles has been less than impressive aside from his staggering red zone efficiency in Week 15 and the only trustworthy pass catcher in tight end Zach Ertz is one of the most likely to sit. Owners should monitor the status of Philadelphia starters leading up to Sunday, but it will be tough to trust any given the lack of motivation for a full game from them.

 

Other Matchups:

None

 

Browns at Steelers

Matchups We Love:

Duke Johnson (RB, CLE)

As the lone fantasy bright spot on Cleveland's offense, Johnson has scored at least 10 fantasy points in standard formats in four of his last six games along with 16 catches in his past three outings. In PPR formats, he is a must-start versus the Steelers who have allowed a running back to score a touchdown or gain 90 total yards for five games in a row.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

With Landry Jones under center, Smith-Schuster's production is the furthest thing from guaranteed. That being said, he was the highest targeted wide receiver when Antonio Brown sat last week while producing high-end WR2 numbers. Trust in Smith-Schuster to dominate targets once again and provide a safe baseline in PPR formats against an inexperienced Cleveland secondary.

 

Matchups We Hate:

DeShone Kizer (QB, CLE)

Kizer is facing a Pittsburgh defense that runs zone coverage on a league-leading 82-percent of pass snaps, a particular form of coverage that he has improved against as the season has gone on. However, Kizer is more than likely going to be forced to rely on his legs given how suffocating the Steelers can be in the passing game.

Isaiah Crowell (RB, CLE)

Crowell is losing snaps to Duke Johnson largely due to being phased out in the second half of games when Cleveland is trailing. He has just one rushing attempt in the second half of games over the past two weeks and shouldn't be trusted to have a breakout performance despite the absence of Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.

Martavis Bryant (WR,  PIT)

Bryant could climb out of the 'hate' category if Ben Roethlisberger starts, but his 13 percent of the team's targets last week hardly inspires confidence against a Cleveland pass defense that has limited big plays from wide receivers.

 

Other Matchups:

Josh Gordon/Corey Coleman (WRs, CLE)

DeShone Kizer's errant accuracy has made Gordon a less than reliable fantasy option, especially in the yardage department. His 1.69 yards per route run over the past four games ranks tied for 31st out of 82 qualifying wideouts. Coleman has also struggled in the wake of Kizer's accuracy issues and owners shouldn't expect any form of resurgence from either wide receiver against Pittsburgh's stout pass defense.

Ben Roethlisberger / Le'Veon Bell / Antonio Brown *** (PIT)

Brown should be sidelined with a partially torn calf muscle while Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert has indicated that both Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell will be sitting in this matchup. None have officially been declared out, but the triple B's are extremely risky plays and should be monitored as Sunday's kickoff approaches. The Steelers are likely to follow New Englands' progress against the Jets and temper playing time according to whether they have an opportunity to win the No. 1 seed.

Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)

Among the Steelers tight end group, McDonald has emerged as the dominant receiving threat and should be even more relied upon if Landry Jones starts at quarterback. With Cleveland giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends, owners could do worse to play the matchup with McDonald.

 

Week 17 Sunday Matchups - 4:25 PM ET Games

Panthers at Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Cam Newton (QB, CAR)

The history of success against Atlanta is there for Newton, especially considering how Atlanta has allowed three of the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 fantasy points while giving up at least 10 points to quarterback rushes in three games this season. Significant playoff implications for this matchup mean Newton will be in for as long as he can be.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

McCaffrey is the third-highest graded receiving running back in the league with a 91.9 grade per Pro Football Focus and has the best drop rate of any running back with only one drop on 76 catchable passes. He will be forced to dodge one of the more speedy linebackers in the NFL with Deion Jones hovering over the middle, but McCaffrey is more than up for the challenge.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Jonathan Stewart (RB, CAR)

As a touchdown-dependent play, Stewart's three combined fantasy points in standard formats over his past two outings against Green Bay and Tampa Bay inspire little confidence about his usage against a stout Falcon front-seven.

Devonta Freeman / Tevin Coleman (RBs, CAR)

Both Freeman and Coleman will have a difficult time getting going on the ground against an incredibly stout Carolina linebacking core headlined by Luke Kuechly, who has the third-highest grade at the position according to Pro Football Focus.

 

Other Matchups:

Devin Funchess (WR,  CAR)

Despite a seemingly tough matchup with Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant, I like Funchess to find the end zone in this one. He has a passer rating of 109.8 when targeted in the red zone and Trufant has allowed four of his six touchdowns in that area.

Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)

Since his return from injury, Olsen went from godly highs to disappointing lows. There is a good chance he bounces back against an Atlanta defense that has allowed at least one touchdown to a tight end in three of their past five games, but it's hard to feel 100-percent confident about his usage.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

Appearing far removed from his MVP season, Ryan gets an opportunity to remind fantasy owners that he still has the potential for big games as the Panthers have allowed opposing passers to throw for 8.1 yards per attempt since their bye.

Julio Jones / Mohamed Sanu (WRs, ATL)

Despite nursing ankle and thumb injuries, Jones seems good to go against a Carolina squad that has allowed multiple receivers to score at least eight fantasy points in standard formats in four of the past seven games. Sanu also presents a solid wide receiver option considering that he scored against the Panthers in Week 9 with three catches for 23 yards on three targets.

 

Bengals at Ravens

Matchups We Love:

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

The loss of cornerback Jimmy Smith has hit the Ravens hard, with opposing wide receivers averaging 177.2 receiving yards per game post-Week 10 after averaging 113.1 per game over their opening nine games. Green's volume of double-digit targets in three of his past four games should return impressive receiving numbers.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Andy Dalton (QB, CIN)

While the Ravens have been gashed in the passing game in recent weeks, Dalton's history against them has been mediocre at best. The highest a passer has finished on the road in Baltimore this year has been QB15 and owners are unlikely to see anything higher from Dalton.

 

Other Matchups:

Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN)

The hope for Bernard owners is that rookie runner Joe Mixon stays on the sidelines to heal for 2018, as Bernard has quietly contributed at least eight fantasy points in standard formats for four games in a row. Furthermore, the Ravens have allowed a running back to score double-digit fantasy points in standard formats for five games in a row and aren't as haunting a matchup as one would think.

Joe Flacco (QB, BAL)

As a serviceable quarterback streamer, Flacco has scored 16.7 or more points in each of his past four starts while the Bengals have allowed three of the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 fantasy points. With a playoff berth on the line, Flacco is all but certain to play lights out in this one.

Alex Collins (RB, BAL)

Collins is the clear workhorse in the Raven backfield and the Bengals have allowed double-digit points to 15 backs since their Week 6 bye. While he is touchdown-dependent for peak production, Collins has a solid carry floor that provides some form of safety net.

Mike Wallace (WR, BAL)

A groin injury to Bengals corner Adam Jones and Raven wideout Jeremy Maclin likely missing this one means Wallace will be a trendy start for owners in need. Three of the past four No. 1 receivers against the Bengals have scored at least nine fantasy points in standard formats and Wallace will be the go-to guy for Joe Flacco. However, Bengals corner William Jackson has allowed completions on just 36.6-percent of targets this season, by far the lowest completion percentage allowed by a cornerback.

 

Bills at Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Charles Clay (TE, BUF)

The Dolphins allow the second-most fantasy points to the tight end position and Clay just had five catches for 68 yards on nine targets in Week 15 against Miami. With a cumulative total of 19 targets in his past two games, Clay should remain heavily involved once again.

Kenyan Drake (RB, MIA)

Following a Week 16 game that saw Drake under-utilized due to poor offensive planning and negative game flow, he gets a favorable matchup against one of the NFL's bottom run defenses that has allowed six running backs to score or gain 90 rushing yards in the past four games with six touchdowns scored in that span. Backfield-mate Damien Williams is listed as doubtful and should leave Drake with workhorse duties.

Jarvis Landry (WR, MIA)

Landry might not repeat on his 10-catch effort when these teams met in Week 15, but he remains one of the best reception floor wide receiver plays in fantasy football. In PPR formats, he is a must-start.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, BUF)

On a run-first team and hobbling around with a knee injury, Benjamin carries an extreme risk of being shut down by Miami cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard has arguably been the best corner in the NFL over the last few weeks, as he has only allowed a passer rating of 2.4 when targeted since Week 12.

Jay Cutler (QB, MIA)

Expect the Bills' defense to harass Cutler and limit the number of trips to the red zone, as they have allowed the fewest touchdowns to opposing passers on the season while Cutler hasn't proved capable of overcoming such hurdles.

DeVante Parker (WR, MIA)

Game-script will have to be in Parker's favor to create fantasy production, considering his usage seems to arise when Miami is in a significant deficit. Rookie phenom Tre'Davious White will face Parker on the outside, ranking as the third-best cornerback in the league with a 91.4 grade.

 

Other Matchups:

Tyrod Taylor (QB, BUF)

The Dolphins’ defense has been one of the fastest at putting pressure on the quarterback, but Taylor's mobility should produce serviceable numbers with Miami allowing 17 or more points to opposing passers in five of their past seven games.

 

Saints at Buccaneers

Matchups We Love:

Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara (RBs, NO)

Ingram and Kamara have accounted for 48-percent of the Saints' yardage and 55-percent of their offensive touchdowns, making both RB1 plays against a vulnerable Buccaneer defense in a game with major playoff implications.

Michael Thomas *** (WR, NO)

I would expect Thomas to play a good portion of this one considering the effect on the playoff bracket with a victory, but a hamstring injury did hold him to a season-low 64-percent of the snaps last week. It will be tough for the Saints to keep him on the sideline though, considering Tampa Bay has allowed the most receiving yardage to wide receivers in 2017.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

Winston has been producing solid numbers since his return from injury, but Tampa Bay's offensive line continues to be a turnstile allowing 18 sacks in his past four games. With the Saints holding quarterbacks to just 16.8 fantasy points per game this season, no owner should be relying on Winston.

Tampa Bay Running Backs

The Saints should break out to an early lead and Tampa Bay's running back rotation remains a mystery with Doug Martin and Peyton Barber both vying for playing time. It's impossible to trust a member of this backfield with compounding offensive line issues to add to the troubles.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Evans draws an exceptionally tough matchup with rookie sensation Marshon Lattimore, who has produced the third-worst passer rating when targeted and provides the perfect tangible skillset to counter bigger wideouts like Evans.

Cameron Brate (TE, TB)

The problem with Brate as a touchdown-dependent option at the tight end position is that he has only found the end zone in one game over his past 10. A back injury has seemingly derailed any hope of him playing on a high number of passing snaps.

 

Other Matchups:

Drew Brees (QB, NO)

Although he isn't the high-volume passer fantasy owners are used to seeing, Brees continues to lead the league in adjusted completion percentage at 80.8 and should benefit from the Buccaneer's being forced to respect the Saints' running game.

Ted Ginn (WR, NO)

Exposing Tampa Bay's secondary means throwing deeper down the field, as they are allowing a league-high 51 completions on throws 15 yards or further downfield. As the deep-threat option in the Saints' offense, Ginn is a boom/bust WR3 option.

Adam Humphries (WR, TB)

DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin are both dealing with ankle injuries, suggesting that their snap counts could be limited in a meaningless game. Humphries should be gifted the opportunity to exploit the Saints' weakness in covering slot wide receivers while Mike Evans duels with Marshon Lattimore on the outside.

 

Jaguars at Titans

Matchups We Love:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

With presumed lead-back DeMarco Murray being ruled out with a third-degree MCL tear, Henry will be handed the reigns in a game that could see the former-Alabama product break out. He averages 3.34 rushing yards after contact per attempt compared to Murray’s 2.03 and has had 38.7-percent of his rushing yards come on eight runs of 15-plus yards. Even against a stout Jacksonville crew, Henry has top-three potential in Week 17.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Marcus Mariota (QB, TEN)

The only hope for Mariota to return decent fantasy numbers is for Jacksonville to rest its starters, considering he has been a QB1 just three times all season. It would be wise not bet your fantasy season on it.

Rishard Matthews / Corey Davis (WRs, TEN)

Mariota's struggles and the Jaguars' potent secondary spell trouble for Tennessee wideouts. Jacksonville has allowed more than five receptions to just three wide receivers all season and should have no trouble holding these two in check barring the starters sitting.

 

Other Matchups:

Blake Bortles *** (QB, JAX)

The Jaguars are locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC, so we are unlikely to see Bortles play all the way into the fourth quarter in this game. If head coach Doug Marrone truly means what he says with his comments about "going all in" against the Titans, Bortles should produce given how he has been a QB1 in five straight starts and is the highest scoring quarterback overall in that span.

Jacksonville Running Backs ***

Leonard Fournette should get the start here while T.J. Yeldon operates as the third-down back, though Fournette did give up some goal-line work to Yeldon in last week's loss. Since the Jaguars have secured the No. 3 seed in the AFC, it is uncertain whether the running back rotation will leave a decreased workload for Fournette to keep him fresh. Still, his usage has been remarkably consistent with three straight games getting 21 or more touches and Tennessee is particularly vulnerable to the ground game.

Keelan Cole / Dede Westbrook *** (WRs, JAX)

Both starting Jacksonville wide receivers can be expected to record solid outings if the starters aren't pulled. Cole has been ridiculously hot as of late with at least 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in four games in a row while Westbrook has at least seven fantasy points standard formats across three of his past four games. While Allen Hurns is slated to return, he is more than likely going to sit in order to prevent hindrances in his recovery from an ankle injury.

Delanie Walker (TE, TEN)

Walker has been the go-to target for quarterback Marcus Mariota this season and should have little trouble against Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack, who has allowed a team-high 21 catches on 28 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends running routes on him.

 

Chiefs at Broncos

Matchups We Love:

C.J. Anderson (RB, DEN)

The workload is guaranteed for Anderson, who has had at least 19 touches in four straight games with 15 or more points in three of the past four weeks.  The Chiefs starters are already 21st in rushing yardage allowed to opposing running backs and shouldn't be on the field for the entire game regardless, making an already below average run defense even more exposable.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Denver Quarterbacks

Paxton Lynch is likely to get the start, but no fantasy owner should be relying on either him or Brock Osweiler to provide stream appeal even if the Chiefs don't bring out their first-stringers.

 

Other Matchups:

Kansas City Starters ***

The Chiefs are locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC. Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes will get the start in this one and if the history of late-season benching for head coach Andy Reid is taken into account, most of the other starters should get a rest in Week 17. Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce would be must-starts against Denver if not for their likely absence sometime early in the contest. (*** UPDATE: HILL DECLARED OUT ***)

Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN)

It will be tough to play any Denver wideout considering how bad Paxton Lynch has played this season, but a potential tilt with the Chiefs' backup unit could signal a sneaky opportunity for fantasy owners who need help at the wide receiver position. Thomas is a high-risk, high-reward play here.

 

Raiders at Chargers

Matchups We Love:

Marshawn Lynch (RB, OAK)

Lynch has been heavily integrated into the Raiders' offensive game plan as of late, with 19 or more touches in four of the last five games and an average of 92.8 yards from scrimmage over the past six weeks. Add to the equation that the Chargers are allowing 145.2 rushing yards per game in contests where linebacker Denzel Perryman has missed time due to injury (who is also likely to miss Week 17) and you get another opportunity for Lynch to impress.

Philip Rivers (QB, LAC)

Oakland has managed to limited quarterbacks in there previous two games, but the quality of these passers is highly questionable given they were the Cowboys' Dak Prescott and the Eagles' Nick Foles. I like Rivers to blow up with Melvin Gordon potentially sitting, as he has had one of the best fantasy floors of the season with at least 15 points in 11 of 15 games this year.

Antonio Gates (TE, LAC)

With Hunter Henry on injured reserve, Gates has resurged as the feature tight end in the Chargers offense. Gates ran 20 routes from the slot in Week 16 and caught five balls for 54 yards on such routes. He now faces an Oakland defense that ranks dead-last in receptions and receiving yardage allowed to opposing tight ends.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Derek Carr (QB, OAK)

A ground-oriented Oakland offense has kept Carr's passing numbers down, but he hasn't been all that impressive with the limited number of throws he has been given. Carr has failed to top 5.15 yards per attempt while completing just 55-percent of his passes along with five turnovers to four touchdowns during the Raiders' three-game losing streak. Don't trust him in the regular season finale.

Amari Cooper / Michael Crabtree (WRs, OAK)

While Cooper has managed to score a touchdown in three of his past four games, the absence of any passing volume and the Chargers having allowed just two wide receivers to catch a touchdown since their Week 9 bye means he carries extreme risk. Crabtree's snap count is uncertain given his hamstring injury and I am much more hesitant to start him given his goose egg on Christmas.

 

Other Matchups:

Los Angeles Chargers Running Backs

Melvin Gordon is dealing with an ankle injury and could be placed on a snap count if he does suit up while Austin Ekeler has been practicing in full for Week 17 despite dealing with a hand injury. A fully healthy Branden Oliver could dominate touches if Gordon sits and the Raiders have allowed a running back to score in four games in a row. This situation is worth monitoring leading up to game time.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Among Chargers wideouts, Allen has gone above and beyond to close out the season. He has generated the tenth-best passer writing when targeted among wide receivers with at least 80 targets and he has double-digit points in six-straight games. However, Oakland has typically limited WR1s operating out of the slot this season by controlling the clock and zeroing coverage in on them early.

 

49ers at Rams

Matchups We Love:

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

Garappolo has masterfully dissected opposing defenses with the short and intermediate passing game on route to a 4-0 record as San Francisco’s starting quarterback. With at least 22 fantasy points in consecutive games and Los Angeles likely to sit their starting unit, Garoppolo is a top streaming option for Week 17.

Marquise Goodwin (WR, SF)

As the clear feature wideout of San Francisco's offense, Goodwin has received 27.3-percent of the team's targets in Jimmy Garoppolo’s starts and the Rams have allowed four receivers to score at least nine fantasy points in standard formats over their past four games. With the expectation being that Goodwin lines up against replacement level defenders, he has league-winning upside.

 

Matchups We Hate:

None

 

Other Matchups:

Carlos Hyde / Matt Breida (RBs, SF)

It's unclear which back will dominate snaps, but Hyde received 24 touches and 60-percent of the rushing attempts in Week 16. The possibility of an extended look at Breida makes for a volatile backfield situation though, so owners should be especially cautious despite the odds of an early 49ers lead.

Los Angeles Rams' Starters ***

With the Rams currently locked into an opening playoff home game, head coach Sean McVay has confirmed that Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be sitting out Week 17. Other key offensive pieces could certainly miss playing time including stud left tackle Andrew Whitworth, making the Rams' offense as a whole unappealing for Week 17. Owners of starting wideouts should follow team updates leading to the 4:25 PM ET start time, but the absence of Goff is a big blow to their value. (*** UPDATE: COOPER KUPP DECLARED OUT ***)

 

Cardinals at Seahawks

Matchups We Love:

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

The ageless wonder in Fitzgerald has been staggering with Drew Stanton's four games under center, being targeted once every three pass attempts and accounting for a ludicrous 44.2-percent of Stanton’s passing yardage. Don't overthink this one, trust in Fitzgerald in what could potentially be his last career game.

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

Despite the Arizona defense meshing together since their bye and blitzing the fifth-most in the NFL, Wilson has been very efficient when defenses send extra pressure his way. He has completed 82 passes on 131 attempts while being blitzed for 1,131 yards, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a passer rating of 100.4, easily one of the best among eligible passers.  Arizona also allows the most rushing points to the quarterback position, a notable specialty of Wilson.

 

Matchups We Hate:

Drew Stanton (QB, ARI)

Stanton cannot be considered a serviceable fantasy option given that he has yet to finish a game as higher than QB-18. Seattle's passing defense may not be what it once was, but it remains potent enough to limit him.

Arizona Running Backs

It's a three-pronged situational rushing attack for the Cardinals, with Kerwynn Williams holding lead back duties, Elijhaa Penny operating as the short yardage bruiser, and D.J. Foster spelling them both. It's impossible to start any of them in Week 17.

Mike Davis / J.D. McKissic (RBs, SEA)

Davis might have a stranglehold on snaps, but Arizona has been effective at shutting down the run game since their Week 9 bye. McKissic didn't get a single touch last week and has no floor even in PPR formats, making him a must-avoid.

Paul Richardson / Tyler Lockett (WRs, SEA)

Both Richardson and Lockett have significant matchup disadvantages that will prevent them from effective fantasy production. Richardson's play on the outside means Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson will line up opposite him, with Peterson's history of lockdown coverage preceding him. On the other hand, Lockett has surpassed two catches in just one of his past seven games and will never be Russell Wilson's first option with the Cardinals sending plenty of blitz pressure.

Jimmy Graham (TE, SEA)

Graham has scored a touchdown in seven of his last 10 games, but the Cardinals are the second-best defense in yards per target allowed to opposing tight ends. If recent trends for targets and yardage are any indication, Graham could be held with a below-average stat line in this one.

 

Other Matchups:

Doug Baldwin (WR, SEA)

Expect Baldwin to be looked at early and often, as he has been targeted 30 times for 17 catches, 268 receiving yards, and three touchdowns since Week 10. With an average of 5.4 targets per game in that span, Baldwin represents a solid WR2 in the season finale.

 

More Week 17 Lineup Prep