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START/BENCH: Week 17

In the overwhelming majority of fantasy football leagues, the 2019 season concluded in Week 16. The party’s over. Time to kill the lights and start another long, dark offseason.

If you had New York Giants tailback Saquon Barkley in your Week 16 lineup, you’re probably happy. If you started Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett, not so much.

Them’s the breaks. It just hurts more in Week 16.

However, some fantasy football fanatics aren’t about to pass up a chance to play as long as possible — so they hold their title games on the final week of the regular season.

The upside to stretching out the season isn’t hard to spot — there’s more football. But there’s a downside, too — a potential killer.

That killer is teams with playoff seeds resting players.

Baltimore has already sewn up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, regardless of what happens at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday. So per Yahoo Sports, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has already indicated that quarterback Lamar Jackson will not be on the field Sunday against Pittsburgh.

That’s right — fantasy football’s MVP (in terms of production compared to draft slot) won’t be available for fantasy managers who rode Jackson to the championship game.

It’s a brutal break, but one that comes with the territory when you play a Week 17 title game.

With that said, I don’t judge people. And it’s Christmas. So, as a service to all you weirdos playing your championship game in Week 17, here’s a pared-down, bare bones version of “Start/Bench” here at Fantasy Sharks.

Again, it’s Christmas. A few members of my family still like spending time with me.

Hey, I added holiday music to this at least. Because you don’t hear that anywhere this time of year.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Tennessee)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. Pittsburgh) ***RESTING***

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. San Francisco)

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (at Tampa Bay)

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Washington)

ROLL THEM OUT

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Arizona): It’s been a disappointing season for Goff and the Rams, but he closes with an Arizona team that leads the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (at Cincinnati): Cleveland has been one of the NFL’s most underwhelming teams in 2019, but a Top 10 fantasy matchup makes him a possible Week 17 streaming option.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (at Houston): Tannehill ranks fifth in fantasy points in Sharks League Scoring over the season half of the season and gets the best fantasy matchup in the AFC for quarterbacks going up against Houston.

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (vs. Atlanta): Winston’s a fantasy thrill-ride — yards and touchdowns galore, but also interceptions aplenty. He closes the season with a good matchup though.

SIT THEM DOWN

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. New York Jets): Buffalo is locked in the AFC’s No. 5 seed. Even if Allen plays, it won’t be the whole game. The curse of Week 17 strikes again.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami (at New England): Fitzpatrick’s coming off a big Week 16, but this week he faces a New England defense at Gillette fighting to secure New England a first-round bye. Pass.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Los Angeles Chargers): Mahomes is hard to sit. But depending on what happens in Foxborough and Houston, the 2018 MVP could be a candidate for an early look.

RUNNING BACKS

STUDS

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (vs. Philadelphia)

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (vs. New Orleans)

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (vs. Washington)

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (at Carolina)

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota (vs. Chicago) (INJURED)

Nick Chubb, Cleveland (at Cincinnati)

Aaron Jones, Green Bay (at Detroit)

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (vs. Indianapolis)

Josh Jacobs, Oakland (at Denver) (INJURED)

Derrick Henry, Tennessee (vs. New Orleans)(INJURED)

ROLL THEM OUT

Gus Edwards, Baltimore (vs. Pittsburgh): The matchup’s not great, but with mark Ingram sitting out and Robert Griffin III starting the young tailback should see a ton of work Sunday.

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland (at Cincinnati): When Cleveland beat Cincinnati back in Week 14, Hunt and Nick Chubb combined to amass 175 total yards and score a touchdown.

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit (vs. Green Bay): Johnson’s back on the field for Detroit and should see plenty of work against a Green Bay team that has struggled to stop the run.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis (at Jacksonville): Mack’s coming off a big Week 16 and spends his last two games in 2019 taking on the two teams that allow the most points per reception league fantasy points to running backs.

SIT THEM DOWN

James Conner, Pittsburgh (at Baltimore): The Pittsburgh offense has officially become a black hole of poo from which no joy can escape. Baltimore is the fourth-worst matchup for running backs in 2019.

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta (at Tampa Bay): Freeman has actually shown a pulse over the last month or so, but Tampa Bay has consistently been a difficult team to run on in 2019.

Devin Singletary, Buffalo (vs. New York Jets): Buffalo is locked in the AFC’s No. 5 seed. Even if Singletary plays, it won’t be the whole game. The curse of Week 17 strikes again.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.