Heading into a Week 17 championship is a dicey situation as there is always the chance of players being shut down. Either because these teams are fixed in their playoff seeding (Kansas City) or are hopelessly out of the running and want to save dinged up players (Detroit and Minnesota come to mind).
With that in mind, here is a Christmas edition of Week 17 Start/Bench options.
There are a few tweaks to the ‘Studs’ lists heading into this week. Rather than break it down by position as this is the last week of the season, I am just going to lump all the names of players who are no longer ‘Studs’ together with a brief explanation.
Bye, Bye Birdies
One touchdown and five interceptions over his last three games.
Gimpy calf and nearly as many fumbles lost (four) as touchdowns (six) this season.
Averaging 49 yards receiving per game over the last three weeks without a touchdown.
It appears he’ll be shut down for the season with the concussion he suffered in Week 15. Too hit-or-miss to trust if he does play.
* May not play Week 17*
Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville: Luck put up 257 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one pick in his first meeting with the Jaguars this season. He added another 26 rushing yards to finish with a decent fantasy week. Look for Luck to have a better showing in the rematch as the Colts look to improve their playoff seeding and get their passing attack on track.
Tennessee vs. Houston: The Texans have packed it in. Fitzpatrick has been on a ‘bad week then a good week’ stretch over the last month. After a down game last week (182 total yards and one score), he will have a big game against a defense that has allowed 10 touchdown passes in its last four games.
Cincinnati vs. Baltimore: Dalton is coming off of a 366-yard, four-touchdown performance last week and runs hot and cold. He’s hot right now so get him in fantasy starting lineups.
Chicago vs. Green Bay: Look for a bounceback game from Cutler as the Bears look to win this division-deciding showdown. Green Bay has allowed an average of 265 yards passing per game over the last four weeks with nine touchdowns in that timespan.
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Flacco is hobbled and looks out of sync with his receivers. The Bengals allowed Flacco to throw for two touchdowns against them in Week 10 but did intercept two passes and held him to 140 yards.
Kansas City at San Diego: The Chiefs are locked in at the No. 5 spot in the AFC and will look to keep Smith healthy this week. There is just too much risk involved in starting him when it’s likely he won’t play the entire game.
San Francisco at Arizona: The Cardinals defense is playing very good football right now. They held Seattle’s Russell Wilson to 140 total yards with one touchdown last week while intercepting him once. The two times that Kaepernick has faced the Cardinals, he has yet to surpass 20 fantasy points.
Washington at New York Giants: The Giants have allowed only one touchdown pass in their last two games while intercepting three passes. Cousins is a nice distraction from the soap opera in Washington but he’s not consistent enough to trust as a starting fantasy quarterback.
New York Jets at Miami: Don’t do it. Smith had a nice Week 16 with 262 total yards and three touchdowns but he isn’t going to repeat that. The Dolphins defense held Smith to negative fantasy points in Week 13 and will stifle him again in this game.