Week 17 has always been a horse of a different color. There has always been the concern that teams may rest their starters or at least limit their snaps. There are a couple of those situations to be sure but it’s the injuries to quarterbacks that make this Week 17 even more difficult to predict.
The Indianapolis Colts are combing the streets for a starter and the Cincinnati Bengals may be down to their third string quarterback (although A.J. McCarron could play with his wrist injury). Ouch.
To any and all owners that were able to navigate the previous 16 weeks and are playing for all the marbles this week, I offer a hearty congratulation. Especially considering the many eggs that were laid by top tier players last week.
I also offer up the final edition of the Start/Bench article of the season.
Let’s do this!
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA vs. New Orleans: Every one throws the ball on the Saints defense. They have given up 13 touchdown passes in the last four games. Yes. We can trust Ryan and Julio Jones to carve up this defense.
Eli Manning, NEW YORK GIANTS vs. Philadelphia: Manning will have Odell Beckham Jr. back this week and more importantly will be facing the pitiful Eagles defense. Since Week 11, Philadelphia has allowed 19 passing and 20 total touchdowns to quarterbacks.
Matthew Stafford, DETROIT at Chicago: We ride the hot hand here, as Stafford has been a top-10 fantasy quarterback over the past three weeks. I also get the feeling Stafford will force feed Calvin Johnson the ball (finally) in what could be his last game in a Lions uniform.
Tyrod Taylor, BUFFALO vs. New York Jets: The Bills want to win this one badly for head coach Rex Ryan. In the last three weeks, Taylor has run the ball 31 times for 199 yards. Look for him to continue to use his legs to generate some nice fantasy production this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NEW YORK JETS at Buffalo: We keep riding the “Amish Rifle” as he has posted top-five fantasy numbers over his past five games. In that time, Fitzpatrick has thrown 13 touchdowns and only one interception. At this time of year we ride the hot players.
Kirk Cousins, WASHINGTON at Dallas: Washington is locked into their playoff position and will likely sit most of the starters or play them very little. While Cousins has been playing great, he is simply too risky to roll out this week.
Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY at Carolina: The Panthers have something to play for this week and the rookie will be under fire all day. In the first meeting with Carolina, Winston was sacked twice and threw four interceptions.
Derek Carr, OAKLAND at Kansas City: The Chiefs defense is a big play, ball-hawking group that has picked off seven passes in the last four games. Carr has thrown six interceptions in his last four games including three against this Chiefs defense back in Week 13.
Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO at Denver: Rivers has thrown one or fewer touchdowns in five of his last seven games including three games in which he failed to throw for any scores. Rivers has few receiving options and was held to single-digit scoring in the Week 13 meeting between these teams.
Jay Cutler, CHICAGO vs. Detroit: Cutler has thrown only five touchdowns in the past four games and has turned the ball over four times. In his last four games against the Lions, he has six touchdowns and has turned the ball over eight times. No thanks.