It was not the happiest of Holidays for many Tennessee and Oakland fans as their young franchise quarterbacks suffered leg injuries that ended their seasons. Here’s hoping that both Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota recover fully and are back on the field for the start of the 2017 season as both have emerged as fantasy stars. That’s the nature of that NFL and fantasy owners know this all too well.
Another thing that fantasy football owners are well aware of is the fact that Week 17 is whole different animal when it comes to setting lineups. Teams that have already clinched playoff berths that cannot improve their seeding or teams that may have already clinched home field throughout the playoffs may decide to rest players. Or teams that have been out of the playoff hunt for weeks may decide to shut down players due to what may not necessarily be season-ending injuries (we got a taste of that last week with A.J. Green).
That’s the reason that many leagues play their championship in Week 16. That being said, we are here to help the folks that are perhaps in two-week championship formats (Weeks 16 and 17 combined scores) or play their outright title game in Week 17.
The main thing to keep in mind is that some of the players listed among the ‘studs’ may not play this week or play limited snaps. While I did remove the injured players from the ‘studs’ list this week, I won’t remove players unless it’s confirmed before my late Tuesday deadline that they will definitely not play.
It’s a good idea to ride the players in games where there is something to play for as the starters will be certain to play the entire way. You’ll notice a lot of Green Bay and Detroit as they square off Sunday night to determine the winner of the NFC North.
Let’s do this. Enjoy the final “Start/Bench” article of 2016.
Marcus Mariota – He’s done with a fractured fibula.
Derek Carr – He’s done with a broken fibula.
Alex Smith, KANSAS CITY at San Diego – We stick with players who have something to play for in Week 17. Kansas City can still win its division and has a nice matchup against a floundering San Diego team that just lost to Cleveland. In the Week 1 matchup between these teams, Smith threw for 363 yards and scored three times.
Kirk Cousins, WASHINGTON vs. New York Giants – There are still scenarios in which Washington could make the playoffs so we roll with Cousins. The Giants are locked into their playoff spot and could rest players this week on both sides of the ball. Cousins is throwing as well as running for touchdowns down the stretch and will gouge what could be a depleted Giants defense this week.
Russell Wilson, SEATTLE at San Francisco – Wilson is coming off a four-touchdown performance last week and faces the pitiful San Francisco defense. Those are all the reasons we need to trust starting him in Week 17.
Matthew Stafford, DETROIT vs. Green Bay – After playing a decent first half against Dallas, Stafford was a human piñata in the second half getting battered and beaten up. I still like him to bounce back at home against a Green Bay defense that just allowed Sam Bradford to throw for three touchdowns in Week 16. It would help Stafford immensely if offensive lineman Travis Swanson returns from the concussion protocol.
Cam Newton, CAROLINA at Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay still has hopes to make the playoffs and will be going full tilt in this affair. I believe the shoulder injury Newton has been playing through is worse than the team is letting on. He looked very bad last week throwing for less than 200 yards with two interceptions and only one touchdown. I’m not trusting a less-than-healthy Newton against a defense with something to play for.
Eli Manning, New York GIANTS at Washington – With their playoff spot locked up, I see the Giants resting or at least limiting snaps for many of their starters. With the chance that Manning doesn’t play the entire game I can’t recommend starting him.
Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO vs. Kansas City – As mentioned earlier, Kansas City has a chance to get as high as the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a win. That means Kansas City will play full out against a San Diego offense that could only muster 17 points against Cleveland. San Diego’s defense can force turnovers and Rivers has turned the ball over nine times in the last four games. No thanks.
Colin Kaepernick, SAN FRANCISCO vs. Seattle – Seattle is looking to lock down the No. 2 seed and bounce back from a disappointing loss last week against Arizona. San Francisco apparently can only beat Los Angeles this year. Kaepernick is too hot and cold to trust in a game where he’ll face a fired up Seattle defense.