The key to choosing your lineup in week 17 is finding the guys with something to play for whether that is the playoffs or just pride. Those teams that have already clinched home field advantage or cannot move up in the playoff seedings have plenty of land mines waiting for you. Tread carefully.
I utilize statistical analysis combined with over 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look of how players will perform on a week-to-week basis. The Studs list will be updated on a regular basis as players emerge and injuries occur, but be patient with those players listed early in the season. They were ranked and selected high in your draft for a reason.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Detroit
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Carolina
Tom Brady, New England vs. Buffalo
Cam Newton, Carolina at New Orleans
Matthew Stafford, Detroit at Green Bay
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay
Tony Romo, Dallas at N.Y. Giants
Philip Rivers, San Diego at Oakland
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo at New England: Fitzpatrick didn’t do much last week against the Broncos throwing for less than 200 yards without a score, but that will change this week. Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs the last time he faced the Patriots and he should have similar success this week. The Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win this week so the Tom Brady show will be in full effect forcing Fitzpatrick and the Bills to pass all day long.
Mark Sanchez, N.Y. Jets at Miami: While the passing numbers from Sanchez haven’t been stellar, it’s worth noting that he has scored six rushing TDs including three in the past three weeks which adds to his value. Sanchez rushed for a TD and threw for another one when he faced Miami back in week six. Look for Sanchez to not only score twice, but to have solid numbers in the passing game as Miami will defend the run well forcing the Jets to pass. Sanchez posts big numbers this week keeping the Jets playoff hopes alive.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati vs. Baltimore: Dalton has thrown for less than 200 yards in four straight games, but he’s thrown 4 TDs to just 1 INT during that stretch. Even though Dalton lit up the Ravens for 373 yards the last time he faced them in week 13, he also threw 3 INTs to just 1 TD in that game. I don’t expect Dalton to throw for 373 yards again, but he also won’t be under the 200 yard mark either. I expect Dalton to threw for 250 yards, but he’ll have trouble finding the end zone and INTs will once again be his downfall.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Cincinnati: Flacco has been quite the enigma this season from a fantasy perspective. He’s thrown 2 TDs in each of the past three games, but has averaged just 195 yards passing during that stretch. He has thrown for over 300 yards four times this season, but has also thrown for less than 165 yards five times. Flacco has been like a box of chocolates all season and this week he’ll be that cherry nougat that nobody likes.