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The Fantasy Matrix – Week 17

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins


Week 17 impact: Rex Ryan will be coaching like there’s no tomorrow, because it’s 100 percent the case for him. The Dolphins are very much alive and need a win to stay that way. The fact that it’s Week 17 will not impact this game.


Breakdown: The Dolphins pass defense is good, and the Jets pass offense is a nightmare.

Geno Smith

has ramped up the usage of his legs over the past few weeks, which gives him some upside.
Chris Ivory

isn’t a special talent, but heavy usage and a good matchup make him relatively safe. The Dolphins can’t run, but it’s OK because the Jets have a terrible secondary, which gives
Mike Wallace

and
Ryan Tannehill

decent upside.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings


Week 17 impact: This game is completely meaningless, both teams have injuries at key offensive skill positions, and both coaches are very likely to get the boot come Monday. I think this matchup will mess up fantasy owners more than any other this week.


Breakdown: All of the usual suspects in Detroit still enjoy great upside against a terrible defense, but it’s anyone’s guess how usage will go.

Calvin Johnson
‘s
ranking is assuming he plays. I can’t imagine the Vikings will let
Adrian Peterson

play this week. Detroit’s pass defense is beatable, but there’s very little to like about Minnesota through the air.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants


Week 17 impact: Coach Tom Coughlin did the sport of football a great service in 2007 when he tried to beat the 15-0 New England Patriots even though the game was meaningless for his team. He’ll do the same this week. As for the Redskins, counting on predictable usage from any lame duck coach who may have actively tried to get himself fired is a fool’s errand. If you start a Redskin this week, good luck.


Breakdown:

Pierre Garcon

and
Alfred Morris

are safe plays as always. Coach Mike Shanahan could do something crazy, but I still see normal usage for those two. The talent-deficient
Andre Brown

is relatively safe thanks to the matchup and number of touches. Total gut call here, but I think
Hakeem Nicks

finally gets his first touchdown of the season this week. They can’t let him go out like this.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers


Week 17 impact: The Steelers will need to win to stay alive in the playoff race. The Browns are in evaluation mode, but it’s not hard to tell who exactly they will be evaluating.


Breakdown:

Antonio Brown

and
Josh Gordon

are studs, as always.
Ben Roethlisberger

is a pretty safe low-end QB1/high-end QB2.
Le’Veon Bell

will get his usual diet of of carries for low yardage. For Cleveland, this game should be a full audition for
Edwin Baker

. The Browns have no faith in
Chris Ogbonnaya

or
Fozzy Whittaker

as anything more than complementary backs, and Baker is a prime candidate to carry the load in 2014.

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