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The Fantasy Matrix – Week 17

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Week 17 impact: Both teams need a win and help from a late game to improve their standing. The 49ers have to win to have a chance at clinching a first-round bye, and the Cardinals need to win to have a chance at making the playoffs. There’s enough on the line to prompt normal personnel usage.


Colin Kaepernick

struggles pretty much anytime he faces a good defense, so avoid him if you can.
Frank Gore

always has the potential to go off, but the 49ers have already clinched a playoff spot. They’d like to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they went easy on their 30-year old feature back.
Vernon Davis

is the second-best tight end in the NFL and he faces the defense that allows the most points to the position. As for the Cardinals, this could shape up to be the second straight brutally awful game for the offense.
Larry Fitzgerald

is the only player I’d care to use in fantasy.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

Week 17 impact: This game is meaningless for the Chiefs and will likely become meaningless for the Chargers by kickoff. Predicting the fantasy value of any player involved in this game is a total crapshoot.

Breakdown: Reports are indicating that the Chiefs may only use their starters for one or two drives. It might be tempting to start

Jamaal Charles

because he regularly does more with five touches than a player like BenJarvus Green-Ellis does with 20, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Knile Davis

is the safest play because there’s a good chance he works a feature role for 3.5 quarters against a suspect Chargers defense. I think the Chargers will play as they normally would, making all four of their core offensive players usable fantasy plays.

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Week 17 impact: A Seattle win clinches the top seed, and the Rams will play for pride. The Rams may be quick to bench a player who suffers a minor injury but for the most part you can play this one as you normally would.

Breakdown: A poor pass offense is against an awesome secondary.

Zac Stacy

is worth a start against pretty much anyone, but he’s the only Ram I’m messing with. St. Louis actually has a solid pass defense, but Russell Wilson should have enough running yardage and just enough passing stats for a solid fantasy day.
Marshawn Lynch

has added appeal against a Bottom-5 rushing defense, but you weren’t benching him anyway. Doug Baldwin probably has the most upside among Seattle receivers, but none are recommended plays.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Week 17 impact: Winner gets the division. Enough said.

Breakdown: What more is there to say about the Eagles? The Cowboys have a horrible defense, and the Eagles have an outstanding offense.

Nick Foles

LeSean McCoy

DeSean Jackson

are all excellent plays.
Riley Cooper

is a good play, although somewhat risky.
DeMarco Murray

should gash the Eagles defense and should get more work than normal with
Kyle Orton

calling plays. Nobody with half a brain believes that all this talk about
Tony Romo

potentially playing is anything more than posturing from Jerry Jones.
Kyle Orton

has more upside than you’d expect thanks to his receiving talent and matchup, but this is still
Kyle Orton

we’re talking about. He can effectively manage games, but a fantasy star he is not.
Dez Bryant

doesn’t always dazzle with yardage, but he has a touchdown in four straight games. Orton throwing him the ball isn’t enough to make him anything less than a must-start.

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