Fantasy Football Week 17 Final Thoughts
By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Todd Gurley is out and Tre Mason will get the start against the 49ers in San Francisco. The 49ers play tougher at home, but Mason should easily see 15 or more touches and the 49ers on average have been weak against running backs.
Bilal Powell hasn't practiced all week and even though he's listed as questionable, all signs point to him not being able to play. That sets up well for Chris Ivory, who should be the no-doubt workhorse against the Bills in a must-win game. The Bills' run defense ranks 31st in Football Outsiders' metrics and Ivory already totaled 135 yards against them in Week 10.
Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst and Andrew Luck are all done for, so it will be either Ryan Lindley or Josh Freeman at the helm for the Colts. They will most likely go conservative and feature Frank Gore, who needs 109 yards rushing to reach the arbitrary 1,000-yard rushing mark.
The Panthers will be without Ted Ginn Jr. and Jonathan Stewart this week. They have an easy matchup against Tampa Bay, but they still MUST win so they can stay ahead of Arizona in the playoff seeding. I would expect to see plenty of Greg Olsen in this game, and he makes for a nice DFS play, while I'm not worrying too much about Cam. He'll use his legs to help his cause and Ginn's loss isn't huge. Devin Funchess gets a boost and will be worthwhile in DFS tourneys.
The Bears will be without Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal for their finale against the Lions. That gives Zach Miller, who didn't get much practice in and is listed as questionable, the pathway to the most targets and usage. I like him a lot in DFS as long as he's a go.
T.J. Yeldon remains out and Denard Robinson and Jonas Gray will both get work, as Robinson has been underwhelming and coach Gus Bradley mentioned wanting to see more from Gray for evaluation. That makes neither all that appealing, but I could see Gray getting the hot hand in this one.
Matt Forte is also listed as questionable, but did get limited practices in this week. This will be Forte's final game with the Bears and also his final home game in Chicago, so I expect him to play and with the receivers all decimated, I expect a lot of work for him in the passing game. He's risky with Jeremy Langford there and his injury, but I'll be throwing him in some GPPs.
Julian Edelman is out and Danny Amendola is listed as questionable, but Amendola says he expects to play. That's annoying, because if Amendola is active, it makes it tougher to play Keshawn Martin in DFS, but still impossible to play Amendola, who could be limited. When it comes down to it, Rob Gronkowski is the only safe play here.
Brian Hoyer returns from his second brain injury of the season to start for the Texans, who get a great passing matchup against the Jaguars. Cecil Shorts will be out, which helps Nate Washington and Jaelen Strong.
Michael Floyd got a limited practice in on Friday and is listed as questionable. All signs point to him playing, but it is in a late game, so be ready to pivot from him if you need to.
Johnny Manziel is out and Austin Davis will start. Travis Benjamin is questionable, but should be able to go after getting limited practices in Thursday and Friday. Davis is a slouch, but he should throw the ball plenty and the Steelers' pass defense is garbage. I could see Gary Barnidge and/or Benjamin having a decent game.
Martavis Bryant has an illness and is listed as questionable. It's worth keeping an eye on, but if he's starting, you start him, even in DFS.
Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee will again split work with LeSean McCoy out. Against a tough Jets' run defense, I'll be staying away from both where I can, but Williams is the lead back in this committee and would be my choice between the two.
Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is out for this game, which makes the Colts an even more intriguing D/ST option. Zach Mettenberger will get the start once again and he has been absolutely awful, unless you are using him to up your D/ST points each week.
Rishard Matthews isn't expected to play, so DeVante Parker should continue to be the No. 2 receiver on the team. The Dolphins have given up, but chucking the ball up for Parker as they trail the Patriots sounds like something they could try.
Tyler Eifert will return from his brain injury to go smash his head into some stuff and hopefully score another touchdown for your fantasy team. I don't love his upside, but he's a touchdown machine.
Marques Colston is out again. Brandon Coleman will take his snaps and could have some value in what should be a high scoring affair.
The Carolina Panthers need to win to get the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They play Tampa Bay and could get out to a big lead and rest earlier than normal, but they'd have still put up a bunch of fantasy points.
The Arizona Cardinals need to beat Seattle and have the Panthers lose to Tama Bay to get the No. 1 seed. That does seem unlikely, but Bruce Arians says the Cardinals will play their starters, and at least, there is still that chance Arizona could get home-field advantage.
The Green Bay Packers will take on the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North title. Both teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs, but a win gives Green Bay the division and more time playing at home. Both teams should go all out, but if I were the Vikings, I'm not sure how badly I'd want to play Seattle, which they would if they won.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to win and the New York Jets need to lose for the Steelers to make the playoffs, while the Jets just need to beat the Buffalo Bills to make it in. Both games are at noon, so there will be no way for either team to know its fate ahead of time.
The Seattle Seahawks have clinched a playoff spot, but could get the No. 5 seed if they beat the Arizona Cardinals. It's not a huge leap though. If the Seahawks get the No. 5 seed, they'll either play at Minnesota or Washington, but if they lose and get the No. 6 seed, they could go to Lambeau, which is always a tough place to play. Seattle isn't in a must-win situation, but the Seahawks should play their starters coming off a home loss to the Case Keenum-led Rams.
The Washington D.C. team has nothing to play for, other than the pride of not winning the division with a losing record. Will that be enough to push coach Gruden to play his starters? Coach Gruden says no, since he plans on resting his starters at some point. I would not use Washington's starters this week, but I will be all in on Darren McFadden, who has been running well lately.
The New England Patriots need to beat the Miami Dolphins to secure the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage. If the Patriots were to lose and the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers, Denver would end up with the top spot.
The Denver Broncos need to win to keep atop their division and even have a shot at the top seed and home-field advantage throughout. If the Broncos were to lose, they could drop to a fifth or sixth playoff spot and play all their games away from Mile High.
The Cincinnati Bengals still have a shot at a first-round bye if they beat the Ravens and the Broncos lose to the Chargers. Cincinnati could also lose and still get the No. 2 seed, if the Oakland Raiders beat the Chiefs and the Broncos lose.
Kansas City could still win the AFC West with a win over the Raiders and a Denver loss to San Diego.
After Denver won on Monday night, there is still a slim chance the Indianapolis Colts could sneak into the playoffs over the Houston Texans, who will now need to win, to keep those sneaky Colts from sneaking.
These scenarios are all pretty darn good for Week 17 fantasy football. Washington is really the only team with absolutely nothing to play for, while the teams out of contention don't need to worry about saving their players for the playoffs.