Welcome to the Week 17 starts and sits! It’s a tough week to predict when you look at the teams with nothing to play for, so when given the choice, you want to focus on players who are in need-to-win situations. Using Patriots players this week is inherently risky, and the same goes for the Broncos, Colts and Cowboys.
I’ve isolated some players in good situations for your consideration. Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon.
If you want to keep track of all our fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh articles and chats as well, including our full Week 17 lineup rankings. I’ll be back next week with playoff pool cheat sheets and strategies.
Cam Newton, Panthers at Falcons
He got his feet wet last week, but I expect the Panthers to unleash Newton in this game because there is a playoff berth at stake.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Eagles
He has a receiver who tilts the field in Odell Beckham, and it’s made a big difference lately. Manning should finish 2015 strong, and I like his chances of being a QB1 next season if the Giants address the offensive line better than they did in 2014.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Bengals
He has a lot to play for here with the division title in the balance, so expect four quarters of action and QB1 results when all is said and done.
Andrew Luck, Colts at Titans
They went to backup Matt Hasselbeck early last week, and I am not betting on a longer outing for Luck this week — not with so much at stake. The Colts are locked into the fourth seed no matter what happens this week.
Matt Asiata, Vikings vs. Bears
It’s a very good matchup, and he owns the goal line right now. Start him as an RB2 in all formats.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers at Falcons
Do not worry about DeAngelo Williams‘ return. Stewart has been too good in recent weeks to give up half of his carries. I see a 2-to-1 split at worst in his favor, and that’s going to give him RB2 value at worst.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons vs. Panthers
He should be the main back this week, and we’ve liked him going back to our pre-draft analysis. Freeman is a very nice RB2 play in any league size or scoring format.
Tre Mason, Rams at Seahawks
Play him if you need him, but lower expectations considerably in this nasty matchup. Seattle’s defense is simply dominant when playing behind the home crowd.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins vs. Jets
The Jets gave it all they had last week in Rex Ryan‘s final game against New England and in front of the home fans. I do not expect to see that kind of spirited effort this week, and the Jets have nobody to contain Landry out of the slot. He is a nice WR3 play, especially in PPR formats.
DeSean Jackson, Washington vs. Cowboys
He went off last week, and he should close out the season strong this week as Washington tries desperately to send a positive message to a beleaguered fan base. He has WR1 upside this week.
Charles Johnson, Vikings vs. Bears
I’m a big fan of this kid, and he should be very active in his final game this season. Johnson has emerged as Teddy Bridgewater’s top target and that could continue into 2015. For this week, consider Johnson as a WR3 with plenty of upside.
Julian Edelman, Patriots vs. Bills
I think you are better off starting Danny Amendola, who should continue to see plenty of action in this meaningless game. The Patriots would be crazy to let Edelman get beat up for no reason given how important he is from scrimmage and in the return game. They are locked into the No. 1 seed, as I am sure you all know.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs. Bills
This one is tricky, but I think it makes sense. It’s the exception to the rule. Basically, a few series of Gronkowski is worth more than four quarters of most non-top 10 options. So unless you have a stud in reserve, you can and probably should play Gronk and hope for a quick score. Just realize that a big day is not happening.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Chargers
He was a disappointment last week, but he still was heavily involved. The Chargers do not tackle well, and Kelce relies on making the first man miss in the screen game. It’s a better matchup than it looks like on paper. Use him as a top-10 option.
Charles Clay, Dolphins vs. Jets
The Jets routinely get beaten up by tight ends, so Clay is a good bet to have a second straight big game. Play him in all formats against the woeful Jets.
Jason Witten, Cowboys at Washington
He is a very good bet to rest for most of this game. He is too important to the Cowboys’ long-term goals, and they have a few young tight ends who could use extra snaps. This one seems like a no-brainer.