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NFL fantasy football: Week 17 matchups

  • By Marcas Grant
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This is it. Championship Week. Part Deux. This one is for all the marbles. Again. Enough hyperbole. On to the matchups. Again.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Panthers fantasy points scored
18.58
16.38
18.97
7.11
8.53
11.67
Falcons fantasy points allowed
19.12
20.39
24.15
8.49
10.13
8.13
Falcons fantasy points scored
15.46
18.50
19.72
9.68
7.36
5.43
Panthers fantasy points allowed
11.80
12.70
15.97
8.50
7.40
6.07

Analysis: Plenty of Panthers are still viable for Week 17. Cam Newton remains a must-start at the QB spot and things look very positive for DeAngelo Williams in the running game. The matchups favor Carolina's wide receivers, but Steve Smith is the only one worth taking a chance on and his prospects for Sunday don't look good. Start any Falcons at your own peril. Matt Ryan struggled with just 6.9 points in their previous meeting. Having a healthy Roddy White should help a little, but the Carolina defense isn't one that surrenders fantasy production easily. That's bad news for Ryan, White, Steven Jackson and the rest of the Dirty Birds.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Ravens fantasy points scored
13.79
12.60
21.95
6.82
9.53
7.93
Bengals fantasy points allowed
14.14
13.61
20.77
6.09
7.20
7.07
Bengals fantasy points scored
18.04
18.03
26.52
8.47
6.80
10.33
Ravens fantasy points allowed
15.08
15.30
22.34
7.33
8.19
8.93

Analysis: This matchup has the makings of a defensive struggle. Historically, Joe Flacco has never performed well against the Bengals (he scored 8.00 points against them in Week 10), which should have a negative impact on Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta. Ray Rice is in line for another poor performance as well this week and should remain on your bench. Similarly, the Ravens defense hasn't been kind to Andy Dalton -- look for him to come down from his huge Week 16. However, A.J. Green could still post quality numbers against the Baltimore secondary. As for Gio Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis? It could be tough sledding.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Jaguars fantasy points scored
10.57
13.51
16.56
6.81
6.33
5.67
Colts fantasy points allowed
15.75
17.23
22.98
6.01
7.33
5.60
Colts fantasy points scored
18.60
17.84
20.80
6.50
9.00
7.80
Jaguars fantasy points allowed
19.15
19.11
23.43
9.95
8.07
10.80

Analysis: With Maurice Jones-Drew facing free agency, this could be an audition for Jordan Todman. Neither back is worth starting, but it's worth keeping an eye on the younger back for an idea of his 2014 value. The same can be said for Ace Sanders and his potential to become Jacksonville's No. 2 receiver next season. If you're in need of a sleeper at tight end, considering Marcedes Lewis, who has become a nice red zone target. After some recent fantasy struggles, Andrew Luck could finishe on a high note. Things also are looking up for the duo of Donald Brown and Trent Richardson. There are playmaking opportunities available for Indy's wideouts -- if there's one you can truly trust.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Jets fantasy points scored
12.38
14.69
15.67
7.63
8.27
5.67
Dolphins fantasy points allowed
13.39
19.89
17.27
9.15
9.13
8.93
Dolphins fantasy points scored
15.23
13.13
22.95
8.39
7.73
7.87
Jets fantasy points allowed
17.15
13.67
24.46
8.78
9.47
11.47

Analysis: The Jets have been bad on the road all season, so this isn't a great week to consider anyone from Gang Green -- not that you would. The only Jet worth thinking about starting this week is Chris Ivory. He's a flex option at best. Ryan Tannehill has been a nice late-season option for plenty of owners, but he'll be mediocre at best this week. However, the Jets secondary could open options for both Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. Even Charles Clay has nice potential at the tight end spot. Stay away from any Dolphins running backs.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Lions fantasy points scored
17.76
22.85
24.91
8.17
6.40
6.93
Vikings fantasy points allowed
22.64
20.25
28.59
10.41
8.67
9.33
Vikings fantasy points scored
14.26
19.45
21.21
6.15
8.20
5.47
Lions fantasy points allowed
15.84
14.86
26.68
5.72
10.40
7.33

Analysis: This matchup is primed for a Matthew Stafford rebound. The Vikings defense hasn't stopped so much as a runny nose over the last part of the season. That bodes well for Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and even Joique Bell this week. Get 'em in your lineup. There are only two Vikings that should provide any fantasy intrigue this week -- Cordarrelle Patterson, who has made himself into a viable fantasy option over the last few games and Matt Asiata. Although the latter is nothing more than a flex. Beyond that, there's no one in purple worth talking about from a fantasy perspective.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Redskins fantasy points scored
16.36
17.90
22.67
8.35
6.13
6.13
Giants fantasy points allowed
16.06
17.93
18.26
8.24
8.60
13.53
Giants fantasy points scored
10.81
13.97
22.42
6.12
6.27
6.73
Redskins fantasy points allowed
17.54
22.89
22.88
9.03
7.73
10.47

Analysis: There isn't much to like from a Washington perspective in this one. The Giants have struggled with wins and losses, but their defense has been pretty good this year. That means it could be a tough day for Kirk Cousins and his wideouts. Alfred Morris could once again struggle to be productive as anything more than a RB2. You're likely not starting Eli Manning or any of his receivers, but this could be a productive matchup for all of them. New York's running back situation is in flux and is best avoided from a fantasy perspective.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Browns fantasy points scored
15.66
12.64
23.77
10.10
6.53
7.20
Steelers fantasy points allowed
15.56
19.03
20.94
7.39
8.20
6.87
Steelers fantasy points scored
16.82
13.78
28.08
5.65
7.99
7.00
Browns fantasy points allowed
17.51
18.55
21.28
8.18
8.27
10.07

Analysis: This isn't a good matchup for Jason Campbell -- not that you were starting him anyway -- but it shouldn't scare you away from Josh Gordon. There is a chance for Cleveland's running back to step up, but you can't really trust Edwin Baker in a championship situation. Ben Roethlisberger has sleeper potential this week and there's little reason to think Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders can't find success. Beware of Le'Veon Bell against a tough Browns run defense. Heath Miller could be a sleeper play at tight end.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Texans fantasy points scored
13.67
15.45
20.44
10.08
6.80
4.20
Titans fantasy points allowed
13.96
22.43
14.61
8.99
9.00
8.07
Titans fantasy points scored
17.46
17.10
20.91
6.55
7.20
6.67
Texans fantasy points allowed
16.75
18.79
19.11
8.51
8.80
11.93

Analysis: It's been a few weeks since you could start any Texans with any level of confidence. That's not likely to change this week. However, it's worth watching Dennis Johnson (if he plays) to see if he's ready to take over the Texans' No. 2 RB role that's likely to be vacated by Ben Tate. If you're starting any Titans this week, it's best to temper your expectations. Don't expect anything more than just average numbers from guys like Chris Johnson and Kendall Wright. Delanie Walker could rebound a little from some subpar weeks, but he won't have huge numbers.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
49ers fantasy points scored
15.60
18.16
12.39
11.60
8.93
10.43
Cardinals fantasy points allowed
15.86
11.58
18.03
13.81
6.87
7.73
Cardinals fantasy points scored
13.01
17.84
22.47
5.89
8.33
10.93
49ers fantasy points allowed
12.70
15.95
18.27
6.60
5.47
5.27

Analysis: This could be another Week 17 defensive struggle. Colin Kaepernick has been a different quarterback since the return of Michael Crabtree, but Thsi Cardinals defense has been stingy all season long. That means the Niners passing game as well as Frank Gore could be stifled. Similarly, don't look for much from Carson Palmer and the Arizona passing attack. It could also be tough sledding for Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Packers fantasy points scored
16.93
19.97
27.01
7.27
9.47
6.67
Bears fantasy points allowed
14.76
24.49
21.92
9.08
8.73
7.87
Bears fantasy points scored
19.19
18.47
28.67
6.91
8.33
7.47
Packers fantasy points allowed
17.86
19.79
24.89
8.33
8.13
8.13

Analysis: With a game that means so much, look for plenty of top performers to step up. Aaron Rodgers might not look like the old Aaron Rodgers after such a long layoff, but Eddie Lacy should run wild against a porous Bears defense. There is also reason to be optimistic about Jordy Nelson and James Jones this week. Jay Cutler should be good, if not great, this week. However, Matt Forte should finish the week among the top fantasy scorers. As always, you can roll with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery this week.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Bills fantasy points scored
12.68
19.54
15.75
5.94
8.60
9.47
Patriots fantasy points allowed
17.15
18.51
21.84
8.45
6.67
6.53
Patriots fantasy points scored
16.20
23.10
25.13
7.36
10.27
9.27
Bills fantasy points allowed
14.27
15.79
24.54
7.17
8.27
9.33

Analysis: It's still unknown who will be the Bills starting quarterback this week. Either way, you're not going to roll with him. If there's a Buffalo running back you're taking a chance on this week, it should be Fred Jackson over C.J. Spiller. Avoid any of the Bills pass-catchers. Tom Brady was fairly average against the Bills in Week 1. Fantasy owners could expect more of the same this week. However, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola could have nice fantasy totals. It's been hard to figure out the Patriots running back situation recently. But you can take the guesswork out by avoiding any and all of them.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Buccaneers fantasy points scored
11.21
14.57
17.99
5.50
6.73
8.40
Saints fantasy points allowed
13.48
16.35
18.07
6.47
6.87
5.60
Saints fantasy points scored
21.31
21.32
18.83
15.89
7.73
6.93
Buccaneers fantasy points allowed
17.28
14.71
21.94
8.06
8.73
8.67

Analysis: It's hard to recommend starting any Buccaneers this week against a stout Saints defense with something to play for. Vincent Jackson has been Tampa's msot reliable fantasy option, but this week he could offer up subpar totals. Drew Brees might struggle to live up to some of his better fantasy weeks, but should still be a quality QB option in Week 17. Look for nice production from the New Orleans wideouts, if you can figure out which one. The muddled Saints backfield could have a hard time getting going. None of them should be considered for more than a flex spot.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Broncos fantasy points scored
25.60
22.79
36.99
11.99
10.00
8.00
Raiders fantasy points allowed
18.82
21.15
23.27
7.22
8.20
10.00
Raiders fantasy points scored
14.24
20.49
17.59
4.16
6.93
6.33
Broncos fantasy points allowed
17.57
19.30
24.23
8.90
7.67
3.20

Analysis: The Broncos need a win to lock up the top seed in the AFC, so you can expect that Peyton Manning and company will play most of the game -- unless it turns into a blowout. Act accordingly with those players. The Broncos defense seems like a good play, but keep in mind that Terrelle Pryor played well against Denver earlier in the season. Nonetheless, don't take the risk of starting Pryor this week. But there's a good opportunity for Rashad Jennings to play as a low-end RB2. Beyond that, any other Raiders are a risky option.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Chiefs fantasy points scored
16.82
24.47
16.38
5.07
7.60
13.33
Chargers fantasy points allowed
17.69
16.33
25.03
7.65
7.20
5.60
Chargers fantasy points scored
17.84
22.65
21.35
9.90
9.27
5.73
Chiefs fantasy points allowed
15.59
18.75
23.03
5.22
6.53
5.07

Analysis: Unlike the Broncos, the Chiefs have nothing to play for. That means Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith likely won't be around to help you lock up a fantasy championship. If you're looking for a sleeper option, consider Knile Davis. Meanwhile, the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives. Give Philip Rivers and his cohorts a long look this week. Ryan Mathews has a nice value as a RB2 this week. Consider Keenan Allen as a quality WR prospect as well.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Rams fantasy points scored
13.16
15.79
18.28
8.70
7.40
10.33
Seahawks fantasy points allowed
9.29
14.04
14.91
6.65
6.53
6.07
Seahawks fantasy points scored
18.37
17.59
21.12
7.24
9.33
12.00
Rams fantasy points allowed
15.15
20.63
22.13
5.89
5.93
7.67

Analysis: Seattle may have finally lost at home last week, but that might only make things harder on the Rams this week. Zac Stacy has been fairly matchup-proof this season but he'll be tested against Seattle this week. Russell Wilson and his receivers could have a tough time finding any traction versus the St. Louis secondary. It's tough to bench Marshawn Lynch, but he could have depressed totals against a Rams front that has been better after a tough start to the season. Both defenses could be quality plays in this one.

Sunday, Dec. 29
QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
Eagles fantasy points scored
23.05
22.93
24.86
9.39
7.33
7.93
Cowboys fantasy points allowed
21.39
24.24
24.95
9.02
8.00
4.47
Cowboys fantasy points scored
17.50
17.57
24.70
9.64
8.86
7.53
Eagles fantasy points allowed
18.38
17.29
28.88
5.94
7.47
7.53

Analysis: In the battle for the NFC East, it's a good idea to start any Eagles you have in your lineup. Dallas' defense has struggled all year and doesn't figure to get any tougher with Sean Lee out of action. Tony Romo's absence could have an effect on the other Cowboy options. DeMarco Murray should see plenty of touches and Dez Bryant should get his fair share of targets, but any of the other Dallas weapons are far less certain options.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG

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