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Week 17 fantasy football matchups, starts and sits

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If you're reading this, you're either still playing for a fantasy championship in Week 17, or you're simply a fan of our writing. If your reason is the former, what's wrong with you? And if it's the latter ... what's wrong with you? Anyway, our NFL Fantasy staff is here to help with Week 17 lineup dilemmas. They provide game-by-game, player-by-player matchup breakdowns for Week 17 below to help you set a winning lineup and avoid the pitfalls of players resting for the playoffs. Think of this as the one-stop shop to crushing your opponent in fantasy football.

Now, onto the best and worst Week 17 fantasy matchups. Reminder, all games take place on Sunday, January 1. There are no games on Thursday or Monday this upcoming week.

**Cowboys-Eagles, Jaguars-Colts previews will be added shortly**

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Ravens

Joe Flacco, QB -- START: If you're in a bind at the quarterback position it might make some sense to chase Joe Flacco this week. The Bengals were solid against Tom Savage last week but also did appear to be using a number of backups during the game. Flacco has 47, 52, 30 and 44 pass attempts the last four weeks.

Ravens RBs -- SIT: The backfield continues to be a convoluted situation in Baltimore, as Kenneth Dixon played 37 percent of the Week 16 snaps and Terrance West 31 percent, but Kyle Juszczyk chipped in with 41 percent. Dixon cannot capitalize on a passing game role because he whiffs in pass protection too often.

Steve Smith, WR -- START: This could be the last ride for No. 89 as it's a strong possibility he retires after this game. We want in on that narrative.

Dennis Pitta, TE -- START: He's still a reliable bet for targets. So at least there is that. Pitta showed something of a floor last week and the Bengals have given up 91 catches to tight ends on the season.

Bengals

Andy Dalton, QB -- SIT: With both A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert out, Dalton is not a realistic fantasy option.

Rex Burkhead, RB -- FLEX: He out-snapped Jeremy Hill 49 to 13 last week as Hill continues to struggle with an injury and poor play. The Bengals are already resting starters at the end of this lost season. If Hill gets the same treatment in Week 17, Burkhead might finally be a thing and could eclipse his 16 touches from last game.

Brandon LaFell, WR -- FLEX: If you're digging into the Bengals pass-catching corps (or maybe corpse) at all this week, it will be with LaFell. He is the only one that has shown any sort of tangible upside.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Texans

Tom Savage, QB -- START: He did not play as well as we may have hoped early in his first career start, but Savage looked more viable in the second half of Week 16. The Titans defense has been slaughtered through the air in recent weeks, allowing passing yardage totals of 333, 251, 316, 330, 159 and 331 since Week 10.

Alfred Blue, RB -- FLEX: Lamar Miller feels likely to sit after he missed last week and the Texans unable to improve their seeding. The Texans rode Blue last week, as they've done whenever they need a fill-in starter under the Bill O'Brien era, and he scored a touchdown. He'll be their feature back once again.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR -- START: Savage didn't exactly resurrect the value of Hopkins, but this is an ideal spot for him to have a big game. The Titans corners helped Allen Robinson get back on track last week with a 140-yard game.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE -- START: He still led the team in targets last week despite Brock Osweiler being put out to pasture. He's a low-ceiling option, but you can't be too picky with tight ends.

Titans

Matt Cassel, QB -- SIT: Not in this lifetime.

DeMarco Murray, RB -- FLEX: Murray was held to just 14 carries for 42 yards last week in Jacksonville. He turns 29 next season. It's conceivable that with their season now over the Titans might want to use this spot to get a look at Derrick Henry in a bigger role.

Titans pass-catchers -- SIT: Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker were the only interesting members from this corps to begin with. But the shine is completely off of both with Matt Cassel under center. The veteran quarterback has not thrown for more than 230 yards since the 2013 season.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX


Panthers

Cam Newton, QB -- SIT: The Panthers franchise quarterback is banged up and hasn't played good football for well over a month. The Buccaneers pass defense is much better now than when these two teams met (and Derek Anderson started) in the early portion of the season. At worst, Newton won't be going full-throttle in this game.

Jonathan Stewart, RB -- FLEX: It's still touchdown or bust with Stewart, as he followed his first 100-yard rushing game of 2016 with a typical 11-carry, 50-yard fantasy dud.

Panthers WRs -- FLEX: You can choose to chase Ted Ginn's long touchdown upside if you chose. He will run most of his routes against the aging Brent Grimes, who to his credit has played well this year. Kelvin Benjamin finally made some plays last week after going quiet for a long stretch. He's the most volatile receiver in the NFL, and he doesn't have the reliable target share to project with confidence anymore.

Greg Olsen, TE -- START: He's about the only reliable part of the Panthers offense right now, but doesn't have much touchdown equity with the way this offense is playing. He's a near-lock for 10-plus PPR points and just came off wrapping up his third-straight 1,000-yard season.

Buccaneers

Jameis Winston, QB -- SIT: The Panthers defense is much better now than it was earlier in the season, foiling Kirk Cousins in Week 15 when many expected a strong outing. Winston is still a tremendously up and down player.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB -- START: Doug Martin is suspended and Charles Sims is back on IR. Rodgers should own a sizable chunk of this backfield, and even if the matchup is not great that is enough to buy him a solid floor-type of outlook.

Mike Evans, WR -- START: Use Mike Evans with impunity. He has not hit double-digit targets sine Week 12 but has good odds to do so in this game. With Cameron Brate on IR, he should get back to eclipsing a 30 percent market share of the targets.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Browns

Robert Griffin III, QB -- SIT: RGIII was cleared to play on Sunday after suffering a concussion last week. But that doesn't mean you should even remotely consider starting him in any fantasy format. He's been the worst Browns quarterback this year, averaging just 186.8 passing yards per game.

Isaiah Crowell, RB -- FLEX: Crowell didn't have a ton of yardage last week but did manage to score twice. He's the clear-cut red zone option (78 percent of CLE's red zone carries this year) and is worth a YOLO flex in Week 17.

Duke Johnson, RB -- SIT: Johnson has not been a fantasy option all season. That's not going to change this week.

Browns WRs -- SIT: Since Week 14 (when RGIII took over as quarterback), the Browns' receivers have combined for exactly zero touchdowns. Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman have 123 yards between them in that three-week span. Don't risk it.

Steelers

Landry Jones, QB -- SIT: Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin said that he's going to rest Big Ben in Week 17 leaving Landry Jones to start under center against the Browns. No thanks.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB -- FLEX: With Le'Veon Bell likely to sit out, Toussaint makes for an intriguing flex play against an awful Browns defense. If you want to get frisky, Toussaint is an option.

Eli Rogers, WR -- FLEX: Antonio Brown is likely to get a day off against the Browns as the Steelers look to preserve their most valuable players for the playoffs. Eli Rogers could get some additional looks, but they'll be coming from Landry Jones so there's that.

Jesse James, TE -- SIT: With Ladarius Green out last week, James played 85 percent of Pittsburgh's snaps, but it was Xavier Grimble who scored a touchdown on the Steelers' first drive. You're basically rolling the dice here with Landry Jones slated to start under center.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX



Cowboys

Cowboys' offense - This is the toughest decision in fantasy football this week. Dallas has not given clear indication about which way they plan to go with resting starters, thought they do appear interested in keeping up the momentum. However, they cannot improve their playoff seeding. So, let's take some guesses here…

Dak Prescott, QB - He's the one we would clearly not use. He's likely to get yanked for Mark Sanchez early, as the team does not want to risk Tony Romo's health.

Ezekiel Elliott - He's unlikely to get the volume he needs to eclipse the 170-plus yards he needs to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record, but there's a chance Dallas might want to get him close. He has such strong touchdown upside that it is impossible to pull him, even if he just gets a few drives of work.

Dez Bryant - The Eagles cornerback play has been so bad of late, giving up six touchdowns to wide receivers on just 56 catches over the last month, that is it quite tempting to roll him out there in a plus spot. However, you ought to be able to discern the risk/reward here.

Darren McFadden, RB - McFadden took his 12 second-half carries for 40 yards in relief of Elliott last week. He makes for a fine spot start in Week 17, as Elliott should give way even earlier to the veteran in this game.

Jason Witten, TE - He can't possibly be a realistic option, as he has no ceiling even when he plays a full game.

Eagles

Carson Wentz, QB - SIT: He's scored more than 15 fantasy points just once since Week 6. He's not an option.

Eagles RBs - SIT: We know the Dallas offense limits opposing time of possession and with Ryan Mathews out, there's not enough clarity here.

Jordan Matthews, WR - FLEX: Matthews hasn't produced a big game in a while. It's hard to chase one here, but he should have a good matchup against slot corner Orlando Scandrick.

Zach Ertz, TE - START: Ertz dipped back down to just two targets after seeing 15, 13 and eight in the previous games. So, the difficulty in projecting his outlook is back. However, he's still a reliable starter at the tight end positon, which is still a nightmare.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS



Bills

EJ Manuel, QB -- SIT: The Bills brass would like to see if Manuel has anything left to offer with Tyrod Taylor's future with the team uncertain. Manuel could be a sneaky upside play against a horrible Jets defense, but only in extremely deep or Two-QB formats.

LeSean McCoy, RB -- SIT: McCoy was apparently sent home with an illness on Wednesday. There's really no reason for the Bills to risk the star running back's health in a meaningless game, so don't be surprised if he sits this one out.

Mike Gillislee, RB -- FLEX: Gillislee has fantasy value even when McCoy starts, and with Shady likely to sit the Bills No. 2 back is even more attractive. He's worth throwing into the flex in a game that means absolutely nothing.

Sammy Watkins, WR -- SIT: With Watkins still dealing with a foot injury, there's no reason for the Bills to force him onto the field in a meaningless tilt against the Jets. Proceed with caution.

Charles Clay, TE -- START: With four touchdowns in his last three games, Clay has been a fantasy playoff revelation in recent weeks. But with E.J. Manuel slated to start under center, Clay's usage is up in the air, so keep that in mind if you're rolling with him.

Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB -- SIT: Fitzmagic is slated to start against the Bills on Sunday but that doesn't mean he'll finish the game. And even if he was going to play an entire four quarters, he still would be a sit in fantasy because he's awful.

Jets RBs -- SIT: Neither Matt Forte nor Bilal Powell had practiced as of Thursday ahead of the Jets upcoming game against the Bills. If they both sit, a couple of no-name runners are next in line on the depth chart: Brandon Wilds and Brandon Burks. This is why you don't play fantasy in Week 17.

Jets WRs -- SIT: Brandon Marshall has been completely ineffective as a fantasy option, Robby Anderson put up a zero last week and Quincy Enunwa who played 95 percent of the team's snaps only had one reception against the Patriots. NEXT.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX


Bears

Matt Barkley, QB -- SIT: In just five starts this year, Barkley has thrown 10 interceptions to eight touchdowns. No thank you.

Jordan Howard, RB -- START: Howard has been a revelation for fantasy squads this year. He's put up 99-plus scrimmage yards in eight straight games and needs just 61 yards to eclipse Matt Forte's team rookie record of 1,238 rush yards set in 2008. He's a legit RB1 against a Vikings team that he shredded back in Week 8.

Alshon Jeffery, WR -- FLEX: Jeffery has racked up 181 total yards and a touchdown in his last two games. He's always a threat in the red zone and should be able to get over against a Vikings defense that was ripped up by the Packers last week.

Cameron Meredith, WR -- FLEX: Meredith has been Matt Barkley's favorite target this year and the duo connected for a second-consecutive 100-yard game last week. He's well worth a flex play given his volume and scoring upside.

Vikings

Sam Bradford, QB -- SIT: You haven't started Bradford in fantasy all season. Now is not the time to start.

Vikings RBs -- SIT: The Vikings rushing game remains the worst in the NFL. Since Week 7, the team has averaged 72.8 rush yards per game, dead last in the league. If you want to get nuts, Matt Asiata is always a threat to fall into the end zone while Jerick McKinnon has the volume upside and pass-catching prowess.

Stefon Diggs, WR -- SIT: Diggs is clearly not 100 percent as he deals with a hip injury. Even with a touchdown catch last week he only had 8.9 fantasy points in a game that Sam Bradford attempted 50 passes.

Adam Thielen, WR -- START: Theilen exploded against the Packers for over 200 yards and two touchdowns on 15 targets last week. With Diggs ailing, Theilen is Bradford's No. 1 option and needs to be rolled out in every format.

Kyle Rudolph, TE -- START: Rudolph has been somewhat inconsistent in terms of fantasy production but he's still one of the most targeted players in the Vikings offense. Because of the guaranteed volume, he's a must-start at tight end.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Jaguars

Blake Bortles, QB - START: Bortles had his first game with a passer rating over 100 in Week 16. Is it worth chasing that? You might as well take a shot at it against a Colts team that is going full throttle to get to 8-8 and has a lackluster defense.

Jaguars RBs - SIT: T.J. Yeldon is on IR and Chris Ivory may not play this game. That means you should not play a Jacksonville running back, in case you needed the translation.

Allen Robinson, WR - START: The coaching staff did more to get Robinson in plus positions for success last week and should do so again this week. This game has a shot to be high-scoring.

Marqise Lee, WR - START: Lee still cobbled together a good game despite Robinson dominating with nine catches. He remains a fine option.

Colts

Andrew Luck, QB - START: There should be no issue with using Luck as you normally would this week. Jacksonville's defense is getting better, but this should be a high scoring outing regardless.

Frank Gore, RB - START: He only needs 36 yards to get to 1,000 on the year. You can bet he will be a big part of the game plan.

T.Y. Hilton, WR - START: He should draw some of Jalen Ramsey's coverage in this game, but Hilton just sees a tremendous target load (11 per game) when Moncrief sits and it does look like he will be out once again in this matchup.

Colts TEs - SIT: You want to break ties against sliding a Colts tight end into your lineup. However, if you want to use one it should be Jack Doyle, who plays more snaps than any of the others.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins: 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Patriots

Tom Brady, QB -- START: With a chance to lock up the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, look for Brady to be ... well, Tom Brady.

LeGarrette Blount, RB -- START: Just in case 17 touchdowns wasn't enough this season, how about facing a defense allowing 5.6 yards per carry over the last four weeks?

Julian Edelman, WR -- START: Edelman's touchdown totals leave a lot to be desired, but he's had five or more receptions and 70-plus receiving yards in seven straight games.

Malcolm Mitchell, WR -- SIT: Mitchell has plenty of potential, but his reality (less than 50 yards in 12 of 14 games) makes him too risky to consider starting this week. He's also missed multiple days of practice with a knee injury.

Martellus Bennett, TE -- START: His potential to go bust is even greater than his potential to go boom this week. But let's face it, are you really going to find a better option on waivers?

Dolphins

Matt Moore, QB -- SIT: Moore's had a couple of decent fantasy weeks, but they also came against inferior defenses. Don't fool around this week.

Jay Ajayi, RB -- FLEX: It's risky enough wondering if Ajayi will play a full game, but he's also going against a defense that has been incredibly stingy over the past month. Proceed with extreme caution.

Jarvis Landry, WR -- FLEX: Landry has been a fantasy enigma this year, but one of his best games in 2016 was against the Pats in Week 2. Here's to hoping for an encore.

Kenny Stills, WR -- FLEX: Stills is a boom-or-bust player but with touchdowns in eight games, there have been more ups than downs. Even better is that his target share has increased since Week 11.

Dion Sims, TE -- SIT: If you think Sims can score two touchdowns in this game, then, by all means, start him. The rest of us will be over here figuring out better tight end options.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS


Chiefs

Alex Smith, QB -- START: Smith's highest point total of the season came in Week 1 against San Diego. If you're streaming quarterbacks, Smith's typical efficiency could serve you well in a potential shootout.

Spencer Ware, RB -- SIT: Ware has just one 100-yard game all season and only two touchdowns since Week 8 (both coming in the same game). This is one to avoid against an improved run defense.

Tyreek Hill, WR -- START: TyFreek has been a do-everything player for the Chiefs over the past month, ranking as the WR9 in fantasy during that span. He deserves to be in your lineup.

Travis Kelce, TE -- START: It's nice that the Chiefs coaching staff was finally introduced to Kelce. Going back to Week 8, he's been the best tight end in fantasy with 100-plus yards in five of his last six games.

Chiefs D/ST -- START: The Chiefs excel in getting takeaways and Tyreek Hill's explosion in the return game makes this D/ST a pretty formidable fantasy unit.

Chargers

Philip Rivers, QB -- SIT: Rivers' turnovers have made him a disappointment down the stretch. Facing a ball-hawking Chiefs defense isn't likely to help that this week.

Ronnie Hillman, RB -- SIT: With Melvin Gordon uncertain and Kenneth Farrow definitely out, Hillman stands to see a heavy workload. But that doesn't mean you should count on him.

Tyrell Williams/Dontrelle Inman, WR -- START: These two long, lanky playmakers have been nearly interchangeable in the Chargers offense recently. Both should continue to see looks this week.

Antonio Gates, TE -- START: Gates needs two touchdowns to pass Tony Gonzalez's all-time tight end mark. Look for Rivers to do his best to help out his favorite target.

Hunter Henry, TE -- SIT: Henry has a bright future ahead of him, but this week is likely to belong to Gates.

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Cardinals

Carson Palmer, QB -- START: It will be interesting to see how much Palmer plays this week, but the Cardinals aren't likely to let their foot off the gas

David Johnson, RB -- START: Why would you doubt him now when he has a chance to add to an already historic season?

Larry Fitzgerald, WR -- SIT: Whether it's age or a change in the defenses they've faced, Fitzgerald has slowed remarkably in the second half of the season. This isn't an advisable start.

J.J. Nelson, WR -- FLEX: Nelson is having the season we'd hoped for from John Brown. His explosive ability means he should get a look somewhere in your lineup.

Cardinals D/ST -- SIT: This group has given up too many points and not registered nearly enough takeaways in the past month to give them any real starting consideration. Even against the Rams.

Rams

Jared Goff, QB -- SIT: You're not going to do this, so stop thinking about it.

Todd Gurley, RB -- FLEX: Getting to 90 rushing yards would be a major accomplishment since he hasn't done it all year. We wouldn't count on it happening this week, either.

Rams WRs -- SIT: Kenny Britt is the only player in this group with any real fantasy value, but even that is limited. You're better off looking for receiver help elsewhere.

Lance Kendricks, TE -- SIT: We have tried to advocate for Kendricks multiple times this season with varying degrees of success. This doesn't feel like a week where you want to test things.

Rams D/ST -- SIT: The Rams have the 27th-ranked fantasy defense over the past four weeks. Do not want.

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS


Raiders

Matt McGloin, QB -- SIT: McGloin is making his first start since 2013 and is a complete wild card here. Not exactly the situation you want in fantasy's ultimate week.

Raiders RBs -- START: Will it be Latavius Murray? Or Jalen Richard? Or maybe DeAndre Washington? Jack Del Rio isn't going to make this easy on you. Murray and Richard are at least worth flex starts.

Amari Cooper, WR -- FLEX: Cooper has pulled a disappearing act recently and a date with the No Fly Zone isn't going to make things much better. But his talent makes it hard to sit him completely.

Michael Crabtree, WR -- FLEX: What we just wrote for Cooper also applies to Crabtree. Proceed carefully.

Clive Walford, TE -- SIT: Walford has some deep sleeper potential this week. If you're looking for something a little more concrete, you'll want to look elsewhere.

Broncos

Broncos QBs -- SIT: Trevor Siemian is expected to start, but Paxton Lynch will play. That split makes both of them unattractive this week.

Broncos RBs -- SIT: Whether it's Devontae Booker, Justin Forsett or Sammy Winder, we're not keen on any Broncos running backs producing this week. Unless it's Terrell Davis. We'd consider him.

Broncos WRs -- FLEX: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders could see some work early, but how much they'll play is a mystery. Counting on Jordan Norwood or Jordan Taylor is inadvisable.

Broncos TEs -- SIT: The three-headed monster of Virgil Green, A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman have combined for fewer receiving yards than Charles Clay. Good luck figuring that out.

Broncos D/ST -- START: This group can still get after the quarterback and the secondary can still create turnovers. The Broncos should be good to go in Week 17.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Giants

Eli Manning, QB -- SIT: Head coach Ben McAdoo claims he's playing his starters, but who knows if they play the whole game. Plus, Manning has been bad lately. Double whammy of unstartability.

Giants RBs -- SIT: Hopefully you're not in a spot where you need to start Rashad Jennings or Paul Perkins. However, if push came to shove you could roll the dice with Perkins. Despite seeing fewer snaps the last month, the rookie has outgained Jennings in total yards 209 to 199 on 10 fewer touches.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR -- START: If Beckham starts, you start him. You just have to understand the risk that he gets pulled as the Giants have their playoff seed locked in place.

Sterling Shepard, WR -- FLEX: Shepard has a touchdown reception in six of his last eight games but hasn't crossed 62 receiving yards in that same span. Playing primarily in the slot will allow Shepard to avoid Josh Norman, too. He's a boom-or-bust flex.

Giants D/ST -- SIT: This unit could rest starters and is playing a high-powered offense fighting for its playoff life. Pass.

Redskins

Kirk Cousins, QB -- START: Washington's playoff hopes hang in the balance, so we're trusting Cousins even in a tough matchup. The offense will rely on his arm to take them to the promised land. If New York rests starters, Cousins' ceiling rises even higher.

Rob Kelley, RB -- FLEX: Kelley is dealing with a sore knee, but the team is limiting his practice reps so he can play on Sunday. He was robbed of a rushing touchdown last week (Cousins had two), so perhaps that reverses course this time around.

Chris Thompson, RB -- SIT: Don't chase the points. Thompson only played 33 percent of the snaps last week, and his playing time/usage has been inconsistent all year.

Redskins WRs -- FLEX: The Giants defense has been stout, but it's worth following the narrative here with Washington. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are the best options to trust of this bunch, as Jamison Crowder's playing time and production have dipped of late.

Washington TEs -- START: If Jordan Reed plays, he's worth a start. The Giants are most susceptible over the middle of the field, and Reed is a difference-making player. If he's out, Vernon Davis comes into play as a streaming option.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Seahawks

Russell Wilson, QB -- START: The running game is stuck in neutral and Thomas Rawls left last week with an injury. As a result, Wilson put up his best fantasy performance of the year and now gets to play the lowly 49ers. Giddy up.

Seahawks RBs -- FLEX: Pete Carroll said on Wednesday that Thomas Rawls' shoulder injury is "very slight," indicating he could play on Sunday. Still, with the Seahawks locked into the playoffs, it'd make sense for the team to lessen Rawls' workload. Enter Alex Collins, who filled in last week once Rawls went down. Owners will want to watch the news closely leading up to gametime to fully understand how to assess this situation.

Doug Baldwin, WR -- START: Balwdin exploded last week, and with Tyler Lockett out Wilson will likely target his No. 1 receiver with reckless abandon. 14 of Baldwin's 19 targets last week came after Lockett went down.

Jimmy Graham, TE -- START: From Week 3 to Week 9 (when Lockett was limited coming back from his knee injury), Graham averaged eight targets, six catches and 82 yards per game while also scoring three touchdowns. Expect similar volume this week.

Seahawks D/ST -- START: Kaepernick has been sacked multiple times in every start save one this season. The Seahawks pass rush should be able to get home multiple times in this one.

49ers

Colin Kaepernick, QB -- START: Even though the matchup is less than ideal, Kap has proven to be a capable starting fantasy quarterback this year.

DuJuan Harris, RB -- FLEX: With Carlos Hyde (knee) on IR, Harris steps in as the volume play. He was a fantasy stud in his last featured appearance (Week 9 vs. Saints), handling 83 percent of the backfield touches and scoring on a long reception.

49ers WRs -- SIT: Don't.

Garrett Celek, TE -- STREAM: He's seen 13 targets the last two weeks and found the end zone once.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Saints

Drew Brees, QB -- START: After zero touchdowns and six interceptions in Weeks 13 and 14, Brees has five touchdowns and zero picks since. Atlanta's defense has allowed the sixth-most passing yards and third-most passing touchdowns in the league.

Mark Ingram, RB -- START: Ingram is back in our good graces after logging a 20-touch, two-touchdown performance in Week 16. Which of course means John Kuhn is about to score three times. Ah, fantasy.

Brandin Cooks, WR -- START: Cooks has had target totals of nine, eight, 10 and nine since his disappearing act in Week 12. He's a safe start at this point against a bad Atlanta secondary.

Michael Thomas, WR -- START: Thomas has seen eight-plus targets three times in his last four games and caught three touchdowns in that span. He's 19 yards short of 1,000 receiving yards, and the Saints will likely help get him there in a hurry.

Coby Fleener, TE -- START: Tight end is a mess. Who else are you going to call? (And no, the Ghostbusters are not tight end eligible. Please do not @ Alex Gelhar on Twitter about this, either.)

Falcons

Matt Ryan, QB -- START: The Falcons are playing to secure the No. 2 seed and the Saints are weak against the pass. Expect Ryan and co. to light up the scoreboard.

Falcons RBs -- START: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are the type of backs who can beat a tough matchup (like the Saints present) thanks to their own talents and how they're utilized in this offense.

Julio Jones, WR -- FLEX: Jones played just 62 percent of the team's plays last week in his return from a two-game absence, but saw seven targets and caught four of them for 60 yards. Expect the team to limit Jones again, but we know he's capable of doing damage with minimal opportunities.

Other Falcons WRs -- SIT: Taylor Gabriel missed practice on Wednesday, but the bigger story is with Jones back in the mix targets are harder to come by. The risk factor with Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson, and Mohamed Sanu has been turned up a notch.

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC


Packers

Aaron Rodgers, QB -- START: Rodgers has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six games. This isn't a question.

Ty Montgomery, RB -- FLEX: Montgomery saw his playing time and workload dip after a breakout game in Week 15, but that's because Rodgers simply couldn't be stopped through the air last week against the Vikings. Detroit's run defense is stout, but Montgomery is worth a shot in the flex as the Packers' de facto featured back.

Jordy Nelson & Davante Adams, WRs -- START: Nelson and Adams have combined for the most receiving touchdowns (24) and 100-yard receiving games (nine) of any duo in the NFL this season.

Jared Cook, TE -- SIT: Desperate owners could look for Cook on waivers as the Lions have allowed the third-most passing touchdowns to the position on the year. But we know Cook has unmatched potential to let fantasy fans down when they need him most.

Lions

Matthew Stafford, QB -- STREAM: Even though a date with the Packers at home sounds enticing, owners need to be wary. Stafford has just four touchdowns and four interceptions over his last SIX games. His injured finger and struggling wide receiving corps aren't helping matters.

Lions RBs -- SIT: Zach Zenner enjoyed a breakout first half against the Cowboys, but then barely saw the field in the second as Dwayne Washington shifted in. Without Theo Riddick, it's anybody's guess as to who will get the touches here. That's a situation to avoid.

Golden Tate, WR -- START: Tate has target totals of six, 13, 11, and 10 the last four weeks, with two 100-yard games in that span and 58 in each of the others. He's the only safe play in this offense right now.

Lions WRs -- SIT: Sure, you could talk yourself into starting Anquan Boldin or Marvin Jones. We won't do it for you, though.

Eric Ebron, TE -- START: Ebron has at least four catches in four straight games and is coming off his best game of the year where he posted season-highs in targets (12), catches (eight) and receiving yards (93). He's a strong start this week.

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