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Week 17 fantasy football matchups preview

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Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Neither team has much to play for, which means this could be a chance for both sides to evaluate a lot of young players. For Miami, that means a potentially heavy dose of Kalen Ballage carrying the rock. With talk that the Dolphins could move on from Ryan Tannehill, the quarterback could get a showcase against a tough defense. Josh Allen should get one last chance to show his wares in 2018, which means another chance for Robert Foster to boost his stock heading into next season. What will become of the Bills' running back situation? No one knows for sure but it seems unlikely that next year's answer will be on the field this weekend.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


The Falcons passing game has had a strong finish to the season and Week 17 offers a chance for Matt Ryan and his pass-catchers to produce one last time. The only question is how long Ryan and the starters stay in an otherwise meaningless game. This will be a chance to get to know Brian Hill as the Falcons backup runner should get a big workload with Tevin Coleman expected to be limited, at best. The Bucs still have a decision to make on Jameis Winston, so he should get a long look this week against a bad defense. That makes a lot of your top-line Buccaneers -- Mike Evans, Cameron Brate, and even Peyton Barber -- decent starts this week.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the team doesn't plan to rest its starters ... though how much they'll play is up for debate. Either way, it seems like enough of an endorsement to roll with Ezekiel Elliott this week. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper should see significant snaps but the Giants have been hard on passing attacks this season. Will we finally get a long look at Kyle Lauletta this week? Who knows? We know that Odell Beckham, Jr. won't be a part of the festivities. Saquon Barkley should a decent amount of work in the first half. What happens after halftime is a mystery.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


The Panthers are on their third quarterback in three weeks and could sit Christian McCaffrey in a game that means nothing for Carolina. It's hard to think about starting any Carolina players in Week 17, though if you're feeling bold, Cameron Artis-Payne could get a big workload. Similarly, there's nothing for the Saints to gain this week so it seems unlikely that any of New Orleans' stars will see much, if any, time. Teddy Bridgewater becomes an interesting DFS play with Drew Brees expected to rest.

New York Jets at New England Patriots, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Both sides have something to play for in this rivalry contest. The Jets would like to end 2019 on a high note with a young team looking to prove something. That means Sam Darnold, Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, and Chris Herndon should all see a lot of snaps against a mediocre Patriots defense. New England still has a shot at getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which means we should see plenty from Tom Brady and his band of pass-catchers. We should also see a lot of New England's running backs, but that group has become very muddled in recent weeks with Rex Burkhead's return and James Develin's emergence. The backfield could be a much trickier situation.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


The Jaguars announced that Blake Bortles will return to the starting job for the final game of the season, although that's not likely to excite many fantasy managers. It also won't do much for the outlook of Jacksonville's pass-catchers ... even against a Texans secondary that has suffered a rash of injuries during the season. Leonard Fournette isn't inspiring confidence with his limited availability at practice and could open the door for David Williams to get touches. Houston still has a chance to snag a first-round bye which should be incentive for Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins to play quite a bit. Keep an eye on Lamar Miller's situation but D'Onta Foreman figures to get a lot of work one way or another. Houston's defense should be another quality start against a poor Jaguars offense.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


The only fantasy-relevant option left in the Detroit offense is Kenny Golladay ... and he's been limited in practice this week. That doesn't bode well for a game that is meaningless for both teams. Anyone feeling saucy could try dipping in the Zach Zenner well, though if he doesn't score a touchdown, there isn't much to get excited about. How the Packers plan to approach this game with regard to their starters remains one of the bigger mysteries of the week. One thing seems certain, and that's that Jamaal Williams should once again see a heavy workload.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


The Eagles have everything to play for so you can expect that their starters will play significant minutes this week. With Washington's defense limping to the finish, Nick Foles and his pass-catchers all have some value. The running backs are a dicier proposition with a trio of players seeing work. It's been weeks since we've been able to trust any Washington players and there's no reason to believe that things will change this week. You can try starting Adrian Peterson but be aware that you might not like the outcome.

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


The Chargers still have an outside shot at the one-seed in the AFC but it will be contingent on bouncing back from last week's dreadful offensive performance. The Broncos have been tough on opposing passing games which could make it tough on Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen. But things are promising for Melvin Gordon and the Bolts running game. Denver's offensive prospects aren't very exciting but Royce Freeman should get a lot of touches with Phillip Lindsay on injured reserve. Enjoy selecting from one of the three Denver receivers. Considering how tough the Chargers have been on the position, neither is expected to score big numbers.

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


The Raiders offense has been maddeningly inconsistent but the Chiefs defense isn't exactly a juggernaut. Jared Cook is likely the only sure start on the roster. For anyone with the guts, Doug Martin and Jalen Richard have some value. The truly bold would consider Derek Carr or Jordy Nelson his week. The Chiefs have motivation to play their stars for the majority of the game since a win guarantees them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Start any of those players as you normally would.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


It will be interesting to see how hard the Bears chase the NFC's No. 2 seed. If the Rams take a sizable lead there is a thought that Matt Nagy could pull his starters. Either way, any of the Bears skill position players are questionable starts against a good Vikings defense trying to help its team lock up a playoff spot. As for the Vikings offense, Kirk Cousins and crew should play a full four quarters needing a win to get in. Cousins might be too inconsistent to trust against the Bears defense but it's hard to really go away from Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen. Both defenses should be good starts this week.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


The Browns hold the fortunes of two teams in their hands. But it doesn't change the fact that they're facing a quality defense in need of a win. That makes Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, and David Njoku questionable starts this week. The Ravens should again lead on the run with Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon. Lamar Jackson is showing steady improvement but he's not yet a guy you can trust if you're playing for a championship. Likewise, if you're still holding on to hope that a Ravens receiver can produce, you can stop now. But Baltimore's defense should be in plenty of lineups.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


The Niners have put up a nice fight in recent weeks and might have some appeal. George Kittle has become a weekly starting option and should see plenty of work as he chases the single season tight end receiving yards record. It also helps that Dante Pettis isn't going to play. Matt Breida is also sidelined, opening the door for Jeff Wilson against a suspect run defense. The Rams need a win to solidify the No. 2 seed in the NFC. That means plenty of work for Jared Goff and his receivers. The big question is whether Todd Gurley will play. If he doesn't go, it means another busy day for C.J. Anderson.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


The Bengals might not have officially given up but beyond Joe Mixon, there isn't anyone in this offense that fantasy managers can have any faith in this week. The Steelers, on the other hand, have a bevy of startable options. James Conner is expected back, muting the opportunities for Jaylen Samuels. Keep a close eye on Antonio Brown as he has dealt with a knee issue during the week. But with Pittsburgh needing a win (and some help) to get in the playoffs and facing a bad defense, you can start your Steelers.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


The Seahawks might not have a lot to gain in this one but that doesn't make the Cardinals offense any better. Who knows how long we'll see David Johnson, Josh Rosen or Larry Fitzgerald (is this Larry Fitz's last game ever?) as the Cardinals are likely to overhaul the coaching staff in the offseason and might want to get a look at some of their reserves. This offense is best avoided. The Seattle running game should be heavily started, although there's a chance Chris Carson could see a smaller workload and give way to Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny. The Seahawks passing game might not be featured quite as much with Arizona being so bad at stopping the run ... which is Seattle's greatest strength.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, 4:25 p.m. ET, NBC


In the one true elimination game this week, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton will face a middle-of-the-road matchup. Things could be much tougher for Marlon Mack and the Indy running game. Eric Ebron's status is still uncertain as of this writing, stay tuned. Tennessee's offense has been unreliable to say the least and could be particularly hard to trust against a defense that exceeded expectations. Derrick Henry is an intriguing option as one of fantasy's hottest players over the past month but even his numbers could be underwhelming.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who is thankful for all of your support and wishes all of you the best in 2019. Send him your end-of-year thoughts via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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