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Published: Dec. 28, 2017 at 07:02 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 28, 2017 at 07:36 p.m.

Week 17 fantasy football stock watch: Sitting stars

Christmas has passed. The new year has yet to arrive. The Earth and all its citizens hurtle through a calendrical purgatory where time has very little meaning. In the midst of that temporal limbo sits Week 17. The Week That Fantasy Forgot. And for good reason. The terrain is craggy, ever-shifting and unforgiving. The Stock Watch offers rope and a pickax for your foolhardy climb.

10 Photos Total

  • You know that running back who's been really good all year before hitting another gear in the past two weeks? He's not playing this week. Not because of an injury but because his team has nothing to play for and his coach is deciding to rest him and all of his fellow starters. Sorry about the bad luck of your former fantasy juggernaut being arbitrarily stripped for parts. Now tell me more about how innovative and forward-thinking your Week 17 championship is. 10

    Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

    Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

    You know that running back who's been really good all year before hitting another gear in the past two weeks? He's not playing this week. Not because of an injury but because his team has nothing to play for and his coach is deciding to rest him and all of his fellow starters. Sorry about the bad luck of your former fantasy juggernaut being arbitrarily stripped for parts. Now tell me more about how innovative and forward-thinking your Week 17 championship is.

  • Remember when I said the Rams had nothing to play for so Todd Gurley would sit? The Steelers still actually could improve their seeding -- sure they need help -- but they're still expected to sit Le'Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. Have fun counting on Stevan Ridley in what could be the most important week of the year. 9

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Remember when I said the Rams had nothing to play for so Todd Gurley would sit? The Steelers still actually could improve their seeding -- sure they need help -- but they're still expected to sit Le'Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. Have fun counting on Stevan Ridley in what could be the most important week of the year.

  • Hey look ... a star player who is actually expected to play! Jones says he's "good to go" despite an injured thumb that he's been nursing all week. Despite being one of the more frustrating fantasy options anyone has enlisted all season, Jones is poised to finish 2017 as a top five fantasy wideout. And as long as he's playing, you and I both know that you're starting him. Week 17 is hard enough without using pretzel logic. 8

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    Hey look ... a star player who is actually expected to play! Jones says he's "good to go" despite an injured thumb that he's been nursing all week. Despite being one of the more frustrating fantasy options anyone has enlisted all season, Jones is poised to finish 2017 as a top five fantasy wideout. And as long as he's playing, you and I both know that you're starting him. Week 17 is hard enough without using pretzel logic.

  • I'm not sure if I've written about Jackson every week in this space. Honestly I'm too lazy to look. Feel free to @ me about it if you dare or care. Either way, it looks like Jackson is getting healthier and should be back on the field in the season finale against New Orleans. This has been a supremely disappointing season which makes him a questionable start this week against a tough secondary. But if you're feeling lucky, by all means go for it. 7

    Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports

    DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    I'm not sure if I've written about Jackson every week in this space. Honestly I'm too lazy to look. Feel free to @ me about it if you dare or care. Either way, it looks like Jackson is getting healthier and should be back on the field in the season finale against New Orleans. This has been a supremely disappointing season which makes him a questionable start this week against a tough secondary. But if you're feeling lucky, by all means go for it.

  • There is a universe in which Hopkins battles through the calf injury that landed him on the injury report and gets the thumbs-up just in advance of Sunday's kickoff. In that universe, you reap the benefits of starting fantasy's top receiver. In another universe, however, the Texans (with nothing to play for) decide not to risk any further injury to one of their franchise players and hold him out of Sunday's contest. At least it's a morning game. 6

    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

    There is a universe in which Hopkins battles through the calf injury that landed him on the injury report and gets the thumbs-up just in advance of Sunday's kickoff. In that universe, you reap the benefits of starting fantasy's top receiver. In another universe, however, the Texans (with nothing to play for) decide not to risk any further injury to one of their franchise players and hold him out of Sunday's contest. At least it's a morning game.

  • One would like to believe that Bill Belichick isn't going to risk some of his key players to injury in Week 17. But this is Belichick we're talking about. In other words, no one really knows. The Patriots can lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. With Rex Burkhead expected to miss the game with an injury and Mike Gillislee struggling to get on the practice field, Lewis could get all the work he wants and then some this week. 5

    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots

    One would like to believe that Bill Belichick isn't going to risk some of his key players to injury in Week 17. But this is Belichick we're talking about. In other words, no one really knows. The Patriots can lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. With Rex Burkhead expected to miss the game with an injury and Mike Gillislee struggling to get on the practice field, Lewis could get all the work he wants and then some this week.

  • Shaheen has quietly earned a larger target share in the Bears offense after the injury to Zach Miller. The rookie from Ashland has shown flashes of why Chicago spent a second-round pick on him. After missing the past couple of games with a chest injury, things are trending up for Shaheen to get back on the field. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's going against the Vikings. It can't all be perfect, y'know? 4

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Adam Shaheen, TE, Chicago Bears

    Shaheen has quietly earned a larger target share in the Bears offense after the injury to Zach Miller. The rookie from Ashland has shown flashes of why Chicago spent a second-round pick on him. After missing the past couple of games with a chest injury, things are trending up for Shaheen to get back on the field. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's going against the Vikings. It can't all be perfect, y'know?

  • Mike Mularkey spent the early part of the week telling anyone that would listen (which is sorta all of us) that the team was hoping to have Murray available for Sunday despite an MCL tear. In other news, Mike Mularkey still hates your fantasy team. Working against Mularkey is the fact that Murray hasn't practiced all week. At the moment, Murray is a game-time decision. #FreeDerrickHenry forever. 3

    Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

    DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

    Mike Mularkey spent the early part of the week telling anyone that would listen (which is sorta all of us) that the team was hoping to have Murray available for Sunday despite an MCL tear. In other news, Mike Mularkey still hates your fantasy team. Working against Mularkey is the fact that Murray hasn't practiced all week. At the moment, Murray is a game-time decision. #FreeDerrickHenry forever.

  • After a few weeks of being a nice fantasy start, Funchess put together back-to-back weeks of bad. There is some encouraging news, though. Namely that Funchess has been a full participant in practice after a shoulder injury previously had him working at less than full strength. Now if we can just do something about some of the double teams that have come his way recently and are sure to be used by the Falcons this week. 2

    Chris Keane/Associated Press

    Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers

    After a few weeks of being a nice fantasy start, Funchess put together back-to-back weeks of bad. There is some encouraging news, though. Namely that Funchess has been a full participant in practice after a shoulder injury previously had him working at less than full strength. Now if we can just do something about some of the double teams that have come his way recently and are sure to be used by the Falcons this week.

  • It's been a lost season for Moncrief. He's battled injuries and the Colts have been without Andrew Luck all year. Alas, Moncrief (who will be a free agent in the offseason) has one last chance to earn a little money for 2018 and beyond -- and maybe salvage some fantasy draft value for next year. His injured ankle was good enough for him to get on the field and give him hope of playing on Sunday. It'll give you something to pay attention to in Indy this weekend. 1

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts

    It's been a lost season for Moncrief. He's battled injuries and the Colts have been without Andrew Luck all year. Alas, Moncrief (who will be a free agent in the offseason) has one last chance to earn a little money for 2018 and beyond -- and maybe salvage some fantasy draft value for next year. His injured ankle was good enough for him to get on the field and give him hope of playing on Sunday. It'll give you something to pay attention to in Indy this weekend.