Week 17 fantasy football matchups, starts and sits

We made it. Week 17 is here, and the fantasy season is officially coming to a close. It's been an interesting year, one filled with devastating injuries to top players and plenty of surprises. I hope you aren't still playing meaningful championship games in Week 17, as plenty of starters could end up resting on various playoff teams for all or part of the game. But if you are, I still go game-by-game below with my recommendations of start/sit/flex for each main player. However, I significantly trimmed down the analysis section and am only including a few nuggets I find interesting for each game. I've appreciated you all following along with this column this season. It's a beast to write, but your words of encouragement and championship stories have made it all worthwhile. So cheers to all of you, and I hope you have a happy new year!

This column wouldn't be possible without our incredible research teams, both @NFLResearch and the fine folks at Next Gen Stats. So thanks to all of you and all that you do.

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

 » Brett Hundley, QB: DEEP STREAM
 » Jamaal Williams, RB: START
 » Aaron Jones, RB: SIT (OUT)
 » Jordy Nelson, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Davante Adams, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Randall Cobb, WR: FLEX
 » Geronimo Allison, WR: DEEP FLEX
 » Michael Clark, WR: DEEP FLEX
 » Packers D/ST: SIT

  • In three road starts this year, Brett Hundley has thrown seven touchdowns, no interceptions and averages 240.7 passing yards per game. At home, he has zero passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, and averages 157 passing yards per game.
  • Jamaal Williams was on the field for 90 percent of the offensive plays last week, partially because Aaron Jones suffered a knee injury. With Jones probably out, it looks like Williams could be in line for a featured workload on Sunday against a porous Lions run defense.
  • Davante Adams was still in the concussion protocol Wednesday and could be a longshot to play on Sunday. Keep an eye on his status.

 » Matthew Stafford, QB: START
 » Ameer Abdullah, RB: SIT
 » Theo Riddick, RB: SIT
 » Golden Tate, WR: START
 » Marvin Jones, WR: START
 » Eric Ebron, TE: STREAM
 » Lions D/ST: STREAM

  • Eric Ebron was the highest scoring fantasy tight end in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16). During that span he leads the Lions in targets (26), receptions (20), receiving yards (210), and touchdowns (two).
  • Golden Tate has just three receptions in each of his last two games. He's only had back-to-back games with three or fewer receptions one other time in his career with the Lions (Weeks 4-5, 2016)

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET on CBS

 » T.J. Yates QB: SIT
 » Lamar Miller, RB: SIT
 » DeAndre Hopkins, WR: See below
 » Will Fuller, WR: DEEP FLEX
 » Stephen Anderson, TE: SIT
 » Texans D/ST: STREAM

  • DeAndre Hopkins leads the league with 13 boundary receptions (within 1 yard of the sideline). He leads the league with 13 receiving touchdowns, which is also a franchise record. He's a game-time decision right now with a calf injury, so monitor his situation closely.
  • Will Fuller is second on the team in targets since returning from his rib injury and has five targets in each of his last three games.

 » Jacoby Brissett, QB: STREAM
 » Frank Gore, RB: FLEX
 » Marlon Mack, RB: SIT
 » T.Y. Hilton, WR: START
 » Jack Doyle, TE: START
 » Colts D/ST: SIT

  • In 11 career games against the Texans, T.Y. Hilton averages roughly nine targets, six catches, 101.5 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game.
  • Frank Gore only needs 74 rushing yards in Week 17 to reach 14,000 for his career. He'd be the fifth person in NFL history to reach that milestone.

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

 » Mitchell Trubisky, QB: SIT
 » Jordan Howard, RB: START
 » Tarik Cohen, RB: SIT
 » Kendall Wright, WR: SIT
 » Bears D/ST: SIT

  • Jordan Howard averages over 121 rushing yards per game in his brief career against the Vikings, and hit them for 76 yards on 19 carries when these teams played in Week 5.
  • Kendall Wright's 30 targets since Week 14 are tied for the fifth-most in the league among wideouts.

 » Case Keenum, QB: START
 » Latavius Murray, RB: FLEX
 » Jerick McKinnon, RB: FLEX
 » Stefon Diggs, WR: START
 » Adam Thielen, WR: START
 » Kyle Rudolph, TE: START
 » Vikings D/ST: START

Reason to play: Minnesota needs to win to secure the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

  • Adam Thielen posted season-lows in receptions (two) and receiving yards (24) last week against the Packers. Case Keenum did just miss him on what should have been a touchdown, though.
  • Case Keenum threw 24 touchdown passes in his first 24 NFL starts. He has 20 touchdown passes this year in 13 starts.

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

 » Bryce Petty/Christian Hackenberg, QB: SIT
 » Matt Forte, RB: SIT
 » Bilal Powell, RB: FLEX
 » Robby Anderson, WR: FLEX
 » Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: SIT
 » Jets D/ST: SIT

  • Over the last three weeks, Bilal Powell has out-touched Matt Forte 45 to 26, despite playing fewer snaps. He's also scored twice and amassed more yards than Forte and Elijah McGuire combined.
  • Bryce Petty has more games as a starter with a passer rating under 70 than over it.

 » Tom Brady, QB: START
 » Dion Lewis, RB: START
 » Brandin Cooks, WR: FLEX
 » Chris Hogan, WR: SIT
 » Danny Amendola, WR: SIT
 » Rob Gronkowski, TE: START
 » Patriots D/ST: START

Reason to play: New England needs to win to secure the No. 1 seed.

  • Tom Brady has thrown an interception in five straight games, tied for the longest streak of his career (Weeks 2-6 of 2002).
  • Dion Lewis has two 100-yard rushing games in his career, and both have come this season (Week 12, Week 16).

Washington Redskins at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Kirk Cousins, QB: START
 » Samaje Perine, RB: SIT
 » Kapri Bibbs, RB: SIT
 » Jamison Crowder, WR: FLEX
 » Josh Doctson, WR: FLEX
 » Vernon Davis, TE: SIT
 » Redskins D/ST: STREAM

  • Jamison Crowder has a receiving touchdown in back-to-back games. Vernon Davis has two receiving touchdowns in his last three games. Josh Doctson leads the team with six touchdown receptions. These have been #TouchdownStats.
  • Kirk Cousins has thrown five interceptions in his last five games after throwing five in his first 10 games.

 » Eli Manning, QB: SIT
 » Wayne Gallman, RB: FLEX
 » Sterling Shepard, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Evan Engram, TE: SIT (OUT)
 » Giants D/ST: SIT

  • Wayne Gallman led the Giants in rushing yards last week ... with 18 yards. He has posted at least six catches in three straight games, though.

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

 » Dak Prescott, QB: SIT
 » Ezekiel Elliott, RB: START
 » Dez Bryant, WR: SIT
 » Jason Witten, TE: SIT
 » Cowboys D/ST: SIT

*NOTE: Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have both dropped hints that Dallas could rest some starters. If you can help it, I'd try to avoid most of this offense.

  • Dak Prescott has zero touchdowns and four interceptions in his last two games and averaged 197 yards per game in that span.
  • Ezekiel Elliott posted 118 scrimmage yards in his first game back from suspension last week. He only carried the ball nine times for 24 yards in the second half.

 » Nick Foles, QB: SIT
 » Jay Ajayi, RB: SIT
 » Corey Clement, RB: FLEX
 » Alshon Jeffery WR: SIT
 » Nelson Agholor, WR: SIT
 » Zach Ertz, TE: SIT
 » Eagles D/ST: SIT

Reason to play: The Eagles have already secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, and could rest plenty of starters for all or at least parts of this game. Be sure to track reports as games approach.

  • Alshon Jeffery had zero receptions last week. It was only his second career game with no receptions (Week 15, 2012 vs. Green Bay when he was with the Bears).
  • The Eagles averaged 31.1 points and 390.5 total yards per game with Carson Wentz under center. They've averaged 26.5 points and 278.5 total yards per game with Nick Foles.

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

 » DeShone Kizer, QB: SIT
 » Isaiah Crowell, RB: SIT
 » Duke Johnson, RB: FLEX
 » Corey Coleman, WR: SIT
 » Josh Gordon, WR: SIT
 » Browns TEs: SIT
 » Browns D/ST: SIT

  • Duke Johnson leads the team in catches (12) and receiving yards (121) over the last two weeks, and trails only Josh Gordon in targets (14 to 18).

 » Ben Roethlisberger, QB: SIT
 » Landry Jones, QB: SIT
 » Le'Veon Bell, RB: SIT
 » Stevan Ridley, RB: FLEX
 » JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR: FLEX
 » Martavis Bryant, WR: FLEX
 » Steelers D/ST: START

Reason to play: The Steelers still have a chance to earn the No. 1 seed with a win if the Patriots lose. UPDATE: It's now been suggested (by a Steelers teammate) that Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell will NOT play on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Cam Newton, QB: START
 » Christian McCaffrey, RB: FLEX
 » Jonathan Stewart, RB: SIT
 » Devin Funchess, WR: START
 » Greg Olsen, TE: START
 » Panthers D/ST: START

Reason to play: The Panthers could still earn the No. 2 seed with a win and some help.

  • Since Week 9 Christian McCaffrey is averaging 76.7 scrimmage yards per game and has scored five total touchdowns.
  • The Falcons have allowed 104 receptions to running backs this season, the most in the NFL. McCaffrey is tied for second among all running backs in receptions with 75.
  • Over his last six games Cam Newton has thrown 11 touchdowns with two interceptions, the best TD-INT ratio in the NFL in that span. He's also averaged nearly 60 rushing yards per game in that span as well.

 » Matt Ryan, QB: SIT
 » Devonta Freeman, RB: START
 » Tevin Coleman, RB: FLEX
 » Julio Jones, WR: START
 » Mohamed Sanu, WR: FLEX
 » Austin Hooper, TE: SIT
 » Falcons D/ST: SIT

Reason to play: The Falcons must win if they want to make the postseason.

  • Over his last four games Matt Ryan has averaged 224 passing yards per game and thrown three touchdowns versus four interceptions. Only DeShone Kizer has a worse TD-INT ratio in that span.
  • In three games versus top 10 total defenses, the Falcons average 16.3 points per game instead of their usual 22.1. The Panthers rank seventh in total defense.
  • Julio Jones is averaging 164 receiving yards per game over his last four contests against the Panthers.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Andy Dalton, QB: SIT
 » Giovani Bernard, RB: FLEX
 » A.J. Green, WR: START
 » Tyler Kroft, TE: SIT
 » Bengals D/ST: SIT

  • A.J. Green has 10-plus targets in three of his last four games.

 » Joe Flacco, QB: STREAM
 » Alex Collins, RB: START
 » Jeremy Maclin, WR: SIT
 » Mike Wallace, WR: FLEX
 » Benjamin Watson, TE: SIT
 » Ravens D/ST: START

  • Since Week 8 the Ravens have converted 62.1 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns (tied-ninth in the NFL). That's partly why they've averaged 29.8 points per game in that span after averaging 18.6 per game in Weeks 1-7.
  • Joe Flacco's deep ball has returned (a bit) over the last four weeks. Since Week 13 he's completed 53.8 percent of his passes of 20-plus air yards for 230 yards with one touchdown and one pick.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Patrick Mahomes, QB: SIT
 » Kareem Hunt, RB: SIT
 » Tyreek Hill, WR: SIT
 » Travis Kelce, TE: SIT
 » Chiefs D/ST: STREAM

*NOTE: Andy Reid announced Patrick Mahomes would start in place of Alex Smith, but didn't specify if he'd sit others as well. Given that this is one of the league's most concentrated offenses and relies so heavily on Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, it'd stand to reason that they'd sit also, or at least play far fewer snaps.

  • If Hunt sits, Charcandrick West is a great option. He's a proven fantasy contributor when he receives volume, and just last year posted 116 total yards and two receiving touchdowns in Week 17 against the Chargers.
  • If Hill sits, Albert Wilson could be in play. He's second on the team in wide receiver snaps over the last three weeks and had 17 targets in that span (Hill had 19).

 » Paxton Lynch, QB: SIT
 » C.J. Anderson, RB: FLEX
 » Demaryius Thomas, WR: SIT
 » Emmanuel Sanders, WR: SIT
 » Broncos D/ST: SIT

  • C.J. Anderson posted 100-plus scrimmage yards in each of the last two games. It's the first time he's crossed 100 scrimmage yards in consecutive games since Weeks 16-17 of 2014.
  • When Paxton Lynch started earlier this year, Demaryius Thomas caught four of his five targets from the young passer ... for a grand total of 12 yards.

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Derek Carr, QB: SIT
 » Marshawn Lynch, RB: FLEX
 » Michael Crabtree, WR: SIT
 » Amari Cooper, WR: SIT
 » Jared Cook, TE: SIT
 » Raiders D/ST: SIT

  • The Chargers have everything to play for and the Raiders have nothing to play for. Both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are banged up, and their quarterback has regressed massively this year. I'd flex Marshawn Lynch though as they've been loading him up with touches of late, and he's posted four games with 90-plus scrimmage yards in his last five.

 » Philip Rivers, QB: START
 » Melvin Gordon, RB: FLEX
 » Keenan Allen, WR: START
 » Antonio Gates, TE: STREAM
 » Chargers D/ST: START

Reason to play: The Chargers need to win to make the postseason.

  • Melvin Gordon (ankle) is questionable for this game but said Thursday he'll be good to go. If he is a surprise inactive, grab Branden Oliver off waivers, who should inherit a healthy workload in that case.
  • Over the last six weeks Keenan Allen leads all wide receivers in targets (67), receptions (49), and receiving yards (664).

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

 » Jimmy Garoppolo, QB: START
 » Carlos Hyde, RB: FLEX
 » Marquise Goodwin, WR: START
 » Trent Taylor, WR: SIT
 » Garrett Celek, TE: SIT
 » 49ers D/ST: STREAM

  • Jimmy Garoppolo's 21.98 fantasy points last week were the most scored against the Jaguars defense all season by a quarterback.
  • Sean Mannion has attempted a mere 16 pass attempts in his career and thrown one interception. The 49ers defense is very much in play.

 » Sean Mannion, QB: SIT
 » Malcolm Brown, RB: FLEX
 » Sammy Watkins, WR: SIT
 » Cooper Kupp, WR: SIT
 » Robert Woods, WR: SIT
 » Rams TEs: SIT
 » Rams D/ST: SIT

*NOTE: The Rams announced Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Andrew Whitworth and Aaron Donald will sit this game out. Their seeding isn't secure, but Sean McVay said the health of his players is more important.

  • With Todd Gurley out, Malcolm Brown will see a heavy workload. He's a third-year pro out of Texas who is averaging 3.9 yards per carry so far this season. Brown never posted a 1,000-yard season while at Texas, but in this situation, his volume will be all fantasy owners need to rely on. The 49ers are allowing just 2.9 yards per carry over the last month.
  • Robert Woods could see limited snaps, as well, since he just came back from a shoulder injury. Regardless, with Sean Mannion under center and playing time in question, I'm totally off the Rams passing attack.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Tyrod Taylor, QB: STREAM
 » LeSean McCoy, RB: START
 » Kelvin Benjamin, WR: SIT
 » Zay Jones, WR: SIT
 » Charles Clay, TE: SIT
 » Bills D/ST: SIT

  • LeSean McCoy has 73 career games with 100-plus scrimmage yards, the most among all active players.
  • In five career games against the DolphinsTyrod Taylor has thrown nine touchdowns and zero interceptions while averaging 38.6 rushing yards per game.

 » Jay Cutler, QB: SIT
 » Damien Williams, RB: SIT (INJURED)
 » Kenyan Drake, RB: START
 » DeVante Parker, WR: SIT
 » Jarvis Landry, WR: FLEX
 » Kenny Stills, WR: SIT
 » Julius Thomas, TE: SIT
 » Dolphins D/ST: SIT

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

 » Drew Stanton, QB: SIT
 » Kerwynn Williams, RB: SIT
 » Larry Fitzgerald, WR: START
 » Ricky Seals-Jones, TE: SIT
 » Cardinals D/ST: SIT

  • With 101 receptions and 1,101 receiving yards this year, Larry Fitzgerald is the oldest player in NFL history to have a season with 100-plus catches and 1,000-plus yards.

 » Russell Wilson, QB: START
 » Mike Davis, RB: DEEP FLEX
 » Doug Baldwin, WR: FLEX
 » Paul Richardson, WR: FLEX
 » Tyler Lockett, WR: SIT
 » Jimmy Graham, TE: START
 » Seahawks D/ST: SIT

  • Russell Wilson has accounted for 97.2 percent of Seattle's offensive touchdowns, the highest percentage by any player in the Super Bowl era.
  • The Seahawks offense has failed to gain 150 total yards in each of the last two weeks.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Drew Brees, QB: LOW-END START
 » Mark Ingram, RB: START
 » Alvin Kamara, RB: START
 » Michael Thomas, WR: START
 » Ted Ginn, WR: SIT
 » Saints D/ST: SIT

Reason to play: The Saints could improve their seeding with a win.

  • Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram average 5.6 yards per carry on outside runs this year, and the Buccaneers allow the eighth-highest yards per carry on outside runs (4.5) in the league.
  • Drew Brees is averaging 264 passing yards per game over his last three, with five touchdowns and three interceptions. He's a solid floor play but offers limited upside.
  • Michael Thomas is the second receiver in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back seasons of 90-plus receptions and 1,000-plus receiving yards (Odell Beckham Jr.).

 » Jameis Winston, QB: STREAM
 » Doug Martin, RB: SIT
 » Peyton Barber, RB: FLEX
 » Mike Evans, WR: FLEX
 » DeSean Jackson, WR: SIT
 » Chris Godwin, WR: FLEX (if DJax is OUT)
 » Cameron Brate, TE: SIT
 » Buccaneers D/ST: SIT

  • Jameis Winston and Mike Evans connected on just two of 15 deep targets (20-plus air yards) in their first 14 games for 73 yards. They connected on both attempts last week against the Panthers for a total of 58 yards.
  • Over the last four weeks Peyton Barber has rushed for 264 yards on 61 attempts (4.3 ypc). Doug Martin has rushed for 104 yards on 43 attempts (2.5 ypc).
  • In 13 starts this season DeSean Jackson has recorded 90-plus receiving yards once. Chris Godwin has also recorded 90-plus receiving yards once this season ... in two starts. They also have the same number of 40-plus yards receptions ... one.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans, 4:25 p.m. on CBS

 » Blake Bortles, QB: START
 » Leonard Fournette, RB: FLEX
 » Keelan Cole, WR: FLEX
 » Dede Westbrook, WR: SIT
 » Jaydon Mickens, WR: SIT
 » Jaguars D/ST: START

*NOTE: The Jaguars could be among teams to rest starters, though head coach Doug Marrone has said they're playing to win. The Jaguars are locked into the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

  • Keelan Cole leads the Jaguars in receptions (19), receiving yards (442) and receiving touchdowns (three) since Week 13.
  • Leonard Fournette needs just 29 rushing yards to hit 1,000 for the season and join Fred Taylor as the only rookies in Jacksonville history to rush for 1,000-plus yards.

 » Marcus Mariota, QB: SIT
 » DeMarco Murray, RB: SIT (OUT)
 » Derrick Henry, RB: FLEX
 » Corey Davis, WR: SIT
 » Rishard Matthews, WR: SIT
 » Delanie Walker, TE: START
 » Titans D/ST: SIT

  • Marcus Mariota has thrown five touchdowns and nine interceptions over his last six games.
  • Derrick Henry averages 5.6 yards per carry when he receives 10-plus carries in a game. DeMarco Murray averages 3.8 yards per carry when he receives 10-plus carries in a game.
  • Derrick Henry has 18 runs of 10-plus yds on 148 carries (12.2 percent). DeMarco Murray has nine runs of 10-plus yds on 184 carries (4.9 percent).

*-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar or "Like" his page on Facebook for more NFL and fantasy analysis. *

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