WEEK 17 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS/Q&A
(Any lineup questions ask at the bottom)
Updated Daily: 1/1/12 (am)
SUNDAY FINAL SECOND THOUGHTS.
LESEAN McCOY IS OUT. Dion Lewis and Ronnie Brown will probably split.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER IS GOING TO PLAY TILL THE GAME IS OVER
KEVIN SMITH IS GOING TO PLAY THE FULL GAME PRESUMABLY.
ARIAN FOSTER IS OUT.
AARON RODGERS IS NOT STARTING/PLAYING TODAY.
JerMichael Finley is going to be limited.
Jonathan Vilma/Asante Samuels are out. Upgrade Gaffney and the Panther RBs.
-ATL starters 1st half.
– DET starters all game (Besides Kevin Smith)
-NE/NO/SF starters all game.
-GB rests Rodgers.
– JerMichael Finley may not play. Bench him and all Packers.
– Vincent Jackson will probably not play. BUMP UP MALCOLM FLOYD. Raiders secondary is no threat.
– RUN DMC (Darren McFadden) is not going to play.
– Lesean “Shady” McCoy and Hakeem “Wet Dream” Nicks are expected to play through injuries.
– Big Ben (Ben Roethlisberger) should play a handful of snaps.
– Reggie Bush is out Sunday. Leaving Daniel Thomas as the featured back, ranking for him is below.
Start of the Week: Thomas Jones
A lot of people are left with poor RB situations going into week 17. Either your guy is banged up barley making it to the finish line such as CJ1K or Michael Turner. Or he simply will not be playing a full game, a la Kevin Smith or Arian Foster.
Denver’s defense has given up at least 10 PPG to fantasy RBs dating all the way back to when Joe McKnight was a starter for one week. In fact the last RB to not get 10 points was disappointment Daniel Thomas back in Week 7 when Tim Tebow took over.
Thomas Jones has not been a great RB is an overstatement. In fact he has looked mediocre all season, especially when he had the chance to be the Chiefs guy when Jamal Charles went down back in week 2. But here’s the thing, the Chiefs rely on Thomas Jones to be their veteran out of the back field. Kyle Orton is going to be able to move the ball at will against a poor Denver defense that has recently given up 344 Yards and 3 TD to Christian Ponder, this defense is no threat. Thomas Jones will have red zone opportunities all game, and he can always take a swing screen pass for a huge gain. 100 Total Yards would be amazing from Jones, but a TD to add on that. It does not hurt that the potential goal line guy Jackie Battle is not going to play Sunday. That is all you win your fantasy championship. Start Thomas Jones.
Onto this week’s rankings..To check how we did last week check out what other people had to say about MaddenArena’s week 16 rankings.
Start of the Week: Kyle Orton
Bust of the Week: Tim Tebow
Sleeper of the Week: Joe Webb
TIER 1- QBs You Want to Start
#1. Tom Brady vs. Buffalo- The Patriots need to win to get the #1 seed, and Buffalo is terrible at all aspects of defense. Brady should light up the sky with, 300+ Yards and multiple TDs. Bills #25 vs. QBs.
#2. Drew Brees vs. Carolina- Rumor has it that Brees may be pulled early if the 49ers have the Rams game locked up. But he is going for the passing record and Tom Brady is only 190 Yards behind, he will go all out. Panthers #15 vs. QBs.
#3. Cam Newton @ New Orleans- Cam wants to go out with a bang and the Saints do not want anyone to get injured. Newton should have his way the Saints and can easily get 3 total TDs. Saints #26vs. QBs.
#4. Matt Stafford @ Green Bay- With no Kevin Smith Stafford’s value does drop a little bit. If Stafford is playing the whole game, the Packers will try to pressure him. He is no lock to see the whole game. Packers #27 vs. QBs.
#5. Tony Romo @ NYG- The Giants pass defense has been struggling, but playing in such a premiere game you know they will bring it. Especially in New York. Romo is coming off a bad hand injury but seems fine to go. His weapons make him so dynamic that you have to start him. Giants #28 vs. QBs.
#6. Philip Rivers @ Oakland- Rivers is in playoff mode and now faces an Oakland defense that continues to give up big game after big game. Orton was able to throw for 300 after Stafford threw for over 390, and Rodgers tore them up before that. If Vincent Jackson plays this week, there is no reason to think Rivers will fall short of a great game. Raiders #29 vs. QBs.
#7. Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay- The Falcons will be able to score at will against Tampa Bay. Starters may only need to play 3 quarters in this one, but Ryan can do some serious damage in those 3 quarters. * There is a chance he does not play at all. Stay Tuned. Falcons #19 vs. QBs.
#8. Kyle Orton @ Denver- Denver has more problems on defense then we notice. But the real story here is Kyle Orton has a chance to eliminate his former team from the playoffs in his former stadium. Kyle Orton would make a great start this week if you have a QB that is going to rest up. Christian Ponder threw for 344 Yards a few weeks ago against this same defense. Broncos #25 vs. QBs.
(Kyle Orton video)
#9. Michael Vick vs. Washington- Washington is starting to unfold a little bit as a defense. There rushing attack is so poor that they will have to give extra attention to the run to make sure McCoy does not have a field day. This is setting up for Vick to have a nice season finale on what was a disappointing season. You know the Eagles fans want a victory. Redskins #14 vs. QBs.
TIER 2- QBs That you can get by with
#10. Ryan Fitzpatrick @ New England- The professor could create some magic against a weak NE secondary. The Bills will have to put up points to compete with Tom Brady, 275 Yards and 2 TDs are very possible for Fitzpatrick. Patriots #31 vs. QBs.
#11. Eli Manning vs. Dallas- Cowboys defense is no slouch, but Eli has the potential to put up a huge performance because of the Giants weapons. It was shown this week as Victor Cruz scored a 99 yard TD on a 10 yard pass. Eli owners have to hope for 250 Yards and 2 TD, anything more is bonus. The running game is back in New York. Cowboys #21 vs. QBs.
#12. Tim Tebow vs. Kansas City- Kansas City’s defense is playing fierce lately. The Broncos are going to be challenged all day offensively, the thing that saves Tebow day is the unpredictable greatness. Chiefs #11 vs. QBs.
#13. Carson Palmer @ San Diego- Palmer threw for over 300 Yards when the he played the Chargers earlier. San Diego is not that bad defensively, but with Jacoby Ford coming back to join DHB and Moore, the Raiders will be ready to light up the scoreboard. Chargers #22 vs. QBs.
#14. Joe Webb vs. Chicago- Webb could create a lot of problems vs. Chicago which could turn into fantasy magic. Very high risk/high reward player. With no Purple Jesus, the ball will be in Webb’s hands all game. Bears #17 vs. QBs.
#15. Matt Hasselbeck @ Houston- The Titans will have problems running the ball against Houston. This should lead to the Titans leaning on Hasselbeck once again after throwing for 350 Yards a week ago. Hassel could get you by if you need someone. Texans #4 vs. QBs.
Tier 3- QBs You are desperate to play
#16. Dan Orlovsky @ Jacksonville- Jacksonville’s pass defense has fallen part. Dan is not a great guy to have on your roster, but he could get you a surprisingly decent game. Jags #7 vs. QBs.
#17. John Skelton vs. Seattle- Skelton should find Fitzgerald often in the season finale. They want to go out with a bang. Seattle #9 vs. QBs.
#18. Andy Dalton vs. Baltimore- The Bengals will be playing all out, which could lead to Dalton throwing the ball more than often because the Ravens defense has been tough against the run all season. They are starting to look vulnerable. Ravens #1 vs. QBs.
#19. Josh McCown @ Minnesota- The Bears will be able to move the ball all game. McCown could steal TD’s from Kahlil Bell. Vikings #32 vs. QBs.
#20. Rex Grossman @ Philadelphia- Grossy has a tough matchup and you know the Eagles will be playing all out in their season finale. Eagles #18 vs. QBs.
#21. Matt Flynn vs. Detroit- The Packers are going to run the ball more than you think. They need to establish a running game to be ready for the playoffs, Flynn still has plenty of weapons to turn in a decent game if given the chance. Lions #20 vs. QBs.
#22. Matt Moore vs. NYJ- The Jets will lock up Brandon Marshall leaving Moore with little options. It is hard to imagine the Dolphins getting much offense together in this one. Jets #6 vs. QBs.
#23. Josh Freeman @ Atlanta- Atlanta could be resting their starters in this one which could allow Freeman to finally have success. They have abandoned their running game all together leaving Freeman with his best chance to thrive. Falcons #19 vs. QBs.
#24. Blaine Gabbert vs. Indy- Gabbert doesn’t have any weapons. Colts #13 vs. QBs.
#25. Mark Sanchez @ Miami- Don’t start him on the road. Already ruined the Jets season. Dolphins #23 vs. QBs.
#26. Joe Flacco @ Cincinnati- Flacco’s only threatening weapon is Ray Rice. That usually means a small game is in store for Flacco this week. Bengals #8 vs. QBs.
Start of the Week: CJ Spiller
Bust of the Week: Rashard Mendenhall
Sleeper of the Week: Thomas Jones
TIER 1- Must Starts
#1. Maurice Jones Drew @ Indy- The Colts have no answer for Jones Drew this week, he is a lock for 100 total yards. 2 TD’s are also a possibility. Colts #29 vs. RBs.
#2. CJ Spiller @ New England- Spiller is running with purpose and nothing would speak higher volumes if he could tear up a weak Patriot defense and go out with a bang in the season finale. He will get more red zone touches this week after Tashard Choice blowing all of them. Patriots #15 vs. RBs.
#3. Ray Rice @ Cincinnati- Mr. 100 total yards has a tough challenge as the Bengals will do whatever they can to stop him. However it is Ray Rice and the Ravens will figure out ways to get him the ball in space. Bengals #12 vs. RBs.
#4. Marshawn Lynch @ Arizona- The Cardinals run defense is not bad. But Marshawn Lynch is a beast and the Seahawks will force feed him until the game is over. Lynch is a good bet for another rushing TD, especially after scoring one against the tough 49ers defense. Cardinals #8 vs. RBs.
#5. Kahlil Bell @ Minnesota- The Vikings were surprisingly ran over by Evan Hoyster. Expect Kahlil is coming off of a very impressive performance vs. Green Bay to keep the momentum going as a great option this week at RB. Vikings #21 vs. RBs.
#6. Michael Bush vs. San Diego- San Diego is struggling to stop RB’s and Oakland will move the ball easily all game. Red zone opportunities for Bush could easily lead to a TD to go along with 100 total yards. Chargers #13 vs. RBs.
******()UT*********#7. Reggie Bush vs. NYJ- Bush is a little nicked up, but he has simply been too good to bench. If he practices all week expect him to continue his 100 total yard streak against a Jets team that is not as good against the run as we think. Jets #14 vs. RBs.
#8. Beanie Wells vs. Seattle- Seattle’s run defense is very overrated. They have given up 100 yards or a TD to the opposing running back every game it seems like since week 10. Beanie should have no problem finding success against the Seahawks. Seahawks #18 vs. RBs.
**#9. Lesean McCoy vs. Washington- McCoy’s ankle is a little worrisome. But if he says he is going to play, and Andy Reid says he is going to play. Then you have to roll with him. Don’t be surprised if he gets pulled at any point in the game, however Washington is not a threat against the run and McCoy could put up a huge season finale. Redskins #16 vs. RBs.
#10. Felix Jones @ NYG- Felix the cat will be needed to have a big game to keep the Giants defense modest. Felix is one of those players that can make big plays on any play, I would feel confident using him this week. Giants #17 vs. RBs.
#11. Ryan Matthews @ Oakland- Matthews is a great RB who runs harder than most. However Oakland’s run D is going to be playing with a purpose this week and you can bet on them making it tough for Matthews. For what it is worth, they shut down Kevin Smith who may not have been 100% a couple weeks ago. Thomas Jones was mediocre last week, 11/51. Raiders #23 vs. RBs.
#12. Thomas Jones @ Denver- The Start of the week. Read why I like him up top. Broncos #23 vs. RBs.
Tier 2- Serviceable Starters
#13. Cedric Benson vs. Baltimore- Benson is running hard and you know he will give it his all for the chance to see his Bengals in the playoffs. Baltimore is not as good against the run as they have been in the past, especially after watching Peyton Hillis and Ryan Matthews coming off huge back-to-back weeks against them. Ravens #4 vs. RBs.
#14. Willis McGahee vs. Kansas City- McGahee has pledged to play a full game. This guy has been great all season, and seems too good to be benched in such a situation. Even against a tough Chiefs defense this guy can be a top 10 back. Chiefs #28 vs. RBs.
#15. Pierre Thomas vs. Carolina- When the Saints go with Chase Daniels at some point in this game, Pierre will be seeing multiple carries as they look to control clock. If there was a week to take a chance on Pierre Thomas, this would be it. Panthers #31 vs. RBs.
#16. Michael Turner vs. Tampa Bay- Turner may only play a half, but against the Bucs terrible run defense, he can put up a good enough fantasy performance to be a great start. Just be aware if he is not involved early, it is going to be a bad game. TD’s are all you can hope for. Bucs #32 vs. RBs.
#17. Arian Foster vs. Titans- The Texans have nothing to play for as they locked up the #3 seed. Foster is more likely than not get a full complement of carries, but he is still capable of big things in limited touches. He had 4 TDs and 200 total yards against Tennessee earlier this season. But that was when the Texans had a legitimate QB to keep defenses honest. Titans #27 vs. RBs.
#18. Frank Gore @ STL- The Rams defense has improved over the weeks and will try to give Frank Gore a tough time. However the red zone opportunities will present itself as the 49ers should control time of possession. Rams #30 vs. RBs.
#19. Rashard Mendenhall @ Cleveland- The Browns will be playing physical run D, and at home they can leave Mendenhall with a surprisingly bad game. Especially with the way the Steelers have been rotating RBs to steal all the TDs. Keep your expectations modest for Mendy despite what seems to be a plus matchup. Browns #27 vs. RBs.
#20. Steven Jackson vs. SF- S.Jax proved to be the man last week gaining over 100 total yards against a Steelers defense in Pittsburgh that knew he was going to get the ball. Now he has to face an even tougher run defense in San Francisco. If the Rams have any chance of winning this game, it is because Jackson would be running straight through this defense. I would not count on it, but the volume of touches will be there. 49ers #1 vs. RBs.
#21. DeAnglo Williams @ NO- D.Will explodes when the Panthers score 25 points or more. Against a Saints defense that will be resting their starters at some point in this game, you can expect Williams to get his. He is as high risk/high reward as it gets in Fantasy. Saints #20 vs. RBs.
#22. Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Dallas- Bradshaw is running hungry, and he will be needed to have a big game against the Cowboys. 100 total yards might be hard to come by, but that TD will make the difference. Cowboys #7 vs. RBs.
#23. Darren Sproles vs. Carolina- Sproles is the Saints best weapon, and they want to make sure he is healthy going into the playoffs. I would hold off on using Sproles as the touches may not be there this week. Panthers #31 vs. RBs.
#24. Chris Johnson @ Houston- CJ1K is really on the down side of his season. He is not the running back you drafted in the 1st round, and to see a practice squad player steal his goal line rushing TD makes him too hard to depend on. Texans #2 vs. RBs.
#25. Shonn Greene @ Miami- The Dolphins run defense is for real, and they will do whatever they can to stop Greene. Sanchez is a terrible road QB and the Dolphins will have their way in the season finale vs. them. Dolphins #3 vs. RBs.
#26. Jonathan Stewart @ New Orleans- J.Stew cleans up when the Panthers need 3rd down conversions, or if they run the ball in the second half. The Saints could elect to rest their starters at some point in the game leading to plenty of opportunities for Stewart to have himself a decent game. Seems like a guaranteed 60 total yards, anything more would be nice. Saints #20 vs. RBs.
#27. Toby Gerhart vs. Chicago- Toby is as good as Joe Webb makes him. The Bears run defense is legit, but Webb can drive to the red zone often. The TDs will save Gerhart’s day, otherwise he could be a bust. Bears #9 vs. RBs.
Tier 3- They will get you by
#28. Ben Tate vs. Titans- Tate could see the most carries he has seen all season. However the Titans will be playing with a purpose and the Texans have no threat in the passing game. Tate will have to do it all on his own. Titans #27 vs. RBs.
#29. Peyton Hillis vs. Pittsburgh- The Steelers let Stephen Jackson ramble on for a big game, however Hillis is the type of runner that the Steelers love to face. Slow. Steelers should bottle up Peyton, the goal line TD will have to save his game. Steelers #5 vs. RBs.
#30. Roy Helu @ Philadelphia- The Eagles will be playing all out, and Shanahan will switch up his RB situation quicker than the time I finish writing this draft analysis. Little risky, but if he gets the full game he could get back to his old ways of 100 total yards. Eagles #24 vs. RBs.
#31. Daniel Thomas vs. Jets- Thomas has been so unreliable after his torrid start. He should see a good amount of touches, but lately he has shown that he will do very little with them. You can roll the dice on the South Beach star, but the truth is, he is not a great RB. Jets #14 vs. RBs.
#32. Mike Tolbert @ Oakland- Tolbert should get the goal line TD if the opportunity presents itself. Not much more can be expected. Raiders #23 vs. RBs.
#33. Dexter McCluster @ Denver- Jackie is out making Dexter the RB who will see more touches when Thomas Jones gets tired. Good bet for 50 total yards if he takes advantage. Broncos #23 vs. RBs.
#34. Brandon Jacobs vs. Dallas- Jacobs is starting to run with a purpose, he had over 100 yards last time these two teams played. But that was with Bradshaw not himself, and suspended. Jacobs is best left for the bench this week. Cowboys #7 vs. RBs.
#35. Donald Brown @ Jacksonville- Donald now has to compete with a healthy Joseph Addai for carries, which is not enough for me to feel confident using him. Jags #12 vs. RBs.
#36. Stevan Ridley vs. Buffalo- Ridley has become the guy for the Patriots, so it seems. The New England rotation can shift at any moment, and I would stay away from all. If I had to choose one I would go with Ridley. Bills #25 vs. RBs.
#37. Chris Ivory vs. Carolina- If the Saints decide to rest Pierre Thomas, Ivory could be the sleeper of this tier. Ivory has been running hard when he gets his chances, the chances should come more this week. Panthers #31 vs. RBs.
#38. Evan Royster @ Philadelphia- Royster destroyed the value of Helu after rushing for over 130 Yards against a respectable Vikings run D. Royster might steal goal line carries, but cannot be depended on if Helu plays. Eagles #24 vs. RBs.
#39. Maurice Morris @ Green Bay- Morris could be a nice sleeper if the Lions decide before the game that Kevin Smith is not going to play. However Morris really hasn’t done much this season, and it would be hard to depend on him. Packers #19 vs. RBs.
#40. James Starks vs. Detroit- Starks will look to make his move as the RB that Green Bay needs to make a superbowl run. Watch him closely, but for fantasy purposes it would be hard to trust him especially with Ryan Grant and Brandon Saine not being terrible. Lions #12 vs. RBs.
#41. Lance Ball vs. Kansas City- McGahee says he is going to play a full game, which means Ball will be a 3rd down back at most. His best chance of doing anything is the Chiefs dominate the Broncos making them go pass heavy. Chiefs #28 vs. RBs.
#42. Greg Lumpkin @ Atlanta- The safer bet than LeGarrette Blount. After Blount fumbled on his second carry last week, and now the Falcons going to score at will to start the game, Lumpkin is the safer option. Falcons #6 vs. RBs.
#43. LeGarrette Blount @ Atlanta- I am only putting Blount on here so you can see where he would rank. Despite rushing for over 80 yards against Atlanta earlier this season, his role has changed. He is now a RB who will protect a lead, and that is not going to happen this week. Falcons #6 vs. RBs.
Start of the Week: Reggie Wayne
Bust of the Week: Jordy Nelson
Sleeper of the Week: Desean Jackson
TIER 1- Start’Em
#1. Calvin Johnson @ Green Bay- Green Bay gives up yards, and they do not want to give away any gameplan to the Lions. Expect Megatron to have a mega day as he concludes his MVP type season.
#2. Wes Welker vs. Buffalo- Welker vs. Buffalo sounds like a matchup that will result in a huge game. Welker is too good for the Bills secondary and should be his usual self. 100 yards should be a lock this week.
#3. Steve Smith @ New Orleans- The Saints will give up points this week, and if Cam is going to have success it is going to be Steve Smith spreading the field. I expect a lot of pass attempts from Cam.
#4. Percy Harvin vs. Chicago- The Vikings should be able to move the ball well with Joe Webb at QB. Webb also loves throwing to his best playmaker #12 (Percy Harvin).
#5. Stevie Johnson @ New England- The Bills are going to have to put up points this week, and that will most likely come through the air. When the Bills have their air success, it is usually because Stevie Johnson had a big game.
#6. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Seattle- Fitzgerald will be playing at home in his season finale. You can bet all Cardinal fans want see Fitz go out with a big game. He has a tremendous season for really having no QB. Hall of Fame career continues.
#7. Dwayne Bowe @ Denver- Champ Bailey will be guarding Bowe, but Bowe is way too athletic for the ageing Bailey to make a difference. Expect Orton to keep going to his star WR as he has a huge game to end the season.
#8. Marques Colston vs. Carolina- The problem with Colston this week is Drew Brees being unpredictable/The Saints being unpredictable with benching players. If he plays the whole game he will put up great numbers, if not, then who knows. Take a chance if you don’t have good options.
Tier 2- Good Starts
#9. Reggie Wayne @ Jacksonville- Reggie is back to being Reggie now that the Colts have some passing game going. Wayne historically has been great against the Jags, and you know the Colts want to lure Wayne in some way of sticking around for Peyton Manning next season. It helps that the Jags secondary is beat up, and is barely fielding enough capable players.
#10. AJ Green vs. Baltimore- The Bengals present a huge problem for the Ravens pass defense, as they do not have the talent to leave AJ Green single covered. Dalton will be looking Green’s way all day, and he should be able to capitalize against a struggling Ravens D.
#11. Victor Cruz vs. Dallas- Cruz is one of those talents that can score on any play. This was proved last week when he took a 10 yard pass for a 99 yard TD. Start Cruz and just watch the playmaker play Sunday Night.
#12. Austin Miles @ NYG- The Giants secondary is not as good as people think it is. Mark Sanchez made them look respectable last week, but that is Mark Sanchez. Miles Austin will have a busy night as he looks to be full strength again.
#13. Hakeem Nicks vs. Dallas- Nicks is a beast, and whatever Cruz does not get, Nicks will clean it up. He should be busy if the Cowboys give Cruz a lot of attention. Remember..he was a top 5 WR when the season began.
#14. Dez Bryant @ NYG- Dez went a full season without a blow up game. What perfect timing would it be if he can get a big win to lead Dallas into the playoffs. The Matchup is there, will the targets be consistent is the question.
#15. Roddy White vs. Tampa Bay- Roddy can absolutely dominate in one half. He should have plenty of opportunities to thrive as long as they throw him the ball
#16. Jeremy Maclin vs. Washington- J.Mac might be back, and the matchup vs. Washington is good enough where we can see vintage Maclin. If you have him, let the dice roll.
#17. Julio Jones vs. Tampa Bay- Jones may only play a half, but the Bucs have no players that can stick with Julio, especially when they throw extra attention on Roddy White. Jones may only play a half with Ryan, but he has a good chance of finding the end zone in that amount of time.
#18. Jordy Nelson vs. Detroit- Who knows what Green Bay’s game plan is going to be. All I know is I want to stay away from it, but even if Flynn is QB Jordy can still put up a TD. They love him on the slant goal line routes. I would not play him. He may play a lot of snaps, I would not risk it.
#19. Brandon Marshall @ NYJ- Revis island will make sure B-Marsh has a tough game. The Dolphins do not really have a second receiving threat to take away any attention. Marshall should be locked up, but a superstar can always perform on Any Given Sunday.
#20. Malcolm Floyd@ Oakland- If there was a game to take a chance on Malcolm Floyd getting his 100 Yard 1 TD type of performance, this would be the week. Oakland is not great at all in the secondary, and #1 WR’s usually have big games. It depends if the Chargers make Gates their #1 but either way Floyd has a good matchup and makes a good start, especially with V-Jax out.
Tier 3- Serviceable Options
#21. Desean Jackson vs. Washington- D.Jax needs to have a big game going into the offseason. His contract value has dropped tremendously, and if he wants the money he deserves, then he is going to have to break out. It could happen.
#22. Antonio Brown @ Cleveland- The Steelers need to win this game whether it is with Batch or Roethlisberger. As long as they get the ball in Browns hands, he can do the rest.
#23. Mike Wallace @ Cleveland- Wallace is in the same situation as Brown. Mike had a TD called back last week, and showed that he is a dangerous threat for a TD on any play. Start Wallace with confidence.
#24. Nate Washington vs. Houston- The Titans are going to go pass heavy this week vs. Houston. That should result into a lot of targets for Nate. Take your chances for Washington to end with a strong season finale.
#25. Denarius Moore vs. San Diego- Moore is back to being the #1 WR Carson Palmer needs. Moore makes for a great start this week if you are in need for a WR. The targets will be there and he is a deep threat.
#26. Laurent Robinson @ NYG- L.Rob has a nice matchup and is the dark horse pick for the end zone. Go with Laurent if you need a WR. 60 Yards or a TD should be in his future.
#27. Steve Breaston @ Denver- Breaston is secretly the Chiefs WR getting all the targets from Orton. Breaston should easily have 70 Yards this week as the Chiefs get pass heavy and send extra attention Bowe’s way.
#28. Brandon LaFell @ New Orleans- If the Saints have any chance of slowing down the passing game, it is stopping Steve Smith. That should leave Brandon LaFell on single coverage all game. Nice week to use him as a sleeper.
#29. Pierre Garcon @ Jacksonville- Jacksonville’s pass defense is beat up, and Garcon will have opportunities to have a big game. Orlovsky favors Reggie Wayne more, but Garcon should still get his. 70 Yards with the chance for a TD is possible this week.
Tier 4- Hit or Miss
#30. Deion Branch vs. Buffalo- He can’t be depended on for more than 50 yards, but a TD is possible as he is great in the red zone.
#31. Nate Burleson @ GB- The Packers give up a lot of yards, and usually that means underneath WR’s like Burleson will be open often. You just have to hope Titus Young does not steal his thunder.
#32. Santana Moss @ Philadelphia- The Eagles will be playing Sunday like it is their superbowl. Expect Moss to get shut out by dominant corners that are finally starting to play to the level we expected them to be.
#33. Brandon Lloyd vs. SF- The 49ers could let the slippery B.Lloyd find some room. If there was a week for him to bounce back nicely, it would be against his former team. Expect him to be featured in the passing game, but of course the 49ers will be aware of where this guy is on the field at all times.
#34. Damian Williams vs. Houston- Damian at times looks to be the #1 WR for Tennessee when Hasselbeck is behind center. The pass attempts to should be plenty this week making Williams an attractive play.
#35. Demariyus Thomas vs. Kansas City- Brandon Flowers is too good of a corner for Thomas. If Tebow is going to have success, it probably will be throwing to Decker.
#36. Santonio Holmes @ Miami- Sanchez is a bad bet on the road, making Holmes a terrible bet against a tough pass defense on the road. If I had to guess one WR to catch a TD against Miami, I would go with Holmes. But that may not happen.
#37. James Jones vs. Detroit- It is hard enough to trust Nelson and Finley. Trusting James Jones with no Aaron Rodgers, no thank you. He may get a TD but he also may only get 2 catches.
#38. Torrey Smith @ Cincinnati- Smith is not good enough to be a #1 WR. He should be easily handled by the Bengals secondary that is still playing strong despite their loss of Leon Hall.
#39. Robert Meachem @ Carolina- Meachem is high risk/high reward. With no Lance Moore, Meachem makes a nice sleeper pick for a huge game. Is the bite worth the chew?
#40. Jabar Gaffney @ Philadelphia- Gaffney will be seeing great Eagle coverage all game. He does not have the speed to separate, and Grossman is looking at a rough game. I would steer clear of Jabar.
#41. Greg Little vs. Pittsburgh- Greg Little is finally putting it together, and he should have targets galore as he has become the only guy that can do something after the catch. However it is Pittsburgh in December, so I expect the T.O.P strategy. Look elsewhere.
#42. Mike Williams @ Atlanta- Mike was the bust of the season possibly at his position. To write in week 17 that he is a tier 4 WR is the opposite of what happened last season. Maybe Freeman will show Tampa fans that there is hope for next season with a big finale.
#43. Derrius Heyward Bey vs. San Diego- DHB had a nice season, but with Jacoby Ford back you can’t depend on enough targets for him to be a good fantasy play.
#44. Erick Decker vs. Kansas City- If I had to pick between Decker and D-Thom this week, Decker has more upside. Thomas is the safer selection however, and if Flowers is on his game, then that will force Tebow to look for Decker across the way.
#45. Andre Roberts vs. Seattle- Seattle’s defense will look to stop Fitzgerald, which usually means Roberts will be wide open all game. Not a bad option in PPR leagues.
#46. Titus Young @ Green Bay- Titus will look to have a big season finale against a defense that just does not care this week. Young could have a huge game, but he could also be the forgotten man.
#47. Plaxico Burress @ Miami- Sanchez is bad on the road, which makes Burress a bad bet as he can only hope for a TD to salvage any fantasy day.
#48. Earl Bennett @ Minnesota- The Vikings pass defense is terrible and McCown will need to throw to someone besides Bell. I expect Bennett to have a nice game and makes for a very deep sleeper if you need one. However this McCown showing could all be a fluke. The Vikings are dead last vs. QBs in fantasy.
#49. Michael Crabtree @ STL- The Rams defense is pretty solid against the pass, they have shut down #1 WRs lately and Crabtree is no lock for a good game. Especially with the way Alex Smith has been struggling.
#50. David Nelson @ New England- Nelson will be open a lot this week since the Patriots know they have to cover Stevie. This is a nice game if you need an option.
#51. Jerome Simpson vs. Baltimore- The flip in the end zone was cool, but the Bengals have AJ Green and Gresham they need to get the ball to. Benson should also get enough carries to make Simpson a player who will be scarce when it comes to targets. He could benefit if the Ravens double AJ Green.
Start of the Week: Antonio Gates
Bust of the Week: Dustin Keller
Sleeper of the Week: Jared Cook
Tier 1- Start’Em
#1. Jimmy Graham @ Carolina- Graham is a beast and the Panthers will have no way of stopping him. He is the safest TE.
#2. Rob Gronkowski vs. Buffalo- Gronk scored twice @ Buffalo earlier this year, and there is no reason to think he can’t do it again. If someone was due to find the end zone this week, it will be this guy.
#3. Antonio Gates @ Oakland- In big games, the Chargers need Gates to make monster plays. Expect San Diego to make sure that Gates gives them a chance to win this game against a weak secondary.
#4. Aaron Hernandez vs. Buffalo- The #3 target on the Patriots is good enough to be a must start against a weak Bills defense that will be overwhelmed trying to slow down Wes and Gronk. Hernandez should be able to do whatever he wants vs. the Bills.
#5. JerMichael Finley vs. Detroit- Flynn wants to get use to what will be his #1 target if he has to play snaps. Finley should make Flynn look good making him the safest Packer to play this week.
Tier 2- Good Options
#6. Tony Gonzales vs. Tampa Bay- Who knows how much of this game Tony will play, but the matchup looks great on paper. I have a feeling the Falcons want to give Tony G a TD heading into the playoffs, it has been a while since he scored last.
#7. Jason Witten @ NYG- Witten has been unpredictable, and he is not even close to the most dynamic playmaker on that team. He could surprise you with 60 Yards and a TD, but his risk factor is growing.
#8. Jared Cook @ Houston- Cook has been a beast as of late, and it looks like the JerMichael Finley clone is ready to perform at a high level once again. Tennessee will look to get the ball in their new playmakers hands often Sunday.
#9. Vernon Davis @ STL- This matchup sounds good to say. The 49ers want Vernon Davis happy, and they should be able to make that happen against a Rams defense that really does not have an answer for him.
#10. Brandon Pettigrew @ Green Bay- Pettigrew is a great TE who keeps finding ways to get open. Last week he caught a TD, and this week against GB he should have a chance to do that again. Pettigrew is a safe start as he has become a reliable target for Stafford.
#11. Brent Celek vs. Washington- Celek is having a great finish to the season, but Vick looks ready to get his big play WRs involved once again. Celek is a safe option, but his ceiling is starting to fall with Maclin getting back to 100% and Desean Jackson playing for a new contract.
Tier 3- Pushing it
#12. Kellen Winslow @ Atlanta- The Bucs are a tough team to count on, but giving Winslow a TD in the season finale would have a nice ring to it.
#13. Jermaine Gresham vs. Baltimore- Gresham is one of the most athletic TE’s in the league, and had a TD overturned against Baltimore earlier this year. Expect Dalton to find Jermaine if they start throwing extra attention to AJ Green.
#14. Greg Olsen @ New Orleans- Olsen has been too unpredictable to trust. The talent is there, the consistency definitely is not. If you want to risk a 0 then go for it.
#15. Scott Chandler @ New England- If there was a TE I would pick randomly to catch a TD this week, Chandler is that man. You can’t expect much more than that.
#16. Dustin Keller @ Miami- Sanchez is a bad QB on the road, but Keller could be his security blanket. We will see how good his security blanket really is.
#17. Todd Heap vs. Seattle- Heap has been a major disappointment all season, and although it seems like a good matchup, it would be hard to trust Todd.
#18. Kyle Rudolph vs. Chicago- Joe Webb makes him a great option in the red zone. That is all you can hope for from him.
#19. Heath Miller @ Cleveland- Heath usually thrives in hard nose AFC North football games, he could find the end zone, but he could also get less than 50 yards easily.
#20. Ed Dickson @ Cincinnati- Flacco needs someone to step up in the passing game, and that has to be the big bodied Dickson.
Start of the Week: David Akers
Bust of the Week: Neil Rackers
Sleeper of the Week: Ryan Succop
#1. David Akers @ STL- The 49ers will do what they always do. Stall in the red zone.
#2. Sebastian Janikowski vs. San Diego- Expect the leg of Janikowski to be busy.
#3. Stephen Gostowski vs. Buffalo- Red zone trips will be there all game. Brady will most likely turn them into TDs.
#4. Rob Bironas @ Houston- You can count on Tennessee dominating this game. Bironas should kick a lot of field goals in this one. Houston’s D is tough in red zone, not tough against the pass anymore.
#5. Ryan Succop @ Denver- The Broncos defensively are a mess, Succop should be called on plenty.
#6. Dan Bailey @ NYG- The Cowboys will be scoring plenty, Bailey should be part of it.
#7. Jason Hanson @ Green Bay- Green Bay may not be trying, making it a busy day for Hanson.
#8. Mason Crosby vs. Detroit- A little unpredictable since the Packers may go with the 2nd unit, but the 2nd unit could be what the doctor ordered to settle for more FG attempts.
#9. Adam Vinatieri @ Jacksonville- The Colts should move the ball well vs. Jacksonville. A little too late for their season, but Adam should be busy.
#10. Robbie Gould @ Minnesota- Josh McCown should move the ball nicely vs. one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Gould will come in and do the rest.
#11. Alex Henery vs. Washington- The Eagles will probably win this game and move the ball easily against Washington. This should create opportunities for Henery, though the Eagles will want TDs even on 4th down.
#12. John Kasay vs. Carolina- The Saints offense is unstoppable, and Kasay will be busy against a weak Panther defense.
#13. Shaun Suisham @ Cleveland- Shaun should get his opportunities as long as the Steelers don’t get too cute out there against a Browns D that wants the W.
Tier 2-Servicable Option
#14. Matt Bryant vs. TB- The starters may only play a half making Bryant very unpredictable in this one. He could be busy, he could sit the whole 2nd half.
#15. Ryan Longwell vs. Chicago- Shortwell has a chance to have a nice season finale if Joe Webb can move the ball with ease.
#16. Mike Nugent vs. Baltimore- The Bengals will be putting up points one way or another, Nugent will be the guy if Ray Lewis and co. step it up in the red zone.
#17. Dan Carpenter vs. NYJ- Dolphins will probably settle for FGs in this one, and should come out with the W.
#18. Matt Prater vs. KC- Tebow could have a rough one, but if they get to the red zone, it will usually be this guy finishing off the drives.
#19. Neil Rackers vs. Titans- Might not be a good week to use him. Texans will not be trying and their offense is bad enough.
Start of the Week: Eagles
Bust of the Week: Cowboys
Sleeper of the Week: Dolphins
#1. 49ers @ STL- The 49ers know what’s on the line in this one. The Rams are still with a 3rd string QB, expect a big game.
#2. Steelers @ Cleveland- The Steelers are fighting for that 2 seed, and the Browns will not make it easy. Their defense should still have a big game.
#3. Patriots vs. Bills- The Patriots defense in December is usually a magical thing. Not a bad start.
#4. Titans @ Houston- The Texans are playing for nothing, and their offense is terrible to begin with. The Titans are playing for the #6 seed.
#5. Ravens @ Bengals- The Bengals are no joke this week, and the Ravens will have their backs against the wall, but you know Ray Lewis will make big plays in a big game.
#6. Eagles vs. Washington- The Eagles want to end their season with a bang, and playing a mediocre Redskins offense is exactly what the Eagles need. Expect a blowout with a chance for a TD.
Tier 2-Servicable Option
#7. Dolphins vs. NYJ- Sanchez is a terrible road QB, and the Dolphins defense has been great as of late (take away the NE game). Dolphins should have their way.
#8. Bengals vs. Baltimore- The Ravens really have no offensive threat outside of Ray Rice. They should be able to contain this unit.
#9. Bears @ Vikings- Joe Webb could tear them apart, but he could also have a terrible game. The Bears are a little risky this week, but if you like them I don’t blame you.
#10. Falcons vs. TB- Falcons need their defense to be ready for the playoffs, and stopping an easy TB team would build confidence.
#11. Jets @ Miami- The Jets have the matchups when the Dolphins have the ball, but can someone stop Reggie Bush. He will be the difference maker.
#12. Raiders vs. SD- San Diego should have a big game, they are just on here if you want a home team in a big game.
#13. Giants vs. Dallas- Giants D stepped it up last week against Jets. But that is the Jets, and now they face the Cowboys.
#14. Chiefs @ Broncos- The Chiefs defense has been great as of late, and Tebow really does not pose a threat. Willis McGahee does however as he has been in beast mode all season. Do they have one more big one in them.
#15. Cowboys @ NYG- Eli Manning could choke in this one, but I’m not counting on that. Dallas has a tough matchup this week and I would look elsewhere.
#16. Seahawks @ Arizona- The Cardinals are going to try to go out in a bang in front of their home crowd. Seattle’s Defense was great towards the stretch run of the season, but all good things come to an end.
If you don’t see a D/ST or another player on here that you would consider using, I wouldn’t advise that you use them. I will answer every question that comes my way.
Thanks again, and good luck in Week 17.
-Muntradamus is the senior chief editor of MaddenArena.com. He has been playing fantasy sports in high stakes league since 3rd grade. He played varsity sports in HS and studies fantasy sports hours upon hours a day. For questions, or looking for advice sign up for the forums to talk to Muntradamus and all of the Fantasy experts at MaddenArena.