Our fantasy guru, James Morris, provides a Sunday update to help you set your fantasy football lineup for Week 17.
Week 17 Sunday Update by James Morris
The final week of the NFL season brings with it plenty of injury questions, as well as plenty of players who will either play an extremely limited role, or won’t play at all due to the playoffs (both being in and being out of them). This week is certainly going to be a tricky one with playing time, so make sure you go over this list VERY carefully and ask if you have any questions at all.
Trent Richardson is out this week, meaning Montario Hardesty will draw the start at RB against the Steelers. Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy are also out for the Browns with shoulder injuries. That leaves Thaddeus Lewis as the starter. With an unknown at QB and a lack of playmaking ability at the WR spot, Hardesty is a low-end flex option at best this weekend.
Roddy White is dealing with knee troubles that have kept him out of practice this week. With little to nothing to play for, I would avoid playing White at all costs even if he does play.
Jordy Nelson is finally going to be back for the Packers, and that means it will be much easier for the team to rest Randall Cobb. I’d put Nelson as a WR2 this week and sit Cobb down all together as Packers’ beat writers are saying they don’t believe he’ll play.
For the Steelers, Mike Wallace is out this weekend, so Emmanuel Sanders will get the start opposite Antonio Brown. Sanders makes for a sneaky flex play as the Steelers look to end the season on a high note after being eliminated from the playoffs last week.
Hakeem Nicks is a full-blown question mark for this week’s game. Even if he does suit up and give it a go, he can’t be trusted as he hasn’t topped 77 yards since Week 2 while playing at far less than 100 percent.
Rob Gronkowski is going to play this week for the Patriots, but is someone to avoid as the team just wants to knock off the rust and get him ready for the NFL playoffs. At best he is going to be a low-end TE1 play because the team is trying to clinch a playoff birth. His value is in redzone situations, so don’t expect him to be the PPR monster we are used to seeing.
Jonathan Stewart suffered a setback with his ankle injury and will not play. DeAngelo Williams will carry the load and I have him as a low-end RB2 this weekend.
Vernon Davis’ concussion is considered minor, and while he hasn’t been ruled out, Davis himself doesn’t sound optimistic about playing. I would avoid him as you have probably done all season long. Mario Manningham is done this year, and Randy Moss steps in as the 49ers #2 WR to finish the season out. Remember that the Cardinals have some of the best CBs in the league patrolling the secondary, meaning Moss is not a fantasy option.
Owen Daniels didn’t practice this week, but he is fine and will play. The Colts actually defend the TE position well in PPR formats, so Daniels is a low-end TE1 this week.
Anquan Boldin is dealing with a shoulder injury that was shown to be just a bruise. The problem is that the Ravens have nothing to play for and the injury plus the lack of incentive equals a situation to avoid.
Brian Hartline is a full go this week, but the Dolphins will be without Davone Bess as he is still having back problems. The Patriots defense is generous, and I think we could see some good fantasy numbers from Hartline and Ryan Tannehill.
Brandon Pettigrew is listed as doubtful and s unlikely to play this weekend. Tony Scheffler would draw the start, but isn’t worth owning or playing.
Terrelle Pryor will get his first NFL start with Carson Palmer out for the finale. Pryor is as raw as they come, so I would avoid playing anyone in a Raiders uniform this weekend outside Sebastian Janikowski.
With Ryan Mathews done this year, Jackie Battle is expected to draw the start for the Chargers. Ronnie Brown will also be available. With the timeshare going on, Battle is a flex option and Brown should be avoided.
Montell Owens will draw the start once again for the Jaguars as both Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings are out. Owens is a solid flex option as the Jaguars have to move the ball somehow, and through the air hasn’t been working.
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