Not all fantasy leagues last until Week 17 of the NFL season, but for those that do there’s plenty at stake during the final week of the 2012 regular season. We turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, for his weekly lineup advice.
Week 17 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
Here we are Dolphins fans, the final week of the NFL regular season, and the final week of a long and grueling fantasy football season. If you’ve made it this far, then you are in the title game and are willing to go just a little further to get you that championship trophy. The tricky thing about week 17 is that with many teams already in or out of the NFL playoffs, starters and studs are likely to see limited action at best, and some will see just a few series on the field before retreating to the bench and putting on the beanie and jacket for the rest of the game.
No matter how much I try to give you the best advice possible, understand that stats across the board are going to be down as players rest for the playoffs, or try and prevent further injury as they look towards next season. So, without further ado, let’s get to the start ‘em and sit ‘em advice!
Robert Griffin III – QB Redskins: With the Redskins fighting for a divisional crown in the final week of the season, and playing the team they are trying to beat out, you can be sure Coach Mike Shanahan is going to play his stud QB until the game is decided one way or the other. Not to mention this is the final game for RGIII to make his case for Rookie of the Year. I expect top 5 QB stats from him this week and wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a top 3 ranking home this week in fantasy leagues.
Michael Vick – QB Eagles: As much as I dislike Vick as a fantasy player, I will give him the benefit of the doubt this week as he is auditioning for 31 other teams as he draws the start with Nick Foles is done for the season. Vick has so many problems in his personal life and has lost so much in his rocky NFL career the last few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he sleeps in the film room this week as he gets ready for this game. I think we could see low-end QB1 stats from the waiver wire QB this week.
Knowshon Moreno – RB Broncos: When the Broncos played the Chiefs back in week 12, Moreno rushed for 85 yards and hauled in 4 passes for 26 yards in his first game back. Now that we are in week 17, the Chiefs are even worse than they were in week 12 (hard to imagine, but a lot has happened since then) and the Broncos have clinched the division and will coast along in this one with nothing to play for. I look for the running game to be in full affect by halftime, and Moreno should have no trouble hitting 100 yards and a TD this week.
LeSean McCoy – RB Eagles: With Vick back at the helm, I am going to look for the Eagles to show they can put up stats in an effort to save everyone’s job on the roster. Shady McCoy should be used in his typical role and I think he can easily finish with RB1 stats this week given the reduced workload we are likely to see around the league.
Eric Decker – WR Broncos: While I don’t think we see Peyton Manning do very much on Sunday, I think Decker will be the recipient of additional looks with the Chiefs doing their best to contain Demaryius Thomas. Decker has scored 3 TDs in the last two weeks, and I don’t think he breaks the streak against the helpless Chiefs this week. I am looking for low-end WR1 numbers from him in this one.
Pierre Garcon – WR Redskins: Garcon is going to be a target monster this weekend as the Redskins play to win until the final whistle blows. If there was one WR I think has the best chance to rack up the PPR points, it would be Garcon. I could see him finishing as high as a top 5 play when all is said and done because the Redskins and RGIII are trying to win the game and pad the stats.
Kyle Rudolph – TE Vikings: Rudolph was my sleeper pick at TE before the season started, and he heads into the final week ranked 11th for fantasy TEs in NFL.com PPR scoring. The Vikings are running Adrian Peterson as much as possible, but with nobody capable of getting separation at the WR position, I am looking for Rudolph to use his nose and find his way to the redzone and score a TD or three for me this week. If he scores a TD or two, he could crack the top 10 for fantasy TEs this season.
San Diego Chargers defense: Did you know the Chargers defense is actually ranked #5 overall in NFL.com scoring this season? And, did you know they are owned in just 16.1 percent of NFL.com leagues? To take it a step further, if you skip down to the sit ‘em TE, you will see that the Raiders will be starting one of two QBs that shouldn’t even be in the NFL! There is blood in the water for this So-Cal rivalry game, and the Chargers can smell it from the shark infested waters known as Qualcomm Stadium (there are no shark infested waters in SD).
Joe Flacco – QB Ravens: So much has been made about Flacco since the Ravens switched Offensive Coordinators, but that all should come to an end this week as the Ravens run into a Bengals team that is riding high after clinching a playoff birth last week while knocking the division rival Steelers out. The Ravens are a running team, so I wouldn’t look to Flacco as a possible final week fill-in for your regular starter.
Matt Ryan – QB Falcons: The Falcons play the Buccaneers this week, so the big-box websites are pumping Matty Ice as a must-start player. However, since the Falcons have locked up the home-field advantage, I think they play Ryan just enough to say he isn’t going to be rusty for the playoffs. I’d consider him unplayable in any format this week.
Trent Richardson – RB Browns: The Steelers are out of the playoffs, and you can be sure that is not sitting well with the fans in Pittsburgh. What I expect is for the team to come out and try and get a little revenge this weekend at the expense for the Browns and their running game. We all know you don’t have to drop back in coverage and worry about Brandon Weeden beating you, so I would look for them to stack as many men in the box as possible and shut the running game down in this one. I want absolutely no part of Richardson in this one and would suggest you look on the waiver wire if he is your bell-cow RB.
Michael Turner – RB Falcons: Just like Ryan, the Falcons have nothing left to play for and I think everyone is just a little curious to see what Jacquizz Rodgers if he gets enough touches. Look for the starters to play a few series and then have the second and third string team come in and play some mop-up time. I really want no part of anyone on the Falcons because you just don’t know how much they will actually play.
Anquan Boldin – WR Ravens: The Bengals are firing on all cylinders right now and the Ravens are just trying to get out of this game healthy so they can continue their march into the playoffs. I don’t think we see fulltime minutes from anyone in this game with the playoffs already locked up, which is why I am not a fan of Boldin who only had 4 catches for 63 yards and a TD in their first meeting this season. With little to play for here, I don’t know if he even reaches the 4 catches this week.
Greg Jennings – WR Packers: Jennings has failed to impress since coming back from his abdominal surgery, and thus far his best game has been a 7 catch, 45 yard and 1 TD effort last week. The TD is nice, but the 6.4 YPC average is pretty ugly. When the Packers played the Vikings back in week 13, Jennings logged just 46 yards on 4 catches, and failed to score. I’d put him as the lowest of the low for flex options this week.
Brandon Myers – TE Raiders: Myers was doing pretty good this season, until he busted out with 14 catches for 130 yards and a TD against the Browns back in week 13. Since then defenses have been putting the clamps on him, and now he will have either Terrelle Pryor or Matt Leinart throwing the ball. No matter which QB is throwing to him, I would stay as far away from the Raiders players as I could get this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles defense: Can you believe the Eagles defense is still owned by 38.3 percent of NFL.com players, and started in 26.3 percent of those leagues? The Eagles are ranked 30th this season in overall fantasy points with just 67.00. They were only able to beat out the Jaguars and Raiders this season, and are still owned in 1/3 of leagues! I don’t care if they were playing the University of New Mexico Lobos this weekend, I STILL wouldn’t start them!
For late-breaking fantasy updates heading into Sunday’s Week 17 kickoffs, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.