The final week of the NFL season is here. The first boss-fight of the game that you’ve built up to the entire game is staring you right in the face and his health meter is full. The enemy is clear and present but you have plenty of weapons and you know how to use them…right? In the fantasy football week 17 starts and sits, I’m going to provide you with a couple options to help you seal the championship.
Quarterback Issues 2.0
It absolutely kills me that I was correct in last week’s starts and sits when I suggested that Kyler Murray was going to have a tough time against the 49ers. He posted a meager 15 fantasy points, in my own starting lineup, and the Cardinals lost a vital piece in their playoff cog. Also, Murray is banged up and got hurt on the final play last week. They are in another must-win game and it only gets harder for them this week against the Rams. The Rams are without Jared Goff so backup John Wolford will be leading the Los Angeles offense.
So what does this all mean?
In reality, most people do not have a backup quarterback to Kyler Murray at this stage. I did not but I had the surprising luck to pickup Drew Brees off the waiver wire. I’m torn here because I want to trust in Kyler since he’s been stellar all season. The Rams are starting their backup quarterback with their own playoffs dreams on the line. That means their violent defense led by Aaron Donald will be firing on all cylinders, trying to make a play to win the game themselves. I foresee another difficult game for Murray especially since his mobility will be severely hobbled by the leg injury.
Cam Newton vs. NYJ – Newton looked absolutely terrible in the blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. The Bills are one of the few teams that can actually give the Chiefs a good fight in the AFC playoffs so take Newton’s performance with a grain of salt. Newton is on a mission to end the season on a personal high note and prove that he still “has it” to the rest of the league. Who knows where he will play next season? This game against the Jets should provide him with enough room to work his magic and produce some fine numbers. The first time the Patriots met the Jets this year, Cam had 274 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He averaged 24.5 fantasy points. Grab him if you can.
Mitchell Trubisky vs. GB – The Bears offense has been playing much better lately as they’ve finally figured some of their issues out. Granted, it all went up against bad defenses but it’s better than playing worse against bad teams. This Packers defense is good but they can get exposed even with their ability to take the ball away. They definitely know how to get to the quarterback but that will all change when they face a Matt Nagy offense that is learning and growing.
Trubisky has thrown for over 200 yards in five consecutive games with ten passing touchdowns to go with it. He’s averaged 18.7 fantasy points in that timespan and theoretically should keep it going this week. This is essentially a playoff game for the Bears and they know it.
Melvin Gordon III vs. LV – If you can take solace in knowing the Broncos have nothing really to play for in this game but would still love to beat a divisional opponent, then by all means take it. Personally, I do not share the sentiment here. This should be one of the lame and weaker games of the fantasy football week 17 slate. It’s going to be sloppy and imperfect so I have no faith in starting anyone, let alone a runningback with a history of injuries. I’m willing to bet he plays it safe in this one. Look elsewhere for runningback help.
Wayne Gallman vs. DAL – Over the past two weeks, Gallman has carried the ball 15 times for fewer than 60 combined yards. If we take into consideration the Brown’s solid defensive front and the Ravens jumping out to an early lead, it’s easy to piece the numbers together. This week should be different and the Giants still have a lot to play for. The Cowboys defense is bad and the Giants offense is better than expected. Put him in and relax on this one.
WAS at PHI – None of the Eagles’ receivers are worth starting in this matchup. Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jefferey, and Greg Ward have been sincerely limited lately. With Jalen Hurts at the helm of the offense it hasn’t been any better. There is no reason to believe that changes this week against a tough Washington defense.
On the flip side, Washington just let go of Dwayne Haskins and it appears as though Alex Smith will start, pending his health. If he cannot go, then Taylor Heinicke will play and he didn’t exactly give us enough to write home about. He did manage to complete 12 out of 19 of his passes for 137 yards and a score though. Terry McLaurin has been Washington’s clear WR1 all year and is an absolute must-start if he’s healthy enough to play. The trouble is this game was flexed into the Sunday Night Football slate.
So in a cautious manner, monitor McLaurin’s health right up to game time and grab Steven Sims Jr. for a late-swap. Just in case you need to make the switch, it’s also worth noting that Washington runningback Antonio Gibson appeared to aggravate the toe injury that he returned from just last week after an absence. Keep an eye on his status as well as the Washington Football Team might be in a more run-heavy offense in general if he’s healthy.
Good luck this week and let us know how you did! This is the ultimate test, in my opinion. Week 17 is where the real champions are made. Stay tuned for the expanded NFL playoffs where we will be taking a more DFS oriented approach to keeping fantasy football alive past week 17.