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Fantasy Football: Week 17 starts, sits

12.27.13 at 10:38 am ET
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Welcome to the final installment of the 2013 starts and sits. Week 17 is always tricky, which is why the vast majority of fantasy leagues opt to use Week 16 as their bowl week. It’€™s tricky because you never know which teams are going to pull their starters early and which teams will play to win for 60 minutes. I’€™ll do my best to warn you off of a few options and to highlight some safer plays. We’€™ll be doing full Week 17 lineup rankings at Rotobahn, so feel free to head over if you require any additional clarity. I’€™ll also be back at WEEI at 11 a.m. Sunday for our final chat, so stop by if you have any lineup questions.

QUARTERBACKS

START

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Browns

They play at 1 p.m., so the Steelers will go out there guns blazing to see if they can put some pressure on the teams ahead of them. They post big numbers when they get the offense going, so Roethlisberger is a solid option in any league this week against a Browns defense that’€™s been shaky lately.

Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Jaguars

He’€™s got a decent home matchup and it’€™s indoors, so we don’€™t need to worry about weather. The Colts have something to play for at this point, though they would need some help from the Patriots and Bengals. It’€™s an early game, so they won’€™t know their fate when they play. Luck is a viable starter in any home matchup. Start him if you need him.

Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Ravens

The Bengals play early and they can put pressure on the Patriots in the race for the bye if they can win. You can count on the Bengals pushing as hard as they can for four quarters. Dalton is a solid play if you need a Week 17 quarterback. His offensive weaponry makes him dangerous on a weekly basis.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins at Giants

If you really need an option, Cousins should give you solid production, though this is not as good a matchup as he had last week. Washington’s€™ temporary starter is a viable option in 12-team leagues with a hot No. 1 receiver and a stout running game to work off of. There is a chance of rain in the forecast, but nothing as epic as what we saw last week.

SIT

Matthew Stafford, Lions at Vikings

He’€™s a shaky play with the Lions out of it and potentially no Calvin Johnson. If Johnson does practice Friday and ends up playing, Stafford becomes a viable option, but as things stand, he’€™s a risky play with some implosion potential. Things are ugly in Detroit right now.

Jason Campbell, Browns at Steelers

He’€™ll face a motivated defense and he’€™ll face pressure. There may be an inclination to try to lock in some of Josh Gordon‘€™s points, but I’€™d resist the temptation here. Campbell just doesn’€™t have enough else to work with, and the Steelers will be bringing heat.

RUNNING BACKS

START

LeVeon Bell, Steelers vs. Browns

Yes, this is a bit obvious, but you should stick with Bell as an RB1. He’€™s healthy and his team has everything to play for at this point. Bell has been all that we advertised, and he should close out 2013 strong as the Steelers fight for a long-shot playoff berth.

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers at Falcons

He is running very well, and with Jonathan Stewart likely out again, Williams will get enough carries to have RB2 value in 12-team leagues. The matchup with Atlanta is nothing to fear, and Williams uses his speed well on turf.

Chris Johnson, Titans vs. Texans

Johnson gets killed everywhere, but he’€™s actually been one of the better backs in fantasy this year and we expect him to produce in Week 17. Johnson is very likely to be a salary cap casualty in 2014, so he will be running hard this week to show off his abilities to potential employers.

Knile Davis, Chiefs at Chargers

All signs point to Jamaal Charles playing very little this week, and that should open the door for Davis to post very nice numbers. As crazy as it sounds, you want to bench Charles for Davis if you can. By the end of the day, Davis probably will have a lot more touches. Davis has a game-breaking combination of size and speed. He is more than capable of posting big numbers.

Chris Ivory, Jets at Dolphins

Ivory is running well and the Jets will give him plenty of chances this week as they try to make a statement for coach Rex Ryan, who reportedly is on the verge of being fired. Ivory is worthy of flex consideration in all leagues, and he can be an RB2 in 12-team formats. He should get about 20 touches, and that gives him some upside against the Dolphins, who can be run on. Ivory is worth more in standard leagues and less in PPR formats.

SIT

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals vs. 49ers

This is just a terrible matchup and you will be left praying that he steals a cheap score like Steven Jackson did last week. This projects to be an ugly game and Mendenhall doesn’€™t get the kind of blocking he’€™d need to be successful against San Francisco.

Trent Richardson, Colts vs. Jaguars

He’€™s looked better here and there, but there’€™s no way you depend on him at this point. Richardson is a a flex at best in 12-team leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

START

Julian Edelman, Patriots vs. Bills

He’€™s a weekly starter in all PPR leagues and most standard leagues, too. There’€™s no reason to doubt him against Buffalo, and the Patriots want the win. It’€™s all systems go. Start Edelman with confidence.

Roddy White, Falcons vs. Panthers

After last week, I think you have to start him, especially in PPR formats. The knee seems to be of no concern at this point and they are home in the dome this week. The matchup is tough, so he is more WR3 than WR2, but he’€™s a viable option.

Riley Cooper, Eagles at Cowboys

He got it done again last week and I like this matchup for him. Cooper makes a very nice WR3 or flex option in 12-team leagues and he’€™s a viable play in smaller leagues, too. Cooper now has eight touchdowns on the season and has a good chance to make it nine in Week 17.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings vs. Lions

He scored again last week, and with Adrian Peterson banged up, Patterson should get a few carries and he’€™ll be active in the passing game, too. He’€™s a nice WR3 in 12-team leagues. Patterson is going for his fifth straight game with a touchdown. Our favorite rookie’€™s arrow is pointing decidedly up as we head into the offseason.

Anquan Boldin, 49ers at Cardinals

He’€™s going to be up for his old team, and he will not be matched up with Patrick Peterson this time. That honor should fall to Michael Crabtree. Boldin is worth a WR3 play in all leagues for his upside.

Jerrel Jernigan, Giants vs. Redskins

He’€™s been playing very well since taking over for Victor Cruz, and with Rueben Randle‘€™s knee injury, he could be seeing even more playing time this week in a very nice home matchup with Washington. Jernigan is a solid nice flex option in 12-team PPR leagues for Week 17.

SIT

Jarrett Boykin, Packers at Bears

With Randall Cobb‘s potential return, Boykin could see diminished reps, so be aware of Cobb’€™s status before considering Boykin as a flex. With Aaron Rodgers returning, Boykin would make a reasonable start in 12-team leagues, but only if Cobb is not active.

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs at Chargers

He may not play, but be very wary of using him even if he does suit up. The Chiefs are looking to preserve their players for the playoffs as they have nothing to gain by winning this week. Bowe is experiencing concussion symptoms, so double-check his Sunday status if you plan on using him.

TIGHT ENDS

START

Vernon Davis, 49ers at Cardinals

Yes, he failed to even catch a pass in Week 16, but he’€™s a stud and he’€™s in a great matchup this week against the Cardinals, who struggle mightily against tight ends.  Davis could be a featured player for San Francisco this week, so keep him active in all formats.

Charles Clay, Dolphins vs. Jets

One of the immutable truths of fantasy football is that you play your tight ends against the Jets. This is not a week to go against that truth. Play Clay and expect pleasant results in a game the Dolphins need desperately.

Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars at Colts

He’€™s scored in four straight games, and Jacksonville really has no choice but to keep using him. Lewis is a nice option in all formats and league sizes if you need a tight end for Week 17. He has a bloated salary cap number for 2014 and is a likely cap casualty. He’s playing for money right now, and it shows.

Joseph Fauria, Lions at Vikings

He’€™s really the only tight end Detroit has at this point, and he’€™s scored seven times on the season. Fauria has been active the last two weeks and the Lions obviously are looking at players for 2014 at this point. Fauria is a nice sleeper in deeper formats but a risky play in smaller leagues.

SIT

Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. Ravens

It’€™s a tough matchup and he’€™s battling a neck injury, so I’€™d be looking for a safer option this week if my league title was on the line.

Zach Miller, Seahawks vs. Rams 

We liked him last week against the Cardinals, but the Rams are tougher on tight ends and Miller is a dicey option on most weeks. He’€™s a light TE2 in all formats.

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