Fantasy Football Week 17 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers

The audible cheer you heard in the distance earlier this week was from the owners of Green Bay Packers wide receivers in fantasy. The news Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) is returning has the tendency to do that. Rodgers is likely to show rust early against the Chicago Bears, but we should fully expect that game to get ridiculously loose with two offensive-minded head coaches matching wits in a winner-take-all match for the NFC North.

Heck, even Randall Cobb (knee) might be active and an option Sunday. 

Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson’s potential loss for the season finale to his lingering knee issue is Burleson’s gain. The veteran receiver is likely to be a large part of the game plan, even if Johnson plays in the limited capacity he did a week ago. The Minnesota Vikings defense has been one of the most abused units in fantasy against wide receivers, so if you need a fill-in option, feel confident in the targets Burleson—and perhaps even Kris Durham—will get here.

Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles

Cooper’s season started precariously, but it will finish with him impacting your fantasy championship. Nick Foles has turned up the gas on Chip Kelly’s high-octane attack, and Cooper has been the alternative to throwing to DeSean Jackson all the time.

What is most likely to lure you into starting Cooper this week, though, are the struggles the Dallas Cowboys have had against the pass and wide receivers in fantasy. Cooper looks headed for a clutch double-digit week.

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots

Despite the disappointing Week 16 performance against the Baltimore Ravens, we have surmised Amendola would be the leading option to pick up the slack for Rob Gronkowski‘s (knee) loss for the season. Amendola’s best production has come with Gronk out. Against the Bills—a team in the bottom 10 of fantasy against wide receivers and one that couldn’t stop Amendola in the season opener—we should feel confident starting the veteran slot receiver in all fantasy leagues.

Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers

This week lines up nicely for the secondary options in Cam Newton’s passing attack. First, Steve Smith is out, giving more regular snaps and targets to LaFell and Ginn. Then, the Panthers are facing an Atlanta Falcons defense that has been in the bottom 10 of fantasy against wide receivers all season.

LaFell or Ginn shouldn’t be receivers you’re anxious to get in your lineup in crunch time, but the circumstances have combined to make them at least viable options.

Sit ‘Em

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

You should fully prepare to be without Megatron for your fantasy finale, regardless of his “questionable” status. He is only listed that way after not practicing this week to give his opponents something to prepare for, we say. Megatron has tried to downplay reports he has played through a PCL tear, but the facts are he is not 100 percent and the Lions shouldn’t risk him seriously damaging that knee for 2014 with absolutely nothing to play for—save for coach Jim Schwartz’s job.

If Schwartz plays Megatron here and something bad happens, he might never be a head coach in the NFL again. Expect Johnson to be held out.

Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey, St. Louis Rams

Just the mere menagerie you see here is enough to sit all of these guys. Throw in the facts the Rams are a running team with Zac Stacy’s emergence and Kellen Clemens is the quarterback don’t help either.

Oh, and by the way, the Seattle Seahawks are at home, coming off a loss and really, really good. Seattle is No. 1 against the pass, No. 1 against fantasy wide receivers and absolutely a defense to sit anyone against—particularly these marginal guys in crunch time.

David Nelson, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets

The Jets will try to play spoiler in Miami to attempt to save Rex Ryan’s job, but their best chance of attacking the Dolphins defense will be to run right at it. It might open up something in the play-action game perhaps—like it did in Nelson’s recent two-touchdown performance—but you cannot trust Geno Smith against a decent defense. The Dolphins are at least that. They have been one of the best in fantasy against wide receivers all year, too.

Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Louis Murphy, New York Giants

If fantasy 2013 has taught us anything, it has been to be afraid, very afraid, of starting Eli Manning’s wide receivers. Even with Victor Cruz (knee) out for the season, Nicks hasn’t been trustworthy. Randle has been banged up, too.

Jernigan is coming off a productive week, and the Washington Redskins have been in the bottom 10 against fantasy wideouts, but sit all of your Giants receivers to keep your sanity this Sunday.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

The second-year receiver has blossomed into a reliable NFL and fantasy starter this season, but you cannot run him out there with any confidence this week. Not only has Carson Palmer been banged up physically and less productive statistically, the San Francisco 49ers defense is still one you don’t want to mess with if you can avoid it. You have better options on your bench than Floyd this week.

Week 17 Wide Receivers Rankings – Eric Mack
1 Dez Bryant Dal vs. Phi 4 +3
2 Brandon Marshall Chi vs. GB 2 0
3 DeSean Jackson Phi at Dal 9 +6
4 A.J. Green Cin vs. Bal 3 -1
5 Josh Gordon Cle at Pit 1 -4
6 Demaryius Thomas Den at Oak 5 -1
7 Alshon Jeffery Chi vs. GB 6 -1
8 Pierre Garcon Was at NYG 7 -1
9 Jordy Nelson GB at Chi 13 +4
10 Eric Decker Den at Oak 10 0
11 Andre Johnson Hou at Ten 14 +3
12 Julian Edelman NE vs. Buf 12 0
13 Danny Amendola NE vs. Buf 31 +18
14 James Jones GB at Chi 27 +13
15 Roddy White Atl vs. Car 20 +5
16 Mike Wallace Mia vs. NYJ 18 +2
17 Antonio Brown Pit vs. Cle 8 -9
18 Vincent Jackson TB at NO 15 -3
19 Keenan Allen SD vs. KC 11 -8
20 Marques Colston NO vs. TB 16 -4
21 Larry Fitzgerald Ari vs. SF 17 -4
22 Torrey Smith Bal at Cin 22 0
23 Anquan Boldin SF at Ari 29 +6
24 Kendall Wright Ten vs. Hou 25 +1
25 Michael Crabtree SF at Ari 24 -1
26 Brandon LaFell Car at Atl 37 +11
27 Riley Cooper Phi at Dal 21 -6
28 Greg Jennings Min vs. Det 28 0
29 Mike Brown Jac at Ind 52 +23
30 Jarrett Boykin GB at Chi 36 +6
31 Doug Baldwin Sea vs. StL 35 +4
32 Calvin Johnson Det at Min 19 -13
33 Golden Tate Sea vs. StL 38 +5
34 Cordarrelle Patterson Min vs. Det 30 -4
35 T.Y. Hilton Ind vs. Jac 23 -12
36 Rod Streater Oak vs. Den 43 +7
37 Brian Hartline Mia vs. NYJ 26 -11
38 Randall Cobb GB at Chi 58 +20
39 Robert Woods Buf at NE 44 +5
40 DeAndre Hopkins Hou at Ten 62 +22
41 Miles Austin Dal vs. Phi 78 +37
42 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. Was 33 -9
43 Mohamed Sanu Cin vs. Bal 82 +39
44 Ace Sanders Jac at Ind 61 +17
45 David Nelson NYJ at Mia 74 +29
46 Harry Douglas Atl vs. Car 39 -7
47 Andre Holmes Oak vs. Den 53 +6
48 Santonio Holmes NYJ at Mia 79 +31
49 Nate Washington Ten vs. Hou 45 -4
50 Emmanuel Sanders Pit vs. Cle 46 -4
51 Da’Rick Rogers Ind vs. Jac 51 0
52 Lavon Brazill Ind vs. Jac 93 +41
53 Marquise Goodwin Buf at NE 92 +39
54 Marlon Brown Bal at Cin 67 +13
55 Rueben Randle NYG vs. Was 42 -13
56 Tavon Austin StL at Sea 97 +41
57 Michael Floyd Ari vs. SF 32 -25
58 Justin Hunter Ten vs. Hou 64 +6
59 Marvin Jones Cin vs. Bal 34 -25
60 Donnie Avery KC at SD 72 +12
61 Nate Burleson Det at Min 48 -13
62 Terrance Williams Dal vs. Phi 63 +1
63 Jerricho Cotchery Pit vs. Cle 50 -13
64 Chris Givens StL at Sea 101 +37
65 Ted Ginn Car at Atl 55 -10
66 Tiquan Underwood TB at NO 89 +23
67 Jerome Simpson Min vs. Det 83 +16
68 Jeremy Kerley NYJ at Mia 65 -3
69 Lance Moore NO vs. TB 75 +6
70 Santana Moss Was at NYG 73 +3
71 Kenny Stills NO vs. TB 77 +6
72 Andre Roberts Ari vs. SF 85 +13
73 Greg Little Cle at Pit 95 +22
74 Kris Durham Det at Min 47 -27
75 Vincent Brown SD vs. KC 86 +11
76 Darrius Heyward-Bey Ind vs. Jac 107 +31
77 Jason Avant Phi at Dal 81 +4
78 Rishard Matthews Mia vs. NYJ 71 -7

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