NFL Week 17: NFL Teams Resting Starters, NFL Playoff Picture, Fantasy Implications & DFS Plays - Roto Street Journal
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NFL Week 17: NFL Teams Resting Starters, NFL Playoff Picture, Fantasy Implications & DFS Plays

NFL Week 17 is always a minefield for fantasy owners to navigate. Many teams have their playoff seeds locked up with no motivation to play starters. Other teams, eliminated long ago, can also be tough to read in regards to injuries. Hopefully, you’re reading this strictly for DFS purposes, and not with your fantasy championship on the line.

Regardless, Roto Street Journal is here to identify any potential fantasy booby traps, as well as sneaky value plays, in a Week 17 where countless NFL lineups will be in flux.

Clinched and Resting Starters

Chiefs (14-1): Clinched home-field advantage

Andy Reid and the Chiefs typically like to run up the score and play around in meaningless games, but it looks like they’re going to give their starters a rest since they have everything locked up.

Assuming all key starters are out, Darrel Williams ($4800) and Darwin Thompson ($4,400) are intriguing cheap running back options, while it could be the Mecole Hardman ($4,200) and Byron Pringle ($3,400) show on the perimeter with Chad Henne ($5,100) throwing them the rock.

Highest Motivation – Playing for Playoff Lives

Titans (10-5): Own the division record tiebreaker over Indianapolis

Derrick Henry ($9,400) is 223 yards away from the legendary 2,000-yard mark and they need to win to secure a playoff spot, even though they hold most tiebreakers. Henry will have a legit chance to exceed 223 yards against one of the league’s most pathetic run defenses in the Houston Texans.

Dolphins (10-5): Own the tiebreaker advantage over the other 10-5 teams

Tua Tagovailoa ($5,100) will get another shot to start this week against the Bills and he’ll play the full game with Ryan Fitzpatrick landing on the COVID list this week. Dolphins basically need to win to get in.

Ravens (10-5): Own tiebreaker over Browns and Colts

The Ravens are another team that controls its destiny and they get a juicy matchup against the Bengals.

Browns (10-5): Still mathematically alive, but need some help

Baker Mayfield ($5,500) gets his receiver core back after last week’s debacle against the Jets. The Browns get the Steelers in what could be a plus matchup against a Steelers team that might be resting its starters.

Colts (10-5): Still a chance but lose most tiebreakers

Philip Rivers ($6,000) and the Colts need some help to get in, but Jonathan Taylor ($7,400) should continue his second-half surge against the hapless Jaguars defense.

Washington (6-9): Lead NFC East

Alex Smith returned to practice on Thursday and took first-team reps in a limited fashion. The WFT gets the Eagles on Sunday Night Football, meaning they won’t be on the main DFS slate. Keep an eye on Terry McLaurin’s status as he has yet to practice since spraining his ankle.

Rams (9-6): Lead three-team race for two wild card berths

The Rams are an absolute mess right now and it’s happening in a must-win Week 17 tilt against the Cardinals. Jared Goff underwent thumb surgery and is significantly doubtful for the game. This means something called John Wolford ($4,900), who has zero career pass attempts, will likely get the start. To make matters worse, he’ll be without Cooper Kupp, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is already declared out for the game. If you’re targeting any Rams pass-catchers, you need to get your head examined.

On the ground, Cam Akers will miss another week with an ankle injury and Darrell Henderson will also be out with a high ankle sprain. That leaves Malcolm Brown ($4,300) as the team’s bell-cow and with their dire circumstances, he’ll likely be in line for 20-plus touches.

Bears (8-7): Own the tiebreaker over Arizona

It’s wild, but the Bears will be in with a win over Green Bay at home. Mitch Trubisky ($5,600) and David Montgomery ($7,700) have been on fire as of late and get a decent matchup against the somewhat inconsistent Packers defense.

Cardinals (8-7): Need to beat the Rams and have the Bears lose

Kyler Murray ($7,500) was banged up at the end of last week’s game but will play on Sunday against the Rams MASH unit. The Cards need some help by Green Bay and a victory to get in. DeAndre Hopkins ($7,900) might be a fade against Jalen Ramsey, but the offense is healthy.

Cowboys (6-9): Still not out of it in the NFC East

The six-win Cowboys still have a chance to win their division and expect their full cast of characters against the Giants.

Giants (5-10): Still not out of it in the NFC East

The five-win Giants still have a chance to win their division and expect their full cast of characters against the Cowboys.

High Motivation – Playing for Byes and Seeds

Bills (12-3): Clinched the AFC East, owns head-to-head tiebreaker over Steelers

As you’ll learn below, the Steelers are basically conceding the three seed to the Bills, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams. We talked about Josh Allen and Stefon Diggsincredible season this week and although Diggs is leading the league in receiving, expect the Bills to either rest their starters against the Dolphins or play a half or so. Either way, it’s too risky to play any Bills on Sunday.

Steelers (12-3): Clinched AFC North

Mike Tomlin told reporters early in the week that Mason Rudolph ($4,300) would start in place of Ben Roethlisberger. This will be the first time Rudolph will see Myles Garrett after getting his own helmet smashed over his head a million times. Revenge game narrative? lol. The Steelers wide receiver situation has been weird lately, so Chase Claypool ($5,700) and James Washington ($3,500) could be intriguing DFS options at wideout, while Benny Snell ($5,100) is another option at running back.

Packers (12-3) Clear path to home-field advantage

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are still playing for a first-round bye, so expect the team at full strength for their matchup against the Bears.

 Saints (11-4) Clinched NFC South

The Saints still have an outside shot of playing for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. All starters will play.

Seahawks (11-4) Clinched NFC West

The Seahawks are in the same situation as the Saints.

Buccaneers (10-5) Clinched wild card berth

The Bucs do not technically need to win to get in, as they clinched a wild card berth, but they can basically pick who they will play in the first round by winning this week against the Falcons. Let’s hope Tom Brady ($7,200), Mike Evans ($7,500), Chris Godwin ($6,600), Antonio Brown ($5,500), and the rest of the offense continues to roll against a susceptible Atlanta defense.

“We’re going to play to win,” Arians said to reporters. “[Going] 11-5 is very rare. To have a chance to get to 11-5 and keep that seeding – we want that seeding, just for pride and not who we care [about] playing. It’s more for pride. I’d probably have to beat some guys in the head with a stick to get them not to play anyways. I talked to them about it before and [they said], ‘I’m playing.’”

Eliminated Teams that May Rest Fantasy/Injured Players

Raiders (7-8): Eliminated

The Raiders season ended last week in a heart breaker against the Dolphins, but as of now, it looks like they will play their starters against the Broncos in what should be a snoozer.

Patriots (6-9): Eliminated

Bill Belichick continues to trot the awful Cam Newton ($5,500) out there for some reason. But he did have one of his best games as a Patriot against the Jets earlier in the season, racking up 25 fantasy points. Newton and Jakobi Meyers ($5,000) could make some noise together in this gross game.

Chargers (6-9): Eliminated

Keenan Allen was put on the COVID list on Thursday, meaning he’s out for the season finale. Mike Williams ($5,000) will get a significant bump Justin Herbert’s No. 1 option, while both Tyron Johnson ($4,000) and Jalen Guyton ($3,400) will be solid cheap receiver options against a resting Chiefs’ squad.

Broncos (5-10): Eliminated

It looks like the Broncos will play their starters against the Raiders and it makes sense considering how young their weapons are on the offensive side of the ball. Jerry Jeudy ($4,200) is coming off a 15-target game and could get showered against the Raiders’ brutal secondary.

Bengals (4-10-1): Eliminated

The Bengals offense has shown some life with Brandon Allen ($5,000) under center. But get a hungry Ravens team. Pass.

Texans (4-11): Eliminated

Deshaun Watson ($7,700) hurt his throwing elbow during Week 16 but isn’t on the team’s injury report. It looks like Watson, David Johnson ($6,800), and the rest of the offense will look to finish strong against a very leaky Titans defense. This could be a points bonanza and a DraftKings game stack.

Jets (2-13): Eliminated

Ty Johnson ($4,300) will be a top cheap RB play with La’Mical Perine and Frank Gore ruled out for Week 17. Although this game stinks, there are some DFS possibilities on both sides.

Jaguars (1-14): Eliminated

The Jags will successfully complete their #TankForTrevor season with Mike Glennon ($4,900) at quarterback. Unfortunately, the team already ruled out James Robinson, meaning Dare Ogunbowale ($4,500) will start for the second consecutive week.

Vikings (6-9): Eliminated

The Vikings are likely to play their starters, but they’ll unfortunately be without Dalvin Cook, who will miss the regular-season finale due to his father’s unexpected death. With this news, Alexander Mattison ($6,100) will be in a DFS smash spot against the Lions’ pathetic defense. Mattison returned to practice this week after dealing with a concussion and should be ready to go. If not, the great Mike Boone ($4,000) will get his chance to lead the backfield.

49ers (6-9): Eliminated

The 49ers added George Kittle ($6,000) last week, but lost Brandon Aiyuk in the process. Kittle will be the team’s target hog and Richie James Jr. will see some looks. Remember when James notched 36 DK points in Week 9?

Lions (5-10): Eliminated

Darrell Bevell expects Matthew Stafford to play and he’ll be surrounded by his usual weapons.

Panthers (5-10): Eliminated

Teddy Bridgewater ($5,300) and the Panthers get a focused Saints squad. As of now, it looks like all of the usuals will be playing for the Panthers.

Eagles (4-10-1): Eliminated

The world will get a treat on Sunday night when Jalen Hurts takes on the WFT. It’s obviously not on the main slate but it should be a good one.

Falcons (4-11): Eliminated

The Falcons get the Bucs who are coming off of a dismantling of the Lions. However, Calvin Ridley ($8,500) continues to be an absolute beast and could take advantage of their suspect secondary.

Potential Record Chasers

  • Travis Kelce broke the NFL’s single-season receiving record by a tight end, reaching 1,416 yards on the year to surpass George Kittle’s 2018 season. Right behind Stefon Diggs and near DeAndre Hopkins, Kelce is in a battle for the league’s top receiving mark. However, it looks like Kelce will sit.
  • Aaron Rodgers is the clear front-runner for MVP (-385) with Patrick Mahomes far behind in second place (+300).
  • Derrick Henry is sitting at 1,777 yards rushing. Could this animal hit the legendary 2k against the league’s worst run defense?
  • Josh Jacobs, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Kenyan Drake, Jonathan Taylor, Lamar Jackson, Ronald Jones, and Melvin Gordon are all within 110 yards of breaking the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
  • Keenan Allen, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp (COVID-19), Cole Beasley, Tyler Lockett, Mike Evans, Corey Davis, AJ Brown, Tee Higgins, Robert Woods, and CeeDee Lamb are all within 110 yards of breaking the 1,000-yard receiving mark.


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