by Ray Kuhn
This is not going to be an easy week. In fact, it might be the most challenging week there is… Challenging might not necessarily be the right word to use, maybe frustrating or nerve wracking might be more like it. If you are still playing it means one of two things: Either you have reached the championship, and in that case congratulations, or you are setting a DFS lineup to help ease the pain of the fantasy football season being over.
Regardless of what brings you here, it is commendable as there is nothing like filling out a Week 17 lineup. We already have an abundance of players sidelined as there is no reason to risk further injury when the game means nothing, and more inactive players will likely come this weekend.
The rankings below are based on what we know at this point, but also are very much subject to change based on who actually takes the field. If you are setting a lineup make sure to monitor who will be actually taking the field and try to read the tea leaves as to what the usage will be. We’ll try to note of the situations that might look a little different than they did last week as there are certainly opportunities for value out there.
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at Los Angeles
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Minnesota
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
- Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
- Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Philadelphia
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Arizona
- DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland
- LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Alfred Blue – Houston Texans – at Tennesee
- Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Pittsburgh
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
- Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
- Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Dallas
- Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Indianapolis
- Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens – at Cincinnati
- Alex Collins – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
- Jacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
- Shaun Draughn – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Chicago
- Rex Burkhead – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Baltimore
- Paul Perkins – New York Giants – at Washington
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
- Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys – at Philadelphia
- Mike Gillislee – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
- Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
- Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Baltimore
- Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – at Washington
- Ronnie Hillman – San Diego Chargers – vs. Kansas City
- Justin Forsett – Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
- Too little too late, and it’s still quite difficult to trust Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense, but the Jaguars did show something last week against the Titans. Now, as they close out the season in Indianapolis, we have to wonder who will carry the ball for the Jaguars. T.J. Yeldon is now on Injured Reserve and Chris Ivory is dealing with a hamstring injury. Before leaving last week’s game, Ivory gained 45 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown and also caught four passes for 69 yards. For now, we will move forward assuming Ivory is able to take the field and take advantage of the 28th ranked fantasy defense against running backs. If not Ivory, then there is the possibility Denard Robinson takes on some of the load, but he is also nursing an ankle injury. That then leaves us with Corey Grant as the healthy option in Jacksonville’s backfield. Last week, Grant gained 27 yards on nine carries, and if Ivory is unable to take the field, then he is worth a look. Ivory obviously has more value than Robinson or Grant, but this is a situation to exploit.
- After last week’s game with Arizona, the Seahawks referred to Thomas Rawls’ shoulder injury as a “bruise”, and he has yet to have an MRI. Seattle’s place in the postseason is secure, but they are still fighting for a first round bye. However, with the Seahawks facing San Francisco this week, there shouldn’t be much of a problem for them to come out victorious. Even when he has been healthy this season, Rawls hasn’t exactly been successful averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. So let’s assume Rawls does play this week, his role will likely be a supporting one at best, and Alex Collins is the running back who warrants a look. The 49ers have allowed the most points to opposing running backs so far this season and Collins can also be counted on as a pass catcher. Last week, Collins gained 28 yards on seven carries and caught four passes for another 19 yards. Collins has only touched the ball 34 times so far this season which makes it hard to trust the rookie this week, but he still has the potential to be a legitimate option for this week as a borderline RB2.
- Across the field, the absence of Carlos Hyde also provides opportunity to value seeking fantasy owners. Seattle is the third stingiest defense to fantasy running backs this season, but Shaun Draughn will likely get the majority of backfield touches for the 49ers. And this week, that does count for something. While I wouldn’t count on Draughn to do much running the ball, he has yet to gain more than 32 yards on the ground this season, his value certainly rises in PPR leagues. In a limited role this season, Draughn has 25 receptions for 195 yards, and he should see a good amount of targets this week. Last week without Hyde, Draughn carried the ball 10 times (although he gained just 17 yards) while catching six passes for 48 yards. At the very least, we can expect that from Draughn this week.
- Melvin Gordon’s injury left him just three yards short of 1,000, and after missing the last two games, there is the possibility he returns to close out the season. Kenneth Farrow is now done for the season, so there are carries up for grabs in San Diego’s backfield, but it still remains to be seen how much we will see from Gordon this week. While gaining 90 yards on 34 carries so far this season, Hillman hasn’t exactly shown much to warrant an increased role, but at this point being healthy counts for a lot. Andre Williams, who has yet to carry the ball this season, is in place as the back-up and this is a situation to avoid. The problem though, is that based on other situations around the NFL, you might not have a choice as it could be hard to overlook Hillman’s expected workload.
- The Steelers have been rather forthcoming with the fact that Le’Veon Bell likely will be taking this week off, but who will reap the rewards? Going back to last season, and the first two weeks of 2016, it is clear that DeAngelo Williams certainly takes advantage of Bell’s absence, but he is battling a knee injury. After there being a possibility of Williams being active last week, the expectation is that he will return against the Browns for a choice match-up. Based on the success we have come to see from Williams, it is not far-fetched to consider him an RB1 if it is determined he is active and fully healthy. If not, that brings us to Fitzgerald Toussaint who had a total of 31 career carries with Pittsburgh over the past two seasons. That isn’t exactly a stat line to bank on, but this is what Week 17 does to us.
*** Pre-Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $5.50 By Clicking Here!! ***