Week 17 is typically chaotic for fantasy owners because of either lost seasons or caution ahead of the playoffs that induces players to take the week off. Let’s start this discussion with the Cowboys, for whom QB Dak Prescott will reportedly cede a “majority of the snaps” to Mark Sanchez, and RB Ezekiel Elliott is expected to do the same with backup Darren McFadden. Plan to sit your Cowboys stars if you’re still playing, and consider DMC if you need a running back. This could be like a preseason game, with Prescott and Elliott leaving after a series or two.
In other news …
Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger … out, out, out. DeAngelo Williams is again playable for fantasy owners.
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Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (knee) isn’t practicing and looks “doubtful” for Sunday, according to the team’s website. Who’s ready to start Rex Burkhead in an important fantasy game? Remember that A.J. Green isn’t expected to play, either.
Texans RB Lamar Miller still isn’t practicing due to his knee injury. With the Texans locked into the AFC’s No. 4 playoff seed, Miller seems likely to be scratched.
Is there a healthy Jet left? Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Bilal Powell didn’t practice Thursday. Powell has an illness in addition to a knee issue, so hopefully he’ll play if the former clears up. If not, Brandon Burks and Brandon Wilds will be the last men standing in the Jets’ backfield.
Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls (shoulder) has been a full practice participant this week. The Seahawks have a chance to nab the NFC’s No. 2 seed in a game against the league’s worst rushing defense, so Rawls looks like a strong fantasy start.
Browns QB Robert Griffin III is out of the concussion protocol and expected to start against the undermanned Steelers. Yay?
Redskins TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) is reportedly increasing his practice workload in advance of a must-win game against the Giants. Reed has looked limited lately even when active, and should be considered a shaky fantasy start.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, who will be benched in favor of EJ Manuel for Sunday’s finale, might need sports hernia surgery during the offseason. How much would someone need to pay a neutral fan to watch Bills-Jets? Is $500 enough?
Bears WR Alshon Jeffery missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, but should be ready to roll Sunday.
Theo Riddick (wrist) missed another practice for the Lions. Riddick hasn’t played since Week 13, and looks like a longshot to return for Sunday night’s NFC North death match with the Packers.
Jacquizz Rodgers will start in place of the suspended Doug Martin for the Bucs. In Week 5, Rodgers ran 30 times for 101 yards against the Panthers, and added five receptions for 28 yards. He’ll need high volume again vs. the Panthers’ fourth-ranked run defense.
With RB Adrian Peterson (knee, groin) and WR Stefon Diggs (hip) uncertain for Week 17, do you think Adam Thielen will get 200 receiving yards again? Did ANYONE start him last week?
Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week. Head coach Doug Pederson had said that Matthews would be ready to play against the Cowboys, but if he doesn’t practice today you should plan for someone else.
Packers WR Randall Cobb (ankle) “may not know until Sunday” if he can play, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Cobb, who was probably my favorite third-round fantasy pick in preseason PPR drafts, currently ranks at WR50 in FOXSports.com scoring. Sigh.
Good luck if you’re playing in Week 17, and tweet me (@jhalpin37) if you have any questions.