Fantasy Football Week 17: Before You Start


It’s the last week of the 2012 NFL regular season and if you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has to set your fantasy football line-up in Week 17 this is as good a place as any to indulge your fantasy fix or nightmare. Most fantasy football leagues held their championships last week because of the uncertainty the final week of the NFL regular season brings. You have a litany of injuries that tend to pile up after 16 gruesome weeks of hard-hitting football action, as well as teams with nothing to play for that has an adverse effect on many fantasy football line-up decisions.

Dec 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) calls the play in the huddle against the Detroit Lions defense during the 2nd half at Ford Field. Falcon won 31-18. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

For instance, if you’re counting on the likes of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones or Roddy White to carry you this week you’re faced with the possibility of all three not playing a whole lot this week. The Falcons have the #1 seed in the NFC all wrapped up, which leads to you not knowing how much playing time those three players are going to get. Mike Smith has already said he plans on playing today’s game against the Buccaneers with the intention of winning it. But what does that mean? If the Falcons run out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter will he bench his studs? That’s a likely scenario.

When setting your line-up with worries of how much playing time your guys are going to get you have to decide if a half of Matt Ryan is worth more than a full game of other options like newly named Raiders starting QB Terrelle Pryor. Matt Ryan has taken you so far and a half against the NFL’s worst pass defense could be more than a full game from other fantasy QBs like Pryor. It’ll be an interesting week in the NFL this week and you might want to consider next year playing in a league that ends after Week 16.

Below you’ll find relevant news and information from the NFL that should help you set your line-up for Week 17. Good luck.

  • Players already ruled out for Week 17 prior to today include: Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts, RBs Rashad Jennings and Maurice Jones-Drew, Steelers WR Mike Wallace, Jets TE Dustin Keller and QB Greg McElroy, Eagles QB Nick Foles, Bills TE Scott Chandler, Saints RB Pierre Thomas, Browns RB Trent Richardson and QBs Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, Dolphins WR Davone Bess, and 49ers WR Mario Manningham.
  • The Oakland Raiders have named Terrelle Pryor the starting QB versus the San Diego Chargers this week. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen at one point said Pryor wasn’t ready to be the team’s QB and that was earlier in the week! That just goes to show you how bad Matt Leinart is. Pryor is the unknown and it’s best the Raiders find out what he has to offer them and with his running ability that makes him an attractive asset in fantasy football. You should only consider playing him if you have no other options this week and in a league that starts only one QB you should be able to pick up somebody better than Pryor.
  • The Eagles are starting Michael Vick at QB this week after Nick Foles was put on season ending IR. Vick is somebody I would actually recommend starting this week against the Giants. One last game as an Eagle allows Vick to audition his services off to potential suitors and there are few better teams he could be doing that against than the lowly pass defense of the New York Giants. It wouldn’t surprise me if a motivated Vick ended up being the highest scoring fantasy QB for the week.
  • While it’s not official yet Adam Schefter has tweeted that it’s unlikely Ravens RB Ray Rice will suit up today. That leaves highly capable back-up RB Bernard Pierce to shoulder the running back load for the Ravens today. If you own Rice you hopefully already rostered Pierce. If not pick him up and start him in Rice’s place. UPDATE: Schefter has updated his previous report to state that Ray is indeed active but will be limited to 1-2 series.
  • Reports came out late last night/early this morning that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play. He might only have a limited role today but if you’ve held onto Gronkowski this long you play him because there aren’t a whole lot of tight ends better than Gronkowski, even if he’s limited.
  • Jaguars RB Montell Owens is inactive. Richard Murphy and Keith Toston will split carries at RB in Owens’ place.
  • Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart is inactive.
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew is active for the Lions today.
  • Giants WR Hakeem Nicks is active.
  • Ravens WR Anquan Boldin is inactive.
  • Titans WR Kendall Wright is active.
  • Falcons WR Roddy White is active.
  • Finally, here are a few names to consider picking up today if you’re looking for some needed help:
    -Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders

-Saints RB Mark Ingram

-49ers RB LaMichael James (return yards league), TE Delanie Walker (if Vernon Davis is out) and WR Randy Moss.

-Buffalo Bills TE Dorin Dickerson

-San Diego Chargers Defense (going up against Pryor)

-Buffalo Bills Defense (going up against Mark Sanchez)

-Pittsburgh Steelers Defense (going up against Thaddeus Lewis)