It is the dreaded week 17 of the NFL season with injuries piling up and teams resting starters, make sure to have secondary and third options available on your bench. I will do my best to fit in waiver wire players who could help get you the championship this week.
Here is a list of teams who have clinched and will probably be resting starters this weekend. They are the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears,and the Philadelphia Eagles. There a couple scenarios where the Bears and Jets could roll out their starters, but it would behoove owners to not at least plan on having backup options.
QB Matt Ryan ATL Home against CAR
With a lackluster performance last week and a number one seed on the line, the Falcons will be in full force in an attempt to secure the overall No. 1 seed. Ryan and the Falcons should have little opposition in their way as they face a terrible Panthers team. The best part of this game is that the Falcons will only start resting their starters once the game is in hand. This should guarantee that either Ryan will play the entire game or the Falcons offense will produce a lot of points, which should guarantee a big week for Ryan. Either way, it’s a win-win for owners.
Other QB to Start: Alex Smith has been named the starter this week. Most weeks this would not matter but he is facing the Arizona Cardinals. This should allow him to rack up 200 yards passing and at least 1 TD. Chad Henne went for 305 yards and 3 TD against the New England Patriots the first time he played them. This time around he should be facing mostly backups, the only downside is the weather. As of now it should be clear skies in New England allowing Henne to go for a big night. Kevin Kolb is more than likely going to get the start this week against Dallas. Kolb will be without Desean Jackson and possibly Jeremy Maclin. But he should have a wide open playbook as Andy Reid will want to further evaluate Kolb in deciding if he or Michael Vick is their QB of the future. Kolb should at the very least get around 200 yards passing and 1 TD.
RB Shonn Greene NYJ Home against BUF
Green could be an interesting play this week. First off, he faces Buffalo, which ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing defense. There are also reports that his running mate LT could possibly held out this week, resting for the playoffs. Green at the very least should get the bulk of the carries and use them to do some serious damage. He has been a relative disappointment this season, but could show why he was a top 20 pick.
Other RB to Start: Maurice Morris has managed to grab a touchdown in back to back weeks. His yardage has been a mixed bag, so it’s pretty much touchdown or bust. If you think he will get another touchdown this week, I would put him in your lineup. Correll Buckhalter should get a bulk of the carries as the Broncos will probably sit Knowshon Moreno. I would expect Buckhalter to produce some solid numbers against a deflated Chargers team. Anthony Dixon/Brian Westbrook carved Arizona the last time they played. I would expect San Francisco to make it an emphasis again this week giving them both ample carries.
WR Jerome Simpson CIN @ BAL
Jerome Simpson has gone from relative unknown to fantasy stud in the matter of one week. He had a big week last week going for 124 yards and 2 TD. Simpson should once again be a key cog in the Bengals lineup as both Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens will both be out with injuries. Jordan Shipley also could be a solid start this week and looks to be a nice sleeper pick next season. Both of these wide receivers should get plenty of throws as Baltimore is tough on the ground.
Other WR To Start: Jason Avant of the Eagles could be their number one wide receiver this week. With reports putting Desean Jackson out and Maclin questionable to play the entire game, the Eagles will definitely put Avant in for the entire game. With a solid backup in Kolb throwing him the ball, he should produce big numbers. Kevin Walter in Houston should benefit from being the number one wide receiver this week with Andre Johnson out. Walter’s number this season have been lackluster, but in games not featuring Johnson, he managed to get solid totals. If Johnson sits, you could not go wrong with putting in Walter.
QB Jay Cutler CHI @ GB
There are some reports in Chicago that say the Bears will play their starters, regardless of whether or not the Saints or the Falcons win their games. If both the Saints and Falcons somehow lose, then you could possibly see a motivated Bears team playing for a number one spot. If not, it will be a matchup of a team who is fighting for their lives in the Packers against a Bears team with nothing to gain. You also add in the fact that the Packers are one of the best teams at rushing the passer and forcing interceptions, and that should make you think twice about putting in Cutler.
Other QB to Sit: Tom Brady will at most play one half of football with the number one seed already locked up. No quarterback is worth starting for just a half. Mark Sanchez’s shoulder makes him iffy at best start. The only benefit of the Jets playing their starters is guaranteeing the number 5 spot instead of the number 6, not really worth putting your best starters forward. If you are desperate for a quarterback, don’t grab Jimmy Clausen. Clausen is only managing to throw for on average 115 yards a game and has 4 times as many INT as he does TD.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE Home against MIA
I have to believe Green-Ellis will not get the carries necessary to justify putting him in your starting lineup. The Patriots will possibly play their starters for the first half not giving Green-Ellis enough time on the field to get you many fantasy points. His carries are already limited in a full game, putting him in a game where he could only see a half of action makes no sense.
Other RB to Sit: Matt Forte should get enough carries to get the 22 yards needed to get to a 1,000 yards. With a solid backup behind him in Chester Taylor, you have to believe the Bears will give him the rest of the day off and rest him for the playoffs. Knownshon Moreno has managed to practice these past two days, but in a meaningless game you have to believe the Broncos will sit him and get him fully healthy for next season. LeSean McCoy, like most of the Eagles offense, will probably spend most, if not the entire day, standing on the sideline. Even though he has no injuries attached him, Andy Reid will probably hold him out.
WR Mike Sims-Walker Jac @ Hou
Trent Edwards’ time in Buffalo showed he was not capable of even managing the offense. With David Garrard being forced out with injuries, the passing offense will have to rely on the arm of Edwards. In the past, this has usually resulted in bad games for any wide receivers unlucky enough to have Edwards throwing the ball. Don’t expect things to change this week as Sims-Walker and the entire Jaguars’ passing attack will be unproductive.
Other WR to Sit: Santonio Holmes is questionable to play at all this week in dealing with a foot injury. He could also be without his starting quarterback, making him a risky start even if he manages to get on the field. If you are using Joe Webb as a WR option, you may want to have another option ready to go this week. I find it hard to believe that in Brett Favre’s last game, he will not try to play. Mike Wiliams of Seattle has the ability to produce a big week, but with Charlie Whitehurst probably getting the start you have to instantly nix any use of Williams. In Whitehurst’s first start, Williams only managed two catches of 15 yards. Williams also has only managed to grab one touchdown this season, thus making fantasy owners relying heavily on him getting a large amount of yardage. That is way to risky of bet to make this late in the season.