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NFL Skinny: Week 17 preview

Brandon Funston
Yahoo Sports

According to our numbers, less than 20 percent of leagues choose to decide a champion in Week 17. I stated last week that I don't like leaving a NFL regular season week on the table and that I'm all for playing it out until the bitter end. But I understand the other side of the debate. Week 17 can get goofy as teams prepare for the playoffs or, in most cases, vacation.

Whether you're a proponent of Week 17 or not, if you find yourself in a championship game this week, you better know the scenarios for every team in the league. Colleague Andy Behrens posted a nice Week 17 primer, going through each possible playoff team and spelling out what is at stake, if anything. Make sure that, along with this week's Skinny (Lite), you make that column part of your Week 17 preparation.

Alright, this is for all the marbles. Best of luck to all. And have a happy, and safe, New Year's. Time to get after it …

Note: The red light remains eliminated this week (we don't waste time in the red-light district during the playoffs). Fantasy points allowed numbers have been trimmed down to a "past 12 games" view (September just seems so long ago). And players bolded under the yellow-light designation are considered borderline green-light options. Or, as you know I like to say, chartreuse.

Week 17 Preview
A snapshot of each Week 17 matchup

CAROLINA PANTHERS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
PANTHERS (1 = most; 32= least): 30 5 29 4
FALCONS (1 = most; 32= least): 14 29 6 18

What to watch for: Luckily for owners of Falcons, Atlanta needs to win to guarantee itself a No. 1 seed in the NFC. At least until this game is no longer in the Panthers' reach, expect the big guns for Atlanta to be battling it out as usual. … Atlanta blew out Carolina 31-10 in Week 14 with Michael Turner(notes) rushing for more than 100 yards and netting 3 TDs.

M. Turner, Roddy White(notes), Tony Gonzalez(notes); Atlanta Defense
Jonathan Stewart(notes); Matt Ryan(notes)
Sleeper: Jason Snelling(notes)
Key Injuries: CAR CB Chris Gamble(notes) (ankle); CAR FB Tony Fiammetta(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Atlanta 29, Carolina 13
PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
STEELERS (1 = most; 32= least): 26 32 25 17
BROWNS (1 = most; 32= least): 20 16 22 10

What to watch for: The Steelers need to beat the Browns to assure themselves of a No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. That shouldn't be a problem against a Cleveland team that has lost three straight, averaging 11 points in the process. The Browns scored just 10 points in a Week 6 loss to Pittsburgh, with Peyton Hillis(notes) tallying 90 YFS but failing to score a TD, something that he has also failed to do in each of his past four games. Hillis is clearly wearing down and faces, arguably, the toughest run defense in the league. Like last week (vs. Baltimore), he's a very tenuous play. Benjamin Watson(notes) is the only Brown I'm going green with, as he has yet to disappoint in a divisional contest.

Rashard Mendenhall(notes); Mike Wallace(notes); Benjamin Watson; Pittsburgh Defense
Ben Roethlisberger(notes); Hines Ward(notes); Heath Miller(notes); Peyton Hillis
Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders(notes)
Key Injuries: PIT RB Mewelde Moore(notes) (knee); PIT LBs LaMarr Woodley(notes) (knee) and Jason Worilds(notes) (knee); PIT SS Troy Polamalu(notes) (Achilles); PIT CB Bryant McFadden(notes) (hip)
Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 9
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ DETROIT LIONS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
VIKES (1 = most; 32= least): 12 24 9 16
LIONS (1 = most; 32= least): 11 13 18 14

What to watch for: This game is all about pride, rivalry and last place in the NFC North. Shaun Hill's(notes) finger checked out fine last week and he's not a bad option against what has been a fairly generous pass defense. But Hill was slightly less than mediocre (237 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) in the previous meeting with Minnesota, a 24-10 loss. Calvin Johnson(notes) is the big question mark for fantasy owners in this one. He has a sore ankle and he's not going to practice this week. But the hope is he can play on Sunday. Obviously, you'll have to follow his progress up to kickoff. Another situation with wide-reaching ramifications is whether Brett Favre(notes) is cleared to play or not. Joe Webb(notes) has been golden as a fantasy WR from the QB position the past two weeks. And he'd be a must play if he gets the start in the finale. But Favre refuses to go away and for one final week we'll be forced to have to care about Favre's every little ache and pain. If Favre plays, Webb becomes a red light, meaning you should ignore his designation below.

Adrian Peterson; Joe Webb (WR); C. Johnson; Percy Harvin(notes); Brandon Pettigrew(notes)
Shaun Hill; Mo Morris; Jahvid Best(notes); Visanthe Shiancoe(notes)
Sleeper: Brett Favre
Key Injuries: DET WR Calvin Johnson (ankle); DET LB Landon Johnson(notes) (concussion); DET CB Chris Houston(notes) (shoulder); MIN S Madieu Williams(notes) (concussion); MIN QB Brett Favre (concussion, neck, shoulder); MIN RB Adrian Peterson (thigh/knee); MIN Sidney Rice(notes) (concussion)
Prediction: Detroit 24, Minnesota 20
CHICAGO BEARS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
BEARS (1 = most; 32= least): 29 23 20 28
PACK (1 = most; 32= least): 28 28 27 5

What to watch for: The Bears could earn the top seed in the NFC with a win and an Atlanta loss, which is unlikely. Since they will play in the late afternoon time slot, they should know their fate prior to kickoff. And it's likely that they'll have very little to play for beyond Matt Forte(notes) needing 22 rushing yards to reach 1,000 and Johnny Knox(notes) needing 40 receiving yards to reach 1,000. On the flip side, Green Bay is in a "win and in" situation. There's no question the Packers will come to play. Play your Packers as you normally would. But beware of the Bears.

Aaron Rodgers(notes); Greg Jennings(notes); Green Bay Defense
Matt Forte; Johnny Knox; Jay Cutler(notes); Brandon Jackson(notes); Earl Bennett(notes); Donald Driver(notes)
Sleeper: James Jones(notes)
Key Injuries: GB DL Cullen Jenkins(notes) (calf); GB LB Frank Zombo(notes) (knee); GB S Atari Bigby(notes) (groin); GB S Nick Collins(notes) (rib); GB FB Korey Hall(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: Green Bay 26, Chicago 16
TENNESSEE TITANS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
TITANS (1 = most; 32= least): 7 14 10 6
COLTS (1 = most; 32= least): 18 9 31 7

What to watch for: It's a rare full-go Week 17 for Indy. Win this game and it clinches the AFC South. If it loses, and Jacksonville wins, Peyton Manning(notes) will be watching the playoffs on TV. The Colts squeezed out a 30-28 win at Tennessee in Week 14. I would look to that contest as the blueprint for who to start, but discount Javarris James(notes) and Donald Brown(notes) in the Colts backfield with Joseph Addai(notes) back and Dominic Rhodes(notes) also further convoluting the backfield situation. In other words, start the central figures of the Colts passing game and the Titans running game (Chris Johnson).

P. Manning; C. Johnson; Reggie Wayne(notes); Pierre Garcon(notes); Jacob Tamme(notes)
Kenny Britt(notes); Kerry Collins(notes); Joseph Addai; Indy defense
Sleeper: Dominic Rhodes; Blair White(notes); Jared Cook(notes)
Key Injuries: TEN DE William Hayes(notes) (concussion); IND RB Joseph Addai (neck)
Prediction: Indianapolis 28, Tennessee 14
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
RAIDERS (1 = most; 32= least): 4 7 21 9
CHIEFS (1 = most; 32= least): 19 15 13 29

What to watch for: The Chiefs have a No. 3 or No. 4 seed hanging in the balance. Todd Haley is talking like the Chiefs will be going full bore in this one, but I'd be at least a little cautious with your Chiefs players. I could see Haley strongly favoring Thomas Jones(notes) in the backfield over Jamaal Charles(notes) just to keep his lethal weapon fresh for the playoffs – Jones will certainly need extra work if he wants to gain the 121 yards needed to reach 1,000 rushing yards. And certainly, a little rest for Matt Cassel(notes), who had his appendix removed a few weeks ago, wouldn't hurt. I'm giving a slight downgrade to Charles, Cassel and Dwayne Bowe(notes).Darren McFadden(notes) had 114 yards from scrimmage in the Week 9 meeting with KC, but he's dealing with either a sore ankle or a turf toe, depending on who you ask. If Run-DMC is held out, give Michael Bush(notes) a big bump up. Jacoby Ford(notes) had six catches for 148 yards and a return TD in the first meeting with KC. He's a peak-or-valley roll of the dice, but he's been riding high in the second half of the season – 5 TDs in past seven games.

Darren McFadden; Zach Miller
M. Cassel; J. Charles; D. Bowe; T. Jones; J. Ford; Jason Campbell(notes); M. Bush
Sleeper: Marcel Reece(notes)
Key Injuries: OAK RB Darren McFadden (foot); OAK WR Louis Murphy(notes) (knee); OAK OT Langston Walker(notes) (head); OAK DL Richard Seymour(notes) (hamstring); OAK DL Matt Shaughnessy(notes) (hip); OAK S Michael Mitchell (rib)
Prediction: Kansas City 23, Oakland 20
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
FINS (1 = most; 32= least): 24 25 24 30
PATS (1 = most; 32= least): 13 12 8 26

What to watch for: New England has nothing to play for but Bill Bellichick rarely ever takes his foot off the gas. I'd expect the Pats to play Tom Brady(notes) full tilt for at least three quarters, but I do think this will be one of those times where some of the offensive regulars, including Brady, make an early exit. Brady's a bit banged up and the rest would be very beneficial. Same goes for Wes Welker(notes) and Deion Branch(notes). I expect that this could be a backfield-heavy type of approach by New England, with Danny Woodhead(notes) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) getting a lot of work. … Ronnie Brown(notes) needs 77 yards from scrimmage to reach the 1,000 YFS mark – hey, it's not much, but it's something. Brandon Marshall(notes) needs 83 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season. He's on a roll and it seems like a good bet that he'll get what he needs in this one.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis; Brandon Marshall; Rob Gronkowski(notes)
T. Brady; Chad Henne(notes); Danny Woodhead; Davone Bess(notes); New England Defense; R. Brown; R. Williams; W. Welker; D. Branch
Sleeper: –
Key Injuries: MIA TE Anthony Fasano(notes) (knee); MIA CB Nolan Carroll(notes) (head)
Prediction: New England 30, Miami 14
NEW YORK GIANTS @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
GIANTS (1 = most; 32= least): 8 31 14 25
SKINS (1 = most; 32= least): 6 8 17 11

What to watch for: No rest for the Giants, who need a win and a Green Bay loss to make the postseason. They pounded Washington into submission on the ground in the last meeting (31-7 in Week 13), but they should be a little more diverse offensively as Eli Manning(notes) has a deeper rapport this time around with de facto go-to guys Mario Manningham(notes) and Kevin Boss(notes)Hakeem Nicks(notes) (toe) will be sidelined once again. … It's a tough week to own Redskins, who lost 31-7 to the Giants in Week 13. I'd be leery of playing any 'Skins this week, but Ryan Torain(notes) is hard to sit because he's been nearly matchup proof in this offense when healthy. The Rex Grossman(notes) honeymoon is over. Put very little faith in the Washington passing game.

Eli Manning; Ahmad Bradshaw(notes); Mario Manningham; NY Giants Defense
Ryan Torain; Brandon Jacobs(notes); Chris Cooley(notes); Kevin Boss; Rex Grossman; Santana Moss(notes); Anthony Armstrong(notes);
Sleeper: –
Key Injuries: NYG WR Hakeem Nicks (toe); WAS DT Anthony Bryant(notes) (elbow); WAS LB Brian Orakpo(notes) (hamstring); WAS CB Carlos Rogers(notes) (calf)
Prediction: NY Giants 29, Washington 20
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
BENGALS (1 = most; 32= least): 23 17 4 19
RAVENS (1 = most; 32= least): 17 30 5 23

What to watch for: Baltimore needs to win and have Pittsburgh lose to earn the AFC North title. It's another unlikely scenario but, nonetheless, it will be enough of a motivating factor for the Ravens to give it an honest effort in this one. Treat your Ravens as you would any other week. For the record, I expect anquan Boldin to break out of his slump. He's been down for a few weeks, but I think Baltimore will attempt to get him back on track before it hits the postseason. … Cincy took the first meeting of these teams back in Week 2, winning by a score of 15-10. Carson Palmer(notes) had just 167 passing yards in that contest. He'll need to more than double that tally (335 yards) if he wants to reach 4,000 passing yards for the first time since '07. He's topped that total three times this season, so it's certainly possible, especially with the way the passing game was clicking last week (without Chad Ochocinco(notes)) and the likely inability of Cincy to be able to run on Baltimore on Sunday.

Carson Palmer; Joe Flacco(notes); Ray Rice(notes); Anquan Boldin(notes)
Derrick Mason(notes); Baltimore Defense; Cedric Benson(notes); Jordan Shipley(notes); Jermaine Gresham(notes)
Sleeper: Jerome Simpson(notes); Andre Caldwell(notes); Ed Dickson(notes)
Key Injuries: CIN WR Chad Ochocinco (ankle); BAL WR Derrick Mason (ankle); BAL TE Todd Heap(notes) (hamstring); BAL LB Tavares Gooden(notes) (shoulder); BAL TE Dennis Pitta(notes) (concussion)
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 19
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
JAGUARS (1 = most; 32= least): 15 11 12 8
TEXANS (1 = most; 32= least): 2 6 7 12

What to watch for: Jacksonville is hanging by a thread, needing a win and an Indy loss to attain postseason clearance. Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) (knee) missed last week and Rashad Jennings(notes) laid a conspicuous egg in his absence last week. MoJo will sit in Week 17, as well. To make matters worse, David Garrard(notes) is also expected to miss the finale. Those DNPs really handicap the Jags in terms of their playoff hopes, but they could still manage to produce some useful players for fantasy purposes. While we can no longer consider Jennings a slam dunk, he's still flex-worthy against a Houston run defense that continues to trend downhill. And Mike Thomas(notes) topped 80 yards in two of the three games in which Edwards has played. Of, course he had the catch heard around the football world in his first go-round with Houston, pulling in a game-winning Hail Mary TD pass on the final play. … Owen Daniels(notes) and Jacoby Jones(notes) have stepped up the most with Andre Johnson(notes) dealing with his ankle injury, and Johnson isn't expected to play in the finale. Daniels is a top 10 lock at his position this week, and Jones and Kevin Walter(notes), who went for 6/90/1 in the previous meeting, are chartreuse plays.

Matt Schaub(notes); Arian Foster(notes); Marcedes Lewis(notes); Owen Daniels
R. Jennings; M. Thomas; J. Jones; K. Walter; Mike Sims-Walker(notes)
Sleeper: –
Key Injuries: JAC RB Maurice Jones-Drew (knee); JAC G Uche Nwaneri(notes) (finger); HOU WR Andre Johnson (ankle); HOU DL Earl Mitchell(notes) (ankle); HOU LB Darryl Sharpton(notes) (shoulder); HOU CB Sherrick McManis(notes) (hamstring)
Prediction: Houston 27, Jacksonville 20
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
BUCS (1 = most; 32= least): 25 10 23 24
SAINTS (1 = most; 32= least): 32 19 32 31

What to watch for: It's a convoluted series of events that need to take place for the Saints to improve their playoff seeding or for the Bucs to even make the playoffs. That said, you have to expect each team to put their best foot forward so as to not miss the miracle, were it to occur. For the Saints, Pierre Thomas(notes) has moved to the forefront of the backfield picture. He looked healthy on Monday night at Atlanta and with Chris Ivory still less than 100 percent, Thomas should again shoulder the load in the Saints backfield. The Saints were successful with both the run and pass in the previous meeting against Tampa Bay, with Drew Brees(notes) throwing 3 TDs – Robert Meachem(notes) and Lance Moore(notes) were the receiving leaders, each scoring a TD and clocking in with 50-plus receiving yards. … The Saints are the best in the fantasy biz at defending the pass, and the Bucs will be less threatening than usual through the air without the services of Arrelious Benn(notes) (ACL). LeGarrette Blount(notes) is the safest play among Bucs, but if Tampa Bay can't keep things close, even he becomes problematic.

Drew Brees; LeGarrette Blount; Pierre Thomas; Marques Colston(notes)
Lance Moore; Jimmy Graham(notes); Josh Freeman(notes); Mike Williams; Kellen Winslow(notes)
Sleeper: –
Key Injuries: TB WR Arrelious Benn (knee); NO WR Robert Meachem; NO RB Chris Ivory (hamstring); NO LB Kawika Mitchell(notes) (hamstring)
Prediction: New Orleans 33, Tampa Bay 23
BUFFALO BILLS @ NEW YORK JETS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
BILLS (1 = most; 32= least): 22 4 28 2
JETS (1 = most; 32= least): 9 26 15 22

What to watch for: The Jets have very little to play for with a wild card seed sewn up. I had a hunch that Shonn Greene(notes) would step things up last week and it seems even more obvious this week that he'll take on a central role. He rushed for 117 yards on 22 carries in the previous meeting with Buffalo, and going Greene this week would allow the Jets to rest Mark Sanchez(notes) (shoulder), LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) (old) and Santonio Holmes(notes) (toe), even if the Jets do decide to give them a fair amount of field time. … Fred Jackson(notes) needs 108 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. I expect Buffalo to do what it can to help his cause. It will probably all depend on how seriously the Jets take this game. Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) is always tempting, but there's too much downside potential this week to ride his arm and legs in a fantasy championship unless you're really in a tight jam.

Shonn Greene; Dustin Keller(notes)
Fred Jackson; Stevie Johnson(notes); Ryan Fitzpatrick; Braylon Edwards(notes); NY Jets Defense;
Sleeper: Jerricho Cotchery(notes)
Key Injuries: BUF WR David Nelson(notes) (rib); NYJ QB Mark Sanchez (shoulder); NYJ WR Santonio Holmes (toe, hip); NYJ OT Damien Woody(notes) (knee); NYJ S James Ihedigbo(notes) (knee); NYJ S Eric Smith(notes) (concussion)
Prediction: NY Jets 24, Buffalo 19
DALLAS COWBOYS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
COWBOYS (1 = most; 32= least): 1 18 1 27
EAGLES (1 = most; 32= least): 5 22 11 1

What to watch for: The Eagles look set to give some regulars much of Sunday off, if not all of it. Michael Vick(notes) is hurting and he probably won't see a snap. Jerome Harrison(notes) could easily take over for LeSean McCoy(notes). Clay Harbor(notes) could replace Brent Celek(notes). DeSean Jackson(notes) has a sore foot, so Jason Avant(notes) should see a big bump in reps and could be the go-to receiver, although Jeremy Maclin(notes) may be lobbying for at least the 36 yards needed to reach the 1,000 yards receiving mark. The point is that this is one of those Week 17 situations that you fear if you have been heavily invested in Vick, McCoy or the Philly top receivers. Grab their backups, as the matchup against Dallas is very nice, especially for the passing game. … Dallas is down to third-string QB Stephen McGee(notes). The Dallas reality bites for fantasy purposes. But, with Philly also likely to rest some key starters on defense, as well, Jason Witten(notes), Felix Jones(notes) and Miles Austin(notes) could come through.

Jason Witten
K. Kolb; J. Harrison; F. Jones; M. Austin; J. Avant; Philly Defense; Sam Hurd(notes)
Sleeper: Riley Cooper(notes); Clay Harbor
Key Injuries: DAL QB Jon Kitna(notes) (oblique); DAL WR Roy Williams (groin)
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Dallas 17
ARIZONA CARDINALS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
CARDS (1 = most; 32= least): 27 2 19 13
49ERS (1 = most; 32= least): 16 27 3 32

What to watch for: There's nothing on the line in this contest, perhaps the most forgettable of Week 17 from a reality or fantasy standpoint. We know what to do with Larry Fitzgerald(notes), Vernon Davis(notes) and Michael Crabtree(notes). The only other player I would consider is Anthony Dixon(notes), who is expected to get an extended look as Brian Westbrook(notes) won't likely be back next season and the team wants to get a closer look at Dixon.

Larry Fitzgerald; Vernon Davis; San Francisco Defense
Anthony Dixon; Michael Crabtree; Alex Smith; Brian Westbrook;
Sleeper: Andre Roberts(notes)
Key Injuries: ARI WR Steve Breaston(notes) (knee); ARI TE Ben Patrick(notes) (hamstring); ARI LB O'Brien Schofield(notes) (groin); ARI LB Joey Porter(notes) (triceps); ARI RB LaRod Stephens-Howling(notes) (hamstring); SF LB Keaton Kristick(notes) (concussion); SF CB Phillip Adams(notes) (ankle)
Prediction: San Francisco 21, Arizona 13
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ DENVER BRONCOS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
BOLTS (1 = most; 32= least): 31 21 30 15
BRONCOS (1 = most; 32= least): 10 1 26 3

What to watch for: While they are saying otherwise, the Chargers could struggle to get up for Sunday's contest. One of the most talented teams in the league saw its playoff hopes dashed with a loss in Cincy last week. With nothing to play for save a winning record, a road game in Denver could be a tough place to find motivation. – especially with Denver riding the Rocky Mountain high of the Tim Tebow(notes) Experience. Ryan Mathews(notes) should get a heavy workload with Mike Tolbert(notes) dealing with a neck injury, and the opportunity is ripe against the most generous fantasy run defense. And I don't really expect the Chargers to disappoint offensively because Philip Rivers(notes) never takes a down off, nor will he let anyone in his huddle quit without getting an earful. I'm a little leery of Vincent Jackson(notes) potentially facing off against Pro Bowl snub Champ Bailey(notes). But Bailey is battling a sore heel and he'll be less than 100 percent even if he does play, so I'll give Jackson the benefit of the doubt … I'm going to have to decide between Kevin Kolb(notes) and Tebow in my fantasy championship game and, at the moment, I'm leaning Tebow. On the surface, it's tough to bank on a player that will likely attempt fewer than 30 passes against one of the top pass defenses in the league. And you have to wonder if he can keep scoring TDs on the ground with such regularity. But we pretty much know that he's going to call his own number anytime painted grass is near. And he hasn't looked quite as bad throwing the ball as we thought he might. Knowshon Moreno(notes) is very likely to sit in this contest, which means Correll Buckhalter(notes) and Lance Ball(notes) would again pick up the slack. As he showed last week (92 YFS, 2 TDs), Buckhalter has the better upside.

Philip Rivers; Ryan Mathews; Vincent Jackson; Brandon Lloyd(notes)
Tim Tebow; Correll Buckhalter; Jabar Gaffney(notes); Legedu Naanee(notes)
Sleeper: Darren Sproles(notes); Demaryius Thomas(notes)
Key Injuries: SD RB Mike Tolbert (neck); SD TE Antonio Gates(notes) (foot); SD WR Malcom Floyd(notes) (hamstring); SD WR Patrick Crayton(notes) (wrist); SD LB Stephen Cooper(notes) (knee); DEN CB Champ Bailey (heel); DEN RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs)
Prediction: Denver 28, San Diego 27
ST. LOUIS RAMS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

FAN. PPG ALLOWED (since Week 4) QB RB WR TE
RAMS (1 = most; 32= least): 21 20 16 20
HAWKS (1 = most; 32= least): 3 3 2 21

What to watch for: This is a straight-up winner in/loser out scenario, and the final game of the Week 17 regular season. Of course, losing records for both teams are not typically a part of these types of showdowns. Seattle does not know if Matt Hasselbeck(notes) will be good to go with his backside injury. And the only reason fantasy owners care is because Hasselbeck makes Mike Williams a much more attractive option. Williams and Marshawn Lynch(notes) are the only Seahawks you can consider in standard league sizes. … Sam Bradford(notes) has a very bright future, but he's not to the point where you should gamble on him making you rich, even against the Seahawks. He's been no better than an average producer at the position in 12 of 15 games. Danario Alexander's(notes) role is expanding and Seattle could struggle with his size, like they have against many of the tall targets they've faced. If you are going to invest in the Rams' passing game, he's probably your best bet, although Danny Amendola(notes) certainly has PPR cred.

Steven Jackson
Marshawn Lynch; Mike Williams; Danario Alexander; Danny Amendola; Sam Bradford; St. Louis Defense
Sleeper: –
Key Injuries: SEA QB Matt Hasselbeck (glute); SEA WR Brandon Stokley(notes) (head); SEA OT Russell Okung(notes) (ankle); STL TE Michael Hoomanawanui(notes) (ankle);
Prediction: St. Louis 26, Seattle 24

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