Well, for most fantasy football players, the season is over. However for many, there is still one more week to play. In years past this has been a week full of worthless games played by worthless players and as a result most fantasy leagues end on week 16 to avoid having to play Matt McGloin against the Broncos, for example. The only really good excuse is a 2 week final, which I’m not totally opposed to, but to have your entire league decided on a week 17 match-up where good players get benched early or don’t even play at all is a little bit nuts to me. But I digress, my thoughts on the matter are worthless if you’re already in a league that uses this week, what you need know is some solid suggestions to hopefully help you win your match-up. As always, I’m joined by DFF’s Shane Manila @DFF_Shane to help point you in the right direction this week.
QB: EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills:
Due to injuries and benchings, this week actually has a few surprising starters this week. Although I ‘d like to suggest Oakland’s Matt McGloin or Tennessee’s Matt Cassel, both are going up against tough pass defenses in Denver and Houston, respectively. Manuel however is playing the Jets and he and his interim head coach/offensive coordinator are both playing for a new job in the off-season. The Bills running game is strong enough to make defenses focus on stopping the run, and should leave Manuel some space to try to do something in the secondary.
QB: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars:
He’s right around 50% owned in ESPN leagues, so you have a chance at picking him up to play for this week only. As a real football player, Bortles has regressed. However, as a fantasy player, he’s been just fine. This week he faces the Indianapolis Colts who have a terrible secondary and Bortles has traditionally put up decent numbers against them over the course of his career. He has the upside this week to be a league winner.
RB: Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys:
The Cowboys say they are going to play their starters, but I can’t see them staying in too long. They’ve already locked up the #1 seed in the NFL they only have things to lose by leaving their key players in beyond a series or two. McFadden just returned from the IR and I’m sure the ‘boys would like to knock the rust off of him this week so he’s ready for their playoff game in 2 weeks.
RB: Alfred Blue, Houston Texans:
Blue did well in relief of an injured Lamar Miller and should do the same this week as well. The Texans want to take pressure off of Tam Savage and will rely on the running game to do so. Blue has been productive in his career when given a large volume of touches and should do so again this week.
RB: Alex Collins, Seattle Seahawks:
The Seahawks have been beaten up at RB all season. Thomas Rawls sustained a shoulder injury last week and is listed as questionable for this week. Seattle worked out 5 free agent running backs this week, so my guess is that they’ll be shelving Rawls until the playoffs. That leaves Collins as the last man standing. He’s playing a terrible, terrible, terrible San Francisco run defense (did I mention they’re terrible?) and he has league winning upside.
WR: JJ Nelson, Arizona Cardinals:
Michael Floyd’s DUI & subsequent release by the Cardinals have moved JJ Nelson into a starting role for the red birds. He’s been a big play machine most of his career and we’re in the middle of a hot streak. Look for that to continue this week against a garbage Los Angeles Rams team.
WR: Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars:
What has the world come to when the Jags receiver you want to play each week isn’t Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns, and it’s not even close. See the above write up on Blake Bortles for details, but Lee is the WR to own here and he should feast on whoever the awful 3rd CB is in Indy.
TE: Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers:
This is as simple as it comes, James is the starting TE for the Steelers. The Steelers play the Browns this week. The Browns are awful against the TE this season. Start James… hell, you could probably even play Xavier Grimble if you are desperate enough this week.
TE: Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers:
Look, I hate Jared Cook. More than you probably should hate a stranger. I mean, sure, he’s probably a nice enough guy, but he’s fantasy poison. He has one, maybe two, good games a year and then people forget he’s bad at football and keep rolling him out there each week. Well, he’s playing the Lions, who are also pretty bad against the TE. If there’s ever been a week where it’s ok to play him, this might be it, but if you’re banking your fantasy championship on Jared Cook, I sure hope you’re ok with second place.
RB: Denard Robinson/Corey Grant Jacksonville Jaguars:
Someone has to play running back for the Jags I suppose. With T.J. Yeldon on the IR and Chris Ivory a walking infirmary, battling an newly injured hamstring, that task will fall to either Robinson or Grant. If Robinson is active fire him up otherwise give Corey Grant a start.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets:
I’m not saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Voodoo witch doctor but I’m also not not saying it. All I know is everytime we’re all ready to move on from Fitzpatrick someone gets injured and he ends up starting yet again. Bryce Petty was placed on the IR and the Jets have named Fitzpatrick as their starter for their final meaningless game of 2016.
QB: E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills:
The Bills had a busy Tuesday. First they fired the brothers Ryan, Rex and Rob. Then they decided to sit Tyrod Taylor for contract related reasons. Manuel is a starting QB, that you know barring injury, will at least play a full game this week.
WR: Rod Streater, San Francisco 49ers:
Streater has stepped into the vacancy created by injuries to Quinton Patton and Torrey Smith and filled in quite well the last two weeks scoring 27.4 fantasy points.
RB: Fitzgerald Toussaint, Pittsburgh Steelers:
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin has already announced his intentions to rest his starters this weekend, which would include Le’veon Bell. DeAngelo Williams may receive a few touches to work off the rust he’s accrued over the last few weeks being out with injury, but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Toussaint will get the lion’s share of the Steelers rb workload this weekend.
There you have it folks. We’re done. Finished. Fin. Finito. It’s a wrap, the NFL regular season has come to a close and with it, fantasy football. It was real, it was fun, for some of us it was real fun, but for those of us missing out on a championship this season, it’s onto next year. Good luck this week. Thanks for reading, hopefully these picks can help propel you to a winning weekend. Have a great off-season and see you back here next year! Give myself @dibari22, KJ @DFF_KJ and Shane @DFF_Shane a follow on Twitter and reach out anytime you want to discuss strategy, players or really anything you feel like talking about.