Week 17 in Fantasy Football: Favorable and Unfavorable MatchupsBy JASON SABLICH and JUSTIN SABLICH
Brandon Wade/Associated PressJason and Justin Sablich provide fantasy football advice and analysis throughout the season on this blog and on Twitter @5thDownFantasy.
Rankings for each position will be updated each week by Thursday, up until the first game on each Sunday. See how they compare to other experts on FantasyPros.com
As is always the case in Week 17, it’s important to pay attention to which N.F.L. teams still have something to play for, whether it’s a higher playoff seed or any playoff seed at all. For this reason, you’ll see several members of the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already locked up their playoff seed in the A.F.C, in the unfavorable column.
P.S.: For those of you who have been following FantasyPros.com’s annual accuracy ratings challenge, we did finish in the top five for the second straight season (tied for second in 2012). Fantasy Pros rates the weekly player rankings of nearly 100 fantasy sports experts and is a great fantasy football resource for anyone who plays. We highly recommend that you check it out next season if you have yet to.
Thanks to all of our readers for another great season. We can’t wait for 2013!
Favorable Quarterback Matchups
Chad Henne (JAX) vs. Tennessee – Henne managed to post 20 fantasy points in Week 12 against the Titans, who have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the position this season.
Tony Romo (DAL) vs. Washington – Romo burned the Redskins just five weeks ago to the tune of 441 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his last two meetings with Washington.
Michael Vick (PHI) vs. Giants – Vick’s legs helped him crack the 20-point fantasy mark in his first matchup with the Giants (11th-best QB matchup, 20 FPPG) as he averaged 8 yards a scramble. He should be well motivated to impress suitors for his services in 2013.
Peyton Manning (DEN) vs. Kansas City – Denver Coach John Fox stated that he doesn’t plan on resting any of his players as they do battle for the No. 1 playoff seed, and that should mean big things against a Kansas City secondary that has allowed the 10th-most points to quarterbacks this year.
Favorable Running Back Matchups
Mark Ingram (NO) vs. Carolina – Over the past three weeks, he has averaged 4.4 yards per carry (48 total) and will be running against a team that allowed him 53 yards and a score back in Week 2.
LeSean McCoy (PHI) vs. Giants – McCoy has three straight 100-yard rushing efforts against the Giants, including 123 in his first matchup with the league’s 26th-ranked rushing defense, a defense that has yielded 4.6 yards a carry.
Shonn Greene (NYJ) vs. Buffalo — Scoring three touchdowns in his last three games, he has been the only player worth fantasy consideration on his collapsing team. Keep him active against a Buffalo defense allowing the most fantasy points to the position this year.
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) vs. Kansas City — The Chiefs (ninth-best RB matchup) had trouble stopping Moreno in his first game replacing the starter Willis McGahee as he totaled 85 yards on 20 carries in Week 12. A similar workload should be had in Week 17 as the Broncos have no plans of resting their starters.
Favorable Wide Receiver Matchups
Danario Alexander (SD) vs. Oakland – His impressive 69 yards and a score against a stout Jets secondary should give you plenty of confidence in using him against a feeble Raiders air defense that has given up 22 fantasy points a game to the position this season.
Justin Blackmon (JAX) vs. Tennessee – With Cecil Shorts bowing out to injured reserve, Blackmon will be the main attraction in the Jacksonville passing game against the Titans, who have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2012.
Brandon LeFell (CAR) vs. New Orleans – A solid sleeper pick this week as LeFell has already found moderate fantasy success against the Saints (6 receptions, 90 yards) this season. The Saints are the best fantasy receiver matchup at 28 FPPG.
Pierre Garcon (WAS) vs. Dallas — The Cowboys have allowed an opposing receiver to reach double-digit fantasy points in four of their last five games, which includes Garcon back in Week 12. He posted 93 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Favorable Tight End Matchups
Jason Witten (DAL) vs. Washington – The Redskins have allowed 10.1 fantasy points to the position this season, which is good enough for second most in the league. Not that you need any extra incentive to start Witten the way he has played of late.
Antonio Gates (SD) vs. Oakland – With 75 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last two games, Gates has re-emerged as a TE1 option to close out the year. He’ll get an Oakland team that has allowed eight and a half fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Favorable Defense/Special Teams Matchup
San Diego vs. Oakland, Jets vs. Buffalo, Baltimore vs. Cincinnati, Buffalo vs. Jets
Unfavorable Quarterback Matchups
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesColin Kaepernick (SF) vs. Arizona – Coming off his worst game as a starter this season (19 for 36, 244 yards, 1 TD/1 INT), things won’t get any easier this week as the Cardinals’ stout secondary has allowed just two 20-point fantasy games all season. Mario Manningham is gone for the rest of the year and Kaepernick could be without Vernon Davis (concussion) as well.
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. Baltimore – The Ravens have held both Manning brothers to under 15 fantasy points over the last two weeks and haven’t allowed a 20-point fantasy game in six weeks. Cincinnati does not have a lot to play for here either as its playoff seed is solidified.
Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. Chicago – Stafford’s disappointing season will likely end on a sour note as the Bears have yielded just 12 fantasy points a game to quarterbacks this year.
Josh Freeman (TB) vs. Atlanta – Freeman managed just 10 fantasy points in their first meeting, and he has traditionally struggled against the Falcons, posting an 13-point fantasy average in his last six games.
Unfavorable Running Back Matchups
Michael Turner (ATL) vs. Tampa Bay — Having clinched the No. 1 seed, Atlanta has nothing to play for, so we are not expecting more than 10 carries for Turner to close out the regular season. The matchup against the league’s top-ranked run defense is not enticing as it is.
Matt Forte (CHI) vs. Detroit – Forte missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury and will likely be playing at less then 100 percent against a sneaky-tough Lions run defense (eighth-worst RB matchup) that has allowed just four runners to eclipse to century mark this year.
Ryan Grant (GB) vs. Minnesota – The Vikings have held Matt Forte, Arian Foster and Steven Jackson out of the end zone over the last three weeks and have limited opposing running backs to a 3.9 average this season. Expecting a Week 16 repeat would be highly unreasonable.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (CIN) vs. Baltimore – It is not the matchup, it is the playing time, because the Law Firm is not likely to see a full workload since his team can do no better than the sixth seed in the playoffs.
Unfavorable Wide Receiver Matchups
Josh Gordon (CLE) vs. Pittsburgh – Both Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy are highly questionable for this week’s game, which would leave the third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis throwing the ball against the position’s fifth-worst fantasy matchup. No thanks .
Torrey Smith (BAL) vs. Cincinnati – The Bengals have allowed just seven wideouts to produce 10 or more fantasy points all season, with three being of the WR1 variety. Smith posted a mediocre 2 for 57 stat line on three targets in their Week 1 matchup, although the Bengals might be resting starters by the third quarter in this one with nothing to really play for.
Marques Colston (NO) vs. Carolina – The Panthers held Colston to just 49 yards on three catches back in Week 2, but one could make the argument that he wasn’t playing at 100 percent until his Week 4 explosion against Green Bay. The Panthers surprisingly rank in as third-worst receiver matchup at 17 FPPG.
Mike Williams (TB) vs. Atlanta – Williams’s value is usually tied to touchdowns, as he has posted just three games for 100 or more yards this season. Atlanta (seventh-worst WR matchup) has surrendered the fewest touchdowns to the position (six) this season and held Williams to a meager 28 yards on three grabs just five weeks ago.
Unfavorable Tight End Matchups
Brandon Myers (OAK) vs. San Diego — The Chargers rank in as the sixth-worst tight end matchup this season and have surrendered just two double-digit fantasy games to opposing ends all year, not to mention that Myers has just two fantasy points in his last three games and will be fielding passes from the one and only Matt Leinart.
Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. Baltimore – The Ravens have allowed just two touchdowns to the position all season, and Gresham is yet another Bengal who could be seeing limited action this weekend.
Unfavorable Defense/Special Teams Matchups
Minnesota vs. Green Bay, Cincinnati vs. Baltimore, St. Louis vs. Seattle, Arizona vs. San Francisco