This is the final week of the regular season. In most leagues, the championships were last week and this week is completely irrelevant. For those remaining leagues, this is the championship match and you need all the help you can get. There are lots of leagues that don’t have playoffs and this week could make a difference in regards to overall points and you can win your rotisserie league. Either way, this week still has a lot of value in both the NFL and also in fantasy circles. So take a look at the final week of starts, sits, and sleepers as you try to finish off 2019 as a fantasy football champion.
Fantasy Football Week 17 Starts, Sits, And Sleepers
Start – Ryan Tannehill vs. Houston Texans
This is a must-win game for the Titans if they want their season to continue into January. Tannehill has been playing well all season long for the Titans and he should bring his best in a playoff-clinching scenario. Last week against the Saints, Tannehill threw for 272 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
He should continue his hot streak as he looks to defeat the Texans, after losing to them only two weeks ago. One thing that can help Tannehill in this game particularly, is that Derrick Henry will be playing after taking last week off. Having a more stable running game can lead to Tannehill being more effective on play-action plays and also the passing game in general.
Overall in a must-win game for Tannehill and the Titans, expect Tannehill to bring it and put your fantasy roster in a good position to win in the final regular-season game of the year.
Another start option to consider: Carson Wentz vs. New York Giants
Sit – Andy Dalton vs. Cleveland Browns
Dalton had himself a whale of a game last week against the Dolphins. While the Bengals didn’t come away with the win, they did lock-up the number one draft spot and Dalton’s days in Cincinnati may be coming to an end. Regardless, that game last week might show another team that he is still a capable starter in the NFL and possibly a high-end backup option as well.
While these are great for Dalton’s long-term future, his short-term future may not be so great. Playing against the Browns, Dalton threw for zero touchdowns and also threw one interception. While Cleveland is a bit of a dysfunctional group, they are looking to end the season on a high-note and regroup for the 2020 season. Dalton might have been a good play last week, but this week he should be left off starting rosters.
Another sit option to consider: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New England Patriots
*Sleeper Start* – Drew Lock vs. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are looking for a lot of puzzle pieces to fall into place if they want to make the playoffs this year. One thing that might stop them from playing in January is facing Lock and the Broncos. While Denver has nothing to play for and Oakland is trying to squeak into the postseason picture, Lock is looking to continue improving and head into 2020 as the no-question starter for the Broncos. While he has thrown three interceptions through only four games, Lock also has thrown for six touchdowns, boasts a completion percentage of 65%, and has only taken three sacks.
The Raiders will bring everything they have against the Broncos but expect Lock and the passing game to give the Raiders defense more than they can handle. Also, both LaMarcus Joyner and Trayvon Mullen are banged up in the secondary and will be at less than 100% if they do end up playing. This contest could go either way, but expect Lock to build on his solid play and head into the new year as the Denver Broncos quarterback for 2020 and beyond.
Another sleeper option to consider: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Seattle Seahawks
Start – Miles Sanders vs. New York Giants
With Jordan Howard nursing an injury the past few weeks, Sanders has taken over the lead role in the Philadelphia backfield. Now he has given up a few touches to the likes of Boston Scott, but there is no question that Sanders has looked dynamic with the increase in touches. Since being the starter for the past six weeks, Sanders has been averaging over 20 touches, 100 total yards, and one touchdown in that span. He is being utilized in the passing game and running game, which gives him the leg up even with Howard returning to the lineup this week.
Sanders was drafted out of Penn St. in the second round for a reason. He is a playmaker and with the starting role the past few weeks, he’s really showed that this offense should flow through him and can take a little more pressure off of Wentz and the passing game. Coming into this game against the Giants, expect Sanders to be used early and often, as the Eagles try to clinch the NFC East division title. Sanders is an easy start this week.
Another start option to consider: Raheem Mostert vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sit – Marshawn Lynch vs. San Francisco 49ers
Beast Mode is back in Seattle in a crucial game for the NFC West division and a possible first-round bye in the playoffs. While the nostalgia is running with full force, don’t expect Lynch to be. While Lynch will eventually gain his legs and become the running back we were used to seeing in his prime, it won’t happen in his first NFL action since October 14, 2018.
Losing Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and C.J. Prosise for the year is pretty tough to handle. Bringing in Lynch is an interesting move that might pay off later in the playoff rounds, but in a game that is for the NFC West title, expect Lynch to exhibit some rust and possibly shake it off in time for their first-round match-up in January. They may go to him at times when they need those critical third-down conversions and he may vulture a touchdown in the red zone, but this is not the player you want to stake your fantasy title on.
Another sit option to consider: David Montgomery vs. Minnesota Vikings
*Sleeper Start* – Gus Edwards vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mark Ingram is nursing a calf injury heading into the playoffs. Even if he was healthy, the Ravens are resting all essential starters and he would most likely have sat out anyways. Baltimore has locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and that means we will be seeing a lot of back-ups and depth players showcase their stuff in hopes of getting into the rotation during Baltimore’s postseason run.
While Edwards has been used in conjunction with the Ravens running attack, this week he’ll be asked to lead the Ravens backfield in touches. Justice Hill will earn some touches as well, but this is a great chance for Edwards to put on a show against the Steelers and earn some touches during the playoffs. In his 2019 season, Edwards has been rushing at over five yards per attempt. In a starting role this week, that kind of number can easily win a person their fantasy title.
Another sleeper option to consider: Ronald Jones vs. Atlanta Falcons
Start – Amari Cooper vs. Washington Redskins
His last couple of weeks have been duds on the grandest of degrees. His last two weeks alone, Cooper put together a total stat line of 14 targets, five receptions, 43 yards, and no touchdowns. Against a depleted Washington defense, Cooper needs to have a rebound game if he wants to help Dallas in a possible playoff game. Needing this win to have a chance at making the playoffs, Cooper will be relied on to get this offense in position to score and score himself. He was on the receiving end of 12 targets last week against the Eagles and he should see close to that many in this week’s game against the Redskins. No need to think about this one too much, start Cooper and any other Dallas Cowboys players while you’re at it.
Another start option to consider: Courtland Sutton vs. Oakland Raiders
Sit – Panthers Receivers vs. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are playing for a top seed in the NFC playoff picture. That means that all starters will play for New Orleans and the Panthers receivers should have trouble producing at all. Last week against the Colts, the Panthers receivers had combined receiving yards of 117. The replacement of Kyle Allen for Will Grier has not worked out and this week’s game shouldn’t be any different.
Consider also that after their loss to the 49ers and surrendering over 500 total yards, the defense has locked things up and has allowed an average of 300 yards in the past two games. This also includes only allowing 200 passing yards on average.
The Panthers have a lot to think about in the off-season and they will be hoping for a quick end to their season. The Saints should be able to gain a comfortable lead and force the Panthers to throw more, but in this case, it won’t lead to fantasy points for any Carolina receivers. Leave D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel on the bench or waiver wire this week.
Another sit option to consider: Tyler Lockett vs. San Francisco 49ers
*Sleeper Start* – Justin Watson vs. Atlanta Falcons
This is a risky play, but it could pay off for you if you need a flex player or wide receiver. Watson has found the endzone twice in the past three weeks and last week he was targeted 10 times. With the losses of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans for the year, Watson has earned a starting role in the Tampa Bay offense. Add in the fact that with a quarterback like Jameis Winston, you know the ball is going to be thrown all over the field.
Watson is very touchdown-dependent but with those 10 targets he got last week, the volume play is something worth taking a risk on. With Breshad Perriman garnering more attention as the primary receiving option, Watson has a chance to slip in and vulture another touchdown. He could be looking at an average day of about five receptions for 70 yards or so, but that touchdown, if he can get it, will put him over the edge. The two weeks he did score he put up fantasy points of 16.9 and 15.3 points, respectively. A risky play here, but the dividends can be big if he finds paydirt.
Another sleeper option to consider: Steven Sims Jr. vs. Dallas Cowboys
Start – Dallas Goedert vs. New York Giants
News just came out this week that Zach Ertz is dealing with a rib injury. Even if Ertz is able to tough it out and play this weekend, his performance might take a dip if he can’t play the entire game. This means that Goedert is in a prime position to have himself a great game in two straight weeks.
Last week, Goedert was able to shred the Dallas defense for nine receptions, 91 yards, and one touchdown. Playing against the Giants’ defense this week, Goedert should have another solid game as the Eagles need to win to capture the NFC East crown in 2019. Let’s also not forget that almost any receiver for Philadelphia is currently out with some type of injury. So the reliance on both of these receiving tight ends is going to be high as that will be the most dependable way to move the ball down the field in big chunks.
The last time the Giants and Eagles played this season, Ertz and Goedert combined for 19 targets, granted it favored Ertz more as he had 13 of those 19 targets. Still, you can see that Wentz will be targeting his tight ends more in this crucial game and the Giants defense doesn’t have the players to cover both of them. Goedert and Ertz should have a good game against New York but expect Goedert to be on the receiving end of a healthy amount of targets, which will lead to a good fantasy day for you in a championship effort.
Another start option to consider: Jared Cook vs. Carolina Panthers
Sit – Greg Olsen vs. New Orleans Saints
See above in the wide receivers section.
Another sit option to consider: Jacob Hollister vs. San Francisco 49ers
*Sleeper Start* – Kaden Smith vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week, Smith was the second-most targeted player on the team, behind receiver Golden Tate. Coming into this week’s contest, expect Smith to be highly-targeted again as the Giants look to play spoiler and prevent the Eagles from getting into the playoffs. Daniel Jones has targeted his tight ends the most since his time playing for the Giants. Over the course of the games he’s played, the tight ends have been targeted 96 times by Jones in 12 games. Expect Smith to be targeted a lot in this game against the Eagles. Although the passing game will be utilized a lot against a weak Philadelphia secondary, receivers and tight ends alike will be lighting it up for the Giants this week. Start Smith in a sneaky play and you could be handsomely rewarded with a good day by Smith and the Giants offense.
Another sleeper option to consider: Jason Witten vs. Washington Redskins
Start – Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
We all saw on Monday night what the Packers defense is capable of. The defense was able to rack up five sacks against the Vikings and also forced one interception as well. In the final game of the regular season for the Packers, they have a chance at locking up a first-round bye by defeating the Lions. This means that the Packers will be fighting the entire game to secure a victory and a bye week entering the postseason. The Lions have one of the league’s worst offenses and the Green Bay defense should be in a great position to have a repeat performance this weekend.
Another start option to consider: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
Sit – Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
As mentioned before, the Titans are in a win and you’re in scenario. This means that they will be playing with 100% effort against a team that has a slight shot at the number three seed in the AFC playoff picture. Throw in the fact that starters DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson may not play on offense for Houston, this gives the coaching staff more reason to rest their starters and just prepare for the playoffs as the number four seed.
The Titans have also been on a roll on offense, so don’t expect it to be an easy game for the defense even if they played their starters the whole game. Over the last five weeks, Tennessee is putting up an average of 429 total yards per game and 33 points per game. This is an easy choice to leave off your starting team, look for another option in this final regular-season game.
Another sit option to consider: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
*Sleeper Start* – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
It may seem contradictory as Edwards was listed as a sleeper start against the Steelers defense. While Edwards should be in line for a good game, expect the Steelers to bring it against Robert Griffin III and cause him to turn the ball over. Pittsburgh is playing to stay in the hunt for the final spot in the AFC playoffs and they are going to do everything they can to grab that spot. Also as we saw last week, the offense is in a bit of disarray as there were a couple of swaps at quarterback and James Conner might not play this week with another injury.
While division games are always hard to determine which team will perform better, the Ravens have nothing to play for which gives all the favor to the Steelers. Start the Steelers defense this week and there is a good chance you’re hoisting your championship trophy after this week because you did.
Another sleeper option to consider: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals