Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: Ravens vs. Bengals

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

One team is going to the playoffs, and the other is desperately hoping to. Good times in the AFC North.

The Baltimore Ravens desperately need a win Sunday (or three other teams to lose along with them) to keep their AFC Wild Card hopes alive. They'll have their work cut out for them, as they travel to Cincinnati for a 1 p.m. ET game to take on a Bengals team that has yet to lose at home this season. The Bengals, meanwhile, have clinched the AFC North crown, but could wind up anywhere from the AFC's two-seed (and a first-round bye) to the four-seed, depending on Sunday's results. That in mind, here's a look at the fantasy players worth thinking about in the game:


Start in every league: Justin Tucker

Start if you're desperate: Torrey Smith

Bench: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Dennis Pitta, Defense/special teams

Sure, Tucker missed a field goal (and scored zero fantasy points) against New England Sunday, but he's still fantasy's No. 3 kicker and an every-week must-start.

If you have had him all season, you're probably rolling Smith out there in the final week as well, but he's not without worry; he's totaled eight catches, 149 yards and 15 fantasy points in his last three weeks. Against a good Bengals' defense, he's far from a sure thing.

And that's about it. Flacco has had a pretty brutal fantasy season; he's averaged 12.6 points per game overall and 11.6 in his last seven. There's a better option out there for sure. ... Rice has just been brutal all season, with only one 100-yard game and two games over 67 rushing yards. ... It took Pitta three games to even get to 100 yards. He's got fine upside, but until we see it, you can't roll him out there. ... The Ravens' defense hasn't scored in the double-figures since Week 12, and hasn't done it on the road all season long.


Start in every league: A.J. Green

Start if you're desperate: Andy Dalton, Giovani Bernard, Defense/special teams

Bench: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert, Mike Nugent

Of course you're starting Green, silly.

Dalton has been really hot in the fantasy playoffs, averaging almost 27 fantasy points in Weeks 14-16. Of course, he averaged only 10 a game in the four games before that. Of course, he averaged 27 in the three games before that. Of course, he averaged 11.4 in the five games before that. Confused? You should be. Dalton could theoretically finish the season as the No. 3 fantasy quarterback, and no one will think of him as a top-10 option next season. ... Bernard has RB1 upside, but with the time-splitting with Green-Ellis, he's been tough to count on. ... The Bengals' defense put up 21 a week ago after two combined points in the two games before. It's a very high-and-low unit, but the reward is high.

Green-Ellis has been good for stealing Bernard's carries, but less good for counting on him in fantasy. ... Gresham had a big game three weeks ago, Eifert two weeks ago, then Gresham last week. Neither one is anywhere close to reliably, though. ... Nugent hasn't scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 11 and hasn't made more than two field goals in a game all season.

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