Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: Lions vs. VIkings


Two of football's most disappointing teams face off Sunday in a game that no longer matters for much of anyone.

The Detroit Lions are 1-5 since starting 6-3. The Minnesota Vikings are 3-3-1 since starting 1-7. Basically, as soon as the Vikings started playing well, the Lions quit, and it all added up to two of the most disappointing seasons for NFL teams. Sunday, the teams finish off a forgettable season with a 1 p.m. ET game in Detroit. Here's a look at the fantasy players that could matter:


Start in every league: ...

Start if you're desperate: Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Blair Walsh

Bench: Matt Cassel, Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata, Jarius Wright, Defense/special teams

By hook or by crook, Patterson has found ways to produce lately, with three straight double-digit fantasy days. Still, it's production that isn't likely to be regularly repeatable. ... Jennings has been a different receiver with Cassel at quarterback. He's no sure-fire start, but he's been better with the new passer. ... Walsh has put up nine or more fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Of course, the one game below that was just in Week 16, and he had a four-game stretch averaging four fantasy points earlier in the season, so who knows.

Cassel's mini-renaissance came crashing down in Week 16, with only one fantasy point. ... As Sunday approached, it started to look more and more like Peterson actually would suit up for the game, in a bit of a surprise. Still, even if he does, the running back won't be at full health, and Asiata has already been named the starter. With nothing to play for, the team could very well run him out there for only a drive or two before shutting him down for 2013. Meanwhile, Asiata averaged only 1.7 yards per carry in his one game. No thanks. ... Gerhart looks unlikely to play in Week 17, and even if he is a surprise active, you can't trust him to do much. ... Wright has had a couple decent games of late, but he's only had more than three catches in a game once all season. ... The Vikings' defense has fewer fantasy points on the season than tight end Kyle Rudolph, who hasn't even played since Week 9 and wasn't great when he did play.


Start in every league: ...

Start if you're desperate: Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Calvin Johnson, Defense/special teams

Bench: Nate Burleson, Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria, David Akers

What a weird end to the season for the Lions. A month ago, a season-ending matchup against the Vikings' defense would seem like a reason to rank Stafford No. 1 at quarterback, but after only 19 fantasy points in his last three, and with Johnson's possible absence, he becomes really hard to put any faith in. ... Meanwhile, Bush lost some touches after a Week 16 fumble, and Bell comes into the week banged up. At least one of the two running backs could do well, but there's also the chance the team shuts down one or both early. Tough to know how to approach them. ... It's hard to envision a scenario where it makes sense for Detroit to run Johnson out there, but if he's active, you kind of have to use him; he'll get red zone looks. ... Considering there's every chance the Vikings shut down their decent offensive players, the Lions' defense has potential, but they haven't done much outside of that huge Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay.

With or without Johnson, you can't put much stock in Burleson or Durham; neither did much of anything even with Johnson barely on the field in Week 16. ... Fauria has potential, but he's more of a 2014 play than a Week 17 one. ... Akers hasn't put up double-digit fantasy points since Week 4, and has only converted more than two field goals in a game all season.

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