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Fantasy football sit/start advice, Week 17

Week 17 is the end of the line. We break down the fantasy implications.

Michael Heiman

This is the end of the line for all fantasy leagues. If your league does run all the way until Week 17, Sunday will kick off your biggest matchup of the entire season.

Multiple teams have already locked up playoff spots, so some owners may need to be wary of their stars on those teams. Injuries really took their toll last week as well. It's probably best the NFL only runs through 17 regular season games.

To help you out for your last matchup of 2012, let's take a look at who you need to start in Week 17, and who needs to stay on your bench.


Michael Vick, quarterback - Nick Foles' broken hand gives Vick one last shot at proving himself. This will likely be an audition to play on a new squad next season, so we would expect him to show up big against the Giants. New York has given up five passing touchdowns over the last two weeks. If you stashed Vick on your bench, now looks like the time to actually use him again.

Shonn Greene, running back - Way back in Week 1 Greene rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Bills. Considering Buffalo gave up a rushing touchdown in each of its last three games, it's shaping up to be another solid week for New York's No. 1 running back. He only saw 14 carries last week, but managed to punch the ball into the end zone twice. He'll make a nice flex play on Sunday facing one of the league's worst defenses against opposing running backs.

Danario Alexander, wide receiver - Aside from a blank stat line against the Panthers, Alexander has been a huge boost for the Chargers passing game and fantasy lineups everywhere. He caught three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 with Antonio Cromartie shadowing him throughout the day. The Raiders secondary provides an even easier matchup for Alexander. His big-play ability continues to pay off. You'll want him in your lineup this week.

Kyle Rudolph, tight end - Christian Ponder basically only looks for Rudolph in the red zone. The Vikings No. 1 tight end has three touchdowns in his last five games. Don't expect gaudy reception or yardage totals, but Rudolph's scoring potential gives him plenty of upside. He caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Packers back in Week 13. That should be enough to convince you to start him facing Green Bay again.

Chargers defense/special teams - The Raiders scored six points last week...against the Panthers. Their offense is, for lack of a better term, not good. Last time these two teams faced off, San Diego allowed just 14 points. That was back in Week 1, but it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see the same result. Start the Chargers D/ST.


Matthew Stafford, quarterback - Stafford's last two games have produced zero touchdowns and four interceptions. Not exactly the kind of stats you want heading into the championship. He'll face the Bears defense that held him to 263 yards and one score last time they faced off. You can find a better option at quarterback than Stafford to close out the year.

Steven Jackson, running back - We've seen Jackson post solid numbers in recent weeks, so it's hard to move him to the bench right now. However, the Seahawks held the 49ers running backs to just 51 yards in Week 16, and they also kept Jackson at 55 yards back in Week 4. Seattle has allowed only a single rushing score in the past four games. You shouldn't be banking on Jackson to seal the deal for the title.

Denarius Moore, wide receiver - Moore just doesn't produce these days. There's not much more you can say. He has 14 receptions for an unimpressive 132 yards over the last four weeks. San Diego isn't stout against opposing receivers, but it has kept wideouts out of the end zone in three of the last five games. Don't count on Moore, again.

Jermaine Gresham, tight end - A three-week scoring drought isn't likely to end against the Ravens this week. Baltimore has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends in 2012. Gresham's last performance against the Ravens was disappointing, and given his production lately, owners should be looking for a replacement right away.

Cowboys defense/special teams - Dallas gave up 38 points to Washington back on Thanksgiving. This is a must-win game for both teams, but it's hard to bet against RG3 and Alfred Morris facing the Cowboys defense. Find a different D/ST for Week 17.

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