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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: Chiefs vs. Chargers

With the Ravens and Dolphins playing early Sunday games, the Chargers could come into this game needing a win for a playoff spot, or could have a meaningless outing.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's Kansas City Chiefs-San Diego Chargers game definitely doesn't matter for the Chiefs; they're locked into the AFC's five seed no matter what happens. Depending on what happens in the day's early games, the matchup (at 4:25 p.m. ET in San Diego) could also be meaningless for the Chargers, as they will need losses by the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for them to have a chance at the AFC's second wild-card slot. Without that help, the Chargers, too, could have nothing significant to play for in Sunday's matchup, meaning projecting fantasy performance could be a question mark. That said, the Chargers don't have any significant injury concerns, and even if the game is meaningless, they won't be saving their players for anything; this projection will assume their players will be active and as productive as they normally would. Here's a look at the players that could matter in fantasy:


Start in every league: ...

Start if you're desperate: Knile Davis, Junior Hemingway, A.J. Jenkins, Ryan Succop

Bench: Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Jamaal Charles, Defense/special teams

It certainly looks like the Chiefs are all set to rest their primary players in Sunday's game, so it's almost impossible to project definitively starting anyone on the roster. Davis, likely to fill in for Charles, has talent, but struggles with fumbling. Still, best bet is he gets the lion's share of carries in Sunday's game. ... Similarly, Dwayne Bowe is already out for the game, and Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster won't likely play a lot either, leaving Hemingway and Jenkins to catch the most passes. ... Succop won't be going anywhere, of course, so he can always get a couple field goals.

Smith might only play a series or two in the game; he's unlikely to be on the field nearly long enough to accrue fantasy value. ... Behind Smith, Daniel will likely get the majority of the pass attempts, but we haven't seen enough to put any faith in him. ... Charles is also unlikely to get a lot of playing time, rendering the top fantasy running back useless Sunday. ... The offensive players aren't the only ones who could get shut down Sunday; if Andy Reid decides to sit the defensive players down as well, the Chargers' offense could run wild. Of course, it's always possible they play the whole game, but it's enough of a question mark that you might as well find a backup option.


Start in every league: Ryan Mathews, Keenan Allen, Nick Novak

Start if you're desperate: Philip Rivers, Defense/special teams

Bench: Danny Woodhead, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Antonio Gates

Even with an ankle injury, it looks like Mathews will play Sunday, and few running backs have been hotter than him of late, with seven straight games (and nine of 10) of nine or more fantasy points. He's because a must-start option. ... Allen has five touchdowns in his last three games, and has averaged 11.4 fantasy points in his last five. He's an every-league starter. ... Novak sits at No. 5 in fantasy scoring among kickers, and has converted multiple field goals in six of his last seven games.

Rivers has had three nonproductive fantasy games in his last four. He'll probably be fine, especially if the Chiefs rest their defense, but he's far from a sure thing. ... The Chargers' defense has only reached double figures twice all season, and has never topped 11 points.

Woodhead's touches have dropped off steeply. He still hasn't topped 52 rushing yards in a game all season, and his receptions have fallen off. What's there to like? ... Neither Royal nor Brown has scored in double digits since Week 9, Brown not since Week 5. Stay away. ... Gates' numbers have been awful for weeks; since three straight double-digit games Weeks 2-4, he's averaging less than 4.5 points a game. He's no longer a must-start tight end.

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