After the Seattle Seahawks lost their first home game of the year -- their first home game with Russell Wilson as their quarterback -- in Week 16, some questions arose that no one expected. Suddenly, the Seahawks were no longer sure things for the NFC's top overall seed, weren't even guaranteed of hosting a playoff game. If the Seahawks lose Sunday -- hosting the St. Louis Rams in a 4:25 p.m. ET game -- they could find themselves slipping all the way to the NFC five-seed, having to go on the road for a playoff game next week. So ... let's just say the Seahawks have a lot riding on Sunday's matchup. So do fantasy owners, and here's a look at the players who could matter:
Start in every league: Zac Stacy
Start if you're desperate: Greg Zuerlein, Defense/special teams
Bench: Kellen Clemens, Tavon Austin, Austin Pettis, Chris Givens, Jared Cook
It's been a nice run for Stacy. Starting with his 134 yards rushing against the Seahawks in Week 8, the rookie has rushed for 93 yards a game, with seven touchdowns. He's averaged almost 13.5 fantasy points per game since Week 5. He's become a full-fledged RB1.
Zuerlein has been a fine fantasy kicker, with eight or more fantasy points nine times in his last 11 games. Still, facing the Seattle defense in Seattle, he's no guarantee to get opportunities. ... The Rams' defense is the worst in the NFC West, which is sort of like picking your least favorite pizza topping -- you're fine no matter what. The Rams' unit sits at seventh in fantasy scoring on the season; even when they're bad, they're good, though facing Seattle in Seattle is a tall order.
Clemens has put up four fantasy points twice in his last three games, and has averaged less than 10 a game since becoming the starter. Yuck. ... The highest-ranked receiver among the Rams is Austin, and he ranks 50th and comes into Week 17 hurt. Pettis and Givens are even less reliable. ... Cook has been mostly awful this season with only a couple bright spots.
Start in every league: Marshawn Lynch, Steven Hauschka, Defense/special teams
Start if you're desperate: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin
Bench: Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse, Zach Miller
As good as the Rams' defense is overall, it really struggles against the run, so Lynch stands to have a huge game Sunday. ... Hauschka missed his first field goal since Week 5 Sunday, but overall he's still a top-flight fantasy kicker. ... Even in a loss Sunday, the Seahawks' defense put up 11 fantasy points with four intercpeptions. It's a must-use.
Wilson's numbers have fallen off a lot of late, with 11 points per game in his last three. Logic says he'll rebound to be the good fantasy quarterback he had been, but it's been unnerving for fantasy owners. ... Baldwin has been the most consistent Seattle receiver in the second half of the season; despite one catch and zero fantasy points in Week 16. If you're starting a Seahawk receiver -- not that you should, but if you are -- he's the one.
Not the ones are Tate and Kearse, neither of whom has reached double digits since Week 10. Stay away. ... Miller has only one catch a game in three straight. His numbers have been unimpressive.