In an annual tradition, solidifying my Week 17 rankings was a waking nightmare. Most of the scheduled games are meaningless, and others are only meaningful for one of the teams involved. With that in mind, it’s difficult to cut through the noise and identify which players will compete with full effort or workloads. For your reference, here is a quick rundown of the most important contests on Sunday’s slate (ignoring the possibility of ties):
- New England at Miami, 1:00 PM ET: The Patriots clinch home field advantage with a win (or a Raiders loss), while the Dolphins can improve their seed with a win.
- Kansas City at San Diego / Oakland at Denver, 4:25 PM ET: The outcomes of these games determine whether the Raiders or Chiefs win the AFC West and earn a first-round bye.
- New York Giants at Washington, 4:25 PM ET: Washington cliches a Wild Card spot with a win. The Giants have little to play for, as they are locked into the NFC’s fifth seed.
- New Orleans at Atlanta, 4:25 PM ET: The Falcons clinch the two-seed with a win (or losses by both the Seahawks and Lions).
- Seattle at San Francisco, 4:25 PM ET: The Seahawks clinch the two-seed with a win and a Falcons loss.
- Green Bay at Detroit, 8:30 PM ET: The winner takes the NFC North crown, while the loser will earn a Wild Card berth if Washington loses beforehand. The Lions can secure the second seed if they win and both the Falcons & Seahawks lose.
With that out of the way, here’s the link to this week’s Flowbotics worksheet:
As usual, my rankings are a couple mouse-scrolls away. For the space between, here are a handful of relatively unknown players to familiarize yourself with for Week 17…
E.J. Manuel & Landry Jones
Only 2QBers need apply, but Manual and Jones will take over for Tyrod Talor and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively. The Bills need to avoid an injury to Taylor, and the Steelers are locked into their playoff spot, so both teams are opting for backup quarterbacks in the final week of the season.
Alex Collins & Marcel Reece
Thomas Rawls is back at practice after missing the second half of his Week 16 match-up. He should be ready to start against San Francisco on Sunday, but don’t expect a full workload this time around, either. The Niners play like a team of nine year olds on defense, and the backups for Seattle should eventually overtake the rushing duties so Rawls doesn’t risk aggravating his shoulder injury.
In addition to Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are also holding out Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Figuring out the receiver corps beyond Brown is likely a fools errand, but the running back pecking order is easy to read. DeAngelo Williams is the number-two rusher in Pittsburgh’s offense, but he just returned from a knee injury in Week 16 and only played one snap. Toussaint should see plenty of opportunity against the Browns, who rank 31st in rushing defense DVOA.
Bilal Powell and Matt Forte are iffy for Week 17, while Khiry Robinson recently hit injured reserve, so Wilds is likely the lone pilot of the Jets’ rushing attack to close the season. Wilds isn’t a special talent, but teams have run roughshod over the Bills defense all season. Keep an eye on Powell’s health through the week. If he can’t play, Wilds has a nice floor based on the match-up.
In a similar situation to Wilds, Marshall should receive extra run thanks to a rash of injuries to the depth chart ahead of him. Marshall and the Eagles will face a Dallas team likely to rest starters. Meanwhile, to keep the ball out of Carson Wentz’s hands as much as possible, Philadelphia has shown strong commitment to running the ball in the second half of the season. They may let their rookie quarterback sling it more than usual in this meaningless game, but Marshall still projects as Philly’s primary runner between the tackles.
I’m cheating here. Everyone knows of Thielen after he roasted the Packers secondary last week. I only bring him up because he doesn’t appear to be a fluke, especially while Stefon Diggs remains bothered by injuries. For now, Thielen is the top receiver on the Vikings, and he should be ranked as such in Week 17.
Tyler Lockett’s injury on Saturday was a heart-breaker. He was getting healthy, the Seattle passing attack was rounding into form, and then it all fell apart. I mentioned this on the 2QBXP podcast this week, but I expect Richardson, not Jermaine Kearse, to be the primary beneficiary of Lockett’s misfortune. The Seahawks’ positive passing game development seemed to hinge on the deep-threat ability of Lockett, and that isn’t an asset Kearse will replicate. Enter Richardson, whose speed makes him the best replacement available to Seattle in their quest for a playoff bye against San Francisco’s putrid defense.
Other fringe players who could see spikes in value for Week 17 include…
- QB: Paxton Lynch, Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson
- RB: Rex Burkhead, DuJuan Harris, Shaun Draughn, Denard Robinson, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams, Terron Ward, Akeem Hunt
- WR: Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Deonte Thompson, Rod Streater, Bryan Walters, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, Roger Lewis
- TE: C.J. Uzomah, Jesse James, Brandon Myers, Jeff Heuerman
That does it for my regular season work here at TwoQBs. Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 17.
Week 17 Rankings
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