If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in one of those fantasy leagues that play all 17 weeks. On the plus side, you get one more week of fantasy football fun. However, that could also be a problem if your star players play for teams that have already solidified their playoff seed and are therefore resting a lot of their usual starters. Thankfully, that shouldn’t affect many people this year. There are still matchups to consider, however, so first let’s take a look at the bad ones.
Adrian Peterson had a quiet game in Cincinnati this past Sunday and when you factor in his lingering injury concerns and a relatively tough game against Detroit in a game that doesn’t count for anything, it is highly unlikely he’ll play this week. Even if he’s active, proceed with extreme caution.
Steven Jackson is another one to sit this week. Facing a Carolina defense that only allowed him 57 yards in week 9, Jackson should have very little room to run this Sunday. He’s also working with short rest this week because of the Monday game so don’t expect huge results.
This Sunday also features a game that will be tough for both running backs. Ray Rice and Giovani Bernard face off in what could very well be the most disappointing game for fantasy owners this year. Rice looked alright against the Patriots on Sunday, but Cincinnati is tough. Even though they clinched the division, they’ll still be fighting for their seed as the Ravens fight for their playoff lives. This means that both players will likely see a good number of touches, but their value will still likely be limited.
On the plus side, even though he was benched during the Giants game, Reggie Bush should be back to close out the season on a positive note against a very forgiving Minnesota defense. DeAngelo Williams should also have a nice game in Atlanta as Carolina tries to close out an impressive 2013 season. Even their backups, Joique Bell and Mike Tolbert could have decent outings if you’re in a jam.
Speaking of tandems, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball could play the tale of two halves depending on how well Denver does early on against Oakland. That could spell nice production for both of them. Additionally, now that he has the passing TD record, don’t be surprised if the Broncos also bench Peyton Manning fairly early in this game. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t still be good for a couple of scores, but if you’re sitting on another top 5 option at QB, Manning’s ceiling is lower this week than his cathedral-like usual.
For wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald has his third tough matchup in a row against San Francisco this week and at this point should just sit on your bench in favor of any number of guys with better matchups. The same can be said for Andre Johnson who was great for most of the season, but likely isn’t looking at much in the way of fantasy points against the Titans in Nashville.
The good news is that there are plenty of replacements to choose from. Riley Cooper, Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jerrel Jernigan are all in excellent positions for success this week. They aren’t all A-list talent like Calvin Johnson, but if Calvin doesn’t play, it’s nice to have guys like this waiting on the sidelines.
As I’ve said many times before, go with your gut. This is the last week of the fantasy season and you’ve been watching these guys play all year. If you feel good about a guy, start him. Otherwise, start the guy you think has the biggest potential for a great season-ender.
Best of luck to all of you and Happy Holidays!