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In The Trenches: Week 17 Matchups

If you're still playing, who has the best matchups for Week 17 of the NFL season?

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It's Week 17 of the NFL season. Not everyone is still playing fantasy football, some of you won your championship matchup in Week 16, but if you're still grinding away this is the piece for you. Heck, even if you just want to follow football an you're interested in some of the better matchups of the week, or just how your “guy” might fare given history, the Week 17 matchup piece is for you.



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NOTE: All points refer to a PPR setup.

NOTE II: Do the best that you can to follow reports about which players may be rested in a meaningless Week 17 for some teams.


Drew Brees threw for 322 yards an a score in Week 2 against the Bucs. The last three weeks he has thrown six touchdown passes while averaging 329 passing yards a game.

In three career starts Kirk Cousins has thrown for a total of 907 passing yards. He faces a Giants club that allows only 228 passing yards a week while intercepting 15 passes in 15 games.

With 217 yards and two scores Andy Dalton will record Bengals' team records in both categories for a single season. He faces a Ravens club that has allowed, per week, 227 passing yards and 1.5 passing scores. Dalton has killed it in December with 10 scores and just one interception in his last four December starts.

Over the last seven weeks of the NFL season Ryan Fitzpatrick is ranked in the top-5 at the quarterback position which is I'm sure a shock to everyone. This week he faces Houston, a club that has allowed 29 scores and has intercepted only six balls. Oddly, they have allowed the third fewest passing yards a week (198).

Since Week 9 Nick Foles has been the #4 QB in fantasy football. He has 25 touchdown passes and two interceptions on the year. He faces the Cowboys, the second worst defense in football against the quarterback (they've allowed 31 passing scores on the year as well).

Mike Glennon has thrown 14 touchdowns an only five interceptions in his past 10 games. The Saints figure to make life tough on him as they are currently allowing the 4th fewest points to QBs this season.

It sounds like Case Keenum will be under center for the Texans in Week 17. Too bad too cause Matt Schaub has enjoyed facing the Titans in his career (over his last four outings he's thrown 10 scores an only one interception).

Andrew Luck has the third most wins by any QB in his first two seasons and the second most passing yards. He only need six yards to set the record. He'll get there this week facing a Jaguars team that allows 244 yards a week through the air. The Jags have also been burned for 28 passing scores.

Peyton Manning is the first QB every to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 scores in a season. He's also had five games this season of four scores and no interceptions. Anyone's guess how much he plays in Week 17 though.

Aaron Rodgers is back and I don't know how you can sit him given that Randall Cobb is back and that Eddie Lacy is expected to try and play through his ankle issue. Oh, there is also the fact that if the Packers win the game they make the playoffs. The last two times he's faced the Bears he's thrown for six scores an only one interception.

Ben Roethlisberger is 8-0 at home in his career against the Browns with 26 touchdown passes. In his past six games overall this season he's tossed 14 scores an only two interceptions proving that he is damn locked in right now.

Matt Ryan threw for 219 yards and one score against the Panthers in their first meeting. He also tossed three picks. He did look good against the Niners last week though with 348 yards passing and two scores, though he has only six touchdown passes his last five games this season.

Matthew Stafford needs 67 passing yards for the 3rd straight 4,500 yard seasons. The last three times he's faced the Vikings he's thrown for at least 300 and the Vikes are currently allowing an average of 294 yards passing a week (not to mention a league worst 36 passing scores). So much of Stafford's value comes down to the health of Calvin Johnson.

Ryan Tannehill appears to be in line to play this weekend. He faces the Jets and is aiming for a third straight start at home with at least 300 passing yards. With 291 yards he will join Dan Marino as only the second Fish QB to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. The Jets are allowing the 14th most points to QBs in fantasy, a middle of the pack ranking.

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Edwin Baker has a rushing score in two straight games after the Browns entered Week 15 with just two rushing scores all season. He faces the Steelers in Week 17, a club that has allowed a big total of 18 scores on the ground this season.

Le'Veon Bell needs 73 yards from scrimmage to set a Steelers' rookie record (Franco Harris, 1,235 yards). The Browns allow an average of 142 yards a game to the running back position.

Giovani Bernard ran for 58 yards and caught eight passes for 37 yards an a score against the Ravens in Week 10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the ball nine time for 36 yards in the matchup. On the year the Ravens have been tough against runners allowing the third fewest points a week.

LeGarrette Blount and Steven Ridley face the Bills this week, the 23rd worst run defense in football. The club from New York though has only allowed eight rushing scores, so it's more about the yards they give up versus the scores. Blount looked great last week scoring twice but don't forget that he carried the ball 16 times, only once more than Ridley.

Andre Brown (concussion) should play in Week 17. He's scored twice in his last three games against the Redskins and has scored 11 times on the ground in his last 16 games. Too bad he's only run for 57 yards on 27 carries the past two weeks throwing his outlook into total disarray.

Hello Donald Brown. Over the past two weeks the Colts' runner is averaging a whopping 7.8 YPC. The Jags have alternated being horrible and solid against the run, but on the year it's been mostly poor work from them as they've allowed 14 scores to the running back while allowing the 10th most points per game to runners. Hell, even Trent Richardson had a rushing score the last time he faced the Jags.

Reggie Bush lit up the Vikings in Week 1 for 90 yards on the ground, 101 in the air, and one score. He's been losing a few touches to Joique Bell though as Bush has had some fumble issues of late. Speaking of Bell, he touched the ball a season best 30 times in Week 16 and the first time he faced the Vikes this season he managed to score twice.

Jamaal Charles has 11 scores in his last five games. He has 19 on the season. Anyone's guess how much he will play against the Chargers though.

In Week 9 against the Packers Matt Forte went off for 179 yards from scrimmage (125 rushing, 54 receiving) an a score. The Packers currently come in as the 14th worst defense against runners, pretty much right in the middle of everything.  

Chris Ivory has run for 100 yards three times this season including last week. The Dolphins can be beat on the ground, 123 yards a week, but they've only permitted five rushing scores all year.

Chris Johnson needs 50 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the 6th straight season. In his career he's beaten the Texans for an average of 89.9 yards per contest.

Ryan Mathews need 89 yards to be the first Chargers' rusher since LT to reach 1,200 yards in a season (last time was 2007). Mathew has a minor injury to his lower half but he should play through it. He's gone for at least 99 yards an a score in 3-straight games. However, the Chiefs have allowed only eight runners to cross the goaline this season. Remains to be seen how long the starters for the Chiefs are on the field though in a meaningless game.

History says Maurice-Jones drew will have success this week. MJD has run for 1,412 yards against the Colts while running for 100 yards 8-times (the yardage total is his best against any club). The Colts are the 5th worst run defense, 131 yards a game, but they've permitted only seven rushing scores.

LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 1,476 yards as a rusher. He had one of his worst games of the year in Week 7 against the Cowboys with only 55 yards rushing and 26 yards as a receiver (six grabs).  

Alfred Morris has run for more than 1,200 yards in both of his seasons. In the three games he has played against the Giants in his career he's run for 100 yards or scored a touchdown each time.

DeMarco Murray has run for 439 yards and five touchdowns in his last five games. The Eagles allow the 19th most points to runners this season so it's not a fantastic matchup for Murray but it is a solid one considering how well he is rolling right now.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 215 yards an a touchdown in his last two meetings versus the Rams in Seattle.

Adrian Peterson may not play this weekend, but if he does the matchup is a good one – to say the least. The last six times he's faced the Lions at home all he has done is run for 128.2 yards a game while scoring eight times.

Bobby Rainey has six scores in his last seven games. The Saints have permitted 12 scores this season (10 rushing, two receiving).

Ray Rice has seven rushing scores in his last six games against the Bengals (this season the Bengals have allowed only six rushing scores). In the first matchup this season (Week 10) he ran for just 30 yards in 18 carries but he did catch six balls for 26 yards.

C.J. Spiller has averaged 6.1 YPC in 26 career rushes against the Pats. Meanwhile, Fred Jackson has run for 191 yards an a touchdown the past two weeks. The two Bills' runners face a Patriots defense that is ranked 15th against RBs this season, right in the middle of the pack (only 11 scores as well).

Darren Sproles really needs to get going for the Saints. Maybe the Bucs will help him do that since he's scored in three of the last four matchups with them. He caught six balls against the Bucs in Week 2 and he's caught 11 balls the past two games even though they have resulted in a mere 56 yards.

Zac Stacy has run for 100 yards an a score the past two weeks. He's scored in the past three weeks and four of five. In fact, he had seven rushing scores the past seven games. He faces the Seahawks, a tough matchup for sure, but he did rumble for 134 yards against them in Week 8.

Texans running backs: Foster, Tate, Johnson, Karim... and now Jonathan Grimes. The Texans sill start Grimes in a matchup with the Titans. It's a great matchup on paper as the Titans allow the third most points per game to runners, but I don't know how you can possibly trust that.

DeAngelo Williams has a score of 40 yards in each of his last two games. He faces a Falcons club that has allowed the second most rushing yards in football (136 a game) while permitting 14 rushing scores.

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Keenan Allen has five scores in his last three games. The Chiefs have allowed 13 passing scores to wideouts this season.

Antonio Brown needs 13 grabs to set a Steelers club record for catches in a season (he has 101). He already has a team record with 1,412 yards. The Browns have had a hard time stopping him of late as he's scored three times in the last four matchups.

Dez Bryant has 22 touchdowns in his last 23 games. In five career games against the Eagles he's scored only three times but he has averaged better than five grabs and 77 yards a contest. The Eagles allow the most points in football to wideouts this season.

Marques Colston needs 124 yards in Week 17 to reach 1,000 for a 5th straight season. The last three games he has scored three times while averaging seven receptions and 93 yards. He caught four balls for 63 yards against the Bucs in Week 2.

Eric Decker leads the AFC with 23 touchdown receptions since the start of last season. The last time he faced the Raiders he didn't score but he did grab eight balls for 133 yards. Teammate Demaryius Thomas needs 83 yards to become the first Bronco WR with two 1,400 yard seasons.

Julian Edelman needs four receptions to join Wes Welker as the only 100 catch receivers in Pats history. He also needs nine yards to reach 1,000 for the first time. The Bills have been pounded when trying to guard wideouts this season allowing the 8th most points to the position (18 touchdowns).

Pierre Garcon has caught at least five passes in every game this season and he leads the NFL with 107 receptions. The last two times he's faced the Giants he has 17 receptions, 167 yards an a score.

Josh Gordon went off for 14 receptions, 237 yards an a score the last time he faced the Steelers. He needs 10 receptions to set a team record for catches in a campaign and needs as score to reach 10 for the year, a total that would make him just the 4th Brown ever to reach that mark.

A.J. Green caught eight balls for 151 yards an a score earlier this year against the Ravens. He also need 15 yards to set an NFL record for most receiving yards in a players first three season (Torry Holt). He needs six receptions to get him to 100 grabs, a total only two other Bengals have reached.

T.Y. Hilton has averaged only 45.4 yards a game on the road this season. That number jumps to 80.7 yards a game at home. This week he's at home and the last time he played there versus the Jaguars he recorded four grabs for 114 yards an a score. Meanwhile, running mate Griff Whalen is coming off his best game as a pro catching seven balls for 80 yards. The Jags are ranked 17th against the WR but they have allowed 18 passing scores to wideouts this season.

The last time Santonio Holmes faced the Dolphins in Miami he went off for nine grabs and 147 yards. He wont get anywhere near that level this week as his last four outings this season he's failed to reach even 60 yards in a game with three of the outings failing to reach 25 yards. Teammate David Nelson caught two scores last week but those were his first two scores this season and October 20th was the last time he had even 50 yards in a game.

DeSean Jackson has nine receptions for 300 yards an a score the last two times he faced the Cowboys. Riley Cooper had six grabs for 88 yards the last time he squared off against the Cowboys.

Vincent Jackson has gone for 1,000 yards in 3-straight seasons and five of six. He faces the Saints, a club he beat for five grabs and 77 yards in Week 2 even with a different fella throwing him the football (Josh Freeman). VJax has scored in two of the past three games.

Alshon Jeffery has 73 receptions for 1,237 yards (103.1 per game) along with seven touchdown in the past 12 games. The first time he faced the Packers this season he caught five balls for 60 yards an a score. Brandon Marshall had an even bigger game with seven grabs for 101 yards an a score in Week 9.

If Calvin Johnson plays he will need eight yards to reach 1,500 yards for a 3rd time in a row, an NFL record. The last two times he faced the Vikings he's caught 19 balls for 315 yards and three scores.

James Jones scored three times the last time he faced the Bears. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson had four receptions for 67 yards in the last matchup. They get back Aaron Rodgers this week, a huge boost to their outlook.

Hakeem Nicks is 154 yards from 1,000 for the third time in four years. Jerrel Jernigan had a score last week. Rueben Randle has six scores in his last 11 games. They face a Redskins club that is allowing the 13th most points to wideouts this season which includes a score per game.

Denarius Moore had six receptions for 124 yards an a score the last time he faced the Broncos. Rod Streater needs 152 receiving yards to reach 1,000, something no Raider has done since 2005. Andre Holmes has 19 receptions for 328 yards an a touchdown the past four games. They will be catching passes this week from Terrelle Pryor though,  and that limits the upside of all three wideouts.

Cordarrelle Patterson has two rushing scores and two receiving scores in his last four games. He's also been held to 50 or fewer yards in two of the four games and one other time he had 62 yards. It's all about the scores – he gets him or his value is pretty low. He faces a Lions defense that can be beat through the air as the team from Detroit has permitted the 4th most points to WRs this season including 18 touchdowns. The other Vikings WR of note of Greg Jennings and he's caught 18 balls for 241 yards and two scores the last two times he's suited up for a home game.

Torrey Smith needs 101 yards to have the best receiving season in Ravens history. The Bengals are currently allowing the 10th fewest points to the wide receiver position and Smith has only averaged three receptions for 50 yards the past three weeks.

Golden Tate has caught eight balls for 198 yards and two scores the past two times he has faced the Rams.

Mike Wallace is 95 yards from a third 1,000 yard season. In three career games versus the Jets he's at 86 yards a game for an average. Meanwhile, Brian Hartline is 22 yards short of a second straight 1,000 yard effort. The last time Hartline faced the Jets he went off with nine grabs for 127 yards an a score. On the year the Jets are frequently beat through the air – the 7th most points a week including 16 scores.

Roddy White has caught 17 balls for 286 yards and three scores the last two times he's faced the Panthers and four in three games. He's also coming off a tremendous four week run with an average of 8.75 receptions, 103 yards and 0.25 scores.

Kendall Wright has 89 receptions for 1,029 yards this season, but he's only scored twice. He does have two touchdowns in his last three games against the Texans though including one in Week 2 this season when he caught seven balls for 54 yards.

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Brent Celek has scored in two of his last four games. However, the last time he faced the Cowboys he had only one grab for nine yards.

Charles Clay has 65 grabs, the second most in team history for a tight end (Randy McMichael 73 in 2004). Too bad he disappeared the past two weeks with five grabs for 38 yards. Don't know how you can trust him this week.

Jimmy Graham obliterated the Bucs in Week 2 catching 10 balls for 179 yards an a score. He should have more success in Week 17.

Ladarius Green has played 49 percent of the snaps the past three games, a pretty good clip for the youngster. Too bad he doesn’t have a catch the last two weeks an only one target. Hard to trust him even in super deep leagues this week though he did catch three passes for 80 yards an a score in Week 12 versus the Chiefs.

Marcedes Lewis has scored in 4-straight games. I don't know how it is happening either. He faces the Colts who though which might smack that streak straight down. The Colts have allowed the 4th fewest points to the tight end position this season and only permitted three scores on the year.

Greg Olsen has scored in 4-straight games against the Falcons. This season Atlanta has permitted 10 scores to the tight end and they've allowed the 16th most points at the position.

Dennis Pitta has scored twice in his last three games against the Bengals. This season the Bengals have permitted six scores.

Tim Wright has a score in two of his last three games. The Saints defend the tight end well allowing five scores and the 5th fewest points per game to the position.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.


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