Week 17 -- if you can, start Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman

Fantasy Football: Preview and Projections for NFL Week 17

If your fantasy football league’s SuperBowl is decided in Week 17 and your team is still alive, then you’re probably playing the big game with some very difficult options. There are a lot of teams playing today that really have nothing to win, and a lot of key fantasy football players will get a lot of rest time this week in preparation for the NFL Playoffs.

The following is a look at the players with the highest projected fantasy production for Week 17 at each position, along with any concerns the experts have about how well the player will be used in the last week of the regular season.

NOTE: All projected scores are based on standard fantasy football scoring at NFL.com’s fantasy football site.

Quarterbacks — Roethlisberger is listed as probable because of an illness earlier in the week, but he returned in time for back-to-back full practices. Pittsburgh needs a win this week against the lowly Cleveland Browns, so Ben could be a big scorer this week. Matt Ryan is also listed as probable (hip), but as noted by CBS Sports, he’s seen full participation at practice and is looking to end the season on a high note. He’s projected to be the top QB this week for good reason. Looking to solidify home field advantage through the NFL playoffs, you can expect Tom Brady to play a full game today as well.

  1. Matt Ryan (ATL vs. NO) – 29.10 [Probable]
  2. Tom Brady (NE @ MIA) – 29.06
  3. Cam Newton (CAR vs. TB) – 23.16
  4. Sam Bradford (PHI @ NYG) – 22.84
  5. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT @CLE) – 21.70 [Probable]

Running Backs — There are no real concerns with Freeman, Peterson or Ivory being listed as probable, but Gurley likely won’t play in a game that has no real consequences. Peterson and the Vikings look to win their division, the Jets will try to remain the No. 6 seed and the Steelers can’t continue without a win. All three of these guys should be solid choices today.

  1. Devonta Freeman (ATL vs. NO) – 27.00 [Probable]
  2. Adrian Peterson (MIN @ GB) – 19.50 [Probable]
  3. DeAngelo Williams (PIT @ CLE) – 19.00
  4. Todd Gurley (STL @ SF) – 17.50 [Doubtful]
  5. Chris Ivory (NYJ @ BUFF) – 14.90 [Probable]

Wide Receivers — While Benjamin may be listed as questionable, he practiced enough on Thursday and Friday to be ready for today. He did really well against Pittsburgh earlier this year. Brown and Green are the only two receivers from the Top 5 who are playing for teams with an important game today, although Benjamin and the Browns could be motivated to play spoiler against their division rivals.

  1. Julio Jones (ATL vs. NO) – 24.60
  2. Travis Benjamin (CLE vs. PIT) – 19.40 [Questionable]
  3. Antonio Brown (PIT @ CLE) – 17.80
  4. A.J. Green (CIN vs. BAL) – 17.00
  5. Odell Beckham (NYG vs. PHI) – 16.60

Tight End — Gronkowski, Eifert and Kelce are all playing on good teams that are trying to secure or improve their position in the playoffs. It’s Eifert’s first game back with the Cincinnati Bengals after missing two due to concussion protocol.

  1. Rob Gronkowski (NE @ MIA) – 15.10
  2. Gary Barnidge (CLE vs. PIT) – 13.50
  3. Tyler Eifert (CIN vs. BAL) – 13.40 [Probable]
  4. Delanie Walker (TE @ IND) – 13.10
  5. Travice Kelce (KC vs. OAK) – 12.70 [Probable]

Kickers — As always, getting the right kicker could prove to be a total crap shoot for Week 17. The lowest projection (tied at 7.00 between Jacksonville’s Myers and Atlanta’s Graham) is just six points shy of the No. 1 projection.

  1. Dustin Hopkins (WAS @ DAL) – 13.00
  2. *Dan Bailey (DAL vs. WAS) – 11.00
  3. *Connor Barth (TB @ CAR) – 11.00
  4. *Mike Nugent (CIN vs. BAL) – 11.00
  5. *Phil Dawson (SF vs. STL) – 11.00

** A total of 22 different NFL kickers are projected to score 11 points in Week 17.

Defense — If your fantasy team has made it this far, then you’ve probably already got a solid defense. Although only projected to score 5.00, the highly-touted Denver Broncos defense goes up this week against a weak San Diego Chargers offense, so they should perform well.

  1. Tennesse Titans (@ IND) – 13.00
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CLE) – 10.00
  3. Carolina Panthers (vs. TB) – 9.00
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL) – 7.00
  5. Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA) – 7.00
  6. Louis Rams (@ SF) – 7.00
  7. Houston Texans (vs. JAC) – 7.00

For the final week of regular season play, every game takes place on Sunday. Of the games being played, 10 get started at 1 p.m. EST. The Sunday night prime time game features the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The game, scheduled to start at 8:30 EST, will determine the divisional champions of the NFC North.

[Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images]