With the final week of the regular season looming, the fantasy football is drawing to a close. Sadly, this is the final week for DFS-ers to jam in David Johnson at all costs.
Before we get to the news to track in the regular season finale, make sure you check out Rich Hribar’s Worksheet for the final time this year. Also, if you are playing in any Week 17 leagues or are just dabbling in DFS, make sure you read former-Rotoworlder Adam Levitan’s column breaking down which playoff teams are “motivated” to play their usual starters.
Let’s hit Thursday’s Dose…
In an odd and immensely sad turn of events, Doug Martin has been suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for Adderall. Martin is planning on checking into a treatment facility soon. Martin was benched in Week 16 (coaches decision) and was not even active for the Bucs’ loss versus New Orleans. In turn, Jacquizz Rodgers dominated snaps (61%) and touches (17) against the Saints in Week 16 and is in line for even more work in the regular season finale. Charles Sims (pectoral) was placed on I.R. on Wednesday and Bucs’ HC Dirk Koetter said it’s “unclear” whether or not Sims needs surgery. For what it is worth, only Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough are Tampa’s lone active running backs behind Jacquizz Rodgers.
Prior to Doug Martin’s return from injury in Week 10, Jacquizz Rodgers made three spot-starts in which he played on 93%, 68% and 63% of snaps and handled 71% of the teams’ rush attempts in that span. The Bucs’ play the Panthers at home in Week 17 and while Carolina’s run defense season-long numbers are strong, they have allowed a far more pedestrian 4.16 yards/carry (17th overall) over the last five weeks without Luke Kuechly. Rodgers should dominate touches and snaps in Week 17 as a home-favorite for a Bucs’ squad that needs a win and a lot of help to make the postseason.
A bit surprisingly, Melvin Gordon (hip, knee) returned to practice on Wednesday leaving open the possibility he returns in Week 17. Obviously it remains to be seen whether or not the Chargers want to risk their breakout running back in a meaningless game. San Diego is playing with the 2017 regular season in mind, so even if Gordon is active and slated to start he can’t be trusted past low-end RB2 returns at less than 100 percent health. As a housekeeping note, the Chargers placed RB Kenneth Farrow (shoulder) on injured reserve on Monday and Ronnie Hillman gained six yards on nine touches in Week 16. It’s probably best to leave San Diego’s backfield alone in Week 17 lineup decisions, unless we get a strong vote of confidence on Gordon’s health.
With Donte Moncrief (shoulder) not practicing and looking unlikely to play in Week 17 in the Colts’ meaningless game against Jacksonville, it is worth noting T.Y. Hilton’s absurd splits with and without Moncrief once more. In nine games with Moncrief active, Hilton has averaged 14.77 PPR points per contest. In the six games Moncrief has missed, Hilton turns into a one-man wrecking crew with Andrew Luck for 20.57 PPR points per game. For context, Antonio Brown leads all receivers in PPR points per game (20.50) this year. Even with Jalen Ramsey playing out of his mind to finish the season, Hilton’s target floor and obvious splits without Moncrief are in place. Look for Hilton and Luck to light it up one more time as the season draws to a close.
The final situation to track for Week 17 is Jordan Reed’s (shoulder) status. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and is “making progress” towards playing against the Giants in Washington’s season finale. With Detroit’s loss in Week 16, Washington holds their own playoff fate in their hands in Week 17 versus New York. If the Redskins win, they are in the dance as a Wild Card team. It’s worth noting here that the Giants are fully expected to rest starters at some point in Week 17. Reed was clearly limited by his bum shoulder in Weeks 14 and 15, ultimately causing him to miss Fantasy Championship week, but it looks like he’s tracking towards playing at least limited snaps in Washington’s finale. While his ceiling is always immense especially near the end-zone, there is almost no way fantasy owners can trust Reed in Week 17.
Steve Smith has clarified that Week 17 will likely be his final NFL game... Antonio Gates said he plans to play in 2017 for his 15th season… Thomas Rawls (shoulder) practiced on Wednesday... Lamar Miller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday… Ladarius Green (concussion) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday… Bengals’ HC Marvin Lewis confirmed A.J. Green (hamstring) will not play Week 17… Jeremy Hill (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday… The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci reported on Wednesday that, "every indication from within One Bills Drive" is that Buffalo has settled on promoting OC Anthony Lynn to head coach in 2017… Austin Hooper has a sprained MCL… Trevor Siemian will start Week 17 against the Raiders, but Paxton Lynch will also play… Robert Griffin III (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday… Stefon Diggs (hip) did not practice Wednesday… Randall Cobb (ankle) did not participate in Wednesday's practice… Chris Ivory (hamstring) was limited in Wednesday's practice… Malcolm Mitchell (knee) didn't practice Wednesday… Darius Slay (hamstring) returned to practice Wednesday.