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Fantasy Football Week 17 Rankings: Examining Lineup Options After Injury Reports

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Running back Mike Boone #23 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Fantasy managers in season-long leagues both cherish and dread Week 17. While playing in the finale likely means that a fantasy championship is on the line, the challenge of identifying starters can be maddening.

With several teams locked into playoff positions and several more with nothing to play for, the threat of resting starters is real. Even moderately injured players may be out of the lineup if there isn't something of significance on the line.

Here we will dig into some of the most significant injuries of Week 17 and identify some potential replacements—from the same team or otherwise. First, though, let's take a look at the top 25 flex plays for the week.

                    

Week 17 Flex 25

1. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

4. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

5. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

6. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

7. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

9. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

10. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

11. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

12. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

13. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

14. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

15. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

16. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

17. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals

18. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

19. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

20. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

21. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

22. Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

23. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

24. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

25. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

             

Injury Spotlight: RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to sit starters like quarterback Kirk Cousins against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin:

Courtney Cronin @CourtneyRCronin

While I’m told the Vikings haven’t finalized their plan for Sunday, they’re leaning heavily towards resting a bulk of their starters, including Kirk Cousins, per league source. Team viewing Chicago week as a bye in terms of getting guys rest/healthy for Jan.

Even if Minnesota were playing to win, though, it would be without Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook. He's been ruled out, while backup Alexander Mattison is listed as questionable. This means that the Vikings will likely lean on second-year back Mike Boone again in Week 17.

Boone started in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, though he only finished with 11 carries, one reception and 33 total yards. He should see more action against the Bears, though, as Sean Mannion is likely to start at quarterback.

The 24-year-old is a solid replacement option. As is Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards. Baltimore has announced that starter Mark Ingram is among those who won't play Sunday, meaning Edwards should be viewed as a starting back in Week 17.

                    

Injury Spotlight: WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers only have pride to play for in Week 17, which means that they have no reason to insert wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) back into the lineup. Tampa Bay had hoped that he could return for the finale, but he hasn't practiced this week and was ruled out Friday.

Buccaneers receiver Breshad Perriman should again be Jameis Winston's top target. After seeing him rack up 285 yards and four touchdowns over the past three weeks, no one should question his fantasy value.

Another replacement option is Philadelphia Eagles receiver Greg Ward. He has started to emerge over the past three weeks for the Eagles and is coming off a four-catch, 71-yard performance. The Eagles are running out of healthy pass-catchers, so Ward should be considered a reliable option.

"Right now, Ward is the guy at the wide receiver position, even if it's just by default," Mike Kaye of NJ.com wrote.

                   

Injury Spotlight: RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

Rookie running back Josh Jacobs has been an absolute star for the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, it appears he won't star in Oakland's final push for an improbable playoff spot. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Jacobs is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Source: #Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, who is dealing with a skin infection and a shoulder injury, is not expected to play on Sunday. In their improbable race to qualify for the playoffs, sounds like Jacobs is unlikely to join them.

In addition to the aforementioned running backs Boone and Edwards, managers can turn to Raiders back DeAndre Washington. The Texas Tech product got the start against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16, finishing with 106 total yards and a touchdown.

"We were excited coming out of the game because we didn't know, you just don't know what you're going to get at times when a guy hasn't played," Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.

The Raiders should trust Washington to carry the load in Week 17. So should fantasy managers.

                       

Other Notable Injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (quad): Out

Washington Redskins WR Terry McLaurin (concussion): Out

Washington Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins (ankle): Out

Chicago Bears WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion): Out

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ribs): Out

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor (knee): Out

Green Bay Packers RB Jamaal Williams (shoulder): Doubtful

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (neck): Questionable

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (groin): Out

Via NFL.com.