While many fantasy football leagues are over, there are still a few owners out there with crucial matchups set for this coming weekend.
With playoff implications influencing teams’ decisions to play their starters for all four quarters, setting a lineup will be extremely tricky.
But apart from a few stars resting, matchups and recent performances are still as important as ever in choosing who to start and who to sit.
Here are the players who are just too risky to take a chance on for Week 17.
All Falcons Stars
The Atlanta Falcons have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the team’s many fantasy studs should be kept on the bench, as none of them are likely to see a full 60 minutes of action on Sunday.
Any other week, Matt Ryan would be facing a tasty matchup against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that has allowed more passing yardage than any team in the NFL, but backup Luke McCown is likely to see more time under center than Atlanta’s MVP candidate.
Julio Jones and Roddy White will almost certainly be kept mostly on the sidelines, as will Tony Gonzalez.
Fantasy owners who have relied on these players up until this point in the season are in for a tough week.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
The New England Patriots are still fighting for the possibility of a first-round bye, and they will not be taking the day off against the Miami Dolphins.
The last time these two AFC East teams met, Bush managed to earn just six fantasy points in ESPN standard-scoring leagues. While he may be coming off impressive performances in recent weeks, Bill Belichick’s game plan will center around stopping him.
New England will also look to take an early lead, and that will force the Dolphins to air the ball out more than they would like.
Bush is not facing an ideal matchup, and he will disappoint owners who start him this week.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Jackson is not the dominant back he used to be, and despite being a fantasy superstar at one point in his career, he is now a player who should be sat down in unfavorable matchups.
With the Rams taking on the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson should not be in fantasy owners’ lineups.
The Seahawks are in the thick of the NFC playoff picture and will be playing to win on Sunday. The team’s defense has been superb this season, and Jackson will find it extremely difficult to find running lanes.
Jackson will finish the 2012 season with a disappointing performance, and if fantasy owners wish to avoid the same fate, they should keep the Rams runner on the bench.