Week 17 Fantasy Football Projections: Studs to Avoid in Season's Final Week

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 24, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

If the commissioner of your fantasy football league screwed up and scheduled the championship for Week 17, identifying which starters NFL teams are projected to rest is vital.

And even if you don’t own players on a postseason team in position to rest its starters, playoff contenders could still opt to bench their starters if they get up a certain amount of points.

Here are fantasy studs who are must-sits in the season finale as well as other risky starts.


Do Not Start

3. Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Cincinnati Defense

By beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, Cincinnati clinched the sixth seed and the fifth is out of reach. Because of that, its game against the Baltimore Ravens next week is meaningless. With a date with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos or New England Patriots looming, the Bengals need their starting lineup intact to pull off a shocking upset.


2. Ray Rice, Dennis Pitta and Baltimore Defense

Baltimore just came out on top in a slugfest with the physical New York Giants. You better believe the team has plenty of banged up players who would love a week off. And because the Ravens can’t earn a seed any higher than the fourth, they’ll sit their starters against the Cincinnati Bengals.

You spent a first-round pick on Rice and can’t use him in the title? Form a mutiny and impeach your commish.


1. Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez

The Atlanta Falcons locked up home-field advantage with their win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. So in a meaningless game, it would be foolish for Mike Smith to start his stars.

If you own Ryan, White, Jones or Gonzalez, they likely helped carry your team to the fantasy championship game. But, tough luck, they’ll do you no good in your starting lineup because they won’t be in theirs.


Be Wary of Starting

This is a list of non-QB fantasy studs on teams that have already locked up a playoff spot. If their squads get up big early, they may be dragged to the bench.

Feel free to start them if you have no better option. But finding a better option is recommended.

1. Andre Johnson

2. Arian Foster

3. Demaryius Thomas

4. Eric Decker

5. Wes Welker

6. Aaron Hernandez

7. Greg Jennings

8. Randall Cobb

9. Jordy Nelson

10. James Jones

11. Jermichael Finley

12. Frank Gore

13. Marshawn Lynch


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.