Wondering whether or not to start Marshawn Lynch and Dez Bryant, or to bench Brian Hoyer and Austin Pettis? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on. Here are my picks to roll and get rolled in Week 17.
Watch ’em roll
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks vs. Rams. He’s playing at home, where he is nearly flawless. He has led his team to 150 points over the past three games. And he’s gunning for the NFC West title against a so-so Rams defense. Yeah, I’d say Wilson is worth a start.
Shonn Greene, RB, Jets at Bills. You might want to bench him if only to keep from having to watch this dreadful game. But Greene is likely to be the lone bright spot for the Jets offense. Don’t be surprised to see him get a couple of goal-line scores.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins at Patriots. Coming off his second-best fantasy performance of the season, Bush should remain in your lineup as he auditions for a new contract. The Patriots are playing for a bye, but their defense is still struggling.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens at Bengals. Smith was clearly feeling no ill effects from his concussion while torching the Giants last week. Though he faces a more formidable foe Sunday, the Bengals could rest their starters early since their postseason positioning is firm.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles at Giants. Maclin barely skipped a beat when Nick Foles took the reins, and he should have little trouble reestablishing his rapport with Michael Vick. New York’s secondary gives up big chunks to opposing receivers, and Maclin will be the most familiar face on the field to his new/old quarterback.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers):
Roll ’em back
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers vs. Browns. In a mild surprise, Rashard Mendenhall emerged from his coach’s doghouse to be the Steelers’ most productive rusher in Week 16. With nothing but pride on the line, a committee backfield holds little upside for any of Pittsburgh’s tailbacks.
Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals at 49ers. After his epic disaster in Week 16 (3 rushing yards, fumble, benching), Wells should be nowhere near your lineup against a 49ers squad aiming for a division crown.
Roddy White and Julio Jones, WRs, Falcons vs. Buccaneers. Atlanta is Exhibit A for why fantasy titles should never be contested in Week 17. With nothing to play for, Matt Ryan and his wideouts could see just a few token series.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers at Vikings. Nelson (hamstring) is expected to return to the Packers’ lineup this weekend, but think twice before slotting him back in yours. With Greg Jennings near 100 percent, Green Bay’s receiving corps is deep enough to allow the team to ease Nelson back in slowly.
Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders at Chargers. Matt Leinart is expected to start at QB for Oakland. What more do you need to know?
More thumbs down:
Taking a flier
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles at Giants. What better way for Vick to convince the league that he deserves another starting gig next season than by showcasing his running and passing skills against his division rivals? He and Andy Reid have all the motivation they need to excel in this contest, and it helps that the Giants’ defense has been even worse than normal lately.
Don’t be the bonehead who … plays next year’s title game in Week 17. If that’s what you’re doing this weekend, you’ll see (again) that too many key players are either rested or completely checked out. Most self-respecting fantasy leagues wrap up in Week 16 while all their players are still going full tilt. Week 17 is a better time for a consolation game or a “Free for All Bowl” — one last league-wide contest where the top overall scorer wins a small share of the pot.