Week 17 is a strange place. Fantasy folks with Week 17 title games are trying to quell serious concerns about star players resting in preparation for the NFL playoffs, while DFS grinders are hunting hard for cheap options stumbling into sizeable workloads thanks to NFL coaches sitting their top players. These unique situations only present themselves in Week 17, where injury news and coach speak deserve a heightened level of scrutiny as Sunday inches closer. Let’s roll up our sleeves and discuss a few notable situations to monitor this weekend in Friday’s Daily Dose.
While the football world may be interested in an 0-16 parade marching through the streets of downtown Cleveland, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be less excited about that hypothetical “celebration.” The Browns are staring 0-16 directly in the face with just a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers looming, but may get a huge break on Sunday as Steelers RT Marcus Gilbert announced that QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Le’Veon Bell will not be playing. The only chance Pittsburgh has to improve their #2 seed in the AFC is to grab a win while the New England Patriots lose to the New York Jets. With Tom Brady’s squad currently riding into the weekend as more than two touchdown favorites, it looks like the Steelers will take the opportunity to rest their stars in Week 17. With Ben and Bell on the sidelines, the Browns will look to fight off a winless season against quarterback Landry Jones and a combination of Pittsburgh running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Stevan Ridley. A 16th loss to a slew of backups would be the perfect end to a miserable season for the Dawg Pound.
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Packers Receivers Hurting
The Green Bay passing attack is not the most profitable place to hunt for fantasy production with Aaron Rodgers tucked away safely on the sideline, but the Week 17 options in Packer Land will be even dicier than normal. Davante Adams (concussion) has yet to practice since suffering a head injury in Week 15, and Jordy Nelson (shoulder) is also expected to miss the 2017 season finale after managing just 11 yards on three catches in Week 16. This means the Green Bay receiving group will be headlined by “Randall and the Randoms” in Week 17 as Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark, and Trevor Davis will all attempt to hunt down targets from Brett Hundley. The fantasy world may even catch a glimpse of mythical legend “Jeff Janis” this weekend, so be sure to have a camera handy.
Gordon Still In Limbo
Fantasy footballers scrounging for under-the-radar running back production in Week 17 should be closely monitoring the status of San Diego’s Melvin Gordon (ankle). The Chargers will be playing hard in hopes of sneaking into the AFC playoff picture on Sunday and have a respectable matchup with Oakland, so the potential absence of Gordon could open up a spot for production. Gordon missed practice on Wednesday but was “limited” on Thursday with an ankle issue. Gordon is a player to monitor as Sunday draws near, but Chargers coach Anthony Lynn has already tabbed Branden Oliver as the starter in the event that Gordon is sidelined. Fantasy owners dealing with Week 17 title games should have Oliver scooped up already, and DFS aficionados should have lineups sketched out with Oliver as a staple.
Injury News and Notes
DeAndre Hopkins (calf) has been a fantasy monster in 2017 but is in danger of missing Week 17 as he deals with a calf injury suffered on Christmas day. Houston coach Bill O’Brien thinks that Hopkins could be a game-time call this weekend, so fantasy owners will have to wait for a final verdict on whether this top-flight stud will see the field. Hopkins has yet to miss a game in his NFL career, so he will likely make every effort to start. … Cincinnati rookie Joe Mixon (ankle) has handled just five touches since Week 13 as he has battled head and ankle issues. Mixon did not practice on Wednesday but did see reps on Thursday as he attempts to return. Gio Bernard has been excellent with Mixon sidelined, so be sure to check in on Mixon’s status in coming days as an indication of whether Bernard can be safely started again in Week 17. … Kansas City will be trotting out rookie QB Patrick Mahomes in Week 17, so RB Kareem Hunt is likely to be rested as well. That leaves Charcandrick West and Akeem Hunt to handle the Chiefs’ running back duties. West would likely have the upper hand in this scenario, but he missed practice on Thursday due to an illness. Friday’s practice will go a long way in determining whether West can suit up or not, so keep tabs on this situation if you’re looking for a cheap RB play this Sunday. … DeSean Jackson (ankle) missed Week 16 but has been practicing this week in hopes of returning for the final game of the season. Rookie Chris Godwin played heavy snaps in Jackson’s absence last week but is dealing with an ankle issue of his own and missed Thursday’s practice session. The Sunday status of both Bucs’ receivers should be monitored over the weekend.
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