Week 17 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Matt Ryan is listed below as a "start" for Week 17. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 17 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Ryan.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 17:

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. PHI)

With Odell Beckham Jr. suspended for Week 16, Manning and the Giants offense in general struggled against the Vikings. With the return of OBJ this week and the favorable matchup against the Eagles, however, Eli has the perfect opportunity to bounce back for fantasy owners -- provided your league extends into Week 17 and you're still alive after his dud last week.

Before last week, Manning had thrown four touchdown passes in back-to-back games and multiple touchdowns in six of his past seven outings. In fact, he has thrown a total of 22 touchdowns over his past eight games.

His first game against the Eagles (189 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) was a disappointment, but the Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In their past eight games, the Eagles have surrendered 24 touchdowns through the air plus one QB rushing touchdown (Tom Brady).

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)

Just as we had all expected, Bortles finished Week 16 as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback in 2015. While he turned the ball over 20 times (16 interceptions and four lost fumbles), Bortles was a consistent weekly fantasy producer this season. Entering Week 17 with five consecutive top-eight weekly outings including three top-five finishes, Bortles has finished inside the top-10 weekly quarterbacks in 10 of 15 games.

It's not a plus matchup on paper, but Bortles threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in Week 6. And despite his three interceptions in that game, he finished with 22.94 fantasy points, the sixth-most that week. Seventh in my Week 17 rankings, I expect Bortles to close the season with a sixth consecutive top-eight outing.

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)

Never a stud performer, Ryan had been a consistently solid mid-QB1 type of fantasy quarterback. From 2010 to 2014, Ryan had finished as the QB7 or QB8 in four of five seasons. Even though Julio Jones leads the NFL in both receptions and yards with an outside chance at breaking Megatron's single-season receiving yards record, Ryan has been a huge disappointment. Entering the final week of the regular season, he sits at QB19 in fantasy points scored.

Fortunately for Ryan, he has a chance to end the season on a positive note with a matchup against the Saints. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than New Orleans this year. In his first matchup against the Saints, Ryan threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns. It's possible that Ryan gets his second game of the season with 300-plus passing yards and multiple touchdowns this week.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at BUF)

Against the Patriots on Sunday, Fitzpatrick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns as he scored 23.14 fantasy points, fourth-most in Week 16. It was his third top-four outing in five games and fourth top-eight performance over that same span.

With one more touchdown pass, Fitzpatrick will take sole possession of the single-season franchise record for passing touchdowns. Over his past eight games, Fitzpatrick has compiled an 18:5 TD-to-INT ratio and has averaged 276 passing yards per game. In addition, he has 134 rushing yards and a score during that stretch.

Given that the Steelers lost to the Ravens last week, the Jets now maintain control of their playoff destiny. If they win, they are in the playoffs. While there are plenty of games with postseason intrigue, there's even more incentive for the Jets to play their starters with their playoff berth not yet clinched -- as opposed to several other teams playing for seeding only.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 17:

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)

Kudos to Rivers for managing to score the 11th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks through this point of the season given how poorly he (and the team's offense) has played lately. The anti-Russell Wilson, if you will, Rivers started the season strong with multiple passing touchdowns in all but one of his first eight games.

In his seven games since that point, however, he has thrown zero touchdowns three times and one touchdown twice. Stated differently, he has thrown multiple touchdowns in just two of his past seven games. To be fair, a significant portion of his struggles has to do with the lack of (healthy) offensive talent around him.

With a matchup against the Broncos, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, it's unlikely that Rivers bounces back enough from his last matchup against Denver (6.08 fantasy points) to have a top-12 performance.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at KC)

Carr has just one top-12 weekly finish since Week 11. In those six games, Carr has scored 15.16 fantasy points or less four times. One of those six matchups was the first time he faced the Chiefs this season (13.32 points, QB20). Not only have the Chiefs allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points this season, but they have allowed only one top-12 weekly finish (Tyrod Taylor, Week 12) from Weeks 5 to 16.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

In his past nine games, Cousins has finished as fantasy's QB1 in three weeks and the QB2 in another. With 300-plus yards and four passing touchdowns in each of his past two games, Cousins has helped Washington clinch the NFC East division with an 8-7 record. That is part of the problem — at least in terms of Cousins' fantasy outlook for this week.

With their playoff seeding already cemented, Cousins is unlikely to play the full game especially given that the Redskins do not have a first-round bye. Coach Gruden has even said that his snaps are "still to be determined" even though he will start. Even with a full allotment of snaps, however, the matchup wouldn't be favorable for Cousins as the Cowboys have limited opposing quarterbacks to the eighth-fewest fantasy points this season.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

After a breakout 2014 season, 2015 has been an utter disappointment for Tannehill and the Dolphins in general. Tannehill enters Week 17 having thrown zero touchdowns in back-to-back games and only two touchdowns in his past four games combined. (Granted, he does have a rushing touchdown over that stretch as well.) The Patriots have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 17

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