Two Minute Warning - Week 17
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There are just a few minutes left before the games begin for real and this is your last chance to set fantasy lineups.
The best place to be in Week 17, is indoors, or west of the Mississippi. It appears that there will be rain up and down the east coast effecting game plans in Tennessee, Pittsburgh, New York, Cincinnati, Miami and New England. At least it isn't snow, although they could get some of the white stuff in Chicago.
Below is the latest information to help you make your last-minute decisions.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay - Sure, Rodgers is back, but he's missed two months and could be rusty. Since the Bears own the worst run defense in the league, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Packers run the ball more than they pass it. Still, the return of Rodgers has to boost the value of all Green Bay receivers.
E.J. Manuel, Buffalo - Manuel is out leaving the work to Thad Lewis. We've already seen what he can, and can't, do and at this point we wouldn't want to start any of his receivers. Expect the running game to get most of the work.
Alex Smith, Kansas City - The Chiefs are the only team locked into a playoff slot with nothing to play for. Don't expect Smith or his primary weapons (Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe) to play much, if any, of the game.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami - Tannehill has been dealing with a knee problem, but practiced all week and is fully expected to play in the finale. LATEST UPDATE - Tannehill is active.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland - Pryor was named the starter earlier in the week and gets to play against the Denver Broncos. Lucky Terrelle. The only way he wins this game is to score 45 points and we haven't seen anything that says he has the ability to do that. The good news is that he should have all his receivers on the field, but the line is beat up and he'll likely be running for his life more than searching out his receivers.
Cam Newton, Carolina - This will be an interesting test for Newton. He'll be without his favorite receiver, Steve Smith, and he still appears to be struggling to run with an ankle injury that has limited his ability to scramble. This may not be the time to start Newton. LATEST UPDATE - Newton is active.
Kyle Orton, Dallas - All the pressure is on the Eagles with Tony Romo out of the lineup, but Orton needs to perform well if he is to stay in the NFL. He's got a great receiving corps headed by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and a full week of practice. He's a fantasy-worthy option against an Eagles defense that has some weaknesses in the secondary.
Running Backs -
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City - The biggest blow to fantasy owners in Week 17 is Charles likely watching the game from the sidelines. It's the reason most fantasy leagues finish up in Week 16. Kansas City has zero to play for and can you imagine the firestorm if Charles were to play and was injured in this meaningless game?
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota - The Vikings won't let their superstar play in the meaningless game and who can blame them. He's too valuable to gamble in a game which means zero to either side (Detroit has also been eliminated from the playoffs). LATEST UPDATE - Peterson and Toby Gerhart are inactive.
Ray Rice, Baltimore - Rice is listed as questionable with a thigh injury, but he was never in danger of missing the game. The real problem is that he hasn't put up a big effort since Week 11. LATEST UPDATE - Rice is active.
Jonathan Grimes, Houston - Grimes is likely to get the start for the Texans. That's quite a drop from Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Look elsewhere.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville - MJD (hamstring) is expected to start Sunday's finale against the Colts. Ignore Jordan Todman. LATEST UPDATE - Jones-Drew is active.
Rashad Jennings, Oakland - Darren McFadden is healthy, but Jennings is the No. 1 running back. Well, he might not be as good a runner as Pryor, but he's better than oft-injured McFadden. Start him.
Wide Receivers -
Steve Smith, Carolina - Smith has already been declared out for the game. Ted Ginn Jr. is more dangerous than Brandon LaFell and we like him to do some damage in this one. LATEST UPDATE - Smith is inactive.
Dez Bryant, Dallas - A little back injury isn't going to keep Bryant from demanding the football in the Cowboys' biggest game of the year. He should see double-digit targets and post solid fantasy numbers even with Orton under center.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit - Johnson is questionable with the same knee that has bothered him all season. In a meaningless game he could decide to watch from the sidelines. More likely, he'll play until he catches enough balls to crack the 1,500-yard mark for the third consecutive season ... and then sit. Unfortunately, that's just eight yards. LATEST UPDATE - Megatron is inactive.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay - Cobb will return from his broken leg. He won't play every down, but his presence will help Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. The only people unhappy with his return are Jarrett Boykin's owners.
Stevie Johnson, Buffalo - Johnson is still out due to personal reasons and with Chad Lewis under center wouldn't have been a good option anyway.
Wes Welker, Denver - Welker will miss the season finale. No problem, the Broncos have plenty of receivers to catch Peyton Manning's passes. Andre Caldwell could be a viable option for those Welker owners who don't have a bench option.
Andre Johnson, Houston - Johnson is probable with a wrist injury, but will play in all 16 games for the second consecutive season. He's also posted his fifth 100-catch season and second in a row. Can you say fantasy stud? LATEST UPDATE - Johnson is active.
Mike Brown, Jacksonville - With Cecil Shorts missing, Brown was the No. 1 receiver last weekend and should be the first option this Sunday as well. He's a viable fantasy option.
Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh - Sanders will be a true game-time decision. He's scored four times in his last five games and has low-end fantasy value if he's dressed. LATEST UPDATE - Sanders is active.
Percy Harvin, Seattle - Unless your fantasy league goes into the playoffs, the gamble of claiming Harvin never paid off. Still, it seemed like a good gamble at the time.
Tavon Austin, St. Louis - Austin missed the last two games and is questionable for this one. he's only posted two fantasy-worthy games all season (Week 2, Week 10) so he's not a viable play against Seattle even if he's on the field.
Tight Ends -
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta - Gonzalez will finish out his Hall-of-Fame career Sunday. We expect the Falcons to make sure he does it in grand style.
Clay Matthews, Green Bay - The Packers get back a couple of weapons on offense, but will be missing their best defensive player as linebacker Matthews is sidelined. It should be an offensive show in Chicago as both teams are expected to overpower the opposing defenses.
Sean Lee, Dallas - Lee will not play in the finale against Philadelphia. That's great news for LeSean McCoy owners and the Eagles offense in general.
Von Miller, Denver - Miller is a disruptive influence and a great pass rusher, but is done for the season. It shouldn't prevent Denver from clinching the No. 1 spot in the AFC, but could be a factor down the road.
12/29 12:05:33 ET