Welcome to the fantasy championship! For most people, if you didn't have to deal with the injury bug, you made it this far. The team with Jonathan Taylor, perhaps, is playing for a title? Maybe it was Joe Burrow's huge week that got you here. Maybe you've decided to ride Josh Allen to the championship. Perhaps it was Deebo Samuel that paved your way to the finals. Continue to start your studs, but be prepared that some players may not live up to their Week 17 expectations.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team
Hurts is ranked No. 8 and he is clearly a QB1 this week. However, he should finish higher than that, just based on matchup. The Eagles face the Washington Football Team, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (did you see Dak Prescott in Week 16?). Hurts is capable of putting up points both through the air and on the ground and that is likely what he will do in Week 17 with Miles Sanders (broken hand) out. Hurts threw for nearly 300 yards and had three total touchdowns when he last faced WFT, which was less than two weeks ago.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out in Week 17 with an injured shoulder, Williams will be the next man up. When CEH missed time in Weeks 6-10, Williams had no fewer than 50 yards from scrimmage. He had three touchdowns in that span and a 9/101/1 receiving stat line in Week 10. He can easily step up in this high-powered offense and fill in. He’s ranked No. 14, but Williams has the potential to be an RB1 that could help you win your fantasy championship in Week 17.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
After Damien Harris’ three-touchdown performance in Week 16, it seemed like Stevenson might be a secondary option for the Patriots. However, the team loves to use multiple running backs and they aren’t giving up on Stevenson just yet. Harris has been limited in practice all week, which means he’s ready to play but isn’t completely healthy. Stevenson has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list (he missed Week 16) and both backs will be active this week. Harris is the guy to start, but Stevenson should fare better than his No. 48 ranking.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks
With Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, this figures to be the St. Brown show. Jared Goff is unlikely to play (but hasn’t been ruled out yet), but even with Tim Boyle, St. Brown has fared well enough to be ranked as a WR2 this week. He’s No. 17 in the wide receiver rankings and should see plenty of targets against Seattle. He is coming off back-to-back weeks where he had 11 targets for at least 90 yards and a touchdown.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
While Higbee hasn’t been scoring touchdowns for the Rams, he still has been an option for Matthew Stafford. He’s had five receptions on six targets for at least 40 yards in the past two games. The Rams face the Ravens, who have allowed tight ends to score eight touchdowns this year. They give up the fourth-most fantasy points to the position as well. Stafford likes to spread the ball around, so Higbee will get his share. Even if he doesn’t get into the end zone, he should fare better than his No. 12 ranking.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals
It seems strange to put Prescott as a “down” after throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns in Week 16. However, Prescott, ranked No. 10, faces the Cardinals on Sunday. This is a much tougher matchup than Washington. The Cowboys do need to win in order to still have a shot (although a long shot) at getting the No. 1 seed, so at least they’ll be trying. But Prescott has been struggling and the Arizona defense has been decent. Prescott is a low QB1 but more than likely will post QB2 numbers.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants at Chicago Bears
If you look at the numbers for Barkley, he’s not an RB1 this year, which is what he was drafted as. He’s barely an RB2, with only one game with more than 100 yards from scrimmage (Week 4). He only topped 60 rushing yards once this season and he has scored a total of four touchdowns. The Giants face the Bears in Week 17, and while Chicago struggles on offense, the defense is still decent. The Giants also are struggling on offense, and it is not likely Barkley (ranked No. 16) that will pull them out of that slump.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Coming off a massive Week 16 game (129 rushing yards), Jacobs looks to be a top option for Week 17. However, he faces the Colts, who have only allowed two 100-yard rushers all season. Besides the three-touchdown game to Leonard Fournette, Indianapolis has given up just five other rushing touchdowns across 14 games. Jacobs finally went 100 rushing yards for the first time in a long time, but it doesn’t seem likely that will happen again. His No. 13 ranking may be a bit too high.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams
In the past six weeks, Brown has yet to post more than 55 receiving yards. He’s missed two practices already this week with an illness (non-COVID), but the biggest issue is the lack of receptions. Part of this is that Lamar Jackson will likely be out again in Week 17. Brown hasn’t scored a touchdown since before the Week 8 bye. He has seen double-digit targets a few times since that game, but just hasn’t been able to do anything with them. He’s ranked No. 25 but is a risky WR3.
Gerald Everett, TE, Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions
With three touchdowns in the past five weeks, it is tempting to start Everett against the Lions. However, Russell Wilson has not been playing very well and it is hard to trust any of his pass catchers. While it seems more likely that a tight end would fare well, Everett is touchdown-dependent. He has had four receptions and more than 60 yards in each of the past two games, but fantasy owners counting on that plus a touchdown in Week 17 may be disappointed. He’s ranked No. 15 but should finish below that.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.