NFL Fantasy News Week 17

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: December 29, 2023
NFL Fantasy News Week 17

It’s championship week for fantasy managers! Of the estimated 62.5 million players, less than eight million will be playing for a league championship this week. The remainder of the 50+ million fantasy managers are playing for pride or positioning this week.

Which players should managers have their eye on this week with the championship game at hand? We’ll reveal that and more in this week’s edition of NFL Fantasy News.

Miami Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle Out Sunday

Miami HC Mike McDaniel confirmed that WR Jaylen Waddle will miss the Dolphins’ crucial battle against Baltimore Sunday. The third-year player injured his ankle against Dallas last week, logging only one reception for four years before exiting the game. Currently, Waddle is second on the team in receptions (72), yards (1,014) and receiving TDs (4) this season.

Fantasy Impact: Waddle’s absence against the Ravens will hurt. The Dolphins leading receiver – Tyreek Hill – is also nursing an ankle injury, and both RBs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane have been listed on the team’s injury report each day.

Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase Expected To Play

After sustaining an injury in Week 15, Cincinnati is expected to have WR Ja’Marr Chase available Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The third-year receiver leads the team in receptions (93), yards (1,156) and receiving TDs (7) despite missing two games for the Bengals.

Fantasy Impact: Cincinnati QB Jake Browning will need every weapon to rebound from his miserable performance against the Steelers last week. In that game, Browning notched 335 yards and a score, but Joe Burrow’s replacement also threw three interceptions in the 34-11 loss against the Steelers.

This game is a rematch of the AFC Championship contest a season ago, and Chase appears fired up to return to the field. For Chase, this appears personal, meaning the WR could explode Sunday in this matchup.

Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud Returns Sunday

After suffering a concussion against the New York Jets in Week 15, Houston QB C.J. Stroud has been cleared to return to the field Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Stroud – who burst onto the scene as a rookie this year – has thrown for 3,631 yards and 20 TDs against only five INTs this season.

Fantasy Impact: Stroud is a must-start for fantasy owners this week. In his team’s first game against Tennessee, backup QB Case Keenum threw for 229 yards and a score while RB Devin Singletary logged 26 carries for 121 yards in the 19-16 overtime victory. Expect Stroud to have a big day as his team needs this victory to maintain their status atop the AFC South.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph Earns Start

For much of the season, Pittsburgh’s offensive struggles have dominated the narrative around the Steelers. After QB Kenny Pickett was injured against the Colts, fantasy managers lost a second-tier fantasy option.

In Week 16, however, Steelers QB Mason Rudolph made waves by throwing for 290 yards and two TDs against the Cincinnati Bengals. Entering this week, Pickett was available for practice, but Pittsburgh is opting to keep Rudolph as the starter, according to multiple reports.

Fantasy Impact: Was Rudolph’s impressive performance last Saturday a fluke? The six-year back-up has played in 19 total games during his career, but the former Oklahoma State signal-caller is a reliable option for the Steelers. With RB Najee Harris on the mend, fantasy owners should take a risk with Rudolph this week if their primary QB option isn’t available.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.