Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 17: Chargers vs. Chiefs
The winner of Sunday’s game either WILL or COULD make the playoffs. One of those.
For the San Diego Chargers, Sunday is pretty easy: If they win, they’re in the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 6 seed. It gets much more complicated for their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs. They need to beat the Chargers and have the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans lose Sunday, and the Chiefs can claim that sixth seed for themselves. That’s a lot of things, and now the Chiefs will be without their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game.
The Chargers will be without running back Ryan Mathews Sunday, and likely wide receiver Keenan Allen as well. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been dealing with a back problem for weeks now, though he’ll play Sunday. On the Chiefs side, it came out Friday that quarterback Alex Smith suffered a lacerated spleen; he’s done for a while, probably for the season no matter how long the Chiefs’ run lasts. Running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe were also on the week’s injury report, though both are expected to play.
The Chiefs will host Sunday’s crucial game, scheduled for1 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the fantasy names to consider:
Start ‘em: If you’re been playing Antonio Gates all season, you’re happy overall, though he has undeniably had some fallow periods. Still, you’re using him.
Start ‘em?: Week 16′s strong game aside, it’s been really hard to like Philip Rivers for a while now; he’s dealing with injury, and it’s really robbed him of fantasy upside. … Eddie Royal outperformed Malcom Floyd last week, though Floyd drew the opponent’s best coverage. I’d use Floyd over Royal if I’m playing a San Diego receiver. … Now that it’s facing a replacement quarterback, the Chargers’ defense is at least interesting, though there are certainly some recent black marks.
Sit ‘em: With Ryan Mathews out, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be the team’s primary running backs; neither has been good in fantasy since early in the season, but if you’re using one, it would be Oliver. … Nick Novak looked great early in the season, but he’s fallen off a lot, and now he’s one to avoid.
Start ‘em: Kansas City’s usage of Jamaal Charles has been frustrating at best, but in Week 17, you pretty much have to just run him out there and hope for the best.
Start ‘em?: You’d certainly like more upside from Travis Kelce — he has only two double-digit fantasy games all season, and only one since Week 7 — but his talent makes him at least a defensible option.
Sit ‘em: Ultimately, Chase Daniel isn’t that different from Alex Smith. He’s a light-armed game manager. But he’s a step below, and Smith would be a fantasy non-starter this week as well. … At this point, if I’m playing a Kansas City receiver, it’s Albert Wilson over Dwayne Bowe. Wilson at least has some theoretical upside; Bowe doesn’t appear to have any. … Cairo Santos had his first game of 10-plus fantasy points in eight weeks Sunday; don’t bet on a recurrence. … The Chiefs’ defense doesn’t offer much upside these days.
Start in every league: Antonio Gates, Jamaal Charles
Start if you’re desperate: Philip Rivers, Eddie Royal, Malcom Floyd, San Diego defense, Travis Kelce
Bench: Branden Oliver, Donald Brown, Nick Novak, Chase Daniel, Albert Wilson, Dwayne Bowe, Cairo Santos, Kansas City defense