Sunday NFL preview: Who to start, sit in Week 17

Fantasy advice: Chip Kelly's ouster could benefit DeMarco Murray (1:24)

NFL Nation reporter Mike Triplett shares this week's fantasy tips on running backs DeMarco Murray, Jonas Gray, Steven Jackson and Jerick McKinnon. (1:24)

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Sunday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills will be without top running back LeSean McCoy (knee), top tight end Charles Clay (back) and No. 2 wide receiver Robert Woods (groin) for a second consecutive game, so don't expect a stellar performance from quarterback Tyrod Taylor against the Jets' sixth-ranked defense. The Jets have the NFL's best run defense this season, and given that Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee will likely split carries in the Bills' backfield, it doesn't make much sense to turn to any Bills players in fantasy this week. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: It has been a rough year for fantasy owners of Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron. The former Pro Bowler entered the season with high expectations but rarely was on the same page with quarterback Ryan Tannehill in their first season together. Don't expect any late explosion from Cameron in the season finale against the Patriots. He is averaging just 1.7 catches per game over the past eight weeks and is not a priority on offense. Cameron had just two catches for 34 yards in Week 8 against New England. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: One of the Patriots' goals for the season finale is to expand running back Steven Jackson's workload after signing him to a one-year deal on Dec. 22. Jackson played nine snaps and totaled seven rushes for 15 yards in last Sunday's loss to the Jets. So while Jackson might not get a full workload Sunday against the Dolphins, he could very well be the lead power back. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: Running back Bilal Powell (ankle) has been an underrated fantasy player in recent weeks, but there's a good chance he won't play. Running back Chris Ivory has been slumping, but Powell's injury could mean an expanded role in the passing game. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was held to three catches for 23 yards in the previous meeting against the Bills, but he's hot now and the Buffalo secondary is banged up. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver Kamar Aiken remains a solid fantasy option. Over the past six games, Aiken has averaged 77 yards receiving and has scored three touchdowns. During that same span, the Bengals have allowed at least 70 yards receiving to five receivers. Aiken has at least five catches in eight straight games, which is the second-longest streak in Ravens history (Derrick Mason did it in nine in a row in 2006-07). -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: With the clinching of a first-round playoff bye still a possibility for the Bengals, they aren't planning on resting any starters Sunday when they host the Ravens in the regular-season finale. So that means wide receiver A.J. Green has a chance to build upon the 34-point effort he gave fantasy owners in the Week 3 Bengals-Ravens game in Baltimore. Tight end Tyler Eifert also could be an option for the first time in three weeks, as he's returning from a concussion. Baltimore figured out how to stop Eifert in the first meeting, though, holding him to zero catches on three targets. His zero fantasy points contributed to his worst outing of the year. These are certainly two Bengals to keep in mind during championship weekend. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: Tight end Gary Barnidge needs just one touchdown to set a team record for Browns tight ends (10). Look for the Browns to try to get him the mark. He is liked and respected by players and coaches alike. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: Running back DeAngelo Williams is 101 yards away from 1,000 despite playing six games behind Le'Veon Bell. And the Steelers offensive line wants to get him there. That's good news for fantasy owners. "What he's done is remarkable," right tackle Marcus Gilbert said. "We've been aiming for (1,000) ever since [he] got the starting role." One bad Ravens game won't change the Steelers' high-powered passing game much, but expect a healthy dosage of rushing for balance purposes against Cleveland. Williams has been one of the only reliable red zone options for Pittsburgh. His 11 rushing scores leads the NFL, and most of his scores come at the goal line. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Keep in mind that Houston doesn't necessarily need to win Sunday in order to clinch the division. The Colts need seven other games to fall the right way -- and they need to win with whichever fourth-string quarterback they're able to get ready for their own game. Texans coach Bill O'Brien insists that he wants to win Sunday's game and isn't thinking about resting players for the playoffs, but my feeling is they'll be careful with their players' health whenever possible. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: It has been a rough year for those who have had Colts players on their fantasy team. Now Indianapolis will start a fourth-string quarterback against Tennessee on Sunday. That means the best bet is to go with running back Frank Gore because the Colts will count on him to try to lighten the load of the quarterback. Plus, Gore is just 109 yards shy of becoming the Colts' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2007. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: Don't be worried about whether to put wide receivers Allen Hurns or Allen Robinson in your lineup. Coach Gus Bradley said it will be a normal workoad for both players against Houston. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: Given the Colts' uncertainty at quarterback and the Titans' determination to move up from 13th into the top 10 in overall defense, the unit could find some plays Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Barring a three-sack day from defensive lineman Jurrell Casey or outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, the Titans will finish without anyone in double-digit sacks. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: The Broncos have to find a way to construct more of a running game out of the shotgun as they move into the postseason. At the moment when they're in the shotgun, they are almost exclusively a passing team and defenses are playing them that way. In last Monday's win over Cincinnati, C.J. Anderson's 39-yard touchdown run was one of just three rushing attempts in the game when the Broncos ran the ball while quarterback Brock Osweiler was in the shotgun. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Quarterback Alex Smith hasn't topped 200 passing yards in any of the past four games, including one against the Raiders, but his touchdowns are up in recent weeks. Smith has eight touchdown passes in his past five games, including two against Oakland on Dec. 6. Smith had 10 TD passes in the first 10 games. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has five of his seven TD catches in the past five games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have just three rushing TDs in their past five games and Smith scored one of those. The Chiefs are more comfortable throwing near the goal line than they were early in the season. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is a player to watch for the Raiders on Sunday against the Chiefs. With four catches, he'd set a new career high, besting the 85 receptions he had in 2012. Crabtree, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in the offseason, has rejuvenated his career, leading to a $32 million contract extension with Oakland. And though the Raiders are out of the playoff picture, Sunday's game against the Chiefs still has meaning. Kansas City, winners of nine straight, could still win the AFC West with a win and Broncos loss. -- ESPN.com staff

San Diego Chargers: Quarterback Philip Rivers leads the NFL in passing attempts (626) and completions (416). The Chargers are last in the league in rushing. And with a banged-up offensive line, Rivers will have no choice but to fling it around to keep San Diego in the game against Denver. He also needs just 239 passing yards to break the single-season franchise record of 4,802, set by Dan Fouts in 1981. Rivers should break that mark against the Broncos. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: Running back Darren McFadden needs three yards on Sunday to reach 1,000 for the season. He quite possibly could reach the mark for the second time in his career on his first carry. When these teams met the first time, McFadden carried 14 times for 53 yards and fumbled twice, but he scored the clinching touchdown. With Washington having nothing to play for and possibly resting regulars as the game goes on, the Cowboys should lean on McFadden. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: If you're still playing fantasy football this week, fire up Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with confidence. Back from his one-game suspension, Beckham will be going up against a banged-up Eagles secondary and determined to make up for lost time. Speaking of lost, Giants quarterback Eli Manning looked lost without Beckham last week in Minnesota and will be eager to feed his No. 1 target early and often. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: There are two reasons to expect running back DeMarco Murray to finish a disappointing season with a big game. Interim coach Pat Shurmur will want to show he can find ways to utilize a player who will be tough to cut for salary-cap reasons. And Murray had his best game this season (21 carries, 112 yards, a touchdown) against the Giants, Sunday's opponent. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: It's a good week to stay away from the Redskins because it's uncertain who will play in the finale vs. Dallas. Quarterback Kirk Cousins likely will start, but how long he plays is unknown (he's 120 yards from setting a franchise mark for most passing yards in a season). Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, one of his favorite targets, has been limited in practice all week, and left tackle Trent Williams did not practice Friday. It's a shame for fantasy players, too, because in the past three games, the Redskins have become more aggressive with their passing game, due to a lack of success in the run game and the ability to pass protect for a hot quarterback. In the past three games, the Redskins have averaged 11.49 yards per pass attempt compared to 8.01 per attempt in the first 11 games. Their new strategy is using the pass to set up the run. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler's passer rating has topped 93.0 in seven of his past nine games. Cutler is usually successful against Detroit. He passed for 353 yards and one touchdown when the Bears and Lions met back in October at Ford Field. Cutler has thrown for 3,022 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions (89.8 quarterback rating) in 13 career starts against the Lions. With Eddie Royal and Zach Miller both at less than 100 percent, Cutler is the best fantasy play available for Chicago in Week 17. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is expected to play in the season finale against the Bears, and that means good things for Johnson's fantasy owners. The star receiver typically shreds Chicago; he has gone over 100 yards in the past three games he has played vs. the Bears and has six touchdowns against Chicago since 2013. Johnson has been a questionable play of late, but keep in mind his only 100-yard game this season came in Week 6 ... against the Bears. So start him and feel really good about it. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' 30-touchdown, seven-interception season may have been a disappointment to some fantasy owners and Packers fans, but he could be poised for a strong finish. He's 10-1 against the Vikings since 2010 with 28 touchdowns and only three interceptions, including two touchdowns and no interceptions in this year's Week 11 win at Minnesota, while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: Running back Adrian Peterson has run for 882 yards and six touchdowns in his career at Lambeau field. In pursuit of a third NFL rushing title on Sunday night, Peterson figures to be a bigger part of the Vikings' game plan than he was on Nov. 22, when he carried six times in the first quarter and recorded only seven carries the rest of the game, gaining 45 yards in the Vikings' 30-13 loss to the Packers. In the Vikings' past three games, since Peterson said the team had been "outcoached" in a loss to the Seahawks, he has carried at least 18 times in each game, posting a total of 236 yards on 63 carries. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: Quarterback Matt Ryan should thrive Sunday against a Saints defense that allows 281.1 passing yards per game, the second-highest total allowed in the league. In last year's game between the teams at the Georgia Dome, Ryan completed 31 of 43 passes for 448 yards with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.8. The Falcons would love a repeat of that performance, or at least something close to it. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Quarterback Cam Newton is the obvious choice here with running backs Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker out, but don't expect Newton to run as much; the team wants to keep him healthy for the playoffs. With starting wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. doubtful with a knee injury, look for rookie Devin Funchess to play a bigger role. Funchess has had his biggest games when Newton has had his. Funchess has had a touchdown catch in every other game in the past eight games. He didn't have one last week so he's due. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: Wide receiver Willie Snead is a safe bet for at least 51 yards on Sunday. That's how many the first-year pro needs to reach 1,000 -- and it's likely the Saints will make it a priority. Snead has been one of the most unexpected breakout players in the league this season, having gone undrafted last year before getting cut by both Cleveland and Carolina. He said at this time last year his goal was just to get a futures contract with the Saints. Then he went into the season thinking maybe 500 yards. But he has had to keep revamping those goals since supplanting Marques Colston as New Orleans' No. 2 receiver. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even without Vincent Jackson, it may be hard to start wide receiver Mike Evans against Carolina. In three games against the Panthers, he has 10 career catches for 82 yards and one touchdown. Although Evans said he is looking forward to his matchup against cornerback Josh Norman, owners should be leery. -- Rick Brown


Arizona Cardinals: Wide receiver Michael Floyd has been a 100-yard machine recently, hitting the benchmark in five of his past seven games, including 113 against Seattle in Week 10. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: With running back Todd Gurley doubtful to play against the Niners, the Rams will turn to Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham to handle the running back duties. Neither is a real safe play for fantasy purposes, though. In three career games against the Niners, Mason has averaged 3.87 yards per attempt. Cunningham is more likely to get goal line touches if you're desperate, but your best bet for points from the Rams is probably receiver/running back Tavon Austin, who will probably get plenty of opportunities in Gurley's absence. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: All tight end Vance McDonald does is catch touchdowns ... when he's not letting passes clank off him for interceptions. Still, McDonald has three TDs on 27 catches, and the Rams have given up six TDs on 83 catches for 920 yards to tight ends thus far this season. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Look for running backs Christine Michael and Bryce Brown to once again split carries against the Cardinals. The pair combined for 15 yards on 13 carries last week and could have another tough go on Sunday. The Seahawks will be playing with two backup offensive linemen against a Cardinals defense that is allowing just 3.90 yards per carry on the season. -- Sheil Kapadia