Michael Crabtree Jordan
WR Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
$6, 300 salary | 12.6% of cap
While rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper gets all the credit in Oakland, it’s Crabtree that has been the more consistent option. He had six receptions for 39 yards and a score in a Week 16 victory over the San Diego Chargers and now has a touchdown in seven different games this season. Quarterback Derek Carr looks Crabtree’s way in the red zone and the veteran has a great chance of repeating his 45-yard, one-touchdown performance from Week 13 against the Chiefs.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
$5, 900 salary | 11.8% of cap
Ryan and the Falcons did the unthinkable in Week 16, defeating the previously undefeated Carolina Panthers 20-13. Ryan finished with 306 passing yards and a touchdown in the victory and seems to have regained his rapport with Julio Jones. The veteran quarterback should have no trouble picking apart a Saints secondary that has allowed a league-high 43 touchdown passes on the season.
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RB Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
$3, 900 salary | 7.8% of cap
Sims continues to impress as Doug Martin’s backup in Tampa Bay. He had 117 total yards and a touchdown on just seven carries in Week 16 against the Chicago Bears and now has 70-plus yards in four straight games. The Panthers struggle at defending pass catching running backs (92 receptions allowed), as evident by Sims receiving TD against Carolina earlier this season, and Sims could be in line for another big afternoon.
WR James Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
$3, 400 salary | 6.8% of cap
It’s been a roller-coaster of a season for Jones. He started out strong, faded in the middle of the season and has picked up his play recently. Jones led the Packers with five receptions and 46 yards in Week 16 and burned the Vikings for six receptions, 109 yards and a touchdown earlier this season. With the NFC North title on the line both teams will be playing at a high level. But the Vikings have trouble defending down the field and Jones is a sneaky Week 17 option.
TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
$7, 800 salary | 15.6% of cap
Reed was dominant on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished with nine receptions, 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins claimed the NFC East division. This week Reed has two things going against him. One is a matchup against a Cowboys defense that limited him to 33 yards in Week 13, and the other is that the Redskins have nothing to play for. Reed isn’t expected to play many snaps in Week 17 and shouldn’t be counted on for solid production.
$3, 800 salary | 7.6% of cap
Michael resurfaced with the Seahawks in Week 15 and led the backfield charge in a victory over the Browns. However, things were a lot different in Week 16. Michael didn’t factor into the Seahawks game plan and finished with just six yards on six carries. The Seahawks have a tough matchup against the Cardinals this week. Michael can’t be trusted since his snap count remains unknown.
QB Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
$6, 000 salary | 12.0% of cap
Rivers finished with 277 passing yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ 23-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve. As good as Rivers has been (4, 564 yards, 27 TDs), he was shut down by the Broncos earlier this season, and the odds aren’t in his favor this week. The Broncos are the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL and will be playing for the division title.
$4, 400 salary | 8.8% of cap
While a touchdown helped salvage Miller’s Week 16 performance, the running back mustered just 31 rushing yards on 15 attempts against the Indianapolis Colts. Miller will have his work cut out for him in Week 17 against the Patriots, who limited him to 15 rushing yards in Week 8. They haven’t given up a rushing touchdown since Week 12.