For many, the fantasy football season has come to a close. Championships have been decided, dreams have either come true or have been crushed and bragging rights for next season have been established. But for some, there's still something to play for. Yes, there are some who love the Week 17 strategies of which players will play and which teams already heading to the playoffs might be resting their starters. So for those of you who are into Week 17, these little nuggets of information are for you.
GOOD MATCH UPS
Ryan Mathews vs. Raiders defense: Yeah, Mathews had a golden matchup last week against a poor Lions run defense and failed to capitalize. It wasn't his fault, however as the Chargers fell behind early and had to lean on the passing game in a comeback effort. Fortunately, Mathews gets another excellent matchup this week when San Diego visits Oakland in their season finale. The Raiders are giving up 5.1 yards per carry so as long as the Chargers don't fall behind early, Mathews should redeem himself.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Patriots defense: Fitzpatrick has been disappointing since getting off to a hot start and signing a contract extension earlier this season but has a chance this week to end 2011 with a bang. The Patriots are giving up passing yards by the boatload this season (295 yards per game to be exact) and now that they have nothing left to play for this week, there's a good chance Fitzpatrick repeats his Week 3 performance in which he threw for 369 yards against New England.
NOT SO GOOD MATCH UPS
Shonn Greene vs. Dolphins defense: The Dolphins run defense has really turned it on in the second half of the season and they now rank third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game and yards per carry allowed per game. Not good news for Shonn Greene owners who would be wise to keep Greene on their benches this week.
Antonio Brown vs. Browns defense: Part of it may be that teams don't throw against them as much because they're usually in the lead but nevertheless the Cleveland Browns rank second in the NFL with just 184 passing yards allowed per game. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger didn't play in last week's game and as of now it's questionable whether or not he'll play this week. If he doesn't, Brown needs to stay out of your fantasy lineup this week.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings: Adrian Peterson suffered a knee injury that not only ended his season for 2011 but will likely cut into his playing time in the 2012 season. The benefactor to Peterson's injury is Toby Gerhart, who managed to gain 109 yards on 11 carries in Peterson's absence last week. He doesn't have the greatest matchup this week against the Bears but he will get a full workload and should at least be able to put up a few fantasy points.
Kyle Mulligan is a contributing sports writer for the Observer. He welcomes your feedback and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.