Week 17 is the official end to the 2011 NFL regular season, meaning things change in terms of the way people will play the game come playoff time, and you have to make the most of your final shot at regular season winnings.
Before there is a shift in strategy and exactly which players will be made available, let’s make the most of the final week of the season.
Here’s an update on the major injuries and whether or not you should use certain players for this week’s fantasy football games:
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Brady has a sore shoulder, but is a near-lock to face a weak Bills defense as the Patriots chase home-field advantage.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Romo sat out last week with a hand injury, but will certainly face the Giants to decide who wins the NFC East.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben is probable to go against the Browns, but is not expected to play the entire game.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Ponder (concussion) is a full go against the Bears, but is a risk due to his turnovers.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals (Out)
Kolb is out this week, giving John Skelton yet another start.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams (Out)
Bradford will miss yet another game, giving Kellen Clemens one last start for the Rams.
Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland Browns
Seneca Wallace will get another start in place of McCoy (concussion), and isn’t a strong play against a tough Steelers defense.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
AD is out for the season with torn knee ligaments, giving Toby Gerhart another starter. Look for Gerhart to put up RB2 numbers with 20+ touches.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Shady McCoy is fine and will do his best to chase Maurice Jones-Drew for the 2011 NFL rushing title. He’s behind by 128 yards.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders (Out)
McFadden continues his disappointing season by missing the season finale – one the Raiders could definitely use him in as they try to reach the post-season.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
CJ2k is a little banged up, but he’ll get a full load against a solid Texans run defense this week.
Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Wells is fine for this week, although he is facing a pretty solid Seahawks run defense.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (GTD)
Mathews is a full-blown game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, Mike Tolbert would have nice value against a weak Raiders run defense.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Jones is a full go against the Giants and could have a lot of success in a big game.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins (Out)
Bush has a very solid season as the top back in Miami (1,000+ yards), but a sore knee will keep him out of the finale. Daniel Thomas should get 20+ touches against the Jets and is a sneaky RB2 play.
Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins
Helu is expected to return for the season finale, but could end up sharing the ball with fellow rookie Evan Royster, who topped 100 yards rushing last week.
Marion Barber, RB, Chicago Bears (Out)
Barber is out, giving Kahlil Bell another shot at a big day.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints (Out)
The Saints continue to play it safe with their injured starters, and Ingram will miss the season finale in hopes he’s healthy for the playoffs.
Jackie Battle, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Out)
Battle is out and has even been played on season-ending injured reserve. Thomas Jones will start and will share the ball with Dexter McCluster against a suspect Broncos run defense.
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers
V-Jax returned to practice on Friday, so he has a chance to play. Just monitor his status. If he doesn’t start, rookie Vincent Brown is a decent WR3 play.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
AJ will only play about 30 snaps, but he can be had on the cheap and he could still put up some nice numbers in limited action.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
Nicks is a little iffy, but there’s no way he missed such a huge game against the Cowboys. Consider him a borderline WR1 for this one.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Jones should be able to go in this one as Atlanta plays for seeding.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints (Out)
The Saints won’t take any chances on Moore in the finale, and he’ll rest, giving Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson extra value in an expected shootout with the Panthers.
Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants
Manningham looks to be a go in a huge game for the Giants, and is a competent WR3 this week.
Jake Ballard, TE, New York Giants (Out)
Ballard will miss the week 17 finale, giving second-year man Travis Beckum some run against a weak Cowboys pass defense.
Dallas Clark, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Clark will make the start this week, but like most Colts options these days, simply can’t be trusted.
Remember to keep an eye on any game-time decisions up until right before kickoff. Good luck to all who play at Daily Joust in week 17!