Kickoff: Sunday, January 3rd at 4:25 PM ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Betting Odds: LAC -3.5, 44 total via Oddsshark
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert (Start, QB1)
The Chiefs are right in the middle of the league when it comes to fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but Kansas City has already clinched a playoff spot. There should be plenty of opportunities for Justin Herbert to impress this week, especially if the Chiefs start benching starters. Herbert should be a safe bet for QB1 production.
Austin Ekeler (Start, RB1)
The Chiefs have been pretty middle-of-the-road in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Chargers are out of the playoffs, so I’m not sure how much work they will give to Austin Ekeler. Assuming they give him the whole game of production, Ekeler should be capable of an RB1 performance. The Chargers could also pass the ball plenty to Ekeler if Keenan Allen is out again.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Keenan Allen (WR3 if active), Mike Williams (WR3 if Allen inactive), Tyron Johnson (Sit), Hunter Henry (Out), Donald Parham Jr. (Sit)
Keenan Allen was inactive last week, so fantasy managers will need to keep an eye on his status if they think they need him this week. Allen had an impressive year. He’s still in the WR1 tier even after missing a game last week. I wouldn’t get too excited if Allen is active this week. The Chargers are already eliminated, and I can’t imagine they would force a heavy workload on Allen if he’s still struggling with that hamstring injury.
Mike Williams could find himself in WR3 territory this week if Allen is inactive again, but I wouldn’t expect much more value than that. The Chiefs allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year, and the Chargers don’t have anything to fight for (playoff-wise), so I wouldn’t expect a big day from Williams.
Tyron Johnson was supposed to see more work with Allen out last week but only managed 5.6 fantasy points. He isn’t trustworthy if you’ve found yourself in a Week 17 championship.
Donald Parham Jr. filled in as the Chargers primary pass-catching tight end last week with Hunter Henry out. He did quite well with only three targets, but only a few passes won’t be much with which to work. Parham won’t be useful for fantasy purposes.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes II (Sit), Chad Henne (Sit)
The Chiefs have already locked in their first-round bye, and head coach Andy Reid announced that Chad Henne will start instead of Patrick Mahomes II. With the QB uncertainty this week, it is tough to recommend playing either of these guys. We can hardly blame Reid for wanting to protect his franchise quarterback in a meaningless game. Stay away from both Kansas City quarterbacks in fantasy leagues this week.
Darrel Williams (Flex), Le’Veon Bell (Flex), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Sit)
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out, Darrel Williams and Le’Veon Bell took over the Kansas City backfield. Many thought Bell would lead the backfield last week. Somewhat surprisingly, Williams ended up with more snaps and carries. With Edwards-Helaire likely out again, it seems Williams will lead the backfield once again in Week 17. That said, I wouldn’t expect much more than flex production from Williams this week. Le’Veon Bell should still be in the mix, limiting the ceiling for both backs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (WR1 if 100% active), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Mecole Hardman (Sit), Demarcus Robinson (Sit), Travis Kelce (TE1 if 100% active)
You hardly need me to tell you that Tyreek Hill is a WR1 if he plays a full game, but fantasy managers need to be very cautious this week. The Chiefs have already clinched the AFC, so Kansas City could rest Hill early (if they even play him at all). This situation is why many people do not play fantasy football this late. It’s no fun worrying about the overall WR2 on the season in Week 17.
Sammy Watkins has a slight calf injury he suffered last week, so he will likely be rested all this week. He’s an easy sit decision in fantasy leagues. Mecole Hardman can’t be trusted either. He only has one double-digit fantasy performance over his past seven games. Similarly, Demarcus Robinson hasn’t been productive or dependable enough to trust in a Week 17 fantasy championship.
Travis Kelce set multiple tight-end records this year, but like Tyreek, Kelce is in danger of not even playing this week because the Chiefs have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Fantasy managers will need to closely monitor the news leading up to game time if they need Kelce this week.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse on Twitter)