Week 17 Rushing Matchups

by Mark Wimer and Joe Bryant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Jump to Passing Matchups

Great Matchups: [ATL] [MIN] [NYJ] [OAK] [PIT]
Good Matchups: [BUF] [CAR] [DAL] [KC] [NE] [NYG] [SEA] [TB]
Neutral Matchups: [ARI] [CHI] [CIN] [DET] [GB] [JAX] [SD]
Tough Matchups: [BAL] [CLE] [DEN] [HOU] [IND] [LA] [MIA] [NO] [PHI] [TEN] [WAS]
Bad Matchups: [SF]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Aaron Rodgers is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Atlanta bested New Orleans 45-32 back in Week Three - they were led by Tevin Coleman's three TD rushes (12/42/3 rushing, with three targets for 3/47/0 receiving), but Devonta Freeman also pulled in a TD (five targets for 5/55/1 receiving, with 14/152/0 rushing) - the two backs were first-and-second in both the rushing and receiving categories at New Orleans. Atlanta needs to win to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs, so starters will likely be in for most if not all of the game.

In the weeks since these teams last met, Freeman (215/983/10 rushing with 60 targets for 49/381/2 receiving through 15 games) and Coleman (110/476/8 rushing with 36 targets for 28/406/2 receiving) have proven to be a very dangerous duo at their position. Atlanta is seventh in the NFL with 1,786 yards rushing this season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry as a team. Last week at Carolina, it was Coleman's turn to lead the stable in rushing (9/90/1, with three targets for 3/45/0 receiving), while Freeman handled 13/53/0 rushing and eight targets for 8/35/0 receiving.

The Saints' rush defense averages 98.9 yards allowed per game, but is tied for third-worst in the NFL with 18 rushing scores handed out to date. Last week, the Buccaneers' backs ground out 21/89/1 rushing at New Orleans (adding 6/45/0 receiving on six targets) - two weeks ago the Cardinals whacked New Orleans for 15/116/3 rushing. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), New Orleans averages 24.5 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (seventh-most in the NFL).

This is a great matchup for the Atlanta running backs.

Weather: Inside the Georgia Dome weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense vs Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Chicago defeated their NFC North rivals 20-10 at Soldier Field in Week Eight - at the time Minnesota was 5-2 and Chicago was 2-6 after the game. Minnesota has gone 2-6 since then, while Chicago has gone 1-6 - neither team is in the playoff picture this week, so they are playing for pride (and next year's jobs) on Sunday. Last time around the block, Minnesota had just 18/57/0 rushing, lead by Matt Asiata's 14/42/0 rushing (with five targets for 2/36/0).

Adrian Peterson didn't play last weekend because of his ongoing knee rehabilitation and a new groin injury - it is unclear if the team will put him on the field for this meaningless game, but if they do it will likely be for a 'courtesy' start in front of the home team. Peterson has averaged 1.9 yards per carry this season, with 37/72/0 over three appearances. In Peterson's absence last week, Jerick McKinnon led the team in rushing with 11/50/0 (with six targets for 5/35/0 receiving) while Matt Asiata handled 6/34/0 rushing (four for 3/30/0). This has been the usual platoon of backs this season.

The Bears' defense gave up 35/208/4 rushing to the Washington stable of backs last weekend - Green Bay blasted this defensive front for 23/226/3 rushing two games ago. It looks like the Bears' defensive front is in a state of collapse entering Week 17 - from Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Chicago averages 20 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (13th in the NFL) - but two of the rushing TDs given out to Washington went to quarterback Kirk Cousins, skewing that average artificially downwards.

This is a great matchup for the Vikings' backs.

Weather: Inside US Bank Stadium weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Buffalo fired head coach Rex Ryan and assistant head coach Rob Ryan on Tuesday, December 27. Anthony Lynn will serve as the interim head coach for the final game of the season. While the Ryans were still on board, back in Week Two, the Jets defeated Buffalo in Buffalo 37-31. However, back then Matt Forte was the starting running back (30/100/3 rushing with three targets for 2/9/0 receiving) while Bilal Powell was a barely-used change-of-pace back (1/2/0 rushing with two targets for 1/1/0 receiving). Since then, Forte suffered a knee injury that is severely limiting him (and he has a shoulder issue also bothering him as of Week 17), and Powell has become the featured back for the Jets.

Khiry Robinson was placed on IR on Tuesday, December 27 as he suffered yet another broken leg in Week 16 (his third break in 13 months), leaving Powell atop a thin depth chart. Powell handled 15/60/0 rushing and three targets for 2/14/0 receiving at New England last week (Forte did not play). We'll see if Powell can get back over 100 yards combined in the season finale (he'd done so in Week 14 and 15).

The Bills' defense was shattered for 38/261/2 rushing last weekend, giving Jay Ajayi his third 200+ yards-rushing performance of the season, and ushering Miami into the playoffs. Before that, lowly Cleveland had 21/107/1 rushing at Buffalo; and three games ago the Steelers steamrolled them with 42/240/3 rushing allowed by Buffalo. Needless to say, they have been the most generous rush defense in the NFL over the past three games, with an average of 35.3 fantasy points given out to opposing running backs per game, on average.

This is a great matchup for Powell. The passing game has fallen apart of late, so look for the Jets to lean on their running game in this final game of 2016.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 8 MPH - that is nice mild weather in Northern New Jersey at this time of year.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Oakland defeated Denver 30-20 at the Black Hole back in Week Nine - Latavius Murray took the lumber to the Broncos' defensive front with 20/114/3 rushing (one target for 1/13/0 receiving), while Jalen Richard had 8/62/0 rushing (three targets for 2/10/0 receiving) and DeAndre Washington posted 10/35/0 rushing on the day. All told, the Raiders ground out 43/218/3 against the hapless Denver defensive front.

Last weekend, Washington shone against the Colts with 12/99/2 rushing (and one target for 1/18/0 receiving), while Richard chipped in 6/66/0 rushing (three targets for 3/13/1 receiving) and Murray posted 15/40/0 rushing (two for 2/11/0). The Raiders' three-headed monster at running back is alive and well entering the final game of the season.

The Broncos' rush defense is dead on arrival to Week 17 - they have averaged 135.2 yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL) and have given out a hefty 15 rushing scores this season. Kansas City punished this weak defensive front for 37/238/2 rushing last week; New England pounded home 39/136/1 at Denver two games ago.

Advantage, Oakland.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a temperature of 51 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 2 MPH - really nice football weather, in other words.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Here's something you haven't read for a while: the Cleveland Browns come into Heinz Field off a victory. It's not exactly a 'win streak' yet, but Cleveland fans can always hope...last time these teams met, Pittsburgh triumphed 24-9 in Cleveland. LeVeon Bell had 28/146/1 rushing and nine targets for 8/55/0 receiving during the blowout win.

Since Week 11, Bell has posted 134/690/5 rushing and seen 29 targets for 22/201/1 receiving. Last week, he ground out 20/122/ rushing with four targets for 3/15/1 receiving against the Ravens' top-five rush defense. Bell has been a monster in the second half of the season. Unfortunately for Bell owners in Week 17 fantasy finals (vote to change that next season, all y'all in that situation!), Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin suggested Tuesday, December 27, that Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey probably won't play in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers are locked into the AFC North title and cannot improve their seeding (#3 in the AFC) with a win at Cleveland, so this is essentially a meaningless game for them. DeAngelo Williams has had trouble with swelling in his knee at points in recent weeks, so we may see a lot of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Daryl Richardson in this contest.

The Browns' rush defense is 31st in the NFL averaging 147.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with 17 rushing scores given out to date. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Cleveland averages 24.7 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (sixth-most in the NFL). The Chargers' beat up backfield could only muster 19/34/0 rushing in Cleveland last week, but that was clearly an outlier - two weeks ago the Bills crammed 40/280/3 rushing down the Browns' throats; they allowed 38/213/1 rushing to Cincinnati three contests back.

This is a great matchup for whoever the Steelers start on Sunday.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a temperature of 34 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 3 MPH - that's nice football weather for Western Pennsylvania in late December.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Buffalo fired head coach Rex Ryan and assistant head coach Rob Ryan on Tuesday, December 27. Anthony Lynn will serve as the interim head coach for the final game of the season. While the Ryans were still on board, back in Week Two, the Jets defeated Buffalo in Buffalo 37-31. LeSean McCoy was held in check during the contest (15/59/0 rushing with five targets for 4/31/0 receiving) and Mike Gillislee saw just one target for 1/18/1 receiving during the contest.

Over the year, Gillislee (86/536/7 rushing with 10 targets for 8/40/1 receiving) has earned a chunk of the action as a valuable change-of-pace option to McCoy (229/1,257/13 rushing and 57 targets for 50/360/1 receiving). With the developments at quarterback this week (the front-office mandated benching of Tyrod Taylor for E.J. Manuel), look for both backs to see plenty of work in this season finale during a coaching transition.

The Jets' rush defense is now 14th in the NFL averaging 100.9 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores handed out over 15 games. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), New York averages 24.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (fifth-most in the NFL). Last week, they handed out 40/114/2 rushing to the Patriots; the Jets' rush defense limited the Dolphins' backs to 27/67/0 rushing two games ago, but gave up 27/248/1 to the 49ers in Week 14.

This is a good matchup for the Bills' backs.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 8 MPH - that is nice mild weather in Northern New Jersey at this time of year.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tampa beat Carolina 17-14 back in Week Five, in a Monday Night Football game at Carolina - then Jonathan-Stewart-less Carolina managed 25/136/2 rushing during the narrow loss.

Since Week Five, Stewart has come back to the forefront of the Panthers' rushing attack - he posted 11/50/0 rushing with two targets for 1/2/0 receiving vs. Atlanta last weekend, while Cam Newton (8/36/0) and Fozzy Whittaker (3/30/0 rushing with one target for 1/14/0 receiving) chipped in aound the edges - all told, the Panthers had 23/119/0 rushing vs. Atlanta last weekend. Over the past three games, Stewart has dominated touches with 60/248/1 rushing and six targets for 2/10/0 receiving, while Fozzy Whittaker (9/48/0 rushing with three targets for 2/39/0 receiving) and Mike Tolbert (3/16/0 rushing with three targets for 3/28/1 receiving) have been change-of-pace options.

The Buccaneers' rush defense averages 116.5 yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL) and has allowed 14 rushing TDs over 15 games - they are a sub-par unit in most ways. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Tampa averages 23.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (eight-most in the NFL). Last weekend, the Saints posted 31/123/2 rushing vs. the Buccaneers.

This is a good matchup for the visiting Panthers.

Weather: Raymond James Stadium expects a temperature of 73 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 15 MPH - in gusty conditions the kicking and passing games may be adversely affected. Owners of Panthers and Buccaneers will want to check a shorter-term forecast with anticipated wind conditions before setting lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The last time these teams clashed, in Week Eight, Dallas won 29-23 with 34/187/1 rushing - Ezekiel Elliott posted 22/96/0 rushing with four targets for 4/52/0 receiving, while Dak Prescott got the rushing TD with 7/38/1.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the 'preliminary plan' for the team's Week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Jan. 1, is to play the starters who are healthy - but remember that the Cowboys are already locked into the #1 seed in the NFC with home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so they don't need to win this game. One key starter on the offensive line, tackle Tyron Smith (knee), suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain in Week 16. He has already been ruled out for Week 17, which may negatively impact the rushing attack. Last week, the Cowboys blew up Detroit on Monday Night Football 42-21 despite not needing to win the game - but this contest won't go down on national T.V. Owners of Elliott (32/1,631/15 rushing with 40 targets for 32/363/1 receiving) may only get a partial game out of him on Sunday. With 178 yards rushing needed to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record, it seems unlikely that Elliott will reach that milestone.

The Eagles' rush defense is ranked 19th in the NFL averaging 105.5 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores given out to date. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Philadelphia averages 20.7 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (12th-most in the NFL). Last week the Giants managed 25/114/0 rushing at Philadelphia, while two weeks ago the Eagles' rush defense allowed 24/151/1 to the Ravens' backs.

This is a good matchup for Elliott (and also Darren McFadden (14/49/0 rushing vs. Detroit last week), his backup, who may get in the game in place of Elliott).

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 8 MPH - very nice football weather given winter time in Philadelphia.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Back in Week One, K.C. defeated San Diego 33-27 at Arrowhead Stadium - Spencer Ware led the team in rushing with 11/70/1 and led the team in receiving with eight targets for 7/129/0. Alex Smith added another rushing score with 4/16/1 in that game.

Since early September, Ware has been the lead back for the Chiefs' offense. Last week he suffered from sore ribs in the contest against Denver, so the team pulled him from the game (after he had compiled 13/62/0 rushing with three targets for 2/20/0 receiving), but he had an MRI this week which showed no major concerns. With the AFC West crown potentially on the line in this game, expect him to play in Week 17 as normal. Charcandrick West (14/35/0 rushin with one target for 1/3/0) continues as the backup/change-of-pace back while Tyreek Hill is seeing several carries these days (6/95/1 rushing for Hill last week). The Chiefs had 37/238/2 rushing against Denver last week (Smith had 4/46/1 rushing in the contest last weekend).

The Chargers' rush defense is 10th in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game, 97.6, but they have handed over 19 rushing scores over 15 games (third-most in the NFL). The lowly Browns posted 29/124/2 rushing vs. San Diego last week in their first win of the season; the Chargers' rush defense allowed 29/145/0 to the Raiders two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), San Diego averages 19 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (14th-most in the NFL). San Diego is slowly disintegrating during December.

Advantage, Kansas City.

Weather: San Diego expects a temperature of 56 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 6 MPH - it should be a fine day for some pro football.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Bill Belichick implied on Monday, December 26 that he will not rest any starters Week 17 against the Dolphins. 'I don't understand that question,' Belichick said. 'I don't know how many starters we have.' The Patriots could lose the No. 1 seed with a loss and Raiders win, and they have already locked up a bye. As well as being a divisional rivalry, this game has playoff positioning on the line for both clubs - expect both teams to bring their 'A' game to this showdown. New England won the first game at New England in Week Two, 31-24 - LeGarrette Blount had a strong outing with 29/123/1 rushing, while James White chipped in 4/19/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving.

Blount has remained the lead back of the Patriots' committee this year (285/1,110/17 rushing, with eight targets for 7/38/0 receiving). Since the return of Dion Lewis (16/52/0 rushing vs. New York Jets last weekend, with one target for 1/5/0 receiving), he and James White (1/14/0 rushing last week, with four targets for 3/32/1 receiving) have been the change-of-pace options to Blount (20/50/2 rushing at New York last weekend). The Patriots have a diverse and dangerous committee of backs entering Week 17.

The Dolphins' rush defense has not done well in recent weeks, allowing 49/272/1 rushing to Buffalo in a narrow OT win last week (34-31), the Dolphins' rush defense allowed 23/116/0 to the Jets' backs two weeks ago, and Arizona posted 27/175/1 rushing at Miami three contests back - from Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Miami averages 21.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (10th-most in the NFL).

This is a good matchup for the Patriots' backs, even though they are traveling to Miami on Sunday.

Weather: Hard Rock Stadium expects a temperature of 75 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 18 MPH - in high wind conditions, the passing and kicking games will be adversely affected. Owners of Dolphins and Patriots will want to check a shorter-term forecast with anticipated wind conditions before setting lineups on Sunday.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Giants have clinched a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, but they backed into it with a 19-24 loss to Philadelphia last weekend, while Washington beat up the Bears 41-21 and is still alive for the final Wild Card spot depending on the outcome of the NFC North Championship game on Sunday Night Football. Both teams have reasons to play hard in this rematch of their perennial NFC East rivalry. Washington won the first showdown of the season 29-27 back in Week Three. During that game Shane Vereen (now on IR) and Orleans Darkwa (now also on IR) handled all the carries for New York.

These days, the Giants employ a tandem of Rashad Jennings (163/541/2 rushing with 41 targets for 34/196/1 receiving) and Paul Perkins (91/354/0 rushing with 22 targets for 15/162/0 receiving) in the rushing phase of the game. This season the Giants are 29th in the NFL with 1,251 yards rushing as a team, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Last week, Jennings posted 9/44/0 rushing with five targets for 4/7/0 receiving, while Perkins handled 15/68/0 rushing and had two targets for 1/9/0 receiving. All told, the Giants managed 25/114/0 rushing at Philadelphia.

The Washington rush defense averages 117.0 yards allowed per game (25th in the NFL) with a whopping 18 rushing scores given out to date. Chicago posted 26/140/1 rushing vs. Washington last week - the Panthers had 33/148/0 rushing at Washington two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Washington averages 21.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (11th-most in the NFL).

This is a good matchup for the Giants' duo of backs.

Weather: FedEx Field expects a temperature of 48 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 8 MPH - weather shouldn't impact this game much.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Seattle could grab the second seed in the NFC Playoffs by winning this game and if Atlanta loses - however, both teams play in the late afternoon slot, so Seattle won't know the outcome of the Falcons game before their tilt with San Francisco. Look for Seattle to play hard in this game in order to secure a possible first-round bye. Seattle beat San Francisco 37-18 in the first game between these teams in Week Three - Christine Michael (now with the Packers) was the lead back for Seattle that day, though, so looking back won't tell us much about this week's prospects.

Thomas Rawls' injury-marred 2016 continues entering Week 17, as he is battling a shoulder injury, but he is expected to play in Week 17. The team did work out veteran running backs on Tuesday, December 27, just in case they need to find depth at running back after Week 17. Rawls was ineffective against the Cardinals, with 8/8/0 rushing, while Alex Collins had 7/28/0 rushing and four targets for 4/19/0 receiving. Russell Wilson (10/36/0 rushing) actually led the team in rushing last weekend vs. Arizona. There is room for improvement here heading into Week 17 folks.

Fortunately for the Seahawks, they play the worst rush defense in the NFL on Sunday - San Francisco has given up an average of 171.1 rushing yards per game this year, and have given up a league-worst 24 rushing TDs to date. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), San Francisco averages 30.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (second-most in the NFL). Even the lowly Rams' rushing attack managed 29/99/2 rushing against the 49ers last week. This is a bad rush defense, folks.

Advantage, Seattle.

Weather: Levis' Stadium expects a temperature of 50 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 7 MPH - near-perfect football weather, in other words.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tampa beat Carolina 17-14 back in Week Five, in a Monday Night Football game at Carolina - just as in Week Five, Doug Martin will not be in the lineup (he was inactive in Week 16 and will be again in Week 17 according to news out of Tampa, though Martin is not currently injured - Tampa is sitting down a back with $15 million guaranteed on his contract, signed earlier this year on 3/9/2016). Last time around the block, Jacquizz Rodgers was the lead back with 30/101/0 rushing and six targets for 5/28/0 receiving. He's positioned to be that again in Week 17, with Charles Sims mixing in as a change of pace (3/12/0 rushing and four targets for 4/30/0 receiving last week at New Orleans). Rodgers posted 15/63/1 rushing and saw two targets for 2/15/0 receiving last weekend in the Superdome.

The Panthers' rush defense is doing without Luke Kuechly, who is being held out as a precautionary measure after a serious concussion a few weeks ago (Kuechly has passed the concussion protocols). Last weekend they coughed up 24/152/1 to NFC South Champion Atlanta; two games ago the Washington backs had just 13/29/1 rushing vs. Carolina. This defensive front has been up and down during the past few weeks - from Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Carolina averages 17.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (14th-least in the NFL). They are playing out the string in this contest.

The Buccaneers' backs did O.K. the last time they faced Carolina, and the Panthers are staggering across the finish line here with a weak effort last weekend. At home in Tampa Bay, we give an edge to the Buccaneers.

Weather: Raymond James Stadium expects a temperature of 73 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 15 MPH - in gusty conditions the kicking and passing games may be adversely affected. Owners of Panthers and Buccaneers will want to check a shorter-term forecast with anticipated wind conditions before setting lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at Los Angeles Rams Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Back in Week Four, these teams battled to a 17-13 decision in favor of Los Angeles - David Johnson (17/83/0 rushing with 4/41/0 receiving) was just beginning his tear through the NFL at that point, and didn't score a TD in the game.

However, Johnson did score three TDs at Seattle last weekend to lead the Cardinals to a 34-31 upset victory. 28/95/3 rushing plus seven targets for 4/41/0 receiving resulted in his 15th-straight game with over 100 yards combined in a game (288/1,233/16 receiving with 77/841/4 receiving). He's had a fantasy owner's dream season this year.

The Rams' defense is currently ranked 18th in the NFL averaging 105.1 yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores given away this season. Last week, San Francisco managed 26/70/1 rushing at L.A. - Seattle was held to 30/72/0 rushing two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), L.A. averages 15.5 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (11th-least in the NFL).

Johnson faces a neutral matchup in this game.

Weather: Los Angeles expects a temperature of 59 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 3 MPH - nice football weather is on tap in Southern California this weekend.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Chicago defeated their NFC North rivals 20-10 at Soldier Field in Week Eight - at the time Minnesota was 5-2 and Chicago was 2-6 after the game. Minnesota has gone 2-6 since then, while Chicago has gone 1-6 - neither team is in the playoff picture this week, so they are playing for pride (and next year's jobs) on Sunday. Back then, Jordan Howard was in the midst of his remarkable rookie season with 26/153/1 rushing (and four targets for 4/49/0 receiving) a 200-yards-combined effort vs. the Vikings.

Since Week Eight, Howard has had six 100-yards-combined efforts, and three games at or over 100 yards rushing - he enters Week 17 off 17/90/1 rushing and four targets for 4/23/0 receiving against Green Bay and 18/119/0 rushing with three targets for 1/9/0 Washington in his last two games. Howard is hot, friends.

The Minnesota rush defense limited Green Bay to 15/40/1 rushing last weekend; two weeks ago they allowed 40/161/2 rushing to the Colts. This unit has swung wildly during December - from Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Minnesota averages 13.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (eighth-least in the NFL). To date, Minnesota averages 101.9 rushing yards allowed per game (15th in the NFL) with nine rushing scores given out.

This week Howard has a neutral matchup to work with as he visits the Vikings' new dome.

Weather: Inside US Bank Stadium weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Baltimore won the first installment of this game during Week 12, 19-14 - the Bengals didn't have much success running the football that day, with 20/64/0 rushing as a team. Jeremy Hill (12/21/0 rushing with six targets for 6/61/0 receiving) did better as a receiver than as a runner in the game, while Rex Burkhead chipped in 5/29/0 rushing with two targets for 2/19/0 receiving.

At Houston last week, Jeremy Hill was stuffed repeatedly (7/8/0 rushing) while Rex Burkhead had a little bit better results (12/42/0 rushing with four targets for 4/25/0). Hill has handled 27/51/1 rushing and one target for 1/8/0 receiving over the past two games, while Burkhead has seen 19/74/0 rushing and seven targets for seven targets for 6/43/0. Neither guy is a huge fantasy factor entering Week 17.

The Ravens' rush defense is currently ranked second in the NFL averaging 85.1 yards allowed per game, with eight rushing scores given up so far. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Baltimore averages a surprising 25 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (fourth-most in the NFL). Pittsburgh had 22/127/1 rushing vs. Baltimore on Christmas Day - the Ravens handed over 38/169/2 on the ground to the Eagles' backs two weeks ago. All of a sudden, the Ravens' rushing defense has fallen apart.

This is a neutral matchup between struggling units.

Weather: Paul Brown Stadium expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 8 MPH - that's nice weather for Ohio in the winter-time.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

This game is for all the marbles in the NFC North - winner is the divisonal champion. The last time these teams clashed, in Week Three, Green Bay triumphed over Detroit 34-27. Dwayne Washington was the lead runner that day, 10/38/0 (one target for 1/-3/0 receiving) while Theo Riddick was still in action (10/9/0 rushing with nine targets for 7/39/0 receiving).

Since then, Riddick suffered a serious wrist injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 13, so in Week 16 Zach Zenner was the lead back at Dallas, with 12/67/2 rushing with three targets for 2/25/0 receiving. Washington handled 7/22/0 rushing and two targets for 1/4/0 receiving in a change of pace role. Riddick has been listed as doubtful to play for weeks, so it is likely that the Zenner/Washington tandem is going to be the Lions' catspaw against the Packers in Week 17.

The Packers' rush defense allowed 20/93/0 to the Vikings' backs last weekend, and two games ago the Green Bay rush defense gave up 19/95/1 to the Bears. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Green Bay averages 17.5 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (15th-least in the NFL). This year, Green Bay averages 95.9 rushing yards allowed per game (ninth in the NFL), with 10 rushing TDs given up this season.

The Lions have home-field advantage in this one - they are facing a neutral matchup in this one.

Weather: Inside Ford Field weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

This game is for all the marbles in the NFC North - winner is the divisonal champion. The last time these teams clashed, in Week Three, Green Bay triumphed over Detroit 34-27. Then, Eddie Lacy was still in action as the lead Packers back at that time, though, and Ty Montgomery only had one carry for -1 yards.

Nowadays, Montgomery is the lead back in a hybrid running back/receiver role - last week he handled 9/23/0 rushing with five targets for 4/17/0 receiving, while Christing Michael ground out 4/4/0 rushing (and, staying consistent, he handled one pass for 1/1/0 receiving). Over the last three weeks, Montgomery has racked up 34/226/3 rushing with 12 targets for 9/63/0 receiving, while Michael has handled 18/85/1 rushing and one target for 1/1/0 receiving.

The Lions' rush defense averages 103.2 yards allowed per game, but they have given out only eight rushing scores all season long (tied for second-least rushing scores given up this year). Last week, Dallas managed 30/164/2 rushing on Monday Night Football, while two games ago New York was limited to 32/114/0 by the Detroit rush defense. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Detroit averages 16.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (13th-least in the NFL).

The Packers' rushing attack is not conventional, but in this phase of the game they face a neutral matchup.

Weather: Inside Ford Field weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis back in Week Four, 30-27 - however, the two running backs who took handoffs in that game are injured now - see below.

Denard Robinson (ankle injury) could serve as the team's #1 back in Week 17 after declaring he'll likely 'be able to go.' Robinson hasn't played since December 4 due to an ankle injury, but with T.J. Yeldon heading to IR on Monday, December 26 and Chris Ivory hit with another hamstring injury during the game last week, it appears that Robinson is the only one of the team's top three backs ready to play in Week 17. The Jaguars also added Daryl Richardson from Pittsburgh on December 26 and re-signed Joe Banyard on December 27 to help fill out the depth chart behind Robinson in Week 17. Robinson has 37/127/0 rushing and four targets for 3/22/0 during 12 appearances so far in 2016, but has been with the team for four years and has amassed 259/1.041/5 rushing with 66 targets for 47/310/0 receiving in that time span.

Indianapolis' rush defense ranks 23rd in the NFL after 15 games, averaging 116.3 yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores given out to date. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Indianapolis averages 27 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (third-most in the NFL). They coughed up 37/210/2 rushing to the Raiders last weekend - the Colts' defensive front is not playing well in December.

Neither of these teams is in good shape entering Week 17 - this is an ugly but neutral matchup.

Weather: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Back in Week One, K.C. defeated San Diego 33-27 at Arrowhead Stadium - back then Danny Woodhead was still in action, and Melvin Gordon handled 14/57/2 rushing.

These days, Gordon has been missing time due to a hip injury. Reports out of San Diego indicated that he looked good in an unpadded session on Tuesday, but Gordon himself indicated that he'd be a 'game-time decision' for Week 17. With San Diego out of the playoffs at 5-10, look for a conservative determination on Gordon's availability. Kenneth Farrow was sent to IR this week, so the Chargers may be down to recent free-agent signees Ronnie Hillman (8/7/0 rushing with one reception for -1 yards last week at Cleveland) and Andre Williams (signed off the practice squad December 27, where he's been since the Giants cut him at the end of training camp) for their stable this weekend. Yikes, Chargers' fans.

The Chiefs' rush defense held Denver to 14/63/1 rushing last weekend, after a bad contest against Tennessee two games ago when they allowed 29/148/2 rushing at home in Arrowhead Stadium. K.C. is 26th in the NFL averaging 120.6 rushing yards allowed per game, but they do get stubborn at the goal line most weeks, with only 10 rushing scores given out this season. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Kansas City averages 22.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (ninth-most in the NFL). They have slipped somewhat in this phase of the game during December.

The Chargers' injury-depleted backfield is not featuring top talent, but the Chiefs' rush D is faltering at the end of the year - this is an ugly but even matchup at San Diego's house.

Weather: San Diego expects a temperature of 56 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 6 MPH - it should be a fine day for some pro football.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Ravens' loss in Pittsburgh Christmas Day eliminated Baltimore from playoff contention, so this is a divisonal-rivalry game that will be played for just pride's sake.

Baltimore won the first installment of this game during Week 12, 19-14 - Kenneth Dixon (13/49/0 rushing, with four targets for 4/31/0 receiving) and Terrance West (13/48/0 rushing, with four targets for 3/16/0 receiving) split up the workload 50-50 that day.

Since then the work-sharing has continued, with Dixon handling 12/57/0 rushing (with three targets for 1/1/0 receiving) at Pittsburgh last weekend, while West saw 10/27/0 rushing (and three targets for 3/28/0 receiving). Kyle Juszczyk punched in a TD in a goal-line situation (2/15/1 rushing, with three targets for 2/10/0 receiving). Due to the extensive work split, there hasn't been big piles of fantasy points for fantasy owners invested in one or the other of the Ravens' backs.

The Bengals' rush defense averages 116.0 yards allowed per game (22nd in the NFL) with 11 rushing scores given up over 15 games. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Cincinnati averages 16.1 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (12th-least in the NFL). Last week, Houston managed 24/95/1 rushing without their top back, Lamar Miller, while two games ago LeVeon Bell and company were limited to 29/97/0 rushing.

The Ravens' backs have a tough matchup ahead of them in Cincinnati.

Weather: Paul Brown Stadium expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 8 MPH - that's nice weather for Ohio in the winter-time.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Here's something you haven't read for a while: the Cleveland Browns come into Heinz Field off a victory. It's not exactly a 'win streak' yet, but Cleveland fans can always hope...last time these teams met (Week 11), Pittsburgh triumphed 24-9 in Cleveland. Cleveland had zero luck running the ball, with 13/33/0 rushing as a team - Isaiah Crowell posted 8/10/0 rushing (with five targets for 5/13/0 receiving) while Josh McCown led the team with 2/11/0 to his credit. Duke Johnson Jr. (who enters Week 17 with an ankle injury that is limiting his time on the field) had 2/10/0 rushing (with four targets for 3/46/0 receiving).

Since then, Crowell has posted 50/239/2 rushing with 16 targets for 11/56/0 receiving, and Johnson has handled 21/97/0 rushing with 16 targets for 11/130/0 receiving. As you can see, Crowell is the lead back in this committee of two.

The Steelers' rush defense ranks sixth in the NFL after 15 games, averaging 91.3 yards allowed per game, with 14 rushing scores given up to date. Last week, Pittsburgh allowed 26/122/1 to the Ravens' stable of backs; two games ago the Bengals had just 76 yards rushing, but they pushed in two rushing scores (28/76/2). From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Pittsburgh averages 18.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (16th in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the on-again/off-again Browns rushing attack.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a temperature of 34 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 3 MPH - that's nice football weather for Western Pennsylvania in late December.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Oakland defeated Denver 30-20 at the Black Hole back in Week Nine - at that time Devontae Booker (10/22/0 rushing with three targets for 1/8/0 receiving) and Kapri Bibbs (2/11/0 rushing with one target for 1/69/1 receiving) were forming a weak rushing attack.

Since then, Denver has brought in Justin Forsett to push Booker (he has previous experience in the offense Denver runs) - last week in Kansas City Booker (5/27/0 rushing with 10 targets for 6/44/0 receiving) and Forsett (5/11/1 rushing with one target for zero receptions) also struggled to move the ball very far on the ground while in chase mode behind the Chiefs. Bottom line here - the Bronco's rushing attack has languished during 2016 once C.J. Anderson went out for the season (and they were lack-luster when he was available).

The Raiders' rush defense averages 115.9 yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL) with 17 rushing scores surrendered to date. Indianapolis posted 24/103/1 rushing at Oakland last weekend; the Chargers' backups were held to 22/73/0 rushing two weeks ago. In December, this unit has cracked down on opposing running backs - from Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Oakland averages just 12.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (fourth-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the Broncos' anemic stable of backs.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a temperature of 51 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 2 MPH - really nice football weather, in other words.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Houston won the first matchup of these teams, besting Tennessee 27-20 back in Week Four - Lamar Miller was the lead back for Houston in that game (19/82/0 rushing with three targets for 3/26/0 receiving), but has been nursing an ankle injury and was inactive for Week 16. Given that Houston can not improve their playoff position in this game (they are locked into the fourth seed as the AFC South Champions), it would be a surprise to see Miller before the post-season. Look for Alfred Blue to reprise his lead-back role from last weekend vs. Cincinnati when Blue posted 21/73/1 rushing with four targets for 4/17/0 receiving. Akeem Hunt (1/6/0 rushing with two targets for 2/28/0 receiving) was the change-of-pace option for Houston last weekend.

The Titans' rush defense averages just 91.1 yards allowed per game (fifth in the NFL) with only nine rushing scores given out this season. They allowed 28/84/1 rushing to the Jaguars last week; two weeks ago the Chiefs had 28/158/2 rushing but the TDs were scored by wide receiver Tyreek Hill (1/68/1 rushing) and quarterback Alex Smith (4/11/1 rushing), not running backs. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Tennessee averages 11.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (tied with Houston for second-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the visiting Texans, who'll likely be without their #1 running back for this contest.

Weather: Nissan Stadium expects a temperature of 49 F at game time, with drizzle falling and winds around 3 MPH - as long as the rain doesn't come down in torrents on Sunday, it should be a decent-if-slightly-soggy day to play football in Nashville.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis back in Week Four, 30-27 - Frank Gore led the Colts in rushing that day, with 16/68/1 (with six targets for 5/27/0 receiving), while Andrew Luck was second on the team with 4/23/0 rushing - nobody else got over three yards rushing in Week Four.

Since then, Gore and Robert Turbin have been the main cogs in the Colts' rushing attack - Gore has posted 247/964/4 rushing with 45 targets for 36/263/4 receiving to date, while Turbin has handled 44/149/6 rushing and seen 31 targets for 24/161/1 receiving. Last week, Gore handled 13/73/0 rushing at Oakland with two targets for 1/12/0 receiving, while Turbin saw 6/18/0 rushing and two targets for 2/11/1 receiving.

The Jaguars' rush defense averages 107.3 yards allowed per game, with 16 rushing scores given out over 15 contests. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Jacksonville averages 15.3 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (10th-least in the NFL). Tennessee was held to 20/58/0 rushing last weekend; Jacksonville's rush defense coughed up 31/79/1 to Houston two contests ago.

This is a tough matchup for Gore and Turbin.

Weather: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Rams Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in Week Four, these teams battled to a 17-13 decision in favor of Los Angeles - Todd Gurley managed 19/33/0 rushing and had five targets for 5/49/0 during the rare 'W' for the Rams.

The sub-100-yards-combined effort from Gurley is part of a season-long pattern of under-achievement. He's been over 100 yards combined once in 15 games this season, with zero 100+ yards-rushing performances, and currently has compiled 264/845/6 rushing with 39/290/0 receiving for the season. Over the last three games Gurley has managed two rushing scores, and he had 26 touches on the football last week (23/67/1 rushing with three targets for 3/20/0 receiving) - but the season has been disappointing for Gurley's fantasy owners, overall.

The Cardinals' rush defense is ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 97.7 rushing yards allowed per game to date, with 16 rushing scores given out to date. Seattle was limited to 27/78/0 rushing last weekend (2.9 yards per carry), but New Orleans posted 32/130/2 rushing at Arizona two games ago (4.1 yards per carry) - as you can see the Cardinals' front seven have been all over the place during December. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Arizona averages 18.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (15th in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the anemic Rams' offense.

Weather: Los Angeles expects a temperature of 59 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 3 MPH - nice football weather is on tap in Southern California this weekend.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dolphins head coach Adam Gase told reporters Monday, Dec. 26, his goal is to go '1-0 this week', implying he will not rest his starters in Week 17 versus the New England Patriots with a chance to improve the team's seeding in the NFL Playoffs. As well as being a divisional rivalry, this game has playoff positioning on the line for both clubs - expect both teams to bring their 'A' game to this showdown. New England won the first game at New England in Week Two, 31-24 - at that time the team was still dallying with Arian Foster and Jay Ajayi had a mere 5/14/0 rushing with four targets for 4/31/0 receiving.

Since then, Ajayi has enjoyed a breakout season with three games over 200 yards rushing, including last week's lambasting of Buffalo (32/206/1 rushing with one target for 1/3/0). Kenyan Drake had 4/56/1 rushing during the contest as well - the Dolphins' rushing attack is primed and ready for their post-season run.

The Patriots' rush defense averages just 89.5 yards allowed per game, third in the NFL, and they are first in the NFL with just six rushing scores given out this year. The Jets were held to 29/111/0 rushing at New England last week; the Patriots limited Denver's running backs to 17/58/0 rushing two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), New England averages 13.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (fifth-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for Ajayi and company.

Weather: Hard Rock Stadium expects a temperature of 75 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 18 MPH - in high wind conditions, the passing and kicking games will be adversely affected. Owners of Dolphins and Patriots will want to check a shorter-term forecast with anticipated wind conditions before setting lineups on Sunday.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Atlanta bested New Orleans 45-32 back in Week Three - Mark Ingram had a solid effort leading the running back stable that day, with 15/77/0 rushing (and he added six targets for 4/30/1 receiving), while Tim Hightower was on the periphery that day (3/19/0 rushing).

Since Week Three, Hightower (130/519/3 rushing with 26 targets for 22/200/1 receiving) has become an important partner with Ingram (185/940/5 rushing with 50 targets for 40/290/4 receiving) - last week, Ingram led the team in rushing with 18/90/2 (with three targets for 2/3/0 receiving) while Hightower saw 8/29/0 rushing and one target for 1/11/0 receiving.

The Falcons' rush defense is in the middle of the NFL this season, averaging 102.7 yards allowed per game (17th in the league) with 13 rushing scores handed out to date. Carolina managed 23/119/0 rushing vs. the Falcons last week; San Francisco had 20/107/0 rushing at Atlanta two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Atlanta averages 11.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (least in the NFL).

The Falcons have been stubborn in this phase of the game lately, and they hold home-field advantage this Sunday - advantage, Atlanta.

Weather: Inside the Georgia Dome weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The last time these teams clashed, in Week Eight, Dallas won 29-23, and Philadelphia posted 24/97/1 rushing as a team, led by Darren Sproles' 15/86/0 rushing (with seven targets for 5/17/0 receiving) - Ryan Mathews pushed in the TD with 4/10/1 rushing and saw one target for 1/1/0 receiving. Last week against the Giants, the tables were reversed with Mathews handling the most carries (18/46/0, with one target for 1/16/0 receiving) while Sproles pushed in the lone TD run (7/40/1 rushing, with two targets for 2/23/0 receiving). However, Mathews suffered a back injury and was placed on IR Tuesday, December 27, leaving Sproles as the main option entering the season finale.

The Cowboy's rush defense is ranked first in the NFL averaging 81.5 yards allowed per game, and they are tied for second in the NFL with just eight rushing scores surrendered to date. Now, Detroit did push in three rushing scores on Monday Night Football (20/90/3), but that was an aberration and not the beginning of a trend. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Dallas averages 14 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (ninth-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the injury-depleted, home-team Eagles.

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a temperature of 44 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 8 MPH - very nice football weather given winter time in Philadelphia.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Houston won the first matchup of these teams, besting Tennessee 27-20 back in Week Four - DeMarco Murray cranked out 25/95/2 rushing (with two targets for 2/24/0 receiving) in that game, while Derrick Henry had a modest 3/9/0 rushing.

Since Week Four, Henry has come onto the scene as a junior partner in a running-back-by-committee (95/425/4 rushing with 14 targets for 12/134/0 receiving this season) while Murray remains the lead back (282/1,266/9 rushing with 66 targets for 52/379/3 receiving). Now that Marcus Mariota is out for the season and Matt Cassel is in as the starting quarterback for the season finale, look for Murray and Henry to get an extensive workout in Week 17, as the Titans figure to lean on their talented duo of running backs.

The Texans' rush defense averages 99.5 yards allowed per game (13th in the NFL) with 12 rushing scores handed out this season. Last week, Cincinnati could only manage 19/50/0 rushing at Houston; Jacksonville was limited to 20/67/1 rushing two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Houston averages 11.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (tied with Tennessee for second-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the home-team Titans.

Weather: Nissan Stadium expects a temperature of 49 F at game time, with drizzle falling and winds around 3 MPH - as long as the rain doesn't come down in torrents on Sunday, it should be a decent-if-slightly-soggy day to play football in Nashville.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Giants have clinched a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, but they backed into it with a 19-24 loss to Philadelphia last weekend, while Washington beat up the Bears 41-21 and is still alive for the final Wild Card spot depending on the outcome of the NFC North Championship game on Sunday Night Football. Both teams have reasons to play hard in this rematch of their perennial NFC East rivalry. Washington won the first showdown of the season 29-27 back in Week Three. At that time Matt Jones was still starting, and Rob Kelley had just 4/7/0 rushing - things have changed for Washington since Week Three in this phase of the game.

Kelley had the bulk of the carries at Chicago last weekend (19/76/0 with three targets for 2/6/0 receiving), while Mack Brown (8/82/1 rushing with one target for 1/-2/0 receiving), Kirk Cousins (5/30/2) and Chris Thompson (3/20/1 rushing with one target for 1/17/1 receiving) got the glory with all the TDs scored by someone other than Kelley. All told, the Washington runners posted 35/208/4 on the hapless Bears. Kelley tweaked a knee in the game, but head coach Jay Gruden indicated this week that Kelley should be available for the game on Sunday even if he doesn't practice much this week. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News for the latest on this developing story.

The Giants' rush defense averages 91.9 yards allowed per game (seventh in the NFL) with 10 rushing scores given out to date. They coughed up 30/118/1 to the Eagles' backs last weekend; Detroit was held to 19/56/0 rushing at New York two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), New York averages 13.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (sixth-least in the NFL).

This is a tough matchup for the Washington backs despite playing at home on Sunday.

Weather: FedEx Field expects a temperature of 48 F at game time, with cloudy skies and winds around 8 MPH - weather shouldn't impact this game much.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Seattle could grab the second seed in the NFC Playoffs by winning this game and if Atlanta loses - however, both teams play in the late afternoon slot, so Seattle won't know the outcome of the Falcons game before their tilt with San Francisco. Look for Seattle to play hard in this game in order to secure a possible first-round bye. Seattle beat San Francisco 37-18 in the first game between these teams in Week Three - back then Carlos Hyde was the featured back, but he landed on IR this week with a torn MCL so he won't play vs. Seattle.

The 49ers will need Shaun Draughn (53/155/2 rushing with 33 targets for 25/195/2 receiving) and DuJuan Harris (34/139/0 rushing with nine targets for 8/115/1 receiving) to step in and hold down the fort for Hyde. Draughn had 10/17/0 rushing with seven targets for 6/48/0 receiving at L.A. last weekend.

The Seahawks' rush defense averages 95.0 yards allowed per game (eighth in the NFL) with 14 rushing scores given out to date. Arizona crammed in three TDs on Seattle last weekend (29/94/3); Los Angeles eked out 17/47/0 rushing at Seattle two games ago. From Week 14-16 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Seattle averages 13.6 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (seventh-least in the NFL).

This is a bad matchup for the hurting 49ers.

Weather: Levis' Stadium expects a temperature of 50 F at game time, with clear skies and winds around 7 MPH - near-perfect football weather, in other words.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.