1. Jimmy Graham vs. CAR
Many teams who have their playoff spot secured may be resting their starters for week 17. However, that is not the case with the Saints. The "Superstar" Jimmy Graham finds himself with one of the best matchups of the week. He gets a Panthers defense that he owned earlier this season. In that game he posted 7/71/1 as the Saints and Panthers played in a shootout. In a week of uncertainties, Graham is one of the few reliable options at the tight end position.
2. Jason Witten at WAS
Witten and the Cowboys are in a must-win situation heading into week 17 if they want to make the playoffs. Over the last five weeks the Cowboys star TE has had a whopping 43 targets. He only trails Aaron Hernandez in that category. This week he gets a defense that is one of the weaker units in the league in regards to defending the TE position. Witten has either scored or topped 60 yards receiving in five straight weeks and those are the types of numbers that fantasy owners love during a week like this.
3. Aaron Hernandez vs. MIA
The Patriots may get Rob Gronkowski back for this matchup. That doesn't affect my feeling on Hernandez this week. Gronk will get limited snaps even if he does play so Hernandez is still a top play this week. He leads the league in targets (51) and is second in TDs (3) over the last five weeks. In week 13 he saw 13 targets and posted 8/97. Hernandez is a beast and should give you every reason you could imagine to enjoy the New Year.
4. Greg Olson at NO
Olson stunk up the joint back in week two as he only logged 1/13 against the Saints. My how things have changed over the course of the season! Over the last five weeks Olson has either scored or topped 50-yards receiving for the Panthers. The Panthers coaching staff is playing for their jobs right now so you figure the game-plan will still heavily include Olson. As Cam Newton has gone, so has Olson. Ride this hot-streak in week 17 as this is the type of last season fantasy success that can help you win a championship.
5. Kyle Rudolph vs. GB
Rudolph may be the streakiest TEs in the league this season. Every time Rudolph has ended a scoring drought this year, he has does so by scoring in at least two consecutive games. He got off the snide last week against the Texans as he posted 3/39/1 on six targets and now gets a Packers squad that he roughed up for 6/51/1 back in week 13. This time of year is the heaviest on tradition and if Rudolph holds true, he should be a lock to find the end-zone again this week.
6. Jermichael Finley at MIN
Welcome back to fantasy relevance for the enigmatic Packer TE! Finley has posted at least 50-yards receiving in four of the last five games. He travels to Minnesota this week in a game the Packers have to have in order to secure a first round bye for the playoffs. He hit the Vikings for 6/60 back in week 13 and should find himself in the mix even more should Randall Cobb be inactive or limited due to the injury he sustained in week 15.
7. Owen Daniels at IND
What has happened to the Texans offense? Houston tends to play to their competition which is good news for Daniels owners as the Texans travels to Indy in a game they have to win in order to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. While Daniels laid an egg (4/40) in week 15 against the Colts, he is still 5th in the league in targets (35) over the last five games. Given the problems the Texans are having in the running game with Arian Foster, look for the Texans to keep Daniels active against a Colts defense that has given up 19/218/3over their last four games.
8. Antonio Gates vs. OAK
Welcome back Antonio Gates! Fantasy owners have been wondering if you would show up this year. Gates has now scored in two consecutive games as he posted a line of 2/44/1 against the Jets. Gates appears to be running better than any point in the last two seasons and he now gets to face an Oakland squad that is an absolute mess. Last year in a week 17 contest against the Raiders Gates lit them up for 5/106/1. Look for history to come close to repeating itself again as Gates is surely focused on showing any potential new Chargers head coach that there is still some gas left in the tank for 2013.
9. Dwayne Allen vs. HOU
Nobody would have thought at the start of the season that the rookie TE that everyone in Indy would be talking about would be Dwayne Allen. However, that is exactly the case as his fellow rookie teammate; Coby Fleener has not been able to stay healthy all year. Allen scored and posted 3/36 in week 15 against the Texans. The Texans and Bucs have given up the most receptions (32) to TEs over the last five weeks. So if you have Allen on your roster he better be in your starting lineup come Sunday.
10. Delanie Walker vs. ARI
This one is going to require you to do some research. I only say that because a lot of sites had Walker listed as a fullback to start the season. However, the "four letter network" now has him listed as a TE as well as the depth chart for the 49ers. Walker has found the end-zone in two consecutive games and now gets a Cardinals defense that has given up 12/207/1 to opposing TEs in their last three games. It is a reach, but check your league settings/rules in regards to his position classification. If it shows him as a TE you may actually strike gold with Walker in week 17.
11. Tony Gonzalez vs. TB
12. Martellus Bennett vs. PHI
13. Dennis Pitta vs. CIN
14. Lance Kendriks at SEA
15. Rob Gronkowski vs. MIA