There are tons of playoff slots still up in the air so we should have a fun week 17 as fans and fake footballers. Good luck this week!
1 pm Games
San Francisco @ St. Louis
Alex Smith is just too erratic to trust to lead your team to the promised land, even if you were only promised an empty lot under the train. The matchup is good, but I’d feel better about using Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.
SF: Smith 0, Crabtree +1, Davis +2
Keith Null should get the start once again and once again throw for under 200 yards and a couple picks. The Rams are best served losing this game to keep their draft status and they probably will. There is no reason to even think about starting anybody from the passing game. So play the passing game, and pass.
STL: Null -2, WR’s -2
New England @ Houston
The Pats have a shot at the #3 seed so it seems like they should be motivated at least a little, but Vegas has them underdogs by 8 points and I always lean toward players in must win situations. Are Brady, Moss and Welker for a half better than a lot of players? Yes, and that’s a decision you’ll have to make. But remember the Colts (not the Titans).
NE: Brady -1, Moss -1, Welker 0
Matt Schaub and company have a glimmer of hope of making the playoffs so they will be going all out. Schaub is high on my awesome list this week and of course Andre Johnson is high on my totally awesome list. They are must starts, but you knew that. I’ll shut up now.
HOU: Schaub +2, Johnson +2
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
Matt Ryan had a big game against a good Bisons’ pass defense last week and seems to be healthier even though he will be limited in practice. Tampa has a decent pass defense and a bad rush defense, but so did Buffalo and they still threw, so I’m looking for another decent game from Ryan. Gonzo is hurting and may not play so look for Roddy White to get a lot of work.
ATL: Ryan +1, White +2
Josh Freeman is still too inconsistent to use, even against a bad pass defense. Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow are the only possibilities in the Bucs’ passing game and Winslow has been much more consistent. The Falcons are really hurting in the secondary and I think Bryant can have a decent game. He had 5 receptions last week, but just couldn’t get loose. There’s a good chance he gets more yardage this week.
TB: Freeman -1, Bryant +1, Winslow +2
New Orleans @ Carolina
The Saints have clinched and even thought they are blowing some smoke about playing I doubt they last the whole game. I would worry about starting any of them, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson should see more work, but knowing how much work they’ll get is a crap shoot that I’m not willing to play.
NO: Brees -1, Colston, -1, Meachem -2, Moore 0, Henderson -1
Matt Moore has played very well as of late, and if Steve Smith hadn’t broken his arm I’d probably be ready to start him, but he did, and I’m not. Muhsin Muhammad will see more work as the #1 receiver and is worth a WR #3.
CAR: Moore 0, Muhammad +1
Pittsburgh @ Miami
Big Ben should have his way with the Miami corners (no, they aren’t Vegas hotel workers, close though). Santonio Holmes is the clear number one and Hines Ward is still having hamstring issues. I’d stay away if possible. Mike Wallace is making the most out of limited targets, but with Hines Ward hobbled he could get even more targets and become a safer play.
PIT: Roethlisberger +2, Holmes +2, Wallace +1, Ward 0, Miller 0
Chad Henne has thrown for over 300 yards the last 2 weeks while throwing 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Not great, but if you get a bonus for 300 yards it’s probably pretty good. There is a good chance Henne will have to throw a lot since Pittsburgh’s rush defense is tough and their pass defense isn’t. With those two 300 yard games you would think a wide receiver would have had a great game, but in both games no Dolphins’ receiver topped 10 fantasy points. And that was Ginn and Hartline! You can’t tell who it will be and even if you do, the rewards aren’t that great.
MIA: Henne +1, Bess 0, Camarillo 0, Ginn 0, Hartline 0
Jacksonville @ Cleveland
David Garrard has had a bit of a regression this year. His fumblitis has gotten acute and he can’t even keep his best receiver in targets and fantasy points. Cleveland isn’t very good, but you can’t start Garrard. Mike Sims-Walker became an every week starter for a stretch there, but that stretch is gone. With the amount of receivers with questionable playing time out there MSW is probably startable this week.
JAC: Garrard 0, Sims-Walker +1
Derek Anderson isn’t a NFL quarterback, well, he is, he’s playing in a NFL game on Sunday, but he won’t be for long. He does get a horrible Jags secondary and I could almost see him having some crazy lights out game, but not enough to recommend starting him to my worst enemy, which I don’t think I’ve had since grade school. The Jags are much better on run defense, but the Browns have gone run heavy in their 3 game winning streak (it’s true), so they might be matching up with the wrong dudes this week.
CLE: Anderson -1, Massaquoi 0, Stuckey , Moore 0
New York Giants @ Minnesota
If they haven’t completely folded, the Giants could do some damage against the Vikings pass defense. Jay Cutler and company threw all over them and their best cornerback, Antoine Winfield, got burned for the game winning touch down and looked slow in doing so. I could see gambling on Eli this week if you are down a QB due to them resting on their ass-laurels. And with no Jacobs and the more reception friendly Bradshaw in there, I expect a lot of ball chucking.
NYG: Manning +1, Smith +2, Nicks +1, Manningham +1, Boss +1
The Vikings need this game for a chance at a bye so will be going all out. Favre plays better in the home dome and showed that he’s not done for the season with a good game in Chicago. The Giants pass defense continues to be horrid so there is no reason to downgrade any receivers.
MIN: Favre +1, Rice +2, Harvin +1, Berrian 0, Shiancoe 0
Indianapolis @ Buffalo
Curtis Painter = start Buffalo’s defense.
IND: -2’s all around!
BUF: Fitzpatrick 0, Owens +1
Chicago @ Detroit
So where has this Jay Cutler been? Waiting until there was absolutely no pressure left? I don’t know, but if you could count on that Cutler playing he sure has a nice matchup in the dome, but his wide receivers are dropping like a ball in Adrian Peterson’s hands. Devin Hester is still limited and Johnny Knox is done for the season. This might not set up Cutler for a big game, but it does set up Devin Aromashodu and Greg Olsen for a lot of work. How productive they will be is another question, but opportunity + matchup = football fantasia.
CHI: Cutler 0, Aromashodu +1, Olsen +1
Detroit continues their horribleness which starts at the quarterback position. Drew Stanton and Daunte Culpepper are dueling toward mediocrity and both are winning. Calvin Johnson had a decent game last week and seems to be healed enough to be startable even with the horrid QB battle.
DET: Stanpepper -2, Johnson +1
4 pm Games
Washington @ San Diego
The Native Americans will be playing the Chargers’ B team, but sadly the Skins A team plays like a C team. Has anyone seen B.A. Baracus? While the Patriots and Bengals who might sit starters are extreme underdogs in Vegas the Chargers scrubs are actually favored. That is saying something. Santana Moss has been getting a lot of targets, but continues to be a dink and dunker, who I would only use in ppr. Fred Davis has a nice matchup here and should get back to his end zone ways.
WAS: Campbell 0, Moss 0, Fred Davis +1
Billy Volek is a possibility if you own Rivers and are hurting at QB. He is capable and has some decent 2nd string WR’s to use. I wouldn’t bet the farm or even the farm cat on him though. Legedu Naanee and Kassim Osgood could see a lot of work.
SD: Volek 0, Naanee +1, Osgood 0
Tennessee @ Seattle
Seattle’s secondary is fantasticly poor. This is set up to be a good game for Vince Young and it easily could be, but we are going to see a lot of running by the 2,000 yard man (no relation to Mel Brooks). I think VY will have a good game, but it will be difficult to predict what receivers might benefit. Kenny Britt has been backsliding as of late and it is hard to play him in your championship game. I’m staying away from the Titans’ receivers.
TEN: Young +1, Britt 0, Washington 0, Gage 0
So Matt Hasselbeck has turned into a major waste of space on anyone’s fantasy roster. His schedule looked great, but he just couldn’t turn things around this year. The Seahawks are texting it in and I can’t recommend any of them.
SEA: Hasselbeck -2, Housh -1, Carlson -1
Baltimore @ Oakland
Baltimore is in a must win game and they are facing a team whose weakness (rush D) fits perfectly into their strength (rushing). But we are here to look at Flacco and company. Oakland doesn’t have a great secondary and can be beat so you have to get Mason in there. Flacco might not see a ton of work, but he is a fairly safe bet to not destroy you in a firey blaze of fantasy ineptitude. Todd Heap has turned it on the last couple weeks, but it is hard for me to jump on the bandwagon, but since he is getting those red zone targets I’ll take a short ride.
BAL: Flacco +1, Mason +1, Heap 0ish
Charlie Frye and Zach Miller got all pass happy last week and Miller is the only possible fantasy start in the passing game (as usual). Frye seems to like Miller, probably because he catches the ball, so I see no reason not to start him.
OAK: Frye -2, Miller +1
Philadelphia @ Dallas
The Cowboys pass defense is decent, but the onslaught of passes that McNabb throws at the defense is impossible to withstand. The Eagles have too many weapons in Jackson, Maclin and Celek. This game should be a shootout and both teams have playoff seeding implications which will make them play all out.
PHI: McNabb +2, Jackson +2, Maclin +1, Celek +2
Tony Romo didn’t have a huge fantasy game last week, but he also didn’t kill your team. He has turned a corner and will put up good numbers on an Eagles secondary that, in the last 5 weeks, has been giving up an average of 22 fantasy points to QB’s. Look for Jason Witten and Miles Austin to get most of those yards. Roy Williams is awful, but he could grab a TD if it gets coated with super glue on the way to him.
DAL: Romo +2, Austin +2, Williams 0, Witten +2
Kansas City @ Denver
The Denver secondary doesn’t allow any single receiver to beat them and the Chiefs don’t have enough weapons to really hurt them through the air. Dwayne Bowe is getting a ton of short targets, but has yet to get any real yardage. In ppr leagues Bowe is a good start, but otherwise he’s risky.
KC: Cassel -2, Bowe 0
Brandon Marshall tweaked his hamstring in practice, but reports say he will play. Keep an eye on this, because he is pretty much the whole passing offense. The Chiefs pass defense has improved, but they haven’t been playing very good passing offenses. If Marshall is healthy he is a top 5 start this week and makes Orton a borderline start.
DEN: Orton 0, Marshall +2, Gaffney 0, Sheffler -1
Green Bay @ Arizona
I don’t think Green Bay will play their starters much so I would stay away from the whole mess. I would recommend the Packers back ups, but Arizona could be playing to win this game.
GB: no thanks
Kurt Warner and company could use a rest so if Minnesota beats the Giants in the early game I don’t see them playing more than a quarter. But if the Giants win, the Cardinals would have a shot at the #2 seed and a whole other week off. And if the Cardinals are playing to win, while the Packers are packing it in, they could move the ball easily.
8 pm Game
Cincinnati @ NY Jets
If the Patriots beat the Texans then Cincinnati will most likely rest their players. If the Patriots lose to the Texans the Bengals will most likely rest their players. Don’t risk it and thankfully it’s a craptastic matchup anyway.
CIN: No thanks
Mark Sanchez isn’t trusted by the coaches so I don’t really trust the passing game. They will run the ball a lot.
NYJ: Sanchez -1, Cotchery -1, Edwards -1