Don’t wait to crown a champion: Each year we get to Week 17 and see many teams resting players and others looking to the future, leaving many owners to scramble to field a lineup. Why play out a long season and let the champion be decided when at times many are playing without a full deck. Play your league title game in Week 16 and eliminate the problem. In many of my leagues we still have scoring titles and weekly high weeks during this week just to keep it interesting.
SETTING YOUR LINEUP
QB Eli Manning (vs. DAL) – Manning hit a skid at the wrong time for fantasy owners after an amazing November run. However, those that survived will reap the rewards when he faces a Cowboys’ D that he has had 300 yards and at least two TD passes in four of his last five meetings with.
RB CJ Spiller (at NE) – Over their past five games the Patriots have been getting eaten alive by running backs and Spiller has been on a tear recently with 47 fantasy points over his past two contests. Look for him to become the sixth straight runner to reach double digit fantasy points vs. New England.
RB Chris Johnson (at HOU) – The see-saw season of Chris Johnson is one week from being over. For the owners that endured it they shouldn’t put themselves through another week of misery. Pull the plug early and bench him against a Texans’ defense that has only ceded 18 yards to him on 10 carries in Week 7.
TE Vernon Davis (at STL) – No team has allow fewer fantasy points to tight ends than the Rams and few players at the position have disappointed as much as Davis. Sounds like it’s time to take a seat.
RB Adrian Peterson (knee) – Peterson underwent surgery on Friday after being placed on injured reserve earlier this week with a torn left ACL and MCL and meniscus damage. The injury could cost him time in the 2012 season.
RB Ryan Mathews (calf) – Has tried to give it a go during practice this week, but was still sore on Friday. Expect him to a full-blown game-time decision for Sunday’s 4:15 tilt vs. OAK.
QB Tony Romo (hand) – Romo has practiced through the injury that forced him from Christmas Eve’s action and will start in the Cowboys’ must-win game against the Giants.
WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) – The Texans’ wideout has missed nine games to injuries this season, but will try to shake off the rust with limited snaps before the playoffs begin. He’s a high-risk, high-reward fantasy play in Week 17.
WR Lance Moore (hamstring) – Moore will sit out the season finale and could miss playoff games. Expect Robert Meachem to become more involved in his absence.
Other injuries of note: Vincent Jackson (groin), Felix Jones (hamstring), Roy Helu (ankle), Jermichael Finley (knee)
FINAL WEEK HEADACHES
These are situations owners are hoping to avoid in Week 17…
PACKERS – With the #1 seed and home-field advantage locked up in the NFC, fantasy stud Aaron Rodgers and his supporting cast which has proven so useful to fantasy owners this year will likely be watching from the sidelines.
SAINTS – New Orleans needs the Rams to beat the 49ers to give their game any meaning. I’m not counting on it and neither are the Saints. Despite what Sean Payton has said there’s a good chance that come the second half he’s pulling starters.
TEXANS – The Texans have been reeling of late and would like to get some confidence heading into the postseason. Andre Johnson is making a return to the lineup, but how much he will be used is another question and Ben Tate could see a heavier workload to save the wear and tear on Arian Foster.
STEELERS – Pittsburgh still has shot to win the division and earn a first-round bye. However, it is unclear how much a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger might play. If the Ravens get a nice lead on the Bengals, he will likely sit. That makes all of the Steelers’ passing weapons a little less appealing in a surprisingly tough matchup with the Browns’ secondary.