The book is closing on another great season. I hope everybody had a safe and happy holiday and would like to thank all of you for reading and participating in our live chats this season. It’s been a blast.
The last chat of the season kicks off on Sunday at 10:30am eastern and runs for one full hour. We hope to see you there.
FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 7-9)
Last week: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (pick) vs. San Francisco 49ers (win)
DALLAS COWBOYS (+3) at Washington Redskins: Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys were in this same spot last year: Win and you’re in, lose and you’re on the golf course. If Jason Garrett can’t get it done this time around, does Jerry Jones start looking for somebody who can?
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
Here’s the rundown for the final week of the 2012 campaign. Despite our mediocre results, this has been a fun contest to partake in this season. We’ll definitely be out for redemption in 2013.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+5.5) at New Orleans Saints
CHICAGO BEARS (-3) at Detroit Lions
DALLAS COWBOYS (+3) at Washington Redskins
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-10.5) vs. St. Louis Rams
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-10) vs. Miami Dolphins
CLICK HERE to check out the current lines.
WEEK 17 FANDUEL SALARY CAP CHALLENGE
Let’s try to close out the 2012 season with a bang, shall we? This week’s league has 222 open spots with a first prize payout of $1,000. In addition, cash prizes will be awarded from first to 23rd place. Best of luck!
CLICK HERE to enter the Week 17 challenge.
START ‘EM UP
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (vs. Eagles): Manning has been in a total funk over the last few weeks as he’s watched his Giants freefall from the top of the NFC East standings. Sunday marks a must-win situation for Big Blue against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that is currently surrendering an average of 21.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (seventh-most in NFL) and has been torched by Manning for 11 touchdowns over the last four meetings between these two teams. We have a feeling Eli is going to wake up for this one.
We're betting that Chris Johnson closes out the 2012 regular season on a high note.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (vs. Jaguars): Johnson has found the end zone only five times this season and has come nowhere close to justifying the first round grade we put on him back in August. However, Week 17 offers up a very favorable matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that currently ranks 31st in the NFL against the run (145.1 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 23.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (t-second-most in NFL).
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (at Giants): Maclin was on our start list last week and came up big in the clutch, catching eight passes for 116 yards and a score on 14 targets. Ride the lightning again in Week 17 when the Philly receiver heads to New York to take on a Giants defense that currently ranks 28th in the league against the pass (257.4 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 25.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (fifth-most in NFL). Quarterback Michael Vick has to throw the ball to somebody, and we’re thinking at least 12 of those targets will be headed Maclin’s way.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets (at Bills): Greene’s rushed for 287 yards and three scores over his last four games, which is a stat line that could only be appreciated when talking about a team like the New York Jets. And while the upside here is relatively limited, take note that the Bills currently rank dead last in the NFL against the run (146.7 yds/gm) while giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (23.3 pts/gm). Consider Greene a respectable flex option for Week 17.
Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers (at Saints): After being held out of the end zone in ten of his first 11 games of the season, Smith has come on strong down the stretch with three scores over his last four outings. Make sure he’s in the lineup this Sunday against a Saints defense that ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass (294.9 yds/gm) while giving up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the league this season (28.6 pts/gm). Carolina has won four of five while New Orleans is looking to close out the 2012 campaign on a three-game winning streak. This should be a good one.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (at Saints): Olsen has found the end zone twice over his last four games and has posted 50 or more receiving yards in three straight outings. Those aren’t huge numbers, but they’re worth noting heading into Sunday’s matchup with a Saints defense that is surrendering an average of 8.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (eighth-most in NFL).
Buffalo Bills, D/ST (vs. Jets): Looking for a total roll of the dice? Then look no further than the Buffalo Bills, who have been absolutely dreadful on the defensive side of the football this season. The only upside here is that Sunday’s matchup at Ralph Wilson Stadium comes against a Jets team that has scored more than 20 points just one time over their last eight outings. Plus, Mark Sanchez is back under center! He’s usually good for at least three turnovers.
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (vs. Bears): In his four-year NFL career, Stafford is just 1-4 against Chicago with only five touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a QB rating of 73.5. In addition, the Lions are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak while the Bears are looking to claim the NFC’s final wild card spot. Expect to see a motivated Chicago team on Sunday that has limited opposing quarterbacks to just 14.9 fantasy points per game this season (fourth-fewest in NFL).
ICONStafford hasn't had a lot of success against the Bears during his career.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams (at Seahawks): He’s found the end zone twice over his last three games and is just ten yards from crossing the 1,000-yard plateau, but Jackson is a bad start for Week 17. The Rams are finished, but the opposition is playing for a chance to win the NFC West and is 7-0 both straight-up and against the spread at home this season. In addition, Seattle currently ranks 11th in the NFL against the run (104.7 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of only 14.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (sixth-fewest in NFL). And keep in mind that if St. Louis falls behind early, the Rams will be forced to take to the skies for a better portion of Sunday’s game.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs. Panthers): Over his last seven starts against the Panthers, Colston is averaging just 58.8 receiving yards per game with only two touchdowns. Throw in the fact that Carolina ranks eighth in the league against the pass (212.7 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of only 17.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (second-fewest in NFL) and you have the recipe for a guy who should be holding it down on the bench in Week 17.
Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Texans): He ran for 105 yards the last time these two teams got together, but keep in mind that Ballard has found the end zone only twice this season despite touching the ball 199 times. Houston comes into this game with motivation (looking to clinch home field in the AFC playoffs), a solid run defense (98.6 yds/gm, seventh in NFL) and a great track record against opposing ball-carriers (fewest fantasy points surrendered to opposing RBs this season). We’ll kindly pass on Ballard this weekend, who still deserves a tip of the hat for being one of this year’s most productive waiver wire acquisitions.
Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens (at Bengals): Smith’s last two starts against the Bengals have resulted in only seven receptions for 90 yards with zero trips to pay dirt. The Bengals have won six of their last seven games, qualified for the postseason with last Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh and are looking to knock the Ravens off in the regular season finale. That’s all the motivation we need for a strong performance, especially when you consider the fact that Cincinnati ranks tenth in the NFL against the pass (216.9 yds/gm) while giving up an average of only 18.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (sixth-fewest in NFL).
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Packers): If Rudolph could score nine touchdowns in 15 games with Christian Ponder under center, imagine the numbers he could put up with a signal-caller who could average more than 180.1 passing yards per game? As it stands, Rudolph has done a lot with a little this season and deserves to be commended for it. But at the same time, owners need to keep in mind that the former Notre Dame standout has a Week 17 date against a Green Bay Packers defense that is giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing TEs than any other team in the league this season (6.1 pts/gm).
Dallas Cowboys, D/ST (at Redskins): The last time these two teams got together the Cowboys ended up getting torched for 38 points on Thanksgiving Day. Since that time, Big D has surrendered 33 points to Philly, 19 to Cincinnati, 24 to Pittsburgh and 34 to New Orleans. We don’t see this unit suddenly solving all their problems one week before a must-win showdown with Pro Bowler Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh