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Starts, Sits & Smashes

Championship weekend is upon us. It’s time to close the deal. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This December 23, 2011, 01:30 PM EST

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SURVIVOR SMASH: WEEK 16

The Cardinals, Bengals and Cowboys were our three recommendations for Week 15 and somehow, someway, all three teams came through.

With just two weeks to go in Survivor Season, all of our options are limited. For what it’s worth, I like the Chiefs, Redskins and Panthers for Week 16.

POINT SPREAD SMASH OF THE WEEK

Current Record: 7-7 (no pick in Week 2)

Last week’s selection: Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) at St. Louis Rams: WIN

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-2) vs. Oakland Raiders: I was staring at the NFL lines on Wednesday around 4:15pm eastern when something interesting happened. Within approximately two minutes of one another, four different sports books moved the Chiefs from -1 to either -2 or -2.5. That means somebody (or a group of people) came out firing on Kansas City enough to scare the books into adjusting their lines. This may not be the most in-depth analysis you’ve ever read, but you won’t see multiple books around town moving the same game at the same time because of public money. It was done because somebody who garners a lot of respect in the sports betting community decided to make a big play on the Chiefs. We’ll follow suit.

CLICK HERE for all of the Week 16 lines.

START ‘EM UP

Kyle Orton, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Oakland): Orton posted a QB Rating of 104.1 with a completion percentage of 74.2% in his first full start as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. At 6-8, Kansas City is still technically alive in the playoff hunt, so you can count on a good week of practice under new head coach Romeo Crennel. Look for another strong outing from Orton this Saturday against an Oakland defense that currently ranks 24th in the NFL against the pass (243.8 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 22.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (3rd-most in NFL).

The line: Kansas City -2/42

Vegas notes: The Raiders are 20-43-1 ATS in their last 64 December games, while the Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last five December games.

The pick: Chiefs -2

Rashard MendenhallICONMendenhall should see plenty of touches on Saturday against the hapless St. Louis Rams.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. St. Louis): Mendenhall has disappointed fantasy owners who spend a high draft pick on the Pittsburgh running back this past August, but keep in mind he has a very favorable Week 16 matchup against a St. Louis Rams team that ranks dead last in the NFL against the run (153.4 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 21.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (5th-most in NFL). If Charlie Batch starts at quarterback for the Black and Yellow, expect the Steelers to feature a heavy dose of the ground and pound on Saturday.

The line: Pittsburgh -16.5/39

Vegas notes: The UNDER is 8-3 in the Rams’ last 11 games overall and 4-1 in the Steelers’ last five home games.

The pick: UNDER (39)

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (at New Orleans): The rookie from Alabama has caught eight passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns on 14 targets over his last two games and we see no reason why Jones’ current hot streak will come to an end Monday night in the Big Easy. Through 15 weeks, the Saints rank 28th in the NFL against the pass (256.1 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of 23.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (7th-most in NFL). This game has shootout written all over it.

The line: New Orleans -6.5/52

Vegas notes: The Falcons are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against the Saints in New Orleans.

The pick: Saints (-6.5)

Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago): Finley hasn’t topped 90 receiving yards in a game all season, so it’s fair to say at this point that he’s been a disappointment for owners who spent an early draft pick on the Green Bay tight end. However, keep in mind that the Bears are surrendering an average of 8.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (5th-most in NFL). In addition, Matt Bowen has an excellent write-up on how tight ends like Finley can exploit Chicago’s Cover 2 defense. If Bowen likes it, we like it.

The line: Green Bay -12/43.5

Vegas notes: The Bears are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against the Packers.

The pick: Packers -12

Pittsburgh Steelers, D/ST (vs. St. Louis): Fantasy playoff matchups warrant extra time spent scouring the waiver wire in an effort to assemble the best starting lineup possible. However, when it comes to the Pittsburgh D/ST, just stop. Don’t think about it, don’t look at the waiver wire, don’t ask any questions. Just get these guys in your starting rotation and move on. Remember, the Rams rank dead last in the NFL in scoring (11.9 pts/gm) and 31st in total offense (285.3 yds/gm). Pittsburgh should have a field day here.

The line: Pittsburgh -16.5/39

Vegas notes: The Rams are 1-8 ATS in their last nine road games while the Steelers are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up loss.

The pick: Already made above (UNDER 39)

Rex GrossmanWe think Grossman has one more solid performance up his sleeve.

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington Redskins (vs. Minnesota): Grossman has made a few appearances in this column over the last few weeks and while he failed to post a solid stat line last Sunday against the New York Giants, you have to remember that this guy is playing for a job next season…so you know he’s going to be ready to play in Week 16. Good thing for the former Florida quarterback that the Minnesota Vikings are coming to town. The Vikes take lousy to a whole new level, as evidenced by the fact that they are giving up more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team in the league this season (23.9 pts/gm). Grossman should find plenty of success Saturday at FedEx Field.

The line: Washington -6.5/43.5

Vegas notes: The Vikings are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games overall while the Redskins are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.

The pick: Redskins (-6.5)

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay): D-Will has found the end zone four times over his last four games and we see no reason to leave him on the bench Sunday against a Buccaneers defense that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than any other team in the league (25.2 pts/gm). Tampa Bay has lost eight straight and all indications point to this team having quit on the season. Don’t expect a big effort from them on Saturday.

The line: Carolina -7.5/47.5

Vegas notes: The Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog while the Panthers are 16-6 ATS in their last 22 December games.

The pick: Panthers (-7.5)

Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins (at New England): If Marshall was ever going to bust out and put together a monster stat line, Saturday in New England at 1:00pm eastern is the time and the place. No team in the NFL is giving up more fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season than the Patriots (29.4 pts/gm), so don’t be shocked if quarterback Matt Moore targets Marshall 13 or more times on Saturday.

The line: New England -9.5/48.5

Vegas notes: The road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine games between these two teams.

The pick: Miami (+9.5)

Head over to Page 2 for our Week 16 Sit recommendations!

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