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Starts, Sits & Smashes

Eli Manning and Tony Romo are headed for a potential shootout in the regular-season finale. Joe Fortenbaugh

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

SUNDAY GAMEDAY LIVE CHAT

Our weekly GameDay live chat returns to its normal day and time at 10:30am eastern on Sunday for those of you who are still in hot pursuit of a fantasy championship. Even if you’re out of the fantasy business for 2011, we’ll be talking point spreads and Week 17 predictions as well. Get involved!

CLICK HERE to access the chat!

KICK MY BUTT, WIN MONEY

Think you have what it takes to beat me in a weekly game of fantasy football? Here’s your chance to find out. We’ve got a $275 prize pool and a $5 bonus if you can score more points than I do. Plus, a win over yours truly means you can talk as much trash to me via twitter as you want.

CLICK HERE to enter!

SURVIVOR SMASH: WEEK 17

Two of my three Week 16 recommendations (Chiefs and Redskins) completely flopped, while the Panthers came through in a big way against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For those of you who are still alive in your survivor pools, allow me to say job well done. This has been a tough year and the fact that you made it to Week 17 is more than impressive, to say the least.

For the finale, I’ll throw out the Titans, Bears, Colts and Cardinals.

Best of luck.

POINT SPREAD SMASH OF THE WEEK

Current Record: 7-8 (no pick in Week 2)

Last week’s selection: Kansas City Chiefs (-2) vs. Oakland Raiders: LOSS

NEW YORK GIANTS (-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys: Outside of a complete flop by the G-Men, I don’t see any way the Cowboys come out of this one with a win. New York is coming in hot after a Week 16 beat down of the New York Jets while Dallas spent last Sunday getting punched in the mouth by the Philadelphia Eagles. Be advised that the Cowboys are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against the Giants.

CLICK HERE for all of the Week 17 lines.

START ‘EM UP

Ryan FitzpatrickWe expect Fitzpatrick to close out the 2011 season on a high note.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills (at New England): Fitzpatrick has been piss-poor ever since he inked that $59 million contract extension back in October. However, the former Harvard signal-caller walks into a pressure-free situation on Sunday against a New England Patriots defense that currently ranks dead last in the NFL against the pass (293.8 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 23.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (2nd-most in NFL). Remember, the last time these two teams got together, Fitzpatrick torched this dreadful secondary for 369 yards and two touchdowns.

The line: New England -10.5/50

Vegas notes: The road team is 5-1 against the spread in the last six meetings between these two teams.

The pick: Bills (+10.5)

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (at Oakland): He may not find the end zone all that often, but over his last five starts, Mathews is averaging a healthy 14.4 fantasy points per game (standard scoring). Take his recent hot streak and put it up against an Oakland Raiders team that ranks 27th in the NFL against the run (135.0 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 20.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (7th-most in NFL) and you have yourself a ball-carrier poised for a solid Sunday afternoon.

The line: Oakland -3/47

Vegas notes: The Chargers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against the Raiders.

The pick: Raiders (-3)

Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys (at New York Giants): Since returning to action from a hamstring injury on December 11, Austin has found the end zone in three straight starts while recording a reliable 23 targets. In fact, the four-year veteran has scored a touchdown in three of his last four outings against this Sunday’s opponent, the New York Giants. Keep in mind that Big Blue currently ranks 27th in the league in pass defense (255.4 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 25.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (3rd-most in NFL). We expect Austin to post a solid stat line.

The line: New York Giants -3/46

Vegas notes: The Cowboys are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games overall while the Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Dallas.

The pick: Giants (-3)

Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Washington): Celek has been targeted six or more times in seven of his last ten starts and is just two weeks removed from an incendiary five-catch, 156-yard, one-touchdown performance against the New York Jets. We’d ride with him again in Week 17 against a Redskins defense that is surrendering an average of 9.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (4th-most in NFL).

The line: Philadelphia -8/46

Vegas notes: The Redskins are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games at Philadelphia.

The pick: Eagles -8

Von MillerLook for rookie phenom Von Viller (left) and the Broncos to rebound in Week 17.

Denver Broncos, D/ST (vs. Kansas City): I know this unit has been a little dicey as of late, but I’m not buying into the idea that Kyle Orton is going to return to Denver and light up his former team. In fact, when was the last time Orton lit anybody up? Sure, the Purdue product has thrown for 599 yards in his first two starts with the Chiefs, but all of that fluff led to only one touchdown pass. After two straight losses, the Broncos are going to bounce back big and earn themselves a spot in the postseason on Sunday, where they will likely receive a swift kick in the ass from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The line: Denver -3/37

Vegas notes: The Chiefs are 3-7 against the spread in their last ten games at Denver.

The pick: Broncos -3

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (vs. Dallas): It all comes down to this. Win and you’re headed for the postseason, lose and you’ll be standing on the first tee at your favorite golf course by Monday afternoon. No matter how this one shakes down (we think the Giants pull it off and cover the spread), look for explosive performances from both starting quarterbacks, as the back ends of these two defenses resemble a more porous version of Swiss cheese. Remember, the last time Dallas and New York got together back on December 11, Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

The line: New York Giants -3/46

Vegas notes: The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings between these two teams.

The pick: OVER (46)

Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee): This one may be a bit of a stretch, but keep in mind the Texans are locked into the #3 seed in the AFC and have nothing to gain by beating the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. With that type of scenario in place, why would this organization risk an injury to stud tailback Arian Foster? Should Foster get some much deserved rest, look for Tate to slash and gash a Tennessee defense that ranks 24th in the NFL against the run (126.7 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 19.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (9th-most in NFL).

The line: Tennessee -3/40

Vegas notes: If the Texans couldn’t beat the Panthers or Colts with a shot at a postseason bye on the line, how will they take out the Titans with no reason to show up?

The pick: Titans (-3)

Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers (at Oakland): Floyd has found the end zone in three of his last four starts and has recorded 95 or more receiving yards in each of his last two outings. Not bad for a guy who can never seem to stay healthy. Should Floyd make it through a full four quarters on Sunday, don’t be shocked if he rolls up some nice numbers against a Raiders defense that currently ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass (247.5 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 25.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (4th-most in NFL).

The line: Oakland -3/47

Vegas notes: The OVER is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams in Oakland.

The pick: OVER (47)

Head over to Page 2 for our Week 17 Sit recommendations!

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