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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

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers (at St. Louis): Smith has done an excellent job of protecting the football and moving the sticks for the playoff-bound 49ers this season, but for those of you thinking he might pull off some Week 17 magic against a dreadful St. Louis Rams team, you better think again. For starters, the San Fran signal-caller has thrown just one or fewer touchdown passes in eight of his last ten starts. In addition, the Rams are giving up an average of only 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (7th-fewest in NFL). There are plenty of better options out there.

The line: San Francisco -10.5/35

Vegas notes: The favorite is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams.

The pick: I’d love to go with the dog in this one, but how the hell are the Rams going to score any points? I’ll take San Fran (-10.5).

Shonn GreeneWith LaDainian Tomlinson potentially playing in his final game, Green could be relegated to a supporting role.

Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets (at Miami): For a 5-10 football team, Miami sure has a hell of a lot of talent on the defensive side of the football. The Fish currently rank third in the NFL in run defense (93.4 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of just 14.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (4th-fewest in NFL). With backup running back LaDainian Tomlinson potentially playing in the final game of his brilliant career, don’t be surprised if the Jets cut into Greene’s workload to try and send L.T. out on a high note.

The line: Miami -2.5/41

Vegas notes: The Jets are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games at Miami.

The pick: With everything to play for, why are the Jets an underdog in this game? Something smells fishy. I’ll take the Dolphins (-2.5).

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee): Call me crazy, but if I was the head coach of the Houston Texans there would be no way in hell I’d play Johnson and his questionable hamstring this week in a meaningless game against the Titans. But hey, Gary Kubiak says the plan is to get Johnson 15-20 snaps on Sunday. Great idea. Bottom line, Johnson won’t be on the field long enough to give you a productive stat line in Week 17.

The line: Tennessee -3/40

Vegas notes: The OVER is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams.

The pick: UNDER (40)

Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers (vs. Detroit): Finley found the end zone for the first time in three games last Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, but who knows how long he’ll play for in a meaningless game against the Detroit Lions. Even if he does see some quality burn, the Lions are giving up an average of just 6.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (6th-fewest in NFL). You’re better off playing it safe.

The line: Detroit -3.5/45.5

Vegas notes: The Packers have already locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the Lions are still playing for the fifth seed. A loss in this game coupled with an Atlanta win during the 4:00pm ET wave of games could put Detroit in New Orleans to open the playoffs. Not good.

The pick: Lions -3.5

Baltimore Ravens, D/ST (at Cincinnati): Baltimore has been terrific on the defensive side of the football this season, but the last time these two teams got together, Cincinnati rolled up 24 points and 483 yards of offense. With the Bengals bringing their best on Sunday in the hopes of qualifying for the postseason, keep Baltimore’s D/ST on the bench and go in a safer direction.

The line: Baltimore -2/39

Vegas notes: The underdog is 4-0-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams.

The pick: Bengals (+2)

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati): Flacco has been a repeat customer in the Sits category of this column and deservedly so, as the guy ranks just 14th in fantasy scoring at the quarterback position. The four-year veteran has put together some decent outings this season, but he’ll be without wide receiver Anquan Boldin for Sunday’s game against a Cincinnati defense that ranks 12th in the NFL against the pass (217.3 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of only 17.0 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this year (10th-fewest in NFL).

The line: Baltimore -2/39

Vegas notes: The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams.

The pick: OVER (39)

Cedric BensonICONBenson has had trouble protecting the rock as of late.

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Baltimore): As I’m sure you’ve probably noticed by now, we aren’t too enamored with the fantasy talent that will be taking the field for the Baltimore-Cincinnati game this weekend. Add Benson to the list of guys you should sit in Week 17. The aging running back is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry this season, has found the end zone only one time in his last four games and has fumbled the ball five times in his last two outings. Combine all of that with the fact that Baltimore is surrendering an average of only 14.5 fantasy points per game to opposing ball-carriers this season (3rd-fewest in NFL) and you’re better off going in a different direction for the season-finale.

The line: Baltimore -2/39

Vegas notes: Already covered above.

The pick: Already made above (Cincinnati and the OVER)

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos (vs. Kansas City): We know he’s been one of quarterback Tim Tebow’s favorite targets, but Thomas has been held out of the end zone in each of his last two starts and runs into some stiff competition Sunday against Kansas City. The Chiefs currently rank ninth in the NFL in pass defense (211.4 yds/gm) and are giving up an average of only 18.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (9th-fewest in NFL). We expect Denver to win but aren’t solid that Thomas will be a big reason why.

The line: Denver -3/37

Vegas notes: The OVER is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings between these two teams.

The pick: UNDER (37)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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