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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 17
Paul Sandy
December 28, 2010
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SYMBOL LEGEND
Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Worth a Look Worth a Look
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Sleeper Sleeper

QUARTERBACKS

No Brainers: Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel and Jay Cutler

Sam Bradford, Rams
1 Week Plug & PlayBradford passed for 292 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers. Now he faces a feeble Seahawks defense that was lit up by Tampa QB Josh Freeman to the tune of five touchdowns. The Seahawks have now allowed the third most fantasy points to QBs. If you’re playing in a Week 17 championship game, Bradford is a savvy plug-and-play choice. He should net you 275 yards and a pair of scores at a minimum.

Availability: Owned in ~70% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Bradford is worth a spot start against Seattle.

RUNNING BACKS

No Brainers: Ryan Mathews, Jahvid Best and Shonn Greene

Dominic Rhodes, Colts
Rock StarThe Colts went old school in Week 16, dusting off Dominic Rhodes and using him heavily against the Raiders. Rhodes is worth adding in advance of a Week 17 matchup versus the Titans. Tennessee’s middling run defense was no match for Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs last week. If we knew for certain that Rhodes would be the primary rusher for Indianapolis, the Forecast would have no reservations about recommending him. However, given the revolving door that is the Colts backfield, Rhodes is a risky option.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Rhodes is worth acquiring in all leagues but is a risky starter.

Jason Snelling, Falcons
Worth a LookSnelling was a recommended addition last week due to the likelihood that the team would begin resting Michael Turner in advance of the playoffs. That scenario started to play out on Monday Night and will be the case even moreso in Week 17. If you need some help at the RB position, consider Snelling as a plug-and-play option with tremendous upside.

Availability: Owned in ~53% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Snelling is a sneaky RB2 or flex player in Week 17.

Correll Buckhalter, Broncos
Injury ReplacementFantasy owners who trusted Knowshon Moreno in Week 16 were dealt a crushing blow when the RB took a hard hit and missed the entire second half of the contest against the Texas. Backup Correll Buckhalter was the workhorse, racking up 92 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches. Buckhalter is worth grabbing if you’d normally rely on Moreno. However, a Week 17 matchup against the Chargers isn’t ideal.

Availability: Owned in ~11% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Buckhalter merits roster consideration in deep leagues if Moreno is out.

John Kuhn, Packers
Worth a LookKuhn continues to get some fantasy love as Green Bay’s goal-line RB. He’s scored three touchdowns in his last two outings. Owners in TD heavy leagues can roll with Kuhn on any given week as a RB2. A crucial Week 17 matchup against the Bears poses a significant challenge but Kuhn remains a safe bet to get at least one crack at the goal line again.

Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Grab Kuhn in TD-heavy leagues.
 
Bernard Scott, Bengals
Worth a LookScott turned in his best fantasy performance of the season, rushing the ball 11 times for 50 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s upset win over the Chargers. Don’t go overboard on Scott. Much of his work came in the second half when the game was well in hand. A tough matchup against the Ravens makes Scott a poor option this week. That said, the Bengals are a franchise that will no doubt look very different in 2011. Scott is a nice pickup in keeper leagues.

Availability: Owned in ~8% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Scott is worth a look in deep leagues and keeper leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

No Brainers: Kenny Britt, Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham

Mike Thomas, Jaguars
Rock StarThomas caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Redskins. Fantasy owners can look to Thomas in Week 17 for emergency WR help. He’ll go up against a Houston defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs this year. It’s also worth noting that Thomas had one of the best games of his career the last time these two clubs met.

Availability: Owned in ~51% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Thomas is an excellent plug-and-play option for Week 17.

Jerome Simpson, Bengals
Injury ReplacementWith Terrell Owens out for the year and Chad Johnson also banged up, Jerome Simpson was Cincinnati’s top WR in Week 16. And not only that, he was fantasy football’s top WR in Week 16, amassing 124 yards and two scores against the Chargers. Despite a challenging matchup this week against the Ravens, Simspon is worth a look as a WR3. QB Carson Palmer clearly trusts him and he should get at least 6-7 targets as the Bengals take a long look at their young wideouts. Also give Andre Caldwell a look.

Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Simpson is worth adding for Week 17 action.

Danario Alexander, Rams
1 Week Plug & PlayAlexander, a promising but injury-prone rookie out of Missouri, has shown flashes of big-play ability at times this season. If you’re desperate for WR help, take advantage of St. Louis’ matchup this week against the Seahawks. Seattle was absolutely shredded by the Bucs last week. Alexander is coming off a flashy performance against the 49ers in which he totaled 99 yards on six receptions. Look for a couple long gainers this week as Alexander makes a push to be a draftable fantasy WR for 2011.

Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider Alexander if you can afford to play a boom-or-bust WR.

TIGHT ENDS

No Brainers: Kellen Winslow

Owen Daniels, Texans
Rock StarDaniels is ending 2010 on a high note after being a non-factor for much of the season. He has 17 receptions over the last three games. QB Matt Schaub threw Daniels’ way 14 times on Sunday against the Broncos, completing eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Don’t hesitate to start him in Week 17 against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to TEs this season. 

Availability: Owned in ~58% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Daniels should be owned in all leagues.

KICKERS

No Brainers: Josh Brown

Dave Rayner, Lions
1 Week Plug & PlayRayner has scored double-digit fantasy points (with yardage bonuses) in three of his last four outings. If you haven’t been happy with the production you’ve been getting from your regualr kicker, Rayner is worth adding for Sunday’s matchup against the Vikings. Minnesota’s defense is trending downward. They’ve allowed big points in two straight games. Take advantage of Detroit’s upstart offense and the indoor matchup.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Rayner is worth adding for a start against Minnesota.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

No Brainers: Green Bay Packers

Arizona Cardinals
Rock StarHere’s a funny little stat for you. Arizona is fantasy football’s highest scoring defense this season yet they are only owned in about 50% of leagues. The Cardinals deserve to be owned in all leagues. While it’s too late for most owners to reap the benefits of their ball-hawking defense, if your league is still active, grab them now. The Cards should fare well again this week against a 49ers franchise that’s in turmoil.

Availability: Owned in ~51% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Arizona’s DST should be owned in all leagues.
 
Detroit Lions
Rock StarDetroit’s defense has recorded multiple sacks in four straight games. They’ve also been churning out turnovers and even managed to find the endzone in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. Pull the trigger on an acquisition of the Lions this week in advance of the contest against the Vikings. Minnesota has allowed the most fantasy points to DSTs in 2010.

Availability: Owned in ~30% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Lions are worth starting this week in all leagues.

Other Features
Under the Numbers
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Tuesday Injury Report
Fantasy Game Recaps
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