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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Fantasy 6-Pack - Week 17
Paul Sandy
December 31, 2010
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Quarterback

  • Consider plugging and playing Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb as a sneaky QB option in Week 17. Michael Vick will reportedly sit out the entire game versus the Cowboys. Kolb should put up some gaudy numbers against a Dallas defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to QBs in 2010. The Cowboys have already turned QBs like Rex Grossman and Shaun Hill in to fantasy studs for a week. Why not Kolb? Even if the Eagles rest their top receivers, Kolb should be good for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
  • Sam Bradford has arguably been the most relevant rookie QB since Peyton Manning. Look for him to close out the 2010 regular season in fine fashion with a useful stat line against the woeful Seahawks defense. Seattle just allowed Josh Freeman to tally five touchdowns. Bradford could be in line for a 2-3 TD performance. Seattle has allowed the third most fantasy points to QBs this season.
  • Steer clear of Joe Webb or Brett Favre versus the Lions this week. Whichever QB gets the start will face a Detroit outfit that is playing with confidence. The Lions have allowed just three total passing scores in their last four games. While it wouldn’t be shocking to see Favre put the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career by posting monster numbers, now is not the time to get nostalgic and take that risk.
  • Explore your alternatives before relying on Matt Ryan, who will face the Panthers in Week 17. The Falcons QB has consistently put up below average numbers against the division rival. Ryan has just one quality fantasy performance in five career meetings against Carolina. While the Panthers have struggled mightily in nearly every phase of the game this year, their secondary has held up well. They’ve allowed the third fewest fantasy points to QBs.

This Week’s Sleepers: Kevin Kolb, Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill

Running Back

  • Injuries derailed rookie Ryan Mathews’ season but fantasy owners should be able to squeeze one more start out of him. The Bolts face a Broncos defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to RBs this year. Denver has allowed six RB scores in their last three games alone. Free agent phenom Mike Tolbert will sit out this week, which means we’ll see a heavy dose of Mathews. The Six-Pack is betting on a 100-yard, 1-TD effort.
  • Get Jets RB Shonn Greene some action against the Bills. With QB Mark Sanchez unlikely to play the entire game, New York will lean heavily on the running game. And don’t be surprised if Greene gets the lion’s share of the carries since the team will likely be inclined to rest LaDainian Tomlinson for the playoffs. In fact, early indications are LT might not even suit up. Buffalo has allowed the third most fantasy points to RBs this season so Greene is a near lock to deliver something useful.
  • It’s a tough call but it might we worth benching BenJarvus Green-Ellis for this week’s game against the Dolphins. Miami hasn’t allowed a rusher to surpass 60 yards rushing in their last five games. And with New England’s playoff ticket already punched, Bill Belichick might get backups Sammy Morris or Fred Taylor some work.
  • Avoid putting any faith in either Cardinals RB for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Neither Beanie Wells nor Tim Hightower has had much success rushing the football against the Niners throughout their respective careers. Plus Arizona’s running game has stalled over their last two games. Making matters worse, San Francisco has allowed the tenth fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2010.

This Week’s Sleepers: Ryan Mathews, Shonn Green, Thomas Jones and Brian Westbrook

Wide Receiver

  • The Six-Pack loves Kevin Kolb (see above) against Dallas and we’re equally giddy about Jason Avant, who figures to get the start with DeSean Jackson out. The Cowboys have allowed the most fantasy points to WRs. And how’s this for a mind-blowing stat: Dallas has allowed a No. 2 or No. 3 WR to score a touchdown or put up 100 yards in 13 of their last 14 games.
  • Lower your expectations for Tampa’s Mike Williams this week against the Saints. The rookie WR managed just four catches for 45 yards in his prior meeting with New Orleans. Plus the Saints have allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs this year. Williams has likely earned himself a top 15 fantasy WR ranking for 2011 but he won’t contribute much in Week 17.
  • Bears WR Johnny Knox has scored and/or put up 80+ yards against in every game of his career against Green Bay. Head coach Lovie Smith has already gone on record saying Chicago will treat this week’s contest like any other game even though they’ve already clinched the division title. Knox is a safe start this week.
  • Consider moving Jets No. 1 WR Santonio Holmes to the bench for Sunday’s game versus the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to WRs this year. With QB Mark Sanchez hurt, Holmes’ prospects are greatly diminished. There’s a good chance Holmes finishes with one or two catches for minimal yardage.

This Week’s Sleepers: Jason Avant, Danario Alexander, Andre Caldwell and Michael Crabtree

Tight End

  • Tampa has been one of the better teams in 2010 versus tight ends but Jimmy Graham has been too hot to bench. The Saints TE has delivered quality fantasy numbers in five of his last seven outings. And he’s recorded three touchdowns in his last two games. Graham is no doubt a player whose star is on the rise and will be a popular upside pick in 2011 fantasy drafts. Start him with confidence.
  • After a slow start to the season, Jason Witten has returned to form and will close out the 2010 season as fantasy football’s No. 1 performer at the TE position. He’s 10 catches short of 100 and the Six-Pack genuinely believes he has an outside chance of reaching the milestone. Witten has recorded at least six receptions against the Eagles in six of his last seven meetings with them. Even if Jon Kitna rests, Witten should produce for you.

This Week’s Sleepers: Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen

Kicker

  • The Tennessee Titans have ceded multiple field goal kicks in seven of their last eight games. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is an excellent fantasy option in Week 17. He amassed 12 points (not including yardage bonuses) in the prior meeting with the Titans this season.
  • If you’ve been playing Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee, it’s a good time to go to Plan B. Jacksonville’s offense has been ravaged by injuries. Starting QB David Garrard is out and starting RB Maurice Jones-Drew is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Texans. If the Jags can’t move the ball, Scobee won’t get many chances.

This Week’s Sleepers: Dave Rayner and Billy Cundiff

Team Defense / Special Teams

  • Start the Green Bay Packers defense with confidence this week against the rival Bears. For Green Bay, this game will have the intensity of a playoff game. Chicago on the other hand will have nothing to gain (assuming Atlanta wins their early game). Plus, for all the accolades Chicago’s offense has gotten lately, they’re sill giving up plenty of sacks and a fair amount of turnovers. Look for the Packers D to make a statement.
  • If you’re desperate for a few extra fantasy points from your defense this week, hit the waiver wire and take a long hard look at the St. Louis Rams. The Rams will face the Seahawks in a winner-take-all game. Regardless of whether it’s Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst under center for Seattle, the Rams defense should contribute in a big way for fantasy. The Seahawks have allowed multiple turnovers in four of their last five games and DST touchdowns in two of their last three.

This Week’s Sleepers: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans

The Six-Pack

This Week's Six-Pack: None (See you next year!)

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