Fantasy Football Week 17: Who to Start and Who to Sit Grand Finale Extravaganza

Korey Beckett@@KoreyBeckettBRContributor IIIDecember 27, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos waves to fans during the closing moments of the Broncos 34-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Let me just say first and foremost that this is the most fun I've had in a fantasy football season.

This was my first year here on Bleacher Report, and I have to say it was a huge success. They've provided me with a bigger medium than I have had and the response has been overwhelming.

This season my e-mail alerts were constantly going off, I got up to 100 Facebook "likes" today (which doesn't seem like much, but it's significant to me, and I'm hoping for more), and I've gotten some pretty good banter in the comments sections after each column.

As of the time I started writing this, I have had a total of 179,755 views on my fantasy advice. I know it's not as high as some of the other fantasy writers, but I appreciate it just as much as anyone else around here.



It all started a couple of weeks before the season when I gave my biggest sleepers for each team. Some were pretty good, but most were terrible. That's how hard it is to predict an NFL season.

Here are some of the good calls: Torrey Smith (Baltimore), C.J. Spiller (Buffalo), Randall Cobb (Green Bay), Lance Moore (New Orleans), Denarius Moore (Oakland) and Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh).

And the bad calls: Jacquizz Rodgers (Atlanta), Mike Tolbert (Carolina), Greg Little (Cleveland), Kevin Ogletree (Dallas), Jacob Tamme (Denver), Kendall Hunter (San Francisco) and Golden Tate (Seattle).

And the downright hideous calls: Ryan Williams (Arizona), Alshon Jeffery (Chicago), Brandon Tate (Cincinnati), Kevin Walter (Houston), Coby Fleener (Indianapolis), Steve Breaston (Kansas City), etc.

I didn't include Titus Young or Danny Amendola since they could have had much better seasons if they weren't injured.

So as you can see, I'm not perfect.

No fantasy football writer is. Still doesn't mean I haven't given some good advice and provided a few laughs along the way.


Man of the Year

It seemed like the running joke of the season would be my ire for Chris Johnson and/or Antonio Gates. But at one point, when people stopped butting heads with me and started agreeing with the assessment, there had to be someone new to point out.

That man ended up being Cecil Shorts, wide receiver of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Back in Week 6, I even went as far as saying

"I would get rid of Cecil Shorts or Stephen Hill. You definitely have to hang on to (Kenny) Britt and (Pierre) Garcon."

What. An. Idiot.

Hopefully that person held on to Cecil Shorts and Pierre Garcon and dropped Stephen Hill. I just pray that's the case or else I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Week after week, Shorts continued to put up good numbers. Once he had a down game, I was the first one to point and shout "Ha! I told you," but it was all for naught.

Between Week 7 and Week 15, he had just two games where he had less than double digits. He even managed to get 54 yards in one of those games and missed another due to a concussion.

Then after a couple of good games, I picked him up for my own fantasy team. Needless to say, I am on the verge of a championship (unless I'm outscored by 20 this week) and Shorts is to thank for that.

I hope he reads this, or anyone that knows him. Please pass this along. Consider it my sincerest apology for saying that he's not worth having on a fantasy football roster. He probably won't care, but it would help me feel better.


Redskins bias

As most of you know, I am a Featured Columnist for the Washington Redskins as well. I haven't tried to hide it, either. Earlier I told you that I was having my favorite year fantasy football-wise, and the Redskins are a big part of that.

Just about every week I have put Alfred Morris in the "Start" section since I wanted to put a Redskin in there when Robert Griffin III became a must-start for every league.

This week, the Redskins take on the Cowboys for the NFC East title. As one last form of restraint for myself, I will try not to get emotional and will exclude any player from either team in the "Start" or "Sit" sections.

If I did, I would probably tell you to start RGIII, Morris, Garcon, Kai Forbath, the defense, Logan Paulsen, Santana Moss, etc. So, I will hold back. Don't worry.


The TE/D/K questions

If you've noticed, I never even mention defenses or kickers in just about every column. There's a reason for that.

If any fantasy writer can accurately predict who the top 10 kickers are going to be in a given week, they are in the wrong profession. They should be on local news networks telling you what the weather is going to be.

Defense is another thing.

It's one thing to say that a good defense is going to have a strong day (say, the Bears against the Titans), but it's impossible to predict return (kick, punt, fumble and interception) returns. I honestly can't tell you what defense is going to be better than the other, I can just tell you the better matchup.

It's not like a running back or quarterback where you can somewhat accurately predict what the stat line is going to look like. I'm sorry if I have given brutal advice on defenses, and I'm glad I've even refrained from kicker advice.

As for tight ends, they have been so unpredictable that I don't like listing a lot each week. I don't want to be held accountable for a tight end that gets you 12 yards in a game. It's easier just to say which ones might not have an awful day and only list one or two compared to the three at the other positions.


I really do care about your league

One thing I don't get enough of is hearing about where people are in their leagues, what they need to happen to get into the playoffs, things of that sort.

No one ever seems to mention it that often, though. A lot of people will tell you, "I don't want to hear about your fantasy team," but I actually do.

I'm such a nerd for playoff scenarios, both in real football and fantasy football. So lay them on me if you get a chance next season.

Also, I love hearing about fun stories in the league. I'm not a robotic stat machine like some of the guys you see on television. I have a heart.

Our league has never played for money, but yet I treat my team more seriously than I would in a pay league with a bunch of people I don't even know. It's all about the socializing aspect of it all. We have a Facebook group where we talk trash to each other and Photoshop pictures of our opponents (terribly, I might add).

So if you have the time, definitely post some of that stuff, I love reading it.


2012 has been awesome

It just dawned on me the other day that 2012 has quite possibly been my favorite sports year. Even though the Cubs have been, well, the Cubs. The NHL has been locked out and I really don't have much interest in the NBA.

However, the final part of the year has really saved it for me. The Redskins are playing for the NFC East title, Notre Dame is playing for the national title and Brad Keselowski took the Sprint Cup.

I even went to my first WWE event, which was pretty entertaining to say the least.

I just hope that your sports years have gone as well.


Now down to business

I know some people have probably just scrolled down to this point, and that's fine. I know the real reason for the whole column. So here it is:

For the last is who to start and who to sit. Enjoy.






Jay Cutler (Chicago)

I think that Jay Cutler is going to have a huge week.

He's No. 24 in fantasy football this season at quarterback, but he has had a couple of brilliant games. He's due for one this week as the Bears absolutely have to win.

The good news for them is that the Bears take on the Lions, who really have nothing more to play for than to upset the Bears' chances and get Calvin Johnson to 2,000 receiving yards on the season.

It's Week 17, so not all of the teams will be trying their hardest, but the Bears aren't one of those teams. Expect a big day out of Cutler, especially if Matt Forte can't go. Brandon Marshall should see about 70 targets throughout the game (slight exaggeration).


Michael Vick (Philadelphia)

The Eagles, much like the Lions, don't have much to play for.

Vick, however, has a ton to play for. He says that Week 17 is not an audition for another team to sign him, but we all know that's a lie.

He has been given a chance to show that he still has the goods, and against a team that I know he loves playing—the Giants—he will shine.

Nick Foles being placed on injured reserve could mean another big contract for Vick outside of Philadelphia, he won't let it slide.


Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay)

Freeman hasn't been fantastic lately, but chances are that he will be taking on the second string defense for most of the game in Week 17 against Atlanta.

He's thrown eight interceptions over his last two games, but against reserves that number will come down. If he doesn't take advantage of this game, then I am deeply sorry for the advice.


Running Backs


LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia)

Last week I said to hold off on him to see how he returns. He ended up with 12 fantasy points, so I have full confidence that he should have a good game again this week against the Giants.

Especially with Michael Vick in the fold, that will open up bigger holes for McCoy and he should be started in all fantasy leagues.


Knowshon Moreno (Denver)

He's been red-hot in the last five weeks. Four double-digit performances and an eight point game, it's safe to say that Moreno is starter-worthy in your league.

The Broncos are still playing for a first round bye in the postseason, and they take on the No. 22-ranked Kansas City Chiefs defense at home; I like him a lot again this week.


Shonn Greene (New York Jets)

He's been captain of the inconsistency all-star squad, but he should be able to get in to the end zone once or twice this week.

You have to like any running back that's taking on the Bills as they rank dead last against fantasy running backs. This will be a matchup between two teams that have derailed this season. Neither team has playoff aspirations and the starters will be in the whole time.

This one's for pride, baby!


Wide Receivers


Victor Cruz (New York Giants)

I know he's been bad the past two weeks, but those were some awful matchups.

Atlanta and Baltimore aren't exactly scrub defenses, so expect a big time bounce back. It is against the Eagles, after all, and they rank No. 25 against receivers.

He got you this far; don't bail on him now.


James Jones (Green Bay)

Randall Cobb is not expected to play, and Jordy Nelson is still shaken up. That opens the door for James Jones (and Greg Jennings) to have big days against the Vikings.

Even Donald Driver should see an uptick in his production, but not enough for fantasy consideration. Still, Jones is the biggest benefactor and is in line for a huge week.


Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh)

He's had a touchdown in three straight games, and he's looking to end the season on a "Touchdown Grand Slam."

Mike Wallace isn't expected to play, so he will see a bunch of targets. I love his chances of having a big game against the No. 29-ranked Cleveland Browns defense.

I called him one of my favorite sleepers before the season, and this would be a great way for him to prove me right. Plus, he's a fellow Central Michigan Chippewa (who are playing in the Little Caesars Bowl on Wednesday night if you get a chance to watch) so I'm rooting for him.


Tight Ends


Greg Olsen (Carolina)

Love the matchup against New Orleans. He's been "so-so" the last couple of games, but you don't want him on your bench considering he's been at about 50 yards a week over the last six weeks and taking on the Saints this week.


Antonio Gates (San Diego)

He's had a touchdown the last couple of weeks, so why not? Tight ends continue to be a crap-shoot.






Matt Ryan (Atlanta)

I don't see him playing for more than one quarter of the game; you need to look elsewhere for a starting quarterback.


Matthew Stafford (Detroit)

Stafford had a decent game in his first outing against Chicago, but I expect this outcome to be different. Last week I told people not to start him, and that would have been a good call if he hadn't have gotten a ton of garbage yards.

He may get some more garbage yards this week, but against a No. 3-ranked Chicago defense that needs to win, I just don't like him this week.


Andy Dalton (Cincinnati)

The Bengals will be going to the playoffs, and they have the advantage of knowing what seed they will be.

They are firmly locked in to the No. 6 spot, so they can rest some of their stars if they want. Andy Dalton would be one of those stars as they get ready for one of the four division winners out of the AFC.


Running Backs


BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnati) and Michael Turner (Atlanta)

Again, both teams should be resting most of their starters. These are two guys that may be fantasy football casualties because of that.


Trent Richardson (Cleveland)

He's questionable with an ankle injury, so even if he does play, it won't be enough for him to be effective.

There's no reason of possibly aggravating his injury since the team is not going anywhere.


Wide Receivers


Roddy White/Julio Jones (Atlanta) and A.J. Green (Cincinnati)

You get the picture.


Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville)

I know he's already been ruled out for this week, I just didn't want to leave him out of this article.


Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis)

The Colts play the Texans this week, and Houston needs a win to secure home field advantage in the playoffs. The Colts, however, have the No. 5 seed secured.

I am not sure how much we will see from the Colts' starters, but just to be safe, I would keep Wayne on the bench.


Tight Ends


Rob Gronkowski (New England)

He may play this week, but it will probably be just enough to get the rust out before the playoffs. Aaron Hernandez is still the go-to tight end for Week 17.


Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota)

He's been up and down this week, so it's impossible to predict, but they play the Packers this week. Green Bay is No. 5 against opposing tight ends, so roll with that information for now.


Wrap it up knucklehead; we have stuff to do

Well it has been a real pleasure, everyone.

Again, I want to thank you for reading this. If you want, I will be back for another season in 2013.

Good luck with your championships. Root for me if you get a chance, and I promise I will root for you in return. And this will be my final plea to like me on Facebook. It's right here: I'll even have a random prize drawing if I get over 500 likes, I promise.

So for the last time in 2012: Good luck and goodbye.


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