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Fantasy Football: Eliminator Picks for Week 17 and Preview of Key Matchups

Marco PatitucciContributor IIDecember 28, 2011

Vick's Eagles have won three straight
Vick's Eagles have won three straightRonald Martinez/Getty Images

In the final week of the regular season, only 190 entries on ESPN remain perfect in the Eliminator Challenge.

Maybe you've given up on your eliminator entry for the year, but if you want to be in it at the end next year, it's a good idea to at least think about what you would have done this year in the final week.

Even in fantasy sports, practice is important.

In Week 16, I trusted Steelers’ backup Charlie Batch and the Pittsburgh D and was rewarded with my 15th win of the season. The Steelers stifled the St. Louis Rams and won the game handily, 27-0. 

The Colts won their second straight contest after starting the season 0-13. They beat the playoff-bound Houston Texans, 19-16. The Texans were the most popular selection of Week 16.

The Denver Broncos were another popular pick that faltered in Week 16. Tebow and the Broncos lost their second consecutive contest, putting a damper on their potential postseason momentum.

Meanwhile the Patriots, 49ers and Titans (rebounding from their loss to the Colts) were popular picks that walked away with victories.

Standing at 15-1, a win in Week 17 would put the perfect bookend on my near-perfect season.

Here are my picks through Week 16:

Week 1: San Diego Chargers

Week 2: New York Giants

Week 3: Dallas Cowboys

Week 4: Green Bay Packers

Week 5: New Orleans Saints

Week 6: Cincinnati Bengals

Week 7: Carolina Panthers

Week 8: Tennessee Titans

Week 9: Houston Texans

Week 10: Baltimore Ravens (loss)

Week 11: San Francisco 49ers

Week 12: Atlanta Falcons

Week 13: New England Patriots

Week 14: Detroit Lions

Week 15: Arizona Cardinals

Can Cam finish his rookie campaign with a W over the favored Saints?
Can Cam finish his rookie campaign with a W over the favored Saints?Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Week 16: Pittsburgh Steelers

We’re seeing the usual mix of games that come along with the last week of the regular season. Some teams are playing for pride, others for draft order and a lucky few have the chance to grab the last three unsettled playoff spots.

The New Orleans Saints are a popular selection as they host the dangerous Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers. The Saints have punched their playoff ticket, but are still trying to beat out the 49ers for the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye.

So, the Saints’ starters will play and see plenty of action if the Panthers keep it close, which they should.

Carolina is likely to turn Newton loose and let him air it out against the Saints defense. I say the Saints win, but in a high-scoring affair. And it could come down to whoever has the ball last.

In another matchup with playoff implications, the Broncos are hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. Kyle Orton will have a chance to exact revenge on the team that cut him as his Chiefs can eliminate the Broncos from playoff contention.

About 10 percent of entries are confident in the Broncos. I have the Broncos available to select, but I’ve been avoiding the Tebow influence on my picks. Besides, as a Raiders fan, I’ll be rooting for the (gasp) Chiefs in this one.

My guess, however, is that the Broncos will win, 20-17.

The San Francisco 49ers are on the road against the Rams in their final game. The Rams are coming off being shut out by the Steelers and are facing another top defense. Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh will play it conservative this week unless the game (and No. 2 seed) are on the line late.

Harbaugh has gotten the best out of QB Alex Smith
Harbaugh has gotten the best out of QB Alex SmithChristian Petersen/Getty Images

A low-scoring affair is likely, with the 49ers coming out on top.

The Jets are currently the fourth-most popular pick on ESPN Eliminator as they travel to Miami. I have the Jets available as well, but if I had to pick a winner in this game, it would be the Dolphins.  

Whoever-is-playing-the-Colts has been a popular selection all year, and I abused that system in Weeks 6, 8 and 13. However, I wouldn’t be confident picking Jacksonville against any team right now.

I’m avoiding that one.

My pick this week is the Philadelphia Eagles at home against the Redskins.

It seems the Eagles have finally found their rhythm, and for the first team this season, I feel like I know what I’m going to get from them with Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin all on the field.

The woeful Minnesota Vikings hung 33 on the Redskins last week, and I suspect a similar offensive output from the Eagles this week. 

I’d prefer to know that LeSean McCoy (questionable) would be playing in this one, but I’m confident in an Eagles team that has won three straight against solid competition.

Week 17 Selection: Philadelphia Eagles

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