If you read FantasyFootballFools.com, you won’t be singing this come next year.
Picking up where we left off with Part 1, here’s Part 2 of our first take on the upcoming NFL draft.
9. Cincinnati Bengals — Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
The Bengals really need a DT, but with Ellis gone, they should go with Gholston here. He seems to take plays off sometimes, but he is too talented to fall any farther. Gholston will have a good combine workout and could possibly go higher after that, but he is a good pick here for the Bengals. If he learns to play every down in the game, this could be a steal.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Oh man, the Bengals need a defensive star. ANY help to that defense might help them put the team back together in the offseason. The Bengals got by for awhile by winning scoring contests, but they couldn’t survive this season when their offense lost its swagger. Rudi Johnson could be healthier this season, and Chad Johnson should stick around to help put this offense back together.
Look for Gholston to help this defense stop something every now and then, but it still needs a lot of help before it will be anything worth writing home about. The good news for Bengals fantasy stars is that the Bengals might see their offense getting more opportunities and maintaining a high level of play while winning more games.
10. New Orleans Saints — Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
The Saints need help on defense, and they really need help at corner. Talib has the size and athleticism to be a great corner in the NFL. He could also play a little offense like he did at Kansas–a la Devin Hester–and have an impact on both sides of the ball.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: This is a simple call. Fantasy owners ALWAYS started their receivers when they faced the Saints in 2007. With a better corner, the defense could snag some more interceptions, and more take aways equals more scoring chances for the offense. With Deuce back and Stecker discovered as a gear to turn the Saints offense, 2007 should be a bounce back year for all the Saints’ offensive fantasy hopes, but the defense still needs a few more improvements and work in special teams play before I give them my full endorsement.
11. Buffalo Bills — DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
The Bills have a young quarterback, Trent Edwards, and could use a homerun threat downfield. DeSean Jackson is still a little raw, but he is a deep field threat on every play. He would be a good compliment to Lee Evans on the other side of the field. Jackson’s ability to run after the catch turns short passes into long gains, and he could also help in the punt return game.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Lee Evans had a miserable 2007 after his breakout performance in 2006. In 2008, expect Buffalo to try and take some heat off of him. Marshawn Lynch will give Trent Edwards throwing space, and a WR opposite of Evans to draw coverage could balance out this offense. Evans and Jackson should have big play potential, and depending upon the development of Edwards into a pro QB, 2008 could be a much better fantasy year for Buffalo’s passing game. Plus, with less heat on the running game, Lynch might be able to get some really good drives (see video).
12. Denver Broncos — Ryan Clady, OL, Boise St.
Broncos need a linemen, and Clady is the next best available. Still a little raw and needs some footwork, he could still thrive in Denver’s offensive Scheme. Clady will be a great asset to the running backs in Denver.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Watching Houston demoralize Denver in that Thursday game late in the season, it occurred to me that they should really improve their offensive line. Defensive line could use some help too, but Clady can tighten up the blocking for Cutler in the pocket and allow him to prove that his sparks of greatness in 2007 were the start of his emergence in the NFL. Cutler should breakout in 2008, and Selvin Young/Travis Henry will have no complaints either.
13. Carolina Panthers — Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
The Panthers need a quarterback, and Brohm is still sitting on the board. It would be tough for them to pass on him since their quarterback situation is rather confusing. Testeverde is required to wear a leather helmet if he plays next year, David Carr just plain sucks at football, who knows about Delhomme and then there is Matt Moore. We don’t know much about Moore, but he is not as good as Brohm. Brohm could take over the reins in Carolina next year if they pick him.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: The QB situation in Carolina is a little uncertain right now. Delhomme should return, but no one can guarantee he will play game 1 to game 17 in 2008. Matt Moore was a decent replacement near the end of the season, but someone like Brohm would give Carolina the courage to let Testaverde retire–again–and tell Carr he can clear his locker and take his little white gloves with him. He would be the good backup they sought out so desperately this season.
As a side note, if they don’t take Brohm or Woodson here, they could take another RB who has a good combine show or a top WR to compliment Steve Smith and replace Drew Carter.
14. Chicago Bears — Sam Baker, OT, USC
This would be a perfect fit for the Bears. They really need to address their QB situation, but with the 3 main QBs already off the board, they should look to the OL here. Baker is a great pass blocker and could improve whoever is behind the line. Some might see this spot as a little high, but OL is sorely needed by Chicago. I would take Baker here.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Chicago is unsure of what to do with their QBs. None showed great promise in 2007. Expect them to take a QB somewhere in this draft to develop into an eventual starter, but there is no need to spend this pick on one.
Baker will be a quality blocker for the Chicago offensive line. His game will bring up the QB and probably make Cedric Benson look better than he did in 2007.
15. Detroit Lions — Jeffery Otah, OL, Pitt
I know what you are thinking. Aren’t the Lions supposed to draft a WR in the first round? Isn’t that a rule? Well, because of the Lion’s hot start, they are now picking 15th which is pretty rare for them.
The Lions are one of those teams that sorely need an O-linemen, and Otah is the next best available. The Lions would be passing over some good talent at other positions, but this is my mock draft. This is who I would take. Otah will immediately upgrade a line that needs it.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Pretty simple. Better offensive line means less concussions for Kitna. At some point–maybe this season–you might even see Detroit begin developing another QB under Kitna’s tutelage, and he will need better protection.
Kevin Jones might look like a decent RB with Mike Martz gone and a better line, and Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson could have stellar seasons–even without Martz–as long as Kitna has time to throw. This pick raises the bar for fantasy potential out of the entire Lions offense.
16. Arizona Cardinals — Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
The Cardinals need an immediate impact on defense, and Campbell is that guy. He is a huge guy that can come off the end with some speed. Arizona could reach for home grown product Antoine Cason from Arizona, but Campbell would be more of an instant impact.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: I like instant gratification, and Campbell is just that. Warner will keep the offense going strong if Matt Leinart doesn’t earn his spot back for the 2008 season or re-injure his pretty face. Campbell on defense will help prevent Arizona from constantly playing shootouts. This news may be bad for fantasy owners, but don’t expect the impact to be too drastic. Arizona’s offense will still produce well into 2008, and Campbell might just help them win some games in categories other than fantasy points.
For IDP leagues, I don’t think Campbell will be star right at the start, but without many bodies to stop people in Arizona, you might keep an eye on him throughout 2008.
Look for the next 8 picks in Part 3.
Here is my take on what players teams will take in the 2008 NFL draft. I’m basing this on team needs and selecting the best player available. Look for an updated list after the combines.
Jacob provides the fantasy impact on each of these picks (in italics) after each choice.
1. Miami Dolphins — Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Let’s face it, the Dolphins are bad. They could use pretty much a guy at any position. They do have a young quarterback in John Beck who I think will be pretty good, and of course, they have Ronnie Brown. QB and RB aren’t high priorities.
Dorsey is a beast and can disrupt an entire offensive line. I think it is a crapshoot between him and DE Chris Long as the most talented players in the draft. Miami could trade out of this pick because of their many needs, but if they stay, look for Dorsey’s name to be called.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: As Miami tries to get rid of this pick on the market, we all know they still want Dorsey first. His defensive presence will make it hard for RBs to make their line look like Swiss cheese like they did in 2007. Miami allowed 150+ yards to opposing RBs in 2007–worst in the NFL in case you didn’t know. With this pick and a few other defensive improvements, look for Miami’s defense to start a progression towards being good again but still not be worth taking a chance on in the 2008 fantasy draft.
2. St. Louis Rams — Chris Long, DE, Virginia
I’m a little biased on Chris Long as he was a member of my college fantasy team and was the main reason I didn’t lose every game. This guy is just an athletic freak. He will find a way to get by the linemen and to the ball.
The Rams had a crazy season last year in which their best players didn’t play so hot. I think with some changes and a kick in the butt, they could look to contend next year. They could go O-line with this pick, but I look for them to take Long. Orlando Pace will be back, so they could do without a first-round lineman. I fully expect Long to start next year and have a better career than his dad Howie.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: The Rams defense caused many fantasy owners to jump up and down with glee during their horrible stretch of the season. They finished 2007 allowing 115+ yards per game–not horrible but below average–and also let teams pass all over them.
Long will add a star athletic presence on defense that will take away opposing QBs time to throw and force RBs to run the other way. If St. Louis can get their star players back to their original form, Long could help make more opposing teams go 3-and-out and give the ball back to The Greatest Show on Turf. Don’t expect to draft the Rams defense next year, but they might be a good bye week filler later in the season when Long adjusts to the NFL speed.
NOTE: The next 3 teams will have their order determined by coin flip, so this will probably be changed.
3. Atlanta Falcons — Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
The Falcons need a quarterback in the worst kind of way. Joey Harrington has been given at least 17 chances in this league to play QB and has sucked in 18 of them. He is just bad.
Enter Matt Ryan. I believe this guy is the most NFL-ready QB out of this class. Watching him this season, he showed great poise and rarely helped his team lose. I believe he is worthy of building a franchise around, which is what the Falcons will be doing. They need a new image, and Matt Ryan could help immensely.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Poor Harrington and poor Leftwich. Harrington never had a chance, and Leftwich seemed slower than he did at Jacksonville.
I am not sure that the Falcons take a QB here. Chris Redman, showed some poise and a nice arm. He might have argued his way into a nice backup role somewhere if not Atlanta and possibly a starting gig if Atlanta was daring enough to put off a QB in this draft and take a top WR to compliment Roddy White or a top RB like McFadden. McFadden might fit well in a committee with Jerious Norwood, and Atlanta could finally put Warrick Dunn out to pasture. Matt Ryan is not playing in the Senior Bowl under the advice of his agent who gave the same advice to Brady Quinn, so there is potential that he could fall in the draft.
If they do take Matt Ryan, he will definitely bring some stability to the offense. I see him starting right away and having a shaky but good rookie year. Look for Roddy White’s numbers to improve and possibly some better RB numbers from Atlanta if they finally had a decent, consistent arm under center. Ryan might be worth a look as a second QB for your fantasy team.
4. Oakland Raiders — Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
This could be an interesting pick. The Raiders could really, really use someone like OT Jake Long, and that would be a great pick right here. This pick would be the classic “take the best player available” pick.
Everyone knows McFadden, but here is the real question: Who are the running backs for the Raiders? Answer: LaMont Jordan and Justin Fargas. Doesn’t exactly strike fear into hearts like the dreaded Tecmo Bowl pair of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen. Jordan and Fargas combined for 7 rushing touchdowns last year. I believe McFadden could come in and score more than that in his rookie year. The Raiders will select him if he is here at this point, and they couldn’t be happier.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Seriously, how many RBs does Oakland like to sit on? This year, they took Dominic Rhodes just to sit him on the bench until both Fargas and Jordan were injured or completely ineffective, but don’t forget that they also have star prospect Michael Bush who broke his leg early in 2007. The sad fact is that they will probably take McFadden, let Fargas go in free agency and address what to do with McFadden/Bush/Jordan/Rhodes after the fact.
If Jordan, Rhodes or Fargas stay, they will probably just be benched reserves. There is potential for a Bush/McFadden tandem that could kill opposing defenses, especially once McFadden gets his legs under him the NFL.
Oakland isn’t really improving it’s greatest weakness with this pick–improving the defense or snatching an additional deep threat for Russell wouldn’t be a bad call–but look for McFadden to make a huge rookie impact on whatever team takes him. He could definitely take the strain off Jamarcus Russell in his first year under center and give Oakland a very explosive offense next season in the run department. Someone in every fantasy league will take McFadden expecting him to be huge in 2008, and I wouldn’t call that a bad decision unless a committee forms around him. He is very likely to be the Adrian Peterson (MIN) of 2008 especially with the strong running offensive line of Oakland.
Just fair warning: If McFadden DOESN’T go to Oakland, don’t forget about the potential of Michael Bush in 2008!
5. Kansas City Chiefs — Jake Long, OL, Michigan
Kansas City needs linemen. Well, almost every team needs linemen, but Kansas City needs linemen. Jake Long is going to be the prototypical great NFL linemen. With the young quarterback situation in KC, Long will give Croyle the extra time he needs to read the D and find the WR. This is a no brainer pick.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Brodie Croyle loves this pick. He wants to be able to throw the ball, and Long will make that possible. Larry Johnson would appreciate some open running room as well. Look for both Croyle and Johnson to have better seasons next year if Long comes to KC.
6. New York Jets — Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
The Jets could go after a DE such as Vernon Gholston, but Sedrick Ellis is a more consistent player than Gholston. He is a big body up front and is very disruptive. He is a poor mans Dorsey, and he will get the job done for the Jets.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: The Jets need a better defense than they had this year. With a rookie QB and Thomas Jones at RB, they don’t put a lot of points on the board. They would love someone like McFadden here, but they’ll take Ellis and look to snag a RB to develop later in the draft.
With a better defense, the Jets could improve their offensive problems with either with Clemens or Pennington at QB and return to being a contender like they were in 2006. More time on the field means more carries for Jones and maybe more scores for this offense.
7. New England Patriots — Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Is this really fair? The best team of the year drafting 7th. Well, that’s the Patriots voodoo working. CB Asante Samuel will be more than likely leaving the team after the season, as he was franchised last year, so NE will need a corner to replace him. Mike Jenkins is a great corner and can play all over the field.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: Expect more of the same from the Belichick’s crew. If Asante leaves, it would hurt them to not replace him with a quick CB who can fill those shoes. Jenkins can take on that roll. While the Patriots may have a weaker secondary next season until he gets a feel for the NFL game, the crafty, veteran linemen and linebackers can make up for any weaknesses in the secondary, and we all know the Patriots can overcome teams in a scoring contest. The Patriots defense is almost always worth taking as a mid-level defense unless you don’t like them playing nice in the fourth quarter and letting opposing teams score back some dignity.
8. Baltimore Ravens — Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
The Ravens need a young QB, and I think Woodson should be that guy. He played consistently well in the toughest conference in football and has the size and power to be an NFL QB. I’m not entirely sold on Brohm right here, as I think Woodson better fits the Raven’s mold. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brohm went here, but if I’m the Ravens, I’m taking Woodson.
Jacob’s Fantasy Take: I wonder what Ray Lewis would say about this pick. Whether it’s Woodson or Brohm here, it’s definitely a QB. New head coach John Harbaugh will want to start the season off building up that offense and rejuvenating it with some new blood.
Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason didn’t live up to their positions consistently in 2007, but they could in 2008 with a better QB and consistent timing. Kyle Boller and Troy Smith both showed potential, but they need to show a lot more in camp to land a starting role.
2008 will be a rebuilding year for the Baltimore offense, but with such a great defense keeping games close, an improved quarterback could give them a decent offense that can put some points on your board. Whatever QB starts in Baltimore might be worth a look as a backup QB for fantasy or a bye-week fill.
Check out the next 8 picks in the Part 2 later this week.
After collecting my winnings from this fantasy season and posting the requisite trash talk on the message boards, I proceeded to take off for a fantasy football vacation. I used my time off to reflect on how to better develop Fantasy Football Fools as a resource for those of you looking to win your league next season.
After that painful 15 minutes, I caught a flight to Vegas for Wild Card weekend. I wish I would have spent more time at the sports book and less at the craps table, but in the end, despite winning a few bets, I came out minus all my fantasy football winnings. A very ROUGH weekend. Unfortunately for me and lucky for you, that 15 minutes of planning and the four hours of crying on the flight home that followed my trip to Vegas made me realize how much I still want all of you to succeed in some capacity in your lives–so why not fantasy football?
Tell your friends about our site, and hit up the comments if you haven’t already. If you need inspiration for what to comment about on this post, tell us what you want to see us talk about this offseason. We love feedback whether it is encouraging or just a general hatred of our souls–dirty and stained as they may be.
Look for our upcoming NFL draft coverage and discussions of what positions you want to take first in the 2008 fantasy draft.
The results are in. After weeks of preparation and stalking football players and coaches, our records–pitiful as they may be–are set in stone. Here’s how the three of us came out in our predictions:
I thought at least one of us would make it through the bowl season with less than 10 wrong calls. I was wrong. In fact, I was wrong 13 times. Right about average around these parts, so I consider that better than last place. *cough* Cameron *cough*
I took some chances on some teams that hurt me (Hawaii) and some that rewarded me (Kansas) based upon my beliefs on their quarterbacks. I still have faith in Colt Brennan, but I guess he needs some more development for the NFL. Typical of this season in college football, plenty of teams surprised us in their bowl games (Oklahoma). At least on the surprises part, I was right.
Robert came out on top by 2 games–luck if you asked me–and Cameron missed the early games that would have padded his score. Maybe Robert will stop gloating enough to share some of his insight for next season. Until then, look forward to the draft talk and start prepping your fantasy drafts cheatsheets.
Update: Winners updated. Records in future post.
The holidays have put us a little behind getting our college bowl picks up before the first few games, but hopefully, you had a pretty good idea who was going to win the Papajohns.com Bowl.
Check out our picks and see who’s right more often than anyone else–Yup, me. I’ll be facing off against a little known college football aficionado, Robert. Our picks are in chronological order, and if he is right more than me, we may just have to make him contribue to FantasyFootballFools.com a little more.
Cameron weighs in on our post-Christmas games for some insight from a true college football follower.
San Diego County Credit Union
- Jacob: Utah
- Robert: Utah
R+L Carriers New Orleans
WINNER: FLORIDA ATLANTIC
- Jacob: Memphis
- Robert: Florida Atlantic
- Jacob: Southern Mississippi
- Robert: Cincinnati
WINNER: NEW MEXICO
- Jacob: New Mexico (I mean, it’s there bowl and all)
- Robert: New Mexico
Pioneer Las Vegas
- Jacob: BYU
- Robert: BYU
WINNER: EAST CAROLINA (What happened in this close one?)
- Jacob: Boise State
- Robert: Boise State
Now Cameron joins in for the rest of the picks…
WINNER: PURDUE (That was close)
- Jacob: Purdue
- Robert: Purdue
- Cameron: Purdue (Mainly because they are not a directional Michigan school)
Pacific Life Holiday
- Jacob: Texas (Hook ‘em)
- Robert: Texas
- Cameron: Texas (Please God)
(Disclaimer: All three of us are Longhorn alums)
WINNER: BOSTON COLLEGE
- Jacob: Boston College
- Robert: Boston College
- Cameron: Michigan St. (Goin out on a limb. BC lost 3 of their last 5 games)
- Jacob: TCU (They’re from Texas)
- Robert: Houston
- Cameron: TCU (Houston has lost 7 straight to TCU and their last 8 bowl games)
WINNER: OREGON STATE
- Jacob: Maryland
- Robert: Maryland
- Cameron: Oregon State (Coming off a win against in-state rival Oregon)
Meineke Car Care
WINNER: WAKE FOREST
- Jacob: Wake Forest (When in doubt, don’t doubt the Wake)
- Robert: Connecticut
- Cameron: Connecticut (A team I have been high on all season)
WINNER: MISSISSIPPI STATE
- Jacob: UCF
- Robert: Mississippi State
- Cameron: UCF (With Heisman snub Kevin Smith at the helm, they will run and run)
WINNER: PENN STATE
- Jacob: Penn State
- Robert: Penn State
- Cameron: Penn State (After a big win against Texas last year, A&M came out flat. Expect the same)
- Jacob: Colorado
- Robert: Alabama
- Cameron: Colorado (Alabama coming in on a 4-game losing streak)
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
- Jacob: Air Force
- Robert: Air Force
- Cameron: Air Force (Cal coming in losing 6 of their last 7)
WINNER: FRESNO STATE
- Jacob: Georgia Tech
- Robert: Georgia Tech
- Cameron: Georgia Tech (Just because)
WINNER: OREGON (Apparently, Oregon is something without Dixon)
- Jacob: South Florida
- Robert: South Florida
- Cameron: South Florida (Oregon is nothing without Dixon; plus, they have a Leaf brother playing QB)
Gaylord Hotels Music City
- Jacob: Kentucky
- Robert: Kentucky
- Cameron: Kentucky (Because they don’t cheat and lose half of their team)
WINNER: OKLAHOMA STATE
- Jacob: Oklahoma State
- Robert: Oklahoma State
- Cameron: Indiana (Never know which OK State team is going to show up)
- Jacob: Clemson
- Robert: Auburn
- Cameron: Clemson (Great one two punch at RB with Davis and Spiller)
- Jacob: Tennessee
- Robert: Wisconsin
- Cameron: Tennessee (PJ Hill might not play for Wisconsin, which would mean trouble)
- Jacob: Missouri
- Robert: Missouri
- Cameron: Arkansas (Missouri may be a little flat after the Big XII championship loss and may not have the defense to stop McFadden and Jones)
Konica Minolta Gator
WINNER: TEXAS TECH
- Jacob: Texas Tech (I’m a Big 12 man)
- Robert: Texas Tech
- Cameron: Virginia (UV actually has the kind of defense that can hurry up Harrell and knock him down, especially with DE Chris Long)
WINNER: MICHIGAN (Never bet against a team devoted to sending a great coach off right)
- Jacob: Florida
- Robert: Florida
- Cameron: Florida (Florida played a way tougher schedule than Michigan, and it will show)
Rose Bowl Presented by Citi–they paid us to say that
WINNER: USC (Illinois should have never been in a bowl game. They certainly weren’t in this one.)
- Jacob: USC
- Robert: USC
- Cameron: USC (I will be pulling for Illinois, but their athletes can’t match up to USC)
WINNER: GEORGIA (I guess he is a system QB and/or the Hawaii linemen or worthless sacks of fatty meat.)
- Jacob: Hawaii (I don’t think he’s just a system QB)
- Robert: Georgia
- Cameron: Georgia (I see this being a very close game with Georgia coming out on top because of their running game)
WINNER: WEST VIRGINIA (Ouch, Stoops. Has anyone told the OU players lately that the season isn’t over after the Big 12 Championship?)
- Jacob: Oklahoma
- Robert: Oklahoma
- Cameron: Oklahoma (Don’t expect OU to be caught napping again)
WINNER: KANSAS ( It was a clutch victory for Kansas and for my predictions!)
- Jacob: Kansas
- Robert: Virginia Tech
- Cameron: Virginia Tech (Their D will hit Kansas in the mouth)
WINNER: RUTGERS (Was there any doubt? Ball State?)
- Jacob: Rutgers
- Robert: Rutgers
- Cameron: Rutgers (Who cares?)
WINNER: TULSA (I’m sorry if you watched this game. REALLY sorry.)
- Jacob: Tulsa
- Robert: Tulsa
- Cameron: Tulsa (I love their offense, especially with Paul Smith running the show)
Allstate BCS Championship Game
WINNER: LSU (Can we just put OU and OSU in the same boat and say, “Stop trying.”)
- Jacob: LSU
- Robert: LSU
- Cameron: Ohio State (Because the BCS wouldn’t allow a two-loss champion, would it?)
Check future post for a complete summary of how the three of us came out on this bowl season.
It seems like I am practically syndicating these guys lately, but The 5 Minute Drill is back again with some good stars to watch during your bowl viewing.
These guys might be standout rookies sometime soon for your fantasy football draft, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to scout their bowl performances.
[Note: Fantasy Football College Bowl Preview episode of “The 5 Minute Drill” removed due to ONnetworks going offline. You can view the podcasts on iTunes or find out more about them at the Footballguys.com link above.]
My debut last week wasn’t the greatest, and it isn’t going to get any easier entering week 17 of the regular season. Hopefully, I’ll step my game up and come through in the clutch like a certain Tennessee QB needs to do this weekend–and I’m not talking about Erik Ainge.
Last week’s record: 6-9
Here are my picks for Week 17:
NEW ENGLAND (-14.5) over New York Giants
Giants will be resting starters with their playoff spot locked. New England will be playing for their undefeated season. Look for New England to make a statement heading into the playoffs.
ARIZONA (-7) over St. Louis
Both teams would like to end on a positive note, but I give the advantage to Arizona playing at home for a chance at .500.
Seattle (+2) over ATLANTA
I just can’t not take Seattle and points verse the Atlanta Falcons. I think back-up running back Maurice Morris is playing better than Shaun Alexander anyways.
TAMPA BAY (+2.5) over Carolina
Carolina looked decent versus a Cowboys team trying to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the Bucs don’t want to enter the playoffs on a two-game skid. I like the Bucs at home in this one.
Cincinnati (-3) over MIAMI
I was impressed by the Bengals win over the Browns last week. A win this Sunday might keep Marvin Lewis around for another season. At least you didn’t go winless this year, Miami.
San Francisco (+11) over CLEVELAND
Cleveland choked last week, and they know it. San Francisco has been playing well with Shaun Hill at the helm. I like San Francisco to keep it close and have the fourth quarter decide the winner.
GREEN BAY (-4) over Detroit
The Pack has its playoff spot secured thanks to the no-show they pulled last week versus the Bears, but I think the team plays hard under the leadership of Aaron Rodgers, perennial backup as long as ironman Brett Farve is around.
Jacksonville (+4) over HOUSTON
Jacksonville will want to keep their win streak alive, and Quinn Gray is fairly capable at QB having gone 2-1 in his three starts this season. Houston got spanked by a team that had nothing to play for last week.
Minnesota (-3) over DENVER
Minnesota needs this win for a chance to make the playoffs. I thought Denver rolled over for the Chargers on Monday night. Expect Adrian Peterson to get more than the nine carries he had last week.
CHICAGO (+2) over New Orleans
Chicago got a boost of confidence last week, and it wasn’t even because of Devin Hester. Something tells me the Saints aren’t tough enough to grind out a bad weather game in the Windy City.
Kansas City (+6.5) over NEW YORK JETS
Herm Edwards will want to win this game badly. The Jets just want this season to end so they can start thinking about their high pick in next year’s draft.
PHILADELPHIA (-8) over Buffalo
I think Buffalo over-achieved a little this year, and the Eagles underachieved. I like the Eagles to end on a positive note and, hopefully, quell the rumors about Donovan McNabb’s departure.
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over BALTIMORE
I think both teams will play hard in this division game, but in the end, the Ravens extend their league high losing streak to ten.
San Diego (-8) over OAKLAND
JaMarcus Russell will get the first start of his young career in Oakland this weekend. Too bad it’s against a San Diego team that is peaking at the perfect time.
INDIANAPOLIS (+3.5) over Tennessee
Vince Young was clutch throughout his college career with the Longhorns. I expect him to come through in the clutch for the Titans, but I also expect the margin of victory to be a field goal or less.
Dallas (+9.5) over WASHINGTON
I don’t think Dallas wants to see this team in the playoffs, and they will try and knock them out right here. T.O. won’t be playing. Romo will be limited, but backup QB Brad Johnson holds a grudge against the Redskins. I like Dallas in this one.
If you are playing a week 17 championship, my condolences. You really should try to get that changed for next year–and I do mean really.
Week 17 is unpredictable because you don’t know who will start let alone who will show up to play well. Lucky for you, plenty of injuries this week will give you players to vulture off the waiver wire.
Najeh Davenport, RB PIT
Najeh will fill in for an injured Willie Parker. If he plays like he did this week in Parker’s absence, he just might be the hottest pick up for week 17. The Stealers play Baltimore, but the Ravens have nothing left to play for this season. Keep in mind that the Steelers could rest him for their playoff run since they clinched their spot this week.
Musa Smith. RB BAL
If he takes on the full load in Willis McGahee’s absence, he could be a somewhat decent fantasy start. Against he Steelers, I wouldn’t expect much, but the Steelers have already clinched their spot in the playoffs. They might not care about giving Musa or whoever fills the McGahee void a few yards.
Laurent Robinson, WR ATL
Laurent was a preseason standout for Atlanta in a season that was never looking good. This week, he had a breakout performance with over 100 yards and a TD against Arizona with Chris Redman at the helm. He is trying to impress–and succeeding. I had him on my sleeper list to the begin the season–yeah, I’m that good. If you are hurting at receiver, he could put up another standout performance against a Seattle team resting it’s starters.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB NYG
If you didn’t notice him breaking for an 88-yard TD run late in the Buffalo game this week, you should have. Bradshaw will do some great things for the Giants with his speed in the playoffs and could be decent for week 17. Look for him to get some more touches than usual next week against the Patriots. My guess is that the Pats will put a hurting on the Giants to clinch their undefeated season, and the Giants will rest most of their starters for the playoffs–including Jacobs since he is ailing again. Bradshaw could have a decent number of yards but probably won’t have another one of those breakout runs. A short yardage TD might be all to hope for in this one.
Luke McCown, QB TB
Tampa Bay sat their starters early this week, so McCown is sure to see a lot of playing time next week against Carolina. He might be your QB of choice if you were starting Jeff Garcia or someone likely to sit out this last week.
Seneca Wallace, QB SEA
Like McCown, he may see some playing time with Seattle are locked into the playoffs.
If you are looking for subs for your usual starters, try to find players that have something to play for this week. Avoid starters from any of the already clinched teams that look to sit. You might even try to find some young talent that will see more playing time with their starters resting. Follow the reports through the week and see which coaches are looking to play safe and sit their best guys.
Oh, fantasy fools, I thought I would never see you again.
This giant Okie snagged me in an alley this week and kept me in a cage listening to Jessica Simpson albums on loop. He fed me only popcorn, and only let me go because I promised to post his best bets for this weekend.
I only wish I had enough information to file a police report. Oh yeah, he told me his name is Nick.
Check out Nick’s “Best Bets” post.