The fantasy finals… the ultimate destination that we all reserved tickets to after the draft, but few of us actually end up here. Last week I told you to sit your #1 pick, Adrian Peterson, and that was when he was still supposed to start. What happened? He was inactive for the game and got his owners a big fat goose egg for the week.
I do understand that some leagues play through week 17 (I am in one, too). But since about 95 percent of leagues end this week, this will be the final fantasy football forecast for the 2010 year and the week 17 article will be a year-in-review of the fantasy football studs and duds. If you've made it this far, no sense in stopping now… so go big or go home!
Joe Flacco: Flacco and the Ravens roll into Cleveland to face a Browns secondary that has allowed 21 passing TDs this season. The Browns' run defense gives up 129.2 YPG (25thin NFL), but they have allowed just five rushing TDs all season long. So if the Ravens want to make it into the playoffs they will most likely key in on beating the Browns through the air, not on the ground.
Aaron Rodgers: Even though the Packers are all but officially out of the playoffs, Rodgers has been cleared to play this week and should be a top-five fantasy play against the Giants this weekend. If you own Rodgers, there is a good chance you lost last week and are out of the hunt because of him. However, if you have someone like Jon Kitna as your backup and were able to sneak into the finals, play Rodgers as an elite QB1 this week.
Darren McFadden: McFadden saw two of his touchdowns vultured by Michael Bush last weekend, but this weekend the Colts come into town sporting their 28th-ranked defense that allows 135.8 YPG and 14 rushing TDs this season. McFadden is an excellent RB1 this weekend.
Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD was riding high on his six-game streak of 100-plus rushing yards until last week when the Colts held him to a modest 46 yards on the ground and 22 in the air. This week the Jaguars play the Redskins. I am going to look for MJD to do his best Forrest Gump impression and run right out of the end zone this weekend!
Vincent Jackson: If there is any WR with more to prove to finish out the season, I dare you to point him out. V-Jax is not only playing for his reputation, but for the payday he thinks the Chargers owe him. Last Thursday Jackson torched the 49ers defense for 112 yards and three scores. And although that type of production is unrealistic again this week, I expect a lot from him to finish out the fantasy season.
Brandon Marshall: For those of you who ignored me and kept Marshall on your roster, congratulations. Even though he has missed two games, he is still on pace to finish his first season as a Dolphin with 82 catches, 932 yards and four TDs. The Lions secondary is tied for 6thin most receiving TDs allowed, and they give up 240.2 receiving YPG. I see him as a WR2 this weekend in an effort to finish out the season strong.
Vernon Davis: Davis was held to one catch for four yards last weekend, but you can blame play-caller Mike Johnson and bracket coverage from the Chargers for that little miscue. The Rams are not the Chargers in the secondary and I fully expect a bounce-back game from Davis this weekend. True, he still doesn't have an NFL QB, but he is a freak athletically and he can overcome his QB's problems.
Pittsburgh Steelers defense: The Steelers face the Panthers and their last-placed scoring offense (183 points scored). Even though Troy Polamalu is out for tonight's game, the Panthers' strength is running and the Steelers' run defense is #1 in the NFL. I smell a shutout in the making.
Mark Sanchez: Sanchez is a good NFL QB, but not someone that I will ever own on my fantasy team. Sanchez only puts up 215.9 passing YPG and has a 16-12 TD-INT ratio right now, far from QB1 stats. Now I am hearing that his arm "soreness" stems from a cartilage tear in his right (throwing) shoulder. If you own him and he is your QB1, go snag Rex Grossman or Tim Tebow for a one-week run.
Jon Kitna: Speaking of Kitna, he finishes off the 2010 fantasy season as the clear-cut starter with Tony Romo on the I.R. The Cowboys are trying to finish up the season strong, but are far out of the playoff picture. I still like him this weekend as a low-end QB1 and would start him over the likes of Jay Cutler and Matt Cassel.
Ray Rice: As I mentioned earlier, the Browns run defense has the mentality of bend, but don't break. Fantasy football is driven off of 100-yard games and touchdowns scored, two things Rice has seen few of this season. Rice had a monster effort last weekend against the Saints and finished with 153 rushing yards and a TD, but it came on 31 carries… his highest total of the season. He could hit 100 yards, but I doubt he will score.
Jonathan Stewart: Stewart has had back-to-back 100-yard games, but he has just two rushing touchdowns this season and one receiving to his credit. Tonight he runs into the Steelers' punishing run defense and I want no part of him in the fantasy finals. I'd much rather see Ryan Torain or BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the lineup for my team this weekend.
Chad Ochocinco: Ochocinco said on Wednesday that the bone spurs in his ankle are so painful that he will only play half of the Bengals&39; offensive snaps in Week 16, if he plays at all. Terrell Owens is on the I.R. and the Bengals are out of the playoff race, so Ochocinco should be on your bench as the fantasy season comes to an end.
Sidney Rice: I see no reason for Brett Favre to play this week as the Vikings are out of the playoffs and the Eagles secondary is sure to play pitch-and-catch with him all game long if he does play. Given that, Joe Webb is a running QB and that means a big-play receiver like Rice will be null and void.
Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski: It has become almost impossible to predict how Bill Belichick will use his tight ends this season. Gronkowski looked like he had a majority of the role before Sunday's game, but then Hernandez went out and scored twice. Because you don't know which one will do well, I'd avoid both at all costs. With Ochocinco hurting and Owens out, I'd look at snagging Jermaine Gresham this weekend.
New Orleans Saints defense: The Saints are the defending champions, but the Falcons are the quietest 12-2 team in the NFL. The Falcons have scored 369 points this season, good enough to rank them 5thin the NFL. Matt Ryan is Peyton Manning in the making, so I would look elsewhere for defensive options in the finals.