April 16, 2014

Fantasy Football: Week 17 Notes and Survivor Pool; Start ‘em and Sit ‘em

First, a big thank you to everyone who read even one word of my weekly (mostly) ramblings about fantasy football. I hope that they helped you in some small way. I’ve enjoyed the writing and might even do it again next year.

Hopefully you aren’t still playing games in your fantasy schedule. Any league that plays their championship game in Week 17 is a league worth leaving. Some of the smarter members of one of my leagues devised a Week 17 challenge that works well. Week 17 is a free for all – take any player and make a full roster. The highest score wins and picks up some dough. There’s no reason to have the most important game in your fantasy season played on a week when the NFLers are resting for the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at who to start this week. There are just too many guys to sit. I’d sit just about anyone on the Atlanta Falcons. They have absolutely nothing to play for this week and are better served getting healthy. I’d also stay away from the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts as it’s unclear how much any of the first team offenses will stay on the field. If a half of Ray Rice or A.J. Green is better than anything else you can find, go ahead and start them. However, you’d likely find better options on your squad or on the waiver wire.

And we’ve got a final regular season Survivor Pool list ready for your perusal.

Remember, I usually like to use Rotoworld’s rankings as a quick guide and then see where I can take advantage of lower or higher rankings. Follow along, as I read aloud. If you have questions, just leave a comment or send me a note on Twitter.

Bye week: None

Quarterback      

Up: Michael Vick faces a New York Giants defense that has been shredded by QBs recently. Vick is playing for his professional life this week and auditioning for the rest of the league. Can I see him putting up a top three performance this week? Absolutely. The Giants defense is just that bad currently.

Philip Rivers may be the beneficiary of Norv Turner’s last game in San Diego. Why not throw the ball 40+ times? Ryan Mathews isn’t there to take the handoff. I can see Rivers sneaking into the bottom of the top 10 this week as Norval tries to go out with a bang against a poor Oakland pass defense.

Running back

Up: Mark Ingram looks like a top ten back to me this week. He’s been solid for the last copule of weeks and he’s lost his running mate Pierre Thomas this week so he could be in for more touches. The Saints may look to feature Ingram a bit to see what they have for next year. Ingram was a first round pick for a reason – he has the talent and Week 17 might just be the opportunity he needs to showcase it.

Shonn Greene had 94 yards and a TD in the Jets Week 1 game against the Bills. Mark Sanchez is terrible. Certainly Greene will be given every opportunity to top 100 yards this week. Start him as a solid RB1. I can’t believe I just wrote those words.

Montell Owens is a high end RB2 this week. He has no competition and the Titans are again without the services of MLB Colin McCarthy. I could see 120+ total yards and a TD. I like Owens a lot and I’m not sure why the Jags don’t want to use him more on offense. He’s shown a solid skillset. I’m sure begin a gunner on special teams is important, but Owens has to provide more value on offense than a gunner does on special teams.

Rashard Mendenhall may be in for a big game against the Cleveland Browns if the game plays out as I envision. The Steelers will likely have a pretty big lead and with Mike Wallace and Heath Miller out, Mendenhall heads up the depth chart in terms of touches. I’d say Mendenhall could have solid RB2 production this week.

Jason Snelling could be a sneaky deep league play as the Falcons could opt to rest both Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers in the second half of the game against the Bucs. The Falcons have nothing to play for and Snelling hasn’t been a big part of the offense at all this season.

Wide Receiver

Up: Steve Smith should be in the top three this week. He faces a New Orleans Saints defense that just cannot control WR1s. Expect a huge game from Smith for Carolina.

James Jones could be the beneficiary of injuries in the WR corps and the Vikings propensity for giving up points in bunches to WRs. Greg Jennings has a shot to be valuable as well, but he’s more of a flex play for me.

Continuing on my theme of the horrible Giants defense, I think Jeremy Maclin could sneak into a high end WR2 this week. I like Maclin for 80+ yards and 1 TD at least.

Justin Blackmon should have room to roam against the Titans porous secondary especially with Cecil Shorts out. I see Blackmon as a solid WR2 this week.

Emmanuel Sanders is the Steelers WR I’d target this week in deeper leagues. I can see the Browns putting shutdown corner Joe Haden on Antonio Brown and rendering him useless. Sanders isn’t great, but could be a valuable flex play in PPR leagues.

Tight End

Up: Marcedes Lewis has a solid matchup against the Titans and if he can add a TD to his four catch 56 yard performance from a couple of weeks ago against the Titans, then he’s a top 10 guy for me and you this week.

I like Dennis Pitta as a deep sleeper if you want to risk him playing only a half. He should be able to score against the Bengals even if he only plays 30 minutes.

Down: I lied. I do have one ‘down’ this week. Same as the last week…and the last week….Oh, cut Jermichael Finley. This is your last reminder.

Kicker

Up: I’ll even give you a kicker this week. How about Nick Novak against the Oakland Raiders? Fellow Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding had five FGs in their Week 1 matchup.

Defense

Up: The Pittsburgh Steelers face Thaddeus Lewis at QB for the Cleveland Browns and some mix of Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya and Brandon Jackson at RB. The Steelers should be a top three defense this week.

The Buffalo Bills defense gets to have Mark Sanchez throwing at them all game long. That’s a gift that keeps on giving. I see the Bills as a top five defense this week.

For deeper leagues, I like the Detroit Lions to sneak into the top 10 against the Chicago Bears especially if Matt Forte struggles. The Bears need to win, but they haven’t been able to sustain a solid offense on the road. The Lions only gave up 13 points and had five sacks in their earlier meeting.

Survivor

Week 17 is upon us and many pools are still alive. Hopefully, you have tiebreaking procedure in place. If not, may I recommend a chop of the pot if you have less than five players at the end of Week 17 and perhaps running into the playoffs for a week or two (with the option of choosing an already chosen team.

Let’s see where there is money to be made this week.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 17 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Saturday afternoon:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

San Diego Chargers

14.50%

1

San Francisco 49ers

19.67%

2

New York Giants

14.30%

2

New Orleans Saints

19.35%

3

San Francisco 49ers

14.10%

3

New York Giants

15.68%

4

New Orleans Saints

13.30%

4

Seattle Seahawks

13.21%

5

Seattle Seahawks

12.40%

5

San Diego Chargers

7.11%

6

Pittsburgh Steelers

9.20%

6

Tennessee Titans

6.63%

7

Denver Broncos

7.70%

7

Denver Broncos

6.45%

8

Tennessee Titans

4.30%

8

New England Patriots

3.27%

9

Washington

3.20%

9

Washington

2.33%

10

New England Patriots

2.70%

10

Pittsburgh Steelers

2.22%

It’s interesting to see the Chargers and Giants at the top of the Office Football Pool rankings. Can you really trust either team? The Chargers are waiting for the ax to fall on Norv Turner and the Giants look like they’ve packed up and gone golfing a bit earlier than they should have. Let’s see where we should go?

  1. San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers – If you have any of these five teams, use them now. The 49ers (85% chance of winning) should roll over a Cardinals team playing out the string. The Broncos still (85%) have something to play for and the Chiefs just want the season to end. The Seahawks (83%) are going for an unbeaten home schedule against the St. Louis Rams who don’t have the firepower to keep up. The Patriots (81%) face a divisional foe that has played them tough in the past, but the Pats are getting healthy on offense. The Steelers (79%) face the Browns with both playing out the string. However, the conductor for the Browns will be Thaddeus Lewis. Who? Exactly.
  2. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are at home to close out what has to be considered a disappointing season. However, things should be looking up next year with Sean Payton returning to the sideline as head coach. Cam Newton has been a different QB over the last few weeks and that has helped the Panthers immensely. That said, I see the Saints pulling this one out at home with the running game led by Mark Ingram being the difference. I give the Saints a 77% chance of winning.
  3. San Diego Chargers – Next season, remember to find out where Norv Turner ends up as an offensive coordinator. That’s a team you want draft offensive players from. As for this week, the Chargers saving grace is that the Raiders have decided to start Terrelle Pryor at QB with the injury to Carson Palmer. I don’t believe Pryor is ready for primetime and even the lackluster Chargers should be able to handle him.  I give the Chargers a 74% chance of winning.
  4. Green Bay Packers – The Packers should be able to handle the Minnesota Vikings even if the Vikings decide to hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson 50 times to get the single season rushing record. The Pack are a bit banged up at the WR position so they may actually lean a bit more on the running game or the uneven Jermichael Finley. I give the Packers a 66% chance of winning.
  5. Buffalo Bills – The New York Jets have gone back to Mark Sanchez as a starting QB. The Jets are a tire fire. One that will never go out. Ever. The Bills aren’t exactly world beaters, but at least they can focus on football during the week. Moreover, they’ll have the most dynamic offensive player on the field in C.J. Spiller. I give the Bills a 62% chance of winning.

Other teams I like early in the week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New York Giants at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Yes, the Giants are favored. Yes, the Giants are at home. Yes, the Giants have something to play for and the Eagles do not. Well, except for one Eagle – Michael Vick. Vick is the wild card in this matchup and I don’t think I’d risk my pool against him. The Giants defense has been poor for a few weeks and Eli Manning looks like his arm needs a rest.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, well, I’m not sure there is one I’d recommend this week. I could see taking the Baltimore Ravens against the Bengals on the road. The Ravens looked better last week and this is a divisional game

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Fantasy Football: Week 17 Notes and Survivor Pool; Start 'em and Sit 'em Rashard Mendenhall may be in for a large game against the Browns (Cleveland) whether the game plays out as I envision. The Steelers will likely have a pretty large lead and with Mike Wallace and Heath Miller out, … Up: Marcedes Lewis has a solid matchup against … Read more on District Sports Page [...]

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