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Starting Points for Week 17

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Week 17 can be very tricky as injuries mount and teams that have clinched their playoff seeds tend to rest the stars that got you this far in your Fantasy leagues. That being said, it is also an opportunity to use some unheralded stars to bring home the big one and with that in mind, here are the final Starting Points of the 2011 season.

Quarterbacks

Get 'em active ...

Ryan Fitzpatrick (at New England) -- In their last five games, the Pats have given up an average of 23.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks despite facing the fearsome five some of Vince Young, Dan Orlovsky, Tim Tebow, Rex Grossman and Matt Moore. Only Grossman (18) was below 24 points against the Patriots during that span and on the season, only Tyler Palko was below 17 points in the first 15 games against this rag tag pass defense. In his first meeting with the Patriots, Fitzpatrick himself had one of his best games of the year as he threw for 369 yards and two scores. He also had two interceptions in that game and finished with 22 points. Remember, seven of the last nine quarterbacks who have faced the Patriots have produced at least 21 points and Matt Moore is coming off of a season high 25 points last week. The New England secondary is vulnerable and with their offense scoring points in bunches it all sets up perfectly for The Genius to propel you to a week 17 championship at quarterback. (Projection Snapshot: 319 yards passing with two TDs)

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Others to start: Cam Newton (at New Orleans), Michael Vick (vs. Washington), Eli Manning (vs. Dallas), Philip Rivers (at Oakland), Joe Webb if he starts (vs. Chicago)

Sleepers: Carson Palmer (vs. San Diego), Kyle Orton (at Denver), Josh McCown (at Minnesota)

Ride the pine ...

Aaron Rodgers (vs. Detroit) -- With the Packers locking up the number one overall seed in Week 16, look for Rodgers to do quite a bit of sitting and standing in Week 17 and not nearly enough throwing of the ball to start for your teams. This is one of the big dangers of playing into Week 17 as Fantasy Football's top overall point scorer is definitely not playing a full game and may not even play a half. Matt Flynn is expected to play a lot for the Packers in Week 17, so I just don't think we can trust Rodgers here. I also expect Matt Moore (vs. New York Jets) to fall off from his recent levels of production and would look for one of the sleepers above over him in Week 17. (Projection Snapshot: 121 yards passing and one TD)

Running Backs

Get 'em active ...

C.J. Spiller (at New England) -- Apparently we are going to have to get fired up about the Bills in Week 17. Spiller is playing great, with an average of nearly 17 points per game over his last four. In his last two games -- against Miami and Denver respectively -- Spiller has put up some gaudy numbers with 47 total points. In those two games, Spiller has run the ball 28 times for 202 yards (yep that's a ridiculous 7.2 yards per carry) and two scores. He has also caught 11 passes for another 103 yards and a touchdown, giving him a solid 305 total yards and three scores in the two games. The Patriots enter Week 17 having allowed at least 100 yards rushing to running backs in four straight games (they had allowed just two teams over 100 yards in their first 11 games) and they are giving up 17.5 running back points per game during that span. Roy Helu and Reggie Bush have both individually rushed for over 100 yards against the Pats in the last three weeks and every opposing primary ball carrier has reached 11 or more points in each of the last five games. Spiller will be the main man for the Bills in Week 17 and you can expect the running back Thrilla to deliver another solid game en route to a Fantasy title for your teams. (Projection Snapshot: 83 yards rushing, 52 yards receiving and a TD)

Toby Gerhart (vs. Chicago) -- Gerhart will get the start for the Vikings with Adrian Peterson done for the year and if his recent performances are any indication, he should be very productive in Week 17. Gerhart has played a lot in each of the last five games and has produced double digit points in every single one of them. In those games, Gerhart is averaging 13.4 points per game and has proven to be an excellent dual threat back. He has topped 100 total yards in three of the last four games and has hauled in three receiving touchdowns in the last three weeks alone. The Bears have been a formidable defense all year, allowing the ninth fewest points to opposing runners, ninth fewest in the league. Now their season is over and Gerhart should be able to hit double digits again in Week 17. After all, opposing runners have topped 10 points in four of the last five games (the only such streak on the season for the Bears) and in two of those games, opposing runners have topped 24 points! Look for Toby to be very involved as a runner and receiver in Week 17 and with all of the running back injuries out there, a guaranteed 20 touches is about all you can ask for. With that in mind, Gerhart should extend his double digit streak to six straight games and he makes for an excellent second running back for your teams. (Projection Snapshot: 76 yards rushing, 32 yards receiving and 1 TD)

Others to start: Kahlil Bell (at Minnesota), Ryan Mathews (at Oakland), Michael Bush (vs. San Diego), Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. Dallas), Kevin Smith/Maurice Morris/Keiland Williams (at Green Bay), DeAngelo Williams (at New Orleans)

Sleepers: Stevan Ridley (vs. Buffalo), Ben Tate (vs. Tennessee), Ronnie Brown (vs. Washington)

Ride the pine ...

LeGarrette Blount (at Atlanta) -- Could he have a good game? Sure he could, but the fact of the matter is that you can no longer trust Blount in 2011. In two games against the Panthers, Blount produced a grand total of two points and the fact of the matter is a power back like Blount can really only have success on a winning team with a good defense. The Bucs are a losing team and they have no defense, so even if Blount is running well early he won't get enough chances to have a big Fantasy day. The Bucs get into a quick 20-point hole and he is usually sent to the bench in favor of receiving back Kregg Lumpkin. That's why Blount has not reached 12 carries in three of his last four games and he has a grand total of four points in those three games. The Falcons have plenty of fire power on offense and will dominate this overmatched Tampa Bay team, so look for Blount to spend the majority of Week 17 on the sidelines once again. That, along with Raheem Morris' zero tolerance for fumbling, combine to make Blount unplayable this week. (Projection Snapshot: 29 yards rushing)

Others to sit: The early word out of Houston is that Arian Foster will not play anywhere close to a full game. The same is being said in Detroit about Kevin Smith, so these are two names to keep an eye on as you get ready for Week 17.

Wide Receivers

Get 'em active ...

Malcom Floyd (at Oakland) -- With Vincent Jackson not at 100 percent, December has been the month of Malcom Floyd for the Chargers. Floyd is averaging 12 points per game in December, but has three games of 90 plus yards and a touchdown. He has topped 90 with a score in each of the last two games and should make it three in a row against a hapless Oakland secondary. The Raiders have allowed the opposing top target to score in eight straight games against them and even our old pal Dwayne Bowe broke his scoreless streak against Oakland last week. Floyd has been the top target for the Chargers in each of the last two weeks and that is likely to continue with Jackson nursing a groin injury. Floyd is red hot and I expect him to stay that way in Week 17, making him a great start for those of you still in action. (Projection Snapshot: 79 yards receiving, one TD)

For more from Nathan check out his website at thefantasyconsultant.com

Roy Williams (at Minnesota) -- Say what? I know this one is a little out there, but if you are needing a sleeper at receiver for Week 17, I'd dial up old Roy Williams. Williams was the top target for Josh McCown in Week 16, leading the Bears with nine targets, six catches and 81 yards receiving. With Johnny Knox out due to his back injury, Williams is on the field for pretty much every snap for the Bears and should find success against the weakest secondary in the entire NFL. The Vikings have allowed 29 points per game over their last five to opposing wide receivers -- most in the NFL -- and they have given up nine receiver touchdowns in those games. Over the last two weeks, they have been even worse, giving up at least 200 yards, two touchdowns and 32 points to opposing wide receivers. We have seen guys like Lance Moore, Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth have big Fantasy days. In Week 17 the pickings can be slim and I think even Williams can get into the end zone against this awful Vikings secondary. (Projection Snapshot: Moss: 63 yards receiving and one TD)

Others to start: Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon (at Jacksonville), Julio Jones (vs. Tampa Bay), Torrey Smith (at Cincinnati), Steve Johnson (at New England), Steve Smith (at New Orleans), A.J. Green (vs. Baltimore), Miles Austin and Dez Bryant (at N.Y. Giants), Dwayne Bowe (at Denver), Nate Burleson and Titus Young (at Green Bay), James Jones (at Detroit), Percy Harvin (vs. Chicago), Marques Colston and Robert Meachem (vs. Carolina), Victor Cruz (vs. Dallas), Jeremy Maclin (vs. Washington), Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown if Ben is back (at Cleveland), Brandon Lloyd (vs. San Francisco), Michael Crabtree (at St. Louis), Nate Washington (at Houston), Jabar Gaffney (at Philadelphia), Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. San Diego)

Sleepers: David Nelson (at New England), Brandon Lafell (at New Orleans), Earl Bennett and Dane Sanzenbacher (at Minnesota), Demaryius Thomas (vs. Kansas City), Doug Baldwin (at Arizona), Damian Williams (at Houston)

Ride the pine ...

Santana Moss (at Philadelphia) -- I have been on the Moss bandwagon the last few weeks, but he has been outproduced by Jabar Gaffney and has his first tough matchup in over a month in Week 17. The Eagles have not allowed a single receiver above 10 points in four straight games and no secondary receiver has been above six points during that span. Moss himself has not reached 50 yards in back to back games and I do not love this matchup for him. He was held to just 38 yards receiving in his first meeting with the Eagles and I could see a similar result again in Week 17, so I would rather take my chances with a higher upside option. (Projection Snapshot: 46 yards receiving)

Tight Ends

Get 'em active ...

Jared Cook (at Houston) -- Cook is the top Fantasy tight end over the last two weeks and has posted an amazing 17 catches for 272 yards and a touchdown in those games. Yep, he has topped the century mark in both games and could go for the hat trick against a Texans team that will be resting many of its starters on Sunday. The Texans have allowed two big games to tight ends in their last four and are giving up a solid eight points per game during that span. With Cook leading all tight ends in targets, catches and yards over the last two weeks I think he deserves one more shot at the big time and I'd definitely give him a start in Week 17. (Projection Snapshot: 68 yards receiving and one TD)

Others to start: Brent Celek (vs. Washington), Dustin Keller (at Miami), Aaron Hernandez (vs. Buffalo)

Good luck this week!

Glossary
Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite and under 52.5 percent is worrisome.
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @NathanZeguraTFC .

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Player News
Report: Buccaneers bringing in Dan Connolly for a visit
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Former Patriots offensive guard Dan Connolly will visit the Buccaneers on Tuesday, per a report by Fox's Ross Jones, citing a source. 

Connolly has played in 87 games for the Patriots in the last seven years and hasn't played in fewer than 13 games in a season since 2008. 


Steelers RB DeAngelo WIlliams says signing was easy decision
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After playing his first nine seasons with the Panthers, running back DeAngelo Williams signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Steelers this offseason. Among his many thoughts on the signing, he called it an easy decision, according to the Sporting News.

“I didn’t know they wanted me. I had never been on a visit before,” Williams said. “I was with the same organization for nine years. When I got the call and they said, 'hey we want to bring you in for a visit' I took it as that. Had they said we wanted to bring you in for a signing I would have had a different mindset. I had no idea what was going to transpire when I got here.”

Williams added that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to the next level.

“It’s the opportunity to take maybe one or two reps or whatever it takes to make this team better,” Williams said. “That is what I will do. I want to make it to a Super Bowl and win it. I know this team has that potential and they can do it.

“Coming here was an easy decision. This is a Super Bowl contending team. Every veteran out there, veteran or rookie, they want to go to the Super Bowl and win it and get the best opportunity. I think the best opportunity is here in Pittsburgh.”

Williams has rushed for 6,846 yards on 1,432 carries with 46 rushing touchdowns in his career.


Lions WR Golden Tate doesn't feel pressure due to loss of Suh
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Although Lions wide receiver Golden Tate feels the loss of Ndamukong Suh is a blow to the team, he doesn't believe it puts more pressure on the offense, reports ESPN. 

When asked specifically about the subject, Tate was clear about his thoughts.

"No, I don't think it adds any pressure," Tate said by phone Monday. "We just need to be who we are. We know that we have a lot of weapons all over the field. We just need to reach our potential each and every week.

"We just need to go out there and play fundamentally sound football and I have no doubt our defense is going to be really good again this year and we just got to do our jobs. There's no pressure on anyone but to be ourselves and to play good football."

Additionally, Tate recognizes that Suh was a game-changing player for the Lions, but he likes the addition of Haloti Ngata.

"Obviously, losing Suh is a big hit," Tate said. "I don't care what team you are, he's the guy that can change the game. Change an opposing offense's game plan. He affects the game so much. But with that being said, I'm thankful to have [had] the opportunity to play with him for a year and be a part of something special. But the show must go on.

"The guy we got, [Haloti] Ngata, is a heck of a player. I think it's a good pickup for us. I know he has a past with coach Caldwell so he knows the ins and outs of the system, probably. But we're ready to move forward. We can't live in the past and football season must still go on. We're preparing to have a great year and build from last year."

The 26-year-old stated that he plans on focusing on the intricacies of the offensive playbook heading into this season.

"One thing I really want to focus on is learning the playbook a little bit better," Tate said. "I felt like I knew it for the most part, but details, running the plays exactly how Joe Lombardi draws them up, could help us win more games and create more opportunities for myself and our team."

Tate finished his first season with the Lions catching 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns.


Report: LB Rolando McClain ends Patriots' visit without contract
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After visiting the Patriots on Monday, linebacker Rolando McClain and the team did not agree to terms on a contract, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The same report states that the visit was a positive one.

McClain played in 13 games last season for the Cowboys, collecting 81 total tackles and one sack. Over his four-year career, the 25-year-old has accumulated 327 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu looks forward to being healthy
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu believes that he is regaining his health and he's ready to make an impact this season, according to the team's website.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Mathieu said Monday. “Last year I felt like I took a back seat. I played well my rookie year and then last year it was kind of, eh, I was there but I wasn’t there. This (year) is more important for me because I really want to let everyone know I’m back and I can still make some plays.”

Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL toward the end of the 2013 season. He recently said that the comeback was "way harder than I thought."

Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Mathieu was not himself last season.

“You saw him fight through it last year,” Arians said. “He was not the player he was used to (being) and it was very frustrating for him.”

Mathieu was aware of the chatter from the outside world and he is using that as motivation going forward.

“You hear people talk and I had time to listen to them talk, so it’s like … I hear it,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I made enough plays last year to help our team. I am looking forward to this year because I know I can do it.”

The 22-year-old has registered 106 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 26 games played during his two-year career.


Saints plan to rework Jahri Evans, Cameron Jordan contracts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Saints coach Sean Payton said that the team has a plan in place to rework guard Jahri Evans' contract to help create salary cap space, per ESPN's Mike Triplett

Evans is scheduled to make $6.8 million salary in 2015 and cost $11 million against the cap. 

The team might also extend defensive end Cameron Jordan's contract. Jordan is entering the last year of his contract and is scheduled to make $6.969 million this year.


Rams have agreed to terms with OL Tim Barnes
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Rams have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Tim Barnes, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The one-year deal has a maximum value of $1 million. 

Barnes recently visited had a visit with the Chiefs before signing with the Rams. The 26-year-old spent all three of his previous seasons with the Rams, starting four of the 45 games he appeared in.


Report: Brandon Tate visits Chiefs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Free agent wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate visited the Chiefs on Monday, according to a report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source.

Tate had 17 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals last year. He also had a combined 571 yards in kick and punt returns. 


Lions' Riley Reiff open to playing right tackle
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that Riley Reiff might start at right tackle next season. 

Reiff has started 32 games at left tackle over the last two seasons. The Lions aren't sure that last year's right tackle LaAdrian Waddle will be fully recovered from knee surgery, and backup tackle Cornelius Lucas is better on the left side. 

Reiff told the Daily Republic he doesn't care where he plays. 

 "I like playing, and wherever they want to put me, that's fine. I'll play," he said.


Broncos OL Michael Schofield looking to compete for starting job
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Broncos offensive lineman Michael Schofield is ready to come in and compete for a starting job this season, reports the Denver Post.

After not dressing for a single game as a rookie, Schofield added weight and he looks forward to fighting for a starting job.

"I am going in there with that mentality. In the NFL everybody is competing," Schofield said during a road trip to see family in Illinois. "They are looking for someone to step up and take over. I want to make that jump."

The third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2014 struggled with weight issues, but he is now up to 305 pounds. He also recognized that his pass protection needs improvement.

"Personally, I felt there were reasons I wasn't out there (for games). I wasn't consistent enough in pass pro (protection). And my weight was really fluctuating," Schofield said.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes that the team's zone-blocking scheme can help Schofield elevate his game, and Schofield agrees.

"We like the Schofield kid, so we'll see. We think he's got some flexibility (in where he can play)," Kubiak said. "It will be very competitive."

"I feel like I am better suited for this," Schofield said. "You have to be able to reach block, and I feel the steps required fit me better."


 
 
 
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