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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)

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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
Vikings sign Kurt Coleman
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:31 am ET) The Vikings signed safety Kurt Coleman on Thursday. He spent the past four seasons with the Eagles and has seven career interceptions.

Coleman will try to make the final roster in Minnesota as a reserve defensive back and play on special teams.


Dwayne Bowe pleads guilty to amended charges
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:54 am ET) Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges relating to his Nov. 10 arrest for marijuana possession, the Kansas City Star reports. He paid $610 in fines and didn't get probation. It remains to be seen if he'll be subject to the NFL's substance abuse program. 

Report: Giants should consider dealing Ryan Nassib
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) Now that the Giants have signed Josh Freeman to a contract, does it mean that second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib will be off the roster soon? 

The Newark Star-Ledger believes the Giants should assess Nassib's value going into the draft considering the lack of great quarterback talent available. A team looking for a quarterback-of-the-future could make an offer. 

Nassib had 19 pass attempts during the preseason last August and wasn't active for a single regular-season game. 


Robert Griffin III looking like old self
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) A couple of members of the Redskins organization have started raving about how good quarterback Robert Griffin III looks this offseason, reports the Washington Post.

Receiver Santana Moss said via an ESPN podcast that Griffin "looks more comfortable because he don't have to worry about that brace. I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind because he couldn't do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we're out there in conditioning and stuff, he's running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin."

And former tight end Chris Cooley, currently one of the team's radio broadcasters, said "he's another person right now. I was like, 'you're running unbelievably well.' It was silly to watch. ... When you watch him run, you're like, 'You're a freak. You're seriously a freak.'"


Report: Jets have concerns over Chris Johnson's knees
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:33 am ET) Less than 24 hours after signing Chris Johnson to a two-year deal that might be worth as much as $9 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets have some concerns over the condition of his knee. Johnson apparently has some arthritis in it stemming from his torn meniscus in 2013 (which he played through). 

Johnson hasn't missed a game in five straight seasons. He's expected to form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory in the Jets' backfield this year. 


Brian Cushing says he's 100 percent
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:27 am ET) Posting a picture of himself with his son from a beach, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said via Twitter that he's been cleared for football. Cushing missed the last nine games of last season with a knee injury. 

"Quick Trip to Pensacola with my lead blocker, better believe I'm 100% #beachday #cleared #fivesixback," he wrote. 


Could Peyton Manning throw less in 2014?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:23 am ET) Peyton Manning might be asked to throw less so "the offense can be more," ESPN speculated on Thursday. Manning threw 659 passes last season, completing 450 of them (68.3 pct.) for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The yardage and touchdowns are NFL records. 

The thought process behind Manning being asked to throw less is that it would accentuate the run game and give the offense (read: Manning) more of an opportunity to build confidence in the running backs, namely Montee Ball.

No one on the Broncos has come out and suggested Manning will throw less. He still passed 583 times in 2012, seventh-most that year. Expect Manning to still throw plenty in 2014.


Sidney Rice opting to return to Seattle
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:05 am ET) The Seahawks re-signed free-agent wide receiver Sidney Rice to a one-year deal Wednesday, after being cut earlier in the offseason.

Financial terms of the deal are not yet known, though it will surely pay him less than the $8.5 million he was initially set to make before he was cut. Rice is recovering from a torn ACL in October, but has been cleared to return to football activities. 


Jaguars sign Mike Brown
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:03 am ET) The Jaguars signed exclusive rights free agent receiver Mike Brown Wednesday. The terms of the contract are not immediately available.

Brown finished third on the team in receiving yards a year ago, finishing with 32 receptions for 446 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 11 games. 


Jets backfield takes shape following Johnson signing
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/16/2014) With the Jets signing Chris Johnson on Wednesday, the rest of their backfield should start to take shape, reports the New York Daily News.

The report says Johnson and Chris Ivory will work as a tandem, and Bilal Powell will be the No. 3 running back. Mike Goodson is expected to be released before the start of the season.


 
 
 
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