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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
Eagles' Chris Polk gets first-team reps in practice
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Eagles running back Chris Polk received first-team reps in practice on Wednesday, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Polk opened practice with the starters and ran a couple of plays. LeSean McCoy watched the plays from the sideline. Following practice, McCoy stressed that it wasn't a big deal. "We rotate all the time," he said. "[Running back coach Duce Staley] pulled me out. [Darren] Sproles wasn't in either." Polk is coming off a three touchdown performance in Week 15. It's possible he could find his way into more playing time given the practice situation. 


Seahawks without three offensive lineman on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Seahawks did not have three of their offensive linemen at practice on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Max Unger, Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy were all held out. Unger has missed the past four games due to an ankle and knee issue. He was able to practice last Friday, but did not play on Sunday. Okung is dealing with a bruised lung, but there's a chance he'll recover in time for Sunday's game. "[Okung is] going to have some stuff done [Thursday] that will let us know where he sits and all that," head coach Pete Carrol said. "He’s not out of the plan yet."

Sweezy is dealing with an ankle injury. His appearance on the injury report comes as somewhat of a surprise. 


Lions pick up CB Josh Thomas
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Lions have claimed cornerback Josh Thomas on waivers, according to the New York Post

Thomas was cut by the Jets on Tuesday, but found a new job quickly. He's played in three games this season, registering two tackles. 


Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch sits out on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch did not practice on Wednesday.

Lynch has been using Wednesday as a veteran's day all season, so the move isn't a big surprise. He's been battling a back injury throughout most of the season, but has been able to play through it. Lynch has 1133 rushing yards, with 10 touchdowns, this year. 


Texans' DeAndre Hopkins unable to practice on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins did not practice on Wednesday.

Hopkins is dealing with an ankle injury, and was unable to go. Hopkins has played in all 14 games this season. He has 1167 yards on 69 receptions. Hopkins has caught six touchdowns. His status will likely be determined based on how much he is able to practice on Thursday and Friday. 


49ers WR Michael Crabtree misses practice Wednesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury, reports CSNBayArea.com. Crabtree, who has not cleared 60 receiving yards since Week 11, isn't believed to be seriously hurt.

He's scheduled to play the Chargers on Saturday night. If Crabtree can't go, it could mean increased targets for fellow starter Anquan Boldin.


Raiders QB Derek Carr limited by thumb injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was limited in Wednesday's practice with a thumb injury, but coach Tony Sparano isn't too concerned, reports CSNBayArea.com. Carr has thrown one or zero touchdown passes in four of his past five games entering Sunday's contest against Buffalo.

Report: Jay Cutler to be benched Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Bears will bench starting quarterback Jay Cutler Week 16 against the Lions, according to ESPN.

The move comes as a big surprise given the seven-year, $126 million contract Cutler signed in January. Cutler has had a big problem with turnovers this season, throwing 18 interceptions and fumbling 12 times. The move could mark the end of Cutler's season as the starter, and puts his future in Chicago in jeopardy. 

The team will turn to Jimmy Clausen to replace Cutler.


Texans RB Arian Foster held out Wednesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Texans running back Arian Foster did not practice Wednesday with what the team called a hip injury. Foster was listed on the injury report last week with a groin injury, then racked up 117 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches at Indy.

Foster, who might just be getting a veteran's rest day, is expected to start Sunday against the Ravens. Houston is a 5.5-point underdog at Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book.


Report: Bears to start Jimmy Clausen Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Bears will start Jimmy Clausen Week 16 against the Lions, according to ESPN.

The move comes as a major surprise. While Jay Cutler has faced scrutiny for his body language and demeanor, the team handed him a seven-year, $126 million contract last season. The move seems to indicate that Cutler is done for the season, and puts his career with the Bears in jeopardy.

Clausen has seen time in three games this season, completing three passes in nine attempts. His last start came back in 2010, his rookie season. That year, Clausen threw for 1,558 yards, with three touchdowns against nine interceptions. 

The Lions are currently 7-point favorites, according to VegasInsider.com.


 
 
 
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