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Into the Deep for Week 17

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

Quarterback

Joe Flacco (at CIN): Flacco has played well of late with at least 18 Fantasy points in each of his past three games. He also did well against the Bengals in Week 11 with 20 Fantasy points, and he has the chance to close the season on a high note in the rematch with Cincinnati. The Bengals have allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in six of their past eight games, and Flacco should be considered a starting Fantasy option in 14-team leagues this week. (Started in 30 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Josh McCown (at MIN): The Vikings have allowed the most touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks with 35, so McCown could be useful in deeper formats this week. Josh Freeman in Week 2, Matt Cassel in Week 4 and Kevin Kolb in Week 5 are the only starting quarterbacks who failed to throw multiple touchdowns against Minnesota this season. It's risky to trust McCown as a starter in any format since he had just 16 Fantasy points at Green Bay in his first start last week, but the matchup suggests he could play well. (Not started in the majority of leagues in Week 16)
Dan Orlovsky (at JAC): Orlovsky has the chance to end the season, and possibly his final appearance as a starter, with a quality performance against the Jaguars, who are a mess in their secondary. Matt Hasselbeck passed for 350 yards last week against Jacksonville, and Matt Ryan had three touchdowns against the Jaguars in Week 15. We're not expecting Orlovsky to have a career game, but he could approach 18 Fantasy points based on this matchup. He is worth using as a starter in deep two-quarterback leagues. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Running back

Ben Tate (vs. TEN): We're not expecting Arian Foster to play much this week against the Titans with the Texans locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC, which means Tate could see the bulk of work. He has done well with an increased workload this season with double digits in Fantasy points in five of the seven games where he had double digits in carries. One of those games was Week 7 at Tennessee when he had 15 carries for 104 yards, and we can see him having similar production in the rematch. (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Brandon Saine (vs. DET): The Packers will likely rest James Starks and Ryan Grant this week with the No. 1 seed in the NFC locked up, which means Saine could see plenty of work. We're not expecting a huge performance or even double digits in Fantasy points, but he can be a flex option in deeper formats. The Lions have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs and 11 to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Toby Gerhart and Michael Bush in the past three weeks. The Packers haven't done well running the ball this year, but with Aaron Rodgers likely sitting they could rely on Saine to carry the load in the season finale. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Chris Ivory (vs. CAR): We've been waiting for Ivory to have a good game for each of the past three weeks, but he continues to come up short. He has combined for just 15 Fantasy points the past three games, but he could see an increased workload against the Panthers if the Saints decide to rest most of their starters. The Panthers have struggled in run defense all year with 19 touchdowns allowed to opposing running backs and 11 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Ivory could add his name to that list if he gets additional carries this week when the Saints decide to lean on their reserves. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Stevan Ridley (vs. BUF): The Patriots probably won't give many carries to BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week with the playoffs looming, but Ridley could see increased touches. He has 24 carries for 129 yards in his past two games against Denver and Miami, and he could reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Bills this week. Buffalo has allowed 16 touchdowns to opposing running backs and 11 to reach double digits in Fantasy points. We can see Ridley having the best game of his rookie season in Week 17 if the Patriots lean on him a little more in this matchup. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Kendall Hunter (at STL): There is a good chance the 49ers limit the workload for Frank Gore this week, which could mean heavy lifting for Hunter. He played well in Week 16 at Seattle with 12 carries for 73 yards and would likely reach double digits in Fantasy points this week if he gets 15-plus carries. The Rams have been brutal in run defense all season with 16 touchdowns allowed to opposing running backs and 10 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. In the past two games, St. Louis has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs in Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and John Clay. There is a good chance Hunter will score if he gets enough carries. (Started in 4 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Wide receiver

Robert Meachem (vs. CAR): Meachem played well in Week 16 against Atlanta with Lance Moore (hamstring) hurt, and Moore will likely be out again in Week 17. Meachem had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown, and he could see an increase in targets against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, including six in the past five games. We expect Drew Brees to rely on Meachem with Moore not expected to play. (Started in 11 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Pierre Garcon (at JAC): Garcon has struggled of late with a combined nine Fantasy points in his past three games against Baltimore, Tennessee and Houston, but this is a great matchup for him against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers, including six in the past five games. And Garcon should see plenty of targets in what should be a fun matchup despite the poor records. He is still looking for his first touchdown against Jacksonville in four career meetings, but we can see him scoring in this matchup to end the year. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside. (Started in 29 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Vincent Brown (at OAK): Brown has the chance to see increased playing time with Vincent Jackson (groin) likely out. That should be similar to what happened to him in Week 10 when he faced the Raiders the first time with Malcom Floyd (hip) out. Brown had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, and he could have a similar performance this week. This is a great matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the second-most touchdowns to opposing receivers with 19, trailing only New England (21). We like Brown as a potential No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
James Jones (vs. DET): Jones could be one of the few regulars for the Packers to play significant minutes against the Lions, and we expect him to post quality stats if that's the case. He should be able to connect with Matt Flynn, who should see plenty of time in place of Rodgers, and Jones has a solid matchup against the Lions. He had three catches for 94 yards and a touchdown against Detroit in Week 12, and the Lions have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, including seven in the past five games. Jones also has three touchdowns in his past five meetings against Detroit. (Started in 18 percent of leagues in Week 16)
David Nelson (at NE): Nelson hasn't scored since Week 12, but he should be able to close the season with a quality performance. He has a great matchup this week against the Patriots, who have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. Nelson had six catches for 84 yards against New England in Week 3, and Buffalo will likely be throwing quite a bit in this matchup. We would consider using Nelson as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues in the season finale. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Tight end

Ed Dickson (at CIN): Dickson has played well in his past two games with a touchdown in each outing against San Diego and Cleveland. He has a good matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed two touchdowns and a 100-yard game to three tight ends in the past three weeks. Dickson had just two catches for 21 yards in Week 11 against Cincinnati, but with Anquan Boldin (knee) out he could remain more involved in the passing game, which will lead to quality production. (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Jeremy Shockey (at NO): We'll ride the hot hand here and go with Shockey, who has been a solid contributor for the Panthers the past three games. He has a touchdown in each outing against Atlanta, Houston and Tampa Bay and has been more reliable than Greg Olsen. Shockey was limited to three catches for 21 yards in Week 5 in the first meeting with the Saints, his former team, but he does have the chance to be productive if he keeps his touchdown streak alive. Don't expect overwhelming Fantasy stats since he has just six catches for 59 yards during the streak, but his ability to score makes him a potential starter in deeper formats. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Heath Miller (at CLE): Miller has a great history against the Browns with three touchdowns in his past five meetings, and he could play well this week if Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) returns as expected. Miller was limited in Week 14 against Cleveland with two catches for 11 yards and a fumble, but the Browns have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends and seven to reach at least seven Fantasy points. We consider Miller a starting option in 14-team leagues this week, and hopefully Roethlisberger will look for him with significant targets, especially in the red zone. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Bengals kicker Mike Nugent has eight-point game Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:25 pm ET) Bengals kicker Mike Nugent made two field goals and two extra points during a 22-13 win Week 12 at Houston. Nugent made a 31-yarder and a 49-yarder Sunday -- both in the fourth quarter.

Nugent has finished with less than 10 points in six straight games. The Bengals are back in action Week 13 at Tampa Bay.


Eagles RB Darren Sproles scores fifth rushing TD
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:23 pm ET) Eagles running back Darren Sproles found the end zone during Sunday's 43-24 victory over Tennessee in Week 12.

Sproles ripped a 4-yard run in the opening period for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. he carried the ball six times for 25 yards. He also caught three of four targets for 14 yards. He has 282 rushing yards and 294 receiving yards on the year.

Philadelphia will square off against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.


Ryan Mathews breaks out for first 100-yard game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:19 pm ET) Chargers running back Ryan Mathews ran 12 times for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 win over the Rams, his first 100-yard effort this season. Mathews suffered a left shoulder injury when he ripped off a career-best 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but he was able to return.

Mathews caught two passes for eight yards. He'll visit the Ravens in Week 13.


Falcons kicker Matt Bryant makes 53-yard FG in Week 12 loss
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:17 pm ET) Falcons kicker Matt Bryant had one field goal and three extra points during a 26-24 loss Week 12 vs. Cleveland. 

Bryant gave Atlanta a late lead when he booted a 53-yard field goal with 44 seconds left, putting Atlanta ahead 24-23. It was his only field-goal attempt Sunday.

The Falcons are back in action Week 13 vs. Arizona.


Billy Cundiff totals four FGs, including game-winner Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:12 pm ET) Browns kicker Billy Cundiff booted a 37-yard field goal as time expired Sunday, lifting Cleveland to a 26-24 win Week 12 at Atlanta. 

The game-winner was Cundiff's fourth made field goal. He had field goals of 33 and 37 yards in the second quarter, and a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter. Cundiff did miss a 60-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

He had two extra points Sunday and finished with a season-best 14 points. He has managed 10 or more points in three of his last five games.

The Browns are back in action Week 13 at Buffalo.


Isaiah Crowell the better Browns back again
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:11 pm ET) Unlike Week 11 against Houston, Isaiah Crowell didn't lead the Browns in carries Week 12 at Atlanta, but he was once again the more effective of the two rookie running backs, picking up 88 yards on 12 carries. He also scored two touchdowns, the most impressive coming on a 26-yard run late in the third quarter in which he probably ran more horizontally than vertically, taking the ball past the left hash mark before cutting all the way back to the right sideline.

By comparison, Terrance West had 62 yards on 14 carries and was the only one of the two to catch a pass -- a 9-yarder. It wasn't a bad performance by any means, but West hasn't done anything to distinguish himself in the two games with Ben Tate out of the running.

True, Week 12 was the Browns' first game with Tate completely off the roster, so they're still feeling out their backfield. But while Crowell and West will probably continue to split carries going forward, Crowell is looking like the one to own in Fantasy. Chances are even with an even distribution of carries, they won't both contribute relevant numbers each week.


Cowboys QB Tony Romo active for Week 12 vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:10 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is active for Sunday night's Week 12 matchup against the Giants. Romo was listed on the final injury report as probable with a back injury but was never in danger of missing the divisional battle.

Kendall Wright, Nate Washington held in check Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Titans wideouts Kendall Wright and Nate Washington were held in check during Sunday's defeat to the Eagles in Week 12.

Wright was held without a grab for the first three quarters. He came down with a 28-yard reception with 9:35 renaming in the game for his only catch of the day. He was targeted six times. Washington caught four of the six passes thrown his way for 63 yards.


Cowboys list Week 12 inactives vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:08 pm ET) The Cowboys have listed the following players as inactive for Sunday night's Week 12 matchup with the Giants: cornerback Tyler Patmon (knee, ankle), defensive tackles Josh Brent (groin) and Terrell McClain, offensive tackles Tony Hills and Donald Hawkins, safety Jakar Hamilton and quarterback Dustin Vaughan.

Patmon had previously been ruled out of Week 12 action, while Brent had been listed as probable. Five other probables are active for the Cowboys, including quarterback Tony Romo (back), offensive tackle Doug Free (foot), linebacker Rolando McClain (knee), defensive tackle Nick Hayden (shoulder) and defensive end Tyrone Crawford (knee).


Falcons WR Julio Jones puts end to scoring slump
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:05 pm ET) Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones recorded a touchdown for the first time in eight games during a 26-24 loss Week 12 vs. Cleveland. Jones, who was targeted a team-high 13 times, finished with five catches for 68 yards.

Jones opened the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown catch with 5:53 left in the first quarter. It was his fourth touchdown catch this season and 24th career touchdown reception.

The Falcons are back in action Week 13 vs. Arizona.


 
 
 
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