Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Fantasy & Reality: Week 17 Fantasy pitfalls

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The albatross that is Week 17 is upon us. And though roughly two-thirds of Fantasy leagues have been decided by now, it doesn't mean that the season is over for everybody ... even though the regular season is over for the starters on a few NFL teams.

Playing into Week 17 is a fun challenge, but a game already dominated by improbabilities and uncertainties is compounded by the wishes of a team without the proverbial "something to play for." Everywhere you look there's risk in starting key players because their teams might not need them for the full 60 minutes. Some won't be used at all.

The good news this season is that there aren't many teams with playoff spots locked up. That should mean a lot of players who helped you get to Week 17 playing for you. That's how it should be when a championship is on the line.

Playoff implications for both teams

Cowboys at Redskins: For the second straight year, the Cowboys are on the road in a win-and-in game. Not only is the winner in the playoffs but they'll host the Seahawks in the Wild Card round. Not the best prize in the world but certainly one worth playing for. The loser will likely miss the playoffs but there is a scenario where the Redskins can still make it with a loss, though it will depend on results earlier in the day. Expect the starters for both teams to play the whole game.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

Packers at Vikings: The Vikings are in with a win on Sunday. The Packers are already locked into a home game, but they could land the No. 2 seed and a bye with a win. You won't see Aaron Rodgers' backup throw six touchdowns in this one.

Playoff implications for one team

Texans at Colts: With a win, the Texans will own the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Their starters will play.

The Colts, meanwhile, are locked into the No. 5 seed and have nothing to play for from a playoff standpoint. However, emotions will run high when their head coach, Chuck Pagano, makes his expected return from chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. Pagano is a first-time head coach who has worked as an assistant for a number of head coaches, much like interim head coach Bruce Arians. Neither have been at the helm of a team in this "meaningless" situation but they have both been around it. In Pittsburgh, Arians was part of a Steelers team that played their starters for most of blowout wins against Cleveland in 2010 and again versus Cleveland in 2008. In 2007, several starters rested for the whole game after the Steelers locked up the AFC North. Pagano was part of a Ravens team in 2007 that pulled their starters after putting the final touches on a convincing win. The hunch is that the Colts' top stars like Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne will play most if not all of the game because of Pagano on the sideline and the electric atmosphere thanks to the home crowd and an opponent desperate for a win.

Ravens at Bengals: The Ravens have a home game locked up in the Wild Card round. It is unknown how hard they'll fight for a chance at the No. 3 seed but chances are they'll come out firing in an attempt to simply fine-tune the offense. As we noted with Pagano above, the Ravens have rarely been in a position to rest their starters under coach John Harbaugh. We'll probably see the first-team offense on the field for a decent portion of the game but not the whole thing. The Ravens might actually prefer to land the No. 4 seed to keep a home game with the Colts and see the Texans in Round 2, not the Broncos or Patriots.

The Bengals have clinched the No. 6 seed and have nothing to gain from playing. The last time Marvin Lewis' crew was in such a situation was when they won the AFC North title in 2009 -- the starters played a little bit and gave way to the backups soon thereafter against the Jets. They wound up playing the Jets at home the very next week and lost, something Lewis made mention of during a press conference this week. Even with Lewis saying he'll "play to win," it doesn't mean he'll try to do it with his starters for 60 minutes.

Dolphins at Patriots: If the Patriots want to have a chance at a bye, they need to win. Losses by Houston or Denver would give them a top-two seed, so expect the Pats' first-team offense to play until the game's in hand. The Dolphins are out of playoff contention but their first-year head coach will likely demand a good effort while potentially looking at some younger players.

Chiefs at Broncos: The Broncos land a bye with a win. If the Texans lose and the Broncos win then the Broncos will clinch the top seed in the AFC. John Fox said previously he wasn't resting his starters and chances are that will be the case until the Broncos build a big lead on the Chiefs. That should be by halftime.

Bears at Lions: The Bears land the NFC's sixth seed with a win and a Vikings loss. Because the Vikings play a late game, the Bears won't know their fate until after their game. Their starters will play. The Lions have nothing to play for, but Calvin Johnson will probably aim for over 2,000 receiving yards.

Eagles at Giants: The only team here with playoff hopes is the Giants, and they're faint. A Giants win gives them a chance at a wild card spot depending on other games later in the day. Perhaps the Giants will finish strong.

Cardinals at 49ers: The 49ers must win and also need a Packers loss to slide back into the No. 2 seed. The Packers and Niners play at the same time so expect Harbaugh's starters to stay in the game a while.

Rams at Seahawks: The Seahawks have clinched a playoff spot and can actually host a home game if they win and the Niners lose. They play at the same time so expect the Seahawks to put their best foot forward.

No playoff implications

Buccaneers at Falcons: The Falcons have the top seed wrapped up, something they've never had going into Week 17 under head coach Mike Smith. However, Smith has benched his starters for backups during a game as recently as last season. This might not be the week to roll with your Falcons starters.

Jets at Bills, Panthers at Saints, Browns at Steelers, Jaguars at Titans, Raiders at Chargers: A lot of teams with a lot of coaches who may or may not be associated with their teams at this time next week. There might be a surprise inactive or two among this crew, so stay close to CBSSports.com on Sunday when we get the official inactives.

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

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Jaguars coach: Robinson featured in Week 8 over Gerhart
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) Gus Bradley has announced that Week 7 breakout back Denard Robinson will receive the bulk of the carries for the Jaguars in Week 8 against Miami, per the Florida Times-Union. Toby Gerhart, who returns from injury with a 2.6 YPC average, will serve as his backup.

The former Michigan quarterback exploded for 127 yards on 22 carries and added three receptions Sunday against Cleveland. It marked his first double-figure attempt day in the NFL.

Gerhart appears set to play after missing two games with a foot sprain.


Panthers expecting Byron Bell to play Week 8
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:35 pm ET) Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Thursday he anticipates offensive lineman Byron Bell playing Week 8 against the Seahawks. Bell was limited in practice Thursday for a second straight day due to an elbow injury.

Panthers' Rivera hopeful DeAngelo Williams will be back Week 9
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams did not practice Thursday due to a lingering ankle injury and it appears likely he will miss a fourth straight game Week 8 vs. Seattle. However, coach Ron Rivera said he is hopeful Williams will make his return to the lineup next Thursday (Week 9) against the Saints.

Ahmad Bradshaw more attractive than usual?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:29 pm ET) Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both really like Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw for Week 8 at Pittsburgh, ranking him among their top 12 at the position. And based strictly on performance, you can understand why. Bradshaw had his second two-touchdown game Week 7 against Cincinnati and has at least one touchdown in five of seven games this season.

But because he's the slightly lesser half (in terms of playing time) of a backfield platoon with Trent Richardson, I always worry about his lack of touches. He's been the sixth-best running back in standard CBSSports.com leagues to date, so maybe those worries are unfounded. But what can I say? I'm a worrier.

I'm fully on board with him this week, though. It's not so much about the matchup, though the Steelers rank only 17th against the run, allowing 114.1 yards per game. It's more about Richardson's health. On his way to a season-best 118 yards from scrimmage, Richardson also hurt his hamstring in Week 7. And though he was expected back at practice Thursday, it's not so unreasonable to think he'll be the lesser half of the platoon even if he's cleared to play in Week 8.

And more touches can only be a good thing for Bradshaw, right?


Panthers OL Nate Chandler (thigh) should be able to play Week 8
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:26 pm ET) Panthers offensive tackle Nate Chandler did not practice Thursday due to a thigh injury. However, coach Ron Rivera is confident Chandler will be able to play Week 8 against the Seahawks.

Redskins QB situation unchanged, Colt McCoy still Week 8 starter
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Thursday nothing has changed with the status of the quarterback situation. He said Robert Griffin III (ankle) is progressing and was limited in practice again Thursday, but Colt McCoy remains as of now the starter for Week 8 against the Cowboys.

"Robert hasn't changed. Not a whole lot to say. Not going to announce if he's active or not until Monday night," Gruden said, per The Washington Post.

Gruden reiterated Griffin will slide back into the starter's role once he is healthy. Griffin has missed the last five games.

"When Robert's healthy, he'll be the starter. We just don't know when that will be," Gruden said.


Whisenhunt claims Titans QB Locker handling demotion well
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:11 pm ET) Ken Whisenhunt has admitted that deposed Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker is unhappy about losing his job to rookie Zach Mettenberger.

Whisenhunt, however, told The Tennesseean that Locker is handling the news well. "I love Jake Locker," Whisenhunt added.

Locker has missed three games this season due to injury and has been unimpressive when on the field. He has completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions.


Tre Mason still an iffy start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:01 pm ET) Even if you don't buy coach Jeff Fisher's assessment that the Rams' running back situation is a "week-to-week thing" and that ousted running back Zac Stacy "could get 25 carries this week," it doesn't change the fact that he said it, and he's the only who really knows anything. 

That concerns me as someone who put in a big bid for Tre Mason in Fantasy this week. When Mason ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Seattle in Week 7, it wasn't just a breakthrough performance for him. It was also the best individual rushing performance the Rams have had all season. And Stacy is largely to blame for that. His longest run in five games this season was a 16-yarder Week 3 against Dallas. Mason in two games already has two runs longer than that.

The matchup Week 8 at Kansas City isn't a slam dunk. The Chiefs rank in the middle of the pack against the run, but because they have yet to allow a touchdown on the ground, they've allowed the sixth-fewest Fantasy points per game to running backs. It wouldn't be enough to scare me away from Mason if I could trust he has a feature role, but with Fisher getting cute about it, I can't.

Since Mason appears to be the Rams' best rusher, I think he will eventually, but Mason seems like a better stash than start except in an emergency right now.


Titans coach proclaims QB Mettenberger his Sunday starter
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:52 pm ET) What was suspected is now official: Zach Mettenberger is set to start at quarterback for the Titans against Houston on Sunday. Jake Locker will serve as his backup.

That news was announced Thursday by Ken Whisenhunt. Locker had been dealing with a thumb injury and Whisenhunt had previously claimed he would regain the starting position when healthy. But his apparent availability to play against the Texans could mean that Mettenberger has overtaken him.

Also in the mix had been veteran Charlie Whitehurst, who started in Locker's absence and completed 60.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Mettenberger played briefly in Week 4 at Indianapolis and connected on two of five attempts for 17 yards while throwing an interception.


Packers' McCarthy: 'Concern' for Morgan Burnett is growing
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:49 pm ET) Packers safety Morgan Burnett was held out of practice again Thursday due to a calf injury, raising concerns about his availability for Week 8 at New Orleans.

"My concern for Morgan is higher than it was yesterday," coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. "We'll see if he can do anything Saturday."


 
 
 
Rankings