To be clear, this column was submitted on time and just not posted in time. My bad.
By Matt Kroeger
For those of you who are still actively involved in fantasy (and still reading this column), you have one week left (if that). If you’re waiting until Saturday afternoon, though, to set your lineup, you probably will need a little more than just last minute strategic genius to pull out the win. You’ll need some luck too, as is the case during every week 17 matchup. There are just too many resting players to have any reasonable clue as to what will unfold on the field.
I’d like to thank everyone for reading this inaugural fantasy column. I’ve never done something like this before so there certainly was a learning curve along the way, but hopefully you all got something out of it. Well, maybe the Philip Rivers fans didn’t. But hey, they’re stuck with Norv Turner for another season; they’re suffering enough for me.
So, without further ado, here is the final Ferrells of the 2010 NFL season. Obviously, you go with the usual suspects if you have them, but if there is even a whiff of possibility that your guy is going to rest, I would start someone else (my lineup below will reflect the latter options). You know, unless it’s Tom Brady (MVP) who will get three touchdowns in the first quarter against the Dolphins. In that case, it’s still worth it to roll with Bieber II. We aren’t doing other candidates this week because, well, it’s sort of irrelevant at this point. There will also be no Fallons this week, because who cares. It’s a New Year. Let’s look at the bright side this week. Here we go.
QB: Peyton Manning (IND). I think he’s going to play the whole game regardless of the outcome of the Jaguars game. They can’t afford to lose this semi-momentum they’ve developed the past couple of weeks. Plus, I think the Colts have an outside chance of getting the 3-seed so they can avoid the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. The Titans usually play the Colts tough, so Peyton may be raking in the yards late into the game as well. Just hope the surging Colts running game (by Dominic Rhodes no less) doesn’t poach any of his touchdowns. Predicted line: 280 yards, 2 TDs
WR: Mike Sims-Walker (JAC). Staying in the AFC South, I think MSW is the Jacksonville receiver (and not Mike Thomas) who will cash in this week against the cavernous Houston secondary. It seems obvious that the Texans will make Trent Edwards look like Dan Marino, only not on Nutrisystem. Doesn’t it seem almost too obvious, though? The Jags have everything to play for this week, and the Texans have nothing. Nothing. Their coach has one foot out the door, and their fans are screaming mad at them for such an underwhelming season. All of this leads me to believe that this will be a crippling loss for the Jags, despite an impressive performance by MSW. Predicted line: 85 yards, 1 TD
WR: Jordy Nelson (GB). The Bears are checked out. The Packers have a must-win. Aaron Rodgers was electric last week, completing passes to all of his weapons. Nelson was targeted 7 times last week against the Giants (second most on the team) and had that one long touchdown reception. The Packers won’t be moving the ball at all on the ground so I think they’ll air it out a bit. Predicted line: 5 receptions, 70 yards, 1 TD
WR: Danny Amendola (STL). Playing in a game that matters for the Rams (more than most of us could possibly know, except for Cleveland fans of course). How many times can you say that about the Rams? Plus, the Seahawks have a TERRIBLE defense, and it wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t include my man-crush in my final column. So there. Predicted line: 8 receptions, 50 yards
RB: Ryan Mathews (SD). If you made it to the finals with Ryan Mathews, you are a lucky, lucky dude. He’s arguably been the biggest fantasy bust of the year, no? Nonetheless, he may be miraculously available on the waiver wire somehow after some pissed off manager dropped his ass in frustration. If this is the case, pick him up and start him this week against the Broncos and don’t look back. He’s fresher that Tolbert and needs the reps. He’s the future of the team so they’ll feed him this week like a starving wolverine, and the Broncos run defense is the most delicious meal he could eat. Predicted line: 24 carries, 115 yards
TE: Jimmy Graham (NO). He’s been on fire lately, and there’s no reason to believe Brees will spontaneously stop looking his way. Graham is slowly being incorporated into the offense more. Even if Brees takes a seat for the second half, I think Chase Daniel will find Graham amid the Bucs defenders. If you need a tight end, look no further. Predicted line: 50 yards, 1 TD