Meridian Star

December 27, 2013

Fantasy forecast: Final thoughts for the regular season

Zach Kilpatrick / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

— The end of the regular season is here. No more 16-game weeks, no more Thursday night games, no more Monday night games. But, on the flipside there are no more meaningless games.

The hardest part about playing fantasy football in Week 17 is deciding who might sit and who won’t. You won’t see any Kansas City players this week as head coach Andy Reid already said some of them will sit due to their playoff spot already being locked in. You will also notice some players missing because they are a bit hurt and are on teams that are already eliminated (Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson). So, most of the players that I give you to start this week are playing on teams that are playing win-or-go-home games or that are playing games to get a better playoff seed.



QB

1 Peyton Manning (DEN)

2 Nick Foles (PHI)

3 Drew Brees (NO)

4 Cam Newton (CAR)

5 Aaron Rodgers (GB)



RB

1 Leasean McCoy (PHI)

2 Marshawn Lynch (SEA)

3 Eddie Lacy (GB)

4 Matt Forte (CHI)

5 Demarco Murray (DAL)



WR

1 Josh Gordon (CLE)

2 Dez Bryant (DAL)

3 Demarius Thomas (DEN)

4 Brandon Marshall (CHI)

5 A.J. Green (CIN)



TE

1 Jimmy Graham (NO)

2 Vernon Davis (S.F.)

3 Julius Thomas (DEN)

4 Tony Gonzalez (ATL)

5 Jason Witten (DAL)



D/ST

1 Seattle Seahawks

2 Carolina Panthers

3 San Francisco 49ers

4 Cincinnati Bengals

5 Arizona Cardinals



Players that are not ranked but that I am really high on this week:



    Jay Cutler (QB/CHI)- I had Cutler ranked until I just saw that Aaron Rodgers will start this week. Yes, Cutler has a better matchup (Green Bay is eighth worst secondary, Chicago is ninth best). But, I think Rodgers is a better quarterback. Expect both to do well in this game where the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. I’ll call them 5a and 5b.

    Andrew Luck (QB/IND)- Over the past three weeks he has thrown for almost 750 yards, seven touchdowns, has actually run for over 60 yards and has only one turnover. This week, the Colts need to win to set them up for a possible bye and get the Jaguars. He is a must-start this week.

    Knowshon Moreno (RB/DEN)- Moreno has been a steady contributor all year, especially in PPR leagues. Whether Denver jumps out to a huge lead and needs to run (likely) or is airing it out to look for records Moreno should do well against this Oakland D.

    Antonio Brown (WR/PIT)- If you are a regular reader of my column, you already know that Ben Roethlisberger is planning on giving Brown at least five catches this week. On top of that Brown is a pure first wide receiver on a team that must win this week. He should be a top 10 player.

    Desean Jackson (WR/PHI)- Jackson is a great player on a team playing great football right now that is also playing against a very weak defense. The only thing that worries me is how well the Eagles will be able to run the ball in this game, and how quickly the game could get out of hand in their favor. I see Jackson as a boom or bust this week, I am banking on him scoring a touchdown.

    I also highly recommend: Tom Brady, Alfred Morris, Le'Veon Bell, Eric Decker, and Alshon Jeffery.   



Sleepers:

Kyle Orton (DAL)-
If your championship is on the line, don’t get cute. But, if you need a buy-low quarterback for Week 17 Orton could do well. The Eagles give up the fifth most points to opposing quarterbacks and should stack the box and force Orton to throw.

    Donald Brown (RB/IND)- Brown is only a sleeper in my book because he is owned in under 50 percent of leagues and started in under 25 percent. He should be owned in 100 percent, and if you have him strongly consider starting him against a Jacksonville team that he ripped for an average of 20+ yards per carry in his limited work earlier this season. He is a top 15 running back this week.



Dark Horse:

Eli Manning (QB/NYG)-
I know, he isn’t as much of a “Dark Horse” because you have heard of him, but are you starting him? Chances are you aren’t because only 15 percent of people are and he has 17 touchdowns to 26 interceptions this year. I am throwing that out the window though, because something tells me he will show the Giants fans that he is still the man for the job in the Big Apple. Against a Washington secondary that has given up lots points to opposing quarterbacks all year I think he will be successful, but then again, he may not.