NFL fantasy football: Week 17 S.O.S. Report
By Marcas Grant
Updated: Dec. 25, 2012 at 04:47 p.m.
So you spent all last week hearing about other people playing for their fantasy championships and you likely asked "What about me?" Don't worry, we didn't forget all of you who have stretched your season to the absolute limit. For those leagues that are wrapping things up in Week 17, we've got you covered with the best and worst schedules to end the NFL regular season.
1. Carolina Panthers (at NO)
Over the past six weeks, Cam Newton has been nearly unstoppable, throwing 11 touchdowns to just one interception and rushing for four more scores. Even better is that he's helped boost the fantasy value of the guys around him. Now these Cats get to finish their season with a Saints defense that has been suspect all season long and has nothing to play for. What more could you ask for?
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN)
This would be more appealing if the Jaguars' roster wasn't such a MASH unit. Cecil Shorts is on injured reserve and Montell Owens has been subpar since his 91-yard performance in Week 14. However, the Titans' defense is on track to set a record for futility, so there's always a chance Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon could make your holiday season a little brighter.
3. Tennessee Titans (vs. JAC)
So, this is kinda embarrassing. Just like the Jags will be playing shorthanded against the Titans, similarly Tennessee is going into the final week at less than full strength. Chris Johnson is dealing with a bad ankle and Jake Locker was just plain awful in his last start. The last time these teams met, the fantasy results were rather...meh. We'll see if things are better the second time around.
4. San Diego Chargers (vs. OAK)
The Charger Way is to play some of their best games when it no longer matters. A season ending game between two teams with no shot at the playoffs and little chance to improve their draft standing significantly seems about a meaningless as it gets. Sounds like a chance for Philip Rivers and Danario Alexander to turn things up a few notches.
5. New York Jets (at BUF)
New York's best offensive performance of the season came in Week 1 against the Bills. Since then, a few things have changed -- namely Greg McElroy at quarterback -- but some things haven't. Buffalo's defense has improved somewhat, but is still among the league's worst. Gang Green's newfound running game should be able to have its way with a struggling division rival.
1. St. Louis Rams (at SEA)
Believe it or not, Sam Bradford has been one of the better fantasy quarterbacks around for the past month. But have you seen that Seahawks defense? In a streak that has seen Seattle win six of its past seven games, Pete Carroll's defense has crushed just about quarterback they have run across. It's hard to imagine a mediocre (at best) Rams offense breaking that trend.
2. Arizona Cardinals (at SF)
It stands to reason that the Cardinals got Larry Fitzgerald heavily involved in the offense well after fantasy owners had given up on him. Things got so bad at quarterback that Brian Hoyer had a chance to run the offense. Now the Redbirds are going into the final week facing a 49er team that can wrap up a division title and a defense that's licking its wounds after a beatdown in Seattle. Good luck with that.
3. Detroit Lions (vs. CHI)
The Bears still have a chance to squeak into the playoffs. The Lions have absolutely nothing to play for -- especially now that Calvin Johnson has broken Jerry Rice's single-season receiving record. This has all the makings of a Chicago defensive domination. Apart from Megatron, it's not likely that you want any part of a Lions' offensive player this week.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)
The good news is that Kansas City has decided to keep feeding Jamaal Charles the football. Otherwise, the rest of the offense is a mess. Don't expect them to get any sympathy from the Broncos, who have been arguably the best team in football for the past two months and still have a shot to earn the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at ATL)
Josh Freeman has had a major regression in the past few weeks, beginning with his meltdown against the New Orleans Saints a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of silver linings here, however. The Falcons haven't been great against the run, which could be good for Doug Martin. Plus, with home-field advantage locked up through the playoffs, Atlanta could rest some of its players. Keep hope alive.