Start & SitDecember 29, 2006

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Week 17

By Nick Hopkins

As the National Football League prepares to move into the playoffs, we bid adieu to the 2006 Fantasy Football season. Many fantasy leagues determined their champion last week, but some have waited until the final week of the regular season week to crown their winner. Fortunately, for those playing in such a game, there do not seem to be many playoff teams with nothing left to play for. So for a final time this season, I wish you all good luck and a merry off season!

Risk is determined by anything that could negatively affect the player in question’s performance. This includes such things as matchup, situation, and injuries.

Reward is determined by anything that could positively affect the player in question’s performance. This includes such things as talent, matchup, and situation.

The Ranking for the two categories is as follows:

Risk: Score of 0 being the lowest risk, 10 being the highest risk.
Reward: Score of 0 being lowest reward, 10 being the highest reward.


Peyton Manning – INDvs MIA16.32.28.5
Tony Romo – DALvs DET15.02.57.5
Marc Bulger – STLat MIN15.02.87.8
Carson Palmer – CINvs PIT14.83.07.8
Jeff Garcia – PHIvs ATL14.72.87.5
Drew Brees – NOvs CAR14.73.07.7
Philip Rivers – SDvs ARI14.32.87.2
Jay Cutler – DENvs SF13.83.06.8
Tom Brady – NEat TEN13.83.27.0
Matt Hasselbeck – SEAat TB13.83.77.5
Steve McNair – BALvs BUF13.33.56.8
Chad Pennington – NYJvs OAK13.23.36.5
Vince Young – TENvs NE13.23.76.8
Ben Roethlisberger – PITat CIN12.34.06.3
Trent Green – KCvs JAC11.54.35.8
Rex Grossman – CHIvs GB11.54.86.3
Jason Campbell – WASvs NYG10.84.35.2
David Garrard – JACat KC10.84.75.5
Michael Vick – ATLat PHI10.84.85.7
Jon Kitna – DETat DAL10.84.85.7
Tim Rattay – TBvs SEA10.54.75.2
Eli Manning – NYGat WAS10.34.75.0
Brett Favre – GBat CHI10.25.05.2
David Carr – HOUvs CLE9.84.84.7
JP Losman – BUFat BAL9.85.04.8
Alex Smith – SFat DEN9.25.34.5
Kurt Warner – ARIat SD8.26.54.7
Chris Weinke – CARat NO7.85.83.7
Cleo Lemon – MIAat IND7.36.23.5
Derek Anderson – CLEat HOU7.36.33.7
Jake Delhomme – CARat NO6.27.23.3
Tarvaris Jackson – MINvs STL5.77.02.7
Andrew Walter – OAKat NYJ5.37.32.7
Aaron Brooks – OAKat NYJ3.08.51.5

Marc Bulger, STL (15.0 rating): Minnesota’s defense is last in the NFL against the pass right now, and there may not be a hotter quarterback than Bulger at the moment. He shredded Washington last week for nearly 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and has been on fire the last few weeks. He should be started this week without any hesitation.

Brett Favre, GB (10.2 rating): Typically, any quarterback start is a little shaky going against the best defense in the league. This week is no different. Favre couldn’t muster up any points last time the Pack played the Bears. Hopefully, he will do better this week, but I wouldn’t expect top numbers from him in what could be his final game. Haven’t we said that before?

Running BacksOpponentRatingRiskReward
LaDainian Tomlinson – SDvs ARI18.51.29.7
Brian Westbrook – PHIvs ATL16.52.28.7
Ronnie Brown – MIAat IND16.02.58.5
Steven Jackson – STLat MIN15.32.57.8
Maurice Jones-Drew – JACat KC15.32.78.0
Willie Parker – PITat CIN15.22.88.0
Ladell Betts – WASvs NYG14.82.87.7
Shaun Alexander – SEAat TB14.53.07.5
Larry Johnson – KCvs JAC14.53.37.8
Frank Gore – SFat DEN14.53.58.0
Jamal Lewis – BALvs BUF14.22.87.0
Marion Barber – DALvs DET14.22.87.0
Deuce McAllister – NOvs CAR14.02.86.8
Ron Dayne – HOUvs CLE14.03.27.2
Corey Dillon – NEat TEN13.53.36.8
Chester Taylor – MINvs STL13.53.57.0
Rudi Johnson – CINvs PIT13.53.77.2
Reggie Bush – NOvs CAR13.33.36.7
Tiki Barber – NYGat WAS13.33.36.7
Joseph Addai – INDvs MIA12.83.76.5
Tatum Bell – DENvs SF12.54.06.5
Laurence Maroney – NEat TEN12.24.26.3
Mike Bell – DENvs SF11.74.36.0
Travis Henry – TENvs NE11.74.36.0
Cedric Benson – CHIvs GB11.74.56.2
DeShaun Foster – CARat NO11.34.86.2
Julius Jones – DALvs DET11.24.35.5
DeAngelo Williams – CARat NO10.85.05.8
Warrick Dunn – ATLat PHI10.55.05.5
Edgerrin James – ARIat SD10.35.55.8
Ahman Green – GBat CHI9.85.55.3
Reuben Droughns – CLEat HOU9.74.84.5
Dominic Rhodes – INDvs MIA9.55.34.8
Leon Washington – NYJvs OAK9.55.34.8
Thomas Jones – CHIvs GB9.35.34.7
Brandon Jacobs – NYGat WAS9.35.75.0
Justin Fargas – OAKat NYJ9.25.34.5
Correll Buckhalter – PHIvs ATL9.05.34.3
Cedric Houston – NYJvs OAK8.75.84.5
Willis McGahee – BUFat BAL8.76.24.8
Sammy Morris – MIAat IND8.26.24.3
Jerious Norwood – ATLat PHI7.86.24.0
Cadillac Williams – TBvs SEA7.76.74.3
Arlen Harris – DETat DAL6.36.73.0
Maurice Morris – SEAat TB6.26.72.8
Kevan Barlow – NYJvs OAK6.06.82.8
Michael Turner – SDvs ARI6.07.23.2
Fred Taylor – JACat KC5.57.32.8
TJ Duckett – WASvs NYG5.27.32.5
Najeh Davenport – PITat CIN4.57.31.8
Vernand Morency – GBat CHI4.37.72.0
Mike Anderson – BALvs BUF4.37.82.2
Wali Lundy – HOUvs CLE4.37.82.2
Ciatrick Fason – MINvs STL3.78.21.8
Michael Robinson – SFat DEN3.58.21.7
Noah Herron – GBat CHI3.08.01.0
Jerome Harrison – CLEat HOU3.08.51.5
LenDale White – TENvs NE3.08.51.5
LaBrandon Toefield – JACat KC2.78.31.0
Samkon Gado – HOUvs CLE2.38.71.0
Musa Smith – BALvs BUF0.79.50.2

Ron Dayne, HOU (14.0 rating): Who was that guy impersonating a solid running back last week? Just kidding. Ron Dayne carried a number of teams to championships last week, and could do the same this week against Cleveland. Now, that he’s healthy and capable of a full workload, expect him to do similar to the Browns.

Willis McGahee, BUF (8.7 rating): McGahee has been a beast since coming back from his injury, and the Bills’ offense has been stellar compared to the comedy show they appeared to be early on in the season. The Ravens contained Willie Parker last week, and should be able to stifle Willis this week. He very well may be worth sitting, and not a very viable number two back this week.

Wide ReceiversOpponentRatingRiskReward
Terrell Owens – DALvs DET16.02.28.2
Marvin Harrison – INDvs MIA16.02.28.2
Javon Walker – DENvs SF15.82.28.0
Reggie Wayne – INDvs MIA15.02.87.8
Marques Colston – NOvs CAR14.82.67.4
Chad Johnson – CINvs PIT14.82.87.6
Torry Holt – STLat MIN14.82.87.6
Steve Smith – CARat NO14.63.07.6
Andre Johnson – HOUvs CLE14.42.87.2
Larry Fitzgerald – ARIat SD14.43.07.4
Plaxico Burress – NYGat WAS14.43.07.4
TJ Houshmandzadeh – CINvs PIT14.43.27.6
Roy Williams – DETat DAL13.44.07.4
Laveranues Coles – NYJvs OAK13.23.06.2
Donald Driver – GBat CHI13.23.46.6
Reggie Brown – PHIvs ATL13.23.46.6
Mark Clayton – BALvs BUF13.23.87.0
Terry Glenn – DALvs DET13.03.06.0
Hines Ward – PITat CIN12.83.46.2
Bernard Berrian – CHIvs GB12.63.66.2
Mike Furrey – DETat DAL12.44.06.4
Isaac Bruce – STLat MIN12.24.06.2
Anquan Boldin – ARIat SD12.24.26.4
Lee Evans – BUFat BAL12.04.46.4
Devery Henderson – NOvs CAR11.84.05.8
Donte’ Stallworth – PHIvs ATL11.84.26.0
Chris Henry – CINvs PIT11.84.46.2
Muhsin Muhammad – CHIvs GB11.63.85.4
Jerricho Cotchery – NYJvs OAK11.24.05.2
Joey Galloway – TBvs SEA11.24.05.2
Braylon Edwards – CLEat HOU11.04.65.6
Santana Moss – WASvs NYG10.44.44.8
Keyshawn Johnson – CARat NO10.44.65.0
Vincent Jackson – SDvs ARI10.44.85.2
Eddie Kennison – KCvs JAC10.04.64.6
Matt Jones – JACat KC10.05.05.0
Santonio Holmes – PITat CIN9.84.84.6
Reche Caldwell – NEat TEN9.85.25.0
Marty Booker – MIAat IND9.65.45.0
Derrick Mason – BALvs BUF9.45.04.4
Drew Bennett – TENvs NE9.45.44.8
Deion Branch – SEAat TB9.25.85.0
Bryant Johnson – ARIat SD8.85.84.6
Brandon Jones – TENvs NE8.65.23.8
Eric Moulds – HOUvs CLE8.65.64.2
Wes Welker – MIAat IND8.25.43.6
Joe Jurevicius – CLEat HOU8.25.63.8
Greg Jennings – GBat CHI8.26.24.4
Justin McCareins – NYJvs OAK8.05.03.0
Arnaz Battle – SFat DEN8.06.04.0
Chad Jackson – NEat TEN7.85.63.4
Bobby Engram – SEAat TB7.65.83.4
Mark Bradley – CHIvs GB7.66.03.6
Troy Brown – NEat TEN7.66.03.6
Antwaan Randle El – WASvs NYG7.46.03.4
Travis Taylor – MINvs STL7.46.23.6
Rod Smith – DENvs SF7.46.64.0
Kevin Curtis – STLat MIN7.06.23.2
Brandon Marshall – DENvs SF6.86.23.0
Brandon Lloyd – WASvs NYG6.86.23.0
Terrance Copper – NOvs CAR6.86.43.2
Chris Chambers – MIAat IND6.47.03.4
Josh Reed – BUFat BAL6.26.62.8
Nate Burleson – SEAat TB6.26.62.8
Sammie Parker – KCvs JAC6.06.62.6
Michael Jenkins – ATLat PHI6.07.03.0
Nate Washington – PITat CIN5.87.02.8
Troy Williamson – MINvs STL5.87.23.0
Rashied Davis – CHIvs GB5.47.22.6
Reggie Williams – JACat KC5.47.22.6
Keenan McCardell – SDvs ARI5.27.22.4
Hank Baskett – PHIvs ATL4.87.42.2
Eric Parker – SDvs ARI4.87.42.2
Cedrick Wilson – PITat CIN4.67.42.0
Jabar Gaffney – NEat TEN4.67.82.4
Dennis Northcutt – CLEat HOU4.47.62.0
Ernest Wilford – JACat KC4.47.82.2
Tim Carter – NYGat WAS4.47.41.8
Mike Williams – DETat DAL4.07.81.8
Darrell Jackson – SEAat TB4.08.62.6
Roddy White – ATLat PHI3.87.81.6
Roscoe Parrish – BUFat BAL3.67.81.4
Doug Gabriel – OAKat NYJ3.48.21.6
Drew Carter – CARat NO3.48.01.4
Jerry Porter – OAKat NYJ3.48.41.8
Randy Moss – OAKat NYJ3.28.82.0
Az Hakim – SDvs ARI2.88.61.4
Joe Horn – NOvs CAR0.49.60.0

Plaxico Burress, NYG (14.4 rating): The Redskins are near the bottom of the league in pass defense, and Eli Manning should rebound nicely from his struggles last week. Combining with the fact Plax is among the NFC leader in receiving touchdowns and Shockey may not be available, I would expect him to rebound this week.

Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ (11.2 rating): One generalization that must be realized this season is that just because Oakland has played awful, their defense (especially pass defense) has been fantastic. They have done a marvelous job for situations they have been put in, and the often short fields they have had to play in, due to all the turnovers from the offense. They are giving up only about 150 yards through the air on average, and expect it to continue this week. The Jets may very well win this one, but Oakland’s defense has made it awfully difficult to be passed against.

Tight EndsOpponentRatingRiskReward
Antonio Gates – SDvs ARI14.63.07.6
Chris Cooley – WASvs NYG13.43.67.0
Todd Heap – BALvs BUF13.23.66.8
Jason Witten – DALvs DET13.03.26.2
Desmond Clark – CHIvs GB12.83.46.2
Kellen Winslow – CLEat HOU12.83.46.2
Tony Scheffler – DENvs SF12.83.66.4
Tony Gonzalez – KCvs JAC12.04.46.4
Alge Crumpler – ATLat PHI11.44.66.0
Vernon Davis – SFat DEN11.04.45.4
LJ Smith – PHIvs ATL10.84.85.6
Heath Miller – PITat CIN10.84.85.6
Jeremy Stevens – SEAat TB10.04.84.8
Ben Watson – NEat TEN9.46.05.4
Randy McMichael – MIAat IND8.85.44.2
Daniel Graham – NEat TEN8.85.84.6
Alex Smith – TBvs SEA8.45.64.0
Bubba Franks – GBat CHI8.25.63.8
Bo Scaife – TENvs NE8.05.63.6
Ben Utecht – INDvs MIA8.06.04.0
George Wrighster – JACat KC7.46.23.6
Jermaine Wiggins – MINvs STL7.46.23.6
Owen Daniels – HOUvs CLE7.06.03.0
Chris Baker – NYJvs OAK7.06.43.4
Reggie Kelly – CINvs PIT6.06.82.8
Stephen Alexander – DENvs SF5.66.82.4
Kris Mangum – CARat NO5.67.02.6
Joe Klopfenstein – STLat MIN5.47.22.6
Dallas Clark – INDvs MIA5.27.62.8
David Martin – GBat CHI4.27.82.0
Bryan Fletcher – INDvs MIA4.28.02.2
Steve Heiden – CLEat HOU4.07.81.8
Leonard Pope – ARIat SD3.87.81.6
Itula Mili – SEAat TB3.88.01.8
Courtney Anderson – OAKat NYJ3.67.81.4
Anthony Becht – TBvs SEA3.47.81.2
Jeb Putzier – HOUvs CLE3.48.01.4
Jason Dunn – KCvs JAC3.48.01.4
Eric Johnson – SFat DEN2.28.60.8

Desmond Clark, CHI (12.8 rating): Clark has turned in a stellar year as tight end for the Bears. He is tied for fourth in the league for TD receptions by a tight end with six, and has over 600 yards receiving. Green Bay’s defense has been pretty impressive lately, but the Chicago’s passing game should get it going against them.

Ben Utecht, IND (8.0 rating): This week is slated to be the return of Dallas Clark to the lineup for the Colts. That will cut into Utecht’s catches and yardage totals for sure. The Colts will continue to spread the ball around, but expect Clark to get the looks in order to get reacquainted with the offense, and be a more focal point for the passing game. More than likely you will have better options than him available to you this last week of the season.

Nate Kaeding – SDvs ARI14.63.07.6
Adam Vinatieri – INDvs MIA14.42.87.2
Jason Elam – DENvs SF14.22.66.8
Robbie Gould – CHIvs GB14.22.87.0
Jeff Wilkins – STLat MIN14.03.07.0
Shayne Graham – CINvs PIT14.03.27.2
Stephen Gostkowski – NEat TEN13.23.46.6
David Akers – PHIvs ATL13.23.46.6
Martin Gramatica – DALvs DET12.63.86.4
Matt Stover – BALvs BUF12.43.66.0
John Carney – NOvs CAR12.43.66.0
Josh Scobee – JACat KC12.43.86.2
Josh Brown – SEAat TB12.43.86.2
John Kasay – CARat NO12.23.45.6
Mike Nugent – NYJvs OAK12.03.85.8
Rian Lindell – BUFat BAL11.64.46.0
Shaun Suisham – WASvs NYG11.43.85.2
Olindo Mare – MIAat IND11.44.05.4
Jeff Reed – PITat CIN11.44.05.4
Rob Bironas – TENvs NE11.24.05.2
Neil Rackers – ARIat SD11.25.06.2
Kris Brown – HOUvs CLE11.04.25.2
Jay Feely – NYGat WAS11.04.25.2
Lawrence Tynes – KCvs JAC11.04.45.4
Ryan Longwell – MINvs STL10.24.44.6
Sebastian Janikowski – OAKat NYJ10.24.44.6
Jason Hanson – DETat DAL10.05.05.0
Morten Andersen – ATLat PHI9.85.04.8
Matt Bryant – TBvs SEA9.24.84.0
Dave Rayner – GBat CHI9.25.64.8
Phil Dawson – CLEat HOU9.05.04.0
Joe Nedney – SFat DEN8.85.84.6

Shayne Graham, CIN (14.0 rating): This should be a relatively low scoring game between Cincy and the Steelers, and I would expect the kickers to get plenty of opportunities. The winds in Pittsburgh could be challenging, but in a must win game for the Bengals to have any chance at the post season, Graham could easily get 2-3 field goal opportunities.

Lawrence Tynes, KC (11.0 rating): Tynes has been a decent kicker to have this year, however, has been plagued by a number of misses. Last week, the Chiefs elected to go for it twice, neglecting Tynes the opportunity to kick field goals just over fifty yards. Combining that with a missed opportunity as well, Tynes left owners disappointed last week. This week against the top notch Jag defense, I wouldn’t expect nearly as many opportunities. There are plenty of better options ahead of him.

Team DefenseOpponentRatingRiskReward
Baltimorevs BUF16.22.08.2
Chicagovs GB15.22.77.8
San Diegovs ARI14.72.57.2
Philadelphiavs ATL13.33.56.8
New York Jetsvs OAK13.03.36.3
Denvervs SF12.24.06.2
Jacksonvilleat KC11.74.25.8
New Orleansvs CAR11.53.85.3
Pittsburghat CIN11.54.25.7
Houstonvs CLE11.23.74.8
Washingtonvs NYG11.23.85.0
Seattleat TB11.03.84.8
New Englandat TEN11.04.75.7
Dallasvs DET10.84.85.7
Cincinnativs PIT10.74.55.2
Kansas Cityvs JAC10.24.85.0
Indianapolisvs MIA10.05.05.0
Buffaloat BAL10.05.25.2
Carolinaat NO9.75.24.8
Oaklandat NYJ9.25.54.7
Minnesotavs STL9.05.34.3
Miamiat IND8.76.04.7
St. Louisat MIN8.55.54.0
Tennesseevs NE8.55.54.0
New York Giantsat WAS8.35.74.0
San Franciscoat DEN7.75.73.3
Clevelandat HOU7.75.83.5
Atlantaat PHI7.76.03.7
Tampa Bayvs SEA7.56.33.8
Green Bayat CHI6.86.53.3
Arizonaat SD5.57.22.7
Detroitat DAL5.27.22.3

San Diego (14.7 rating): It doesn’t take a genius to say that this is a good play this week, but it’s even better seeing that Kurt Warner is back in the lineup. Warner is prone to turnovers and sacks, and that should continue this week against a tough San Diego team that has not lost at home all season.

Indianapolis (10.0 rating): The Colts’ defense has been very inconsistent in recent weeks. One week, they stop the juggernaut Bengal offense and give them fits, only to follow it up with a dismal outing against the Texans. They have not been able to stop teams on last second drives twice this year (remember Rob Bironas as well). Even with the Dolphins starting Cleo Lemon, this is a shaky matchup due to the fact that the Colts are still struggling against the run. With Ronnie Brown back and healthy, once again this could spell trouble for Indianapolis.

Special thanks to BlueBandit24, Karoz, Kilroy1872, logan, madaslives911, mrblitz, and SwiperNoSwiping for their rankings and involvement with this week's article. For more insights and additional fine-tuning, visit our Who to Start/Bench forum section or listen to The Coach's Voice.
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