Start & SitDecember 31, 2010

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Week 17: The Other Championship Week

By R.J. White

The vast majority of fantasy leagues avoid holding a championship game in Week 17, and this year more than ever, it’s plain to see why. Injuries have mounted for many teams, and quite a few playoff-bound teams (New England, Kansas City, New York Jets, Philadelphia) are locked into their particular scenario, while others could also pull players early based on the flow of the game.

With that being the case, it makes navigating Start and Sit decisions very difficult at this time of the year. We’ve done our best to capture these playing-time and injury questions into one Start/Sit number, listed below for each player. As always, err on the side of caution — you should always choose to play a healthy player that is expected to play a full 60 minutes over anyone. As such, you’ll find some very peculiar rankings below. For instance, we suggest starting Kevin Kolb over Tom Brady, Danaio Alexander over Wes Welker, and virtually anyone over LaDainian Tomlinson.

As this is our last Start/Sit of the season, we’d be remiss if we didn’t send big thanks out to Drew Szczerba for his hard work throughout the season, as well as 2centworth, tclangham, Dan Lambskin and all of the great rankers that took time to help us out. Now to the rankings …

1Philip RiversSDat DEN90.67
2Peyton ManningINDTEN88.67
3Aaron RodgersGBCHI87.33
4Drew BreesNOTB87.00
5Matt SchaubHOUJAC82.33
6Ben RoethlisbergerPITat CLE80.33
7Eli ManningNYGat WAS79.33
8Matt RyanATLCAR78.33
9Kevin KolbPHIDAL73.67
10Joe FlaccoBALCIN73.00
11Shaun HillDETMIN70.00
12Sam BradfordSTLat SEA69.67
13Josh FreemanTBat NO69.00
14Tom BradyNEMIA68.80
15Rex GrossmanWASNYG66.67
16Jason CampbellOAKat KC66.33
17Carson PalmerCINat BAL65.33
18Kerry CollinsTENat IND63.00
19Trent EdwardsJACat HOU62.33
20Chad HenneMIAat NE61.67
21Matt CasselKCOAK61.07
22Alex SmithSFARI60.00
23Tim TebowDENSD59.67
24Jay CutlerCHIat GB58.80
25Colt McCoyCLEPIT54.33
26John SkeltonARIat SF54.00
27Stephen McGeeDALat PHI53.33
28Brett FavreMINat DET51.73
29Charlie WhitehurstSEASTL51.33
30Joe WebbMINat DET51.00
31Jimmy ClausenCARat ATL50.00
32Ryan FitzpatrickBUFat NYJ48.53
33Matt HasselbeckSEASTL37.00
34Mark SanchezNYJBUF32.17
35Brian BrohmBUFat NYJ29.00
36Brodie CroyleKCOAK27.20
37Brian HoyerNEMIA26.10
38Mark BrunellNYJBUF14.40

Start: Kevin Kolb, Eagles. There’s no chance Michael Vick plays in this game, and that means Kolb is back on the scene with the opportunity to impress future employers. He’s in a great position to succeed, as the Cowboys are awful at stopping the pass, and Philadelphia has more passing-game depth than they do in the running game.
Sit: Jay Cutler, Bears. Sure, Chicago still has the opportunity to take the No. 1 seed, but that would require losses by both the Falcons against the Panthers and the Saints against the Buccaneers. That first scenario in particular is out there. The Bears will know by game time whether they have a reason to try for a win, and it’s quite possible key players will rest if they don’t.
RankRunning BacksTeamOppAverage
1Adrian PetersonMINat DET96.00
2Arian FosterHOUJAC90.67
3Chris JohnsonTENat IND88.33
4Steven JacksonSTLat SEA87.33
5Ray RiceBALCIN87.00
6Rashard MendenhallPITat CLE80.33
7Ryan MathewsSDat DEN77.67
8LeGarrette BlountTBat NO76.00
9Ahmad BradshawNYGat WAS75.00
10Ryan TorainWASNYG74.00
11Michael TurnerATLCAR73.87
12Jonathan StewartCARat ATL72.67
13Felix JonesDALat PHI72.33
T-13Pierre ThomasNOTB72.33
15Brandon JacobsNYGat WAS71.00
16Cedric BensonCINat BAL69.67
17Fred JacksonBUFat NYJ69.00
18Brian WestbrookSFARI67.67
19Michael BushOAKat KC67.00
20Rashad JenningsJACat HOU66.67
21Jamaal CharlesKCOAK66.40
22Jason SnellingATLCAR66.33
T-22Marshawn LynchSEASTL66.33
24Ronnie BrownMIAat NE66.00
25Joseph AddaiINDTEN65.67
26Darren SprolesSDat DEN65.00
27Reggie BushNOTB64.67
28LeSean McCoyPHIDAL64.53
29Toby GerhartMINat DET63.67
30Matt ForteCHIat GB63.60
31Knowshon MorenoDENSD63.20
32Beanie WellsARIat SF62.00
33Tashard ChoiceDALat PHI61.67
34Maurice MorrisDETMIN61.33
35Marion BarberDALat PHI61.00
36Mike GoodsonCARat ATL60.67
T-36Ricky WilliamsMIAat NE60.67
38Anthony DixonSFARI60.33
39Justin ForsettSEASTL59.67
40Tim HightowerARIat SF59.33
T-40Jahvid BestDETMIN59.33
42BenJarvus Green-EllisNEMIA59.20
43Peyton HillsCLEPIT58.67
T-43Cadillac WilliamsTBat NO58.67
45Donald BrownINDTEN58.33
46Correll BuckhalterDENSD57.67
47Willis McGaheeBALCIN57.33
48Darren McFaddenOAKat KC56.70
49Dominic RhodesINDTEN56.33
50Brandon JacksonGBCHI55.33
51Thomas JonesKCOAK55.20
52John KuhnGBCHI54.67
53Danny WoodheadNEMIA53.07
54C.J. SpillerBUFat NYJ51.67
T-54Chester TaylorCHIat GB51.67
56Lance BallDENSD51.00
57Joe McKnightNYJBUF50.67
58Bernard ScottCINat BAL50.33
59Shonn GreeneNYJBUF45.20
60Dimitri NanceGBCHI44.67
61Mike BellCLEPIT40.67
62Derrick WardHOUJAC39.67
63LaDainian TomlinsonNYJBUF36.17

Start: Fred Jackson, Bills. On paper, his matchup looks extremely difficult. He’s also struggled to put up big fantasy numbers since C.J. Spiller’s return. However, the Jets are going to treat Week 17 like a pre-season game, and Jackson is going to have a much easier time finding running lanes against the second team. Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s not at 100 percent, and his absence or limitations could cause Buffalo to be very run-centric on Sunday.
Sit: Peyton Hillis, Browns. After quite an amazing season, Hillis has appeared to wear down in recent weeks. It’s not surprising, considering the guy isn’t used to being the featured ball-carrier in an offense. Sunday’s matchup against Pittsburgh spells trouble, especially with the Steelers needing a win to secure a first-round bye. I benched Hillis last week, and I’d suggest you do the same this week.
RankWide ReceiversTeamOppAverage
1Roddy WhiteATLCAR89.67
2Reggie WayneINDTEN83.67
3Greg JenningsGBCHI83.33
4Larry FitzgeraldARIat SF83.00
5Brandon MarshallMIAat NE81.67
6Mike WallacePITat CLE80.27
7Miles AustinDALat PHI79.67
8Percy HarvinMINat DET79.00
9Mario ManninghamNYGat WAS78.07
10Vincent JacksonSDat DEN77.30
11Santana MossWASNYG75.97
12Pierre GarconINDTEN75.00
13Kenny BrittTENat IND74.73
14Mike ThomasJACat HOU74.67
15Mike WilliamsTBat NO74.33
16Brandon LloydDENSD73.33
T-16Jacoby JonesHOUJAC73.33
18Derrick MasonBALCIN72.33
19Mike WilliamsSEASTL72.00
20Jerome SimpsonCINat BAL71.67
21Steve JohnsonBUFat NYJ71.33
22Hines WardPITat CLE70.93
23Anquan BoldinBALCIN69.67
24Dwayne BoweKCOAK68.32
25Santonio HolmesNYJBUF68.10
26Kevin WalterHOUJAC67.93
27Lance MooreNOTB67.80
28Johnny KnoxCHIat GB67.67
29Danario AlexanderSTLat SEA67.00
30Jacoby FordOAKat KC66.00
31Robert MeachemNOTB65.80
32Josh MorganSFARI65.67
33Danny AmendolaSTLat SEA65.33
34Jason AvantPHIDAL64.67
35Jeremy MaclinPHIDAL64.53
36Michael CrabtreeSFARI64.33
37Derek HaganNYGat WAS63.40
38Louis MurphyOAKat KC63.33
39Wes WelkerNEMIA62.99
40Davone BessMIAat NE62.70
41Anthony ArmstrongWASNYG62.40
42Brandon GibsonSTLat SEA62.33
T-42Laurent RobinsonSTLat SEA62.33
44Calvin JohnsonDETMIN61.83
45Andre RobertsARIat SF61.67
46Nate WashingtonTENat IND61.40
47James JonesGBCHI61.33
48Steve BreastonARIat SF61.00
T-48Nate BurlesonDETMIN61.00
50Jabar GaffneyDENSD60.67
51Jordan ShipleyCINat BAL60.33
52Donald DriverGBCHI60.00
53Michael JenkinsATLCAR59.67
T-53Steve SmithCARat ATL59.67
55Deion BranchNEMIA59.25
56Mike Sims-WalkerJACat HOU59.20
57Braylon EdwardsNYJBUF59.10
58Blair WhiteINDTEN58.73
59Devin HesterCHIat GB58.67
60Legedu NaaneeSDat DEN58.63
61T.J. HoushmandzadehBALCIN58.33
62Devery HendersonNOTB57.67
63Dexter McClusterKCOAK57.10
64Malcom FloydSDat DEN57.04
65Sam HurdDALat PHI56.33
66Eddie RoyalDENSD55.33
67Mohamed MassaquoiCLEPIT55.00
68Andre CaldwellCINat BAL54.33
69Brandon LaFellCARat ATL53.33
70Roy WilliamsDALat PHI52.53
71Brian RobiskieCLEPIT51.33
72Michael SpurlockTBat NO50.40
73Jordy NelsonGBCHI48.67
74Andre JohnsonHOUJAC47.63
75Sidney RiceMINat DET40.20
76Riley CooperPHIDAL38.00
77Jason HillJACat HOU36.00
78Marques ColstonNOTB31.65
79Earl BennettCHIat GB21.00

Start: Jacoby Jones, Texas. With Andre Johnson out last week, Jones was able to pile up 115 receiving yards. Johnson isn’t expected to be available again this week, and with Houston facing a bad Jaguars secondary, Jones should have his second consecutive 100-yard game.
Sit: Deion Branch, Patriots. He’s tailed off a bit as of late, and now he’s faced with the possibility of not playing a full game in the Patriots’ meaningless Week 17 contest. I’d find a way around starting any Patriot players this week, if at all possible.
RankTight EndsTeamOppAverage
1Vernon DavisSFARI91.00
2Jason WittenDALat PHI86.33
3Jacob TammeINDTEN82.03
4Marcedes LewisJACat HOU81.30
5Tony GonzalezATLCAR80.33
6Kellen WinslowTBat NO77.00
7Owen DanielsHOUJAC76.67
8Zach MillerOAKat KC74.67
9Chris CooleyWASNYG72.97
10Todd HeapBALCIN71.33
11Kevin BossNYGat WAS71.30
12Ben WatsonCLEPIT67.33
13Brandon PettigrewDETMIN66.00
14Tony MoeakiKCOAK65.13
15Visanthe ShiancoeMINat DET63.73
16Greg OlsenCHIat GB61.00
17Jimmy GrahamNOTB60.33
18John CarlsonSEASTL59.33
19Dustin KellerNYJBUF58.40
20Fred DavisWASNYG58.30
21Brent CelekPHIDAL57.07
22Randy McMichaelSDat DEN56.67
23Rob GronkowskiNEMIA54.67
24Aaron HernandezNEMIA54.19
25Daniel FellsSTLat SEA53.77
26Andrew QuarlessGBCHI53.00
27Daniel GrahamDENSD50.67
28Dante RosarioCARat ATL47.33
T-28Jeremy ShockeyNOTB47.33
30Ben PatrickARIat SF46.67
T-30Jared CookTENat IND46.67

Start: Todd Heap, Ravens. He’s practicing, which means he belongs back in your lineup this week.
Sit: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Patriots. Hernandez is practicing and may be able to play this week. The Patriots are faced with the opportunity to rest some of their key players. Can you honestly say definitively which of these guys will have a better fantasy day on Sunday? I’d just avoid the situation altogether.
RankTeam DefenseTeamOppAverage
1SteelersPITat CLE88.00
2ChargersSDat DEN84.70
4GiantsNYGat WAS81.33
11BearsCHIat GB74.00
13RamsSTLat SEA73.00
T-16VikingsMINat DET68.33
18CowboysDALat PHI67.67
19BillsBUFat NYJ66.97
21RaidersOAKat KC66.00
T-23DolphinsMIAat NE65.33
25CardinalsARIat SF64.00
T-25PanthersCARat ATL64.00
27JaguarsJACat HOU63.07
28TitansTENat IND62.33
30BengalsCINat BAL61.20
31BuccaneersTBat NO59.33

Start: Atlanta Falcons. Another matchup against Jimmy Clausen. What more can you ask for?
Sit: Dallas Cowboys. No, Michael Vick isn’t playing, but I’m unconvinced the Cowboys can stop anyone at this point.
1David AkersPHIDAL83.67
2Nate KaedingSDat DEN83.33
T-2Rob BironasTENat IND83.33
4Matt BryantATLCAR82.33
5Adam VinatieriINDTEN78.67
T-5Shayne GrahamNEMIA78.67
7Mason CrosbyGBCHI77.67
T-7Garrett HartleyNOTB77.67
9Jay FeelyARIat SF77.33
10Robbie GouldCHIat GB76.33
T-10Neil RackersHOUJAC76.33
12Sebastian JanikowskiOAKat KC75.67
13Steve HauschkaDENSD75.00
14Lawrence TynesNYGat WAS74.33
15Ryan LongwellMINat DET73.67
16Billy CundiffBALCIN72.67
T-16Josh ScobeeJACat HOU72.67
18Connor BarthTBat NO72.33
19Dave RaynerDETMIN72.00
20Shaun SuishamPITat CLE71.67
21Josh BrownSTLat SEA71.33
22Phil DawsonCLEPIT70.67
T-22Dan CarpenterMIAat NE70.67
24Nick FolkNYJBUF70.33
T-24Jeff ReedSFARI70.33
26Clint StitserCINat BAL69.67
27John KasayCARat ATL69.00
28Ryan SuccopKCOAK68.67
29Rian LindellBUFat NYJ65.67
30Olindo MareSEASTL65.33
T-30Graham GanoWASNYG65.33
32David BuehlerDALat PHI55.20

Start: Matt Bryant, Falcons. Atlanta should run away with this game, and Bryant could be kicking field goals throughout the entire second half.
Sit: David Buehler, Cowboys. Dallas has signed Kris Brown to a two-year contract, and while it sounds like Buehler will still handle kicking duties in Week 17, you can’t run any risk of having a non-playing kicker in your championship.

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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