It is the most important week in the NFL, and it is also the most important week in Fantasy Football: The Final Week!
This is, of course, coming with the understanding that some of you have already wrapped up your playoffs, but there are still plenty of you out there competing in your final week (like myself) ensuring plenty to talk about as we get ready for the closing act.
There are a few things to keep in mind with several teams, so because of that, we will end the fantasy season with a game-by-game analysis rather than picking a handful of receivers. The reason is simply due to many players inevitably slated to lose time, or sit altogether.
Miami @ New England: Tom Brady is expected to play at least two quarters, alongside their starting receivers, while Miami will be in full starting mode.
You can expect Wes Welker to sit after the first or before the half, but I expect Brandon Marshall to have a huge day, as he chases his fourth consecutive 100 catch season—he’ll need 19 to achieve such a feat. Also expect a better than modest day from Davone Bess.
Buffalo Bills@ New York Jets: The Jets basically back-doored themselves into the playoffs once again, and they’ll need a big day against the Bills to raise their confidence levels…shouldn’t be too difficult.
Don’t expect too much from the Jets receivers outside of an average day, as the Jets are sure to take advantage of an extremely weak Bills run D. Steven Johnson could have a pretty big day as he chases a franchise record for touchdowns, and Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to seal the deal with the front office with a nice day.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore: The Ravens can still theoretically win the division if the Steelers screw up their last game this week, so expect big things from the Ravens all around. Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin will lead the way for the Ravens, with Joe Flacco looking to add to his 13:1 TD:INT ratio at home stat.
The Bengals could put up a fight though with Carson Palmer also looking to add to his impressive 9-3 career record against the Ravens. For the Bengals receivers, though, don’t expect much with TE Jermaine Gresham probable to steal the show.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland: Speaking of the Steelers; start any wideout from Pittsburgh, and sit everyone from Cleveland…easy enough, right?
Oakland @ Kansas City: One of the most mind boggling situations in all of football. First, the Chiefs are in line to rest their starters in their final week against the Raiders with a division crown already secured (who would’ve thunk) and the Raiders could go 6-0 in the division and still not make the playoffs!!!
I don’t expect much out of any of the Chiefs starters, but the Raiders could give Jacoby Ford more playing time, affording owners a rare extended look at a receiver who may disappear in 2011.
Minnesota @ Detroit: How awesome would it be if the Lions ended their season with not only 6 wins, but also a win over division rival Minnesota? And how sad would it be if Favre got the nod over Joe Webb, and wound up helping the Lions win with two picks.
Not a far-fetched idea my friends.
Still, this should be a free-for-all for both team’s receivers, so you can start Percy Harvin, Calvin Johnson, and even Nate Burleson with confidence. Sit Sidney Rice who sustained a concussion; he will not play this week.
Carolina @ Atlanta: The Falcons need this win to clinch a first round bye and home field advantage, and they are likely to accomplish that feat against Carolina.
Roddy White will lead the way as usual, with Carolina offering nothing interesting fantasy wise, which is par for the course.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans: Probably the game of the week, as the red hot Buccaneers try again against a Saints team that no one wants to face right now.
All starters will play in this one, and you can bet Mike Williams, and Marques Colston will lead the stat line in what could be a good old fashioned shootout.
Jacksonville @ Houston: The Jags are playing for everything, and the Texans are playing for pride. The issue here is who will outperform who.
You can expect Andre Johnson to NOT suit up for this one with a bum ankle, so expect Jacoby Jones to have a nice day against a weak secondary. Don’t be too surprised if MSW comes alive in this one either, since the Texans are not exactly setting the world on fire in coverage.
Mike Thomas is also in line for a nice day.
Dallas @ Philadelphia: Believe it or not, this game could hold some significant value for owners of Miles Austin, but not so much for owners of DeSean Jackson.
Don’t expect to see Michael Vick in this matchup either, who was seen significantly limping around the locker room after Tuesday's man-handling with a thigh contusion.
What you could see happen is wideout Jeremy Maclin have a banner day, but it is more realistic to think he will have a modest day at best.
New York Giants @ Washington: The Redskins could wind up playing the spoiler by upending a promising Giants season with a win, but the chances are highly unlikely.
The Giants are trying to prevent one of the biggest in-season collapses currently unfolding for New York, so expect a big day from Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham.
Donavan McNabb is expected to get the nod, after Rex Grossman came back down to earth, so even Santana Moss could have a modest day.
Arizona @ San Francisco: Nothing to see here people…move along.
San Diego @ Denver: Vince Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Brandon Lloyd, and even Jabar Gaffney could have a nice day in an otherwise meaningless matchup.
Chicago @ Green Bay: The Chicago Bears will NOT perform the same way this week against Green Bay as they did in against the New York Jets. The Jets are a highly aggressive blitzing team, and the Bears took advantage of that by attacking the blitz with Jonny Knox deep, and Matt Forte out of the flats, and over the middle. The Bears will inevitably dial back the snaps of their starters by the second half.
The Packers, on the other hand are playing for it all, so it won’t matter which squad is on the field for the Bears. You can expect the Packers receivers to have another monster day, particularly Greg Jennings.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis: The Colts will likely not sit their starters so expect another quality day from Reggie Wayne and a modest day from Pierre Garcon— Austin Collie is done for the year.
Titan’s receiver Kenny Britt is likely to field a ton of targets as he attempts to end the season on a high note, despite this probably being Jeff Fisher’s last game as head coach.
St. Louis @ Seattle: This could very well be the best prime time matchup all year long as both the Seahawks and Rams duke it out under the lights for the right to go to the post season.
Either way, whichever team gets in, they aren’t likely to make out of the first round alive, but my money is one the Rams in this matchup. All of these players are fine starts.
I just wanted to take a moment out to thank all of you who came back each and every week with your questions, responses, and trust. You guys have made this year more than worth-while I can’t wait to see you all next year.
You guys are the best!!!!!!!!!
But I’m not going anywhere, so, if any of you are Fantasy Baseball buffs, then hop on over to the Fantasy MLB area which is now open for business. The season's still a while away, but there is plenty to discuss so stop on by when you are free and keep an eye out in the forums for Fantasy Baseball talk in the coming weeks.
As always guys: Good Luck, and Thank You for your support and patronage!