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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast: Week 17
Paul Sandy
December 27, 2011
 
SYMBOL LEGEND
Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Worth a Look Worth a Look
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Sleeper Sleeper
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 - $5
$$ $6 - $15
$$$ $16 - $25
$$$$ $26 - $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

QUARTERBACKS

Commonly owned  QBs worth adding: Mark Sanchez (90%) and Andy Dalton (82%)

Joe Webb, Vikings
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayA month or two ago, it looked like rookie Christian Ponder was a no-brainer to be Minnesota’s starting QB in 2012. It seems Joe Webb might have something to say about that. In two stints relieving Ponder (concussion), Webb has looked nothing short of spectacular. On Saturday, Webb entered the game in the second half and led three touchdown drives, passing for two scores and rushing one in. The offense runs much better with him under center. Look for Webb to get the start on Sunday against the Bears. Chicago’s defense is solid but Webb’s ability to run the football will make him useful. Dynasty leaguers should take note or add him if it’s allowed. He could be a poor man’s Cam Newton in 2012.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Despite a dicey matchup, Webb should deliver useful fantasy numbers if he gets the start.

Kyle Orton, Chiefs
1 Week Plug & PlayOrton passed for 300 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Raiders. It wasn’t quite the level of production the Forecast was expecting but not altogether disappointing either. Orton will enter Week 17 with revenge on his mind. Kansas City faces a Broncos squad that unceremoniously cut Orton several weeks ago. With a keen understanding of Denver’s defense, he should again post useful numbers. Trust him if you’re desperate for QB help.

Availability: Owned in ~24% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Look for Orton to put up 240+ yards and a pair of scores against his former team.

RUNNING BACKS

Commonly owned RBs worth adding: N/A

Kahlil Bell, Bears
Rock StarLast week’s top pickup recommendation was the featured offensive weapon for the Bears on Sunday night. He carried the ball 23 times and caught 4 passes for a combined 159 yards. Chicago faces Minnesota in the finale. The Vikings have gotten progressively worse against the run in 2011. Exhibit A: They couldn’t contain Evan Royster in Week 16. Look for Bell to get 25+ touches and put up over 100 yards. He’s a viable RB2 for fantasy.

Availability: Owned in ~39% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Bell should be owned in all leagues.

Kendall Hunter, 49ers
1 Week Plug & PlayWith the 49ers postseason ticket punched, don’t be surprised to see head coach Jim Harbaugh rest some of his starters in Week 17. The player who stands to see the biggest boost is backup RB Kendall Hunter. Hunter looks like a stud RB in the making. If he gets 20 carries against the Rams, it’s not an exaggeration to state that he could be the top fantasy RB for the week. Don’t hesitate to use him if the 49ers indicate that Gore will only play one quarter.

Availability: Owned in ~64% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Hunter could surprise in Week 17 if the 49ers limit Frank Gore’s work.

Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayMinnesota RB Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL and will miss the remainder of the season. He also might not be ready in time for the 2012 opener. Toby Gerhart will get the majority of carries in Week 17 and could be in the backfield as the starter on opening day 2012. He produced like a capable RB2 for fantasy when Peterson missed time with an ankle injury earlier in the year. Although the Vikings face a stingy Bears defense on Sunday, Gerhart’s volume of work will make him relevant. Look for 80 total yards and a score.

Availability: Owned in ~61% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Fantasy owners can bank on a heavy dose of Gerhart this week.

Evan Royster, Redskins
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayWith regular starter Roy Helu inactive with knee and toe injuries, Evan Royster came on and punished the Vikings for 132 yards rushing. He averaged 6.9 yards per attempt. If he gets the start on Sunday against Philadelphia’s middling run defense, Royster merits consideration as a RB2 of flex option. Look for him to get around 20 carries and post north of 80 yards. Just make sure to check Helu’s status.

Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Royster is a borderline RB2 for the season finale.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots
1 Week Plug & PlayAttempting to project New England’s backfield is akin to a game of Russian roulette. However, with the Patriots locking up a first round bye, rookie Stevan Ridley could see an increased workload in Week 17. He carried the ball 13 times for 64 yards in Saturday’s win over the Dolphins. It was his second straight game with 11 or more rushing attempts. A favorable matchup against the Bills moves Ridley from risky option to borderline deep-league starter.

Availability: Owned in ~13% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Ridley is a boom-or-bust option in Week 17.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Commonly owned WRs worth adding: James Jones (71%), Malcom Floyd (70%) and Jabar Gaffney (70%)

Denarius Moore, Raiders
Rock StarIn his second game back from a foot injury, Moore returned to fantasy relevance. He posted four catches for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs. QB Carson Palmer threw his way nine times. Moore is an explosive WR who is typically good for a couple deep receiving attempts per game. He’s a highly attractive pickup in any league in which he’s available. Oakland plays the Chargers in Week 17. Moore had his best game of the season in Week 10 against San Diego, putting up 123 yards and two scores. Consider him a viable WR2.

Availability: Owned in ~70% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Add and start Moore vs. San Diego if you’re shorthanded at QB.

Damian Williams, Titans
1 Week Plug & PlayThe oft-mentioned Williams grabbed a season-high eight receptions in Saturday’s win over the Jaguars. He ended the day with 83 yards receiving. Up next, Tennessee faces Houston. Williams is a passable WR3 for the matchup. He has put up at least 60 yards or a touchdown in seven out of the last nine contests. Start him if you’re desperate for WR help.

Availability: Owned in ~45% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Williams should put up decent WR3 numbers in the finale.

David Nelson, Bills
1 Week Plug & PlayNelson is a crafty matchup-based pickup for owners in deep leagues. Although he failed to score in December, he should close out the 2011 campaign with a strong performance against the Patriots. No team allows more WR points than New England. In the previous meeting with the Patriots back in September, Nelson ended with a season-high 84 yards receiving. He should approach that number this time around.

Availability: Owned in ~58% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: With a juicy matchup against New England, Nelson is worth a flier.

Andre Roberts, Cardinals
1 Week Plug & PlayRoberts was a nonfactor for the first half of the season but he’s really come on strong of late. He has notched four straight quality fantasy performances in a row. This includes 12 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. Fantasy owners in dire need of a spark at the WR position can lean on Roberts and expect 5-6 receptions with decent yardage. Arizona hosts the Seahawks in Week 17. Roberts has scored or put up 100+ yards in three straight home games.

Availability: Owned in ~4% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Roberts is a low-end WR3 for Week 17.

TIGHT ENDS

Commonly owned TEs worth adding: Brent Celek (76%)

Jared Cook, Titans
Rock StarCook backed up a Week 15 breakout game (9-103-0) with another monster effort. He ripped the Jaguars for 169 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Based on the team’s effort to incorporate him into the offense, Cook can be trusted as a TE1 for the final game of the regular season. Tennessee will square off against the Texans. Although Houston is one of the better teams in the NFL against TEs, Cook is still worth a look. He caught two passes for 22 yards last time out against Houston but one of the catches went for a touchdown.

Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Ride Cook’s hot streak to a fantasy championship.

KICKERS

Commonly owned PKs worth adding: N/A

Alex Henery, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Eagles offense has shown a pulse over their last two games. As a result, kicker Alex Henery merits attention from fantasy owners who could use some kicking help. Henery has posted decent numbers in both of the last two games and has drilled his last 14 field goal attempts. With an upcoming meeting with a Redskins team that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to kickers this season, Henery has a good chance to be a top 10 kicker in Week 17. He posted eight points earlier this year against Washington.

Availability: Owned in ~51% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Consider Henery a solid plug-and-play option for Week 17.

DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS

Commonly owned DSTs worth adding: New York Giants (75%) and Philadelphia Eagles (82%)

Atlanta Falcons
1 Week Plug & PlayWith a plus matchup this weekend against the reeling Buccaneers, Atlanta’s defense merits consideration for a spot start. Tampa hasn’t scored more than 19 points in six weeks. Their offense seems to be completely dysfunctional at this point. In their last three outings, the Buccaneers have given up nine sacks, 12 turnovers and two DST touchdowns. Start the Falcons and look for considerable production by way of sacks and turnovers.

Availability: Owned in ~48% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Falcons are start-worthy in all leagues and scoring systems.


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