Rick Olson
On Second Thought...Week 17

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For those of us who still have fantasy football playoffs in Week 17 to worry about, this is not the week to panic. There are definitely scenarios to figure out, such as, do the Bengals really have anything to play for and because of that do I play A.J. Green or sit him and pick up Mohamed Sanu? The answer of course being, yes, absolutely Yes and No.

Today we'll look into Week 17, the match-ups and playoff picture, to determine whether or not you should consider grabbing some of Week 16's biggest hitters off the waiver wire.

First up, quarterbacks.

Geno Smith had a great Week 16. He threw for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 48 yards with another touchdown. He was fantasy gold if you had him and you played him.

Now comes Week 17 and he plays the Dolphins with absolutely nothing on the line in the way of the playoffs. I do not like this match-up. Miami gives up the 5th fewest points to the QB position and they need this win and some help to get into the playoffs. This game is at home for Miami and again they need the win. Smith will not have a good day, do not chase last week's greatness into this week.

Chad Henne had a nice week throwing for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. I want to tell you that he would be a sneaky pick this week. I want to point out that he had thrown 2 touchdown passes in four straight games and that the Colts really have little to play for and will probably be resting their big boys.

Even though all of that is true, the Jags have little to play for as well and most importantly. Maurice Jones-Drew is banged up and Cecil Shorts is out for the year. Henne's best targets are Mike Brown and Ace Sanders. Do you really want to trust your last fantasy week to a QB throwing to those two wide receivers on the road in Indianapolis? I wouldn't.

As far as running backs go, two backups had great weeks last week and deserve further inquiry.

Bryce Brown managed 115 yards on the ground and a touchdown on just nine carries. He also failed to convert a goal line attempt or he could have had an even greater stat line.

Brown is a nice running back and a great backup but the Eagles are playing the Cowboys in Dallas for the NFC East title. This game is going to be frequented by the starters and for Brown that means a heavy dosage of sideline as he watches LeSean McCoy try to win the division against a Romo-less Dallas.

He is great to have as a handcuff or a dynasty player but keep him out of your starting lineup this week.

Edwin Baker drew my crosshairs last week as I told you to stay away from him and he answered that slap in the face with 64 yards rushing and 1 touchdown with 2 catches for 12 yards and yet I still think you need to keep him out of your starting lineup this week.

The Browns are trying to get Baker more snaps to see if they can make him a feature back. The Steelers will have a whole week to game plan for him. The game is in Pittsburg and the Steelers are a top-15 team against running backs. I see a real disappointing week for anybody relying on running back points from Baker. It should be noted that he is a great stash if you have room on your bench. It should also be noted that the Browns should have never let Bobby Rainey go mid-season, but that's a different article.

Now for the Jekyll and Hyde's of fantasy football production, mid-level receivers.

Mohamed Sanu had a very good game for the Bengals receiving the ball 4 times for 35 yards and 1 touchdown. He is a solid player and has great breakout potential next year but as far as next week goes, look elsewhere.

With a win and a Patriots loss the Bengals can secure a first round bye. They will be laying it all on the line. Expect a big dose of Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green with some big tight ends mixed in. Out of the mix, unfortunately, will be the versatile Sanu. Feel confident leaving him on the waiver wire this week.

Mike Brown found himself back in the mix with Cecil Shorts sidelined. He caught 5 passes for 71 yards and 1 touchdown. He is seeing an expanded role and would normally be a solid pickup. As mentioned early about Chad Henne, the Jags are playing for nothing but pride and the Colts are playing for playoff seeding at home. This is not a good match-up for a Jacksonville team which has been decimated by injuries and suspensions.

Depending on what happens with Justin Blackmon in the off season, Brown could be a very nice stash for keeper and dynasty leagues but leave him out of our lineup in Week 17.

David Nelson showed up big against his former team on Sunday catching 4 balls for 33 yards with two of them being for touchdowns. The tight end sized (6'5") wide receiver has not topped 50 yards since October but motivation can be an amazing thing.

Do not expect this sort of motivation next week when the Jets, who have nothing to play for, face the Dolphins who have everything to play for as noted earlier with Geno Smith. You do not want to be chasing stats and touchdowns in your final week, so leave Nelson right where he is, on the waiver wire.

Stedman Bailey turned my head in training camp this year. In college he was the workhorse receiver to the flashy Tavon Austin at West Virginia. I expect him to be great in this league after learning the system and the nuances of playing in the NFL.

He looked great Sunday against Tampa Bay where he caught 3 passes for 44 yards and had a nice reverse that went for 27 yards and a touchdown. I still stand by my earlier projection of Bailey being the next T.J. Houshmandzadeh, someday. Just not this year and not next week.

Jerrel Jerrigan played great in place of the injured Victor Cruz. He nabbed 6 passes for 80 yards and 1 touchdown. He did everything they asked of him and more. He has a very favorable match-up against the Redskins. Most signs would point to him being a good pick-and-play on Sunday, however, he is Jerrel Jerrigan. He had never scored a touchdown in his three year career thus far, so I don't expect him to repeat in Week 17.

The Redskins will now have some tape on him and he is still playing for the Giants and Eli Manning who is compiling one of his worst years to date. He is far too risky of a play for me to suggest playing him this week.

Marcedes Lewis was the one tight end who is still available in most leagues that stood out this week. He had a very solid week with 4 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown on Sunday versus the Titans. Lewis has been very solid for the last four weeks. He would have made any of you happy if you had him plugged in. However, if you have waited this long to pick him up this last week might be the wrong time to do so.

As brought up previously with both Henne and Brown, the Jags are playing for zip against a Colts team playing for playoff seeding in Indianapolis. I just don't see any of the Jaguars having very productive weeks next week.

If you noticed a pattern this week it was that I am really trying to pay attention to those teams that need wins and those whose season is over.

To help you out here is a brief rundown of what is on the line for the different NFL teams this week.

Both the Eagles at Dallas and the Packers at Bears are games in which the division will be decided. All four of these teams will be leaving it all on the field. Play your starters from these rosters with confidence.

49ers at Cardinals is a game where both teams are playing for either seeding or to get in to the playoffs. These teams are divisional rivals and will be going all out. Good plays for the starters on these rosters.

Ravens at Bengals features a team trying to get a first week bye and a team trying to get into the playoffs. Plus this is a heated rivalry. If you have starters on these rosters you should be very happy.

Chiefs at Chargers will feature a Chargers team that needs a win and some help going against a Chiefs team that is locked in. There is a good chance there may be some resting on the Chiefs side but the Chargers are going to have their pedals to the metal. Start your Chargers with extreme confidence.

Jets at Dolphins features a game where one team has nothing to gain and the other has everything to gain. The Jets players could be flat or side-lined, if Ryan wants to get a look at some of the younger players, while the Dolphins will be giving it everything they got. Miami players should make for good plays this week.

Browns at Steelers showcase a phrase that most people around the league do not want to hear, "the Steelers are still mathematically in it." The last time that phrase was uttered they went on to win the Superbowl. The Browns may be flat but Steelers' starters will be all out and playing well in Week 17

Lastly the Saints, Seahawks, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots are all vying for playoff position. Owners of players on these teams should be good to go this week as well.

Good luck and thanks for reading!