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Fantasy News: Week 17 Edition

DOUBLE D BEARS OFFENSE.

Playmaking wide receiver Devin Hester is an important piece to the Bears offense, but with him out the last few weeks the Bears offense needed a spark, or roar, per say.  So they plugged in Devin Aromashodu, and received exactly what they were looking for. 

Now, according to

Chicago Daily Herald the “Double Devin” offense is expected to be utilized heavily this week against the Lions with Hester returning from a calf injury that kept him out for four weeks. 

But how does Hester feel about having another Devin playing alongside him? 

“It just brings another key weapon to the field,” Hester said of Aromashodu. “Now teams are really going to have to respect us and not just focus on one or two receivers. Now we’ve got three or four guys who can really change the ballgame. D.A. just adds to the collection.”

For the record, in the last three games Aromashodu has caught 17 Cutler passes for 236 yards, and has found the end-zone twice.  This week the Bears offense will be up against a Lions defense that has allowed an NFL high 31 touchdowns via air, so finding the end-zone may come easy for one or both Devins this week. 

ARIZONA BENCH WARMERS?

Owners who are unfortunately playing their championship game this week have one massive playoff scenario headache on their hands, and the biggest of any could be the statuses of Cardinal and Packer players come Sunday afternoon. 

Now, according to the

Green Bay Press Gazette the starters for the Packers, most notably Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, and Greg Jennings may not play very long in this game.  However, according to the

Arizona Republic coach Mike McCarthy insists that he’s treating this week’s game like any other regular season game, and wants to keep the momentum heading in to the playoffs. 

“It’s important for us to go through the week the way we have,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had a quality week of preparation, and we need to go out there and play with the same energy and intensity and keep the momentum going that we’ve created here the last seven weeks.”

On the Cardinals side of the ball, the

Sports Xchange points out that with the possibility of the Cardinals playing the Packers in the opening round of the playoffs coach Ken Whisenhunt may elect to sit down some of his star players who may be a little banged up, but he also knows it’s not going to be an easy task. 

“It’s going to be awful hard to keep Kurt [Warner] or Larry [Fitzgerald] or Anquan [Boldin] off the field,” Whisenhunt said. “I’m just telling you that right up front. Those guys want to play, especially when they feel like they are in a little bit of rhythm. …”

Unfortunately for fantasy owners the Cardinals and Packers will most likely develop a full game plan once the Vikings-Giants and Cowboys-Eagles early games see winners, and by that time it’ll be too late to decide on fantasy starters in most leagues. 

Count on Fitzgerald and Rodgers possibly playing at least a half each, but the status of the remaining high scoring Cardinals and Packers players will remain in question, at least until game time.  The good news for those who are in deeper leagues with bad match-ups is that players like Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban, James Jones, and Brandon Jackson will most likely see significant playing time, especially in the second half. 

TOMLINSON WANTS TO PLAY, SO DOES VOLEK.

The San Diego Chargers are locked in the playoffs with a first round bye and to some their match-up with the Washington Redskins this week seems meaningless.  However, according to the

Associated Press, to players like LaDainian Tomlinson it’s not a pointless game, and when asked about wanting to play……

“Yeah, I do,” he said. “With us having the bye I think it would be good for us to get out and play. We will have a whole week to rest next week. Just to keep the rhythm of how we are playing, I think that is important. I think the only way guys shouldn’t play is if they are injured or battling something that needs rest. If you are healthy, why sit out?”

Earlier in the week head coach Norv Turner insisted that his players are eager to play this week.  

“Our players know we’re going to go play. They want to play,” Turner said.

However, according to the

San Diego Union Tribune that may not be the case for quarterback Philip Rivers, well at least, for the whole game that is.  While Turner maintains Rivers will start, and that this week’s game won’t be a “get it over with” exhibition, at the same time he is excited for Billy Volek’s opportunity to play. 

“I want to see Billy get some good opportunities,” Turner said. “I think it’d be good for him. He hasn’t had a chance to play much. Obviously, we went into Indianapolis two years ago and he went in and played great. He was one of the reasons we won the game. Getting him a few plays, just a chance to play at that speed, would be good for him.”

Other offensive players who may see significant playing time for the Chargers this week include fullback Mike Tolbert, and wide receivers Malcom Floyd and Craig “Buster” Davis. 

THE NO-MARSHALL PLAN. 

The best two words to describe the Denver Broncos 2009 season are colossal mess. The best two words to describe coach Josh McDaniels’ latest judgement, or lack thereof, are colossal mess.   After starting 6-0 Denver finds itself 8-7 and fighting for their playoff lives, and apparently good old team first coach is trying to deflect the blame on to star wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

According to the

Associated Press coach Josh is benching his pro bowl, record-breaking receiver in what is to be the most pivotal game of the season.   

“Our word for the week has been accountability. And we’re looking to put the 45 guys on the field on Sunday that want to play together, want to help us try to win and qualify for the playoffs,” McDaniels said. “… And anybody that showed any indifference to that, we’ll play without them.”

Word out of Denver is that Marshall pulled up lame on a route during practice on Wednesday and was grabbing his right hamstring.  The MRI on it showed no structural damage, but Marshall insists that he lacks the explosion he once had. 

“There’s a number of players that are going to play on Sunday with things that are much more difficult to deal with than what he has,” said McDaniels, who repeated the phrase three times during his news conference. “It’s never going to be acceptable while I’m here and while this staff is here and while we’re trying to build our staff with this philosophy. I don’t know if it was acceptable before, but it isn’t going to be now and it never will be. And this isn’t about sending a message, it’s about fielding a team that wants to go out there and win and give us the best opportunity to do that.”

In Week 5 McDaniels spoke the following (below) after the huge win against his former Patriot boss Bill Belicheck.

“I lied,” McDaniels said, when asked about his game-week assertion that this was just another game. “It was a little bit more special to me because I knew how hard it was to beat him.”

Yes, that was a very minor, positive lie, but if he lied about that why should anyone believe he’s not lying about the whole Marshall saga, which coincidentally, is starting back up with the Broncos on the brink of elimination. 

It’s also interesting that Jabar Gaffney was pretty much quiet all year until last week when he caught seven balls and scored two touchdowns.  The only other time Gaffney caught five or more passes this season was against those Patriots in Week 5; also his former team. 

Now, here’s the whipped topping for this colossal mess: the Broncos play the Chiefs.  In other words, coach Josh will save his job either way.  If the Broncos win (which they should anyways), and make the playoffs he’ll make himself look like the hero coach.  If the Broncos lose he’ll most likely continue to deflect the blame on his star receiver, and say it was because he didn’t want to play. 

From a fantasy perspective this is only good news for Jabar Gaffney and Knowshon Moreno owners.  Gaffney has now become a huge sleeper this week and should catch plenty of balls.  Moreno was already a must start against a Chiefs defense that allowed him to score two touchdowns in their first meeting, and is a defense that has allowed 940 net yards in their last four games.  Now with Marshall out, Moreno has become the top start at running back this week.

OTHER NEWS AND INJURY UPDATES

The New Orleans Saints have ruled out running back Pierre Thomas and wide receiver Lance Moore for this week’s game against the Panthers.  And according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune Drew Brees will be the emergency third string quarterback, and veteran Mark Brunell will start. 

Wide receiver Derrick Mason and safety Ed Reed are both listed as questionable for this week’s important Week 17 match-up with the Raiders. 

According to the

Fort Wayne News-Sentinel it looks as though the Colts could stick to the same game plan as last week to stay “sharp” while resting some of their starters.  It’s a game plan that has been heavily chastised by media outlets and fans, but one that the Colts players, including leader Peyton Manning, have solidly stood behind. 

“I’ll admit it was not a pleasant experience on Sunday,” Manning said. “But I truly feel our team can be better for it, can come together, can play with a little bit of an edge, a chip if you will. If that may have caused it, that can be a positive for us, but I do think we have to move forward.”

ON THE INJURY REPORT

DE Dwight Freeney — Questionable

WR Pierre Garcon — Questionable

RB Donald Brown — Probable

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick — Probable

TE David Thomas — Doubtful

S Darren Sharper — Questionable

TE Jeremy Shockey — Questionable

WR Steve Smith (CAR) — Out

RB DeAngelo Williams — Doubtful

RB Jonathan Stewart — Questionable

WR Torry Holt — Out

TE Mercedes Lewis — Out

WR Jeremy Maclin — Probable

WR Johnny Knox — Doubtful

CB Charles Tillman — Out

S Louis Delmas — Questionable

S Troy Polamalu — Questionable

RB Ricky Williams — Questionable

RB Brandon Jacobs — Out

CB Aaron Ross — Out

RB Ahmad Bradshaw — Questionable

WR Mario Manningham — Questionable

TE Visanthe Shiancoe — Questionable

CB Nate Clements — Out

RB Steven Jackson — Questionable

RB Michael Turner — Questionable

QB Matt Ryan — Questionable

TE Tony Gonzalez — Questionable

WR Antonio Bryant — Probable

WR Larry Fitzgerald — Probable

WR Brandon Marshall — Out

WR Eddie Royal — Questionable

RB Justin Fargas — Doubtful

WR Devin Thomas — Out

LB Shawne Merriman — Doubtful

WR Vincent Jackson — Questionable

WR Nate Burleson — Out

LB Aaron Curry — Doubtful

CB Josh Wilson — Doubtful

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s been another great season for me here at FantasySharks.com.  Thank you to Tony Holm for allowing me to contribute to this great site.  Thank you to Greg Kellogg for putting up with me on some of the Fantasy Sharks radio shows.  Most of all, thank you to all the readers who have digested this feature, even it was only one time, and even if you think I’m a blazing idiot. 

Thanks for reading!  Have a great new year.  Good luck. 

Eric Huber is a staff writer for FantasySharks.com. 

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