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The Lowdown – Week 17

Welcome to
The Lowdown for Week 17. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Ending on a High Note

Last week I told you about my quest to win my first-ever
FanEx title, one of the oldest Experts leagues in the industry. I snuck into the playoffs by winning my division with a 6-8 record (yes, a losing record) and advanced by beating a strong (10-4) team skippered by industry vet
Paul Charchian. In the title game last week, I was up against
Phil Gentiles’ team, the No. 1 seed (12-2).

Despite going up against
Peyton Manning, my team was able to pull out the victory 125.15-109.90, mainly on the strength of my running back duo of
Jamaal Charles and
Donald Brown. Read that sentence one more time, and come to the realization that you should stop reading this column immediately; you’d have a better shot of winning your league if you listened to the “experts” on ESPN.

Year-End Awards

If you’re still reading this mess, it’s time for you to suffer through my annual “Year-End Awards.” This is where I behave like most fantasy football experts, touting my awesome predictions and making no mention of all the incorrect calls I made. It’s like being a politician, only without as much lying. So, without further ado …

* Best On-Going Prediction: The Curse of 370 –
Every year, I write an article titled
The Real Curse of 370 in which I’ve proven out that running backs with a combined 370-plus touches in one season have an 80 percent chance of dropping at least 25 percent the following season. This season, I wrote:

“This season, I am again putting my faith in Mighty Max — in two experts’ drafts thus far where I’ve had the No. 1 pick overall, I drafted
Jamaal Charles in one league and traded down to No. 4 in the other (where I grabbed
LeSean McCoy). I am staying away from
Adrian Peterson (unless he falls to a RB2 level — not happening!) and
Arian Foster.”

Not only did Foster (down ~60 percent) and Peterson (down ~40 percent) tank, but the guys I touted — McCoy and Charles — have been spectacular this season. So score one for this fat guy!

* Best Weekly Prediction: WR Marvin Jones vs. New York Jets, Week 8 –
I had a couple of strong predictions this season, but the one that got me a ton of heat was this:

“He’s questionable heading into Sunday, but if he plays Jones has huge upside against the Jets. With
Antonio Cromartie likely shadowing
A.J. Green the entire game and the Jets’ front seven being pretty tough against the run, Jones will get plenty of opportunities to make some plays. Don’t be fooled by his season stats (16 receptions, 247 yards, 3 TD) — Jones has accumulated more than half (54 percent) of his season’s fantasy production in the past two weeks (7 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD).

Jones went on to torch the Jets to the tune of eight catches, 122 yards and four touchdowns, and cement my rep for the remainder of the season … much to the dismay of anyone who actually followed my advice the rest of the way.

* Most Spectacular Fail: Custom Picks for a High-Roller, Week 13
– In Week 13, I made the mistake of setting the lineup for a client in a big firm … the results were less than inspiring:

“All the guys I recommended (six in total) completely tanked. Guys like
Nate Burleson, Chris Ogbonnaya, Jarrett Boykin and
Wes Welker. In other words, he probably could have picked six random guys off the waiver wire and done better …”

And you thought you had it bad when you listened to my advice to start
Andre Caldwell last week …

That’s it for my Year-End Awards; unlike the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys, I try to limit my awards to categories one or two of you might find remotely interesting.

Interesting Players for Week 17

Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze …

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh
(vs. Cleveland): Very quietly, Roethlisberger has put up a very good season for the Steelers: more than 4,000 passing yards with 27 touchdowns. Those numbers kind of sneak up on you, don’t they? Roethlisberger has been a blessing for many a fantasy owner this season (myself included), bailing out those who drafted the likes of
Eli Manning, Robert Griffin III or
Colin Kaepernick.

The Steelers are playing the early game on Sunday, which means that their remote playoff hopes will not have been dashed yet; Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers will be playing to get into the post-season at that point. Big players come up big in big games, and I expect Roethlisberger to put up a 300-plus yard game with at least a pair of touchdowns.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego
(vs. Kansas City): The Chargers are riding a three-game winning streak heading into Week 17; what’s more, they still have a legit shot at the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. Do you know what’s fueled the Chargers’ win streak? No, not the arm of
Philip Rivers; it’s been the running of Mathews, who’s been averaging 28 carries, 110 yards and a touchdown per game as a runner during the streak. This week against the Chiefs (who are not that good against the run — 21st in the NFL), I think the Chargers will continue to run Mathews to excess so expect him to go for more than 100 yards with a score.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay
(at Chicago): Yes, Lacy has an ankle injury heading into Week 17, which puts his availability in doubt. But watching Lacy play throughout the season, there’s no way he’s going to sit out this game unless the coaching staff makes him inactive.

Aaron Rodgers will start for the Packers in this game, but I don’t know if he’ll be 100 percent; I see him being less of a gun-slinger and more of a really good game manager until he gets his legs back … which means the running game becomes critical in keeping Rodgers on his feet and healthy. If Lacy plays, he’ll have a big game against the NFL’s worst rush defense.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, New York Giants
(vs. Washington): I like what I’ve seen the past two weeks out of Jernigan. With
Victor Cruz out and
Hakeem Nicks playing like he doesn’t want to be in Giants’ Blue next season, Jernigan has been getting a good number of looks from
Eli Manning (20 targets) and has put up solid numbers (13 catches, 147 yards, TD). With the Redskins in town, Jernigan should put up some solid numbers — in the seven-catch, 70-yard, one touchdown range, which might be a decent flex play for your team.

Julian Edelman, WR, New England
(vs. Buffalo): You know what I like? Possession receivers who get a ton of targets, because they tend to be points per reception monsters. Witness
Julian Edelman

: in the last five games, Edelman has been averaging 12.4 targets a game. And Edelman has been making good on those targets, to the tune of 44 catches, 491 yards and four touchdowns (23.4 points per game). That’s some mighty easy fantasy pickings, especially for a Patriots’ team still alive for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playing against a Bills’ pass defense that gives up a decent number of points to opposing wide receivers.

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco
(at Arizona): Forget the fact the Cardinals are one of the top-5
worst defenses when it comes to yielding points to the opposing tight ends. Forget that Davis has had a monster season to-date. You want to know why Davis will have a big game? Because in Week 16, all I needed from him to win back-to-back championships in my Dynasty league was 1.75 points. That’s right, heading into Monday night, all I needed was for Davis to snag
one pass for at least
eight yards. Of course, this Pro Bowl-caliber tight end obliged my desire for a repeat title with zero points.

Which means there’s no surer reason for Davis to post 100 yards and two touchdowns
this week, when I have no use for him at all. Bet on it.

John T. Georgopoulos is an 18-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. His
Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on eight occasions. You can also listen to his weekly non-sports opinions


or follow him on Twitter


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