Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator. May it be your hari-kari sword. We close out the season with an eye toward the NFL playoffs. For most of you, your fantasy season either ended in a Championship, or not. There are a few of you still playing in Week 17. If you are, please tell your commissioner that fielding a fantasy lineup for all the marbles on Week 17 is insane and to adjust your schedule for next year. If they have a problem with that, send them my way.
Next week, the annual playoff edition of The Prognosticator arrives and I’ll confess that it is my favorite Progno of the year. I project who will win the NFL playoffs for the wildcard games all the way through the Superbowl. For those in playoff leagues, it’s a can’t miss edition for your sleeper picks as it has historically been eerily accurate.
It has been a pleasure serving you this season. Thanks for taking the time to make this rag a part of your weekly reading. We’re glad you’ve taken the time to join us here at FantasySharks.com and we look forward to being your fantasy intelligence provider for many championships to come.
Weekly Fantasy Forecast
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Sunday 1:00pm
Chemistry and coaching. That is what makes a team play hard Week 17 when there is nothing to play for. The Lions are auditioning their players still and Joey Harrington is auditioning for the lead. Steve Mariucci will have his players ready to play because the Lions aren’t loaded with veterans and that will make them a much better Week 17 team.
If Steve McNair started I wouldn’t be as confident in their chances. Lucky for the Titans, Billy Volek wants to put an asterisk on his season with a strong finish so that he can buy that mansion in the hills. I drafted Drew Bennett late in every league I could get him in and boy was I pleased. Slight concern here is that the Titans are a fairly old team with less incentive to play but they still won’t want to lose in their house. Losing in your own house creates bad NFL karma.
Prediction: Titans 29 – Lions 23
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00pm
Congratulations to the Packers on a well played game against the Vikings. The trend in the NFL this year is to rest your players and not worry about momentum. To evaluate the fantasy impact on your teams you really have to know the tendencies of each coach and the state the team is in at the time. The Packers are a veteran team that could use a week off with injuries to Ahman Green. Expect a lot of sitting for the Packers at all positions as they use the game to evaluate some of their young talent.
The Bears need to play and Thomas Jones is the only thing they have.
Prediction:Packers 20 – Bears 17
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Sunday 1:00pm
Both teams are playing this game and expect Joe Horn to finish his season well.
The Panthers need some help to make the playoffs but if they do, watch out as they will be the team to beat in the NFC. That’s right, the Panthers. They’ll do their part with a steady dose of Nick Goings and Mushin Muhammed.
Prediction: Panthers 37 – Saints 24
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots Sunday 1:00pm
The 49’ers are travelling east for essentially a 10am game in Foxboro? Holy crow Batman. The 49’ers have said that Tim Rattay will be their QB next season. As long as they get him an offensive line, that is actually a good move.
The Patriots are going to take it easy on all their starters but look for the Patriots B team to still make the 49’ers look like a catholic high school football team. Cedric Cobb is going to have a very solid day.
Prediction: Patriots 35 – 49ers 17
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins Sunday 1:00pm
This is a playoff game for the Vikings and they will play hard to win. Expect Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss to be the focal point of the Vikings on Sunday. Mike Tice appears to be back for the Vikings next season. He must have some amazing compromising photos of ownership at a geisha farm.
The Vikings defense is bad. Real bad. Patrick Ramsey is starting to find his rhythm and for those not in the know, Ramsey is a big Progno favorite. The Redskins know changes are coming and many will want to play well for their own reasons.
Prediction: Redskins 27 – Vikings 20
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams Sunday 1:00pm
The Jets are simply better in all aspects. Sure Chad Pennington would rather have the Rams receivers to throw to but there are a lot more variables that win football games. Only play in this contest is Curtis Martin as he goes for the league rushing title. The Jets D will shut down the Rams.
Prediction: Jets 17 – Rams 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills Sunday 1:00pm
The Steelers have everything locked up and need time to rest. The majority of their primary positions are manned by vets and although the Steelers would prefer Ben Roethlisberger take some more snaps before the playoffs, the two weeks off will do him more good than bad.
The Bills have been on a roll and it won’t stop here at home. Look for Willis McGahee to continue to put the Bills on his back and make himself a top 5 RB in your draft next year.
Prediction: Bills 48 – Steelers 17
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans Sunday 1:00pm
The Browns are a mess. You know Lee Suggs will finally get the ball for the majority of the game but the Browns have completely imploded. How I would enjoy taking that franchise and turning it around. I honestly, really, positively could do it. No joke. I would slash the franchise to the bone and build it back up. Browns really want to lose this game to help them in May.
The Texans are one of the few remaining teams that are young, scrappy and will be playing at full speed. Their defense is a patchwork of older and younger guys but the team itself wasn’t expected to perform and that makes it easier to keep them playing. Domanick Davis will play well as he cements himself as the starting RB in 2005.
Prediction: Texans 20 – Browns 9
Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles Sunday 1:00pm
The Bengals will put in a decent day at the office and their usual suspects all deserve a look for you this week. Carson Palmer may be back this week so keep an eye on that situation.
The Eagles rested their players too early last week and it will bite them in the playoffs. Look for the same resting this week but expect for their B starters to play much better now that they are completely prepared to play this game and for the Eagles to surprise in a tight game.
Prediction: Eagles 21 – Bengals 20
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens Sunday 1:00pm
The Dolphins take a look at Sage Rosenfels this weekend as they try to figure out how to get their franchise off the scrap heap. If any organization in the NFL is capable of rebounding from this season, it’s the Dolphins.
Expect Jamal Lewis to run wild in this as the Ravens will have a difficult time with the Dolphins secondary.
What the heck. If Ben Roethlisberger can do it ..
Prediction: Dolphins 27 – Ravens 23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Sunday 4:05pm
The Bucs are a team that will play, somewhat for Gruden. But win one? I don’t think so. Brian Griese certainly wants to play as best he can as does most of the skill position players on this team. The problem is that the guys in the trenches are ready to go home, strap on some Foot-Joy’s and get back to smacking that little Pro-V1 around.
Even I, a perennial Cardinal basher for the way they run their organization, have to give them a little nod. I’ll tell ya fellas, you finally did get that O-Line to play and that was the big difference in winning some games. With no offense to Emmitt Smith, who very arguably has exceeded all expectations and has a shot (though kind of a long one) to rush for 1,000 yards this season, PLEASE pick a RB in the 1st round this May. It will help the defense and offense get better. Call me if you’d like me to help.
Speaking of mis-managed teams these are some doozies:
Vikings, Browns, Bears, Jaguars and the Bengals though things are definitely on the rise in Cincinnati. I really like where they are going with this.
Prediction: Cardinals 23 – Buccaneers 20
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Sunday 4:05pm
The Falcons are going to rest anybody that wears a Falcons uniform. I believe they’re flying in an NFL Europe team to play the game for them. Is it me, or does the NFL need to add some competition clause to the league that makes it illegal to sit a player if he is not on the injury report? This resting stars that got you to your playoffs is brutal guys. You want one more week of the fantasy football players money? Add this clause and you just upped the pot and profits for yourself. Again, call me if you need more. What the flip already.
The Seahawks win means an extra home game and you better believe Mike Holmgren knows that is enormous for his team. He’s treating this game like a Superbowl. Even though the Seahawks win, they don’t look good doing it against the NFL Europe team which is bad news no matter where you play the games.
Prediction: Seahawks 25 – Falcons 24
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Sunday 4:15pm
The Colts actually have a very good B squad and are deep in a number of places on offense. Deep enough to take over for Manning and company to score themselves, just not as prolifically. A fantasy desert due to the bench factor.
The Broncos still want to look at Tatum Bell and they want to see Jake Plummer continue his upward notch. Both will have the opportunity.
Prediction: Colts 24 – Broncos 23
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers Sunday 4:15pm
What a fantastic game that is lost on this ‘sitting’ bologna. Chiefs should win this handily with Larry Johnson a strong start.
Prediction: Chiefs 37 – Chargers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders Sunday 4:15pm
The gut says that Fred Taylor plays and plays well. Check the injury report to be sure, but if he starts, get him in your lineup.
The Raiders have been clicking in the air. Look for a lot of that aerial firework to continue to Jerry Porter. Another old Progno fave that we never gave up on when everyone else bailed.
Prediction: Raiders 28 – Jaguars 23
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Sunday 8:30pm
Look, I’m as big of a Parcells fan as the next Parcells fan but this will be sickening as Madden and Michaels reflect on the Giants and ole’ LT with Parcells. Julius Jones will play well.
The Giants will pass a lot and Eli Manning will show just a hair more maturation this week.
Prediction: Giants 24 – Cowboys 21