Week 17: PPR Watch
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Confident - Right when scoring counts the most, Maclin is once again becoming a fantasy star. One thing I look for this time of year when making lineup choices, is teams that have something to play for. The Eagles may not, and Maclin may not, but Michael Vick does. With Nick Foles slinging the ball all over the place, trying to make his case as the QB of the future in Philadelphia, Maclin has returned to form. Over the past 3 games Maclin has put up the 8th most fantasy PPG, averaging nearly 7 catches and 100 yards a game. He's scored twice, and in week 17 the Eagles play the Giants with a chance to be a playoff spoiler. The Giants secondary has been lit up recently, and Andy Reid would no doubt like to end his tenure in Philly a winner. With Foles injured, Vick has one last shot to make an impression on the prospective teams that wonder if he has any of the magic left in him he showed in 2010. Put all of Maclin's disappointing weeks out of your mind. Expect the Eagles to compete, and Maclin to have a very nice game.
Confident - Hopefully if you've made it to the championship, you have better options than Owens. But maybe you don't, and the way things have turned out, Owens isn't that terrible an option anyway. For Owens, a 3rd year 3rd string running back with an opportunity, every chance he gets to touch the ball is a chance to improve his situation in the NFL. So far he's taken advantage, averaging a healthy 5 YPC and 14.3 per reception. It is his value as a pass catcher that makes him particularly startable in PPR. Against the Patriots he turned 4 receptions into 77 yards, including a big 53 yard gain. This week he should get at least 15 touches against an extremely vulnerable Titans defensive line that's allowed the 2nd most PPG to RBs. This isn't an elite talent (and the risk of a dud is always substantial), but if you're looking for a solid matchup play, Owens is the guy.
Confident - If you're in a league that plays in week 17, then you should try to talk your commish out of it. For this year, you're going to have to start some players in meaningless games, and Brown is a guy I'm pretty comfortable with. Since coming back over the last 3 weeks, Brown has led the Steelers in targets and is 11th in fantasy points per game. He's scored 3 times, and despite some stupid mental mistakes, has looked more like the big play threat he was in the pre-season. The matchup this week against Cleveland is very nice, as the Browns have given up the second most receptions and touchdowns to WRs and Mike Wallace is likely to draw Joe Haden. PIttsburgh is eliminated from the playoffs, but they're a prideful team, playing at home with an opportunity to finish the year 8-8. They won't want to end with a losing record in front of their fans. The Steelers will play hard, and Brown should see a minimum of 6 catches.
Confident - Fairly Confident? A little confident? Thank goodness this is the last week of having to try to predict TE behavior in 2012. I played Scheffler last week in one of my main money leagues, and his measly 5 points didn't hurt me, I won anyway. That's pretty much the point right now. Finding a TE that isn't going to cost you a fantasy championship, rather than trying to plug in one that's going to win it for you. As long as Pettigrew doesn't play, Scheffler is the best pass catching TE option on an offense that throws the ball 50 times a game. The matchup against Chicago isn't great on paper (and the Bears will be a lot more motivated than the Lions), but I still think Detroit will have to go through the motions at home against a division rival, and Scheffler should be good for 6-8 targets. Chicago doesn't give up many touchdowns to the position, but they do allow quite a few receptions. Scheffler isn't a great option, but if you don't have a top guy, he should be serviceable; I like him better than guys like Allen, Clark, and Tamme who have all but disappeared.
Caution - Alexander keeps getting it done no matter which team he's playing. The Jets are obviously a debacle, but they still managed to shut down Kenny Britt the week before. Alexander, on the other hand, managed a long 37 yard TD. Unfortunately, he's not the prototype PPR receiver. His 3 TDs are keeping him fantasy viable, but otherwise he's averaging just 3 receptions and 50 yards a week over the past three games. That's not enough for me. The matchup against Oakland sounds pretty juicy, but the Raiders secondary hasn't been as vulnerable as you probably think. Oakland has allowed just 4 touchdowns to WRs over the past 5 weeks. Their competition hasn't been the best, but then again, neither is San Diego. Phil Rivers and the Chargers have completed fewer passes to WRs than any other team in the NFL. He's a flex play I guess, but I wouldn't force him into my lineup.