In what was Championship Week for most fantasy leagues, I delivered a non-championship worthy column as far as results. Two words - Jared Cook.
Though I was right that the Titans would be playing mostly from ahead, I was dead wrong that it would have a negative impact on Cook who posted the most points for a tight end out of anybody last week (22 points).
There were a couple of positives that made last week's writing semi-redeemable. Cam Newton was a hot start that came through as did Malcom Floyd. Both were top 10 in their respective positions last week. Kyle Orton was a sleeper start that was perfectly average with 12 points, so it didn't turn out to be the worst stab in the world.
Now it's on to Week 17 for those who are still playing for the shot at fantasy football glory in your respective league. Here's what I have for the final Fantasy Focus of the regular season.
ELI MANNING QB, N.Y. GIANTS- Manning managed to get double figures in points despite four interceptions last week against the Jets. That's something considering how off he was for the majority of the day. His receivers haven't helped much either, especially Hakeem Nicks who seems to lack focus. So why do I like Manning? It's a do or die game, and Manning did carve up the Cowboys secondary in Dallas just a few weeks ago. In a high scoring affair, I'll highlight the quarterback I trust more.
C.J. SPILLER RB, BUFFALO- The chance to shine is now for this former 1st round draft pick, and it comes against another defense that struggles to keep opponents off the scoreboard. Spiller has turned in some highlight reel runs in the past couple of weeks, and has reached the end zone in his last two games. I'd start him knowing that even though the Patriots will win, Buffalo will come up with their fair share of points.
JEREMY MACLIN WR, PHILADELPHIA- Maclin is back in the swing of things, and even though the Eagles are out, they're looking to finish out the season strong. Maclin is healthy, and you know how reliable he is for Michael Vick when called upon, which has been more so lately. The last time he went over 100 yards receiving- that was the first time they played Washington.
ROB GRONKOWSKI TE, NEW ENGLAND- The best tight end in the AFC this season has experienced a mini-slump the past couple of weeks. He's had average games by his standards, but if you've ridden with him to now, don't get off the train. He tortured Buffalo's linebackers in the first meeting, and I expect this drought without a touchdown ends.
JERMAINE GRESHAM TE, CINCINNATI- You're counting too much on a touchdown with Gresham. If he doesn't get it, you're stuck with 4 or 5 points. He's been solid for the majority of the season, but still has only one game with 70 yards receiving or more. The risk would be great, possibly too great.
JOE FLACCO QB, BALTIMORE- If the Ravens are to win, they have to rely more on Ray Rice. That means less opportunities for Flacco, and with Anquan Boldin hurt, that plays more into the equation. Cincinnati's defense has been respectable for the better part of this season, and I don't expect high totals from Flacco here.
PEYTON HILLIS RB, CLEVELAND- Hillis has had a pair of nice games coming into this week, but this is a big reality check. He somehow grounded out 112 yards rushing last week, but the disappointing season comes to an end on a disappointing note. Remember in the first meeting, he only amassed 25 yards rushing on 10 carries against Pittsburgh.
ROBERT MEACHEM WR, NEW ORLEANS- I expect Drew Brees to play at least most of this game, which means the rest of his healthy receivers will play. With Lance Moore's status in question, Meachem moves up a rung, but you're relying on the home run ball with the former Tennessee stand-out. He's not had back-to-back games of double digit points, and he put up 13 last week.
KAHLIL BELL RB, CHICAGO- As long as he starts, get him now. The Vikings were torched by Evan Royster last week, and Bell showed a little power and elusiveness against the Packers. You had to be impressed even if he doesn't play into the Bears' back field equation next season.
DEXTER MCCLUSTER RB, KANSAS CITY- With Jackie Battle possibly out this week, the focus becomes more on the versatile McCluster who can get it done as a receiver. Projecting a slight bump up in carries could mean a solid all-purpose day, and something worthy of a flex option if you need it.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS DEFENSE- You read right. I believe this can happen against a pitiful Jaguars offense. They may outscore the Jaguars defense in fantasy land considering Jacksonville has been ravaged by injuries lately. Remember the Colts did put up 7 points in the first meeting, and Jacksonville's offense has looked even worse since then. Plus, the Colts' defense has put up 24 points combined in their back-to-back winning efforts.
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