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Fantasy Nation Week 17

eagle eye

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Okay, so I lied. I only THOUGHT I was done with FN for 2013. But, there are some bombs that have dropped over the last 36 hours.


First and foremost the biggest news of the day came out of Dallas with the word that Tony Romo suffered a herniated disc in his back during Sunday's game with the Redskins. Despite the fact that Romo played through the pain and led the Cowboys to a last minute victory he was scheduled to undergo an MRI today (Monday). Before the results of the MRI were made public ESPN's Adam Schefter reported via a league source that Romo was done for the season. However, later in the day, at his usual Monday afternoon press conference Jason Garrett confirmed Romo's injury but he refused to rule out Romo for this week's win-and-your-in game against Philly. He said Romo was getting treatment today and would continue to get treatment as the week goes on. Garrett may be going on the fact Romo was able to play despite the pain in his back against the Redskins but Dallas will need to consider Romo's long term health and it may be better for Dallas if they shut down Romo now and see about getting the back surgery, some feel is inevitable, done ASAP so he will be available for next season. If Romo can't go then Kyle Orton will be the Cowboys QB in Week 17. Not good news at all for fantasy owners.


With the Chicago loss on Sunday night their playoff hopes are hanging on Week 17. That loss coupled with losses by Green Bay and Detroit make the Norris division up for grabs this week. It could also see the return of Aaron Rodgers because with a win by the Packers and a loss by Chicago Green Bay would win the NFC North. Detroit's loss eliminates them from contention marking an utter collapse by the Lions in December. Needless to say Motor City fans are none-to-happy with Jim Schwartz and his Lions right now.


The NFC South is up for grabs too with Carolina being the favorite to win the division when they play Atlanta this Sunday. After edging out the Saints at home in the rain Sunday to clinch a playoff spot they could still lose the division if they don't win against Atlanta this week and the Saints try to go 8-0 at home when they face Tampa Bay. Both Carolina and Arizona are hoping the Saints lose. Carolina so they win the division and Arizona so if they beat the 49ers they will win the other wild card spot. The 49ers are hoping Seattle loses their game against increasingly tough Rams so if they beat Arizona they win the NFC West! The point here is there is still some good football left on the NFC side of the board.


That doesn't mean the AFC is a done deal. The things we know for sure is Denver clinched the AFC West and a 1st round bye in the playoffs and Kansas City earned the top wild card spot. The Patriots clinched the AFC East, the Bengals clinched the AFC North and Indianapolis clinched the AFC South. If the Patriots lose this week then either the Bengals or the Colts could sneak in a take the No 2 seed with a win this week. Never underestimate the value of a 1st round bye.


The last AFC wild card is still up for grabs with Miami and Baltimore leading the pack at 8-7 with the Jets and Pittsburgh holding out hope at 7-8. I believe Cincy would love nothing better than to beat the Ravens and send the defending world champs home for New Years. Cincinnati still has it's own agenda so this game is tre importante for both teams. Miami squares off against the Jets in South Beach and both would dearly love to win. Pittsburgh is playing Cleveland at home and the Browns would love to end their season by ending their hated division rival's season with a win. It won't be easy since the game is in Pittsburgh.


The only thing is if Denver loses this week against the Raiders and New England beats Buffalo then the Patriots become the No 1 seed going into the playoffs which means home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Suddenly, Denver can't be considered the favorite to win the AFC and go to the Super Bowl. Their job is all the more difficult now because the Broncos lost Vonn Miller to a torn ACL in Houston Sunday. Either way it goes, I believe it's still advantage Patriots just because it's the return of the Evil Empire and Darth Sidius Belichick and Darth Vader Brady with their Death Star in Foxborough, Massachusetts looming on the horizon. But neither the Evil Empire or the Broncos have no gimmies here. Cincinnati and Indy are no pushovers so this Sunday looms very big and for fantasy owners who finish with their league championships this week putting your best roster on the field should not be a problem.





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Many teams practiced yesterday in prep for this week's games but the status of Aaron Rodgers is still in question. ESPN reported this morning that today Green Bay will know if Rodgers is cleared to play. The Packers were off for Christmas and it's expected to have word on Rodgers availability before practice begins today. Rodgers has been practicing for the past four weeks but has yet to get medically cleared to play. The big controversy is the "speculation" done by the media citing team sources that is causing Rodgers to be upset to say the least. He said if anyone in the Packers organization leaking "news" to the media doesn't know what he's talking about and if someone is leaking the news without putting his name on it is a coward. Rodgers added that he doesn't think anyone in the Packers organization would do that. He also said information from anyone but the only 4 people who know everything about his situation is himself, head coach Mike McCarthy, team physician Dr Pat McKensey and GM Ted Thompson. Rodgers said information from any other source is not appropriate and I sort of agree with him. Frankly, it seems to be a violation of the HIPPA law. Athletes apparently don't have the same rights to privacy the rest of us do.

Green Bay is also going to be without star LB Clay Matthews who rebroke his thumb last Sunday.


According to NFL.com 8-9% of fantasy leagues will end their season this week which is still a significant amount and, this season anyway, there are still enough games that are significant enough not to sit starters which means the fantasy games this week should be very competitive.


Here's the current injury round up from NFL.com.



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Aaron Rodgers took first team snaps in practice today and at his daily presser head coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers will start for Packers on Sunday. With Rodgers in the lineup the Packers were 5-3 but after he broke his collar bone they went 2-4-1. The NFC North will be decided Sunday and it will be decided on the field as Green Bay travels to Chicago for a showdown game that will give the winner the division championship and a trip to the playoffs and the loser a ticket home to think about were they messed up. The return of Rodgers is great and if anyone is wondering if rust will be an issue I would say a little bit but he's been practicing to some extend for the past four weeks. On a fantasy note Randall Cobb is back at practice for the first time since breaking his leg earlier in the year. Rust may be a factor and I'd have a hard time penciling Cobb into a lineup with a fantasy league championship on the line. WR's Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin and TE Andrew Quarless' value sure rises with Rodgers back in the lineup.

The other concern for Green Bay is the availability of RB Eddie Lacy. Lacy was having a nice game agianst the Steelers last week before tweeking his already gimpy ankle in the second half. After the injury Lacy didn't play again in the game and looks to be questionable in this week's game. The Bears rushing defense is pretty bad and Lacy could be used to grind out the game to protect Aaron Rodgers. If Lacy can't go the Packers will depend on James Starks who is fully capable of carrying the load if necessary. For fantasy purposes you need to be on your injury list toes for this one.


Just so you don't think this in the Packers thread Houston head coach Wade Phillips indicated that Case Keenum will start in Sunday's finale against Tennessee if his thumb will allow him to play. He practiced yesterday and if he feels good today it's likely he'll be the man. He can't expect much help from the running game though. Dennis Johnson injured his hip and he didn't practice on Wednesday, Deji Karim was put on season ending IR after breaking his clavicle. Karim is the third Houston RB to be put on IR this year following Arian Foster and Ben Tate. If Johnson can't go Houston will have to play with two players just signed to the team. Actually Jonathan Grimes was signed last week and is expected to get the start and this week they signed Ray Graham who started 2013 in Houston as an undrafted free agent but who was eventually signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. The Texans signed him this week because he is familiar with the Texans offense and can step right in. Grimes was an undrafted free agent who was signed by Houston after the 2012 draft. This makes Grimes' third stint in Houston with stops in New York for the Jets and Jacksonville.


Wes Welker returned to practice for the Broncos. His status for this Sunday's game against the Raiders is still day to day. The Broncos also got help on defense in the form of the return of CB Kayvon Webster and DE Derek Wolfe. The Bronco also signed LB Brandon Marshall off their practice squad to the 53 man roster to replace Vonn Miller who went IR after tearing his ACL last Sunday.

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Tony Romo's status for Week 17 has been cleared up. He isn't playing this week or in the playoffs if Dallas wins Sunday night. Romo had surgery early this morning to repair the herniated disc he suffered in the Washington game last Sunday. So, if you need a quarterback Kyle Orton will be the starter for Dallas this week and as long as the Cowboys remain alive in the playoffs if they beat Philadelphia and win the NFC East.
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Wes Welker is officially listed as out for the Broncos season finale against Oakland due lingering issues with a concussion he suffered two weeks ago. The Broncos shouldn't miss him too much as Denver should take care of business against the Raiders. Welker will have a full month to recover from the concussion because Denver will have a first round bye in the playoffs and Welker was cleared to practice this week. This is probably a good thing for Welker's long term health. Eric Decker has been the bell cow of the Broncos receivers this past month anyway so fantasy owners should ride with him, DeMaryius Thomas and TE Julius Jones to nail down home field advantage throughout the playoffs on Sunday. Knowshon Moreno is still the lead back for Denver but rookie Montee Ball is robbing more of Moreno's touches especially around the goal line the last few weeks. Toss a coin and use the winner as a flex player Sunday.


Significant injuries effecting your fantasy lineups:


Megatron will be a game time decision due to knee and ankle problems. Detroit has nothing to play for this week and IMO would be stupid to jeopardize his long term health in a meaningless game.


Adrian Peterson is listed as doubtful as he's still bothered by groin and foot issues. NFL.com is reporting that with Toby Gerhart out as well Minnesota will use a heavy dose of Matt Asiata.


The Bills will be without QB E J Manual for the second week as they face New England. Thad Lewis will make his second straight start Sunday. Stevie Johnson will also miss due to a death in his family.


Carolina WR Steve Smith will miss the season finale against the Falcons due to a knee injury he suffered last week against New Orleans.


The Ravens have a few players who are questionable but if they are only questionable I would expect them to play. Ray Rice is one of those players but he's been very disappointing to fantasy owners this year. In all likelihood you aren't depending on Rice by now anyway.


The Bengals are listing TE Tyler Eifort as doubtful this week and the other TE Jermaine Gresham is listed as questionable with concussion symptoms. The Bengals best defender, Vontaze Burfict is questionable because of concussion.


WR/KR Tavon Austin is questionable and has been limited in practice this week. The Rams face Seattle this week with the Seahawks needing a win to nail down the NFC West.


The Browns ace TE Jordan Cameron is listed as questionable with a concussion and DB Joe Haden is questionable too with a hip problem.


The Chiefs will go into their season finale against San Diego without WR Dwayne Bowe because of concussion (see a pattern here?) and pass rushing linebacker Tamba Hali is also out with a knee injury.


Mario Manningham is done for the season because of setbacks in his rehab from knee surgery. The 49ers placed him on IR this week.

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