FFToolbox Blog: Ben's Brain

Week 17 - NFL and Survivor picks UPDATED

Who will win, step up and get beat down in Week 17 of the NFL season...

UPDATED 11:42 a.m

These game predictions do not reflect the opinion of FFToolbox.com, just those of a solo fantasy writer and Redskins fan who is still trying to figure how both the Cowboys and the Giants can lose...As a reminder, email any questions, be it about lineup fantasy decisions, trades, strategy or free agents, to podcast@fftoolbox.com or send tweets to @benstandig. Also, download the weekly FFToolbox.com podcast - hosted by yours truly with guests from the Rotoworld, CBS Sports, NY Time, Sports Illustrated and the National Football Post. Times can vary so download us on ITunes and you won't miss out.

***Biggest advice I can offer this week; look for team and in some cases individual motivation (stats, rushing titles, etc) and note time of games for certain teams in the postseason but still fighting for seed. Home Team in CAPS

PHILADELPHIA 27 (-8) Washington 17: Sounds like LeSean McCoy is going for the rushing title. If the Eagles players want Andy Reid back, they go all out. I think they go all out. UPDATE - McCoy, inactive. Congrats MJD on the rushing title.

ATLANTA 24 Tampa Bay 16 (+10): Looks to me that by the time Falcons play at 4pm, the Lions will have already topped the potentially backup-led Packers and claimed the fifth seed. In that case, the likes of Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez could sit. Then again, a Lions loss means the Falcons play it out. For fantasy owners reliant on any of the above stalwarts, make sure you have a viable alternate ready to go. Jason Snelling could dominate the Bucs woeful run defense if Turner sits and Harry Douglas has potential

San Francisco 26 (-10.5) ST. LOUIS 13 : Use your Niners

MINNESOTA 24 (-2) Chicago 20: No Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte, but Toby Gerhart and Kahlil Bell will get the job done.

Detroit 28 (-5) GREEN BAY 20: At least you will know before 1pm whether Aaron Rodgers and company are playing or not. Even if Rodgers were to start, can't imagine he would finish, even the first half.

NEW ORLEANS 28 Carolina 23 (+7): Saints play at the same time as the Niners, both pursuing the number two seed. Only concern with using Drew Brees and company is will they get pulled should the Niners roll early. Pretty much have to use your Saints as you would normally.

Tennessee 20 (-1.5) HOUSTON 17: The Texans are locked in as the No. 3 seed, but need to generate momentum heading into the playoffs. Arian Foster's touches could be less than usual, but enough to warrant using him. UPDATE - Adam Schefter is reporting Ben Tate expected to start for the Texans.

CINCINNATI 17 (+2) Baltimore 16: AFC game of the week. Defenses rule, the Bengals a touch more.

Pittsburgh 24 (-6.5) CLEVELAND 10: Sounds like Big Ben will play, but for how long and how effective?

JACKSONVILLE 24 Indianapolis 21 (+3.5): Nice bottom feeder matchup. Those you might ponder are worth using since both teams - yes, even the Colts - will play this out.

NY Jets 20 (+3) MIAMI 17: No Reggie Bush means Daniel Thomas regains value, if you care.

NEW ENGLAND 34 (-10.5) Buffalo 17: Gronk find end zone.

San Diego 27 (+3) OAKLAND 24 : Norv Turner's likely swan song knocks the Raiders out of the playoffs. I smell a 3-pick day for one Carson Palmer and a 3-TDP day for one Philip Rivers.

DENVER 22 Kansas City 20 (+3): Kyle Orton nearly gets revenge against his former team, Willis McGahee and the Broncos defense pull it out. What's his name comes along for the ride.

ARIZONA 20 (-3) Seattle 16 : Use your players as you normally would. That is all.

NY GIANTS 27 (-3) Dallas 23: Sounds like Tony Romo is playing, same for Felix Jones. If you wait for them, just get those rabbit's feet out and start rubbing...

Last week: Straight (10-6), Spread (8-8); Overall: Straight (139-77), Spread (103-110-4)...

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Survivor pick...Goes against my using a road team theory, but when you have to break out the "in case of emergency" scenario, you like doing so with lopsided matchups such as San Francisco over hapless St. Louis... Wk. 1 - Houston...Wk. 2 - Detroit...Wk. 3 - Carolina...Wk. 4 - Tampa Bay...Wk. 5 -NY Giants...Wk. 6 - Pittsburgh...Wk. 7 - New Orleans...Wk. 8 = Baltimore...Wk. 10 - Philadelphia...Wk. 11 - Green Bay...Wk. 12 - Atlanta...Wk. 13 - New England...Wk 14 - NY Jets...Wk.15 Arizona...Wk.16 Tennessee

Week 16 - NFL and Survivor picks with fantasy angles

Who will win, step up and get beat down in Week 16 of the NFL season...

These game predictions do not reflect the opinion of FFToolbox.com, just those of a solo fantasy writer who is trying not to over think things during Super Bow week. Advice to all" breathe easy, relax, do what you've been doing all season, other than now you trust Rex Grossman and the Redskins passing game...As a reminder, email any questions, be it about lineup fantasy decisions, trades, strategy or free agents, to podcast@fftoolbox.com or send tweets to @benstandig. Also, download the weekly FFToolbox.com podcast - hosted by yours truly with guests from the Rotoworld, CBS Sports, NY Time, Sports Illustrated and the National Football Post. Times can vary so download us on ITunes and you won't miss out.

***I'm locked and loaded this morning with fantasy thoughts. Since we couldn't work out a second podcast, I'm here for any last minute questions. Post them in the comments field, hit me on Twitter (@benstandig), email me at podcast@fftoolbox.com. Seriously, ask away, let's talk it out. Ultimately any lineup decision is your call and your call alone, but I'm here as a source so don't be shy...

Home Team in CAPS

KANSAS CITY 24 (-2.5) Oakland 20: Sure, I'm buying the Chiefs as a momentum play Vegas style, but outside of Dwayne Bowe against the Raiders soft secondary, still not in love with any of the other KC skill players. The defense, however, certainly worthy of a start against the turnover-prone Carson Palmer...Michael Bush is a touch banged up, but he churned out 99 yards on 17 carries in the previous meeting. If the Raiders are smart, they will lean on their top RB instead of putting the ball in Palmer's hands. At least the Raiders QB has most of speedy weapons available, but I'm not gutsy enough to use Palmer (and I'm not scared of easy)/

Denver 27 (-3) BUFFALO 20: Verify Willis McGahee is active and then rush to put him in your lineup against a horrid Bills run defense allowing 23.5 points per game to runners. Tim Tebow should use his legs as well to churn out points when he's not targeting high-end WR3 option Demaryius Thomas...Remember when the Bills offense was potent? Yeah, it's been a while. C.J. Spiller's all-around skill set gives him top-15 RB potential

TENNESSEE 20 Jacksonville 14 (+7) : Chris Johnson's gimpy ankle only makes it harder to gauge the weekly "how much do you trust" factor. Truth is, not feeling good, but I still trust Johnson more than Matt Hasselbeck, which is why Nate Washington and Damian Williams are little more than risky WR3 against a Jags defense allowing the fifth most points to fantasy receivers...I don't need to say you don't start any Jacksonville player besides by MJD, right? Right.

CINCINNATI 17 Arizona 16 (+4.5): Since the Bengals passing game potency has been decreasing, look for more Cedric Benson, who outproduces Beanie Wells...Otherwise Larry Fitzgerald and A.J. Green, maybe the Bengals defense, but that's about it.

NEW ENGLAND 34 (-9) Miami 24: Love Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush. Matt Moore is a sneaky QB1 play for Big Ben and Eli Manning owners, though he's not expected to have trusty tight end Anthony Fasano...As discussed on this week's FFToolbox podcast, Stevan Ridley looks to be emerging as a threat in the Pats backfield. The rookie's explosive upside makes him a gutsy call for owners in deep leagues, but overall the matchup against a Dolphins D allowing the third fewest points to fantasy runners is hardly ideal.

BALTIMORE 26 (-12) Cleveland 13: I wonder what the percentage of Super Bowl winners will have the Ravens defense. Difference maker for sure. Otherwise it's Ray Rice left, Ray Rice right and Ed Dickson scoring a touchdown. Not convinced Torrey Smith's value increases with Anquan Boldin out, but the Maryland rookie is always one play away from scoring from 70 yards out....Can't say I have much interest in Peyton Hillis, but I know I have none when it comes to Greg Little and the Browns receivers.

NY JETS 17 NY Giants 16 (+3): The Giants have the scarier receiving weapons, but in the Xmas Eve contest the Jets are presented with the significantly better matchup. Nicks and Cruz still rank ahead of Holmes and Burress, but the gap is closer than normal. Gut says Plax scores, Cruz gets his while Nicks' numbers take a tumble, but the grind it out nature of this important contest keeps all four under 100 yards.

WASHINGTON 23 Minnesota 17 (+7): I wrote about the beauty that is the Redskins passing game matchup against a Vikings pass defense that allows the most points to fantasy quarterbacks. So while I'd start the QB and top two receivers, Roy Helu's assortment of injuries is making me nervous, primarily because Mike Shanahan is his coach. If I have a comparable option likely to get lots of work (Kahlil Bell?) or with a stellar matchup (either Carolina running back?), I'd let Helu rest...

CAROLINA 34 (-9) Tampa Bay 14: Cam Newton, number one fantasy player of the week. Book it. Love both DeAngelo andf J-Stew, but the distribution of touches, especially around the goal line makes them risky regardless.Woithy of flex or low-end RB2, use either if you need upside or if you're dealing with uncertainty (Felix Jones, Packers backfield)...Bucs are packing it in which is why even though LeGarrette Blount's matchup is as tasty as his Carolina counterparts, I'm barely intrigued with him as anything more than a flex.

PITTSBURGH 20 (-12) St. Louis 6: With Charlie Batch under center, logic says the Steelers turn to Rashard Mendenhall early and often. As for Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, owners will be counting on the speedy wide outs to turn five-yard slants and out into 40+ yard sprints and scores. That's why Wallace's value dips from his usual top-5 rank into the low WR2 range while Brown on paper is a WR3. Not impossible they produce, but their odds of doing so have dropped for sure...Start any Ram - basically Steven Jackson - at your own risk. Steelers D, not to be messed with this week.

DETROIT 28 (-1) San Diego 26: Get your popcorn ready for this one as Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers should have an old fashioned shootout. Use Malcom Floyd, Nate Burleson or Titus Young as needed...My biggest fear in Super Bowl week? Having my player knocked out early, which is why guys like Kevin Smith who are dinged and come with a lengthy injury history have me running for the hills.

SEATTLE 14 (-1) San Francisco 13: The touchdown-streaking Marshawn Lynch against a Niners D that hasn't allowed a rushing TD this season easily stands as the most intriguing matchup of the week. Hard to think Mr. Skittles gets into Beast Mode, but I wouldn't sit him unless my other options were truly superior...As much as I love and defend what the Niners are doing this season, not feeling their offense much in this NFC West matchup. Frank Gore has RB2 value and Vernon Davis likely is your top TE option, but upside not tremendous.

Philadelphia 27 (+1) DALLAS 24: Michael Vick, back on track. Yes Jerry Jones, be scared. Feeling better about the Eagles receivers - at least this week - than I have in some time...Felix Jones is just so damn risky, because of his injury situation and the late start as the result could become irrelevant based on early outcomes. Only way I even ponder using Jones is if I have another 4pm/Sunday/Monday running back I could use should Felix wind up inactive. And no, Sammy Morris doesn't really count.

GREEN BAY 24 Chicago 16 (+11) : We discussed the how much or how little we trust the Packers this week at the top of the latest FFToolbox podcast. Give it a listen, it won't take long. I'll simply say I understand 10000000% percent if you start Rodgers, Nelson, Finley etc per usual, but there is more risk than in doing so than at any point this season. If the Niners lose on Saturday, the Packers will have clinched home field advantage before they play on Sunday. Two offensive lineman have already been ruled out. Just promise you have Matt Flynn rostered just in case...Songs will be written about Kahlil Bell if he goes from who's that to he's the man in a matter of two weeks. The Packers are thin along the defensive line and Bell's strong receiving skills ensure PPR owners can use him as a RB2 with Marion Barber out. All I can say is think about how you will feel if a player you never heard of 10 minutes ago bombs in the Super Bowl. if you can sleep with that as a possibility, then go ahead and boldly start him...

NEW ORLEANS 31 Atlanta 28 (+7): Brees, proles, Colston, Graham, Kasay, Ryan, Turner, White, Jones and Bryant owners: Enjoy

From Thursday...Houston 20 INDIANAPOLIS 14 (+7): Outside of their two running backs - Tate as a flex - and defense, not terribly excited about the Texans fantasy weapons. T. J. Yates is doing what he can, but hard to trust the rookie even against the Colts...Even though Donald Brown's matchup is hardly ideal - Texans defense allowing second fewest points to fantasy runners - I wouldn't laugh at anyone using him as a flex play or low-end RB2. Has touchdowns in three of last four games. As for the receivers, I guess Garcon and Wayne have some WR3 value, but I don't see this game turning into a rout where the Colts are throwing on nearly every play.

Last week: Straight (5-8), Spread (4-11); Overall: Straight (129-71), Spread (95-102-4)...

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Survivor pick... If you still have Carolina, go ahead and use. Since I've used them, guess I have to go with Tennessee... Wk. 1 - Houston...Wk. 2 - Detroit...Wk. 3 - Carolina...Wk. 4 - Tampa Bay...Wk. 5 -NY Giants...Wk. 6 - Pittsburgh...Wk. 7 - New Orleans...Wk. 8 = Baltimore...Wk. 10 - Philadelphia...Wk. 11 - Green Bay...Wk. 12 - Atlanta...Wk. 13 - New England...Wk 14 - NY Jets...Wk. Arizona

Week 16 - Thursday night pick with fantasy angles

Who will win, step up and get beat down in Week 16 of the NFL season...

This Thursday night game predictions do not reflect the opinion of FFToolbox.com, just those of a solo fantasy writer who is setting the over/under of Andrew Luck mentions in tonight's Colts game at 10.5......As a reminder, email any questions, be it about lineup fantasy decisions, trades, strategy or free agents, to podcast@fftoolbox.com or send tweets to @benstandig. Also, download the weekly FFToolbox.com podcast - hosted by yours truly with guests from the Rotoworld, CBS Sports, NY Time, Sports Illustrated and the National Football Post. Times can vary so download us on ITunes and you won't miss out.

***Will post the rest of the week 16 games ASAP. Post any lineup questions in the comments field, hit me on Twitter (@benstandig), email me at podcast@fftoolbox.com, etct. Ultimately any lineup decision is your call and your call alone, but I'm here as a source so don't be shy...It's Super Bowl week!

Home Team in CAPS

Houston 20 INDIANAPOLIS 14 (+7): Outside of their two running backs - Tate as a flex - and defense, not terribly excited about the Texans fantasy weapons. T. J. Yates is doing what he can, but hard to trust the rookie even against the Colts...Even though Donald Brown's matchup is hardly ideal - Texans defense allowing second fewest points to fantasy runners - I wouldn't laugh at anyone using him as a flex play or low-end RB2. Has touchdowns in three of last four games. As for the receivers, I guess Garcon and Wayne have some WR3 value, but I don't see this game turning into a rout where the Colts are throwing on nearly every play.

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