Merry Christmas to all those who will be celebrating, and for those who aren't, the perfect way to spend your day when everything is shut is to read fantasy football advice for a week you might well not be playing fantasy in, right? At least that's what I do...
Who to Start:
QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. ATL: If you start him or Matt Ryan, you'll probably be in good shape for what is likely to be a shootout for the NFC South. Newton looked like his normal self against a better Cleveland defense, so going up against the worst unit in football is a favorable matchup for him in this decisive game.
RB Arian Foster (HOU) vs. JAX: You're probably starting him anyway, but his performance a few weeks ago against Jacksonville was very good, and with so much at stake for the Texans, it's likely we'll see the same determination from their best offensive player.
WR Odell Beckham (NYG) vs. PHI: It's not surprising that I say to start him anymore, is it? He's been absolutely dominant recently, and seeing how the Eagles secondary dealt with Washington's pass attack should make his owners mouths water.
WR Mike Evans (TB) vs. NO: Even though he may have well hit a wall in his last few games, the Saints defense is an appetizing one to find some form against, and this is his last chance to impress for rookie of the year votes too.
TE Delanie Walker (TEN) vs. IND: He's fourth among tight ends in receiving yards this season, which you probably don't know about because the Titans are garbage. The Colts defense can be had, especially against tight ends, so Walker could have a big day.
DEF Baltimore vs. CLE: Connor Shaw or Brian Hoyer? Not like it'll really matter for the Ravens, who have everything to play for against a Cleveland offense that has looked totally inept in their last 2 games.
Who to Sit:
QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. KC: He's going to play despite his bulging disk, but his numbers are never that spectacular, even when he's healthy, so when he's not 100% and his offense isn't either, starting him is a risky play.
RB Joique Bell (DET) vs. GB: He's never had any real successes against the Packers when he's played them in his career, and the Pack are a much better team defensively at home than they are away from Lambeau.
WR Eric Decker (NYJ) vs. MIA: He was a risky pick-up before the season, and he's a risky play now for all of the same reasons from August until now.
WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) vs. SF: Arizona's offense is a disaster zone right now, which doesn't bode well for Fitz who has gone almost completely quiet since Arizona's QB situation hit the skids. He's never done well against the 49ers in his career, either.
TE Travis Kelce (KC) vs. SD: He didn't have much success against KC in his first start against them this season, and even though the Chargers defense has been banged up, they always defend the Tight End well despite that.
DEF Cincinnati vs. PIT: Even though that defense was awesome on Monday night, it's not likely to be the same this week against the Steelers who torched the very same unit a couple of weeks ago.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Teddy Bridgewater (MIN) vs. CHI: Has he been the best of the rookie QB's this season? You could make a very convincing argument that he has been. If you're in desperate need of a better QB, you'd be hard pressed to find a better option.
RB Dan Herron (IND) vs. TEN: If the Jaguars can find success running against the Titans, then anyone can. Boom Herron had a tough week last week in Dallas as most Colts did, but I think he's going to be just fine on Sunday.
WR Golden Tate (DET) vs. GB: If Matt Stafford cuts down on the mistakes, Tate could have a huge day against a susceptible Packers secondary who has been found out at home this season.
WR Wes Welker (DEN) vs. OAK: The Raiders defense has been underrated this season, so keep that in mind for any Denver offensive player this week, especially after the disaster of a performance on Monday night in Cincy.
So that ends the sixth year of this fantasy column, which has morphed into a staple of anywhere I've written. It has been another good season, even though my fantasy team can't say that. Thanks to everyone who has read my little ramblings this season or any season since '09, and this column will return in September when the regular season does. In any event, enjoy Christmas, Week 17, and the New Year, and something will be concocted for the playoffs.