Here we are at the end of the another fantasy football season.  Congratulations to those of you that made it to the fantasy Super Bowl, and to those of you that didn’t, it’s time to get to work studying so you can come back strong next season.  So with not much left to say, I’ll just leave my final intro of the season with, good luck to all of you still playing.  Except for those facing me this week, of course.  I hope your teams have their worst week of the year.  Also, for you fans of “The Leauge,” I really tried to find a picture of The Shiva trophy for the picture this week, but there weren’t any good ones out there.  I thought it would make for a fun joke, but no such luck.  Now to week 16.

Quarterback

BEST:      Tom Brady, NE

-He looked good last week against a defense that has been playing like one of the best in the league last week.  This week he gets an easier test with the Miami Dolphins. Atlanta has given up 21 touchdowns so far this season, and you’d be crazy not to think that Brady will put them well above that mark after this week.  I see Brady going off for nearly 400 yards and 3 scores while throwing no interceptions.  If you’re in the finals there is probably a pretty solid chance that Brady (or another elite QB) is on your roster, so if you have him, don’t get cute.  Start him no matter what.

WORST:  Matt Stafford, DET

-I think Stafford has preformed very well in what is essentially his first real season as an NFL starter.  The future looks bright for the Lions and their signal caller, just not the immediate future.  The Chargers have been a disappointment this season, but it isn’t because of their pass defense.  Right now the Chargers are ranked 6th in the league in terms of passing yardage given up so far this season, giving up only 201 yards per game.  I have a feeling that Stafford will end up right around that number, as I’m sure the Chargers will make a point to shut down Calvin Johnson, and when teams have done that, they’ve had success against the Lions.  However, one point of optimism for Stafford is the number of touchdowns given up by the Chargers through the air this season.  As it stands right now the Chargers have given up 24 touchdowns, which means if you combine that with their low passing yardage totals shows that the Chargers have likely not been great in red-zone pass defense.  If the Lions can get inside the San Diego 20 yard line, that could throw a real monkey wrench into my prediction.  Even with that in mind I see Stafford throwing for 200 yards and 1 score, not what you expect from a guy who has performed like he has this season,

Running Back

BEST:    Ray Rice, BAL

-He’s facing the Browns, who regular readers will know, have an awful rush defense.  Currently, the Browns are giving up 145 yards per game, and it seems entirely likely that Rice should be able to get somewhere around d that number.  He’ll also probably add on about 35 yards receiving as well, to give a bonus 3.5 points to his owners.  However, there is one downside here.  The Browns have played well against the pass this year, and Joe Flacco has been his usual roller coaster ride.  If Flacco plays well, Rice will flourish.  But if Flacco plays poorly, and turns the ball over, that will take the ball out of Rice’s hands and could really hurt his fantasy value.  I’m banking on the good Flacco showing up, so I see rice going for about 130 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, and 35 yards receiving.

WORST:  Marshawn Lynch, SEA

-Yeah, Yeah, beast mode, I get it.  The guy is a tough runner, and has been a fantasy force this season.  However, the real beasts this week will be the San Fran defense who STILL haven’t given up a touchdown.  Lynch isn’t going to break the Niners’ streak this week, and that is really going to hurt his value.  Best case scenario:  He rushes for 100 yards and no touchdowns.  Worst case scenario:  He rushes for 40 yards and no touchdowns.  Either way, not what you’ve come to expect from Lynch this season.

Wide Receiver

BEST:    Brandon Marshall, MIA

-He missed practice recently, so that’s clearly a concern, but assuming he plays I really like his chances this week.  But he had a huge week last week, and faces the worst pass defense in the league in week 16.  The Pats are giving up 296.7 yards per game, and have let 21 passing touchdowns go by in 2011.  If the Dolphins hit the New England averages, I think thatMarshallshould end up with at least 100 yards and a score.  If he’s healthy, start him.  You’d be crazy not to.

WORST:  Any Colts WR

-People are still starting them, and I can’t blame them, these guys have talent.  And actually, Pierre Garcon has earned a starting slot in a 2nd or 3rd WR role with his production this year.  However, this week against the Texans, I just can’t see the Colts and their gang of awful quarterbacks giving him and the other WRs much in the way of help.  At best, the leader of this group will end up with 50 yards, and would be lucky to have a touchdown catch.  I wouldn’t start any of them this week, and would only consider starting Garcon if one of your other WRs is injured, or you’ve had difficulty at that position all season.

Tight End

BEST:    Rob Gronkowski, NE

-(SPACE RESERVED FOR ROB GRONKOWSKI FOR THE REST OF 2011)  Yeah, he’s too good not to have here in the last article of the year.  If you have him, and haven’t been starting him, you don’t deserve to be in the fantasy Super Bowl.  As mentioned in the Tom Brady slot, the Pats face a relatively easy pass defense this week, and Gronk should capitalize on that.  He’ll catch another TD, and should end up with 80 or more yards.

WORST:  Jermichael Finley, GB

-He torched the Bears last time around, so some may be tempted to expect big things.  However, in the last part of the season, Finley’s concentration has clearly waned, and has dropped far too many balls to be considered the threat he should be.  The loss of Greg Jennings should have resulted in a big week for Finley, instead it resulted in a disappointing drop-fest (although he did have a 41 yard reception that helped him get to a respectable 83 yards, but it should have been much more).  Until he can get his head in the game he’ll be a frustrating fantasy player, and one I would avoid for my own sanity.

Defense

BEST:   San Francisco 49ers

-They’re still playing for a shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and I think that defense is going to play angry and aggressive this week.  I see them creating multiple turnovers against the Seahawks, and giving up around 17 points.  This defense has been ridiculous all year, and expect nothing less in week 16.

WORST:  Atlanta Falcons

-The Falcons have been a borderline startable defense this year, but certainly not this week.  Let’s look at it this way, do you want to play “borderline” against the Saints?  I think not.  If you have been playing the Falcons this year you may be better off taking a shot with a worse defense who is playing a weak offense, like the Raiders against the Chiefs.  Even though I really hate the Raiders defense as a fantasy unit, that matchup is far more enticing.

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK

Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos

This is for the folks that called me on my “worst” ranking for Tebow last week.  He played well against a weak defense when I thought he wouldn’t, and he’s earned a more glamorous spot on this article this time around.  He’s facing the Bills this week, who have essentially fallen off of a cliff.  The defense played well early in the year, but have looked terrible since.  I think Tebow will be able to do enough to help you win if you’ve been struggling at the quarterback position this year.  I think he can throw for around 250 yards and 2 TDs this week, with about 75 yards rushing and maybe another TD added on.  Remember that you should usually “ride the horse that got you there,” when it comes to fantasy football, but if you have a rough position, the guy I thought couldn’t do it could be your guy.  And to be honest, I may just be your guy to give you this advice, because I’ve done it before in the fantasy playoffs.  If you don’t know who Billy Volek is, look up his stats in weeks 14 and 15 of 2004, and know that I went crazy and started his butt for those two games, and he got me to a championship.  I then proceeded to bench his butt for my other, more established, starter.  Just a weird anecdote for you all, hope you enjoyed.

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