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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was an MVP for fantasy owners in 2009. (PHOTO: Allen Fredrickson )

Fantasy Football Forecast: Week 17


The final week of the season is upon us. At this point, most fantasy owners are either still crying from the spankings they received -- costing them chunks of change -- or are trembling with nervous excitement as they await their fate this weekend.

No matter what your story is this week, you will be entertained and informed by the final edition of the forecast, with Week 17 random thoughts, 2009 fantasy busts of year and MVPs named, and of course, the Rapiddraft.com AFC and NFC "fantasy" bowl teams.

It's been a great season. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and helped this feature along. And most importantly, thank you to those who have read and liked or hated the fantasy forecast. Without you this "fantasy" wouldn't have made it to the end.

Good luck.

WEEK 17 RANDOM THOUGHTS

Colts wide receiver Austin Collie, and tight ends not named Clark should be good plays this week against the Bills. Why? Well, they're probably going to be the only Indianapolis pass-catchers to see significant playing time, and of Curtis Painter's 11 passes thrown last week nine of them combined whistled and wobbled in the direction of Collie and the three back-up tight ends; Jacob Tamme, Tom Santi, and Gijon Robinson.

Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno may be a top must start this week. Denver is at home in a must win game against the 31st ranked (rushing yards allowed per game) Chiefs defense. Plus, Kansas City has surrendered 940 net rushing yards in the last four weeks (235 per game), and Moreno ran for 86 yards and scored two touchdowns in Week 13 against the Broncos' division rival.

Jerome Harrison should keep rolling against the Jaguars this week. He's the hot ticket right now, and the Jaguars defense allowed over 5.6 yards per carry to Patriot runners last week.

If you're looking for a sleeper at wide receiver this week, then look no further than the Bears' Devin Aromashodu. Chicago will be at Detroit this week, and the Lions have been gashed for NFL highs in yards per game (265.4) and touchdowns (31). Aromashodu is coming off a big seven catch, 150 yard game this past Monday night and should be in both the Bears' and fantasy owners' starting lineups.

Start your Steelers this week. The Miami Dolphins are allowing averages of 345.7 total yards and 24.0 points per game this season, and the Steelers will be playing three hours before one of the teams standing in their way of a playoff berth, the Baltimore Ravens.

The St Louis Rams have allowed a league high 21 rushing touchdowns this season, so if you have Frank Gore, your starting lineup should be covered in drool. In their last showdown in Week 4 the 49ers rolled over the Rams with a 35-0 blowout win, and it was a game that Gore didn't even play in.

Don't be afraid to start Jason Witten and Miles Austin this week. The Philadelphia Eagles defense has allowed 25 passing touchdowns, but rank eighth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (99.7).

Don't even think about sitting Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, or Sidney Rice this week. They'll be playing the New York Giants at 1:00 PM eastern time, and are still fighting for a first round bye. They need to win and have the Eagles lose, so they'll be playing their hearts out in now what has turned in to a must win game.

Ray Rice could be the best start at running back this week. Yes, the Ravens will be on the road, but it'll be against a Raiders defense that has allowed a 29th best 149.9 rushing yards per game, and an NFL high 21 rushing touchdowns. Plus, with their playoff lives on the line coach Harbaugh will spoon feed his top playmaker the ball in both the running and passing games as much as he can, even when the Ravens go up big.

There will be a few wide receivers playing with chips on their shoulders this week. One of them is Giants reception artist Steve Smith. Smith has been a steady and consistent force for the Giants all season long, and has recorded 11 games of five receptions or more. The worst part is that lining up across the field from him this week could be the Vikings receiver (Sidney Rice) who stole his spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. And if Smith does indeed go off he would only be helping his division rival, and another pro bowl receiver in the Eagles' Desean Jackson.

There will be plenty of eyes on some Buccaneers and Falcons players this week, including a rookie quarterback who could be a hot start this week. Yes, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman has had his struggles in his rookie season. However, he's had glorious moments as well, including his last performance against the Falcons where he recorded his highest quarterback rating of the season (118.5) and threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-17 loss.

A key to Freeman having a good game this week will be Antonio Bryant's presence and chemistry with his quarterback. Rumor has it; the two were seen jawing at each other last week after a miscommunication that led to a Darren Sharper interception. Fantasy owners should also keep in mind that Bryant has been battling yet another injury (groin) as of late. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)

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