Two Minute Warning - Week 16
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There are just a few minutes left before the games begin for real and this is your last chance to set fantasy lineups.
After blizzard-like conditions a couple of weeks ago, the official first weekend of winter looks better, but certainly far from perfect. Rain and wind will hurt offenses in Buffalo, Carolina, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Kansas City, Seattle and Baltimore. And it could snow in Green Bay ... doesn't it always this late in the season?
The best place to be in Week 16 is indoors or in sunny southern California.
Below is the latest information to help you make your last-minute decisions.
Matt Flynn, Green Bay - Flynn will have to carry the load one more time if the Packers are to stay in the playoff hunt. He'll face the Steelers as Aaron Rodgers was once again not cleared to play. Pittsburgh has given up 20 or more points in four of their last five, but looked pretty good last Sunday night in defeating Cincinnati 30-20. Flynn is not a great play in what may be a late afternoon winter wonderland.
Cam Newton, Carolina - Newton played through his toe injury last week and will play in the big game against New Orleans, but don't plan on his running ability helping you out. He rushed seven times last week for just 12 yards (1.7 ypc) in contrast to his normal 5.3 ypc this season. The Panthers will have to win using his arm, DeAngelo Williams and their tough defense. LATEST UPDATE - Newton is active as expected.
Carson Palmer, Arizona - Palmer is dealing with an ankle injury, but did practice this week and is expected to play. He'll face the Seahawks, however, and fantasy owners shouldn't have a title riding on Palmer's ability to dominate Seattle or stay away from the turnover.
Running Backs -
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota - "Superman" will ignore his questionable tag and play after missing just one week with a foot injury. Fantasy owners have to respect his history of coming back from injury and start him. LATEST UPDATE - Peterson is active.
Andre Ellington, Arizona - It's Ellington who leads the NFL with a 5.9 ypc average and he should be able to return from as thigh injury. It's just not a good matchup against Seattle.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis - Brown has gotten over a stinger and will play on Sunday, but in his timeshare with Trent Richardson he'll be an unlikely star. He's reach double digits just twice in the past six games and facing the Chiefs in Kansas City is never an exciting fantasy prospect. LATEST UPDATE - Brown is active.
Willis McGahee, Cleveland - McGahee is over his concussion and is expected to play Sunday versus the Jets. On the other hand, he's not a great option. New York is No. 3 against the run and McGahee has shown nothing all season. Look elsewhere for a running back. LATEST UPDATE - Mcgahee is active.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville - He returned to a limited practice this week, but most expect Jordan Todman to carry the load for the Jaguars. So do we. LATEST UPDATE - MJD is active making Todman a risky play.
Ray Rice, Baltimore - Rice will play, but its been a month since Rice made fantasy owners happy. He's averaged just 67.5 ypg from scrimmage over the past four and touchdown-less. That's simply not fantasy worthy.
Ben Tate, Houston - Tate will not play Sunday as he joins Arian Foster on the sideline leaving youngster Dennis Johnson to carry the workload. Denver's run defense has been a mess of late and Johnson has a chance to be a viable fantasy option. LATEST UPDATE - Tate is inactive.
Darren McFadden, Oakland - Run DMC has been relegated to change-of-pace back and has little to no fantasy value in this role. If you don't own Rashad Jennings you shouldn't start a Raiders running back.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay - lacy sat out a practice earlier in the week, but was never in danger of missing any game action. He's carries the ball 20 or more times in nine of the past 11 games and with Flynn under center figures to make that 10 of 12 on Sunday. Start him.
Wide Receivers -
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona - As of Friday, he still had one concussion test to pass before getting the ok to play Sunday, but its an unfavorable matchup versus Seattle so his upside is limited.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee - Hunter has become the Titans big-play threat, but didn't play in Week 15 for violating team rules. He could have a big day against Jacksonville. LATEST UPDATE - Hunter is active.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit - Missing practice early in the week no longer scares fantasy owners as this has become his "MO." He's the best receiver in the league, he'll face a team that quit weeks ago and is obviously a must start.
Tavon Austin, St. Louis - having missed all three practices this week, fantasy owners should not expect him to be out there on Sunday. Given his inconsistent play, would you want your title hopes dependent on his performance even if he is in uniform? Neither would we. LATEST UPDATE - Austin is inactive.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City - The likely return of McCluster doesn't make him a fantasy-worthy starter, but could pull a few touches away from Jamaal Charles. LATEST UPDATE - McCluster is active.
LaVon Brazill, Indianapolis - Brazill missed Week 15, but practice Wednesday through Friday and is expected to be ready to go. He broke out with a pair of touchdown catches in Week 14, but that's not enough to install him in the lineup during "Championship Week." LATEST UPDATE - Brazill is active.
Keenan Allen, San Diego - Allen, it appears, will end up being the best rookie in this year's class and could crack the 1,000-yard receiving mark on Sunday. he's become a must start option for fantasy owners having racked up double- digit totals in four consecutive games.
Tight Ends -
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta - Gonzalez's Hall of Fame career is coming to an end, but he's scored in three straight games and continues to be a low-end fantasy option.
John Carlson, Minnesota - Carlson's season officially ended Saturday when the team placed him on injured reserve. The Vikings have run out of viable fantasy tight ends.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati - Gresham is expected to play through his abdomen injury, but he and Tyler Eifert share too much time and neither is a fantasy- worthy option. LATEST UPDATE - Gresham is active.
Shayne Graham, New Orleans - Just in case you weren't paying attention, the Saints changed place kicker this week. Garrett Hartley is out and Graham is in. facing the tough Panthers defense in Carolina isn't a great fantasy option.
Lance Briggs, Chicago - If the linebacker returns to the lineup, he's a game- time decision, it could help improve the league's worst run defense and hurt LeSean McCoy fantasy value. If.
12/22 12:01:44 ET