Sunday Six Pack: Week Seventeen

Jarrett Behar


We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest story lines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the final Sunday Six Pack:

Can #1) Return of Rodgers

After weeks and weeks of waiting, we finally get the return of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, just when it likely means nothing for anyone.  In fact, given the general contempt for leagues that still play in Week 17, it is largely an undeserved present for those that shouldn’t even be playing this week.  Regardless, Rodgers’ return is a boon for unheralded stud wide receiver Jordy Nelson and his compatriots James Jones and Jarrett Boykin.  Indeed with Jones likely playing his last game for the Packers as a 2014 UFA, Boykin is an intriguing dynasty league player with the tight end position also unsettlement in Titletown.

Can #2) Kansas City Subordinates

Whatever bonus any teams with Aaron Rodgers get with his Week 17 return, teams with any Chiefs players, largely just stud running back Jamaal Charles, will likely understand (if they didn’t already), why they shouldn’t be playing in Week 17.  With all reports suggesting the Chiefs will treat this meaningless, (in terms of playoff positioning) game as a preseason finale, it will be hard to count on any Chiefs that you might have had in your starting lineup (again, probably only Charles).  From a dynasty perspective, we should get a decent look at fumbl-o-matic running back Knile Davis for an extended period of time.  On the other side of the ball, the Chargers can get into the postseason tournament with a win and losses by the Dolphins and the Ravens.  If one or both of those teams win during the early games, it’s no guarantee we see Philip Rivers & Co. the entire game as well.

Can #3) When The Saints Go Marching Out?

Likely considered a post-season lock for most of the year, the Saints are one loss and one Cardinals win away from being on the outside looking in.  While Drew Brees has looked fairly poor in the Saints’ three road losses out of their last four total games, the one home game in that span was a dominant win against the Panthers.  Now the Saints get an improved Buccaneers team that is past the Josh Freeman and MRSA debacles (assuming Greg Schiano isn’t dreaming of Happy Valley instead of game planning).  The Bucs are ranked 15th against the pass in terms of average passing yards per game given up, so Brees, at home, is going to be in your lineup, assuming you made it this far after his Week 16, somewhat predictable, clunker.

Can #4) Garrett Gets Grounded

This is, in all likelihood, a must win game for Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett.  However, he will be without his starting quarterback with Tony Romo dealing with a herniated disk (insert Romo would choke anyway joke here) – this leaves the Cowboys to lean on the uber-paid backup Kyle Orton to bring them to the promised land past the streaking Eagles, fresh off their own Week 16 destruction of the Bears.  Even better is the prospect of Orton being backed up by math teacher nee quarterback Jon Kitna.  Orton is an interesting flier (especially in daily leagues) at home going against an Eagles team ranked 30th against the pass in terms of average passing yards per game given up, even after last week’s stout performance.  In terms of actual potential for NFL success, I suspect Jason Garrett has already purchased some boxes with reinforced bottoms.

Can #5)  On Ice in the Desert

One of the great stories of the NFL this year, the Arizona Cardinals, may actually finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs if the Saints handle their business and beat the Bucs at home.  Both games are 4:25 pm EST starts, so owners of Cardinals players are not likely to see the starters get pulled unless the Saints get up really big.  Even so, the Cardinals still have a difficult matchup against a 49ers team ranked fourth against the pass and fifth against the run in terms of average yards per game given up, and is riding high on the back of Navorro Bowman’s late “Pick Six” against the Falcons in Week 16 (is he still running?  Is Harbaugh?).  Carson Palmer has two years left on his deal and the Cardinals’ will get back the 2013 No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Cooper to help bolster their offensive line next year.  Regardless of whether they make the postseason this year, this is certainly a team trending up, both for fantasy and NFL purposes.

Can #6)  Bully for the Dolphins

Similar to the Buccaneers, but on a grander scale, the Dolphins were able to rally in the face of adversity and are a win at home against the surprising 7-8 Jets from clinching a playoff spot.  Fortunately for the “Phins phaithful,” emerging quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury does not look serious enough to keep him out of this week’s game.  Last week’s slow game in rainy, cold Buffalo should be just an aberration, and a return to sunny Miami should get Tannehill, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Charles Clay and Lamar Miller back on track.  For what its worth, Clay currently sits as the PPR TE7, just .5 behind Jason Witten for TE6.