In the NFL, a lot can change in two weeks.
Case in point, two weeks ago everyone had buried the Philadelphia Eagles (the Dream-less Team), including myself.
To make the playoffs, they needed a list of things to happen longer than Santa's Nice list. Well, it is all unfolding right before our very eyes and now all they need is to beat Dallas this week, have the Jets beat the Giants and they will enter Week 17 in need of a win, and a Dallas loss to the Giants, to steal the division. I must say I am now rooting for that very scenario. Talk about a flop - as I was laughing at the way this team that thought they were Super Bowl bound this summer wilted like a head of lettuce on a warm July day.
The Fantasy Oracle... Rob Stewart (Claus)
I continue to watch in amazement as the Chicago Bears threw away the season by believing Caleb Hanie is capable of playing quarterback in the NFL. As a Bears fan, I would rather have Curtis "Should have been a" Painter. That speaks volumes for the ineffectiveness of Hanie. Even Rex Grossman (a quarterback that all Bears fans cringe at hearing his name) would be a blessing compared to what Bears fans have had to endure this last month.
To all the Jay Cutler bashers out there, this is why the Bears love him as Chicago is a playoff caliber team with him and without him they are terrible. My fantasy advice this weekend is play the Packers defense and pretty much every Packer on your roster as the turnovers are going to put the Green Bay offense in great shape all day long regardless if it is Hanie or Josh McCown (who appears to be the starter). The Packers will clinch home field throughout the NFC playoffs.
This weekend, I also recommend starting almost all your Steelers (even if Charlie Batch does in fact start for Big Ben) as the Rams defense is in the bottom six teams in the NFL when it comes to allowing points to running backs and wide receivers. The one Steeler you may want to pass on though is Heath Miller as the Rams surprisingly rank number one against allowing fantasy points to the tight end position. This is more about the fact that they allow everyone else to get plenty so the tight end isn't needed to be a major part of the offensive game plans. The Steeler defense may pitch a shutout.
Also this weekend, the Denver "Tebows" can clinch the AFC West with a win over a slumping Buffalo team and an Oakland loss to Kansas City. The Chiefs looked good last week with Kyle Orton at quarterback and are always tough at Arrowhead. I think both scenarios play out. I would start Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas and Tebow if I had them this week. The only Bill I would start would be C.J. Spiller. If a hobbled Stevie Johnson plays, he will see a lot of Champ Bailey.
The last matchup that really intrigues me this weekend is Marshawn Lynch taking on the 49ers' rush defense. Something has to give as the Niners haven't allowed a rushing TD all year, while Lynch has scored in 10 straight games. I believe the Niners will finally bottle him up and cruise to an easy win.
In the WTO Laid Back League, my Matt Forte-less Oracles were "Calvinized" as Calvin Johnson single-handedly stopped their ten-game winning streak and knocked them out of the championship game. His 214-yard, two-touchdown monster effort propelled Josh Cotton to the 116.20-97.96 upset victory. He now faces Brain Hagberg, who beat Derek Farr 124.10-104.88, for the 5th annual WTO Laid Back League title. The Oracles will meet Farr in the consolation game, which started poorly for Farr with Owen Daniels only getting him .40 points. The Oracles will run with their normal lineup in this one.
Hagberg will start Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Matthews, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant, Roddy White, Dustin Keller, John Kasay and the Houston defense, which got 11 points Thursday night. Cotton will start Philip Rivers, Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, Jabar Gaffney, Antonio Gates, Mike Nugent and the Tennessee defense. Cotton, the fourth seed, is an early nine-point favorite despite the name power on Hagberg's team.
FREE AGENTS TO TARGET: Ryan Grant, Kahlil Bell, Sammy Morris (you would have to be really desperate) and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
OTHER INJURY CONCERNS: Ben Roethlisberger, Colt McCoy, Jay Cutler and Kevin Kolb are out this week or extremely questionable to play. It also appears all these key contributors will be out: Marion Barber, Darren McFadden, Matt Forte, Mark Ingram, Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Ford, Greg Jennings, Johnny Knox and Billy Cundiff. Keep an eye on Stevie Johnson and Felix Jones.
ULTIMATE LINEUP: Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Wes Welker, Jimmy Graham, David Akers and the Packers defense.
FANTASY BUST OF THE WEEK (10-5-1): Tony Romo. This is based on a gut feeling and I see the Cowboys laying an egg in this must-win game. In games like this in the past, the Cowboys rarely come through and Romo only completed 51 percent of his passes for 203 yards, and one score, in their week 8 meeting.