As we head to the homestretch in the NFL and fantasy leagues, several prominent players went down last week and could have huge implications on fantasy bowls.
Robert Griffin III suffered a knee injury, while Dez Bryant broke a finger. In Jacksonville, Montell Owens had a memorable debut and will start again this week. Another interesting thought is just how bad is Arizona and have they really quit like Larry Fitzgerald's Dad says. The Lions defense looks like a prime pickup this week for teams in the playoffs against that hapless Cardinals offense. Another potential acquisition candidate is Giants rookie running back David Wilson, who looked explosive last week against New Orleans and finally appears to be out of Tom Coughlin's doghouse.
The Oracles have two teams out of four remaining in their quest for another league title. They play in the semifinals of the Man Palace Auction League this week, while they have a bye in the Mario Bates League. The latter has a Week 17 fantasy bowl which, as I have written before, makes things extremely challenging due to players being rested.
Rob Stewart is... The Fantasy Oracle
The Oracles' top 5 are New England, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and San Francisco. The Chiefs at 2-11 still look like a lock to select first in next year's draft, but the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) are just as bad.
The first round of the playoffs saw Derek "Mountain Man" Farr edging Allen "Wingnut" Seybert by eight points while Jacob "Where's Perryman" pounded Brian "defending champion" Hagberg. This week's semifinals have top seed Bob "Big Bossman" Patchen battling Farr and second seed Cody "Nightmare on Elms Street" trying to out-Doofenshmirtz Perryman.
Last week's results: Farr 98.40, Seybert 90.06; Perryman 90.68, Hagberg 78.98
ASK ALAINA (26-19): Alaina finished 2-3 last week. This week's calls are: Christian Ponder or Sam Bradford - Ponder; 2. Cam Newton or Philip Rivers - Newton; 3. Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster - Foster; 4. Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston - Jackson; 5. Lions defense or Seahawks defense - Lions defense.
FANTASY STAR OF THE WEEK: The Seattle defense registered a ridiculous 54 points last week against the hapless Cardinals offense. Cam Newton led position players with a 41.08-point week. This week, I predict Drew Brees will bounce back from two poor performances and lead all scorers.
STEELERS (7-6): The Steelers, reeling after getting pummeled by the San Diego Chargers, face the underachieving Dallas Cowboys. Dez Bryant, broken finger and all, will be good to go he claims. The Steeler offense is starting to get back on track and Mike Wallace was finally found after the Steelers realized he was Mike Wallace the football player and not the former 60 Minutes correspondent, who recently passed away. This game is tough to call because both teams can look horrible or really good, but I think Pittsburgh bounces back and sneaks out a 24-22 win.
BROWNS (5-8): Cleveland is on a roll and with Washington coming to town, things could get circus-like pending on Robert Griffin III's status. I think the Browns are going to win regardless of who is under center, be it RGIII or Kirk "Kissing" Cousins. Cleveland, on the strength of Josh Gordon's two touchdowns, win 27-17 and Trent Richardson goes over 100 total yards.
BILLS (5-8): Oracle favorite C.J. Spiller becomes the only game in town with Fred Jackson on IR. However, Seattle has a tough run defense and I see this game being ugly for Bills fans. Seattle 24, Buffalo 3. Spiller will get his yards though, but Ryan Fitzpatrick will appear overmatched and throw three interceptions.
FANTASY BUST: Arian Foster struggled as predicted only rushing for 46 yards, but he did find paydirt in what turned out to be a draw.
Everyone's favorite waiver wire find, Knowshon Moreno, coming off a career day, will crash back to earth with 70 total yards.
RACHEL'S LOCKS OF THE WEEK (7-2): Rachel suffered her first losses last week and this week she tries to rebound. She likes Miami, New England and Indianapolis.