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Staff Picks: Bucs, Bengals, Cowboys and Texans

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

With one week to go, it's a four man race, involving everyone but me. That's fine - I don't need to be involved in these petty dramas. Actually, I have my own drama - going 11-5 to finish over .500 and keeping my streak alive. We have four consensus picks this week - the Bucs, Bengals, Cowboys and Texans.

Don't get so hammered on New Year's that your hangover bleeds into Sunday and ruins these meaningless games.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Buccaneers +8 at Saints Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers
Bengals +10 at Ravens Bengals Bengals Bengals Bengals Bengals
Panthers +14.5 at Falcons Falcons Panthers Panthers Falcons Panthers
Steelers -6 at Browns Browns Browns Browns Steelers Browns
Vikings +3 at Lions Lions Lions Lions Vikings Lions
Raiders +3.5 at Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Raiders Raiders Chiefs
Bills +1 at Jets Jets Bills Bills Jets Jets
Dolphins +3.5 at Patriots Dolphins Patriots Dolphins Patriots Patriots
Giants -4 at Redskins Giants Redskins Redskins Giants Giants
Cowboys +7 at Eagles Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys
Titans +10 at Colts Colts Colts Titans Titans Titans
Bears +10 at Packers Packers Bears Bears Packers Bears
Jaguars -2.5 at Texans Texans Texans Texans Texans Texans
Chargers -3 at Broncos Broncos Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers
Cardinals +6.5 at 49ers 49ers Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals 49ers
Rams -3 at Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Rams Seahawks
Best Bet Bengals Cowboys Chargers Rams Texans
Last Week's Record 10-6 9-7 7-9 7-9 9-7
2010 Record 120-115-5 124-111-5 115-120-5 125-110-5 122-113-5
Best Bet Record 6-9-1 8-7-1 8-8 10-5-1 10-5-1
Consensus Pick Record 27-21-1
2009 Record 123-130-3 132-121-3 131-122-3 130-123-3 126-127-3
2008 Record 132-114-10 128-118-10 124-122-10 125-121-10 130-116-10
2007 Record 127-120 118-129 127-120 N/A 130-117
2006 Record 118-129 N/A 139-108 N/A N/A
2005 Record 121-126 N/A 127-120 N/A N/A
2004 Record 124-124 N/A 130-118 N/A N/A
2003 Record 121-126 118-129 124-123 N/A N/A
2002 Record 113-136 123-126 141-108 N/A N/A
2001 Record 124-113 117-120 118-119 N/A N/A
2000 Record 123-117 134-106 141-99 N/A N/A

Consensus Picks

This week we have four consenus picks: the Bucs, Bengals, Cowboys and Texans.

Last week we had no consensus picks, keeping us at 27-21-1 on the year. We finished 2009 at 19-23-1 on consensus picks, and were 24-19-2 on them in 2008.


EricksonA lot of these lines are influenced by considerations of teams resting their starters, but others appear to be on the basis of "having something to play for," like the Jaguars-Texans game. I'd be a little wary of putting too much emphasis on that in my picks. I switched my pick back-and-forth on the Browns-Steelers game maybe five times.
PianowskiThe Eagles have a short week, a quarterback change, and a game that doesn't matter to them (at least with respect to playoff slotting). I can't see how anyone would want to lay seven with them against a frisky Dallas group... I hate going against my pet Rams team, but the line has really adjusted there.
LissI actually like my picks this week - as much as one can like a Week 17 slate. The Chargers are so much better than the Broncos, and I expect them to play to capacity with nothing at stake.
StopaIn rough order of confidence... All nine of Seattle's losses have been by at least 15 points, and they're having to start Charlie Whitehurst at QB. This line would have to be around 7 for me to begin to consider Seattle, which must get a big turnover advantage or a return TD or two to have a chance... The Bears may say they're playing to win, but I expect Cutler to sit the second half as the Packers run up the score to clinch the sixth seed. If Green Bay is the best team in the NFC, like I think, this will be 38-13... Matt Schaub can exploit the Jaguars awful pass defense, even without Andre Johnson; Trent Edwards can't do the same to the Texans. The Jaguars are the 2010 illustration of the team that falls on its face in "must win" games against bad teams as the season ends. It happens every year... Speaking of which, the Colts line is inflated because of the "must win" factor. They shouldn't be double-digit favorites against anyone except Carolina. I have a similar rationale for taking the Bengals... The Steelers won't miss out on a bye week against a reeling Browns team... The Saints should have a letdown with basically nothing to play for; expect their starters to rest a bit... The Falcons will bounce back big at home, and the Panthers offense is so bad it can't get a backdoor cover... I struggled with the Pats, but figured Belichick won't want to rest Brady two straight weeks, so even a half of Brady should give the Pats a big lead... I wish I could sell high on the Lions, off a rare winning streak, and the Vikings, coming off a big upset and a short week, but had to choose one.
Del Don I understand the Jaguars have something to play for while the Texans don't, but this line is still surprising. On the road and with Trent Edwards starting at QB, Jacksonville is favored?

The players:

Jeff Erickson: RotoWire Senior editor, 2001, 2008 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Value Meter. Covers and roots for the Bengals.

Scott Pianowski: Fantasy expert for Yahoo! Sports, and also contributes to 2009 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Patriots.

Chris Liss: RotoWire Managing Editor, 2000, 2002, 2006 Staff Picks Champ, 2003, 2004 co-champ. Writes Beating the Book and Surviving the Week in addition to Staff Picks. Covers and roots for the Giants.

Mark Stopa: Staff Writer, Writes Working the Wire. Roots for the Bills.

Dalton Del Don: RotoWire Senior Staff Writer. 2007 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Game Capsules and the Barometer. Covers the Eagles and roots for the 49ers.