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Dave McKay's Week 17 Upgrades and Downgrades: 2012 Season Finale Edition

Dave McKay

Dave McKay writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Tony Romo QB, DAL - He's recorded 300+ yards passing in seven of his last nine games, with 400+ three times, including 416 this past week. Romo is doing everything he can to prove the doubters wrong, and while the jury may still be out in Dallas as the Cowboys battle for every win in real life football, those continuing to doubt Romo in fantasy are becoming harder to find. 416 yards passing, four touchdowns, and zero turnovers (his Week 16 numbers) will do that for a guy.

Ryan Grant RB, GB - When Alex Green went down with a concussion, the Packers turned to old friend Ryan Grant to shoulder the load. Four yards a carry is not going to turn a lot of heads, but it is decent enough. What did turn heads were the 20 carries, the two touchdowns, and Grant adding in a 34-yard reception out of the backfield. That is very nice production from a player who was a street free agent just a few weeks ago and at just the right time for those scrambling for running back help as the season winds down.

Greg Little WR, CLE - He hasn't been spectacular but Little is starting to show the consistent production that a lot of people expected to see out of him this year. Little has had four or more receptions for 48 or more yards in each of the past four games, with six catches for 58 yards and a score last week. He's still dropping passes occasionally, but he also still a starting receiver in Cleveland and lately he has really been earning his keep.

Lance Kendricks TE, STL - A career-high in yardage (119 yards this past Sunday) will almost always send your stock up here at the Barometer. What's more, though, it doesn't seem like this was a complete fluke. Kendricks caught exactly three passes in each of the three games before this past game, showing that he's starting to become a more regular part of the Rams offense. He's also now scored in two straight games, so this may be a bit of a trend for Kendricks. He's still mostly a desperation play, but you can probably do worse if, for example, you are looking to replace Heath Miller or insure Vernon Davis this week.

Lamar Miller RB, MIA - Call this one a hunch, but I've got to think that the Dolphins would really like to see what they have in Miller. They have placed Daniel Thomas on IR and Reggie Bush is rumored to be as good-as-gone in free agency this offseason. Miller had ten carries for 73 yards last week, so I wonder if he'll see at least that much work, if not more in Week 17. You are probably not starting him this week, but you may want to grab and stash him to keep him away from your opponent. He's also not a bad scoop for those in deeper keeper leagues.

Montario Hardesty RB, CLE - With Trent Richardson nursing a few injuries and the Browns' season basically over, the rushing load likely goes to Hardesty in Week 17. It's not a very good matchup at Pittsburgh, but Hardesty could see 15 or more touches this week and that amount of opportunity alone makes him a candidate to pickup and play if you are in need.

Michael Vick, QB, PHI - Now healthy, Vick is worthy of a Week 17 pickup for those dealing with late-season QB issues, given that it looks like he'll get the starting nod in the Eagles' season finale, with Nick Foles having been shut down thanks to a fractured hand.


Eli Manning QB, NYG - A couple of very poor games have Manning's stock tumbling in fantasy. Over the past two weeks, he's averaged only 156 yards passing with just one total touchdown and two interceptions. What's more, there is no real recent history to show that he might rebound. Eli hasn't thrown for more than 280 yards in any game since Week 7, with only nine touchdowns in those eight games (with four coming against a poor Saints pass defense).

Vick Ballard RB, IND - Ballard had an opportunity last week to produce with 20 carries against a very poor Kansas City defense. He came up short, with only 69 yards rushing, which is less than 3.5 per carry. Not a disastrous effort by any means, but I think you were looking for more from Ballard. Furthermore, despite all the work he's gotten this year he only has one rushing touchdown to show for it. And, even though he played well against the Texans the first time out, it still isn't a good matchup for him this week, especially if the Colts decide to limit any of their key players, with their playoff seeding locked in.

DeAngelo Williams RB, CAR - Ten carries for 19 yards really throws a wet blanket on Williams' fantasy stock. It looked like he was going to start showing some of the old burst, but he was really held down in Week 16. This week there is a fantastic matchup with New Orleans, but a lot of the rushing will be handled once again by Cam Newton, Mike Tolbert, and perhaps even Jonathan Stewart. I just don't see Williams getting a huge amount of work here.

Carson Palmer QB, OAK - Palmer suffered a bruised lung and broken ribs last weekend against Carolina and has been ruled out for Week 17. He'll be replaced Sunday by either Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor.

Trent Richardson RB, CLE - With the Browns only playing for pride this week, you have to think that they sit their banged up franchise running back for the last contest of the season. It would seem logical to assume that the Steelers will see a whole lot of Montario Hardesty this week and little, if any Richardson.

Arian Foster RB, HOU - Foster was pulled from Sunday's game due to what has been reported as an irregular heartbeat. He finished the day with just 15 yards on ten carries. The Texans have already locked up the division and are playing this week for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With his diminished production and health scare this week, Foster's stock is certainly down considering that Houston will want him full strength for the postseason. That said, the Texans certainly do want to win the game and secure home field advantage, so it's anybody's guess how much you will see Foster this week. I doubt you have better options than Foster, so you are probably starting him, but there is cause for pause.