Each week Studs & Duds will take a look at the best and worst match-ups from around the NFL and choose 4 players that could mean the difference between fantasy success or failure.
Based on the scoring system established by Yahoo!'s Flames and Lames, Studs and Duds is hoping to end the season on a high note. After going 5-3 in last week's picks, S&D's season record now stands at 67-61. Do you have some of your own Studs and Duds in mind? If so, put your picks and predictions (no explanation for picks necessary) in the comment section below and see if you can beat us at our own game.
Jay Cutler / QB / Chicago Bears- (vs. Lions) Cutler has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this year, but he'll end '09 with a bang against the lowly Detroit defense. In an earlier meeting with the Lions this year, Cutler posted three total touchdowns, and you can expect close to the same line come Sunday. If you're in a position where your regular starting QB may take a back seat in week 17 because of coaches playing it safe, then Cutler will prove to be a very solid replacement. He's a gunslinger who will do his best to erase any memories of his 26 interceptions on the year, so that hopefully Bears fans don't rip him all off-season.
Prediction: 30-45, 334 passing yards, 4 total touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 rushing yard
Correll Buckhalter / RB / Denver Broncos- (vs. Chiefs) The last time Buckhalter faced-off against the Chiefs he reeled off 113 rushing yards on 12 carries. Expect him to improve upon those numbers as he'll likely get more carries in the final week of the season. Injuries have limited him throughout the year, but with Knowshown Moreno failing to impress as the lead runner, Correll could easily get the bulk of the work. With Kansas City having the second worst rush defense in the league, a huge day is not out of the question.
Prediction: 21 carries, 94 rushing yards, 2 reception, 21 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Dwayne Bowe / WR / Kansas City Chiefs- (vs. Broncos) Bowe has been consistently solid as a fantasy option when he's played this season, and there's no reason to think that will change this week. The Chiefs will be playing for pride and they'll pull out all the stops to play spoiler against the Broncos. That means Bowe will get plenty of looks. Even though Denver has the second best pass D in the NFL, the amount of looks Bowe will get will be enough to make him a valuable starter on your championship week team.
Prediction: 8 receptions, 93 yards, 1 touchdown
Fred Davis / TE / Washington Redskins- (vs. Chargers) Davis had a streak of four straight games with a touchdown end last week against the Cowboys, but he'll find pay dirt once again in Washington's last match-up of the year. The Chargers have already clinched a first round bye in the playoffs, so you can expect them to rest a lot of their starters throughout the game. That means Davis will get more than enough chances to prove that maybe he can be a quality option at tight end, even when Chris Cooley returns next season.
Prediction: 6 receptions, 74 yards, 1 touchdown
Peyton Manning / QB / Indianapolis Colts- (vs. Bills) Just like last week, the Colts are going to rest their stars. That means Manning once again will not produce. However, for those of you who still hold hope that he may do good enough in the little playing time he gets, you need to remember the match-up. Just like last weeks tilt with the Jets was a tough one, this week's game against the Bills is also a bad match-up. Even if Peyton is able to get close to the 21 pass attempts he got last week, he won't put up enough points to make him a valuable starting option.
Prediction: 13-18, 124 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, -1 rushing yards
Ricky Williams / RB / Miami Dolphins- (vs. Steelers) With Pittsburgh fighting to make the playoffs, you can be sure that they'll be bringing it come Sunday. Their third ranked rush D will definitely make an appearance, and make it tough for Williams to get much going on the ground. Considering that Williams also struggled last week, it's not likely that he'll be of any use to fantasy squads in week 17. Consider using Houston's Arian Foster or New Orleans' Lynell Hamilton, who are both likely to get a majority of the carries in the last week.
Prediction: 17 carries, 41 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Marques Colston / WR / New Orleans Saints- (vs. Panthers) Just like the Colts will be resting their stars for the playoffs; the Saints will also be taking the week off. Colston will get very limited playing time in the finale, especially considering that he's been injury prone throughout his career. That means you shouldn't expect too much production from him, and you'll want to go with another option if you hope to take home your leagues trophy.
Prediction: 3 reception, 31 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Heath Miller / TE / Pittsburgh Steelers- (vs. Dolphins) Miller has been one of the reoccurring names on S&D, so it's no surprise to see him in this season's final edition. The Dolphins are above average when it comes to pass D, and it's likely that they'll play pretty solid defense come Sunday. If Miami is going to get beat in the passing game, it will likely be with a deep ball, and Miller isn't on the receiving end of many of those plays. Find yourself another option if you were rolling with Heath, because he's sure to be a dud in week 17.
Prediction: 4 reception, 43 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns