Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 17

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Snapdraft is a weekly game in which you select a team that fits under a $27 million salary cap. There’s a wide variety of league sizes, and while each league costs at least $1, there are cash prizes as well. You can also now sign up for a live draft version of Snapdraft. And there are also now games that will pay out to up to the top five teams. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups and the salaries and put together a winning combination. Since there’s a salary cap, you can’t just stack your team with a bunch of studs, so finding some bargains will be key. Here’s the Week 17 squad.


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Eli Manning, Giants, $4,560,000, vs. Cowboys
It’s do or die for the Giants, and Eli Manning will be in front of the home crowd for Sunday Night Football. The Giants have a history of epic collapses to end the season, but Manning has taken his game to another level this year, and that shouldn’t happen again. Dallas is prone to the big play, and Eli has the weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to exploit that.

Other value picks
Carson Palmer, Raiders, $3,650,000, vs. Chargers – The Raiders are still alive in the hunt for the AFC West, so Carson Palmer has plenty to play for. Palmer has only thrown one TD in each of his last three games, but look for that to improve against a Chargers defense that was just torched by the Lions.

Dan Orlovsky, Colts, $2,370,000, at Jaguars – Orlovsky is coming off a dramatic come-from-behind win over the Texans. He capped off the game-winning, 2-minute drive with a TD pass to Reggie Wayne, and he should look to ride that momentum to another nice game against the Jags.

Running back

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, $4,540,000, vs. Colts
Jones-Drew is leading the league in rushing, and although he has a nice lead over LeSean McCoy, he won’t let up this week against the Colts. Jones-Drew is so dangerous because he’s a threat in the passing game as well. The Colts are the fourth worst in the league against the run, so expect big things in the season finale.

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers, $3,360,000, at Browns
With Ben Roethlisberger hobbled by an injured ankle, the Steelers should lean heavily on Mendenhall. The Browns are third worst in the league against the run, so Pittsburgh would be wise to exploit that matchup. Mendenhall is coming off just his second 100-yard game of the season, but he should make it two in a row this week.

Other value picks
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks, $4,000,000, at Cardinals – Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards six times in his last eight games and has 10 touchdowns over that span (one receiving). Arizona is mediocre at best against the run and won’t be able to stop Lynch. Look for this one to be a low-scoring game that both teams try to control with the running games.

Toby Gerhart, Vikings, $3,020,000, vs. Bears – Gerhart has a tough matchup against the Bears, but with Adrian Peterson out, he’ll have no shortage of carries. When a guy gets that many touches, and is this cheap, it’s hard not to pounce on him.

Wide receiver

Miles Austin, Cowboys, $2,750,000, at Giants
The SNF showdown between the Cowboys and Giants should be explosive, and Miles Austin should be in line for at least a couple of big plays. Austin has a touchdown in each of his three games since coming back from an injury, and that trend should continue this week. The Giants are suspect in the secondary and should give up plenty of yards in this one.

Reggie Wayne, Colts, $1,740,000, at Jaguars
Wayne is coming off his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, and there’s no reason to think he can’t do it again against the Jags. Jacksonville is decent against the pass, but Wayne has shown flashes of his old self with Dan Orlovsky under center.

Other value picks
Victor Cruz, Giants, $3,030,000, vs. Cowboys – The Cowboys are susceptible to the big play, and no one is better at the big play than Victor Cruz. He’s coming off a 164-yard game that included a 99-yard touchdown.

James Jones, Packers, $1,840,000, vs. Lions – Jones is coming off a 2-touchdown performance against the Bears, and with the Packers already having wrapped up the No. 1 seed, there’s a good chance some other receivers might get some rest. Matt Flynn is a very capable backup, so even if Aaron Rodgers sits, the aerial attack will remain in play.

Tight end

Jason Witten, Cowboys, $2,160,000, at Giants
Witten was shut down in his last meeting with the Giants to the tune of three catches for just 12 yards. You can bet that won’t happen again, as Tony Romo will be sure to get his good buddy involved early and often.

Other value picks
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals, $1,670,000, vs. Ravens – If the Bengals are going to beat the Ravens in the season finale, then Gresham will have to have a big game. The Bengals can still get into the playoffs with a loss, but they will do everything in their power to control their own destiny.

Brent Celek, Eagles, $1,520,000, vs. Redskins – Celek has had a great second half of the season, and although he only had two catches for 52 yards last week, it did include a touchdown. Mike Vick has found a good chemistry with Celek, and that won’t change in the finale against Washington.

Defense/special teams

Arizona Cardinals, $1,100,000, vs. Seahawks
Arizona is at home, and the Seahawks don’t have an explosive offense. The main reason for this pick is the low salary, but Arizona has shown enough in the second half where they could be successful against Seattle. Roll the dice and save some cash.

Other value picks
Seattle Seahawks, $1,560,000, at Cardinals – While Arizona has been a nice story in the second half, Seattle has been even better. You have to pay a bigger price, but they should prove to be worth it.

St. Louis Rams, $1,020,000, vs. 49ers – The Rams are arguably the worst defense in the league, but the 49ers struggle to score points. If you’re in desperate need of saving some money, this could be the place to do it.


Ryan Succop, Chiefs, $1,630,000, at Broncos
While the Chiefs don’t have a shot at the playoffs anymore, Rome Crennel is coaching to try and land a permanent job, so they won’t be taking their foot off the gas. Plus, Succop will be at Mile High which could add some distance to some of his field goal attempts.

Other value picks
Matt Prater, Broncos, $2,000,000, vs. Chiefs – The Broncos will win the AFC West with a win, and Matt Prater would be a big reason why. He’s nailed several clutch kicks during “Tebowmania” and he could have a couple more left in his leg.

Lawrence Tynes, Giants, $1,830,000, vs. Cowboys – There should be no shortage of scoring opportunities in this one, so you could do a lot worse than to take the Giants’ kicker.


Cam Newton, Panthers, $4,880,000, at Saints
Newton has had a historic rookie season, and there’s no reason to think he’ll stop in Week 17. The Saints won’t have an answer for Newton on defense, and he should put up at least three scores in this one.

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