By Christopher Harris

ESPN.com

(Archive)

Week 17

St. Louis Rams

(7-8)

Seattle Seahawks

(6-9)

Analysis: In Week 17, the Rams will: play to win, because if they win this game, they win the NFC West and host a playoff game. In Week 17, the Seahawks will: do exactly the same thing, because the same thing happens if they win. Most likely, whoever wins this game hosts the Saints next weekend.

Fantasy Up: Last week against the 49ers, Steven Jackson executed his usual act these days: high volume, low yardage and then it all comes down to whether he gets in the end zone. Jackson did score early on against San Francisco (shortly after an end-zone pass interference call), salvaging what would turn out to be a frustrating day. This is obviously a friendlier matchup against a Seahawks defense that just allowed LeGarrette Blount to give piggyback rides all around Tampa to would-be tacklers last week, so you don't get away from using Jackson, not in one of the more meaningful games of the weekend. Still, it's a shame to see Jackson's per-carry production falter like this. I don't think he'll be among the top 10 fantasy backs drafted in 2011. … Sam Bradford really was the man who got the Rams this far; he put the team on his back in Week 16 and threw it 37 times. Bradford took four deep shots that I counted, which is higher than his typical deep-strike output this season, and St. Louis played with four receivers on the field quite a lot as the game progressed (they were losing until midway through the third quarter). Would I use Bradford in a fantasy title game, on a national stage, in the most difficult road stadium in the league? Because it's the Seahawks, and because I don't fear their defense at all, I would. In two-quarterback leagues, sign me up.

Fantasy Down: Matt Hasselbeck has given conflicting reports about whether he'll be able to play Sunday night, but the assumption here is that Charlie Whitehurst will go, as Hasselbeck injured his hip on an early touchdown run against the Bucs last week. Gee, this is just what coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider thought they were bargaining for when they swapped second-round picks in the 2010 draft and gave up a third-rounder in 2011 for Whitehurst? Have the kid throw 63 attempts all season (including one touchdown and three picks) and then lead the Seahawks into a winner-take-all game for the division? Uh, yeah, that's why you probably can't use Mike Williams. BMW got absolutely nothing going with Whitehurst after Hass's injury, and heck, as a whole, the Seahawks had just five first downs (and had five three-and-outs) after the backup quarterback came in. Williams had two grabs on four targets for 12 yards. Gah! Pretty sad when you're wishing like heck that the 35-year-old Hasselbeck -- he of the two touchdowns and eight interceptions in the last month -- will play. … Speaking of disappointing players, come on down, Marshawn Lynch! I didn't go as batty for Lynch as some heading into the Tampa game, but I did put him down as an OK flex in standard leagues. Fourteen carries and 53 yards later, and we all have to feel a little chagrined. I suppose losing Hass early is an excuse. But really, the O-line did an awful job, and Lynch made nothing extra beyond what was (or wasn't) blocked. He's the starter, all right, and the Rams defense isn't great. But I can't imagine using Lynch here. … Danario Alexander was the Rams' most impressive receiver Sunday, playing the most snaps of any game during his rookie season, as he had six grabs for 99 yards, including a 46-yard bomb over Shawnte Spencer in which he just ran past the defender and nearly scored (he stepped out of bounds at the 49ers' 3). Alexander is going to be on a lot of sleeper lists next year, though his lifelong knee issues are probably going to limit him. I'm not sure you can rely on that kind of production week-to-week right now from this kid.


Christopher Harris is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner. You can ask him questions at www.facebook.com/writerboy and follow him at www.twitter.com/writerboyESPN.

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