By Christopher Harris

ESPN.com

(Archive)

Week 17

Oakland Raiders

(7-8)

Kansas City Chiefs

(10-5)

Analysis: In Week 17, the Raiders will: play out the string, hoping for a victory that would potentially knock the arch-rival Chiefs from the No. 3 seed to No. 4 in the AFC, and lower their own first-round draft pick, which belongs to the Patriots. In Week 17, the Chiefs will: most likely play to win. This is an early game, and the Colts don't play until 4:15 p.m. ET. If the Chiefs win, they finish 11-5 and earn the No. 3 seed. If they lose and the Colts win, they'll be No. 4. Either way, they're going to have a tough home wild-card opponent (either the Jets or the Ravens/Steelers wild-card entrant), but I'm guessing this is enough motivation to keep playing.

Fantasy Up: Darren McFadden rolled an ankle late in the third quarter against Indy last week and had only one touch thereafter, putting his playing time in jeopardy for this meaningless season finale. One aspect of the Raiders' game plan that was a real head-scratcher against the Colts was why they had Run-DMC trying so many perimeter runs, rather than just pushing up the gut, which has been both his and the offensive line's strength this season. Now, it's possible to overstate exactly how good McFadden's "breakout season" has been: He's scored 101 fantasy points in three games and 107 in the other 10. But if he plays Sunday, he probably does need to be started in most lineups. If he doesn't, Michael Bush becomes very usable. … I'll take all those gifts and cards for my preseason assessment of Jamaal Charles now, please. Charles was disappointing in Week 14 (the first round of playoffs in many leagues), but dominated each of the past two games, leading many fantasy teams to championships. To begin the season, I had Charles ranked No. 9 among running backs (which subjected me to the slings and arrows of many of you), and yet here he is, tied for No. 4 in fantasy points among players at his position. Hey, I made a few bad calls (hello, Beanie Wells!). But Charles was probably my highest-profile "out-on-a-limb" player (I went on multiple ESPN TV outlets and referred to him as "Chris Johnson in a red uniform"), and he was a home run. Roll with him here; the Chiefs will give him a crack at 1,500 yards rushing. … Dwayne Bowe made the game-breaking play versus the Titans last week: a deep-in that Matt Cassel had a year to throw the ball, and both Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin looked absolutely disinterested in making a post-catch tackle. Bowe is fantasy's leading receiver heading into Week 17, but unfortunately he'll see a lot of a healthy Nnamdi Asomugha on Sunday, who broke hearts shadowing Reggie Wayne last week. As a result, I make Bowe a high-upside No. 2 fantasy receiver for the finale.

Fantasy Down: I honestly can't tell you if Jason Campbell is the answer. I know he has a big arm. I just haven't seen him use it much this season. Oh, I know the Raiders have made several long plays, but precious few of them have been bombs; Jacoby Ford keeps taking handoffs and returning kickoffs for scores, and Marcel Reece and McFadden have occasionally been deadly in the screen-and-run game. But Campbell has completed only 10 passes that traveled 20 or more yards in the air, and that's out of 179 total completions. Al Davis must be rolling in his, um, chaise lounge. Part of that is an accentuation of the running game, as the offensive line has improved its run blocking and McFadden has emerged. But part of it is shoddy pass protection: Campbell's 30 sacks in 304 pass attempts is the fourth-worst ratio among quarterbacks with at least 100 completions (only Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy are worse ... and Michael Vick is fifth). No doubt, in Louis Murphy and Ford (as well as perhaps Darrius Heyward-Bey and Chaz Schilens) the Raiders have intriguing outside speed. They just didn't use it much this season.


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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