We've reached the season's silliest week, where curveballs are the name of the game. Green Bay and Houston are locked into their playoff spots, and they have little motivation to play their starters more than they would in the first or second week of the preseason. Other teams, like Atlanta, may find out before kickoff that their fates have become set (in Atlanta's case, a Detroit win would lock them into a No. 6 seed), so they would then be in the same position as the Packers and Texans. And then there's the non-playoff teams, with nothing to play for. Any player nursing an injury in this crowd faces serious danger of deactivation (Vincent Jackson, Roy Helu, et al), as there's just no reason to try to play through pain and risk further injury at this point.
This week, more than any other, owners need to be paying full attention to the situations of every team. As I've said before, I won a league last year thanks to late-season additions Tim Tebow, Joe McKnight and Joe Webb. Obviously, the point here is to fill your starting roster with healthy, motivated players that expect to see four quarters of playing time, ideally against opponents that have Hawaiian golf vacations on their minds. While you are preparing your roster this week, I thought I'd leave you with some reading material from Andy Behrens, who presented all the potential pitfalls leading into Week 17 of the '10 season. It's probably not a bad idea to compare your players with players in a similar situation last year and just see how that worked out for them. It's not a good week to leave stones unturned.
Alright, here's this week's Skinny cheat sheet, subject to change many times before kickoff on Sunday. Best of luck tip-toeing around the landmines this week. Happy New Year's to all – We'll see you on the flip side.