If you're in one of those strange fantasy leagues that plays Week 17, this is important. For the rest of you, well, I still say that the "partial season problem" is the biggest issue for fantasy football. There are plenty of injuries and even more playing time issues as teams that are already in -- or already out -- are resting and protecting players. For the surprising number of teams in meaningful games, there are as many issues to deal with as usual. Of course, teams aren't making it any easier on me, but let's get to it:
Pierre Thomas RB NO: He missed practice all week with a back issue and given the chase for the passing record, the Saints may not run much this week anyway.
Dominic Rhodes RB IND: Rhodes is out with a chest bruise that isn't expected to be an issue when the playoffs open. With Joseph Addai unlikely to play as well, that leaves Najeh Davenport to take most of the Colts carries against a resting Titans defense.
Michael Jenkins WR ATL: His shoulder is probably enough to keep him out most weeks, but not this one. His effectiveness is more in question, which makes Roddy White the one solid target.
Harry Douglas WR ATL: See above, just sub in toe as well as shoulder.
Jeremy Shockey TE NO: He's out with another leg injury, this time the ankle. Billy Miller gets the start on what figures to be a huge passing day.
Marion Barber RB DAL: It looks as if the Cowboys will use him -- or should I say misuse -- him the same way they did last week. He'll be active but is not expected to play much ... unless Tashard Choice simply can't be effective with his foot injury. That's more pressure on Tony Romo either way.
TJ Houshmandzadeh, WR CIN: He went from probable to inactive with a back injury. The Bengals also have Chad Johnson on the inactive list, which makes Chris Perry a stunning solid option.
LenDale White RB TEN: He had a virus this week and didn't practice, so he's unlikely to play much, if at all.
Tashard Choice RB DAL: Must-win game and bad feet are a bad mix facing the Cowboys. Actually twice. Choice has a mildly sprained foot and was hobbled in practice, making it more likely that Jason Garrett will be forced to find a way to use Barber.
Frank Gore RB SF: His knee is good enough to play on, but the Skins defense combined with the soreness is probably enough to put him on a fantasy bench.
Derrick Mason WR BAL: I don't know whether to admire him or slam him for playing through a dislocated shoulder. In a must-win game, we certainly can't question his heart or his pain tolerance.
Roy Williams WR DAL: Another Cowboy? So much for their top ranking on next year's list. He's been unproductive in Dallas and the foot might be a small part of that.
Bernard Berrian WR MIN: He's got a bad ankle, but in a must-win game, he'll be out there even if he's just a decoy.
Hank Baskett WR PHI: Skipping the easy Bunny jokes, Baskett's knee cleared up by the end of the week and should allow him to play. I don't think he's a good option with all the WRs in the Eagles system.
Colts DST: Forget Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis this week. As for Gary Brackett, it looks like he will be back for the playoffs.
Brian Westbrook RB PHI: His knee won't be an issue, but if they're eliminated before their late game, he'll likely be benched or at least not carry a full load. Then again, would keeping Dallas out be enough for Andy Reid to play full out?
Steven Jackson RB STL: He'll play and play and play, until he regrets saying that he wasn't gassed a couple weeks back.
Maurice Jones-Drew RB JAX: The knee won't keep him from getting a lot of carries, but a lot of carries will remind the Jags that they need Fred Taylor or the equivalent to keep Jones-Drew from wearing down. A passing game would help too.
Jeff Garcia QB TB: He'll play in a must-win game for the Bucs, who have proven they can't win without him.
Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT: He's practiced all week, but I'd be surprised if he plays much this week with Byron Leftwich also available.