Welcome to the last week of the regular season. In August, this seemed so far away… and now the time is here. In most leagues, Fantasy Football is over. Championships have been crowned, trophies and punishments awarded. Congrats to those who won; apologies for those who lost. I know that the Chicago Bears real-life dreadful performance on Sunday night probably hurt a lot of Fantasy teams. The defense allowing LeSean McCoy to have 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns hurt if you were playing against him. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all combined for less than 40 Fantasy points. Jay Cutler had less than 20 points (less than 15 in standard leagues). Unfortunately, that’s what Fantasy Football comes down to sometimes… one good or bad week.
For those still playing in Week 17, you’re actually lucky this year. Most teams still have something to play for this week, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of starters resting. For the most part, you can set your lineup as you normally would and hope for the best. But read on for any advice the Pink Football might have for you:
1. Be aware of teams that may not play their starters for the whole game.
I did hint at this last week when the Philadelphia Eagles were likely going to find themselves in a meaningless Week 16 game. Chip Kelly had said that he would play his starters and hopefully Fantasy owners listened. In Week 17, the Kansas City Chiefs are one team to keep an eye on. Reports have surfaced that the Chiefs will approach this game like it’s the fourth preseason game. You know, the one where the starters play a few of the snaps in the first quarter and then sit out the rest. If your league is playing into Week 17, do not start Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles or Alex Smith. You may also want to consider benching the Kansas City D/ST. Sure, it’s a divisional game, and San Diego needs to win, but Kansas City doesn’t need the game for anything. They’ll play it out, but don’t expect miracles.
Another team to keep an eye on is the Indianapolis Colts. The playoff scenario for the Colts comes down to one of seeding. In order to get the first round bye, they need to win and they need New England and Cincinnati to lose. New England plays in the later set of games, so the Colts will end up playing to win – for the most part. They play Jacksonville, and if the game gets out of hand in one direction or the other, don’t be surprised if the Colts do rest their starters. I would continue to play guys like Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton as you normally would, but if you do have better options, you may want to consider them.
2. Find other ways to keep playing Fantasy Football.
Yes, in most leagues Fantasy Football is done. However, there are other ways to keep playing Fantasy Football (until baseball season starts at least!). There are salary cap leagues that you can play, and after this week, there will be playoff football leagues. For this week, you can also do a one-week draft against nine computer players and compete for cash. In the future, don’t be surprised if this kind of league becomes commonplace. It’s similar to computer-generated mock drafts that you may have utilized before the football season started.
If you are interested, a site to try is SKYLLZONE.com. This site uses the “Fan vs. Machine” method of drafting. Your draft position is randomly selected and you can watch who the computer takes and then make your picks when it’s your turn. This is for Week 17 only, so if your league is over, why not give it a shot? My strategy was trying to make sure I got the guys that I thought were going to have a good week (sneak peek: I love DeSean Jackson this week). This is a similar strategy to those that have been playing in salary cap leagues all year. Pick the guys that you know you want on your team and fill the rest of your roster with others guys that are sleepers or potentially might have a good week. Just know that Fantasy Football doesn’t have to be over just yet. As long as there is football on Sundays, you can find a way to play the make-believe game as well.
3. An overreaction and an underreaction: Geno Smith is a viable Fantasy starter! And Joique Bell won’t have that opportunity again.
Reality: Geno Smith is a very inconsistent quarterback. He threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 48 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Sure, that helped any Fantasy owner (likely in a two-quarterback league) that started him, but it was a fluke. It was the most Fantasy points he’s scored this year. Four weeks ago, he had negative Fantasy points for the second time this year. Which Geno is going to show up each week? No one knows. Don’t look to start him against Miami this week. Throughout the season, Miami has only allowed double-digit passing touchdowns to four QBs: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. Smith isn’t in that category.
Reggie Bush’s carries in the past two weeks (after missing the snowy Philadelphia game because of a calf injury) have been 17 and 12. Bell’s carries: nine and 20. In Week 16, Bush had 34 rushing yards (2.8 yards per carry) compared to Bell’s 91 yards (4.6 yards per carry). Coach Jim Schwartz will likely be fired after this week, so who knows what will actually happen in this week’s game? I do think Bell will have more of a role this week, so he’s someone to possibly fill out your roster with if you are doing a salary cap or Week 17-only league.