Why are you playing fantasy football on Week 17? You shouldn’t be playing fantasy football on Week 17! But if you are playing fantasy football on Week 17, here’s some stuff you should know

By Gary Gramling
December 27, 2016

Got a fantasy football question? I will reluctantly answer it on my Facebook page (give me likes, please!) or Twitter.

Hi. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Or continue to enjoy a tremendous Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Or, if aren’t celebrating everything, I hope you’re just having a very nice time at the moment.

Enough small talk. I came here to talk to you about your fantasy league. It’s dumb that you’re playing on Week 17. Nobody plays on Week 17. The Steelers and Giants were talking about resting their starters days ago. This is a crap week for fantasy football. You should take my advice and do the whole playoff redraft thing anyway.

But hey, I’m a nice guy, and I’m going to do a personal favor for you—and only for you—and give some Week 17 fantasy advice. My best to whatever specific family member you think I’d get along with.

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Le’Veon Bell and Fitzgerald Toussaint: Yeah, that’s right, Week 17 is a time when Fitzgerald Toussaint is as relevant as Le’Veon Bell. Look what you hath wrought! Bell has taken 128 of the last 129 touches given to Pittsburgh running backs, but there’s no reason to add to the wear and tear in a game that is literally meaningless to the Steelers. I’d expect Toussaint to take at least two-thirds of the playing time on Sunday.

Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders: The Broncos might give Lynch the start over Siemian in a meaningless Week 17 game. As bad as Siemian, especially over the last couple weeks, he’s still been better than Lynch has looked when he’s gotten on the field this year (not because he’s a bust, but because he’s a project who isn’t close to ready). It’s basically more bad news for Thomas and Sanders.

Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson: Go for it! The Jaguars figure to score some points at Indianapolis. Bortles hasn’t thrown an interception against the Colts since 2014.

Carlos Hyde, Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris: Hyde is done for the year, rekindling that Harris/Draughn magic that captivated the world earlier this season. My guess is that Draughn sees the bulk of the work as the Niners throw it a lot playing from behind. Harris should have a role as the better runner though. Probably not enough to be a factor in fantasy leagues. Draughn is useable in FLEX leagues.

Derek Carr, Matt McGloin, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree: Sure, the Raiders are going to run, run, run with McGloin in (Carr broke his leg, did ya hear?). In a normal matchup, I wouldn’t consider Cooper and Crabtree hopeless because I think McGloin has a willingness to throw them open. But against the Broncos? (Even a Broncos team with nothing to play for?) Nah.

Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington: I think you’re going to see a lot of six-lineman formations for Oakland, and if things go their way, 40-plus combined touches for the running backs. I’d still bank on Murray leading the charge, but I do think Washington will get another extended look as the hot hand after Sunday. Best guess: 20 touches for Murray, 12 touches for Washington, eight touches for Richard. Murray is startable, Washington is as well, in deeper leagues.

Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue and Akeem Hunt: I’d spit-take my Sanka if Miller suits up in Week 17. It’s clear that Blue will be the lead backfield at this point, with Akeem Hunt sprinkled in. Blue is a pretty desperate option as a starter though; he’ll get the workload, but he’s a subpar runner behind a line that has been up and down all year.

Doug Martin, Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims: Martin is gonna sit, and it looks like Dirk Koetter has locked in a rotation of Rodgers as the bell cow and Sims as the passing down back. Rodgers is startable, while Sims is a dart throw in PPR leagues.

Tevin Coleman: There should be enough against the Saints for Coleman and Devonta Freeman to eat. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Marvin Jones: Like the ghost in that movie Ghost, Jones has slowly disappeared as the year has gone on. (Is that what happened in Ghost? I have never seen the movie Ghost.) But he has a chance for a big finish on Sunday night against a group of Packers cornerbacks that hasn’t played particularly well. They’re indoors and the Lions have something to play for.

Charles Clay: EJ Manuel gets the start against the Jets, and I’d downgrade everyone in Buffalo. I think Clay has the best chance to hold up.

Melvin Gordon, Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman: Farrow is on IR after a disappointing two-game run, and Gordon may or may not suit up on Sunday. That would leave Hillman as a viable FLEX option, especially in PPR leagues.

A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell: I don’t see any way the Bengals force Green out there this week, which would allow LaFell to retain the No. 1 receiver role in Cincy.

Thomas Rawls and Alex Collins: They’re, like, out of dudes. Rawls is likely questionable with a shoulder injury. That would open the door for Collins, who dances a very nice jig, is capable as a pass-catcher, though not nearly the runner Rawls is. It’s enough to make him a solid starter, and a decent option in PPR formats.

Todd Gurley: If you can’t run on the 49ers, you can’t run on anyone. It’s gonna be a long, cold winter then spring then summer for Gurley. His workload makes him a startable but low-reward play in Week 17.

Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington: My guess is that Riddick will go in what is likely to be a playoff game on Sunday night. If he does, neither Zenner nor Washington is worth a play. If he doesn’t go, Zenner is a decent standard league play, as he’s left Washington in the dust.

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