Before the advent of daily fantasy sports ("DFS''), Week 17 had traditionally been an afterthought for many fantasy players, as league championships had been won (or lost) in Week 16 and it afforded an opportunity to watch a week of football with undivided support for your favorite NFL team.
But no longer.
Week 17 can actually be a ball of fun for a season-long fantasy player to begin dabbling in DFS, as random gut calls at wide receiver can explode for 100-plus yards, and third-string running backs can punch in multiple touchdowns. In short, it's a circus of the insane, and any supposition or prognostication can be logically backed up with the mantra, ''It's Week 17, anything can happen.''
A QUICK PRIMER ON DFS
If you seek out advice on playing daily fantasy sports (there's plenty available), most writers will assume you already know some of the terminology. A new player should know at least two terms:
1. ''Cash Game'': Usually refers to the head-to-head games, in which one player takes on another player.
2. ''GPP'': Stands for ''Guaranteed prize pool,'' which is, in its simpler terms, the tournament style of play, where big prizes are offered to fields of hundreds of thousands or even millions of entrants.
The best advice on daily fantasy is to simply have fun with it. Don't look at it as a way to make money.
WEEK 17 NOTES
- 49ers running back Carlos Hyde tore his MCL on Christmas Eve, knocking him out for the season and, likely, through most of the offseason. While the general consensus is that DuJuan Harris and Shawn Draughn will split carries, it was Harris who had 142 yards and a touchdown Week 10 in Hyde's absence and will likely take the lead role (despite Draughn getting the majority of the work in Week 16). Whatever playing time either might get won't be enough to justify a start for either in daily or late-finishing season long leagues, as there will be some degree of time sharing.
- Matt McGloin will start for the Raiders in Week 17 (and into the playoffs) with Derek Carr out with a fractured fibula. While some fantasy players may shy away from McGloin, there's reason to give him a shot. Besides, ''It's Week 17!''
- McGloin has two top-tier receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, as well as three adept pass-catching running backs who have combined for 101 targets on the season: Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington. Throw in big-play back Jamize Olawale, who averages 19.7 yards per reception, and Seth Roberts, who is a solid pass-catching receiver, and the Raiders can offer McGloin enough weapons to make a splash. Top this all off with Oakland's need to run a full complement of plays and personnel to get McGloin on the same page with the starters heading into the playoffs, and we have a very interesting DFS play for Week 17.
- Win or lose, the New York Giants are going to have the NFC's No. 5 seed in the playoffs, so don't be surprised if Paul Perkins, Roger Lewis, or Jerrell Adams see extended playing time in Week 17. There's no indication what may happen, but if the goal is to pick a player nobody else has on their team - and then hope they explode in a rest-the-starters-fueled performance - Perkins may be the best.
- For a feel-good shot at a player who could put up 100-plus yards and a touchdown in Week 17, look no further than 49ers wide receiver Rod Streater. With Torrey Smith out, Streater caught six passes on seven targets for 63 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Streater has a 100 target, 888-yard season under his belt already, albeit in 2014. But now, the tail end of a disastrous 2016 season for San Francisco has given Streater the opportunity to showcase his skill.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com