Wacky Week 17: Sneaky Starts, Improbable Pickups


Most fantasy football leagues hold their championships in Week 16 or earlier for a reason. Week 17 of the NFL season is very difficult to predict due to the varying levels of team motivation and player participation throughout the league. When setting one's Week 17 lineup, it's important to look at the week through that prism.

Generally speaking, a team can fall into one of four categories: 1) still playing for a playoff berth or playoff seeding, 2) in the playoffs, but possibly resting players, 3) playing the spoiler, or 4) playing only for pride.
AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Bengals, Jets* and Titans*
* playoff chances on life support
AFC: Texans (clinched #3 seed)
NFC: Packers (clinched #1 seed and home field), Falcons (if DET beats GB earlier in the day)
AFC: Dolphins, Bills*, Chargers, Chiefs and Browns* 
NFC: Rams*, Panthers* and Buccaneers*
* can only impact seeding, not playoff berths
AFC: Colts and Jaguars 
NFC: Eagles, Redskins, Bears, Vikings, Cardinals and Seahawks 
Note: For more detail about who's motivated, check out Josh Moore's article, which is aptly titled, So Who's Motivated?
With this in mind, let's take a look at the top pickups for Week 17:
Orton threw for 300 yards and a TD (to go along with two interceptions) against the Raiders in Week 16 coming off a 299-yard outing against the Packers in Week 15. The Chiefs will be playing the role of spoiler against the Broncos, who have struggled against the pass this season.
He's not going to set the world on fire, but he has at least one TD pass in each of his last six games and has a pretty nice matchup against a shaky Arizona secondary. He's still auditioning to start next year for the Seahawks, so there's motivation to play well.

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