Waiver Wire Watch: Wacky Week 17
Welcome to Week 17, the most unfairly maligned week of the NFL regular season. For many, the fantasy season is over. But some of you are still playing meaningful fantasy football games this week. I salute those of you who are, as I’m among the few proponents of a 17-week fantasy season. Here’s an abridged version of my argument for going the distance:
I’m in a 16-team league that has been playing a 17-week season since 1993. In 20 years, we've had two instances where Week 17 weirdness has arguably affected the outcome of the championship game. In the vast majority of cases, there's been no effect whatsoever, and we had both finalists at full strength. Some would argue that even twice in 20 years is too often to have early-rest issues affect a title game. But there's also an argument to be made that a 14-game regular season is a fairer test than a 13-game regular season, giving the better teams an additional week to help mitigate the effects of injuries, bad luck, etc. Ultimately, our league has agreed that an extra week of fantasy football for 16 owners far outweighs the possibility — and again, it’s merely a possibility and by no means a certainty — that one of the teams in the championship game is put at a disadvantage by Week 17 motivational factors. More fantasy football is preferable to less fantasy football. And if you have a player or two who might not play the entire 60 minutes in Week 17 ... well, hit the waiver wire, pal.
The good news for owners in Week 17 championships is that the Chiefs are the only team locked into a particular playoff spot, so we won’t see many top fantasy players checking out of their games early. For more details, check out So Who's Motivated? by the esteemed Mr. Josh Moore.
Let’s look at a few players at each position who could be start-worthy this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick let down a lot of daily fantasy players and QB streamers in Week 16, but he’s an intriguing possibility this week against the Texans, who rank in the bottom 10 of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs and were just firebombed by Peyton Manning to the tune of 400 passing yards and four TD passes.
Ryan Tannehill was batted around like a piñata in the Dolphins’ shutout loss to the Bills on Sunday, but he’ll be wrapping up the regular season against a Jets defense he torched for 331 passing yards and two TD passes in Week 13.