Waiver Wire Watch: Wacky Week 17
Editor’s Note: We’re happy 4for4 Contributor Pat Fitzmaurice (formerly of Pro Football Weekly) is back on the Waiver Wire Watch this year. His opinions regarding the advantages of Week 17 championship games are purely his own and in no way reflect the opinions of the site, its affiliates or, really, anyone without sadistic tendencies.
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.
The bottom line is this: A full 17-week season means more fantasy football for a greater number of owners. In 16-week fantasy leagues, at least half of the owners are done after Week 13, and Week 14 is reserved for just one or two wild-card games. A 17-week season extends the regular season by an extra week – more fantasy football for more people.
Those who are appalled by the idea of a 17-week season claim that the odds of Week 17 weirdness tainting a championship game are too great. I’m in a 16-team league that has been playing a 17-week season since 1993. In 21 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 discernible effect. Some would argue that even twice in 21 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. And if you have a player or two who might not play the entire 60 minutes in Week 17 ... well, that’s what waiver wires are for.
The good news for owners in Week 17 championships is that virtually every playoff-bound team still has something left to play for, 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 Josh Moore.
Let’s look at a few sub-premium players at each position who, for one reason or another, have appeal as potential Week 17 starters.