You shouldn't need a reason to change your mind about making Week 17 pertinent to your fantasy football leagues. Use it as a bonus week, sure, but don't let it decide championships.
Jamaal Charles, the likely No. 1 pick for 2014, and his Kansas City Chiefs will potentially provide the latest reason to culminate your league in NFL's penultimate week. Andy Reid is going to rest players with his Chiefs unable to improve upon—or be demoted from—being the fifth seed in the AFC, according to Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star. They are the only playoff contenders whose playoff seed cannot change going into Sunday's action.
It is a bitter pill of dramatic irony: The very player who can be declared a fantasy football MVP, because he dominated the running back position, might be taking a goose egg in the final week as a DNP (coach's decision).
Per Adam Teicher of ESPN:
Reid has a track record of preserving his stars for the playoffs with nothing to gain in the season's final week, telling the Star's Covitz: "I'll evaluate all the different situations. I have sat people before ... quite a few times, actually, and benefited from that. But I'll look at everything and make sure I have that part evaluated."
Reid leaves the door open to play Charles and Alex Smith some, but not enough to impact fantasy leagues. Consider those two players too dangerous to trust if you're playing for a fantasy championship.
That might be news enough to consider Knile Davis a fantasy starter over Charles (see the Roster Trends section below). Absolutely do not trust Alex Smith's backup, Chase Daniel. Charles' often banged-up body needs the rest, while Smith might need to keep his timing down with his receivers.
Timing is everything, Reid said as he continued to the Star's Covitz:
If you look at the history of it, it's been a 50-50 shot over the last three or four years by people who have done it. It's what you feel most comfortable with as a coach. The obvious benefit is to rest your guys and get them back to feeling a little bit fresher than what they are at the end of the season.
You take the risk of the timing part of it. Sometimes that's there, sometimes it's not. Those are things you evaluate.
If you are facing Charles' fantasy owner this week for the championship, you likely don't mind having Week 17 decide your fate.
Oh, Romo; Where Art Thou, Romo?
Speaking of dramatic irony, even Tony Romo might not get a chance to choke away the Dallas Cowboys' playoff chances Sunday. A back injury is threatening to end his season, although owner Jerry Jones has left the door open for Romo to play, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.
Machota quotes Jones from an interview with 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]:
[Romo is] going through treatment, beginning [Monday], and if that treatment has the positive implications that it certainly has the chance to have, then he should not be ruled out in any way for this game. Tony knows our game plan like the palm of his hand, to the end that he doesn’t practice this week or practice as much this week as he normally would have ... there's no doubt in my mind he can step in there without that practice and give us every opportunity to win the game.
A lot of options open here. We won't be getting into one way or the other, the detail as far as Tony’s medical aspect is concerned, because No. 1, we can't. That's against the rules to talk about those kinds of details. The facts are, I'll assure you, that structurally, if his doctor clears him, which he can, and it's possible ... he could very well play.
The end of that statement had just too many "ifs." Expect Kyle Orton to get the start.
Orton, remember, was so questionable as a starter that the once-lowly Chiefs had to bench him. Orton was also the quarterback who was benched by the Denver Broncos to start Tebowmania. Ouch.
With that said, the Cowboys have plenty of offensive juice with DeMarco Murray running. Also, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten can help make the passing game work, even with Orton under center, especially against a Philadelphia Eagles secondary that has given up the third-most passing yards.
Rodgers' Status Decided Thursday
The Green Bay Packers' desire to make a quick decision on Aaron Rodgers' (shoulder) status this week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne, doesn't bode well for his fantasy owners. Head coach Mike McCarthy said, "I want them to know who the quarterback’s going to be."
The decision might have already been made. The announcement to us should come Thursday.
Rodgers is healthy enough to play, by now, but the question is whether McCarthy and "the organization" will allow him to with a winner-take-all match for the NFC North on tap at the Chicago Bears.
McCarthy told the Journal Sentinel's Dunne: "Aaron wants to play, has wanted to play for the last couple of weeks. He fully accepts, understands everything going on with his injury, so this is really a decision for Ted Thompson and I representing the organization. That's how it works."
For now, prepare to be without Rodgers' services for the season finale.
Roster Trends Review
We break down the most-added players by position every Wednesday morning of the season, using ownership percentages in CBS Sports leagues as the example.
Looking at the data, we get a real good sense of how few CBS Sports leagues are decided in Week 17. The most-added player increased just two percent, and there were only 11 players to increase as much as one percent of leagues.
Your league should really follow suit. There are just two many variables involved in deciding your championship in the final week of the NFL regular season.
|Week 17's Most-Added Players|
|RK||Player||POS||TM||Past %||New %||Increase|
Romo (back) is still a long shot to play, so naturally Kyle Orton is the most-added quarterback. Instead of going with the Dallas backup, we would advise fantasy owners to consider the leading replacement we outlined in Bleacher Report's Week 17 Top Pickups, Kirk Cousins.
Orton is a decent fallback option for desperate Romo owners in two-quarterback formats, though.
James Starks is the obvious choice because of Eddie Lacy's (ankle) shaky status and the fact the Green Bay Packers are facing the league's worst run defense in the Chicago Bears. Even if Lacy plays, he will be limited. Starks can rack up 60-plus yards and a touchdown, regardless.
Knile Davis is a solid alternative, particularly if the Kansas City Chiefs rest their players with nothing to play for Sunday.
The Detroit Lions' Kris Durham is the lone receiver added, perhaps because there is the potential Calvin Johnson (knee) is held out of Sunday's game amid reports he had been playing with a torn PCL in his right knee. The Lions haven't made a decision on whether to sit Johnson, though, according to MLive.com's Kyle Meinke.
Johnson's absence would make Durham only slightly more intriguing. We should expect Nate Burleson to be the leading downfield threat and return man Jeremy Ross to also get involved.
Andrew Quarless is a curious lone addition, too. After having back-to-back games with precisely six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in each, Quarless slumped to just one catch for 19 yards.
There is also some uncertainty with the Packers' quarterback situation, which might affect Quarless' targets. You should want Flynn to start if you are a Quarless owner. Rodgers is more likely to use his downfield threats.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and New York Giants were each added in a percent of CBS Sports leagues, but the Colts unit was the lone one we advised trusting in the aforementioned "Top Pickups" from Tuesday.
The Eagles will likely be facing a backup quarterback, but Orton can move that potent Cowboys offense on that sketchy Eagles defense.
Phil Dawson is a wise addition here, even if he is facing an Arizona Cardinals defense that shut down the Seahawks in Seattle—something no other team has been able to do. The Cardinals are the fifth-best team in fantasy against kickers, but Dawson has earned must-start status regardless of the matchup.
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.