I have a policy and it goes like this—I will not participate in head-to-head season-long fantasy football leagues that play their Super Bowl (or any portion thereof) during Week 17.
NFL teams that have already secured their playoff position or are mathematically eliminated treat Week 17 much like their third preseason contest—a time to fire up their second-teamers.
This is more prevalent for teams that have locked up their playoff spots, but guys on teams that have been eliminated that are nursing knee or ankle sprains are probably riding pine by halftime if they play at all.
Who needs 16 weeks of brutal competition to boil down to either? No thanks.
I’m a bit editorially hung over from seven straight months of doing NFL research, but here are a few examples from 2009 off the top of my head:
- The Colts’ starters were all riding pine by midway through Week 16 and most all of Week 17 (playoff spot locked)
- Most of the Saints starters only played in the first quarter of Week 17 (playoff spot locked)
- Adrian Peterson saw only nine carries in Week 17 of 2009 (game was a blowout but playoff spot was locked)
- Cedric Benson did not play in Week 17 (playoff spot locked)
- Steve Smith (Panthers) did not play Week 17 (Carolina was eliminated)
A comprehensive audit of last and previous years will reveal a ton more, but the point is that the allure of extending fantasy leagues to include an extra week is just not worth the heartbreak and frustration that will likely ensue.
On the other hand, the emergence of weekly contests for cash has made Week 17 relevant again as the playing field is level with a weekly draft.
With that, I’d like to take a comprehensive look at what is at stake for all 32 NFL teams and how it could potentially affect fantasy producers during the final week of the regular season.