Well, this is it. The end of the road.
If that winds up stuck in your head, you’re welcome.
This marks the final article I’ll be writing in 2017 at Fantasy Sharks – my seventh season with the site.
Please, please – hold all applause until the end.
In the overwhelming majority of IDP leagues, the season’s already over and a champion has been crowned. However, there are leagues – including the WALL IDP-Only Showcase League here at Fantasy Sharks – that don’t hold their title games until Week 17.
I’m playing for a second straight championship there. Against my younger brother. Who won the league in both 2014 and 2015.
Been a nice run there for the Davenport boys.
Playing title games in Week 17 carries with it unique problems. The Los Angeles Rams will be resting starters this week – including defensive end Aaron Donald. It’s possible that the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers could do the same, either because they are already locked into a certain seed or have decided that risking injury isn’t worth moving up a slot.
Starting players from those teams (or other playoff squads who could pull starters early) carries with it additional risk in this most important of weeks. It’s why many folks don’t like Week 17 title games.
However, at the moment the wisdom of Week 17 championship games isn’t relevant. The game is going to be played this week.
So, let’s close the 2017 campaign by winning the danged thing.
Each week during the 2017 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (Studs), as well as some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than normal (Duds).
This isn’t necessarily to say that every “Stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “Dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2017 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL) (1)
As Jason Marcum wrote for SB Nation, the Bengals will be woefully thin at linebacker with Vontaze Burfict out for the season finale in Baltimore. “(Burfict) being out means Jordan Evans, Brandon Bell and/or Hardy Nickerson will be thrust into the starting lineup with Vincent Rey,” he said. “This is easily the weakest position on the roster when Burfict is out, and it’s still way too thin even when he plays.”
Rey’s hardly 100 percent himself, but with 13 total tackles and an interception over the past two weeks Rey’s been a top-25 fantasy option even with missing a large portion of last week’s game. So long as he’s on the field against the Ravens, Rey has a real chance at closing the season with a top-10 performance.
WEEK 16 IDP STUDS
Michael Bennett – DE, Seattle Seahawks (vs. AZ) (2): Bennett has tailed way off over the second half of this season, but the matchup here is as good as it gets and the Seahawks are desperate.
Trey Flowers – DE, New England Patriots (vs. NYJ) (6): The Patriots need a win in this favorable pass-rush matchup to sew up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, New York Giants (vs. WAS) (3): Pierre-Paul has a great chance here to end what’s quietly been a top-10 fantasy season on a high note.
Benardrick McKinney – ILB, Houston Texans (at IND) (2): McKinney’s been an up-and-down IDP option in 2017, but his matchup in the season finale sets up well on paper.
Avery Williamson – ILB, Tennessee Titans (vs. JAX) (5): Williamson could be a solid spot start in a game where I expect the Jaguars to run the ball in an effort to just get it over with.
Sean Davis – S, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE): Many of Pittsburgh’s stars may sit Sunday, but I don’t expect Davis to be among them.
Bradley McDougald – S, Seattle Seahawks (vs. AZ) (4): Just like 2016, the Cardinals have been a great fantasy matchup for both defensive linemen and defensive backs in 2017.