Saturday - Jan 19, 2019

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ON SECOND THOUGHT: Week 17

If your league plays in week 17 then you have discovered a hidden gem in fantasy football. Let’s look at this most important week of the season for waiver wires.

Week 17 is the most important week in all of fantasy football for the waiver wires.  For years I have carried the flag for early exit playoffs.  I believed that the only way to be in a real league was to be in one that finished on Week 16.

The reasoning behind that is simple.  Many teams do not play their starters for the full game in week 17 or at all. So, the battle cry is usually something like this, “why would you work your butt off all year and develop the best team just to have all your great players sit in week 17 and lose to someone who doesn’t deserve it?”

I get it.  Like I said, I used to be that guy.  Then about 30 years passed and fantasy football blew up. Now because of magazines, websites like this, writers like me and all the great fantasy football shows on TV, it is easier than ever to get good quality fantasy football information.

Because of this, I can honestly say that the leagues I am playing in have never been more competitive. That is a good thing of course. What is not a good thing is that often, because quality information is so easy to come by, you have people who do not put much time and effort into the league that win the whole dang thing.

I like to reward good behavior. I consider knowing everything there is to know about the top fantasy players, from what conditions they prefer to play in to what they ate this morning, a good behavior. Yes I am sick like that.

But I dislike nothing more than studying tape and players all year long to have some “part-timer” sweep into the playoffs and take me out.

I now play in two leagues that have multiple weeks per match-ups for the playoffs. The cumulative score wins. The brilliance of this is that the final week of the playoffs is in Week 17. The reason I call this brilliant is because Week 17 requires you to make actual moves if you have a good team. You will not just plug and play your roster in Week 17 and get a win. There are many players that are not playing this week. You might be better off grabbing a good player off the waiver wire and benching your stud and that takes homework.

The average Joe that doesn’t pay that close of attention could never pull out a good week in Week 17.  You have to be someone who understands which players are going to be touching the rock in the final week.

So, I have come to love Week 17. I have begun to realize that it, more than any other week, separates the fantasy guppies from the sharks.

There were many NFL teams that clinched playoff spots last week that will not be able to improve their standing with a win this week. These teams will be resting their starters and that means you need waiver wire help.

The key is to figure out whether or not your guy is going to play. Here are a couple of hints for you. If your guy is on a team that has clinched the division and home field like the Philadelphia Eagles then he most likely won’t play. With that in mind, let’s jump in and take a look at what fruit is still out there for the picking, and as always, let’s start with Quarterbacks.

Quarterback

Blake Bortles has continued to stay hot as of late. He had another nice game on Sunday throwing for a ridiculous 382 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Yet even through all of that he has accomplished he is still available in 51% of leagues.

He is on one of the best teams in football and has great receivers playing incredible football lately.  It seems then that Bortles should be picked up and used for those in need of week 17 help, right?

No, on second thought, there may be better picks out there than Bortles.  Notice, I did not say he will be bad, I don’t think he will be.  I do feel that due to the Jags not really playing for anything, he may see less usage this week. That less usage is enough to make me think it would be wiser to find another quarterback. Like a quarterback who has been hot lately that still has high availability. The question is, are there any of those quarterbacks out there?

I believe the answer is yes, and he can be found in a guy I’ve been touting for weeks.  Jimmy Garoppolo is still available in 64% of league and has been on fire lately.

Last week I had mentioned that he has steadily had better numbers week-after-week for four straight weeks.  Well, make that five straight weeks.  Garoppolo increased the streak this week with a 242 yard and two touchdown outing. Garoppolo who is on a team that is not vying for the playoffs, still has reason to play hard and is still competing for the inside track on the starting position next season. He plays against a very tough Rams team this week.  The Rams on paper are an easier matchup than the Jaguars defense he play well against last week – he should be just fine.

Jacoby Brissett is another quarterback that shows promise and could give you great numbers in Week 17.  He is still able to be picked up in 90% of leagues.

Brissett picked up the pace last week throwing for 215 yards and a touchdown.  He faces Houston in what should be a high scoring game.

Here is the kicker to Brissett’s play this week.  He does not have a starting gig in the NFL after Week 17.  The Colts did not make the playoffs, and next year Andrew Luck should be back, and this is his team. Brissett will be playing for his highlight reel to try and land one of the open positions in the league next season.  He could very well put up huge numbers this week and he just might be worth the risk.

Running Back

Switching to running backs, let’s look at Wayne Gallman.  Gallman has been very solid lately and has taken over the lead back role in New York.

He had a nice week last week carrying the ball 10 times and catching 6 passes for 44 yards.  He is still available in 88% of leagues and could really help you in your lineup, correct?

No, on second thought, Gallman has a tough match up this week.  When Gallman faced the Redskins just five weeks ago he ran for only 37 yards, catching two passes for another six yards.  The Redskins don’t look so tough on paper but they seem to have Gallman’s number. It’s safe to say that Gallman will most likely go into the off-season in a puff of smoke as opposed to a blaze of glory.

If you are looking for help at running back, and want a blaze of glory type guy, then look to Cincinnati. With both Jeremy Hill on IR and Joe Mixon banged up, Giovani Bernard has been great lately.  He is still available in 50% of leagues and has an inside track to a nice Week 17. If Mixon can’t play, which is very likely, Bernard stands to have a very good week again. Bernard ran for 116 yards and a touchdown and had 7 catches for 52 yards last week with Mixon banged up.  At 50% available he is a no-brainer for any starting lineup.

Mike Gillislee is back on the front lines for the Patriots.  Gillislee finds himself sharing the backfield with possibly just one other back this week after splitting time with up to four other running backs all season. With both Rex Burkhead and James White banged up and the Patriots trying to lock down home field advantage Gillislee could see some nice action this week. He is still available in 74% of leagues and carried the ball six times for a touchdown last week.  His position on this team is basically that of starting touchdown vulture. He could put up a very nice stat line this next week against the Jets for anyone willing to roll with him.

About Rick Olson

Rick joined FantasySharks,com as a staff writer in 2013, though he fell in love with fantasy football in 1988 with the first league he played in. In his articles he tries to feature players off the radar or deeper than most since, in his experience, by the time a player is a waiver wire "must have" they are not usually available in most leagues.