First, if you happen to still be playing fantasy football in Week 17, demand that your commissioner fix this situation before next year. You don’t want your championship to come down to a game of “survive the pre-playoff benchings.” Good fantasy owners can protect themselves from some obvious playoff benching candidates, such as an Aaron Rodgers or a Peyton Manning (in healthy years). However, its almost impossible to predict what mid-level playoff teams will have essentially nothing left to play for by Week 17.
In general, I would tend to avoid trying to guess what a particular coach will do. If you have a player with nothing to play for, I would consider finding someone that you are more certain will play the entire game. I also would try to avoid backups to players that may or may not be rested. Its almost impossible to predict how much action second teamers might see. So, unless someone like Matt Flynn is named the starter well ahead of kickoff, I would not take the chance.
Don’t forget to also consider blocking an opponent from pickups if you have the ability to do so. If your opponent has an injured starter, don’t give him the chance to claim the top free agents at that position.
If you are stuck with a Week 17 championship game, there are a few possible good candidates available:
Toby Gerhart, RB, Washington and Kahlil Bell, RB, Chicago – These are pickups 1A and 1B at RB this week. Both will still be hungry to prove themselves, if nothing else. Gerhart is a lock to be the featured back, so I would probably grab him first if you only have room for one RB on your roster. Bell could see some competition if Marion Barber happens to resurface.
Malcolm Floyd, WR, San Diego – WR is a bit shaky for this week. Most of the top options have been far too inconsistent to expect a solid contribution in a championship game. Floyd has put together two very solid weeks. Assuming San Diego decides to shut down Vincent Jackson for the year (and why wouldn’t they after the Adrian Peterson debacle), Floyd should be set for a good week against the Raiders.
Joe Webb, QB, Minnesota – Webb once again makes for an intriguing play at QB for the fantasy playoffs, as he has in the past. Webb’s rushing ability makes him a threat to put up a decent number of points, particularly in Adrian Peterson’s absence. As of right now, he may not be the starter, but he is probably worth a roster spot and some consideration closer to the end of the week.
Kyle Orton, QB, Kansas City – Orton is a solid, safe play against a subpar Denver defense and he will certainly be motivated to keep his former team out of the playoffs. He’s not likely to erupt for a huge total, but he should safely put up some points.
Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee – He is on a big hot streak, playing in a must win game, and still widely available.
Marshall has over ten years fantasy football experience and maintains a fantasy football blog over at Sunday Morning Legend (In My Own Mind).
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