10 Players I Love in Fantasy Football for Week 17
Most fantasy football leagues are done by now. Some are not. The logic doesn’t get much simpler, but we refuse to use it as a cop-out to relax and take our foot off the gas. Instead, we’re pressing hard for the final week of the 2011 NFL regular season to make sure your mind is at ease when you’re making those final roster moves for the fantasy football championship.
Some guys are battling injuries and others may not be very reliable in terms of how much action they see. So, with the season on the line and not much certainty swirling around fantasy football in the final week, here are 10 fantasy options I’m confident will play all day, and could put up big numbers, as well:
Note: Players listed, not ranked.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Everyone is talking about Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record, but when the smoke clears in week 17, Brady has a decent shot at ending with more yards. Sure, he’s about 200 shy of Brees at the moment, but against a woeful Bills defense, anything is possible. Bank on Brady playing most of the day and putting up elite numbers, per usual.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Brees has already made history, but he can still get his Saints a week off in the playoffs with a win and a 49ers loss in the season finale. He carved up the Panthers for 359 yards and two scores the last time he faced Carolina, so bank on similar production once again, and a complete game from your stud quarterback.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Sticking with the Saints/Panthers matchup, I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t play Newton. The rook has eight total touchdowns in his last three games and looks to end the year on a high note with a big win over the Saints. Whether Carolina gets the win or not is moot in the fantasy realm, but you can safely count on big numbers, as evidenced by his 240+ total yards and three scores the last time he faced the Saints.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford is on absolute fire right now, and there’s no reason why he should cool off against a bad Packers pass defense this week. It’s on the road in the cold, but Detroit still has playoff seeding to play for, and Stafford has nine touchdowns and nearly 1,000 passing yards in his last three games. Another neat fact during that stretch – no picks and no losses.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Romo was unstoppable the last time he faced the Giants (300+ yds, 4 TD, o INT), so with everything on the line, it’ll be hard to bet against him. I’m sure the Giants will bring a good fight at home, but Romo has a chance to prove his doubters wrong in this one, and the Giants’ pass defense just hasn’t been good all year long. As long as Romo’s hand is OK, he should shine this week in the final game of the regular season on SNF.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills – Sleeper
Fitzpatrick is probably last on the totem pole of guys to trust on this list, but he arguably shouldn’t be. He gets a woeful Patriots pass defense this week – one that allowed him to throw for 369 yards and two touchdowns in meeting number one. Expect similar results as the Bills try to end 2011 on a good note.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD leads the league in rushing and should only add to his total against a weak Colts run defense. Jacksonville has nothing to play for but respect at this point, but we know they’ll run MJD into the ground, and we know he killed Indy last time (114 rush yds and 1 TD).
LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
MJD is the leader of the pack, but Shady McCoy isn’t far behind (128 yards). It doesn’t seem realistic for him to catch MJD for the rushing title, but that’s exactly what McCoy and the Eagles aim to do. Even if he doesn’t get there, 100+ total yards and a couple scores makes a ton of sense against a weak Redskins defense.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Lynch has been in beast-mode for about 10 weeks now. Literally. The guy even pounded the rock for 100+ rushing yards and a touchdown last week against a 49ers run defense that hadn’t allowed anyone to do either all year long. You gotta love him against a so-so Cardinals defense this week.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The only risk with Jones is his health, but he’s basically had two weeks to rest now, and he gets a pretty weak Giants run defense to end the year. As long as he’s a full go (and it looks like he will be), there is no reason not to expect top-10 production.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings – Sleeper
Gerhart isn’t a burner, but when he gets fed the rock, he just puts up numbers. Even when he got shutdown by a tough Falcons run defense in his first start earlier in the year, he still had 40+ yards and a touchdown. I like him to get 20+ touches and a score to end the year against a deflated Bears squad.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Megatron has been huge all year, but he could explode against a bad Packers pass defense to end the season. The Lions are still playing for seeding and Johnson should play the entire game. He’s our number one receiver for the week.
Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
Welker hauled in 12 receptions in week 16 and very well could come close to that number against the Bills this week. Just like with Tom Brady, Welker should play most (if not all) of the season finale, and judging by his numbers against Buffalo in the last meeting (16 rec, 217 yds, 2 TD), it could be a mighty fine day.
Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin