Are you nervous? Edgy? Extremely concerned? Thinking way too much about your big fantasy championship weekend that’s just days away? Well if so, you need to join a new league. No fantasy league should be playing for a championship in Week 17. NFL teams have clinched playoff spots, teams have no shot, starters will be resting, scrubs will be playing. Yuck. If you’re still playing for keeps in Week 17, again, join a new league or change your league rules.
Now that The Czar is finished preaching, let’s see if we can’t find everyone a little help for those God-Awful Week 17 playoff games.
Help Wanted – One Game Only…
Ke’SHAWN VAUGHN – RB/TB
It’s looking like Ronald Jones has a chance to be back from the Covid list for the season finale, but with the Bucs on their way to the playoffs, why would Jones, if he can come back this week, play a ton? Why would Leonard Fournette? Why wouldn’t Ke’Shawn Vaughn? He had 15 carries for 62 yards in the Bucs’ lopsided win over Detroit. He could get at least that many carries against Atlanta.
SAMAJE PERINE – RB/CIN
No surprise – Joe Mixon won’t be coming back to play in a meaningless Week 17 games for the Bengals. But Week 17 against Baltimore could be meaningful for Samaje Perine. He’s playing for work in 2021, and he’s been doing a pretty good job of it – 13 carries, 95 yards, two touchdowns in the Bengals win over Houston. Perine gained 603 yards as a rookie for Washington in 2017, and this is the best he’s played since. Gotta think he’ll be in the league next year as at least a backup.
Ja’MARCUS BRADLEY – WR/CLE
With four Browns receivers ruled out for Sunday’s loss to the jets because of Covid protocols, Bradley stepped up – five catches for 60 yards, on 11 targets. Did we mention, 11 targets? If by chance to Browns’ don’t get several of their receivers back, Bradley could have a good-sized role against the Steelers in a game that could put the Browns into the playoffs.
DARE OGUNBOWALE – RB/JAC
The Jaguars can come up with running backs, can’t they? Undrafted rookie James Robinson has already put together a 1,000 yard season. He misses Week 16, and Ogunbowale steps in and gains 71 yards on 14 carries against the Bears. If Robinson misses Sunday’s game against the Colts, Ogunbowale will be in line for a lot of work.
MALCOLM BROWN – RB/LAR
Darrell Henderson went on the IR Monday with an ankle sprain, and Cam Akers was out against Seattle. If hAkers doesn’t return, cue up Malcolm Brown for major carries against the Cardinals, in a game the Rams have to have, and a game in which they won’t have Jared Goff.
JOHN WOLFORD – QB/LAR
What’s a John Wolford and why is he starting in a game the Rams’ need to win??? Thumb surgery for Jared Goff, that’s why. If you’re desperate for a QB… good luck. It’ll be Wolford’s NFL debut.
Week 17 and beyond…
A.J. DILLON – RB/GB
The Czar has been trying to pick up A.J. Dillon in a keeper league all season long. No luck. Probably too late now, after he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries against the Titans Sunday night. He should get a lot of carries Sunday against the Bears, but more importantly, think Dynasty League here. Aaron Jones is a free agent after the season. As good as Jones is, would you pay Jones big bucks when you have Dillon ready to roll at a fraction of the cost? With Aaron Rodgers as your QB? Neither would The Czar.
JEFF WILSON – RB/SF
No truth to the notion that Kyle Shanahan’s offense could turn Barney Rubble into a 1,000 yard running back. We think. Wilson had 183 yards on 22 carries in the Niners’ win over Arizona. Wow. He has the Seahawks in Week 17. Think he has a chance to be the main guy – or as close as the Niners come to a main RB – next season? So does The Czar. Nothing personal there Raheem Mostert. Or Barney.
IRV SMITH – TE/MIN
With Kyle Rudolph out, Irv Smith has been elevated in the Viking offense, and he’s been terrific – six catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns Christmas day against New Orleans. If available in a Dynasty League, he’ll help you now and later.
ANDY DALTON – QB/DAL
Any chance Dalton is still available in your league? If he is, he could win you a title. It’s taken a while, but Dalton is finally clicking with all of that skill position talent in Dallas. Better line play has helped. Dalton was 22 of 30 for 377 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys win over the Eagles. He’s thrown at least two touchdowns in four straight games, and should keep that going against the Giants. The Cowboys’ put up 37 points against the Giants earlier in the season. Sure, Dak Prescott was the Cowboys’ QB in that one, but it’s still the Giants defense. Some team is going to come up empty in the starting QB department for next season. And when they do, Dalton may once again become an NFL starter. That team, and your fantasy team, could do worse.