Week 17: Start 'Em
Week 17 is finally here, the last week in the regular season and the last week in another amazing fantasy season. Many leagues finished up their fantasy season last week, but there are still some leagues that play all the way till the final week of the season. If you're still alive in your fantasy league: congrats, you made it to the finals! Good luck. My first piece of advice might sound like a broken record but play the players that got you to this point. You have made it this far playing your stud players, don't stop now. There is one issue with week 17 and that is that a lot of NFL teams don't play their studs or don't play them the full game. So if you are dealing with a player who might not play or you ran into some injury issues, take a look below for some ideas of guys you might want to get off your bench and into your line up. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans who read my weekly articles; hopefully I was able to help some of you. I look forward to helping you again next year. For those of you who are still alive, good luck this weekend and may the force be with you. Happy holidays to everyone out there.
After Shonn Greene exploded in the playoffs last season, there was a lot of talk that he would have a huge 2010 season and be one of the top running backs this season. That changed the moment the Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson. LT got off to a great start and that pushed Greene to a back-up role. Over the last few weeks the Jets have been trying to give LT a little bit of a rest so that he can be fresh, and now that the Jets have clinched a playoff spot, look for LT to play very little in week 17. Look for the Jets to rely primarily on Greene when they face the Bills in the season finale. The Bills have had problems stopping the run all season, and that shouldn't change this coming week. If Greene has been on your bench most of the season, it might be the time to put him in your starting lineup.
Playing back-up to Maurice Jones Drew doesn't allow for many opportunities each week; that is, unless MJD is hurt. This past Sunday MJD wasn't able to play due to a knee injury and that gave Rashad Jennings his first start of the year. Unfortunately things didn't go as well as Jennings would have liked, but a lot of that was due to the fact that the Jags were down early in the game and that didn't allow for them to simply pound the ball with Jennings. Don't be discouraged, as there is a good chance that Jennings will get another start this week vs. the Houston Texans. As long as MJD is out again, look for Jennings to get 20+ touches and make up for last week's dud. If you need a RB or Flex this week, Jennings might be your man.
While I think it's too early to be calling Ryan Mathews a bust, he was most definitely a major fantasy disappointment. All the talk in training camp was about how the Chargers' 2010 1st round pick would be a stud this season, but unfortunately most of us never got to see what the Chargers were talking about. Mathews was inconsistent and dealt with numerous nagging injuries, not to mention the emergence of Mike Tolbert as a weapon in San Diego's back field. Tolbert left last week's game early due to injury and it looks like he won't be playing in the season finale. With that in mind, Ryan Mathews is a MUST start vs. the joke that is the Denver Broncos' run defense. Look for Mathews to have his best game of the season this week; you can expect over 125 total yards from Mathews and at least 1 TD. After all this time, he is finally worth starting.
Every year there are a few players that don't get much action during the season, but come on strong the last few weeks, hoping to make an impression for next season. Bernard Scott might just be one of those players as he tries to prove to the Bengals that he has what it takes to be the main guy. In mop up duty last week, Scott rushed for 50 yards and his first TD of the season. Look for Cincinnati to take a long look at Scott this week. If you're in dire need of help at RB, give Scott a look.
Johnny Knox has had a very up and down 2nd season in the NFL, but he looks like he might be on his way to becoming a very solid WR for years to come. With one week left in the season, Knox just needs 40 yards to surpass 1000 yards and would be the first Bears WR to do so since 2002. While Knox doesn't always catch a lot of passes, he does make a lot of big plays -- like he did last week when he caught only 4 passes, but they covered 92 yards and 2 TD's. Earlier in the season he caught 4 passes for 94 yards against this week's opponent the Green Bay Packers. Look for something similar to those numbers.