The NFL did us a favor by back-loading division games this season. There are fewer meaningless Week 17 games than usual, even with all but three playoff spots accounted for. Here's a quick look at what teams are resting players and what playoff teams aren't in the season finale.AFC
1. Patriots: Bill Belichick has generally played to win in similar situations, especially when he has a bye week coming up. With such a young defense, my feeling is that Tom Brady
will stay in the game until the Patriots have a big lead in the second half. Wes Welker
is a guy I'd be afraid to use, but only minor downgrades otherwise.
2. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis: They all have plenty to play for. The Steelers are hardly a lock to win in Cleveland, so there's no scenario where the Ravens scoreboard watch and sit guys early.
3. Jets: The one AFC team I'd stay the hell away from. It sounds like Mark Sanchez
will barely play, if at all. That makes LaDainian Tomlinson
, Santonio Holmes
, Braylon Edwards
, and even Shonn Greene
extremely risky to use. Once the quarterback goes, other top shelf guys follow.NFC
1. Falcons, Saints: The only way the Falcons rest anyone is if they are up 30 points. So you'll want your Falcons in the lineup. The Saints could be scoreboard watching, but don't figure to pull anyone unless the Falcons have a huge lead in the second half. New Orleans still has a chance to win the division. I'd stick with Brees and be a tad more cautious with Pierre Thomas
2. Bears: Just a gut feeling they will play to win, even if the Falcons clinch the No. 1 seed earlier in the day. (Lovie Smith said they will play starters throughout, although coaches aren't usually reliable sources.) They have no injuries, a week off coming up, and would love to knock their rival Packers out.
3. Eagles: The one NFC team to stay away from. The Eagles have nothing to play for, and figure to be conservative with Michael Vick
, LeSean McCoy
, DeSean Jackson
, and Jeremy Maclin
. Vick probably won't play at all.
----Week 17 QuarterbacksEditor's Note:
Just wanted to say good luck to everyone still playing and thank you guys so much for reading all year. We got a lot of nice emails and tweets thanking us for helping you win titles. Don't get carried away though – you made the calls that did it. We're glad to have helped along the way.
I also want to spend a special thanks to Chris Wesseling for his help on these rankings all year. We combined on the rankings for the first time this year and it led to more well-rounded, balanced rankings. He's got a great eye for value.
Evan Silva also deserves a major shout out for the best matchup column on the web. (And it's not close.) Silva spearheads all our news coverage, which is still what Rotoworld is all about. He leads the best fantasy football crew anywhere, with Wesseling, Adam Levitan, L.J. Rader, Ryan Boyer, and Sam Kline all making us look good.
On to the notes ...QB Notes: Peyton Manning
put some ridiculous throws on the Raiders last week. Tennessee's pash rush has thinned out and isn't built for turf. Look for a lot of points from Indianapolis. … Philip Rivers
' "slump" is concerning, but 15 weeks of evidence says the Broncos defense is among the very worst in the league. Don't sweat the slump. … Aaron Rodgers
may have played better against the Bears in Week 3 than he did last week against the Giants. That should ease any concerns about a tough matchup.
This rankings assumes Kevin Kolb
will start. Even without DeSean Jackson
, I wouldn't hesitate to use him against the Cowboys. It's the system. … Jay Cutler
's ranking isn't conservative because of the Bears could rest people. I think he'll play, but the Packers defense creates a lot of problems confusing opposing quarterbacks. … Tim Tebow
's running skills makes him a borderline QB1 even in a tough matchup.
You could make the argument Sam Bradford
should be ranked higher because he's playing the Seahawks. Seattle is the ultimate slumpbuster for struggling quarterbacks. Ask Josh Freeman
or Alex Smith
. … Joe Webb
is a nice wide receiver play, but there are too many safer options to use in front of him at quarterback. … I don't trust Rex Grossman
at all with the Redskins line trying to protect him against the Giants. … Even the Texans defense doesn't make me comfortable enough to use Trent Edwards