Week 17 Playoff Scenario Impact

Week 17 is always the most wonky fantasy week, which is why a lot of season long fantasy leagues end at Week 16.  But Week 17 is also one of the most fun weeks in fantasy because of how each teams playoff scenarios can affect expected fantasy performance. There are teams that have clinched their playoff seeding who will either only play their starters a little bit or not at all, as well as teams who have no shot at the playoffs who may want to take a look at their young players for future seasons.

Teams In Playoffs, Nothing To Play For: Patriots and Colts

Both the Patriots and the Colts are locked into their respective playoff seeding, and therefore it seems very likely that both teams will not play their starters the whole game. Currently, there is not a lot of clear signs of who will and won’t play, but a lot of evidence that we won’t see the majority of the starters for more than a half.

The last time this scenario happened with the Patriots was in 2010 against the Dolphins. Even with nothing to play for, Brady played the entire first half, and some of the younger stars like Rob Gronkowski played the entire game. Wes Welker ended up resting completely. Look for news before the game on who may rest, as there could be a lot of fantasy value to be found. But without any news, Danny Amendola looks like a pretty good play. Julian Edelman is still struggling to get through concussion protocol, and it would make sense that he would be extremely limited if not rested completely. Same goes for the oft injured Rob Gronkowski, but Tim Wright is probably not too strong of a play against the toughest TE defense in the league.

The Colts were embarrassed last week and are likely to have a similar game plan as the Patriots, just to get some momentum going for the playoffs. Dwayne Allen has already been announced as out, T,Y. Hilton is nursing an ankle injury but expected to play, and Reggie Wayne has been seriously hurt all season. I really like both Coby Fleener and Donte Moncrief in this game. Moncrief is likely to see a ton of snaps with Wayne and Hilton both gimpy, and Fleener should see a ton of snaps with Allen out. There is some risk here though, as Fleener could be rested and Hilton and Wayne could see more run than we expect.

How To Handle Teams Out Of Playoff Contention

There are a lot of teams still in the playoff race or can win for a better playoff seed. You can find that information well detailed here. You may want to watch out for Dallas, who has such a long shot to improve their seed that they may be careful with Demarco Murray, who is still coming off hand surgery. But for everyone else it should be business as usual.

There are also a lot of teams who are out of playoff contention with motivations to look towards next season. Generally, you’re not going to see these teams play drastically different players. but you will see a general emphasis on giving younger players a bigger workload or more involvement in the offense. Last season the Giants coaching staff hinted they’d want to see what they had with WR Jerrel Jernigan, and he ended up being the best fantasy value of the week, nabbing 2 TDs and gaining nearly 150 yards from scrimmage.

However, most of the time it’s business as usual for teams out of playoff contention, and you often see veterans be some of the best fantasy players of the week. Last year Chris Johnson and Roddy White both had great games on teams who arguably wanted to lose to improve their draft position. But playing veterans will have a bit more risk this week, so try to shade your picks slightly towards young players.


  • There is a lot more information to look at in Week 17 that can give you a big advantage over the DFS field.
  • Teams in the playoffs with nothing to play for are likely to give their starters some rest, which gives a lot of opportunity for big fantasy days from guys who don’t usually get a lot of playing time.
  • For almost every other team, it’s business as usual. But for teams out of playoff contention with nothing to play for, their can be an emphasis in seeing what they have in their young players. All other factors being equal, choose young players over veterans.

View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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