You wild and crazy kids.
Playing fantasy football during Week 17 is bonkers, but a handful of folks do it. It just adds to all of the stress. Many star players will likely be sitting due to the irrelevancy of these finales, which puts a massive hole in fantasy lineups. However, because I’m a degenerate and I love fantasy sports, let’s take a look at some viable waiver wire options to target for 2013’s finale.
Note: Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! leagues.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers (17%): All the running backs. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy was named the team MVP of the Packers recently, but he may not be able to close the season out. Lacy dealt with an ankle issue all last week, limiting his practice time. Then, he tweaked it on Sunday, and hasn’t practiced all week. If Green Bay were to practice on Wednesday, Lacy wouldn’t have been able to. This makes his status in jeopardy for Sunday, which makes Starks almost a must-add, especially when you consider the matchup. The Bears allowed three different running backs to score against them during last week’s debacle against the Eagles. Chicago is coughing up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing rushers, while allowing the most rushing yards per game this season (161.5). That’s about 26 yards more than the second-place team.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (11%): With Shane Vereen dealing with a groin injury, Blount may see an increased workload in Week 17. He is coming off his best fantasy performance of the year, rushing 16 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, you’d be foolish to expect that production again, especially since fantasy roller coaster, Stevan Ridley, had 15 carries last week. However, there should be opportunity in this matchup against the Bills, who have allowed an opposing running back to eclipse double-digit fantasy points in five of their last six games. New England could be ahead in this game, too.
Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions (29%): I like Burleson in this game anyway, but his must-add level skyrockets if Calvin Johnson ends up sitting out for this game. Because the Lions absolutely choked, this game means nothing to either team, and if the Lions are smart, they wouldn’t risk worsening Calvin’s nagging knee injury. Even though this game means nothing, I could see Detroit running up the score out of frustration, and there is practically no better matchup for Burleson than the Vikings putrid secondary. Minnesota has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, and 20 receivers have scored against them, which is tied with the Eagles for the most in football. Minnesota is also coughing up a league-leading 2.4 passing touchdowns pee contest this year.
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers (31%): LaFell is an intriguing sleeper this week against the Falcons. Steve Smith suffered a knee injury last week, and remains doubtful for Sunday. It would make more sense for the Panthers to rest him and hope he heals up for the playoffs. For those who are in need of some major help at the receiver position, LaFell isn’t the worst guy to look at. Atlanta is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, coming in at 31.17 per contest. Also, Atlanta has allowed eight touchdowns to opposing number two wideouts, so Ted Ginn could also be a decent sleeper this week.
Ryan Griffin, Houston Texans (8%): Griffin hasn’t been making headlines since filling in for the injured Garrett Graham at the tight end position, but he’s played well. He’s caught all 11 of his targets over the last two games, making for a solid PPR sleeper for those who need tight end help. He faces a good matchup this week against a Titans defense that is coughing up the eighth-most fantasy points to the position this year. Also, Tennessee has allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends, including both Texans tight ends back in Week 2. They have allowed a touchdown to the position in three straight games, and if Matt Schaub is under center this week, I think Griffin finds the end zone.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.