Whether you are playing for your league championship or just looking to dabble in some daily fantasy football contests, Week 17 can be a tricky one. Most people will tell you the only players worth investing in are those who have something to play for in the final week. For some, it’s a chance to get into the playoffs. For others it’s the hope of improving their playoff seeding. But for many unheralded players, it is also a chance to impress for next year. Whether they are potential free agents or just backups looking to impress their coaches, you can find help for the week in some of the most unlikely places.
Save for maybe the first series or two, the Saints are expected to rest all of their starters during their Week 17 match-up against the Panthers. But while you may not be able to enjoy using Drew Brees or Alvin Kamara, both Teddy Bridgewater and Dwayne Washington could prove to be fantasy darlings this week. Neither is getting any attention at the moment, which should certainly benefit you in the long run.
Bridgewater has long been lauded by football insiders, and now that he’s healthy and playing in a high-octane offense that suits his style of play, he could have himself a big game. The Panthers are ready to fold up their tents for the season, but Bridgewater’s weapons — Keith Kirkwood, Tre’Quan Smith and Tommylee Lewis — are looking to impress their coach and earn more time on the field during the playoffs. Each one has played with the first team this season and all three have impressed at some point. The Saints won’t have Brees forever and Bridgewater could slot in after him or, because he’s only on a one-year deal, could be auditioning for a new team.
Washington is an interesting play as well for two reasons. Number one, he will see heavy volume in this game against an opponent that has allowed 155 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks. Number two, he is signed through 2010 while Mark Ingram’s contract expires after this season. With a strong performance as the lead back, Washington could convince the Saints to part ways with the more-expensive Ingram and stick with him as the complementary back to work with Kamara.
Just because a team doesn’t have anything to play for in Week 17, doesn’t mean individuals aren’t looking to step out on their own and grab some attention. The Saints’ backups are a great example, but it doesn’t end there. Many teams will have backups auditioning for bigger roles next year and this could be their one time to shine before a lengthy offseason. Just like this could be your last shot at impressing your league by stealing a title with B-list players.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 4-6 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice and NFL player rankings.