Ranks reaction: Do you sit Michael Vick? 

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
3:40
PM ET
An outsider to the fantasy football world might think that by Week 17, ranking fantasy options is a quick and simple exercise because we've been doing this for four months and should have ample evidence of who can and cannot play well. On the contrary, this is the toughest week to predict because there are so many variables, with half the teams showing varying degrees of interest in using their top options. Which key players can fantasy football owners trust to even play in Week 17, let alone play well? This is why many fantasy championships are purposely decided by Week 16 or sooner. Take the underachieving work done by the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday night as an example of how quickly things can change.

Had the Eagles handled their business and beaten the seemingly inferior Minnesota Vikings at home, Michael Vick probably would have ranked as fantasy's top quarterback option for Week 17. Instead, thanks to a miserable loss to rookie Joe Webb and friends, this Sunday's Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game has no bearing on postseason seeding, and I doubt Vick will even dress for the game. In fact, I didn't even rank him! I don't really buy into the mindset that this game (and others like it) is "meaningless," because a lot of NFL players want/need to perform at a high level to make a statement. However, we often see unknowns do well. Consider this point, fantasy owners: We have our keeper leagues, but the NFL is the ultimate keeper football league, and guys like Webb want to be a part of it.

[+] EnlargeVick
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireMichael Vick got you this far, but don't expect him to win your Week 17 matchup.
As a result, you'll see some unusual names in high places in my Week 17 rankings as well as some key season-long producers either placing far lower than in any previous week or flat-out missing the ranks altogether. Had a battered Vick been able to overcome Philly's pathetic lack of protection and lead his team to victory, his fantasy owners could have counted on another 20-25 points from him Sunday against a bad Dallas defense. Now I think Kevin Kolb will get to enjoy himself instead, so I ranked him just outside the top-10 choices. Heck, it's possible even Kolb might not play the entire game, ceding the second half to rookie Mike Kafka from Northwestern. For the Eagles, this has the feel and importance of a preseason game. There's little reason to endanger Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and others.