Commentary

FBO: Week 17 matchup analysis

Time to throw all the old rules out the window

Updated: December 31, 2009, 12:44 PM ET
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders

Every Friday during the regular season (Thursday this week due to the holidays), Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders looks at matchups you can exploit in fantasy this week. For a better understanding of the stats used by Football Outsiders, click here.

We employ the same simile every year: For fantasy football players, Week 17 is like summer school. Something should have been done to avoid the situation in September, but it's too late now. Most of your classmates are gone. The usual dependable things -- an open cafeteria, a steady bus schedule, your first-round pick suiting up -- are all iffy at best.

Before we extend the analogy to fantasy league playoffs and summer camp, we'll move on. If you're an owner playing in a Week 17 championship game, well, congratulations. Your prize: an absolute minefield to traverse on the way to a fantasy title. As if figuring out your optimal roster wasn't hard enough for most weeks, you'll have to factor in the distinct possibility that teams with guaranteed playoff spots will treat your championship week like it's the first week of the preseason, hiding their starters' helmets after one series.

That means you have to throw the normal rules of whom you're going to play and bench out the window. Last year, Drew Brees was the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback in Week 17. Nothing new, right? In 2007, it was Quinn Gray, and Chris Redman was second. In 2006, Jon Kitna was at the top of the charts, and the legendary one-two punch of Kerry Collins and Joey Harrington led the league during the final week of the 2005 season.

With that in mind, we're going to change up the format a little bit for this, our final week of matchup analysis. Instead of going player by player, we'll go game by game and try to isolate those players likeliest to participate and enjoy easy matchups.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.

ALSO SEE