You know, I had a half a mind to leave you folks hanging this week because I don't care for fantasy leagues that play Week 17 championship games. Plus, we've suffered a huge loss recently, too. And while I don't want to be that person who takes the death of a public figure way too hard, I'm almost concerned that we aren't taking it hard enough. Because I would defy you to find anybody who was born between 1970-2000 who wasn't (or still to this day isn't) a huge "Star Wars" fan. Or at least a fan of the original three. (Does General Organa get a Jedi funeral pyre?)
But that's a little off subject, even for me, because I still wanted to berate the lot of you for having championship games this week. And one of my dearest friends and mentors, Earl, loves to run his championship games in Week 17. And it's especially tough because it's a keeper league. So while I would like to drop Derrick Henry for another running back, I can't do it because I want him for next year. Not to mention I have AB, Odell, A.J. Green and a bunch of other dudes in a not-so-humble humblebrag. However, Earl is such a great person I can't broach this subject with him. Well, outside of this passive aggressive lede. I mean, this guy used to purchase me Subway back when I made $17,000 a year working for the Orange County Register as a youngster. How am I going to bring this up to him? I just can't.
I understand a lot of you are put in a similar position with family members and friends, so I'm going to jump in here and help you out. Well, as much as I can help you out. I did talk up Matt Barkley last week. That one kind of backfired. On one hand, he's truly a Bears quarterback right now after throwing all of the picks, but yeah. That was rough.
I would also like to disagree with my colleague Kay Adams who would like to see the Bears trade for Jimmy Garoppolo. Uh, no. That would cost a first- and fourth-round draft choice. I'd rather use that first-round pick on a defensive player. And then use a fourth-round pick on a quarterback like Chad Kelly. Not necessarily him. I'll let the scouting department do its work. Especially since I liked Barkley last week. I mean, I'd still let him compete with the rooks for the starting job. But he's not the heir apparent.
Come to think of it, if I had started Barkley against Tokyo Rose last week in my Second City League, I would have won because he got 22.92 points in our crazy league scoring. So don't be hating.
All right, first thing I'm going to tell you. Make sure you are playing dudes who have something to play for. That should be the first question you ask.
Rank's 11 Sleepers, Week 17
QB: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
QB: Matt Barkley, Chicago Bears
QB: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
RB: Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys
RB: Alex Collins, Seattle Seahawks
RB: Fitzgerald Toussaint, Pittsburgh Steelers
RB: Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB: Corey Grant, Jacksonville Jaguars
WR: J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals
WR: Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
TE: Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
I like the matchup for the Jags this week. And you have to believe Blake is playing for something. I know it's not a spot in the playoffs, unfortunately. But he's auditioning for the next coach of the team. Probably Kyle Shanahan or Josh McDaniels. I hope it's Shanahan. Man, if Shanny could just walk into Duval County, Florida and hand the defense over to a capable assistant (looking at you Rex Ryan) while he just dives into the offense, this could be a pretty great situation.
Your first question is no doubt, "What about DeAngelo Williams?" And I feel you. I really, really do. However, I don't expect them to run Williams a lot. They probably want him healthy for the playoffs. I know, a wild guess there. So I would expect DeAngelo to get a few cursory runs (if he's available) with the majority of the touches going to Toussaint as the Steelers end up mailing this one in pretty hard. Mailing it in like Newman. Is that easy enough for you folks to get?
He had a great game last week against the Seahawks, as he got into the end zone. He's having the kind of season we wanted for John Brown this year. But the Cardinals don't have much to play for, so we are going against one of my precepts. However, I see Bruce Arians as a huge red (behind) who will want to win and throw the ball a lot.