The Fantasy Fool: Week 16 Starters & Benchwarmers

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LeSean McCoy earned his place on my (and perhaps your) fantasy Mount Rushmore after his masterful performance on Sunday night, which propelled untold millions of gleeful owners to championship glory. (I warned you Jamaal Charles owners not to count your chickens last week, didn’t I?)

Peyton Manning was already etched in stone, but he certainly cemented his status as the 2013 Fantasy MVP with a 400-yard, four-TD, record-breaking trouncing of the Texans.

Then again, if all you got from Shady’s and/or Peyton’s performances was a ticket to a Week 17 Super Bowl, it’s too early to celebrate. Though the Eagles and Broncos still have incentive to play hard in the finale, the same can’t be said for several teams that may have little at stake or have already checked out mentally (see Houston, Minnesota).

That’s why your league shouldn’t be playing for all the marbles, either.

Allow me to recommend a more enjoyable way to wrap up your fantasy season: The Free-for-All Bowl.

It’s simple. Everyone – including those that sat out the postseason – sets one final starting lineup. The top overall score wins five percent of the pot. (For non-money leagues, I suppose you could play for pride. Winning, in this case, would be much like hitting a perfect drive off the 18th tee after a lousy round of golf. It fuels hope for future success.)

We’ve played the Free-for-All Bowl in a couple of my leagues for as long as I can remember, because it’s a great way to keep everyone engaged while extracting one more competitive week out of the fantasy season. And I think we can all agree that’s a worthy objective.

If you can talk your fellow owners into staging a Free-for-All Bowl next weekend, I urge you to give it a try. Otherwise, be sure to lock it into your schedule next season.

Because Week 17 is a terrible thing to waste.

FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS

Hopefully you’ve already played, and won, your league’s championship. If you still have something on the line in Week 17, there’s not much help available on the waiver wire. But here are a couple of recommendations anyway, along with one player that would look better in someone else’s lineup.

Catch 'em while you can

James Starks, RB, Packers. Eddie Lacy was headed for a monster day until he re-injured his ankle in the third quarter. Starks filled in capably and could possibly draw the start in Week 17. He couldn’t ask for a better opponent than the Bears’ historically rancid run defense.

Donald Brown, RB, Colts. Brown was dominant in the Colts’ upset win over the Chiefs. He’ll have an even better matchup next Sunday when his team welcomes the Jaguars to town. Brown is still available in roughly half of all fantasy leagues. If you need a RB boost, and Starks is gone, Brown could come in handy.

Don’t be fooled

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Sure, he was the workhorse on Sunday, racking up 76 yards and 2 TDs in his team’s blowout victory. And with Shane Vereen (groin) suffering yet another injury, you may be tempted to pick up Blount for the season finale. But the carries could just as easily go to Stevan Ridley next week, or the Pats could revert back to the aerial game. In short, it’s a risky bet to be Blount.

Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).


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