Fantasy Overview: Week 17

This week I take a look at how Week 17 rankings in 2014 compared to yearly rankings and how that could translate into similar results this week. 

How do Week 17 rankings compare to yearly rankings? It's difficult to predict what players will do on a weekly basis. It's even more of a challenge predict outcomes in Week 17 of the NFL season. Looking ahead to this week's games, only one team is slated to rest their starters and that's Washington, who have locked up the number four seed in the NFC Playoffs. Win or loss, they will still host a wild card playoff game against the number five seed, which will be either Minnesota, Green Bay or Seattle. 

Looking back to 2014 - Week 17

Below is a chart that shows QB, RB, WR and TE rankings from Week 17 in 2014 as well as their end of year ranking. Going further it also shows the difference in Week 17 vs. yearly rank. This will give an indication of how elevated Week 17 was for certain players. 

Quarterback

  • 22 of the Top 25 quarterbacks in 2014 played in Week 17 last year. 7 of 22 finished in the Top 10 in Week 17 (32%), 10 of 22 finished in the Top 15 in Week 17 (45%). 20 finished in the Top 25 in Week 17 (91%)
  • There were 20 quarterbacks who finished outside of the Top 25 in 2014 who played in Week 17. 5 of those 20 finished in the Top 15 in Week 17 (25%) and 3 finished in the Top 10 (12%). 
  • Results - Rankings in Week 17 were fairly close to end of the year rankings across the board with a few outliers (injury replacements the common theme). Long story short - quarterback rankings were fairly consistent. The middle of the road quarterbacks fared slightly above average in Week 17 (Flacco, Stafford, Kaepernick). 

Running Back

  • 20 of the Top 25 running backs in 2014 played in Week 17. 7 of those 20 finished in the Top 10 in Week 17 (35%). 10 finished in the Top 15 in Week 17 (50%) and 11 finished in the Top 20 (55%). 
  • 2 of the Top 10 backs finished outside of the Top 30 in Week 17 (Foster, Charles). 
  • Overall, 6 of the 20 backs who finished in the Top 25 (who played in Week 17) finished outside of the Top 25 in Week 17 (30%)
  • Results - The color scale chart shows a greater difference in ranking among the top finishing backs, but most of the Top 25 backs stayed in the Top 25 in Week 17 (70%). This also shows that many lower ranked running backs fared better in Week 17 than their yearly ranking. 

Wide Receiver

  • 20 of the Top 25 wide receivers in 2014 played in Week 17. 15 of those 20 finished in the Top 25 in Week 17 (75%). The other 5 finished Top 30 or higher (Julio Jones, Maclin, Jeffery, Tate, LaFell). 
  • 40 receivers who finished outside of the Top 50 for the year played in Week 17. Of those 40, 9 finished in the Top 40 in Week 17 (22%). Two finished in the Top 20 (5%). 
  • Results - The majority of receivers who finished in the Top 25 for the year also fared well in Week 17 (75%). 
  • The color scale chart suggests that lower ranked wide receivers tend to have elevated rankings in Week 17 compared to their finishing rank. Higher ranked wide receivers tend to have slightly decreased rankings in Week 17 compared to their finishing rank. 

Tight End

  • 16 of the Top 20 tight ends in 2014 played in Week 17. 12 of those 16 finished in the Top 20 in Week 17 (75%). 
  • 3 of those 16 finished outside of the Top 30 in Week 17 (19%) (Olsen, Donnell, Rivera)
  • 24 tight ends who finished outside of the Top 20 for the year played in Week 17. Of those 24, 8 finished in the Top 20 (33%).
  • Results - The difference in ranking from Week 17 to yearly rank isn't as great as it is for the wide receiver position, but there is some variance. Like wide receivers, lower ranked tight ends tended to fare better in Week 17 compared to all year. 

Conclusion

  • If 2014 is any indication, the rankings in Week 17 vs. finishing rank should be elevated across the board, most notably at the running back position, followed by wide receiver, tight end, then quarterback.  Most of the Top 20 players at each position stayed relatively close to their yearly rank, with a few exceptions. The lower ranked players (of all positions) showed a spike in ranking in Week 17, but not many had a noticeable jump to the Top 10 or even Top 20. 
  • What should you expect?  This year we should see only Washington rest their starters with the other teams playing for playoff seeding or for pride. Those teams playing for pride may be more inclined to let some of their lower ranked players see more opportunities. This is where you may be able to find some gems this week.
  • Possible Week 17 gems include - RBs Jeremy Langford, Duke Johnson, Bishop Sankey, Robert Turbin, DuJuan Harris, Ameer Abdullah, Mike Gillislee, Cameron Artis-Payne, Brandon Wegher, Brandon Bolden, DaVante Parker, Chris Hogan, Dontrelle Inman, Jeremy Butler, Nelson Agholor, Justin Hardy, Keshawn Martin, Rashad Green, Bruce Ellington, Eric Ebron, Maxx Williams, Vance McDonald, Clive Walford, Blake Bell, Dion Sims, Cooper Helfet. 

Click the tab to see other positions (QB, RB, WR, TE). Chart sorted by 2014 Rank

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com


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