Merry Christmas, everybody! If your fantasy football championship was decided in Week 16 of the NFL regular season and you came out the victor then you got yourself a very nice early Christmas present. While most fantasy football leagues have their championship match during Week 16 there are still plenty of fantasy football leagues that determine a winner in the last week of the NFL regular season.
The tricky part about such a scenario is worrying about motivation and players being rested. We don’t know what’s going through the minds of NFL coaches like Mike Smith of the Falcons who’s coaching a team with not much to play for after securing the #1 seed in the NFC and it’s easy to guess that the likes of QB Matt Ryan, WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez won’t see much playing time, if any, against the Buccaneers this Sunday.
However, we have no idea if that’s going to be the case. We’ve seen teams rest their starters heading into the playoffs and come out cold in the playoffs (Colts, Bengals of years past) and we’ve seen teams ride a late season hot streak all the way to the Super Bowl (07 and 11 Giants). There’s a case to be made for and against resting and only the coaches know what’s right for their team.
For fantasy football owners you can only hope and pray that the guys you have on your team will be playing this week or else you have to turn to the waiver wire to find suitable replacements. Luckily for you GMEN HQ has got your back and below you’ll find a few fantasy football names you will want to consider putting a claim on depending on the needs of your team. And good luck this week if you still have something meaningful to play for in fantasy football!
Chad Henne. The Jaguars played a fairly competitive game against the Patriots on Sunday and Henne looked like a more than capable QB while leading his team. This week Henne and the Jags take on the Titans, who have given up 29 passing TDs this season. Since taking over the starting QB job Henne has totaled five TDs and passed for an average of 243.4 YPG. If you’re looking for a possible Matt Ryan replacement and the likes of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have been scooped up in your league then Henne could be your guy.
Michael Vick. It’s funny how the Eagles season is going to end with Andy Reid having to start Vick after Nick Foles broke his hand this past week against the Redskins. Vick is going to have a one game audition to showcase his talents for the other teams in his league, which should motivate him to have a great game. It doesn’t hurt that he’s going up against an easily burnable Giants secondary.
Mark Ingram. It looks like Ingram is finally getting a chance to show the Saints why they drafted him in the first round, as he’s been getting the bulk of the carries lately for his team. Last week versus the Cowboys Ingram toted the rock a season high 21 times and was able to score another rushing TD. You always have to be wary of any Saints RB because you never know who’ll be carrying the ball but it seems like Ingram has become their primary ball carrier; couple that with him being the team’s goal line RB and you could have yourself a very fine RB2/Flex option.
Montario Hardesty. If Trent Richardson is ruled out for Week 17 then Hardesty becomes even more worthy of a pick-up so keep an eye on the Browns’ practice report for the week.
Randy Moss. With the 49ers losing Mario Manningham and Vernon Davis’ status up in the air QB Colin Kaepernick will have to turn to Moss as one of his top targets out of necessity. The 49ers are fighting for the NFC West division crown and we’ve seen Kaepernick look to Moss a decent amount of times this season, culminating in a season high six targets for Moss against the Seahawks in Week 16. In their first meeting with the Cardinals this season Moss was able to reel in a 47-yard TD bomb and he’s always a threat to catch a deep pass.
Brandon LaFell. During the off-season LaFell found himself on many fantasy football sleeper lists but he was never able to live up to the hype he received. It’s not like LaFell hasn’t shown flashes this season with his play it’s just that he hasn’t been consistent. This week the Panthers and the red-hot Cam Newton take on the Saints, who have given up the second most points to WRs in fantasy. That leaves LaFell as a juicy option this week for owners looking for some WR help.
Kyle Rudolph. In a year of frustrating play at the TE position in fantasy football Rudolph was seen as somebody that could have been a top ten player at the position. In some leagues that may have happened and that goes to show you how disappointing the crop of TEs has been this season. If Rudolph is still toiling away in your league on the waiver wire this would be a good week to pick him up. The Vikings are desperate for a win, Rudolph has become the team’s top pass catching option after the season ending injury to Percy Harvin, and he’s the team’s top red zone target.
Delanie Walker. If Vernon Davis does indeed end up having to miss the team’s season finale this week against the Cardinals after suffering a concussion in Week 16 Walker would take over the starting TE role for the 49ers. Walker has scored a TD in each of the past two games and Kaepernick has looked to him this season, as Davis gets the majority of coverage against foes.
Buffalo Bills. The Bills play the New York Jets. That would be the Jets that are starting third string QB Greg McElroy. The same Jets that allowed McElroy to get sacked by the San Diego Chargers 11 times in Week 16! McElroy also threw one interception and lost a fumble, while the Chargers special teams unit was able to score a punt return TD. In many fantasy football leagues they were the highest scoring D/ST so the Bills become an attractive plug and play D/ST option for the final regular season week of the NFL.