There are many opinions on how week 17 should be handled within fantasy leagues. I’ve seen everything from ending the season early (after week 16) to using week 17 as a bonus type week to using a two week playoff system. Of course some of your leagues held the championship this week and therefore I am sure there are plenty of strong feelings on both sides of the equation. Some people like the idea of Tim Tebow, Joe McKnight and Jerome Simpson deciding a league champion and some believe this is pure nonsense that penalizes the better teams by eliminating the players responsible for getting their team to the championship. Tonight we are going to dive deeper into the issue of week 17 and also recap the anarchy that was the final week of the NFL regular season.
At this time of each season I am asked profusely on what I think should be done about week 17 and how my leagues handle this anomaly. As you can imagine I have many thoughts on this subject. To be honest my feelings on this subject have changed quite a bit over the years. I used to be of the mindset that there should not be a wasted week when it comes to fantasy football. I actually still believe in that wholeheartedly but have come to understand that it isn’t as simple as I used to think.
In my home league, which is a 12 team league in which three division winners and a wild card team make the playoffs we begin the playoffs in week 15. Since only four teams make the playoffs, week 15 is round one and week 16 is the championship round. The season does not stop there however as we award cash prizes for the top three overall points finishers which runs until the final gun sounds in week 17. We also give an additional cash prize for the top three point scorers in week 17. So, if you manage your team correctly and prepare yourself for the uncertainty that is the final week of the regular season you can win up to 25% of your league entry fee. That is a heck of an opportunity for teams that have stunk most of the season.
In our Fantasy Alarm staff league this year we tried going with a two week playoff system. The league was set up similar to that of my home league in that four teams make the playoffs and there are only two rounds to play. But the difference here was that we started the playoffs in week 14 and the each round lasted for two NFL weeks with the totals being combined and a winner declared. I really enjoyed this philosophy although I think this is best served for the championship round only. One week is plenty to settle which teams will battle it out for the championship but I think using weeks 16 & 17 is a fantastic way of declaring a true league champion. It tests both teams to not only use their studs and survive week 16 but also to make the necessary roster moves and prepare for success amongst the chaos that is week 17. It is my belief that this is the best way to handle the fantasy playoffs and week 17 without cheating anybody out of a single week of football.
Mac The Knight
I have to give credit where credit is due and that goes out to Ted Schuster who stomped all morning long for Jets third string RB Joe McKnight on our Sunday edition of The Fantasy Alarm Show. Ted was confident that McKnight would play a major role in the Jets offense this week against the lowly Buffalo Bills and boy was he right. I jumped on the bandwagon once it was official that both Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson were inactive for the final week of the regular season. McKnight made Ted look like a genius as he rushed for an amazing 158 yards and caught two passes for an additional 15 yards. While it would have been great to see a McKnight TD the yardage alone was enough to make this rookie a fantasy star for at least one week.
Al Davis & The Raiders
Last week while the Raiders were playing the Indianapolis Colts the camera briefly focused on the owners box where a frail man in a wheel chair sit motionless with a blanket covering him despite very mild conditions in Oakland that afternoon. It took me several minutes after the camera pulled away for me to realize that man was Al Davis, the fiery owner of the Raiders. In fact, I had to rewind the TV to be sure that was indeed Davis and to my dismay it was. Don’t get me wrong folks, I hate Al Davis and for the most part the Raiders. I do not approve of Davis’ brashness nor his methods of doing business over the years and furthermore believe his mentality has cost the Raiders franchise quite a bit over the years. Davis is obviously in very poor and failing health and thus is not in position to be making decisions for the franchise that he loves so dearly. There has to be somebody from the Davis family or from within the organization who could recognize this and allow Davis to gracefully step back into the background and allow the Raiders and their fans to move on in a much more capable manner.
The Raiders are a team loaded with talent. There were very few teams who played better football over the last half of this season than the silver and black. This is a far cry from the past couple of off-seasons in which they couldn’t even find somebody to take their head coaching position. Tom Cable did as good a job as he is capable of doing. I never thought he was capable of making the progress that this team has made over the past year but to his credit he has done a hell of a job. Still, the real difference maker in Oakland this season has been offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. This was a major coup for the Raiders to lure him away from Baltimore this past off-season. It appears as though Jackson will soon be named the next head coach of the Raiders and this is a move I cannot argue with. Hopefully though this will be the final decision made solely by Al Davis as this team is now on the fast track back to glory as long as they can continue to draft well and fill depth and needs via free agency. Al Davis at this stage of his life can only do harm to the Raiders organization and he really needs to stop. Out of respect for the man and for the organization it is time for somebody else to take make day to day decisions for the Raiders. If not, they will run the risk of once again spoiling the momentum they have gained this season and sliding back into ranks of the NFL doldrums.
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This is not the final installment of our In The Trenches blog as I will still be around blogging here and there throughout the NFL playoffs and also giving our some 2010 fantasy football awards, ripping on the players that disappointed me and taking an early look ahead to next season. So, there will be plenty to talk about so please stay tuned and for the love of god hit me with some feedback every now and then. The comments section is a perfect place to have your thoughts and ideas expressed in print right here on Fantasy Alarm.
So to close out this final Sunday night roundup article I am going to do some rapid fire thoughts that are on my mind and need to be aired out at this point in time. Here we go:
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