Imagine if the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl this year, only to have someone tap Andy Reid on the shoulder and tell him Patrick Homes can’t play (please COVID-19 don’t dare). It would be totally out of Reid’s control and greatly reduce Kansas City’s hopes of a ring.
Welcome to the season-long fantasy football leagues playing in Week 17. Why are you doing that to yourself? Big players are left out every year when the final week of the NFL regular season rolls around, and 2020 is no different. You’ve relied on certain players all season to get to your championship game only to have them out. It stops becoming a game of skill at that point and becomes a game of luck and timing.
In this particular Week 17, at least Homes is an easy decision for his fantasy owners. Reid has announced that he will lay off the reigning Super Bowl MVP. But let’s take Josh Allen, who for 16 weeks leads the NFL in fantasy points. The Bills almost certainly won’t play him for long, but how can you tell? Buffalo seems determined to keep his plans close to the vest.
Homes and Allen aren’t the only two examples this year, and Ben Roethlisberger also comes to mind, along with a handful of high-level players. But they are the two most important, and that means that in the greatest stage of your fantasy football season, you will be without your proverbial ace.
Can you replace Patrick Homes?
With only two teams still playing their 17-week fantasy season, finding someone else to replace Homes won’t be impossible. Maybe people stopped paying attention and Jalen Hurts is available on the waiver wire. There are still 14 teams trying to secure various positions or playoff positions in Week 17, and other non-contenders who also have a stable QB situation.
That’s not the point. Homes had the best fantasy QB season in 2018, was great again in 2019 and has the third-most fantasy points in Week 17 of this year (behind Allen and Kyle Murray). On paper, you can’t replace that with a guy on the waiver or whatever pin you’ve hidden in your bench and never played because you have Homes.
Unless the championship opponent has Allen or Roethlisberger, they will likely continue to trust the quarterback who led them to the title game, while the Homes owner has to change everything at a crucial moment. The same thing happened to fantasy superstar Lamar Jackson in 2019, and it will continue to happen every year in the future.
People could argue that’s the kind of thing that happens in real life – COVID-19 has certainly increased that scenario. But fantasy football is meant to be fun. It’s a game. It’s a silly idea that you should play against someone other than Homes because his real-life team decided to put him to rest because his record (which is essentially inconsequential to your fantasy league) is so much better than everyone else’s. Not that nothing crazy happens in Week 16, but at the very least, the best quarterbacks should keep playing.
Josh Allen’s dilemma
Allen’s owner in his 17-week fantasy league is envious of Homes’s owner. At least Homes is safe, resting 100 percent in Week 17. Bills coach Sean McDermott does not want to announce such news. It would make sense for Buffalo to rest Allen, but unlike Homes, he’s still technically up in the air.
A year ago, the Bills let Allen threw five passes in Week 17 before sitting him down. That could be the case again, and most of Allen’s owners in a championship this week should seat him. But unlike Homes, there will be that doubt in the back of your head. “What if the Bills play Allen down the middle to try to secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC for sure? Could he get 20 Fantasy points in one half?”
Who needs that kind of stress in their life on the first Sunday of 2021? Wouldn’t you rather sit down after winning your championship last week when Allen faced the Patriots on Monday night? That sounds a lot better right now.
The thing is, there are players who will also be sitting for much of Week 17 that no one has come up with. Allen’s role as a star quarterback for a playoff team without many seed incentives at least puts him at the center of speculation. But non-contenders could choose to play veterans in moderation without anyone knowing before the lineups are locked and it’s too late.
Fantasy football is already a difficult enough game. A soccer ball is oddly shaped, and fantasy players select other fallible human beings in the hopes that they will perform statistically well in the correct combination of weeks to overcome a variety of randomly programmed opponents who play the same game. . Why make it harder for you by having to be a mind reader?
Here’s a New Years resolution for fantasy football in 2021: stop playing seasonal leagues that last 17 weeks. It is almost never worth it.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.