(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

DISCLAIMER: I really don’t like season-long fantasy football leagues that hold their championship games during Week 17 of the NFL season. As you will see in the cons section, I feel like it takes out a lot of the skill involved in fantasy football and the fun of strategizing and preparation. That being said, there is nothing wrong with playing more fantasy football and there are plenty of people who play in leagues that go through Week 17. Here are a few pros and cons to having a fantasy football league that lasts through Week 17.

PROS:

Matches with the Length of the NFL Season

This is kind of an obvious one, but it makes a lot of sense. To play fantasy football, you have to be a huge fan of the NFL itself and its not fantasy aspects. In truth, it is a little weird to play a game focused on the NFL, and the players who play in it, and not play during what is often the most important week of the season. With the advent of daily fantasy websites like DraftKings, most of us can get our fantasy fix during Week 17. However, I can personally attest to feeling a bit of a void in my football enjoyment for Week 17 before I started playing daily. For those who don’t play daily fantasy, Week 17 season-long leagues allow players to enjoy fantasy football right up until the playoffs start in the NFL, and there’s nothing wrong with more fantasy football.

Adds an Extra Layer of Strategy

This is admittedly a stretch (like I said before, I had a hard time with pros no matter how fair I tried to be), but I do think there is some small validity to it. The biggest argument against fantasy football leagues that last until Week 17 is that there is a high likelihood that good players will sit in their real-life games, making them unusable in fantasy. This is something I will get into more in the con section, but I can partially understand those who feel like it adds some extra strategy to the game. A crucial component of fantasy football is not only building a fierce starting lineup, but to complement this lineup with depth on your bench. The bench is supposed to help when player workloads change, injuries strike or, in this case, when players sit in real life. If you haven’t built your team with the proper depth, then perhaps you aren’t worthy of winning the championship if your team is hurt by players being sat during Week 17.

 

CONS:

Actively Punishes Owners who Picked the Best Players

It isn’t always the case, but oftentimes the best fantasy football players are on the best NFL teams. Of course, you can always have your players who are great in fantasy due to things like workload, role, or pure talent (Todd Gurley comes to mind), but the previous statement mostly holds true. If an NFL team is good and has good fantasy players, it stands to reason that this team may be in such a good playoff position that they can afford to sit their starters during Week 17. As a fantasy football owner, there is nothing more frustrating than having to bench a stud because he played TOO well during the season and now has no reason to play during Week 17. As the title of this section suggests, this actively punishes those who made the best player decisions throughout the season. A fantasy player should never be forced to sit a guy who helped him get to the finals for a non-injury reason unless, of course, we’re talking about Odell Beckham Jr.

Literally Can Lead to the Wrong Teams Winning

This is not to say that the owners who win as a result of their opponent being affected by Week 17 craziness are undeserving. Any team that can make it to the championship round of their fantasy league, particularly those that last until Week 17, are clearly good owners who made the right decisions to put themselves in a position to win it all. Plus, fantasy football playoffs are often rife with crazy results, with underdog teams besting the teams who have performed the best all season (I can unfortunately attest to this). However, the aspect of uncertainty that adds to the fun of fantasy football is not what we are talking about here in a Week 17 league. Let’s examine a case that will likely play out this weekend in Jordan Reed. Reed has been one of the best fantasy players of the last three weeks in a position that is notoriously top-heavy and void of depth. During these three weeks, Reed has scored 18, 20.4, and 24.9 points in standard scoring and has singlehandedly helped owners win games. This week, Reed will likely sit as the Redskins play in a meaningless game before their first playoff matchup. If I was a Reed owner forced to start a waiver wire scrub tight end and lost my championship matchup by a small amount of points because I couldn’t play Reed, I would not be a happy camper.

The simple truth is that no one should play in a league that lasts until Week 17. Sure, there are plenty of masochists who enjoy these leagues and the point of fantasy football is to have fun. For me, I’ll enjoy having fun with real leagues. You know, the ones that don’t last as long as real football does.

Kyle Kirby covers the NFL for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb

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