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Week 17 fantasy football: Time to hang it up

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By BRYAN RUBIN
College Contributor Network

Week 17 can be the best of times. It can be the worst of times.

With win-and-your-in playoff scenarios and other postseason implications on the line, this last football Sunday marks arguably the most exciting week of the NFL season. With 10 of the 12 playoff seeds to be determined in the AFC and NFC, and holiday season in full swing, what better way to spend your Sunday than watching exciting football.

Yet for fantasy footballers, Week 17 has become quite meaningless and in some leagues non-existent.

While games such as Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh, Carolina vs. Atlanta and Detroit vs. Green Bay headline the Week 17-playoff implication matchups and would create an intriguing finale for your fantasy season, there are currently 16 NFL teams eliminated from postseason contention, with eight of whom squaring off against each other this week.

The latter is why fantasy football cannot and should not be played in Week 17. Aside from the 16 teams playing in meaningless games, the Patriots (locked into the AFC No. 1 seed) and Colts (locked into the AFC No. 4 seed) also have nothing to play for, bringing the total of teams playing meaningless games to 18, over 50 percent of the league.

It'd be completely ridiculous for you to lose a fantasy football championship in Week 17 because you own Tom Brady and he get's benched for rest, forcing you to start a second-tier quarterback, or in some cases adding a free agent.

It'd be similar to a college professor making the final review session mandatory for all students in the class. If you got a 97 and 95 on the first two tests, why should you be obligated to go to a review session and lose out on your attendance grade if you don't?

After a season filled with success, Week 17's vagueness ends up penalizing owners. If you own Tom Brady are you also supposed to hold onto another quarterback all season since the Pats are always solid and there remains a chance every year Brady gets rested in Week 17? That'd be ludicrous.

And after a semester of studying and working hard, should you be held to the same standards as the students in your class who have slacked off, skipped class and therefore actually need to attend the review session? No way!

I've alluded to it throughout the year, but this is why sites like FanDuel exist. It allows you to get a fix of your fantasy crave without infringing on the integrity of the way a fantasy football season should be run. If anything, FanDuel was made for days like Week 17 of the NFL season. With starters benched and benched players given the opportunity to start, this Sunday's FanDuel will separate the true fantasy football guru from the pack.

In fantasy, you have to hoard players and assets with "potential" on your roster for weeks at a time, praying for them to breakout. Case in point, Bishop Sankey. Every week was apparently going to be Sankey's "breakout game," yet it never happened. Same with Charles Sims, Vernon Davis, Robert Griffin III and Denver defense/special teams.

But with FanDuel, pick the right week Sankey decides to be productive and you can win more money in one FanDuel day than you can in an entire fantasy season.

All good things must come to an end. And after a 16-week-long roller coaster of exhilarating fun that is fantasy football, it's time to hang up those virtual cleats until next season.


Bryan Rubin is a senior at Syracuse University. He once ate Chipotle three times in one day and woke up at 3:46 a.m. on a Wednesday morning to make a roster move to his fantasy football team (while his friends were sleeping) to avoid wasting his No. 1 waiver claim. Follow him on Twitter: @bryan_rubin
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