Playing fantasy football in week 17 feels a bit like navigating a minefield. Usage is such an important factor, essentially overshadowing other factors such as matchup. Because of the unusual circumstances surrounding week 17 such as health and motivation, I’m choosing value at the runningback position this week. Unlike past weeks, I’ll stay with the top value plays and work up the price ladder.
Tre Mason: $4,600
This is the kind of value that the regular season finale brings at the running back position. In a plus matchup with San Francisco, Mason is expected to draw the start with Gurley doubtful. Priced at essentially the minimun, Mason will be in many of my lineups as I hope he stays somewhat under the radar.
Cameron Artis-Payne: $5,500
I recommended Artis-Payne last week in this column, and despite the disappointing results, I’m going right back to him this week. With Fozzy out of the picture this week and the hope of a perfect season dashed, I think Carolina will take this week to showcase Cameron and see what the future may hold. $5,500 is tremendous value for a player I expect to be featured on a good team.
Danny Woodhead: $5,700
Despite only finishing out his third year as a Charger, Woodhead has positioned himself alongside Rivers as the heart of the offense. The front office and the coaching staff love him. This could be the last game the Chargers play with “San Diego” on their jerseys, and it could be their last game with Mike McCoy as head coach. The Chargers always play tough in Denver and I think Woodhead will be an integral part of the scheme in this game that could be a finale in many ways for San Diego.
Latavius Murray: $6,100
This has been a successful year for the Raiders. For the first time in what feels like forever, the franchise appears to headed in the right direction with young talent leading the way. You can bet the raiders will be looking to finish strong and perhaps carry some type of momentum into next year. Murray had nearly 100 total yards and a touchdown versus Kansas City just four weeks ago, expect similar or even better production in this regular season finale.
Denard Robinson: $6,400
I’ve been touting Robinson for the past couple weeks, and I’m going back to him one last time. Despite underwhelming rushing totals, Robinson’s floor has been raised by staying on the field on 3rd downs and averaging 6.5 receptions. With his elite athleticism, Robinson’s ceiling is high and his ownership should be modest with his subpar rushing numbers over the last couple weeks.
Chris Ivory: $6,500
Teammate Bilal Powell is looking unlikely to play this week, so we would expect Ivory’s workload to increase. The Jets will be playing with motivation to keep their grip on their playoff spot. With only 13 and 11 carries respectively the past two weeks, Ivory should be fresh for this important matchup.
Chris Thompson: $4,800
Washington has its playoff spot locked up. Matt Jones is hurting, and it sounds like Jay Gruden may rest starters in this game. Thompson could find himself as avery sneaky play in a feature role. Plenty of risk with this mention though, as we really don’t have a good read on which way the Redskins will go.
C.J. Anderson: $5,500
Anderson gets a home matchup versus the atrocious Chargers defense to end the season. Normally this would be recipe for a high recommendation. The risk comes from uncertainty around usage. Hillman lurks, and even Juwan Thompson has been getting some work. Based on skill set, I like Anderson better than Hillman for this game. I’ll sprinkle him in some lineups, but the risks described will keep me from playing him heavily.