Are There Any Players Playing for Interim Coaches?
Those who are playing for an interim coach tend to play harder than they otherwise would given that their season is over. For instance, Blake Bortles may be a stronger play now that Doug Marrone is the head coach in Jacksonville. In Buffalo, players on both the offense and defense are looking to make a statement as they hope to beat the Jets and finish no worse than 8-8, even with Rex Ryan out as coach.
What Are Teams Playing For?
The first thing that you need to do is look at the NFL standings going into the final week of the season. If you have players on teams that either out of the playoffs or have clinched their playoff spot already, it may be a good idea to look into benching them. Teams that are already eliminated may be looking to get tape on younger players for next year while teams already in the playoffs may be looking to rest their starters to avoid injury.
Are Players Approaching Any Milestones?
Teams may play a star player if he is approaching a milestone for his career or a milestone with the team. If you notice that your running back is close to 1,000 yards for the season or could hit 10,000 yards for his career, that player may be worth starting. This is because there is a good chance that he will get a lot of touches against a defense that may not be trying its hardest.
Do You Have Anyone Playing for New England On Your Roster?
Even when the Patriots have nothing to play for, they have everything to play for. Guys like Tom Brady or LeGarrette Blount are going to see a lot of work and are looking to put up as many yards and points on offense as possible.
Go With Your Gut When It Comes to Sleepers
When a team starts a new quarterback or has a new coach, it could be a boon for players who have been overlooked this year. New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson has benefited greatly from having Bryce Petty as his quarterback. Therefore, trust you instincts when it comes to starting players who may have a breakout performance despite not doing much all year.
Week 17 can be among the most unpredictable in the NFL. Teams are either playing out the string, have already locked up a playoff spot or are starting players who you are not familiar with. However, if you are willing to do your research, you should be able to construct a lineup that has a good chance of putting up points that week.