This article is part of our Exploiting the Matchups series.
One week to go and what feels like 188 injured stars later and we're finally faced with the last week of the 2017 campaign. If you're still alive, you likely were carried by one or more of a half-dozen stud running backs and maybe one of the three truly consistent pass catchers. Perhaps you made all the right start decisions and earned this more than those opponents that simply rode Todd Gurley, a Saints tailback or DeAndre Hopkins to get this far. Either way, if you're playing in the last week of the regular season, you're still a few crucial decisions away from a title.
Maybe more than any week on the fantasy calendar, opportunity is king in Week 17. Teams rest players, injuries open doors to unlikely heroes and motivations run the gamut from "get me the bleep to the offseason" to "let's do this" for teams in do-or-die games for their playoff lives. My recipe for success in the final stanza is this: ride hot hands, take advantage of extreme matchups (a.k.a. feed on injury-depleted defenses) and stick with whatever top players you own that are playing for something of value – a playoff spot/seeding, a contract or a shot at future redemption, for example.
After all, for many teams this week is like the preseason but with fatter game checks. That means it's a time for nobodies to prove themselves in games that don't matter. So, set the lineups, relax, and ring in the New Year