Fantasy Football Sleepers
We are finally here. The last week of the regular season and the last week for fantasy football (except for post-season DFS of course). While many are basking in the glory of winning their fantasy football leagues, not all are finished yet. And for those brave crusaders, here are 10 sleepers for week 17.
QB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Rams)
While Palmer hasn’t exactly had the best year of his career (23 touchdowns, 13 interceptions in 14 games), he has thrown for 602 yards and three touchdowns over his past two weeks. Between losing Michael Floyd & Jaron Brown and having John Brown limited due to his sickle cell trait, Palmer has managed to do rather well.
This week Palmer faces a Rams defense that has allowed 732 yards (244 per game) and eight touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks over the past three contests. Palmer has always had great chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald and now with J.J. Nelson stepping up, along with MVP potential David Johnson to throw to, the veteran QB should have a solid game to cap off the Cardinals 2016 season. In a meaningless game for both teams, Palmer and the Cardinals will certainly leave nothing on the table.
QB, Chicago Bears (vs. Vikings)
Ok yes, this is the same quarterback who has thrown eight interceptions over the past two games. I know what you’re thinking, but let me explain. While Barkley has thrown a large number of interceptions lately, he’s also put up solid fantasy football numbers in the process. Barkley has thrown for at least 323 yards and two touchdowns over the past two games and has finished with at least 15 points in both of those contests despite all of the INT’s. This week he is facing a Vikings squad that has lost all hope, giving up 854 yards (284 yards per game) and seven touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks over the past three games. What’s even more depressing, is that the Vikings have zero interceptions during that span. Barkley is a near lock to throw a pick or two this weekend, but he justifies his mistakes with decent yards and is good for at least one touchdown (if not more) this Sunday.
RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Browns)[the_ad id=”66786″]Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed today that star running back LeVeon Bell will not play this weekend, opening the door for someone else to shine as the Steelers running back for a game. Usually, that would be DeAngelo Williams, but as he is still dealing with complications from his in-season knee injury, Fitzgerald Toussaint will likely be the lead back for Pittsburgh this weekend.
Toussaint only has 44 yards rushing on 11 carries this season, but he does face the Browns in week 17. Cleveland has allowed 500 yards from scrimmage and four rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs over the past three games. Toussaint could be looking at 12-15 touches even if Williams does get some work this weekend, making him a nice under-the-radar sleeper for this weekend.
RB, Detroit Lions (vs. Packers)
Going up against one of the better run defenses in the league on Monday night, Zenner had 67 rushing yards on 12 carries along with two touchdowns. Most of Zenner’s damage also came in the first half of the game considering the Lions abandoned the run for the most part in the latter half of the game. Usual starting running back Theo Riddick missed another practice this week and doesn’t look likely to play this weekend. That would put Zenner back in the driver’s seat against the Packers, a team who have surrendered 465 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to opposing running backs over the past three games. In a pivotal game determining who wins the NFC North, Zenner could be relied on more heavily this weekend after his great game in week 16.
RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Ravens)[the_ad id=”58835″]Jeremy Hill only played 13 snaps in week 16 while nursing a knee injury. In his place, Burkhead handled the majority of the work at the running back position. He finished with 70 yards on 17 touches against a tough Texans defense. The Bengals are letting A.J. Green sit in week 17 while tight end Tyler Eifert was placed on the injured reserve. Hill did not practice on Wednesday and with nothing left to play for, he may sit as well. Burkhead would be in for another 15-20 touch game against the Ravens, who have given up 511 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns to opposing running backs over the past three games. The Ravens defense suddenly looks a little leaky as of late and Burkhead could be in for a big game as the potential workhorse for the Bengals this weekend.
WR, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Rams)
Like his quarterback, Nelson also has a solid match-up this weekend. He has emerged as one of Palmer’s favorite targets with 18 targets, eight receptions, 170 yards and two touchdowns over the past two games. He gets to face a Rams defense that has allowed for 488 yards and five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the past three games. With nine targets on average over the past two games and a touchdown scored in two consecutive games, Nelson is in a good spot to put up some more solid stats in week 17.
WR, Detroit Lions (vs. Packers)
With the injury to Theo Riddick, Boldin has taken a bigger role as the Lions number three wide receiver, he has at least four receptions in four of his last six games and at least 30 yards in five of those games. Going up against a Packers defense that has surrendered 708 yards and six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the past three games, Boldin is in a good spot against a team he scored a touchdown against in their week three match-up.[the_ad id=”63633″]
WR, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Cardinals)
Austin has been far from a consistent performer this season. But he does have a few positives to him this weekend as he faces Arizona. One, the Cardinals have given up 816 yards and seven receiving touchdowns over the past three games to wide receivers. Second, with Kenny Britt likely out this weekend due to a shoulder injury, Austin will function as the Rams number one receiver. And third, Austin has seen 23 targets over the past three games. On top of his receiving production, Austin has also been used in the run game as well, which will only boost his fantasy value. Austin could be a solid bet this weekend for a good fantasy game.
TE, Buffalo Bills (vs. Jets)
Clay is coming off arguably his best stretch of play as a Bill, with at least 50 yards receiving and four touchdowns over the past three games. He has the benefit of facing the Jets this weekend, who have allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the past three games.
Even with E.J. Manuel as his quarterback this weekend, Clay will likely function as a solid security blanket for him with few options besides him in the pass game.
TE, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Jaguars)
This is somewhat of a stretch, but that goes to show the lack of depth at the tight end position in fantasy football. Doyle does have a nice floor, with at least four receptions and 30 yards in the past four games. He also has 21 targets during that stretch as well. Facing the Jaguars, who have surrendered 187 yards (62 per game) and two touchdowns over the past three games to opposing tight ends, he could be in for a solid game especially if Donte Moncrief is forced to miss week 17.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL