Fantasy football sleepers to help win your title in Week 17

by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix on December 26, 2013 @ 06:00:00 PDT

 

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In this article KFFL breaks down the fantasy football sleepers of the week. We will avoid marquee names because players of that caliber are rarely benched, regardless of their matchup. Instead, we will focus on the players that make your fantasy lineup decisions stressful each week. Read on to learn which midrange to low-end players you wouldn't necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.

Note: All statistics are from Week 13 through Week 16, unless otherwise stated.

Quarterback

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Calvin Johnson (knee) may sit for the meaningless finale, and Stafford has averaged just 9.0 standard fantasy points per game in his last three (52.5 completion percentage, 0.33 TDs, 1.67 picks). But the Vikes cure most passing ills, as Andy Dalton proved Sunday and so many others have this season. In the season opener, Stafford put 357 aerial yards and two scores on this defense. Even while on the road with a crew of receivers that could be headlined by Kris Durham, Detroit should pile up the points. This isn't a past, elite incarnation Stafford; he's best-of-the-rest Stafford.

Vikings vs. QB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
32
4
29.8
27
43
62.8
348.5
3.00
1.00
2.8
19.0
0.00
0.00
3.0

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans

Sure, most of this statistical damage was done by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Andrew Luck and Chad Henne didn't do much. But Fitzpatrick sits closer to Luck's territory, which will do for those in a bind (Alex Smith owners, perhaps). Chris Johnson should have a fine day, and some of that should include receptions from passes delivered by Fitzpatrick. Also, Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (toe) will miss Week 17, which should open up even more room for Titans catchers.

Texans vs. QB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
31
4
23.3
23
38
60.9
267.0
2.50
0.50
2.3
15.5
0.00
0.0
1.0

Running back

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Opposing RBs have gouged the Falcons for the second-highest yards-per-carry figure and the fourth-highest ground yardage average. The defensive front has been easy to dominate. The Panthers, a stout running team, should take advantage. This backfield is less messy than it was when Jonathan Stewart (knee) was active, so Williams, who has averaged 5.5 yards per tote in his last two contests, should run wild.

Falcons vs. RB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
22
4
20.8
24.8
131.8
5.3
1.00
3.25
24.0
7.4
0.25
0.5

Jonathan Grimes, Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Houston's backfield is on its latest patchwork option. Grimes is a fresh back, though, and sometimes that's all that matters this time of year. He could have duties all to himself with Deji Karim (clavicle) and Dennis Johnson (hip) not looking good for Sunday. Those grasping at straws should consider the Titans let midrange talent like Donald Brown and Rashard Mendenhall hit the end zone (the latter twice).

Titans vs. RB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
24
4
21.0
25.3
106.3
4.2
1.25
6.00
51.3
8.5
0.00
0.0

James Starks, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Chicago has been one of the biggest doormats against rumblers for most of the year. Their yardage and YPC surrendered over the last month to this position tops the NFL. Even if Eddie Lacy (ankle) plays, he'll probably cede a few more opportunities to Starks. In spell work during Week 9, Starks amassed 40 yards on six carries, along with a 32-yard touchdown dash.

Bears vs. RB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
31
4
27.5
25.5
179.3
7.0
1.50
4.75
26.3
5.5
0.00
0.0

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Ball has been a regular on this list in the past month. He's had great matchups but hasn't come through in a big way. Let's try this again. He totaled 61 ground yards on 11 carries in Week 3, and this could be a day when Denver rests Peyton Manning, and perhaps Knowshon Moreno, if they wind up with a big lead. They need to win to clinch homefield advantage, though, so game pace might shut Ball out. Flex seekers, though, should note Oakland's ranking and take the chance if matchup is the determining factor.

Raiders vs. RB position (per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
32
4
34.3
26.5
110.8
4.2
1.75
6.50
88.3
13.6
1.00
0.00

WR and TE next

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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