My Week 17 list features under-the-radar players that are not being started in a majority of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. With that in mind, here are our top fantasy football sleepers for Week 17.
Leading up to the Week 16 matchup against the league best Jacksonville defense, the narrative on Jimmy Garoppolo was already extremely positive. However, after hanging a season-high 44 points against the Jaguars defense en route to a 44-33 victory, it’s time to ramp up the conversation on the young San Francisco franchise quarterback. Garoppolo has led the 49ers to four consecutive victories during his four-game stretch as the team’s signal-caller. It’s totally legit at this point to consider Garoppolo as an elite quarterback going forward, but let’s start with this week’s matchup. Jimmy G. gets a Los Angeles Rams defense who will be resting numerous starters in advance of punching their ticket as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Garoppolo is a prime candidate for another big day and will continue to help fantasy owners still going with their season.
Entering this season as a sleeper in many fantasy circles, Bilal Powell was drastically underwhelming in what has been a largely irrelevant season for the seventh-year back out of Louisville. That said, Powell is duplicating last season’s narrative by rounding into form down the stretch, by recording the most fantasy points this past weekend – since Week 4 against Jacksonville. Powell gobbled up 145 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Sunday’s defeat to the Chargers and will look to continue the production this week in New England against the Patriots. Powell should see the majority of the work this week and will carry flex appeal for the regular season finale.
With the Titans clinging to dear life in the AFC playoffs, Week 17’s battle against the Jaguars will be pivotal to keeping their playoff hopes alive. That said, the team figures to be without the services of DeMarco Murray after sustaining a torn MCL against the Rams last week. With Murray’s expected absence, second-year back Derrick Henry will inherit a significant uptick in work and should be the featured weapon in the Tennessee offense. While the Jaguars sport the league’s most prolific defense, being susceptible to allowing big days to opposing running backs has been their only caveat. Combine the imminent massive workload for the former Heisman Trophy winner and fantasy owners should expect to have a RB2 on their hands for this week.
T.Y. Hilton’s track record against the Houston Texans is one of fantasy football’s best kept secrets, as he’s absolutely lit up the box scores time and time again. Week 9 of this season was no different when Hilton dropped 175 yards and two touchdowns on a bewildered Houston secondary. With the Colts closing out a tumultuous season in their own building, Jacoby Brissett will be motivated to put a good game on tape, as Andrew Luck will be back in the saddle next season. Given the recent performance of a hapless Texans team, it’s a good bet to expect T.Y. to ball once again against his division-rivals.
When Hunter Henry was placed on season-ending I.R. after sustaining a kidney laceration in Week 15 against the Chiefs, it was expected Antonio Gates would assume a bigger role in the San Diego offense. Yet, the future-Hall-of-Famer straight up turned back the clock in the team’s victory over the Jets last week, recording 81 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Gates was targeted early and often in this one and recorded a touchdown for the second consecutive week. Philip Rivers and Gates have some of the best chemistry of any quarterback-receiver combination in NFL history and the pair will look to secure a berth in the postseason this week against a vulnerable Raiders defense. Fantasy owners got to love Gates’ chances to find the end zone for a third consecutive week.
New England Patriots
With Bryce Petty still at quarterback for the Jets, the Patriots defense will have a great opportunity to close out the regular season on a high note. With Bill Belichick notorious for taking every game situation seriously and the team still looking to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots dominate all facets of this game. The New England defense is a great bet to rack up a few sacks and turnovers en route to a lopsided victory on Sunday in potential winter wonderland conditions.