Week 17 Fantasy Football Projections: Sleepers Who Will Help Win a Championship

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Jackie Battle #44 of the San Diego Chargers gets up after being stopped short of the goal line against the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 17 is the hardest to predict in fantasy football, but it is the most important for those still playing for a championship.

Teams resting their starters in preparation for the playoffs often hurt even the best fantasy teams. For this reason, most championships take place in Week 16.

However, some leagues continue to the end. These owners should make sure they stay away from teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts.

Even if the coaches say they will play to win, none of these squads have anything to gain and could end up sitting the top players early in the game.

Fortunately, there are still a number of underrated options that can help you and your team in Week 17. 

 

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

If Russell Wilson is still available in your league and you need a quarterback, he is the player you want. The Seahawks star has been scoring touchdowns at will over the past few weeks and it has not mattered which team is trying to defend him.

However, another good choice would be Ryan Tannehill. The rookie is averaging 15.4 points per game over the past five weeks and has a solid matchup against the New England Patriots.

Considering that the Dolphins should be behind for most of the game and the Patriots defense has only prevented one quarterback from reaching double-digit fantasy points this year, Tannehill could end up having a big day.

 

Jackie Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers

There are a few running back options that have become available late due to injuries.

Montell Owens played well as the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ben Tate would be a solid start for Arian Foster, who is ruled out. Montario Hardesty could also get some touches if Trent Richardson's injury turns out to be severe.

However, Jackie Battle is the best option for Week 17, even after a poor performance against the New York Jets.

Battle received 19 carries in the last game, 14 more than anyone else on the team. He also gets a chance to face the Oakland Raiders defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. 

It's a risky play, but Battle has a lot of upside this week.

 

Randy Moss, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Mario Manningham tore his ACL and is now out for the season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

More brutal injuries: 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham tore his ACL and PCL Sunday night vs. Seattle. Done for season.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 25, 2012

 

As a result, Randy Moss should get a big opportunity to shine as a go-to receiver in the final game of the year.

The 49ers are still playing for a first-round bye. Plus, they want to prove to themselves that they can play better than they showed in the 42-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Expect this team to target Moss often to see what it has in the veteran receiver before the beginning of the playoffs.

 

Bills D/ST

Regardless of who is playing quarterback, it's always a good idea to start the team facing the New York Jets.

Thanks to 11 sacks by the San Diego Chargers, the defense scored 23 fantasy points in standard leagues last week. This was the fourth time this year that an opposing defense put up more than 20 against the Jets.

In the past five weeks, defenses are averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game against New York.

The Bills played decent football last week against the Miami Dolphins, but the unit could be in for a big week against the Jets.