Even though the running back position has taken a hit in fantasy circles over the past few seasons, the importance of owning at least one back you can rely on is crucial. Owners who have reached the championship week of their league understand that.
Due to the rise of committee backfields and the seemingly endless stream of running back injuries, the value of backs who produce every week has increased significantly. They are certainly vital to success in Week 17 as teams chase titles.
Knowing that, let's examine the top fantasy RBs for the final week of the regular season. These three players will be on a lot of championship teams.
1. Arian Foster
Foster was held below 10 points for just the second time all season last week. The Houston Texans workhorse was forced to leave the game with an irregular heartbeat, which limited his production and probably cost some owners their semifinal matchups.
The good news for those that survived without his usual contributions is that he has returned to practice and should be ready to roll for Week 17. The Texans are still trying to lock down the top seed, so Foster should receive a full serving of touches.
He will get those touches against an Indianapolis Colts defense that he torched for 165 yards just two weeks ago. Monitor his progress leading up to the rematch of AFC South rivals. As long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks, expect a monster game.
Projection: 25 fantasy points
Peterson still has an outside chance to break the single-season rushing mark. He needs a shade over 200 yards on Sunday. But his main focus will be helping the Minnesota Vikings earn a playoff berth in the competitive NFC.
One of the most remarkable things about the NFL season has been Peterson carrying the Vikings offense on his back. Even though the unit has few other options, defenses still haven't been able to slow him down. That has led to plenty of happy fantasy owners.
The dynamic back rushed for 210 yards and a touchdown the last time he played the Green Bay Packers. There's no doubt the game plan will remain the same for Minnesota, which should lead to another strong showing for the MVP candidate.
Projection: 22 fantasy points
3. C.J. Spiller
Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey finally unleashed Spiller over the past two weeks and he has totaled 32 fantasy points. It's the type of production he could have provided owners all season if Gailey would have given him more chances.
Spiller should see plenty of touches again on Sunday. He has posted a double-digit score in every game where he's received at least 10 carries; when you watch him play, it's easy to see why. A single tackler rarely brings him down.
His combination of elusiveness and game-breaking speed makes him one of the league's top playmakers. In fantasy terms, that means he can turn an average game into a huge one in the blink of an eye. He's a must-start option in the finale.
Projection: 21 fantasy points