Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings: RBs Headed for Big Games in Season Finale

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The final week of the NFL's regular season isn't an ideal time for fantasy football league championships, but they still exist for some unlucky owners.

It's not fun to deal with players sitting out for teams that have already clinched, but it's the nature of the beast in the fantasy world. 

It's not like talented players won't still be playing, though. Owners will still have to fill out their lineups with quality players at every position, hoping for the best in the process.

Let's take a look at three running backs who are headed for big games in the season finale.


Frank Gore

Gore is going to fare well versus the Arizona Cardinals run defense. Most of it is because of the 49ers' dominant run game, but a lot of it also has to do with San Francisco's need to win Sunday's game.

A loss could hand Seattle the NFC West crown. After Colin Kaepernick's subpar performance against the Seahawks in Week 16, the 49ers could be reluctant to put the ball in his hands again on Sunday.

Everyone knows what to expect from Gore. He's a reliable running back, even if he doesn't hit very many home run plays.

Gore only had 55 rushing yards versus Arizona the first time around, but he has much more on the line this time. The 49ers want to win the division, and his effort has a lot to do with that possibility.

If he's on your fantasy team, start him and ride him to a good week.


Alfred Morris

The Redskins need a win to clinch the NFC East crown on Sunday. A wild-card berth is possible otherwise, but winning the division is a more pleasing option for any team.

Morris is the key to Sunday's game and he's worth a fantasy start for that reason. Just because he's not Robert Griffin III, he will have the chance to beat Dallas on his own.

The Cowboys will challenge Griffin to throw the ball against their aggressive secondary on a consistent basis, but Morris will be given more room to work. Expect him to take advantage of those looks and find some running room between the tackles.

Mike Shanahan is still going to rely on Griffin to move the chains, but someone else will have to help him out. Morris has had an excellent season, and fantasy owners would be smart to let him finish the deal in Week 17.


Doug Martin

The Atlanta Falcons have had a great season, but Martin has also enjoyed an excellent rookie season with Tampa Bay.

Because the Falcons have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Buccaneers should have things much easier in Week 17 than they normally would.

That will leave room for Martin. He's made a genius out of fantasy football owners across the country all season long, and he's going to close the year on a high note versus the NFC's No. 1 seed.

Martin's ability to play all three downs makes him a unique commodity in today's NFL. Josh Freeman's recent struggles often place the onus on Martin's shoulders, which should end well for Martin's fantasy owners.

Martin will be a first-round pick in many fantasy football drafts next season, and he will add to that momentum with a huge game on Sunday.