Fantasy Football Week 17: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 17: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Fantasy managers can still find potential league-winning pickups at quarterback, a couple of gems coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list and two running backs with a ton of upside in the free-agent pool.

    Speaking of the reserve/COVID-19 list, the NFL updated its protocols again Tuesday. Now, regardless of vaccination status, players who test positive only have to isolate for five days instead of 10 if they're asymptomatic (h/t NFL Network's Tom Pelissero). As a result, anyone who tested positive earlier in the week still has a chance to play Sunday or Monday. 

    To avoid the waiting game, we'll omit players in isolation.

    This week, several sleeper picks have high upside because of their skill sets or expanded roles. If you need players with boom potential, take a shot with a couple of the options below.

    As the case every week, all eight players are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues

QB Taysom Hill vs. Carolina Panthers (43 Percent Rostered)

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    DK DFS Price: $6,000

    On Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints activated Taysom Hill from the reserve/COVID-19 list, which is good news for their offense and fantasy managers.

    Last week, rookie fourth-rounder Ian Book struggled to move the ball against the Miami Dolphins defense, throwing for 135 yards and two interceptions with a 60.0 percent completion rate. 

    Assuming Hill returns to action, he'll reclaim the starting role and provide QB1 value because of his ability to run the ball. The dual-threat signal-caller has recorded 11 carries in each of his three starts at quarterback, racking up a total of 207 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground in those outings. 

    This week, Hill will face the Carolina Panthers' 21st-ranked run defense, which has allowed 111-plus yards in five consecutive games. Managers in need of a quarterback with a high floor and great upside should take a look at Hill coming off his one-game absence.

QB Trey Lance vs. Houston Texans (23 Percent Rostered)

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    DK DFS Price: $4,800

    Trey Lance may start over Jimmy Garoppolo Sunday.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Garoppolo tore his UCL and fractured a bone in the thumb of his throwing hand. While head coach Kyle Shanahan hasn't ruled out the veteran quarterback, he's praised the rookie signal-caller for his recent performance at practice, which sounds like a pivot to the latter. 

    If Lance makes his second start Sunday, he'll face the Houston Texans, who rank 29th in points allowed and give up the third-most rushing yards.

    The Texans' inability to stop the run bodes well for Lance, who's an effective ball-carrier. He rushed for 41-plus yards in two games this season. In his only start, the rookie quarterback ran for 89 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.

    With that said, Lance could move the ball through the air with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk all healthy. His involvement in the ground attack elevates him to QB1 status.

RB Dare Ogunbowale at New England Patriots (30 Percent Rostered)

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    DK DFS Price: $5,100

    Dare Ogunbowale will likely see a massive uptick in touches in the final two weeks of the season. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, lead running back James Robinson will miss the rest of the term with a torn Achilles. 

    Last week, Robinson exited early because of the injury, and Ogunbowale took over a bulk of the rushing workload, logging 17 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets. He also hauled in two passes for 15 yards. 

    Though the New England Patriots field one of the stingiest defenses in terms of points (No. 1) and yards allowed (No. 3), the unit ranks 23rd in run defense, ceding 4.5 yards per carry (25th). The Patriots have allowed an average of approximately 177.3 rushing yards over their last four games.

    Managers should add Ogunbowale because of his expanded role coupled with a surprisingly good matchup. He has RB2 value if the Jacksonville Jaguars don't fall far behind on the scoreboard and remain committed to running the ball.

RB Boston Scott at Washington Football Team (26 Percent Rostered)

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles' top-ranked ground attack took some hits last week.

    Running backs Miles Sanders (broken hand) and Jordan Howard (stinger) exited early with injuries. Boston Scott recorded a team-leading 12 rush attempts for 41 yards and a touchdown.

    The Eagles hope Howard suits up, but head coach Nick Sirianni said Sanders won't play Sunday. Scott will have an opportunity to handle early-down carries with rookie Kenneth Gainwell in a complementary pass-catching role. If Howard sits out, Scott would become a must-start player. 

    Nonetheless, Scott doesn't need to start as the lead ball-carrier to make a fantasy impact because the Eagles use multiple tailbacks. In Week 15 against the Washington Football Team, Sanders and Howard shared the rushing workload, logging 18 and 15 rush attempts, respectively. 

    In the upcoming matchup, Scott can fill a void in the Eagles' ground game against a run defense that gave up 238 yards in the first contest between these clubs.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Minnesota Vikings (45 Percent Rostered)

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    DK DFS Price: $5,100

    Last week, wideout Allen Lazard made the sleepers list and delivered with two receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. Now, managers should roll the dice on Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who's set to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    Before the Green Bay Packers placed Valdes-Scantling on the reserve/COVID-19 list, he caught five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, who give up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The big-play wideout will have a chance to post another strong stat line in a plus matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

    The Vikings allow the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers and rank 27th in passing yards allowed.

    Furthermore, in the first meeting between Minnesota and Green Bay, Valdes-Scantling caught four passes for a season-high 123 yards and a touchdown. Back in the lineup, he has boom potential in a battle with a pass defense that struggled with the Packers' aerial attack a month ago.

WR Breshad Perriman at New York Jets (3 Percent Rostered)

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    Alex Menendez/Associated Press

    DK DFS Price: $4,300

    On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated Breshad Perriman from the reserve/COVID-19 list. He'll have a chance to slide into the No. 2 wide receiver spot behind Antonio Brown with Mike Evans on the reserve/COVID-19 list and nursing a hamstring injury. Keep in mind, wideout Chris Godwin will miss the remainder of the campaign because of a torn ACL.

    In Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills, Perriman scored the game-winning touchdown on a 58-yard reception in overtime. Quarterback Tom Brady will likely trust him more than Cyril Grayson, who's played just eight pro games.

    Aside from Brown, no other Buccaneers pass-catcher saw more than four targets last week. With that said, Perriman has a pathway to a high target share in a matchup with the New York Jets, who allow the fifth-most passing yards.

    Brown will draw heavy coverage, which gives Perriman a chance to take advantage of a favorable matchup.

TE Gerald Everett vs. Detroit Lions (48 Percent Rostered)

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    DK DFS Price: $4,100

    In recent weeks, Gerald Everett's involvement in the aerial attack has trended up, and he's translated opportunities into production.

    Over the past two games, Everett has caught eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Last week against the Chicago Bears, he recorded four catches and led the Seattle Seahawks in receiving yards (68).

    Though Everett's receiving numbers seem modest, he has a solid pass-catching role, which makes him a decent flex option in point-per-reception leagues. He'll match up against the Detroit Lions, who gave up a combined eight catches for 123 yards and a touchdown to Atlanta Falcons tight ends Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst last week. 

    The Lions' soft coverage in the middle of the field elevates Everett's Week 17 outlook. Managers with a void to fill at tight end should consider him.

TE Foster Moreau at Indianapolis Colts (20 Percent Rostered)

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    DK DFS Price: $3,800

    Tight end Darren Waller has missed four consecutive games with knee and back injuries. In the meantime,  Foster Moreau has played a majority of the snaps at the position.

    Over the last two weeks, Moreau has made an impact in the passing game, hauling in 11 of his 13 targets for 132 yards. In Week 16 against the Denver Broncos, he had a key 28-yard reception to ice the game for the win, which shows quarterback Derek Carr trusts him in crucial moments.

    Though the Raiders could have wideout Bryan Edwards back from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Moreau will likely continue to see a steady number of targets with Waller going on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.

    Moreau should have a secure role in a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, who allow the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends. This week, he's a low-end TE1 unless Waller produces two negative tests before game day.


    Maurice Moton is an NFL and Fantasy Football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.