Week 17: Sleepers of the Week
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match-up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week. Most of the players that will be listed are on fantasy rosters, but not normally starters.
Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in week 17. The Bears are facing a must win situation, and with the Lions defense struggling to stop anyone as of late, Cutler should be able to put up a good fantasy game. The Lions have given up at least 27 points in five straight games, and with nothing to play for in week 17, it is likely that the Bears will be able to find the endzone at least a few times this week. Cutler is coming off back to back subpar games, but with Matt Forte's status up in the air for this week, the Bears should look to put the ball in the air more than usual. The Lions do not have anyone who can matchup with Brandon Marshall, as he caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in their first meeting this season. Fantasy owners can start Jay Cutler this week and can expect 200 yards and at least one touchdown.
Chad Henne and the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week 17. Henne has been a surprisingly good fantasy quarterback since taking over as the Jaguars' starter, but has cooled off over the last couple weeks. The former Miami Dolphins quarterback should be able to bounce back this week against a Titans secondary that he threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns against in week 12. The Titans defense has struggled against the pass all season, giving up an average of just over 247 yards per game -- 25th in the league. Montell Owens is likely to start at running back for the Jaguars, so they will look to cone out and establish the pass to take some of the pressure off the young running back. Henne will make for a sneaky play for fantasy owners looking for a high upside quarterback this week. Fantasy owners can start Chad Henne and can expect at least 225 passing yards and one touchdown.
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers return home to take on the Arizona Cardinals in week 17. The 49ers need to win this week's game to clinch the division, and the offense should run much smoother at home than it did in Seattle last week. Kaepernick struggled against the Seahawks in week 16, although he did put up some yardage in garbage time to finish with 244 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and 31 rushing yards. Kaepernick should be able to lead the 49ers offense to the endzone a few more times this week, as the Seahawks have been stellar defensively at home this season, while the Cardinals have struggled on the road. Fantasy owners can count on Kaepernick being a top ten fantasy quarterback option this week and can expect at least 225 total yards and two touchdowns from the second year quarterback.
Jackie Battle and the San Diego Chargers return home to face the Oakland Raiders in week 17. Battle struggled to get anything going in week 16 against the New York Jets, rushing for just 49 yards on 19 carries while catching one pass for five yards. The Chargers will turn to Battle once again this week as their starting running back, and he should be able to have a better game against the Raiders. The Raiders rank 20th in the league against the run, giving up an average of 122 yards per game on the ground. Despite the 2.6 yard per carry average last week, there is one positive that can be taken from the game. The 20 touches given to Battle show that the Chargers will lean on him once again this week, meaning that he can be plugged into fantasy lineups as a Flex play. Fantasy owners can count on 75 yards and a touchdown from Jackie Battle this week.
Mark Ingram and the New Orleans Saints return home to take on the Carolina Panthers in week 17. Ingram has been given a larger role in the Saints offense over the past few weeks, receiving 48 carries in three games. Ingram has rewarded the Saints' faith in him by scoring touchdowns in each of the last two games. The young running back set a season high with 21 carries in week 16, and should touch the ball close to 20 times again this week, making him a high quality fantasy play. The Panthers defense is a middle of the pack unit against the run, giving up an average of 113 yards per game on the ground. The second year running back should be able to find some running lanes, and fantasy owners can get him into their lineups and can expect at least 80 total yards and a touchdown.