7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 17, Presented by Casper
Holes in your fantasy football lineup can be tough to deal with. The often leave you restless and fidgety until your lineups lock. But the right sleepers -- even in deep, 14- and 16-team leagues -- can offer respite.
Check out these seven deep sleepers for Week 17.
Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers (Owned in 0.2% of ESPN Leagues)
It's hard to anticipate exactly what NFL teams will do in Week 17 when playoff seeding is either out of the picture or set in stone for most teams. That's the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are locked into the 3 seed in the AFC. Head coach Mike Tomlin implied that resting Ben Roethlisberger, as well as Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, is something he'll be considering. Losing the playmakers hurts Landry Jones, but the Cleveland Browns are a weak enough team that he can still produce.
Cleveland is the worst pass defense in football by our metrics since Week 9 and 31st against fantasy passers this year.
You can also take a chance on E.J. Manuel against the New York Jets this week if you need to. The Jets are the second-worst pass defense by our metrics from Week 9 on and are 27th this year against fantasy quarterbacks.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, Pittsburgh Steelers (0.4%)
The Browns are also terrible against the run, making Fitzgerald Toussaint an intriguing option. If Roethlisberger sits, odds are Bell does, too. It might seem that DeAngelo Williams is the target, but he's played just five snaps since Week 9, per FantasyData. Cleveland ranks 31st against fantasy running backs and 28th against the run this year.
The Steelers opened as 10.5-point favorites, but the line has dropped to 6. That's still promising for Toussaint and the Steelers' offense in what is effectively shaping up to be a January 1st preseason game.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (3.9%)
With the San Diego Chargers irrelevant in the playoff picture and Kenneth Farrow on injured reserve, they have pretty much two choices at running back this week. The obvious one is to play Ronnie Hillman, who has played 24% and 38% of the team's snaps in the past two weeks. The other route is to force Melvin Gordon, who is 3 yards shy from a 1,000-yard season, to play in Week 17. Gordon is day-to-day.
The matchup against the playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs isn't necessarily great, but the Chiefs rank 16th against fantasy running backs on the season and 20th against the rush by our metrics from Week 9 on. It's possible Hillman plays a huge number of snaps, and he shouldn't be ignored for running-back needy teams in Week 17.
Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers (10.8%)
Yep. We're riding this Steelers train in Week 17. Eli Rogers has played at least 50% of snaps in eight of his past nine games and played 76% of snaps last week. He has 11 targets in his past two games and should play the role as the primary receiver for this team this weekend.
We've already talked about this matchup for Landry, but Rogers is looking like a safe bet for targets in a very beatable matchup this week.
Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (12.2%)
Marqise Lee didn't have a stellar receiving game last week -- or the week before. He was catch-less on 3 targets in Week 15 but caught 3 of 7 targets in Week 16 for 37 yards and a touchdown. Lee has quietly averaged 6.4 targets per game this year and 6.9 in his past eight games. This week, the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Indianapolis Colts in a game a 47.5-point over/under.
Indy ranks 13th against the pass from Week 9 on by our metrics and 12th against fantasy receivers this season, but Lee is getting looks and is producing at a league-average efficiency, per our metrics, despite wasted targets from his quarterback and only three touchdowns.
Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (13.0%)
In the eight games between Weeks 5 through 12, Aaron Rodgers averaged 44.4 passing attempts per game. In the next three, he attempted 30, 23, and 31 passes, an average of 28.0 per game. Well, he was somewhere in between in Week 16, with 38 attempts. If the Green Bay Packers are back to their pass-heavy ways with a healthy Rodgers in Week 17, Jared Cook stands to benefit.
Sure, fellow tight end Richard Rodgers scored last week, but he saw just 2 targets on 49% of the team's snaps. Cook had 3 catches on 5 targets for 37 yards on 59% of snaps. From Week 11 on, Cook has averaged 5.3 targets in his six games. Rodgers has averaged 2.0 targets per game in that stretch. Facing the 31st-ranked defense against tight ends, the Detroit Lions, Cook is worth a shot if you can't get access to Charles Clay.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17.4%)
Doug Martin has been ruled out for Week 17, and so has Cameron Brate, who has gone to injured reserve. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a very, very slim chance to make the playoffs, so they'll be playing to win. Jacquizz Rodgers got 15 carries last week, and Charles Sims got just 3. It's looking like Rodgers will be the feature back in a game against the Carolina Panthers, who rank just 26th against the run from Week 9 onward, by our metrics.
The Bucs are a six-point favorite in a must-win game, and leaning on Rodgers against a weakened run defense without Luke Kuechly, who has been announced as inactive for Week 17, makes sense here. Double-digit carries are hard to pass up at this stage in the fantasy season.