Fantasy Football Sleepers: 5 RB’s to Start in Week 17

Dec 22, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) runs the ball while being defended by Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll (28) and free safety Reshad Jones (20) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL regular season coming to a close, most fantasy leagues have packed it in for the offseason. However, some leagues are still rolling and many owners are playing in one-week leagues this week. If you’re an owner staying active and looking for some running back value, here are five players who are in a place to succeed and finish the season strong.

Fred Jackson-Buffalo Bills

Jackson and the Bills finish the season in New England against the Patriots and the 29th-ranked rushing defense in the league. Jackson is coming off back-t0-back solid efforts getting a total of 36 carries the last two games and rushing for 191 yards and a touchdown. The Bills offense will rely on him once again with E.J. Manuel out for the contest which should result in a heavy workload against a depleted Patriots’ front 7. He has a nice history against Ne England and should be able to finish the season on a high note.

Joique Bell-Detroit Lions

Bell  has huge upside with Calvin Johnson probably not playing and Reggie Bush in the Jim Schwartz doghouse with fumble issues. The Vikings have struggled defensively lately, so if Bell gets the work he should be able to produce at a high level. He’s a good play even if Bush splits carries with him, but he could be a gamble that pays big dividends if he becomes the primary back.

Donald Brown-Indianapolis Colts

Dec 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown (31) runs the ball during the first half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Brown had a pair of touchdowns last week-one rushing and one receiving. He’s definitely emerged as the Colts primary back although Trent Richardson still gets some work each game. This week the Colts host the Jaguars who have allowed the fourth-most rushing TDs this season which should lead to a big game for Brown as the Colts play for playoff position.

Edwin Baker-Cleveland Browns

After not getting a carry until week 15, Baker has emerged as the best Browns running back with back-t0-back games with a touchdown the last two weeks. Pittsburgh has allowed as many rushing TDs as the Jaguars this year (tied for fourth-most in the league), and there’s some value/sleeper upside for Baker as the Browns visit Pittsburgh to end their season.

Montee Ball-Denver Broncos

Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) rushes during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ball is high-risk, but if the Broncos put the game away early he could get a bunch of carries in garbage time. If he does get the carries, he’s shown he can convert them into fantasy value. Three weeks ago he took 15 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown and in week 13 he ran for 117 yards against the Chiefs. If he does get the carries, Ball could turn in a solid game to finish the season and has a lot of upside despite being among the cheapest options in some weekly formats.

Topics: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Edwin Baker, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Football RB, Fantasy Football Sleepers, Fred Jackson, Indianapolis Colts, Week 17

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