Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Top Matchup Plays and Sleepers for Final Games

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 29, 2020

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Top Matchup Plays and Sleepers for Final Games

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Most fantasy football leagues had their championship games in Week 16. That means you're either elated or dejected, depending on how things unfolded, if you're in the majority. However, some fantasy leagues don't hold their championship games until Week 17. And if that's your league, then you still need some advice.

    Even if your fantasy league's season is over, perhaps you're considering playing daily fantasy in Week 17 and need some lineup tips for the final week of the NFL regular season. Either way, there are good matchups, bad matchups and sleeper plays for the upcoming week, just as there have been for each of the past 16.

    Here's some start/sit advice for Week 17, along with some sleeper plays to consider. And remember, make sure to follow the news, as some teams may opt to sit star players for rest ahead of the playoffs.

Quarterbacks

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (at DET)

    Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at KC)

    Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (vs. JAX)

    Sit 'Em

    Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

    Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at TB)

    Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (at DEN)

    Sleeper: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (vs. GB)

    Since taking back over as the Bears' starting quarterback in Week 12, Trubisky has been playing much better and has led Chicago's offense to tremendous success. The Bears have scored 30 or more points in each of their past four games (the last three being wins), with Trubisky being a key reason for that.

    Over the past five weeks, Trubisky has passed for 1,243 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's also been consistent, throwing for more than 200 yards in each of those games. And he's coming off a showing against the Jaguars in which he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

    If you're in need of a streaming option, then Trubisky is a reliable one, especially as the Bears look for a Week 17 win that pushes them into the playoffs as a wild card. The stakes are much higher for them than the Packers, who won the NFC North, and Trubisky and Chicago's offense might ride their recent momentum for another week.

Running Backs

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN)

    Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (at PHI)

    Sony Michel, New England Patriots (vs. NYJ)

    Sit 'Em

    Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)

    Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)

    Frank Gore, New York Jets (at NE)

    Sleeper: Dare Ogunbowale, Jacksonville Jaguars (at IND)

    James Robinson missed Jacksonville's Week 16 game against Chicago due to an ankle injury, and it's possible he'll be out again for the Jags' season finale. If that's the case, then Ogunbowale could be a worthwhile fantasy option, as he's likely to get the majority of the workload out of their backfield.

    That was the case in Week 16, when Ogunbowale had 14 carries for 71 yards. He may not have gotten into the end zone for the first time this year, but he was effective against a solid defense. So, perhaps he could end his touchdown drought (which dates back to Nov. 3, 2019) in Week 17.

    The Jaguars will be looking to play spoiler against the AFC South-rival Colts, who are trying to make a push into the postseason. Looking to finish the season strong, Jacksonville could frequently give the ball to Ogunbowale, who finally got into the mix last week in Robinson's absence.

Wide Receivers

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (at HOU)

    Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)

    Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (vs. DAL)

    Sit 'Em

    Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (at NE)

    DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (at IND)

    Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)

    Sleeper: Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (vs. NYJ)

    Even though the Patriots' offense has struggled in recent weeks, Meyers has still put up decent numbers (especially in Week 15, when he had seven catches for 111 yards against the Dolphins). And it's possible he'll end his season with a strong showing in a favorable matchup against the Jets, who allow 278.1 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL).

    It's possible the Pats will start Jarett Stidham at quarterback in Week 17 after Cam Newton was benched during their Week 16 loss to the Bills. If that's the case, Stidham may be looking to prove himself heading into 2021. And he'll likely lean heavily on Meyers, one of New England's top playmakers.

    Meyers has played 27 games over two seasons but still doesn't have his first career touchdown. At some point, he'll break through. It could be in Week 17, making him a decent streaming option if you need a wide receiver for your flex spot.

Tight Ends

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (vs. LV)

    Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (at KC)

    Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings (at DET)

    Sit 'Em

    Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

    Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears (vs. GB)

    Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)

    Sleeper: Jordan Akins, Houston Texans (vs. TEN)

    Akins has been heavily targeted in recent weeks. He's had 16 passes come his way over the Texans' past three games, hauling in 12 of them for 109 yards. And although he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, that could change in Houston's season finale.

    Tennessee is allowing 271.9 passing yards per game, the fifth-most in the NFL. It also gave up a season-high 113 yards to tight ends when it faced Houston in Week 6. So, the Texans may go back to that strategy and incorporate Akins this time, considering his recent involvement.

    If Akins finally gets back into the end zone, it'll have been worth streaming him. And in a week with some uncertainty regarding who all will play around the league, he might be a solid option.

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