Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Advice for Fringe Flex Fantasy Football Starters

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 29, 2021

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Advice for Fringe Flex Fantasy Football Starters

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 17 may be the penultimate week of the 2021 NFL regular season, but it's championship week in most fantasy football leagues. After battling it out for 16 weeks to get to this point, two managers will go head-to-head to try to win a fantasy title.

    Even though you likely have a strong team to have made it to this point, it also takes a bit of luck. And it's not a guarantee that you know exactly who you'll start in your lineup this week, especially if you've been hit hard by injuries or are dealing with players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    Here's some start/sit advice to help you decide who to play in the flex spot for your championship matchup.

Start 'Em: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Lindsey Wasson/Associated Press

    In two of the past three weeks, Rashaad Penny has broken through for big performances. In Week 14, he rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns against the Houston Texans. In Week 16, he ran for 135 yards and a touchdown vs. the Chicago Bears.

    Now, Penny is going to be looking for another huge showing in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions. And it's a favorable matchup for him and the Seahawks' ground game, as the Lions are allowing the sixth most rushing yards per game in the NFL (127.3).

    Penny is Seattle's clear top option in the running game, as he's had 10 or more carries in each of the past four games. Expect him to again capitalize on those opportunities this week, making him a viable flex option for fantasy managers.

Sit 'Em: Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    In Week 15, Michael Carter was eased back into action from an ankle injury, as he had only eight carries for 18 yards against the Miami Dolphins. But the rookie had a much bigger workload in Week 16, and that resulted in him rushing for a season-high 118 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    However, Carter will have a much more difficult matchup in Week 17, when the Jets are hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering the Bucs are allowing the third fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL (87.5), Carter may not be quite as effective as he was last week.

    Tampa Bay's defense may be shorthanded, with several key players dealing with injuries. Still, that unit is going to make things tough on Carter. Plus, he hasn't been involved in the passing game of late, and the Jets will likely be playing from behind for much of the day. So it's best to leave Carter on the fantasy bench.

Start 'Em: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    After not playing last week while on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has a good chance to return to the Packers for Week 17. And he'll immediately get a matchup against a team he's already had success against this season.

    In Week 11, Valdes-Scantling had four receptions for a season-high 123 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. With the Packers set to face their NFC North rival again in Week 17, it should provide an opportunity for another big game for Valdes-Scantling.

    Minnesota is allowing the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in the league, per, so it's a great matchup for Green Bay's receiving corps. It's always a bit of a risk to play Valdes-Scantling because of his inconsistency, but he has high upside this week, making him a solid flex option if needed.

Sit 'Em: Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    Over the past few weeks, Russell Gage has been one of the Falcons' top offensive playmakers. However, his numbers have been a bit inconsistent, making it tricky to know when to put him in fantasy lineups and when to leave him on the bench.

    This week, Atlanta has an incredibly difficult matchup, though. It will be going up against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing an NFL-best 173.1 passing yards per game. Teams are struggling to move the ball through the air against the Bills, and the Falcons aren't likely to find success doing so.

    Gage had only four receptions for 39 yards last week against the Lions, and he isn't likely to put up better numbers against the Bills. So find a better flex option this week, as Gage is unlikely to bounce back with this matchup.