Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 17

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2021

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 17

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Week 17 has arrived, and the push for the NFL postseason is heading up. While a handful of divisions have been locked up, both first-round byes are still up for grabs.

    This is terrific for fantasy managers playing in championship games. Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers won't be inclined to rest starters this week despite being division champions. There's plenty left to play for, so healthy starters will be in the lineup.

    Managers will still need to adjust their lineups, however. Injuries and absences still impact the fantasy landscape, and it will be as important as always to play the matchups.

    Here, we'll dive into some of the best and worst plays of Week 17. To avoid obvious sits, we'll be looking specifically at players rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros. All picks are based on points-per-reception scoring.

Week 17 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

    Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

    Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns

    Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles


    Sit 'Em

    Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

    Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

    D'Onta Foreman, RB, Tennessee Titans

    Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

    D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

    Jared Cook, TE, Los Angeles Chargers

Start 'Em: Jalen Hurts at Washington Football Team

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    Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has been a fantasy star because of his dual-threat ability. However, managers didn't see much of it in Week 16 against the New York Giants. Hurts did toss a pair of touchdown passes, but he threw for just 199 yards and carried twice for seven yards.

    Have the Eagles suddenly decided to make Hurts a pocket passer? No, they probably just didn't want to expose their quarterback in a game that was well in hand. Expect more rushing from Hurts this week, especially with starting back Miles Sanders out with a broken hand.

    Sanders isn't going to injured reserve, but he won't play against Washington.

    This is a must-win game for the Eagles, and coach Nick Sirianni will pull out all the stops to ensure that the playoff march continues. Oh, and it's a terrific matchup for Hurts the pocket passer anyway.

    Washington has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. As long as the Football Team stays in the game better than New York did, we should see a bounce-back performance from fantasy's rising star.

Sit 'Em: Joe Burrow vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    I know I'm going to get crushed if Joe Burrow comes through against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cincinnati Bengals gunslinger has been excellent this season and is coming off a 525-yard, four-touchdown performance.

    But that game came against the banged-up Baltimore Ravens. The Chiefs defense has been on a tear over the past two months and represents a much bigger challenge. Kansas City hasn't allowed a 260-yard passer over the past four games and has 13 takeaways in that span.

    What really worries me about this matchup, though, is the Bengals offensive line. Burrow has been sacked a league-high 47 times and has been under pressure on 24.3 percent of his dropbacks. When he's under pressure, Burrow can struggle. He's tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 14.

    The Chiefs only have 26 sacks, but they can bring pressure and force mistakes. Kansas City has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, but they were also putrid defensively early in the season.

    The Chiefs need a win to keep the top spot in the AFC. Expect an aggressive game plan from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and a subpar outing from Burrow.

Start 'Em: Jarvis Landry at Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Cleveland Browns wideout Jarvis Landry isn't the PPR machine that he once was. He's also facing a Pittsburgh Steelers team fighting for its playoff life at Heinz Field.

    The last time Landry faced Pittsburgh, he had five receptions for 65 yards, five rushing yards and a fumble—clearly not ideal. However, the Browns are also in an elimination situation and will look to their emotional leader to rally them.

    Expect to see some vintage Landry in primetime on Monday Night Football—in what might be his last game against Ben Roethlisberger. The Browns have been trying to get him the ball in recent weeks, and that's not going to change now. Landry has been targeted at least seven times in each of his past three games.

    Don't be surprised to see double-digit targets, a half-dozen receptions and a touchdown this week. The Steelers defense can make plays, but it's been inconsistent. It has allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

Sit 'Em: D'Onta Foreman vs. Miami Dolphins

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans have survived without Derrick Henry, thanks in part, to the presence of D'Onta Foreman. He has rushed for touchdowns in two of the last three games and topped 100 yards in two of the last four.

    The problem for fantasy managers, though, is that Foreman hasn't rushed for a touchdown and 100 yards in the same game. It's probably not going to happen against the Miami Dolphins either.

    With touchdown-vulture Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, Foreman may not get into the end zone this week. I don't like his chances of hitting the century mark either. Miami's defense has surged over the last two months and is capable of shutting down the best of backs.

    Against the New Orleans Saints last week, the Dolphins held Alvin Kamara to 59 scrimmage yards and two receptions. No offense to Foreman, but Kamara is a more dynamic offensive weapon. Against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs, it's hard to see Foreman out-performing him.

    A couple of receptions and around 50 total yards is probably Foreman's ceiling.


    Fantasy roster information and points allowed via FantasyPros. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.