​​Week 17 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Fantasy Football Stars to Use

Theo SalaunCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2021

​​Week 17 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Fantasy Football Stars to Use

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    A fortunate few have made it to fantasy football championship week. And, whether you're playing for the trophy, glory or simply to avoid a last-place punishment, it's time to make one last set of lineup decisions.

    As the adage goes, you don't get cute during championship week. But you don't make it there without great depth (and some luck), either.

    So, in the spirit of trying to parse through lineup choices for the grand finale, here are some starts and sits. The former are guys you should feel confident not straying away from, and the latter are productive names you should be willing to bench in favor of that aforementioned depth.

    (All players evaluated under the lens of leagues with a half-point per reception.)

Week 17: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Start 'Em

    QB: Matthew Stafford at Baltimore Ravens

    QB: Jalen Hurts at Washington Football Team

    RB: Javonte Williams at Los Angeles Chargers

    RB: Rashaad Penny vs. Detroit Lions

    WR: Jaylen Waddle at Tennessee Titans

    WR: Antonio Brown at New York Jets

    TE: Dallas Goedert at Washington Football Team

    TE: Zach Ertz at Dallas Cowboys


    Sit 'Em

    QB: Lamar Jackson vs. Los Angeles Rams

    QB: Joe Burrow vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    RB: Ezekiel Elliott vs. Arizona Cardinals

    RB: Saquon Barkley at Chicago Bears

    WR: DK Metcalf vs. Detroit Lions

    WR: Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Las Vegas Raiders

    TE: Kyle Pitts at Buffalo Bills

    TE: Hunter Henry vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Start 'Em: Matthew Stafford at Baltimore Ravens

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Consider this a vote of confidence. If you survived Matthew Stafford's abysmal performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, it's time to roll him back out there for all the marbles against the Baltimore Ravens. 

    Against a beatable Vikings defense, Stafford posted 197 passing yards and one passing touchdown alongside three interceptions. But, prior to that, he had finished as the QB7 or better in six of nine weeks, per FantasyPros scoring. 

    Baltimore is beat up, but its saving grace is a run defense that has held opponents to under 100 rushing yards in six of its last seven games. The Ravens secondary, as evidenced by Joe Burrow's 575-yard Week 16 thrashing, is much more vulnerable. Stafford should bounce back with a vengeance this week.

Start 'Em: Javonte Williams at Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jeff Bottari/Associated Press

    Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III combined for 14 carries (seven apiece) and eight yards against the Las Vegas Raiders last week. But both deserve to be started in Week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Williams gets the nod, as he's proved to be a more dynamic runner with bigger boom potential. (And he did get 12 rushing yards to Gordon's minus-four against the Raiders.) 

    The Chargers are a run-funnel defense, and the Broncos are a running offense. That's a potent recipe. Los Angeles has given up 140-plus rushing yards eight times this season, including a 22-carry, 149-yard, two-touchdown day to Rex Burkhead in Week 16. Fire Javonte up.

Sit 'Em: Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Las Vegas Raiders

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    While Michael Pittman has bloomed wonderfully this season, managers ought to give him championship week off. Already an inconsistent producer on a run-first team, now Pittman is in a weird matchup and likely without Carson Wentz.

    Pittman has seen single-digit targets in five of his last seven games. That's not ideal, and it's rudely compounded by the fact that only one receiver has seen five-plus targets against the Raiders in the past four weeks.

    Las Vegas is not scoring, reaching 20-plus points just once since Week 7, and that lack of shootout potential doesn't bode well for Pittman's already shaky volume. Tack on Jonathan Taylor's campaign and the potential of Sam Ehlinger being his QB as a clear set of reasons to make use of your team's depth at receiver.

Sit 'Em: DK Metcalf vs. Detroit Lions

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    Somewhat similarly to Pittman, DK Metcalf has been the bearer of inconsistent volume this year. And Metcalf's Week 17 matchup is somewhat similar as well, as the Detroit Lions aren't best known for running up the score.

    Metcalf has enjoyed double-digit targets a whopping one time since Week 2. He's productive with the work he does get, but that's hard to rely on in the grand finale.

    And it's maybe even harder to rely on any expectations for Metcalf to need volume. While Detroit did throttle the Arizona Cardinals with 30 points in Week 15, that was just the second time they've scored 16-plus since Week 7. And now, they'll likely be without Jared Goff.