Fantasy Football: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 17

/ by Ethan Cadeaux and Matt Weyrich
Presented By TAP Sports Bar
Rob Gronkowski

The best path to a fantasy championship is through your studs. But as important as Jonathan Taylor and Davante Adams might be to your team’s success, they can’t do it alone. With the fantasy football championship officially here, you can't afford to make any mistakes.

It’s the savvy flex plays and under-the-radar pickups that separate league winners from the pack. That’s where Start ’Em, Sit ’Em comes in. If you’re looking for a vote of confidence in one of your bench guys or validation of your concerns over a boom-or-bust player, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are the best plays for Week 17.

Byes: None

Weekly Rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams


Start ’em

  • Matt Stafford, LAR (at BAL)
  • Jalen Hurts, PHI (at WSH)
  • Joe Burrow, CIN (vs. KC)


Fantasy managers were understandably flustered with Matt Stafford’s three-interception performance last week against the Vikings. However, it had been three years since Stafford last had such a game and the Ravens are coming off a 525-yard shellacking by Joe Burrow. Stafford should be back in lineups…Jalen Hurts has only attempted 30 passes in a game once since Week 7, yet he’s still averaging the seventh-most fantasy points among QBs with at least five starts over that span. One of his best performances came against Washington in Week 15 and he should feast again Sunday…Joe Burrow put together an all-time performance against Baltimore on Sunday and while he’s likely to regress, a shootout with the Chiefs leaves plenty of room for strong fantasy production once again.


Sit ’em

  • Lamar Jackson, BAL (vs. LAR)
  • Taysom Hill, NO (vs. CAR)
  • Derek Carr, LV (at IND)


Lamar Jackson has taken just 10 snaps in the last three weeks and continues to deal with an ankle injury at practice. He may be healthy enough to play Sunday against the Rams, but his nagging injury and a tough defense limit his upside as a run-first QB…Though there’s always going to be some upside with Taysom Hill’s rushing ability, the Saints’ recent struggles on offense make him a boom-or-bust candidate against a Panthers defense allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs…Derek Carr has already set a new career high in passing yards with two games to go, but the Raiders QB doesn’t throw enough touchdowns to make him a relevant fantasy option. The Colts’ ability to force turnovers doesn’t help his chances much, either.

Running backs

Start ’em

  • Ronald Jones II, TB (at NYJ)
  • Rashaad Penny, SEA (vs. DET)
  • Devin Singletary, BUF (vs. ATL)


Fantasy owners that stashed Ronald Jones II all year will be rewarded for their patience this week as the Buccaneers’ lead RB will have the chance to run all over the hapless Jets. With Leonard Fournette on IR, Jones should get a majority of the carries against a New York team that’s allowed an NFL-high 27 rushing touchdowns this season…A four-point dud in Week 15 may give some fantasy owners pause here, but Rashaad Penny sandwiched that performance with RB2 and RB6 outings against much more susceptible defenses. He gets another one this week in the Lions, putting him firmly in the flex/RB2 conversation…The Bills have finally settled on a lead running back, and his name is Devin Singletary. Buffalo is still a pass-first team, but a strong matchup with the Falcons should allow Singletary to rack up a decent workload with a few goal-line carries.

Sit ’em

  • Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL (at BUF)
  • Dare Ogunbowale, JAX (at NE)
  • Myles Gaskin, MIA (at TEN)


A huge piece for fantasy owners earlier this year, Cordarrelle Patterson’s usage has become a problem in recent weeks — particularly in the passing game. He’s averaging just 3.2 targets and 11.2 carries over his past six games and completely dropped off the fantasy radar the last two weeks…He might have been your top waiver add this week, but Dare Ogunbowale is a risky play with so much on the line. The Jaguars offense struggled to move the ball with James Robinson as its lead back, and the Patriots are going to do them no favors…The emergence of Duke Johnson in the Dolphins’ backfield has taken a hit to Myles Gaskin’s fantasy stock. Even Phillip Lindsay is cutting into his carries, leaving little upside for Gaskin despite his success earlier this year.


Wide receivers

Start ’em

  • Jaylen Waddle, MIA (at TEN)
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET (at SEA)
  • Darnell Mooney, CHI (at NYG)


Jaylen Waddle is making an end-of-season case for Offensive Rookie of the Year, racking up 10 or more targets in each of his last three games. Tua Tagovailoa has made clear that Waddle is his favorite target, making him a must-start against the Titans…The only rookie with a longer active 10-target streak than Waddle right now is Amon-Ra St. Brown, who’s done so in four straight games. He’s caught a touchdown in three of those four games and figures to be a key part of the Lions’ offense once again with Jared Goff back under center this week…Allen Robinson is on track to return this week, but he’s been a non-factor all year while Darnell Mooney has emerged as the top pass-catcher in Chicago. The deep ball threat is a favorite of QB Justin Fields, yet he should still be in lineups as a WR2 even if Nick Foles or Andy Dalton start for the Bears.

Sit ’em

  • DJ Moore, CAR (at NO)
  • Chase Claypool, PIT (vs. CLE)
  • Jakobi Meyers, NE (vs. JAX)


There’s no debating the talent that DJ Moore brings to the WR position. It’s just that the uncertainty at QB for Carolina doesn’t put him in a position to succeed. Sam Darnold will start for the Panthers this week with Cam Newton available off the bench. Neither signal caller offers much confidence…Another victim of mediocre QB play, Chase Claypool is limited by his offense. Factor in the wide range of other pass catchers around him and there are much better options at WR2/FLEX this week…Jakobi Meyers  has a solid floor that’s kept him fantasy relevant, but his lack of red zone looks coupled with an expected game script that should feature lots of work on the ground limits his upside against Jacksonville.

Tight ends

Start ’em

  • Rob Gronkowski, TB (at NYJ)
  • Dallas Goedert, PHI (at WSH)


The Buccaneers’ offense has been hit hard by injuries and Rob Gronkowski is one of the last men left standing. He’s as good a bet to find the end zone this weekend as anyone and should get a healthy dose of targets with so few other pass catchers available…Dallas Goedert’s best outing of the season came in Week 15, when he caught seven passes for 135 yards against Washington. Fantasy owners should run not walk to insert him in their lineups this week.

Sit ’em

  • Mike Gesicki, MIA (at TEN)
  • Jared Cook, LAC (vs. DEN)


As Jaylen Waddle has emerged as the top target in Miami, Mike Gesicki’s fantasy value has taken a hit with fewer than 50 receiving yards in each of his last four games. The Titans allow just 4.7 fantasy points per game to TEs, tied for fourth fewest in the league…Jared Cook is an afterthought in the Chargers’ high octane offense, failing to break 50 receiving yards in all but two games this year. He doesn’t get enough red zone looks to make him a viable option against Denver.


Defense/special teams

Start ’em

  • Saints D/ST (vs. CAR)
  • Bears D/ST (vs. NYG)


The Saints are getting some reinforcements back after being forced to play Monday with 22 players on the COVID/reserve list. Carolina’s aforementioned QB issues make New Orleans a strong play, especially after what we saw them do when they were last at full strength in Tampa Bay…This isn’t the Bears defense of a few years ago, but the group has remained a solid unit despite a few key injuries. The Giants can make any defense look elite, so take a flyer on the Bears if they’re available in free agency.

Sit ’em

  • Packers D/ST (vs. MIN)
  • Broncos D/ST (at LAC)


The Packers’ defense has impressed at times this season, but a divisional matchup with the Vikings isn’t a promising matchup. Kirk Cousins threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns the last time these two teams played and Minnesota will be dialing up the pass game trying to keep up with Aaron Rodgers…One of the best fantasy defenses in the NFL this year, the Broncos can hit the waiver wire now that the season is in its final week. Justin Herbert and Co. will still find ways to put up points, even against a unit as talented as Denver.

Weekly rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams

All stats via FantasyPros