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Week 17 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Darrel Williams & Saquon Barkley

Nick Lepri

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The fantasy football regular season has ended, and leagues have now been whittled down to the playoffs. It is do-or-die situations from here on out, so making the right lineup decisions could be the difference between the 2021 season continuing another week toward the championship or going up in flames. Below we will break down the NFL fantasy football rankings and go over the Week 17 fantasy football start ’em/sit ’em players.

Week 17 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em

Must Start: Darrel Williams – RB – Chiefs at Bengals

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire now being considered week-to-week with a bruised shoulder, Williams should be elevated to the starting role. The Chiefs also have Derrick Gore, who got will see some work behind Williams. Last week Williams had 11 rushes for 55 yards as well as three receptions for 30 yards. The last game that Edwards-Helaire missed a game was against the Raiders in Week 10, with 11 carries for 43 yards and nine receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Assume that he will get a large workload this week against the Bengals.

Must Start: Amon-Ra St. Brown – WR – Lions at Seahawks

Even with Jared Goff not playing and Tim Boyle stepping in as the starter last week, St. Brown had nine receptions on 11 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. This week Goff will return, which adds to St. Brown’s appeal. He has 46 targets in the last four games, and it is clear that the volume will continue to be there for him against the Seahawks this week.

Must Start: Trey Lance – QB – 49ers vs. Texans

While it may seem weird to start a rookie quarterback who has only started one game, Lance is a clear exception. In his last start in Week 5 he had 15 completions on 29 attempts for 192 yards and an interception and 16 rushes for 89 yards. The rushing upside of a quarterback is vital, and this week Lance could finish as a top-five quarterback against the Texans.

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Must Start: Gerald Everett – TE – Seahawks vs. Lions

Everett has stepped into a stronger role over the last few weeks. Last week he had four receptions on five targets for 68 yards and a touchdown. This week he faces the Lions, who are bad at stopping the tight ends this season; they allow 7.8 targets, 5.6 receptions, 65.27 yards and 0.33 touchdowns to the position per game. With the increased workload on the Seahawks matched with the matchup, Everett should be in lineups this week.

Must Sit: Saquon Barkley – RB – Giants at Bears

Barkley has been slapping fantasy managers in the face all season long. Last week he had 15 carries for 32 yards and one reception for negative -4yards. He is currently averaging 3.5 yards per carry, and there are no signs pointing towards things getting better last week. Some will try to talk themselves into Barkley due to his name and how effective Rashaad Penny was last week against the Bears, but Barkley has been a disaster. This also goes hand in hand with how bad the Giants offense has been as a whole.

Must Sit: Mike Gesicki – TE – Dolphins at Titans

Gesicki has had some solid games this season but has been far from a consistent fantasy asset. Over the last eight games, he has failed to eclipse 10 half-PPR points, which can be attributed to two changes.: One, he has scored zero touchdowns, and two, Durham Smythe (the second-string tight end) has started to see more snaps. Last week he had four receptions on three targets for 22 yards. Facing the Titans this week, who have been a tough matchup for tight ends, is another reason to leave Gesicki on the bench.

Must Sit: Ryan Tannehill – QB – Titans vs. Dolphins

With the return of A.J. Brown last week, Tannehill played much better, with 22 completions on 29 attempts for 209 yards and a touchdown. This week is a possible revenge game for Tannehill, but the matchup is very concerning against the Dolphins, who rank sixth in pass DVOA. With the concerning matchup and the lack of production from Tannehill, he is best left on the bench this week.

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Must Sit: Terry McLaurin – WR – Washington vs. Eagles

McLaurin was a reliable wide receiver with high upside through Week 11, but since then everything has gone downhill, and he has failed to eclipse over 8 half-PPR points. Last week he had three receptions on six targets for 40 yards, with all of his points coming late in the game once the Cowboys pulled their starters. This week he faces the Eagles, who they played two weeks ago in a game where he had two receptions on four targets for 51 yards. While the downswing in production for McLaurin can be blamed on the play of Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen and Garrett Gilbert, there are no signs pointing towards things getting better.

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