Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Start 'em and sit 'em running backs for Week 17 from senior fantasy football expert Michael Fabiano.
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Week 17 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Jonathan Taylor vs. Jaguars (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Taylor is coming off a two-touchdown performance in Pittsburgh, and he’s now scored 19-plus fantasy points in each of his last four games. During that time, the rookie has seen a near 38 percent touch share and averaged almost 23 points. His streak of success should continue against the Jaguars, who have allowed 18 total touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing backs this season.

Week 17 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Be sure to check out my Week 17 rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings.

MORE: Week 17 Rankings, Articles, Reports & Tools Hub

Start ‘Em

D’Andre Swift vs. Vikings (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Swift has been hot in recent weeks, scoring 15 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. I like him to put up good totals this week, as the Lions host the Vikings in a meaningless NFC North battle. Their defense has allowed 17 total touchdowns and the sixth-most points to running backs, including Alvin Kamara’s historic six-touchdown, 56.2-point line on Christmas Day. Swift will be a solid No. 2 fantasy runner.

Malcolm Brown vs. Cardinals (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): The Rams have lost Cam Akers, and Darrell Henderson to high ankle sprains in the last two weeks, and neither is likely to face the Cardinals. That leaves Brown to be the team's featured back in a smash spot based on the matchup. Arizona's defense has allowed 16 touchdowns and nearly 24 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, so Brown should produce in an important NFC West clash.

More Starts

  • Ty Montgomery at Panthers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • David Johnson vs. Titans (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Myles Gaskin vs. Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains

  • Malcolm Brown vs. Cardinals (DraftKings: $4,300)
  • Ty Johnson at Patriots (DraftKings: $4,300)
  • Ty Montgomery at Panthers (DraftKings: $4,000)

Week 17 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

James Conner at Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The Steelers are sitting Ben Roethlisberger this week, so how much will the rest of their starters play? That's a question you have to ask yourself as it pertains to Conner, who hasn't done much in the last month outside of last week's 17.6 points against the Colts. The Browns have also allowed the fourth-fewest points to visiting running backs, which makes Conner a flex option at best in what is a vital contest for Cleveland.

Sit ‘Em

Kenyan Drake at Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Drake is a tough player to sit, but I would be mindful of a tough road matchup against the Rams. Just one enemy back (Ezekiel Elliott) has scored more than 17.5 fantasy points against them at home, and just one has scored more than 13.5 points against them at SoFi Stadium since Week 4. Overall, Los Angeles has allowed just 10 total touchdowns and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to runners. At best, Drake is a flex option.

Giovani Bernard vs. Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Bernard has been useful in his last two games, scoring a combined 42.8 fantasy points in a pair of Bengals wins. He did, however, lose 17 touches and five red-zone looks to Samaje Perine. That rotation is a concern moving into this week, as is a matchup against the Ravens. They're in a four-way tie with the Colts, Browns, and Dolphins in terms of the postseason, so look for their defense to keep Gio in check.

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More Sits

  • Le’Veon Bell vs. Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Devin Singletary vs. Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Todd Gurley at Buccaneers (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Fades

  • Aaron Jones at Bears (DraftKings: $7,100)
  • James Conner at Browns (DraftKings: $6,000)
  • Leonard Fournette vs. Falcons (DraftKings: $5,800)

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!

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