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Week 17 Fantasy Football Guide (2021) – Start/Sit, Sleepers, and More

| December 29, 2021 1:06 pm PDT

It all comes down to this. Most fantasy leagues will play their championship in Week 17. All of the waiver wire pickups, start/sit decisions, and deep sleepers have led us to this point. Hopefully, I’ve helped you reach the big game.

Most championship lineups are likely set in stone, but there are some third-place games as well as players trying to avoid the last-place punishment.

For the final time this season, here is my Week 17 fantasy football guide.

Week 17 Top Waiver Wire Adds

Last week, we had two great pickups with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Ronald Jones II. Here are my top pickups for Week 17.

Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (60% Owned)

Darrel Williams has had a consistent role in the Kansas City Chiefs offense all season. Clyde-Edwards Helaire has an injury that will likely force him to miss time for the second time this season.

Williams acted as the Chiefs lead back from Week 6 to Week 10. Check out his fantasy numbers.

  • Week 6: 20.9
  • Week 7: 5.0
  • Week 8: 11.0
  • Week 9: 7.7
  • Week 10: 20.4

In that stretch, he was fourth among running backs. There’s a strong chance he returns to that role in Week 17.

Kansas City will take on a Cincinnati Bengals run defense that has been better as of late. However, it’s a different animal when you play the Chiefs offense. Teams have to worry about the passing game, so the run game has its chances.

Williams will also play a significant role in the passing game. Since Week 5, Williams has only been held under three receptions twice. That’ll come in handy for those with PPR scoring.

Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (9% Owned)

Jordan Howard is another running back who has been in and out of a starting role.

Miles Sanders broke his hand in last week’s victory over the New York Giants. He’s out this week and could miss the rest of the season. That opens the door for both Jordan Howard and Boston Scott.

Technically, Scott earned that start when Sanders missed time earlier in the season, but Howard was a bigger factor in the ground game.

Check out his touches and yards in six games this season.

Touches Yards
Week 8 12 57
Week 9 17 71
Week 10 12 83
Week 11 10 63
Week 15 15 69
Week 16 11 56

Howard has done that despite not playing over 50 percent of snaps in any game. That’s a very respectable floor.

This week, Howard will take on a Washington Football Team defense that can’t stop anyone. Howard should be the primary beneficiary of that this week.

Fire him up as an RB2 or FLEX.

Week 17 Start/Sit Calls

Starting James Robinson was my only true miss last week, but that’s because he tore his Achilles in the first quarter. Let’s check out my start/sits for Week 17.

Week 17 Start List

  • Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

Jalen Hurts is likely a surefire starter in most leagues, but his starting percentage ranked among the low-end QB1s. I think you have to treat him as a top-five option moving forward.

Hurts isn’t a great real-life quarterback, but his dual-threat ability makes him one of the top options in fantasy football. Check out his rushing numbers this season.

  • 132 carries
  • 740 yards
  • 10 touchdowns

That’s why Hurts ranks fifth among fantasy quarterbacks despite ranking outside the top 20 in passing yards and touchdowns.

This week, Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Washington Football Team. I’m not sure if Washington’s defense can stop a nosebleed right now. Last week, Dak Prescott only needed one half to put up monster numbers.

In Week 15 against Washington, Hurts passed for 296 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 38 yards and two touchdowns.

Hurts has been great in fantasy all season. He should help you win the championship.

Last week, Ronald Jones II earned his first start of the season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came in as big favorites, so it made sense they went run-heavy. Check out Jones’ final numbers.

  • 20 carries
  • 65 yards
  • 1 touchdown

His day could’ve been a little better if Ke’Shawn Vaughn didn’t break off a long touchdown run. Is it possible Vaughn takes on a bigger role? Perhaps but I don’t think it’ll matter with their matchup.

The Buccaneers will go on the road to face the New York Jets. The early betting lines have the Buccaneers as a (-12.5) point favorite.

There have been so many upsets this season that I can’t confidently say Tampa Bay will blow out the Jets. However, I like their chances to control the game with their rushing attack, especially if Mike Evans isn’t back.

Jones has a high floor with RB1 upside. I like his chances for a big game on Sunday.

Jaylen Waddle was on my start list, and he produced another big game. There’s no reason for me to bet against him right now.

Here are his fantasy numbers in non-PPR formats since Week 11.

  • Week 11: 12.6
  • Week 12: 19.7
  • Week 13: 9.0
  • Week 16: 15.2

In PPR, Waddle has the second-most points per game in that stretch. I had Waddle as one of my rookie superstars a few weeks ago. I feel even better about that now.

Waddle has been a target machine over the last few weeks. His usage in the Miami Dolphins offense gives him a high floor. That’s one we should see on hand this week against the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee has allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Last week, Deebo Samuel went off against them.

Waddle has a similar skillset to Samuel. We could be looking at another big game for the rookie wide receiver.

Week 17 Sit List

  • Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
  • Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets
  • Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

I hope you aren’t still starting Ryan Tannehill, but it’s time to find a new quarterback if you are. Tannehill has been pretty bad since Derrick Henry’s foot injury.

Tannehill has two games over 15 fantasy points in seven games without Henry. In that stretch, he also has one game with over 215 passing yards. Rushing touchdowns were saving his value in some games but without them, he wasn’t trustworthy.

This week, Tannehill will play the vaunted Miami Dolphins defense. That defense has spearheaded the Dolphins seven-game win streak. Check out a few of their numbers since Week 9.

  • Sacks: 33 (1st)
  • Interceptions: 10 (2nd)
  • Touchdowns: 2 (2nd)

Do we think Tannehill will turn things around against a defense like this? Probably not.

According to ESPN, Tannehill is in more starting lineups than Tua Tagovailoa, Derek Carr, and Carson Wentz. I’d likely take all of those quarterbacks over Tannehill.

Feel free to drop him for a better option.

Michael Carter was coming on strong in the middle of the season, but an ankle injury forced him to miss three games.

Carter was a bust in Week 16, but he bounced back with a big performance last week.

  • 16 carries
  • 118 rushing yards

The rookie recorded his first 100-yard game. This was also the first time he cleared 80 rushing yards. It was nice to see him have a big performance, but I doubt he’ll back it up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay is missing a few key pieces on offense, but their run defense remains one of the best in the league. Over the last two weeks, they’ve allowed 42 yards on 29 carries to running backs.

The New York Jets will likely have to pass to keep up with the Buccaneers. Combine that with a bad matchup, and the stars don’t align for Carter. He could give you some value in PPR, but I wouldn’t count on it.

It wasn’t long ago that everyone had Terry McLaurin in their starting lineup. Lately, we’ve seen him fall victim to a rough stretch by the Washington Football Team offense.

Everyone talks about their defense, but Washington’s offense has scored 20 or fewer points in five straight games. Check out McLaurin’s fantasy numbers in those five games.

  • Week 12: 5.1
  • Week 13: 2.2
  • Week 14: 0.0
  • Week 15: 5.1
  • Week 16: 4.0

In that stretch, he ranks outside the top 60 in all scoring formats. That’s not someone you can trust in your championship matchup.

For the second time in three weeks, McLaurin will face the Philadelphia Eagles. He had an early 46-yard catch, but he recorded five yards in the rest of the game.

There’s a strong chance the Eagles shadow McLaurin with Darius Slay. Slay has been great all season and shut down McLaurin in Week 15.

I’d avoid the Washington wide receiver this week.

Best Fantasy Sleepers for Week 17

Can a fantasy sleeper help you for the championship game? Let’s find out.

Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers (5% Owned)

All season, San Francisco 49ers fans have been waiting for the team to make a quarterback change. Jimmy Garoppolo has been serviceable, but he isn’t pushing the needle. Now, it looks like rookie Trey Lance will finish the season.

Garoppolo suffered a thumb injury that will likely hold him out for this week.

If that’s the case, Lance will make his second career start. Garoppolo suffered a calf injury in Week 4. Lance played half that game before starting in Week 5. His play was encouraging from a fantasy perspective.

Lance failed to clear 200 passing yards in either game, but he combined for 23 carries and 130 yards. I always say that a rushing quarterback is a cheat code in fantasy football. Lance could use that formula to lead you to a championship.

His second career start comes against the Houston Texans. Houston has been competitive lately, so a close game could lead to more passing and rushing attempts for the rookie quarterback.

Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (1% Owned)

I feel bad for James Robinson. The guy was finally free of Urban Meyer’s horrible coaching, and he tears his Achilles. It’s a brutal injury that will affect his availability for the start of the 2022 season.

Carlos Hyde was already on IR, so Dare Ogunbowale became the lead back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ogunbowale took over for Robinson last week and posted solid numbers.

  • 17 carries
  • 57 rushing yards
  • 2 receptions
  • 15 receiving yards
  • 1 touchdown

Ogunbowale doesn’t face any competition for carries. That’s big for a Jaguars team that doesn’t run a lot.

On paper, it looks like a tough matchup with the New England Patriots defense. If that defense has a weakness, it’s their ability to stop the run.

New England has allowed 50+ rushing yards in four straight games. That includes giving up 170+ yards in two games. I don’t expect Ogunbowale to do that, but he could give you a solid boost from the FLEX.

The Patriots also might not be a bad bet for your Week 17 parlay.

Week 17 Fantasy Football Advice

Well, this wraps up the final fantasy football guide of the season. Hopefully, my advice has helped your team go far in the playoffs.

It’s been a crazy year with injuries and COVID. For those who are still in the playoffs, I wish you the best of luck.

While fantasy football might be over, we still have plenty of time before the end of the NFL season. It’s never a bad idea to check out the top NFL betting sites.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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