Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 17

Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 17

by January 1, 2022 1 comment

The best part about fantasy football is winning. The second best part is the draft. However, the draft has come and gone. Now fantasy owners struggle with the weekly decision about which players to start, which to sit, and which to use as a sleeper. To help with that, I will provide two starts, two sits, and two sleepers at each position every week. Be sure to reach out with any fantasy football questions you may have. Without further ado, let’s get started.

All stats are based on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.

Quarterbacks

START: Matthew Stafford at Baltimore Ravens

While Stafford had his worst fantasy performance of the year last week, fantasy owners should feel confident starting him tomorrow. Over the previous four games, Stafford averaged 2.8 passing touchdowns and 21.2 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he had at least 22 fantasy points, 285 passing yards, and three passing touchdowns in three of those four contests. Tomorrow Stafford has an excellent matchup against a banged-up Baltimore secondary. The Ravens have given up an average of 19.9 fantasy points per game this season to quarterbacks. More importantly, quarterbacks have averaged 396.5 passing yards, 3.5 passing touchdowns, and 31 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks against the Ravens. After Joe Burrow tore the Ravens apart last week, expect Stafford to have a strong fantasy performance this week.

START: Jalen Hurts at Washington Football Team

Last week, Hurts made the start list and finished with 16.7 fantasy points against the New York Giants. More importantly, Hurts had 296 passing yards and 27.6 fantasy points two weeks ago against Washington. Not only did he have almost 300 passing yards in that game, but Hurts also had two rushing touchdowns. Furthermore, he had five rushing touchdowns over the past four games. Coming into the season, Washington expected to have an elite defense. However, they have struggled. Washington has given up 23.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, the most in the NFL. Over the past two weeks, quarterbacks have averaged four total touchdowns and 32.9 fantasy points per game against Washington. In the rematch tomorrow, expect Hurts to come out on fire.

SIT: Taysom Hill vs Carolina Panthers

After missing last week’s game because of Covid-19, Hill expects to start tomorrow. However, Hill scored only 9.5 fantasy points in his previous start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. More importantly, Hill’s fantasy value has come on the ground. As the starter, Hill has averaged 7.9 fantasy points per game in the passing game compared to 10.9 fantasy points per game in the running game. After averaging 87 rushing yards per game in his first two starts, Hill had only 33 rushing yards against the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Panthers have held quarterback to only 15.5 fantasy points per game this season, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. They have also held quarterbacks to only 14.5 rushing yards per game this season. Expect Hill to struggle tomorrow against a talented Carolina defense.

SIT: Tyler Huntley vs Los Angeles Rams

On Wednesday, Lamar Jackson took part in practice but with a severe limp. He then did not practice on Thursday or Friday and seems unlikely to start tomorrow. Whether Jackson or Huntley get the start tomorrow, fantasy owners would be wise to avoid playing them. The Rams have held quarterbacks to only 15.6 fantasy points per game this season, the seventh-fewest in the NFL. More importantly, they have shut down passing attacks lately. Over the past four weeks, the Rams have held quarterbacks to only 11.2 fantasy points per game. They also gave up only one passing touchdown during that span despite facing Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. Whether it’s Huntley or Jackson on one good ankle, expect the Baltimore quarterback to struggle tomorrow.

SLEEPER: Davis Mills at San Francisco 49ers

Since taking over the starting role from Tyrod Taylor in Week 14, Mills has been the QB8, averaging 17.2 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, Mills has averaged 264.7 passing yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns per game over the past three weeks. More importantly, he has scored 18 or more fantasy points in three of his past four starts, averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game in those contests. Tomorrow he has a great matchup against a struggling San Francisco secondary. They have given up an average of 17.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, the eighth-most in the NFL. The 49ers have also given up over 20 fantasy points to quarterbacks in 40 percent of the games this season. Mills is an excellent replacement option for Cousins’ fantasy owners.

SLEEPER: Mac Jones at Jacksonville Jaguars

Despite Jones scoring a total of 5.6 fantasy points against the Buffalo Bills this season, fantasy owners shouldn’t worry. Jones has averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game over the past four weeks against teams other than the Bills. He has averaged two passing touchdowns and 253.5 passing yards per game in those four games. More importantly, Jones scored at least 17.2 fantasy points in three of those four contests. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have given up an average of 17.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. They have given 21 or more fantasy points to quarterbacks in half their matchups this season, including two of the past four games. Jones is a high-end QB2 this week for fantasy owners in super flex leagues.

Running Backs

START: Javonte Williams at Los Angeles Chargers

Even though he had only nine touches last week, Williams scored 10 fantasy points against the Las Vegas Raiders. It was the fifth game in a row that Williams scored double-digit fantasy points, averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game during that span. Furthermore, despite splitting the backfield work with Melvin Gordon, Williams is the RB15 on the year, averaging 12.8 fantasy points per game. Tomorrow, he takes on an awful Los Angeles run defense. The Chargers have given up an average of 26.9 fantasy points per game to running backs this season, the fifth-most in the NFL. Over the past three weeks, running backs have averaged 120.7 rushing yards and 31.4 fantasy points per game against the Chargers. Williams has top-10 upside this week against an awful Chargers run defense.

START: Devin Singletary vs Atlanta Falcons

Over the past three weeks, Singletary has taken over the lead back role, playing an average of 81 percent of the snaps in those games. More importantly, Singletary has been the RB4 over the past three weeks, averaging 16.8 fantasy points per game. He has averaged 16.7 touches per game over the past three weeks, scoring at least 14.9 fantasy points in every contest. Tomorrow he takes on an Atlanta defense that has struggled to stop the run lately. The Falcons have given up an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game to running backs this season. They have also given up an average of 101 rushing yards per game to running backs since their Week 6 bye. Singletary has top-10 upside this week against the Falcons.

SIT: D’Onta Foreman vs Miami Dolphins

Despite scoring a touchdown last week, Foreman finished with only 7.7 fantasy points, as he averaged a season-low 1.9 yards per rushing attempt. Since joining the Titans, Foreman has scored under 10 fantasy points in over half the games. More importantly, Foreman has a terrible matchup tomorrow. The Dolphins have held running backs to only 19.9 fantasy points per game this season, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. They haven’t given up a rushing touchdown to running backs in their past eight games. Furthermore, the Dolphin held Alvin Kamara to only 7.9 fantasy points last week. Foreman is a risky low-end flex option, at best this week, given the matchup.

SIT: Rex Burkhead at San Francisco 49ers

Last week, Burkhead had 22 rushing attempts for 149 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and 28.9 fantasy points, all season-highs. However, he has scored over 8.5 fantasy points in only two other games this season. Furthermore, Burkhead had one touchdown this season before last week. Meanwhile, the 49ers have shut down running backs lately. Over the past three weeks, running backs have averaged only 59.7 rushing yards and 13.1 fantasy points per game against the 49ers. Running backs have also scored under 16.5 fantasy points against the 49ers in seven of the past 11 games. Furthermore, the 49ers have held running backs under 70 rushing yards in six of the past seven contests. Despite coming off a strong performance last week, Burkhead belongs on the bench this week.

SLEEPER: Boston Scott at Washington Football Team

With Miles Sanders out this week because of a hand injury, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott expect to carry the workload against Washington. However, Howard is dealing with a stinger issue and could miss the game. Even if he plays, expect the Philadelphia Eagles to limit his workload. More importantly, the Eagles have a terrific matchup tomorrow. Washington has struggled to stop the run lately, giving up an average of 127 rushing yards per game to running backs over the past three weeks. Furthermore, they have given up at least 23.5 fantasy points to running backs in three of their past four games. Two weeks ago, Washington gave up 200 rushing yards to the Eagles’ running backs. Expect a similar result tomorrow.

SLEEPER: Ke’Shawn Vaughn at New York Jets

After the Buccaneers placed Leonard Fournette on injured reserve, Ronald Jones took over as the lead back. While Jones scored 16.1 fantasy points last week, Vaughn was the more effective runner. Jones had 20 rushing attempts for 65 rushing yards, while Vaughn had seven rushing attempts for 70 rushing yards. Furthermore, Vaughn scored only 3.1 fewer fantasy points than Jones despite playing 11 fewer snaps. Meanwhile, the Jets have given up an average of 33.6 fantasy points per game to running backs this season, the most in the NFL. They have also given up two or more rushing touchdowns to running backs in 40 percent of their games this season. The Buccaneers should blow out the Jets, leading to plenty of rushing attempts for Jones and Vaughn.

Wide Receivers

START: Brandin Cooks at San Francisco 49ers

Unfortunately, Cooks missed last week’s game because of Covid-19. However, he is off the list and ready to go. Over his past three games with Mills under center, Cooks has averaged nine targets and 22.5 fantasy points per game, scoring at least 18 fantasy points in every contest. Furthermore, despite inconsistent quarterback play this season, Cooks is the WR19 for the year, averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game. More importantly, Cooks has a great matchup tomorrow. The 49ers have struggled to stop wide receivers this season, giving up an average of 36.2 fantasy points per game to the position. Over the past five weeks, wide receivers have averaged 1.6 receiving touchdowns and 41.9 fantasy points per game against the 49ers. Cooks has top-10 upside this week, thanks to the matchup.

START: Amari Cooper vs Arizona Cardinals

Cooper had one of his best games this season last week, catching seven of his 11 targets for 85 receiving yards, a touchdown, and 21.5 fantasy points against Washington. It was the second time in the past three weeks that Cooper had a touchdown and at least 16 fantasy points. Tomorrow he takes on an Arizona secondary that has struggled to slow down wide receivers lately. Over the past three weeks, wide receivers have averaged 202 receiving yards, 2.3 receiving touchdowns, and 51.8 fantasy points per game against the Cardinals. Last week, Michael Pittman caught eight of his 12 targets for 82 receiving yards and scored 16.5 fantasy points against the Cardinals despite not scoring a touchdown. Expect a similar performance from Cooper tomorrow.

SIT: D.K. Metcalf vs Detroit Lions

Since Wilson returned from a finger injury, Metcalf has been awful for fantasy owners. Over the past seven weeks, Metcalf has been the WR47, averaging eight fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he has scored under 8.5 fantasy points in over half of those seven contests. Last week, Metcalf had a 41-yard touchdown early in the game against the Chicago Bears. However, he caught only one of his other four targets in the game for zero yards. Meanwhile, the Lions have held wide receivers to only 25.4 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks, giving up under 16 fantasy points in two of those three contests. Between his matchup this week and his recent struggles, Metcalf belongs on your fantasy bench.

SIT: Terry McLaurin vs Philadelphia Eagles

Over the first 10 games, McLaurin averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game. However, he has struggled lately, averaging only 5.7 fantasy points per game over the past five games, scoring under 9.5 fantasy points in every contest. Furthermore, McLaurin had seven or more targets in nine of his first 10 games. By comparison, he has under seven targets in all but one of his past five contests. Unfortunately for McLaurin, the matchup tomorrow is far from ideal. The Eagles have held wide receivers to only 27.3 fantasy points per game, the second-fewest in the NFL. They have also given up under 20.5 fantasy points to wide receivers in three of their past four games, giving up only one receiving touchdown during that span. McLaurin belongs on the waiver wire.

SLEEPER: Van Jefferson at Baltimore Ravens

When Robert Woods suffered a torn ACL in practice, many expected Jefferson to step up for the Rams offense. Over the first three games without Woods, Jefferson averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game, scoring a touchdown in every contest. However, he has struggled lately, scoring a total of 6.9 fantasy points over the past two weeks. Despite the poor performance the past two weeks, fantasy owners should feel confident starting Jefferson tomorrow. The Ravens have given up an average of 37.7 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, the fifth-most in the NFL. Last week they gave up at least 85 receiving yards and 17.5 fantasy points to Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd. Start all three Rams wide receivers tomorrow against this banged-up Baltimore secondary.

SLEEPER: Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs Minnesota Vikings

While Valdes-Scantling missed last week’s game with Covid-19, he is off the list and ready for tomorrow. Before landing on the Covid-19 list, MVS averaged 7.8 targets and 14.3 fantasy points per game over his past four games, scoring over 20 fantasy points in two of those contests. More importantly, he scored a season-high 22.3 fantasy points in Week 11 against the Vikings. Valdes-Scantling finished with 10 targets for 123 receiving yards and a touchdown against the division rival. Meanwhile, the Vikings have given up an average of 41.7 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, the most in the NFL. Furthermore, they have given up an average of 54.9 fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the past five games. Valdes-Scantling is a top-30 wide receiver this week.

Tight Ends

START: Dallas Goedert at Washington Football Team

Despite the Eagles running a run-heavy offense, Goedert has been one of the best fantasy tight ends lately. Over his past three games, Goedert has averaged 89.3 receiving yards and 17.9 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he had his best game this season two weeks ago against Washington with a season-high nine targets and 135 receiving yards to go along with 20.5 fantasy points. More importantly, Goedert faces that same Washington defense tomorrow. Washington has given up an average of eight catches for 112 receiving yards and 22.2 fantasy points to tight ends over the past two weeks. Furthermore, they have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends during that span. Goedert is a top-five tight end this week against a struggling Washington defense.

START: Foster Moreau at Indianapolis Colts

Unfortunately for the Raiders, Darren Waller hasn’t played since Week 12 and seems unlikely to play again this season. Since the Waller injury, Moreau has been productive for fantasy owners, averaging 8.2 fantasy points per game despite failing to score a touchdown. Furthermore, he has picked up his play over the past two weeks, averaging 5.5 catches on 6.5 targets for 66 receiving yards and 12.1 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the Colts have given up an average of 16.5 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season, the third-most in the NFL. They have given up at least 13.5 fantasy points to tight ends in five of their past six games. With Waller out of the lineup, Moreau is a top-10 tight end this week against the Colts.

SIT: Kyle Pitts at Buffalo Bills

While Pitts had 16.2 fantasy points last week, fantasy owners need to consider other options tomorrow. Pitts has scored under 9.5 fantasy points in five of his past nine games. Furthermore, he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5. More importantly, Pitts had a great matchup last week against the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, the matchup this week is far from ideal. The Bills have held tight ends to only 7.8 fantasy points per game this season, the third-fewest in the NFL. They have also held tight ends to under 8.5 fantasy points in six of their past seven games. Furthermore, the Bills have allowed only one touchdown to tight ends since Week 5. As great as he was last week, Pitts belongs on the bench this week.

SIT: Mike Gesicki at Tennessee Titans

After a strong start this season, Gesicki has cooled off lately. Over the past eight games, he has averaged only 7.5 fantasy points per game, scoring under 10 fantasy points in 75 percent of those games. Furthermore, Gesicki hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 7, scoring only two touchdowns all season. Meanwhile, the Titans have held tight ends to only 8.6 fantasy points per game this season, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Moreover, they haven’t given up a touchdown to tight ends since Week 8. The Titans have also held tight ends to under 6.5 fantasy points in just under half their games this season. Even if you play in Week 18, Gesicki belongs on the waiver wire.

SLEEPER: Cole Kmet vs New York Giants

Kmet made the streamers list last week and scored 8.9 fantasy points against the Seahawks. He caught four of his five targets from Nick Foles, totaling 49 receiving yards. More importantly, Kmet has averaged 7.4 targets and 9.7 fantasy points per game over the past five weeks. While he has failed to score a touchdown this season, Kmet has a great matchup on Sunday. The Giants have given up an average of 12.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. Furthermore, they have struggled to stop tight ends lately. Over the past seven games, the Giants have given up an average of 13.5 fantasy points per game to tight ends. Given the matchup this week against Giants, Kmet has top-10 upside.

SLEEPER: Gerald Everett vs Detroit Lions

Coming into the season, Everett was a fantasy afterthought. However, he has played well since Wilson returned. Over the past seven weeks, Everett has averaged 10.6 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he has scored 10 or more fantasy points in four of the past five games, including three straight. More importantly, Everett has a great matchup this week. The Lions have given up an average of 14 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. They have also given up at least 12.6 fantasy points to tight ends in six straight games. Last week the Lions gave up 16.2 fantasy points to Pitts and 10.1 to Hayden Hurst. While Everett won’t score 26 fantasy points this week, he will finish the week as a top-10 tight end.


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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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