Fantasy Football: Sit/Start lineup tips for Week 17 of the NFL season

Fantasy sit and start advice is relative and league dependent and note some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 17 lineups and the fantasy championships!

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons

Start in DFS: James Conner ($23)

Start: Tyler Allgeier

Conner has seen a whopping 96 percent of Arizona’s backfield opportunities over the last three games and has been equivalent to the No. 1 fantasy RB since 2021 in games without Kyler Murray. He figures to be even busier than usual Sunday with DeAndre Hopkins’ status suddenly in question. Conner’s salary isn’t priced as a top-10 RB this week against a Falcons defense that ranks bottom-three in DVOA, so he’s an intriguing DFS play.

Greg Dortch was also a deep sleeper this week facing an Atlanta secondary that’s shutdown outside receivers, but David Blough starting at QB should curb your enthusiasm.

Allgeier has averaged 17.5 carries since Caleb Huntley went down two games ago and is playing extremely well. He also saw a career-high in targets during Desmond Ridder’s second start last week and now gets a friendly matchup with Arizona after facing a string of top-15 run defenses. Allgeier has gotten 5.7 YPC at home this season, plays for the league’s run-heaviest team and should have a positive game script Sunday with Atlanta favored. He’s a top-15 RB this week.

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions

Start: Cole Kmet, Jared Goff

Justin Fields is my No. 1 fantasy QB this week, while Kmet is also a strong start playing indoors against a Lions defense allowing the most yards per play at home this season (both Chicago and Detroit are bottom-three in YPP allowed over the last three weeks). The Lions have also ceded the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and the Bears currently have the worst WR group competing for targets in the league.

Goff has a 20:3 TD:INT ratio at home and is averaging more TD passes in Detroit than the NFL’s leader, Patrick Mahomes, is this season. Goff is having a quietly productive fantasy season for a non-runner, and he faces a Bears defense allowing the second-most yards per play on the road. The Lions have the highest implied team total (29 points) of the week, remarkably more than Kansas City’s. Goff looks like a top-five QB this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Start: Jaguars???

Start: Brandin Cooks

Given the lack of incentive for Jacksonville, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to how much the Jaguars’ starters play Sunday in an otherwise highly favorable matchup. Coach Doug Pederson says he won’t rest the starters, but there’s reason to be skeptical.

Cooks saw nine targets, scored and had a second TD nullified (that was 35+ yards) by a shaky penalty last week. Nico Collins remains sidelined, and Davis Mills plays much better at home; Cooks has averaged nearly twice as many yards in Houston this season. He’s a worthy FLEX play this week.

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Start: Jerry Jeudy, Isiah Pacheco & Jerick McKinnon

We’re guessing on the health of a few Denver pass catchers, but with both Greg Dulcich (ruled out) and Courtland Sutton battling hamstring injuries, Jeudy’s ankle may be the least worrisome. Jeudy has also emerged as the team’s clear best WR despite having a much lower ADP than Sutton entering the year. He gets a KC defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers, while opponents have the fourth-highest pass rate when facing the Chiefs this season. Jeudy is a strong start this week if health cooperates (especially if Sutton sits).

Kansas City has the second-highest implied team total this week and gets a run-funnel Denver defense that ranks top-five against the pass but bottom-10 versus the run in DVOA. The Broncos enter as near-two-touchdown underdogs and have been annihilated by fantasy backs recently, allowing six TDs to RBs over the last three games. Both Pacheco and McKinnon can be started in fantasy championship week.

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

Sit: Jeff Wilson Jr. & Raheem Mostert

Start: Hunter Henry

Wilson and Mostert are splitting Miami’s backfield work evenly, and the Dolphins travel to New England this week to face a Patriots defense allowing the fewest yards per play at home. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater will also be starting in a game Miami enters as underdogs and with one of the lower implied team totals of the week. Avoid Dolphins backs this week if possible.

Henry left last week’s game with a knee injury, but he’s been listed as a limited participant in practice. Meanwhile, Jonnu Smith also exited last game and appears more likely to miss Week 17 while in concussion protocol.

If Henry plays and Smith doesn’t, he’s in an intriguing fantasy spot facing a Dolphins defense that’s tough against the run yet one of the most vulnerable versus tight ends.

New England’s D/ST is a top-three start this week as well.

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants

Sit: All Colts

Start in DFS: Saquon Barkley ($29)

Nick Foles had one of the worst games you’ll ever see Monday night and now travels during a short week to play outdoors. The Giants don’t have a dominant defense, and Michael Pittman can be started in fantasy leagues if truly needed. Deon Jackson could re-enter the backfield picture, but Foles makes Indy a stay-away if possible this week.

Barkley has looked much better recently and should finally get a rare Giants game with a positive game script, making him a strong start during fantasy championship week.

Richie James is a deep sleeper with Kenny Moore ruled out again. James has run 84% of his routes from the slot this season.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sit: All Saints but Alvin Kamara

Start in DFS: Miles Sanders ($25)

The Saints offense will be more functional than last week without the crazy weather conditions, but it’s still a tough spot playing in Philadelphia against an Eagles defense allowing the second-fewest yards per play at home. Andy Dalton has three times as many interceptions on the road this season despite playing two more home games, while Chris Olave is dealing with a hamstring injury if he’s active. Kamara is now expected to play after mysteriously missing practice this week.

Sanders saw 21 carries during Gardner Minshew’s first start and should get another heavy workload this week, including if a banged-up Jalen Hurts returns (unlikely, as he's doubtful to play). Sanders has gotten 5.1 YPC and has averaged a touchdown per game at home this season, and he has the second-most red-zone carries in the league over the last month. The Eagles have one of the highest implied team totals and are touchdown favorites, so a motivated Sanders should be considered a borderline top-five RB this week.

Gardner Minshew should be treated as top-10 QB if he gets another start (as expected).

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start: DJ Moore, Leonard Fournette

Moore has admittedly been fortunate to finish as a top-15 WR in three of his past four games without ever seeing more than seven targets, but he’s likely to see more volume this week. Carolina enters as underdogs, and opponents have an above-average pass rate against Tampa Bay this season. Remarkably, Sam Darnold leads the NFL in EPA/dropback since returning.

DJ Moore #2 of the Carolina Panthers has fantasy value
DJ Moore has been able to deliver in fantasy ever since Sam Darnold took over. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Fournette is apparently playing through a Linsfranc injury but saw a whopping 30 opportunities last week anyway. Rachaad White will also get work, but his snap share fell to 36% last week. It’s a fluid situation that could change, but Fournette certainly appears to be the preferred option right now, and no quarterback throws to his running backs more than Tom Brady. With the division title on the line and in an otherwise dysfunctional offense (unless it’s in hurry-up mode), expect another heavy dose of Uncle Lenny this week. He’s just $14 in Yahoo DFS as well.

Cleveland Browns @ Washington Commanders

Sit: Deshaun Watson & Amari Cooper

Start: Brian Robinson & Curtis Samuel

Watson ranks 41st out of 42 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA/dropback since he’s returned (h/t Rob Pizzola), which isn’t the best ROI for the NFL’s highest-paid player. He’ll travel to face a Washington defense that’s among the leaders in pressure rate and just saw Chase Young return. Meanwhile, Cooper hasn’t scored a touchdown with Watson, has averaged just 46.7 yards on the road and gets a Commanders secondary that’s allowed just one TD to a wide receiver since Week 10.

Robinson is a strong fantasy start this week facing a Browns defense allowing the most EPA/rush and with Antonio Gibson sidelined. Curtis Samuel also gets a major boost with Carson Wentz back starting (and Gibson out); he’s arguably Washington’s most preferred fantasy WR in championship week.

San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders

Start: Brock Purdy

Fade in DFS: Josh Jacobs ($36)

Purdy has gotten 9.2 YPA with seven touchdowns and one interception (that wasn’t his fault) over his first career three starts while playing through a torn oblique. The 49ers have the third-highest implied team total and get to play indoors against a Raiders team that just benched its franchise QB and are allowing the highest Passer Rating (98.8) Against this season. Volume could limit BCB’s fantasy upside on New Year’s Day, but Purdy is a top-12 fantasy QB this week — and is even better than you think.

Jacobs has been arguably the fantasy MVP this year, but he has a few obstacles to overcome in Week 17. He gets a 49ers defense allowing by far the fewest fantasy points to running backs, YPC (3.3) and yards per play on the road this season. No running back has reached 60 rushing yards versus San Francisco. The 49ers rank first in run defense DVOA, and Javon Kinlaw only recently returned last week.

Derek Carr being benched for financial reasons might be even more concerning for Jacobs’ fantasy value this week. Carr has thrown too many interceptions but has the Raiders top-10 in yards per play this season; instead, it will be Jarrett Stidham making his first career start on New Year’s Day. Stidham has looked bad while getting 5.6 YPA with a 2:4 TD:INT ratio during his brief NFL action and is likely to be a significant downgrade. It also can’t be an ideal locker room situation; Jacobs sounds ready to move on already. The Raiders’ implied team total has dropped to the second-lowest of the week with the QB move.

By no fault of his own, Jacobs is in an incredibly tough spot in the fantasy championship.

New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks

Start in DFS: Garrett Wilson ($16)

Sit: Geno Smith

Wilson has averaged 10 targets, more than 110 receiving yards and has been the #3 PPR receiver this season with Mike White, who’s set to return from his rib injury this week. Put simply, Wilson looks like a future superstar, yet he remains affordable in DFS thanks to the Zach Wilson factor (that no longer exists). He gets an admittedly tough Seattle secondary this week, but matchups haven’t mattered when the impressive rookie wideout has gotten competent quarterback play.

Garrett Wilson #17 of the New York Jets
Fire up Garrett Wilson in DFS. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Smith has gotten just 5.4 YPA in back-to-back games and has fallen back to earth while ranking 21st in EPA/dropback since Week 10 (h/t Matt Harmon). He gets a tough Jets defense this week that’s allowing the fewest yards per play (4.8) and an NFL-low 13 passing touchdowns this season. Mike White’s return could help the game script, but Tyler Lockett, Marquise Goodwin, Will Dissly and Noah Fant are all banged up to varying degrees (Smith would get a further downgrade should Lockett sit again). The Jets secondary has ceded the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers and has grown even more dominant lately, as no WR has scored a touchdown against them over the past three games (when they’ve faced Josh Allen, Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence).

Also, for what it’s worth (maybe nothing!), Smith has gotten 9.7 YPA while averaging 2.7 touchdowns indoors this season and 7.1 YPA/1.7 TDs outdoors. Either way, Smith’s comeback story is likely to hit another snag this week against a surging Jets defense, making options like Gardner Minshew, Aaron Rodgers and Brock Purdy viable alternatives in your fantasy championship.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Start: Kirk Cousins, Allen Lazard

Cousins’ YPA is down this season but touchdowns and yardage have been there. He’s improved when facing pressure this year (which should help against Green Bay), and volume should be there Sunday in a matchup with the second-highest total (48 points) of the weekend. The weather in Lambeau Field looks ready to cooperate.

Lazard should see increased targets with Christian Watson inactive or likely limited if he plays without practicing much all week (and with Aaron Jones also banged up). Lazard gets a Vikings defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers and the second-most yards per play on the road this season.

Los Angeles Rams @ Los Angeles Chargers

Start: Cam Akers, Keenan Allen

Akers was fantasy’s top-scoring back last week despite sitting most of the fourth quarter in a blowout. He played 87% of the first-half snaps and has completely taken over as LA’s workhorse. The Rams’ offensive line remains a problem (and the surging Chargers defense looks likely to get Joey Bosa back), but Baker Mayfield has provided stable QB play, and Akers has looked legitimately good recently. He’s become a must-start and is a top-10 RB on my board this week.

Allen probably falls under “Captain Obvious” to start, but this game isn’t on Yahoo's DFS slate. He’s averaged 13 targets and 10 catches over the last four games and is likely to see more obscene volume this week with Austin Ekeler dealing with a knee injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens

Start in DFS: Steelers D/ST ($11)

Fade in DFS: J.K. Dobbins ($24)

Sunday night’s game is included in this week’s DFS main slate, making a near-minimum Steelers D/ST intriguing. Pittsburgh faces a struggling Ravens passing offense dealing with multiple injuries, as Tyler Huntley has just one touchdown pass this season and hasn’t reached 150 passing yards in any of his three starts.

Dobbins split carries close to evenly (12-11) with Gus Edwards last week and didn’t see a fourth-quarter carry. Dobbins is rarely targeted (he has one catch since Week 4), recently admitted his left leg remains “lagging behind” after surgery and is further hindered by Huntley limiting Baltimore’s offense. Huntley has been a huge downgrade from Lamar Jackson, and Sunday night he’ll face a Pittsburgh defense that’s especially tough when T.J. Watt is healthy. The Steelers have yielded just 4.0 YPC and the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (seven) this season.

Dobbins hasn’t seen more than 15 carries during any game in his career, and he’ll be sharing backfield work in a Baltimore offense with one of the lowest implied team totals of the week. Start Tyler Allgeier, D’Andre Swift or AJ Dillon instead.

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals

Start: Gabe Davis, Tyler Boyd

This highly anticipated matchup features the second-highest over/under (49.5 points) of the week, and the Bengals have mostly stuffed the run when DJ Reader has been on the field this season. Davis has failed to command even close to the number of targets fantasy managers expected this season, but he could reward patient ones in primetime on Monday night.

Boyd has been playing through a broken finger but isn’t on the injury report this week. He has a sneaky setup in the fantasy finals with Ja’Marr Chase likely shadowed by Tre’Davious White. The Bills have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to outside receivers yet the 10th-most to the slot (where Boyd has run 84% of his routes) over the last month, and opponents have the fifth-highest pass rate against Buffalo this season.

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