The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 17 (Fantasy Football)

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“Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.” ­
–John Madden

Aloha, Footclan! Welcome to Week 17 of the Start/Sit series where we’ll identify and discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the most important week of them all — CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK.

The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created the Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.

So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 17:

D/ST:
Chicago Bears or Philadelphia Eagles?

Chicago Bears

  • CHI
  • D
  • @ NYG

Philadelphia Eagles

  • PHI
  • D
  • @ WAS
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points
Andy Rank D #9 D #8
Mike Rank D #4 D #9
Jason Rank D #4 D #9
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 27 25
Home/Away Away Away
Over/Under
Line

What better way to cap off a bizarre year than with a D/ST question dominating the Start/Sit list during the most important week of the season. But as they say, defenses matter, so here we are. The top question this week (among a surprisingly high number of other popular D/ST questions) was between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. Their defenses are like Jon Gruden in that they used to command respect but are now widely considered a joke. But just like defenses, matchups matter, and these two teams will be gifted with some of the best possible matchups available.

Based on stats, the Bears are worse than the Eagles; they rank worse in fantasy points (total & per game average), yards and TDs allowed, offensive plays allowed, QB pressures, turnover percentage, etc. The Eagles are a bit stingier with their points allowed, but make no mistake, both are clearly mediocre and bad for fantasy as neither like to blitz and lack the cohesion needed to prevent yardage or force turnovers.

But even an anemic Bears defense should be capable of feasting on a laughable Giants offense, headlined by some abominable combination of Jake Fromm and Mike Glennon. This is the same offense that the Eagles just demolished en route to a top-3 D/ST finish. Meanwhile, the Eagles will face off against divisional rival Washington, an opponent they struggled against just the week prior despite missing QB Taylor Heinicke and All-Pro Guard Brandon Scherff. I’d expect more of the same, especially on the road AND with Scherff back in action, although Heinicke could always implode again as he’s done numerous times this season.

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The Verdict
Mike and Jason favor the Bears over the Eagles, and I agree.

RB2:
Rashaad Penny (SEA) or Sony Michel (LAR)?

Rashaad Penny

  • SEA
  • RB
  • vs DET
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 4:25pm EST

Sony Michel

  • LAR
  • RB
  • @ BAL
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 14.1 16.1
Andy Rank RB #16 RB #13
Mike Rank RB #16 RB #14
Jason Rank RB #17 RB #10
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 30 14
Home/Away Home Away
Over/Under 42.5 46.5
Line -7 -4.5

I’ll be honest, I love Rashaad Penny this week. So does Jason, as he declared Penny as his RB Start of the Week. He’s a bit matchup-reliant, but he’s been fantasy gold since leading the Seahawks’ backfield with two top-10 finishes where he ran for 130+ yards in each contest.

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He’ll also have one of the best matchups possible against the Lions’ laughable defensive front, and with the team projected to win, he could be relied on to run out the clock if they maintain a comfortable lead. If given the opportunity, he’ll probably go gangbusters in fantasy.

But the correct answer here is Sony Michel.

Why? Because Penny has only seen an average of 48% snaps and 13.5 carries per game since taking over the backfield in Week 13, while Michel averaged 90% snaps and 22.3 carries in that same timespan. He has a tougher matchup (although they’ve been extremely generous recently), but volume is king, and Michel’s bellcow treatment and goal-line usage on a red-hot offense makes him the clear winner in my eyes.

The Verdict
It’s unanimous for Sony.

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QB:
Taysom Hill (NO) or Trey Lance (SF)?

Taysom Hill

  • NO
  • QB
  • vs CAR
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 4:25pm EST

Trey Lance

  • SF
  • QB
  • vs HOU
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 4:05pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 19.3 20.1
Andy Rank QB #12 QB #11
Mike Rank QB #12 QB #8
Jason Rank QB #13 QB #12
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 5 11
Home/Away Home Home
Over/Under 38 44
Line -6.5 -12

Better late than never, but it’s *officially* Trey Lance SZN. Both Taysom Hill and Trey Lance should do well in fantasy thanks to their immense rushing upside, and while Lance is a riskier bet as he’s still a rookie who’s had limited exposure as a starter, he’s the consensus favorite over Hill. Lance is also Mike’s QB Start of the Week. Not only will he enjoy an easier matchup against a surprisingly feisty yet still terrible Texans team, but the 49ers’ offensive arsenal is miles ahead of what the Saints’ incapacitated receiving room has to offer. It’s definitely a risk, but fortune favors the bold, so if you don’t have an elite QB and are seeking upside, Lance just might be your guy.

The Verdict
Assuming both are actually starting, the consensus vote is for Lance.

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WR2:
Tyler Lockett (SEA) or Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET)?

Tyler Lockett

  • SEA
  • WR
  • vs DET
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 4:25pm EST

Amon-Ra St. Brown

  • DET
  • WR
  • @ SEA
  • Sun, 1/2
  • 4:25pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 16.8 16.5
Andy Rank WR #13 WR #16
Mike Rank WR #13 WR #17
Jason Rank WR #16 WR #15
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 10 7
Home/Away Home Away
Over/Under 42.5 42.5
Line -7 +7

Imagine seeing this question in Week 1. But such is life for a Tyler Lockett manager, where the only consistency is Lockett’s inconsistency. The seventh-year wideout has had four weeks with over 20 half PPR points, but six weeks with 5.1 points or less. Let’s be real, he’s probably lost you more weeks than he’s won them. He gets an advantageous matchup at home against the Lions, and he’s in line for another boom game, but it’s tough trusting such a volatile player. I’d love to have Lockett as my WR2 if I have a consistent high-end stud as my WR1 like Cooper Kupp or Davante Adams, or if I need upside, but it’s a gamble as this could easily turn into a DK Metcalf and/or Rashaad Penny game, leaving Lockett and your championship hopes in the dust. It doesn’t help that he’s admittedly had a rough recovery from COVID and may still feel lingering effects.

On the blue corner of this matchup is rookie sensation Amon-Ra St. Brown. I was certainly wrong to think he’d need Jared Goff to produce as the USC product stunned the fantasy community by catching 9-of-11 Tim Boyle targets for 91 yards and a TD, adding two rushes for an additional 19 yards. He’s a bona fide target hog, a developing end zone threat, and will have a much better matchup than what appears on paper. St. Brown has become a potential league-winner that carried teams through playoffs, and he’s a great option this week to buoy any unstable team with his heavy workload.

The Verdict
The gang is mixed. I’d go with St. Brown, but would pivot to Lockett if you need upside.


Happy New Year, Footclan! Good luck winning those #FootClanTitles, remember to stay on top of the latest news, and as always, GO WITH YOUR GUT!

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