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Week 17 Start/Sit PLUS: Taysom Hill, Melvin Gordon, Trey Lance, and all the best Kicker/DST Options

by Ben Wasley | @FantasyFirstDwn | Featured Writer
Dec 30, 2021
Trey Lance

It’s finally here! It’s championship week, so on top of the usual starts and sits, we have some special tips in the ‘stash’ section on how to structure your roster for your final week. Plus, we have a heap of Kicker/DST streamers for the big game. Meanwhile, for those of you who didn’t make the promised land, we have dynasty/keeper tips, too. Let’s get into some Start/Sit PLUS. We’ll be looking at six categories (which are described in detail here in our Week 1 article). And to ensure total transparency, I’ll also note at the bottom of each section how I went in last week’s article (I’ve logged it as 52 hits and 14 misses, meaning a 69% success rate so far this season, but you be the judge). If you disagree or have start/sit questions, hit me up on Instagram or Twitter.

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Every-week starters, regardless of matchup

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
It’s hard to feel good about Lamar Jackson after injuries and a slew of average performances. But it’s hard to feel good about any of the streamers this week either. For that reason, I’d suggest if Jackson is the only stud on your roster, you just have to start him, assuming he’s healthy.

Taysom Hill (QB – NO)
The Panthers are a bit of a mess at the moment. In the past, they wouldn’t have been a good matchup for quarterbacks, but the last few weeks they’ve started to leak points. With Taysom Hill a weapon on the ground and through the air, you have to feel like he can put together enough of a performance to get you that title if you’ve got no traditional starting QBs on your roster.

Sony Michel (RB – LAR)
With Darrell Henderson out, Michel looks like a must-start. There have been rumblings about Cam Akers but less than half a year removed from an Achilles injury, I can’t see any way he’s going to get more than a few snaps. It’s Sony all the way in a matchup that’s a bit tough but should provide strong TD upside.

Javonte Williams (RB – DEN) and Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN)
The Raiders did a great job of stacking the box and forcing Drew Lock to throw to his WRs, meaning the usually porous Raiders’ run defense was oddly effective. The Chargers are up in Week 17, though, and they’ve shown no ability to stop opposing rushers this year. I’m starting both guys this week knowing both have solid upside.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – LAR)
OBJ has emerged as the clear number two behind Cooper Kupp in this Rams’ offense. Last week, the Bengals showed just how easy it is to throw on the Ravens, and this week, it’s Matthew Stafford‘s turn. Odell has major upside with the expectation he should add to his total of four TDs in his last five games. He may even get some serious yardage this time.

Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
How does he keep doing it? Brandin Cooks is just 55 yards from his sixth 1,000-yard season in the last seven years. That’s particularly impressive when you consider he’s done that across four different teams and, of late, some very questionable quarterbacking. Davis Mills is finally emerging as a viable NFL signal-caller, and Cooks is reaping the benefits with back-to-back 100-yard games before he hit the COVID list last week. Cooks is now back and gets a generous 49ers matchup to wrap up the fantasy season.

Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB)
At tight end, you’re starting all the usual suspects. Despite a couple of bad weeks, that clearly includes Gronk. I expect the big man to get back on track against the Jets.

Ryan Succop (K – TB)
I’ve been very low on the Bucs’ kicker all season. Tom Brady has had this offense purring all year and field goals simply haven’t been necessary. That’s meant Succop has just three top-nine finishes and is the K15 on the year. Obviously, last week that all changed with a heap of injuries meaning far more stalled drives and a pile of field goals. I expect that to continue this week against the league’s most generous defense against kickers.

New Orleans Saints (DST – NO)
There are plenty of good streaming matchups this week, but one that is available in a surprising amount of leagues is the Saints DST. They’ve been solid for a while now and totally shut down Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 16. I’d expect them to have a field day against the Panthers.


Last Week:

Hits: Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, AJ Brown, amon-Ra St Brown, Antonio Brown (all the Browns), Jaylen Waddle, Zach Ertz, Matt Gay, Jake Elliott, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST, Philadelphia Eagles DST

OK: Russell Wilson, Miles Sanders (INJ)

Misses: Melvin Gordon, Adam Thielen, Noah Fant


Consider benching if you have a viable alternative

Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
This may seem like a surprising stat, but the Lions are the ninth-toughest matchup for opposing quarterbacks. That’s not because they’re amazing (though they’re better than you may expect) but mostly because teams just run on them, all day. Plus they rarely score enough to force opposing QBs to let loose. Given how effective the Seahawks run game has been with Rashaad Penny and how willing Pete Carroll has been to run the ball, I’d be avoiding Russ this week.

Trey Lance (QB – SF)
There’s a lot of excitement around Lance getting the reins this week, but I’d ease back on that. I’m only using the rookie if I don’t have a weekly starter available and even then, he’s a risky streamer. He has a remarkably low floor with the odd way the 49ers have been using him. While he might be fine, he lacks the true ceiling of the other options you likely have available if you’re in the championship game.

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Honestly, if you drafted Barkley, you’re probably not in the championship final. If you are, though, Barkley is not a guy you want to be starting unless you absolutely have to. He’s put in average performances in good matchups and struggled otherwise. With Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm under center, I’d rather avoid all Giants.

Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
The Jets rookie was clearly the more effective back last week, but New York still gave Tevin Coleman 14 carries. This remains at least a somewhat split backfield, and the matchup against the Buccs is awful. I’d avoid Carter if at all possible.

Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
Patterson looked like a fantasy cheat code earlier in the season, but he’s totally fallen off a cliff of late. Patterson is getting the same amount of carries and routes as Mike Davis, but he’s somehow looking less effective. He has major TD upside most weeks but do you really expect the Falcons to score more than a TD or two against the Bills? It’s tough to sit one of the guys who got you here, but I feel you have to.

Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
A Ravens receiver has topped 55 receiving yards just three times since Week 10. Rashod Bateman did it twice, James Proche did it once. Yikes! What happened to Hollywood Brown? Well, he’s averaging over 10 targets per game, but he’s getting a heap of short passes with opponents taking away the deep shots that were so effective earlier this year. It doesn’t help that Lamar Jackson clearly isn’t right, with three TDs and six INTs over that span. That’s likely not changing this week. You’d have to be pretty desperate to rely on fantasy’s fourth-best wide receiver named Brown.

Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)
The WFT offense is a total mess, and I don’t want any part of this passing game. Against a brutal Eagles D-line, Taylor Heinicke (or Kyle Allen) will be running for his life, and it’s possible McLaurin can’t even match his two receptions for 51 yards from their Week 15 matchup. Avoid at all costs.

Russell Gage (WR – ATL)
Buffalo defense. Nuff said.

Jared Cook (TE – LAC)
Why do people keep asking me if they should start Jared Cook? The answer is always no! This is an awful matchup. Last game against Denver he fluked a touchdown and still couldn’t finish as a top-12 tight end! I don’t want any Chargers’ tight ends. Please, there must be a better option.

Daniel Carlson (K – LV)
There are so many kickers I want to put in this category as people just love locking in on whichever kicker has been good lately (remember Koo and Blankenship last year?). Carlson has been a classic example of that, and he has an awful matchup against the Colts. He’s a solid avoid for me.

Green Bay Packers (DST – GB)
The Packers’ defense has been very good of late, but the Vikings are an awful DST matchup, conceding on average just 3.9 fantasy points a game. There are better options for your championship.


Last Week:

Hits: Duke Johnson, Myles Gaskin, Darnell Mooney, Jarvis Landry, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Tyler Conklin

OK: Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Justin Fields (INJ), Elijah Mitchell (INJ), D’Onta Foreman, Devonta Freeman

Misses: Jeff Wilson, Chase Edmonds, Foster Moreau


Players you wouldn’t normally start who should have a good week

Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA)
If you need a deep streamer this week, Tua is the guy I’d use. He was disappointing last week as the Saints gave them no reason to throw, and he lost scoring opportunities to defensive scores. Tthis week should hopefully be different.

Darrel Williams (RB – KC)
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely out, Darrel Williams returns to the role where he was so effective last season. The matchup isn’t easy but the volume should be there in a banger of a game against the Bengals.

DJ Moore (WR – CAR)
The Saints seem to have finally remembered how to defend, allowing just one TD across their last three matches. But you’re not rostering DJ Moore because you expect a touchdown. He’s never had more than four in a season. He should, however, get a pile of targets and solid yardage. For a Week 17 desperation option, that’s enough.

DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI)
The Eagles face the extremely generous WFT defense this week, and that means we might finally see another good DeVonta Smith week. The rookie has more total duds than double-digit fantasy weeks this year, but he’s a risk you may need to take given the lack of good matchups for most weekly flex options.

Gerald Everett (TE – SEA)
Those of you who have been reading all season would remember that I was very high on Everett at the start of the season. Either I was wrong or the Seahawks used him very poorly. Probably both. Regardless, he’s managed 60 receiving yards each of his last two games and faces a Lions team who gives you the middle of the field.

Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
For whatever reason, Noah Fant finally massively out-snapped Albert Okwuegbunam. I have no idea why, but it didn’t matter. In what should have been a great matchup, the Raiders forced Drew Lock to throw wide and that took away Fant’s boom opportunity. He gets a second chance this week, though, against the league’s second-most generous tight end defense. This is no guarantee, but he’s a totally viable option if you’re in a bit of a bind.


Last Week:

Hits: Devin Singletary, Craig Reynolds, Brandon Aiyuk, Cameron Brate, Younghoe Koo, Dallas Cowboys DST, Green Bay Packers DST

OK: Jimmy Garoppolo, Gabriel Davis (INJ), Cole Kmet, James O’Shaughnessy

Misses: Tua Tagovailoa, Russell Gage, Josh Reynolds, Brett Maher


Pick up and bench this week

I’m going to break from tradition here and pop in a quick explanation. I’ll start with an obvious statement: Don’t roster someone you definitely won’t start this week. For example, if you’re starting 3 WRs, you don’t need that WR5! It’s worthwhile having one backup wide receiver but you don’t need more. In addition, there are only two reasons to roster a backup QB or TE. A) Your starter is questionable for Sunday. B) Your backup is a better option than your opponent’s starter. Lastly, never roster a backup kicker or DST. These positions are so unreliable that you’d need a very specific situation to occur for your backup to help you in any way. So who are you rostering? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Backup Running Backs – The only Week 17 Stashes you need.
I’ve spoken all year about the importance of rostering backup running backs with the understanding that RBs get hurt at a very high rate and most importantly, a backup’s workload is more predictable than the backups in other positions. That has very much proven to be the case, with 15 of the top 20 running backs in ADP missing at least one game due to injury or Covid this year. This has led to some big weeks from guys you could easily have rostered in advance and that pattern will certainly continue in Week 17. So what can you do?

Well it’s simple, roster as many backup running backs as possible in Week 17. If you have a 6-man bench, I’d personally have 5 RBs and 1 WR. No non-RB is going to suddenly become better than your starter mid-week. So which RBs should you roster? As usual, here’s my list of backups, ignoring the obvious guys who already have the starting role: Alexander Mattison, AJ Dillon, Tony Pollard, Kareem Hunt, Mark Ingram, Justin Jackson, Jeff Wilson, Peyton Barber, Samaje Perine, Devontae Booker, Nyheim Hines, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Derrick Gore.

Last Week:

Hits: Backup Running Backs, Justin Jackson, Allen Lazard, Foster Moreau, Ryan Succop, San Francisco 49ers DST

TBD: Tua Tagovailoa, Tyler Huntley (INJ), Elijah Moore, Robby Anderson, Albert Okwuegbunam

Misses: Samaje Perine

Sell In Dynasty

Players who are likely to lose value in the future and could be sold now for a better player. This is primarily advice for dynasty teams who are out of the playoffs and looking to rebuild.

Cam Newton (QB – CAR)
Honestly, you’re unlikely to get much for Cam at this stage, but it seems blatantly obvious that he isn’t the answer in Carolina. I’m not convinced Sam Darnold is either, but I definitely don’t want Cam in dynasty.

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
For reasons I don’t fully understand, Derrick Henry is still considered by some as the top back to own in dynasty leagues. Clearly, the King will be a top-three option in redraft next year, but he doesn’t have many good seasons left in him, as 28 is certainly on the old side for a running back. In fact, Melvin Gordon and the Falcons’ backs are the only older guys who most would consider fantasy-relevant. It’s time to sell while the market is still hot.

Antonio Brown (WR – TB)
If you’re not in the final this week, AB is the perfect sell-high candidate. He’s heading into his age-34 season, he can barely stay on the field, and he’ll be a top-10 WR in ECR this week. Surely one of the finalists in your dynasty league wants that?

Travis Kelce (TE – KC) and Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB)
These guys are two of the best ever at the position, but they’re both 32 years old and starting to show serious signs of decline. They likely have a year or two left, but if you’re not challenging anytime soon, now would be a great time to sell.

All kickers and DSTs
If someone wants to give you anything for a kicker or DST, do it. Immediately. Remember last year when the most valuable kickers were Rodrigo Blankenship and Younghoe Koo? Would you want them now? The same applies to DSTs. The Steelers, Rams, and Ravens all finished last year as top five DSTs and now they’re all outside the top 12 (they’re 20, 26, and 15 respectively). So if someone wants to sell one, take their money and run!


Last Week:

Hits: Taylor Heinicke, James Robinson, D’Onta Foreman, Aaron Jones

TBD: Matthew Stafford, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Gesicki

Misses: Davis Mills, Noah Fant


Drop, assuming a viable alternative is available

I’m skipping this section this week because you should be scrubbing everybody who isn’t a viable Week 17 stash. See the ‘Stash’ section for more details. This is obviously not the case for dynasty, but we’ll talk about that more in next week’s article.

Last Week:

Hits: Ryan Tannehill, Chuba Hubbard, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Royce Freeman, Jerry Jeudy, Tre’Quan Smith, David Njoku, Jack Doyle, Tyler Bass, Matt Prater, Cleveland Browns DST, Carolina Panthers DST

TBD: Carson Wentz

Misses: Kj Osborn

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Ben Wasley is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Ben, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyFirstDwn.

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