Week 17 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Rashad Jennings is listed below as a "start" for Week 17. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 17 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Jennings and started only two running backs, you should start Peterson and Williams -- and in turn, bench Jennings.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 17:

RB - Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)

Hightower carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added three catches for 47 yards as he scored the most fantasy points in Week 16. Hightower now has 29-plus touches in two of three games and he has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of those weeks: RB7, RB24 and RB1, respectively.

The Saints are 5.5-point underdogs, but no game has a higher over/under than this one (53.0). In addition, the matchup is favorable as the Falcons have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. PHI)

Since getting single-digit touches in Weeks 12 and 13, Jennings has a minimum of 16 touches in three consecutive games with an average of 19 per contest over that stretch. Exceeding 100 yards from scrimmage in each of those three games, Jennings has averaged 12.83 fantasy points per game and he has finished as the RB20, RB6 and RB17, respectively, in those games.

Jennings closes the season with a favorable matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Since Week 10, the Eagles have allowed five top-10 fantasy running backs and 10 top-24 weekly running backs.

RB - Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN)

After a pair of dud performances, Allen rushed 18 times for 79 yards and a touchdown and added five catches for 35 yards last week. Since taking over as starter for the injured Justin Forsett, Allen has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in four weeks and outside the top-50 in the other two weeks. With 31 receptions over those six games, Allen has been even better in PPR formats, but he is a solid RB2 this week in either format given his expected volume.
RB - Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (at SF)

In 12 games this season, Mason has a total of 57 carries for 163 yards (2.86 YPC) and no touchdowns. So, why is he listed as a start? Todd Gurley is listed as doubtful, which opens the door for Mason to get a sizable workload in a favorable matchup. Mason had 163 touches (18.11/G) over his final nine games last season. While he may not get 18 touches, it's certainly reasonable for him to get 12 to 15 touches (or more) and the 49ers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 17:

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)

The good news is that Chip Kelly has been fired. Murray, who has seven carries in his last two games combined, should see a larger workload in Week 17. That said, it's unclear by how much his usage will increrase. With a favorable matchup against the Giants, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs, Murray is worth a dart throw in large tournaments in daily, but I'm not sure I'd trust in a head-to-head matchup for a title in Week 17.

RB - Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)

Just a couple of weeks ago, Michael was the most-coveted waiver-wire fantasy running back. Unfortunately, he followed up his 16-carry week with six carries for six yards and two catches for 14 yards in Week 16. Technically, Michael's eight touches led the backfield, but Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson both had seven touches apiece. In an unfavorable matchup -- Arizona allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs -- and with an uncertain workload, Michael should remain on your bench.

RB - Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

Last week, Morris had 17 carries, which was a four-week high, but he managed to turn them into only 49 yards. Alf had finished as a top-26 fantasy running back in three of his previous four games, but it's unclear how much work he'll get in Week 17 as Washington locked up the division (and their playoff seeding) with a win last week.

RB - Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at CHI)

Abdullah has a minimum of nine touches in each of his past six games with an average of 12.5 per game over that span. That said, he has exceeded 13 touches only once during that span. With some terrific matchups during that stretch (e.g., 49ers, Saints, Eagles, etc.), Abdullah has finished as a top-24 weekly fantasy running back only once during that six-game span. The Bears have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but Abdullah is more of a flex option this week given his steady, but not heavy, workloads.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 17

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