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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Terry is Scary and Other RB/WR Fantasy Advice

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

Terry McLaurin's production recently has left plenty to be desired and it's probably not going to get better in Week 17

The Week 17 start/sit suggestions for running backs and wide receivers arrive on the heels of some pretty good Week 16 calls. But I'm not going to take a victory lap. If I do that, it might raise some of your expectations!

Kidding. Well kind of. Because I've been thinking lately about expectations a lot. I promise no spoilers, but I was thinking about the new Spider-Man movie. I definitely liked it. I had high expectations and it met them. But I also saw people that said they had high expectations for the movie and it surpassed them.

Week 17 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Who's to say which set of expectations were actually higher or who even liked the movie more? But I will also add that my "standard deviation" of meeting expectations is wider than most. It takes a lot to be above/below "meeting my expectations." Probably anything from about 10 to 90 percent fits my "satisfied" range. It is so rare to have something that far exceeds my expectations, especially high ones.

The most recent thing that exceeded my already super-high expectations was Samuel Jackson's reading of "Go The F*** To Sleep." And that was over half a dozen years ago. The last movie that I had super high expectations for and it exceeded them was probably "Return of the Jedi." Yes, unlike many of you I was alive when that first came out. But let's just say writing in pen instead of pencil was a relatively new experience at that time.

Sorry, went off on a tangent. And while we are talking about things you should know, I will let you know that this week I looked at a bunch of players who were all in a similar clump at both RB and WR, right around that 24 to 30 range. So be smart about it. When I say to start Darnell Mooney, I don't mean over Cooper Kupp or even an A.J. Brown. And I'm suggesting some RBs that might not play this week. If Jordan Howard is out, don't play him but it also means to elevate Boston Scott.

Related: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17 QB/TE/DST Fantasy Advice

Got it? Good. Let's get to the start 'em/sit 'em suggestions for Week 17.


Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

I like Mitchell and I liked him before the season started. He was another one of my crafty rookie picks in my dynasty league this year. I just wish he could stay healthy!

But if he plays this week, I think he will tear up the Texans. We know the 49ers love to run the ball. They are fifth in the league in run percentage. Houston meanwhile is one of the most generous teams when it comes to allowing fantasy points to opposing RBs. They are allowing 27.13 on average. Only three teams have allowed more.

Mitchell just finds a way to the end zone...

Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team

Do you know who else seems to find a way to the end zone? Yeah, Howard. Despite just 75 carries, he has three TDs this year. But he also chews up yardage as well. He is averaging more than five yards per carry this year. That's better than the ever-popular Javonte Williams or even stud Dalvin Cook.

Some of it might have something to do with the offense around him. Four offenses are averaging at least 1.7 yards per carry before contact. And the Eagles are averaging just barely under two at 1.99 yards before contact.

If Howard sees 15 to 20 carries this week (he's been limited in practice with a stinger so monitor his status), I'd bet on him approaching 100 yards and scoring. Remember, no Miles Sanders (broken hand) this week for Philadelphia.

Related: Fantasy Football 5 Up, 5 Down for Week 17

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SIT These RBs

Cordarelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills

Just because I wouldn't start a player, doesn't mean I dislike the guy. And Patterson shot up my list after I saw this last week:

Good for Cordarelle. But you know what's not good for him? This week's matchup. Buffalo is a tough defense. And the Bills know a win this week will go a long way in helping them secure home field. Patterson could find his way into the end zone since he's so versatile, but if you have a safer option and are playing for a championship, I would at least consider it. 

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Chicago Bears

This obviously comes with a Jets spin on it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's correct.

And it doesn't change the fact that Barkley has done so little this year. I blame the Giants' non-healthy and non-talented OL more than Saquon himself. I have this feeling I will have quite a few shares of him next year when he goes in the late second or early third round. But like it or not, Barkley is not even a top-25 fantasy RB right now.

If you've made it to Week 17, I'm guessing you have better options. I'd start them over Barkley and not think twice about it.


Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants

I know, Chicago is basically playing out the string. But Mooney is not.

And he's just 140 receiving yards away from his first 1,000-yard season. My guess is he really tries to get there and does get there. The Giants are also playing out the string. Given that they are allowing more than 35 fantasy points to WRs per game (12th in the league), don't be surprised if Mooney does it this week.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens

I know Jefferson disappointed a lot of folks last week. But expect a big bounceback from him this week against the Ravens' (circle one) ravaged/decimated/diminished/crippled by injury secondary. This is not me playing thesaurus, but actual words used by other writers to describe how bad things have become in Baltimore.

I also blame Matthew Stafford for a lot of the bad throws. And it's not like Jefferson has had a bad year. He has more than 700 yards and six touchdowns. Plenty of players wish that they could finish with these kind of numbers Jefferson has already, let alone what he will finish with by the end of the season.

And with the Ravens allowing nearly 38 PPR fantasy points a game, there are plenty of fantasy points to go around. I'd start Jefferson for example ahead of the WR1 on the other side of this matchup, Marquise Brown, who is generally ranked higher this week.

SIT These WRs

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles

McLaurin is a talented WR, but we can't ignore how much of a non-factor he's been recently. Since Thanksgiving, he hasn't topped 51 yards, had more than four catches, or scored. In the five games combined, he has all of 12 catches for 164 yards. That's not good. And he's going up against the Eagles, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year. I would keep McLaurin for next year, but I wouldn't start him this week.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

With the exception of maybe Robby Anderson, who is Moore's teammate, I am not sure there is any WR who has suffered more this year due to their team's QB play. So I'm not blaming Moore. 

That doesn't mean I'm starting him either. The good news is he is still getting targeted, having seen 43 over his last four games. The problem is so many of those have been uncatchable. He's only been able to convert those into 21 receptions for 290 yards. That is not horrible, but it's not great either. He hasn't scored during that time either.

Perhaps he can get something going against New Orleans. He has five touchdowns in his last four games against them. But I wouldn't bank on him having a good game and he is probably best left on your bench.

— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.