Welcome to championship week of the fantasy football season. While teams across the NFL are fighting for playoff positioning, fantasy managers are hoping that they can pull out a championship over the next week or two, depending on your league's playoff format. With the championship week upon us, it makes a lot of sense to check out our Week 17 start 'em sit 'em running backs list.
Week 17 fantasy football start 'em sit 'em: Quarterbacks | Wide receivers | Tight ends
For our full Week 17 predictions, listen below:
Running back production can come from many different sources, and we have seen several players pop up from out of nowhere to become starting caliber options in the playoffs. With that being said, let's dive into the list, and take a look at three running backs you should start and three you should sit with your championship on the line.
Week 17 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
What a fantasy football season it has been for Cam Akers. Akers was expected to be one of the top running backs on draft day, but was stuck in the dog house for much of the season, only to find his way out of it recently. Akers has been on fire as of late, as he is averaging 19 points per game over his last four contests using ESPN's standard PPR scoring for running backs. Considering how you likely found Akers on the waiver wire recently, that's fantastic production. Akers will likely continue to have a big role in the Rams offense after his massive Week 16 outing, and against a vulnerable Los Angeles Chargers run defense, he could be in for another massive day.
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's also been a strange season for Leonard Fournette on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His grip on the starting running back job seemed to be slipping with Rachaad White emerging as a solid complementary option, but Fournette retook his lead role with authority in Week 16 with a massive outing. Fournette doesn't have as much value in non-PPR leagues, but he's trending towards a must-start option if you are in a PPR league. Tom Brady is peppering Fournette with targets, and he just had 20 carries in Week 16 for the first time since Week 6. Fournette seems to be a starter once again, and it would be a good idea to start him in Week 17 with the Bucs desperately needing to win.
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons running back room has been really tough to get a gauge of this season, but it's beginning to look like Tyler Allgeier finally has the lead role to himself. Allgeier has put together two of his biggest outings of the season in the past two weeks, and as Cordarrelle Patterson seems to be fading a bit, Allgeier is only getting stronger. The Falcons ground game has always been the focal point of their offense, but if Allgeier is the head of that attack, he needs to be starting. There's a bit of risk in playing Allgeier as long as Patterson is around, but he has a favorable matchup in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals, making him a very good starting option.
Week 17 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
It feels strange to include Nick Chubb as a sit 'em option given how good he has been this season, but this has more to do with the Cleveland Browns lack of offensive production, and his tough matchup, than it does with his overall play. Ever since Deshaun Watson has returned to the field, the Browns offense has been anemic, which has killed Chubb's production, as he hasn't scored more than 11.2 points in the past four weeks using the same ESPN PPR standard scoring as we used before. And against a tough Washington Commanders front seven, it doesn't seem like Chubb is going to have a lot of room to run. If you have other options available, it makes sense to bench Chubb for this one.
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Kenneth Walker III doesn't have any sort of competition for carries in the Seattle Seahawks backfield, but it hasn't always resulted in consistent production from a fantasy football perspective. Walker is still a strong starting option, but with Seattle's passing attack struggling in recent weeks, it hasn't left him with much room to operate. Combine that with a tough matchup against the New York Jets in Week 17, and you begin to see why Walker isn't the smartest play this week. Similar to Chubb, if you don't have other options at running back, you can play him, but if you do have other options, it may be worth putting them in the starting lineup in favor of Walker.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris certainly hasn't lived up to his first round pedigree this season, but he's been solid if unspectacular at running back throughout the second half of the season. Despite that, he has a tough matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 that could force fantasy football managers to search for other options. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense isn't exactly consistent, and counting on production from Harris amid their struggles isn't a smart idea. Harris seems like a touchdown dependent option heading into Week 17, and it's probably a good idea to see if you can find another starting caliber running back to replace him for this matchup.