Sit: Derek Carr — New Orleans Saints (at TB)
Carr’s put up two of his better games of the season over the last two weeks, but we’re expecting a dud this weekend against the Bucs. The Saints are one loss away from being eliminated from postseason contention, and this feels like the game where their 2023 campaign is mercifully ended. And, if the score starts to tilt towards Tampa Bay’s direction early, we could see Dennis Allen make a QB change. Carr has already dealt with a number of injuries this year, there’s no point of trotting him out if the postseason is not within reach.
Start: Brock Purdy — San Francisco 49ers (vs WAS)
Brock Purdy’s MVP campaign was ended Christmas Day in a dreadful outing versus the Ravens. While it was clearly Purdy’s worst start of the year, we wouldn’t be too quick to give up on the former seventh-round pick. Purdy was facing arguably the league’s best defense, and he was still managing to pick up chunk plays through the air despite the untimely turnovers. He’ll get back on track against a Washington defense that hasn’t played well at all this year.
Sit: Kyler Murray — Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
We can’t advise starting Murray in this one. The Eagles defense hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations, but this is still a group with a ton of talent. And, the Cardinals simply do not have the offensive line to sufficiently protect Murray against a strong group of pass rushers. Murray has had some nice moments since returning to the field, but we don’t expect much out of him in this one.
Start: Jalen Hurts — Philadelphia Eagles (vs ARI)
The Eagles need to win their last two to clinch the NFC East. Jalen Hurts’ play has been a bit up-and-down, but his value as a fantasy QB cannot be denied. Hurts recorded his 15th rushing touchdown of the season last week, breaking the single-season QB record previously held by Cam Newton. The Eagles will score plenty of points against a porous Cardinals defense, and we’ll likely see a ‘Brotherly Shove’ or two in this one.
Sit: Tua Tagovailoa — Miami Dolphins (vs BAL)
Did you see what the Ravens offense just did to Brock Purdy? Baltimore shut down a San Francisco offense that was seemingly unstoppable. Now, the Ravens will get a crack at the AFC’s best offense — Mike McDaniel’s Miami Dolphins. Tagovailoa is having a career year, but we’ve seen him crumble before when teams are able to get home with their pass rush.
Start: Cleveland D/ST (vs NYJ)
Cleveland’s D/ST is the No. 1 option this week. Going up against the Jets on a short week, expect the Browns’ defense to take over this game. No matter if it’s Zach Wilson or Trevor Siemian under center. This is as talented of a defense as we’ve seen in years. Led by DPOY candidate Myles Garrett and supremely talented secondary, the Browns will make life miserable for the Jets’ offense.
Start: San Francisco D/ST (at WAS)
This is a 49ers team with a ton of pride. They’re not going to be happy after losing in such convincing fashion to the Ravens. Expect San Francisco to come out firing in the nation’s capital with the intent to send out a message to the rest of the league. Nick Bosa and Fred Warner lead the way for a dominant San Francisco performance.
Start: Seattle D/ST (vs PIT)
This pick is banking on the ‘law of averages’. Seattle’s defense has disappointed this season, and part of that has been due to a lack of turnovers. The Seahawks were 8th in turnovers forced last season, but rank 22nd in 2023. Star CB Tariq Woolen has just two INT’s on the year after collecting six last season. Pittsburgh is coming off a strong outing with Mason Rudolph at the helm. The veteran backup took care of the ball in the Week 16 win — something he hasn’t typically done in the past. We’re thinking Mason tosses a few picks Seattle’s way in this one.
Start: Denver D/ST (vs LAC)
The Chargers might be the worst team in football right now. Denver’s defense has been shaky the last couple of weeks, but it’s an opportunistic bunch that can create turnovers in bunches. Easton Stick has not been overly protective of the ball since taking over for Justin Herbert. We’re predicting three turnovers and touchdown for the Broncos defense.
Start: Buffalo D/ST (vs NE)
The Bills are riding sky-high after yet another win. They are rewarded with another favorable matchup against Bailey Zappe and the New England Patriots. It will be Buffalo’s first look at Zappe who has 11 turnovers in 12 career appearances. Buffalo should take care of business here and win easily as they continue their trek to the postseason.
Start: Jonathan Taylor — Indianapolis Colts (vs LVR)
Jonathan Taylor is a clear start in Week 17 versus the Raiders. With the Colts needing a win to stay alive in the playoff race, expect Indy’s bellcow to get plenty of work in this one. The Colts signed Taylor to a massive extension earlier in the season for moment’s exactly like this. The offense cannot rely on Gardner Minshew entirely, especially against a Raiders defensive line that featured a game-wrecker in Maxx Crosby. Feeding Taylor will help weaken the pass rush.
Sit: Khalil Herbert — Chicago Bears (vs ATL)
Khalil Herbert entered the year as the clear starter in Chicago’s backfield, but his role has grown murkier as the season has progressed. We’ve seen Roschon Johnson and D’onta Foreman cut into his workload in the past. Plus, Justin Fields is always a threat to steal a few carries on designed QB runs. Herbert is a talented player, but doesn’t get enough touches — unless another RB is injured — to be a viable option in your starting lineup.
Start: David Montgomery — Detroit Lions (at DAL)
David Montgomery is having an excellent first year with the Lions. A move to Detroit has seemingly rejuvenated the former Bear as he’s been one of the best RB’s in fantasy all season. Montgomery has played ten full games this year, and has scored at double-digits (PPR) in each of those contests. That kind of consistency is key to winning your fantasy matchups. You can’t have a RB post single-digits, and Montgomery has proven that he has one of the higher floors in terms of production in the league.
Sit: Najee Harris — Pittsburgh Steelers (at SEA)
Najee Harris has been one of the biggest fantasy busts thus far. After getting drafted in the first or second round of most leagues, Harris’ production has been nowhere near that level. Most troubling is Harris has seemingly lost snaps to backup Jaylen Warren. Neither have been very productive, and the Steelers offense isn’t nearly good enough to sustain two fantasy relevant RB’s. Harris is coming off a decent outing against the Bengals (13.80 PPR), but that was the first time he eclipsed double-digits in a month. Keep him glued to your bench for this one.
Start: Rachaad White — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs JAC)
Rachaad White has been on fire in recent weeks, and is quickly rising the ranks of top RB’s in fantasy football. He’s been one of the most consistent players in all of fantasy over the last couple of months. White has scored at least 17.00 PPR in seven of the last eight. His inclusion in the passing game provides a strong floor, especially for those in point-per-reception leagues. The Bucs can clinch the division with a win over the Saints. Baker Mayfield will be content checking it down to White all game if that’s how they need to win.
Start: Joe Mixon — Cincinnati Bengals (at KC)
It looked like the Bengals season was over after Joe Burrow went down with an injury. However, Jake Browning has blown past any expectations and has looked more than capable in two starts. Additionally, RB Joe Mixon has really hit his stride with Browning under center. Before the Steelers game, Mixon had seen 50 carries and 14 targets in the passing game — totaling 303 yards and 4 TD’s. The blowout versus Pittsburgh ultimately hurt his numbers, but backup Chase Brown only saw four carries. Mixon has played well enough as of late, and this is a must-win game for Cincy.
Sit: Ezekiel Elliott — New England Patriots (at BUF)
Zeke looked great in his first chance as New England’s lead back. Going up against the Steelers, Elliott had his best game in a New England uniform totaling 140 yards plus a score. QB Bailey Zappe checked it down to Elliott seven times — a great trend for fantasy players in PPR leagues. He continued the high pass-game usage versus the Broncos, seeing 11 targets as a receiver. While Elliott has been a beneficiary of a checkdown-heavy offense, that should be ended in Week 17. The Patriots play a red-hot Bills defense, and Rhamondre Stevenson should return to the field. Both of those ingredients make for a modest outlook for Elliott.
Start: Raheem Mostert — Miami Dolphins (at BAL)
Mostert has been a revelation for the Dolphins this season. Amidst all of the hype surrounding Miami’s passing attack, Mostert broke the single-season Dolphins record for touchdowns. Even with Devon Achane back in the lineup, it’s clear the Dolphins prefer the more experienced Mostert near the goal line. The Ravens have been stingy defensively — especially near the goal line. However, Mostert is on an absolute heater right now. Those vying for a fantasy title will regret benching Mostert because of an unfavorable matchup. Don’t overthink it, just start him.
Sit: Javonte Williams — Denver Broncos (vs LAC)
Javonte Williams is the clear lead back in Denver’s offense. That much is obvious. However, he’s been inefficient in that role and hasn’t made much of an impact for fantasy purposes. Williams has eclipsed 100 yards just a single time this year, and has been held without a score in all but four games. A lack of explosion is apparent, as backup Jaleel McLaughlin often times looks more spry than the former second-round pick Williams. Denver’s offense isn’t nearly dynamic enough to trust a struggling Williams in your lineup during the fantasy postseason.
Start: Breece Hall — New York Jets (at CLE)
The entire Jets offense was shutout just two weeks ago, and RB Breece Hall had his worst game of the year. Hall carried the rock just six times for 12 yards, and hauled in one reception for six yards. That hasn’t been the norm for Hall who has shined in 2023 despite New York’s offensive troubles. He was dominant in Week 16 for the Jets, exploding for 43.10 PPR points totaling 191 total yards, 12 receptions, and two touchdowns. Hall saw a season-high 16 targets in the game after not seeing more than nine targets in a game all year. An incredible performance that really showcased the immense talent of the second-year back. The Browns are excellent defensively, but you can’t sit Hall now.
Sit: Aaron Jones — Green Bay Packers (at MIN)
Aaron Jones has had one of the worst years of his career. In the past, Jones’ fantasy ceiling was only limited by Green Bay’s infuriating usage of him. This year, it’s been injuries that have plagued his season — but Jones hasn’t really stood out even when he has suited up. In his return to the field in Week 15, Jones finished the day with 69 yards on 17 opportunities (four receptions). And, that was with AJ Dillon out. Week 16 saw Jones put up his best numbers of the season, but it was in a game the Packers easily won over a vastly inferior opponent. Minnesota’s defense has been stingy under Brian Flores, and will make it a point to limit Jones on the day.
Start: Kyren Williams — Los Angeles Rams (at NYG)
Kyren Williams has been a machine for the Rams this season. He was excellent in his return to the lineup in Week 12 (38.40 FP), and has continued his strong play over the past three weeks. Versus a stout Ravens defense, Williams finished the day with 114 rushing yards — eclipsing the century mark for total yards for the sixth time this year. Against the Commanders, Williams toted the rock 27 times and rushed for 152 yards and a score. He added another 100-yard game plus a touchdown against the Saints last Thursday. Williams has reached the end zone in eight of eleven games this year. The Giants defense has no shot of slowing down this Rams’ attack.
Sit: Clyde Edwards-Helaire — Kansas City Chiefs (vs CIN)
Don’t be fooled by a single strong performance. Clyde Edwards-Helaire enjoyed his best game of the year two weeks ago, totaling 101 yards and a score while hauling in four receptions. Of course, his increased role was due to Isiah Pacheco missing the contest. With Pacheco back on the field, CEH has once again reduced to a backup. Prior to the Patriots game, Edwards-Helaire had just one game registering over 10.00 FP in PPR leagues (Week 3).
Start: Chuba Hubbard — Carolina Panthers (at JAC)
The Panthers have realized that keeping the ball on the ground is their best route offensively. QB Bryce Young has struggled mightily. Part of that has been due to his decision-making, but the Panthers’ leaky offensive line has done him no favors. To help alleviate some pressure from their quarterback, Carolina has adopted a run-heavy approach which has greatly benefited Chuba Hubbard. The third-year back has been running extremely well as of late, and should continue to find holes against a soft Jacksonville front.
Sit: Dalvin Cook — New York Jets (at CLE)
It’s been a disappointing season for Cook who thought he’d be playing alongside Aaron Rodgers. Instead, he’s dealt with the play of QB’s like Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian. He’s barely ahead of Wilson in rushing yards on the season — both recently eclipsed 200 on the year. Cook is just 28 years old, but it’s clear that his best days are behind him. Keep him glued to your bench for the fantasy championship.
Sit: Tony Pollard — Dallas Cowboys (vs DET)
The Dallas offense has hit a snag over the last two weeks, and Tony Pollard’s ineffectiveness has been a major factor during their current slump. Pollard is seemingly allergic to the end zone. He went scoreless for eight straight weeks earlier in the season. In Week 16, he somehow did not record a touchdown on a play in which more than half of his body landed in the end zone (the Cowboys fumbled on the very next play). While the Lions have had their fair share of struggles defensively, they have allowed the fewest fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Sit: Kareem Hunt — Cleveland Browns (vs NYJ)
Kareem Hunt has been on a peculiar run since returning to the Browns. Hunt scored in every game from Week 6 to Week 10 — a five-game TD streak. However, his streak was snapped in Week 11 and his fantasy totals have plummeted ever since. Perhaps most stunningly, the Browns have shown little interest in getting Hunt involved in the passing game — less than 100 receiving yards on the season. Previously one of the league’s most dangerous pass-catching backs, Hunt has one or fewer receptions in nine of 13 games this year. Even with Jerome Ford not producing as well, Hunt has not been his usual efficient-self. He’s a clear stayaway.
Start: Alvin Kamara — New Orleans Saints (at TB)
Alvin Kamara has been the first, second, and third option for the Saints since returning from a three-game suspension. He might have to become the fourth, fifth, and sixth option moving forward. This is do-or-die for the Saints. They need a win to stay in playoff contention. Even if the run game doesn’t get going for the second-straight week, we’d imagine Kamara to get more involved as a receiver. The Saints will need to pull out all the stops, and that includes getting the ball to their top offensive weapon early and often.
Sit: Tyler Allgeier — Atlanta Falcons (at CHI)
Tyler Allgeier has seen his role decrease over the course of the season. And, it’s not all that hard to see why. Allgeier has been mostly ineffective out of the backfield this year. Week 15 saw his biggest workload in over a month, and he turned 14 carries to just 45 yards. Additionally, he’s hardly ever included in the passing game averaging less than one reception per game. The Falcons offense is in a tail spin, and we can’t trust Allgeier to put up a big performance against the Bears.
Sit: Derrick Henry — Tennessee Titans (at HOU)
Derrick Henry was forced out of the Week 13 matchup against the Colts to be checked for a concussion. Fortunately, the RB was not placed into the protocols after not exhibiting any of the symptoms. In matchups against the Dolphins and Texans, Henry totaled just 43 rushing yards on a 33 attempts. That’s not going to get it done, as the Titans offense has mightily struggled during that span. Even against a Texans team he’s historically dominated, Henry is tough to trust.
Start: Devin Singletary — Houston Texans (vs TEN)
Devin Singletary had been excellent as the No. 1 back in Houston’s offense. His skill-set fits a pass-heavy attack better than Dameon Pierce. As such, Singletary starred in Weeks 10-12 as he averaged over 18 FP (PPR) during that stretch. When CJ Stroud went down, it was assumed Singletary was going to take a step back along with the rest of the offense. However, Singletary responded with a huge game against the Titans last time these two teams matched up. He totaling 170 yards — and nearly had an overtime score before it was called back. With Stroud now back on the field, start Singletary with confidence.
Start: Jahmyr Gibbs — Detroit Lions (vs DAL)
There aren’t too many RB’s doing it better than rookie Jahmyr Gibbs right now. The former Alabama star has been dominant since carving himself a larger role within Detroit’s offense. You can’t possibly sit him, even with David Montgomery cutting into his usage. Gibbs is too explosive and he can produce a solid fantasy day even without a ton of touches. The Cowboys defense has been stingy, but have shown some cracks as of late. Detroit’s offense is humming and should keep it up in this matchup.
Start: Saquon Barkley — New York Giants (vs LAR)
The Giants don’t have much of a choice — they have to feed Saquon Barkley the ball as often as possible. That bodes well for fantasy managers who have Barkley on their squad. The former Penn State runner is a bit boom-or-bust. You’ll have to be willing to accept a lousy game here and there if he isn’t able to break off a big gain. However, he’s capable of carrying your entire lineup any given week — like he did for some in Week 11 when he scored 30.00 fantasy points versus the Commanders. The Rams are not stout defensively, and the Giants will definitely want to spoiler versus their division rival.
Start: Austin Ekeler — Los Angeles Chargers (at DEN)
Austin Ekeler finally broke out of his funk with a strong outing against the Broncos. The Chargers’ RB has been a consistent force in fantasy since entering the league, but had a three-week lull in which he failed to score even 10 FP (PPR). Though Justin Herbert will be out for this one, Ekeler is still a must-start. The Broncos are a middling team against the run, and are especially susceptible to giving up receptions to RB’s. Even in a reduced role, Ekeler should find plenty of chances to score.
Start: Christian McCaffrey — San Francisco 49ers (at WAS)
The No. 1 back in all of fantasy, McCaffrey is the surest bet to dominate his matchup every week. What separates him from other top backs is in his dual-threat ability. No players puts more stress on defenses both on the ground and through the air than CMC. And, 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan always has a play in his back pocket that goes McCaffrey’s way. He’s the top option this week and for the remainder of the year. The 49ers will assuredly get the ball to McCaffrey early and often in a game the Niners should cruise in.