Darrel Williams, Dare Ogunbowale, Melvin Gordon & More Expert Fantasy Start/Sit Advice For Running Backs in Week 17

Darrel Williams, Dare Ogunbowale, Melvin Gordon & More Expert Fantasy Start/Sit Advice For Running Backs in Week 17 article feature image
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Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Darrel Williams

Setting your fantasy football lineups can be difficult, especially with COVID-19 outbreaks galore and the finals upon us in fantasy leagues.

Below you will find some running backs I like and don’t like for Week 17 based on matchups, injuries, trends and more.

Be sure to consult our experts’ real-time rankings for fantasy football start/sit advice on any COVID- or injury-impacted players.


More Start/Sit Advice: QBsWRs, TEs


Fantasy RBs To Start/Sit In Week 17

Darrel Williams, Chiefs at Bengals

Williams has been fairly quiet ever since Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned from injury in Week 11. While Edwards-Helaire was out, Williams averaged 15.4 points per game in half PPR scoring over five games. He has another opportunity to step up now that CEH is listed as week-to-week and unlikely to play due to a clavicle injury he sustained in Week 16 against the Steelers.

Williams will likely lead this backfield with Derrick Gore sprinkled in and should be considered as a high-end RB2 based on workload and situation against the Bengals this week.

Verdict: Start as RB2.


Rashaad Penny, Seahawks vs. Lions

Penny bounced back in a big way after a disappointing Week 15. He tallied 17 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Bears last week — good enough for 20 points in half PPR and a RB9 finish. He is a top play this week against Detroit, whose defense ranks bottom five in fantasy points allowed to running backs this year. Consider Penny a strong RB2 with upside this week.

Verdict: Start as RB2.


Melvin Gordon III, Broncos at Chargers

Gordon was a disappointment in Week 16 and tallied just one fantasy point in half PPR against the Raiders. However, he still split carries with Javonte Williams (23 to 22) and remains a major part of this offense. I expect both Gordon and Williams to feast this week against the Chargers, who were just torched for two touchdowns from Rex Burkhead and rank bottom three against fantasy running backs this year.

Verdict: Start as RB2.


Devin Singletary, Bills vs. Falcons

Singletary has quietly become a very reliable fantasy asset over the past three weeks. He has found the end zone and scored 16 points in half PPR in back-to-back difficult matchups against the Panthers and Patriots. I expect him to finish the season strong with the Falcons and Jets on deck. Atlanta’s defense is ninth-worst against fantasy running backs, making Singletary a solid RB2 play this week.

Verdict: Start as RB2.


D’Andre Swift, Lions at Seahawks

We haven’t seen Swift since Thanksgiving against the Bears when the Year 2 running back suffered a shoulder injury early in the game. He has since been replaced by Jamaal Williams, Jermar Jefferson and Craig Reynolds — all of which have had their moments of fantasy relevance. It would make logical sense for the Lions to shut down Swift amid a lost season, but he is apparently expected to return this week, per head coach Dan Campbell. Although he may not see a full workload after a four-game absence, he is still a must-start RB2 if active.

Verdict: Start as RB2.


Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons at Bills

Patterson has cooled off significantly over the past two games. He saw just nine total touches for 13 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 16 against the Lions. He tied a season-low two targets in the game and could struggle with the Bills on deck in Week 17. Buffalo’s run defense has been more exploitable of late, but this game script is unlikely to favor the run. The Falcons enter this contest as 14.5-point underdogs which could quell Patterson once again. He is a risky RB2 play for your fantasy finals.

Verdict: Sit.


Dare Ogunbowale, Jaguars at Patriots

Ogunbowale was one of the most popular Week 17 waiver wire adds, whom I added everywhere I could. He had a solid Week 16 against the Jets after star running back James Robinson went down, finishing with 17 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown — good enough for 14 fantasy points and an RB14 finish in half PPR.

Robinson is out for the year with a torn Achilles, but I do have my reservations about trusting Ogunbowale in this tough road matchup against the Patriots. New England’s defense has been strong all year and Jacksonville enters this game as 16-point underdogs, meaning the game script is unlikely to favor the run. Ogunbowale should see significant volume, but the matchup is enough to be wary of starting him in the finals.

Verdict: Sit.


Myles Gaskin, Dolphins at Titans

Gaskin was a total dud in Week 16 against the Saints. He was out-snapped and outperformed by Duke Johnson Jr. for the second week in a row and tallied just two fantasy points in half PPR. He gets another brutal matchup against the Titans this week, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Both Johnson and Gaskin are terrible starts this week in light of the matchup and timeshare.

Verdict: Sit.


Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots vs. Jaguars

Stevenson is slated to return this week from a one-game absence due to COVID-19. Prior to that, he disappointed in the spotlight in Week 15 with Damien Harris out against the Colts and saw just 10 carries for 36 yards. Theoretically, this should be a positive matchup for the fantasy finals against the Jaguars, who are subpar against the run, but it will be difficult to trust him with Harris also returning to play. Stevenson is nothing more than a dart-throw flex play this week.

Verdict: Sit.


D’Onta Foreman, Titans vs. Dolphins

Foreman found the end zone in Week 16, but ended up with fewer rushing yards than both Jeremy McNichols and Dontrell Hilliard. He was also out-snapped by McNichols.

This running back committee scares me, as all three are underwhelming options in a brutal Week 17 matchup against the Dolphins. Miami is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year and have not allowed 11 or more fantasy points to a running back since Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 7. Foreman, McNichols and Hilliard are risky, low-upside plays this week.

Verdict: Sit.


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