START’EM/SIT’EM WEEK 17 FANTASY FOOTBALL
By Sir Fantasy Drake
Here it is. One more week and you can call yourself a league champion and brag about it the rest of the offseason. But it’s not going to be easy. There are some tough decisions to be made this week before you can crown yourself. And I’m here to help you with that…Feel Free to ask any questions at the bottom.
Kahlil Bell RB, Chi @ Minnesota
First off is a guy who I have been talking up ever since Matt Forte went down and now it is certainly coming to fruition, Kahlil Bell. (Kahlil Bell Article) He has finally gotten the chance he’s been waiting for his whole career and it looks as if he’s not about to let it slip away. Bell has posted 15 or more fantasy points in each of the last two weeks (ESPN standard scoring), and he would’ve had another 6 last week if not for a goal-line fumble that one of his linemen recovered. This week Bell gets a pretty weak Minnesota run D and he is extra motivated because the Vikings cut him earlier in his career and he has already made public comments about not liking them. Let Bell’s dislike of the Vikings lead you to your league championship.
Miles Austin, Dallas @ NYG
Now onto someone in a meaningful game. Although he’s had an injury-plagued season, Miles Austin is a must-start this week. Since returning from injury three weeks ago, Austin has had a TD catch in every game, and the Giants pass defense is flat out terrible. Miles Austin is a great player, and great players step up in big games, regardless of whether Romo plays or not (but it looks like he will if it makes you feel safer).
Brandon Marshall, Miami vs. NYJ
Next is a must-start every week yet some people may be thinking of benching him this week. You want Brandon Marshall starting this week without question. Yes he is going up against Darelle Revis but let’s look at their last matchup: week 6, Marshall had 6 catches for 109 yards. Revis has not been the stud this year that he was in years past. Plus, Marshall also has a TD in each of his last three games and 4 of his last 5. So don’t overthink this, Brandon Marshall will have another solid fantasy performance.
Tobey Gerhart, Minnesota vs. Chicago
Although it looks decent on paper, Toby Gerhart will not help you very much if at all this week. Yes he is taking AP’s carries, but he’s playing the Bears, 4th toughest defense against runningbacks for fantasy, and they’ll be keying on Gerhart because of the Vikings lack of a passing game. When AP played the Bears he had a mere 39 yards on 12 carries, and Toby Gerhart is definitely not Adrian Peterson. Expect Gerhart’s hot streak to end.
Kevin Smith, Detroit @ Green Bay
Kevin Smith came out of nowhere to help a lot of fantasy teams this year but for this week he won’t be so fortunate. (Kevin Smith Article) The Lions have little to play for, Smith has an ankle issue, and on top of that his production recently has been way down. He has taken 15 carries for less than 50 yards each of the last two weeks. Smith will not play the entire game as the Lions look to nurse him into the playoffs, so sit him this week.
Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Tennessee
Lastly, if he does end up suiting up, don’t start Andre Johnson this week. He has been hurt just about all year so he will have no rhythm with T.J. Yates and your team is obviously good enough without him if you are in the championship. Yes he is the best receiver in the league when healthy, but that’s another thing, who knows if he really is healthy or if he just wants to suit up once before the playoffs. Also Yates is not Matt Schaub in terms of ability, and Dre is matched up against the 5th toughest defense for fantasy wide receivers this year in the Tennessee Titans. Sit Andre Johnson and roll with the guys who got you here (granted their playing).
What Really Grinds My Gears:
Finally, I want to say that I really have a problem with the discussion that always comes up this time of year about resting starters. It looks like the Packers might be doing this, this week and it isn’t right. Teams that win in the playoffs win because they are just on fire, hitting on all cylinders and in rhythm, after sitting out a week, or two for some teams because of the bye, it is nearly impossible to have this. The Packers should know this better than anyone, the reason they won it all last year was because they had to play hard every game just to make the playoffs, then once they were in they were unstoppable because of their momentum built up at the end of the regular season. On the flip side, I don’t know of any teams to rest their starters then turn around and win the Super Bowl. I know there is injury risk whenever players play, but that risk is not worth sacrificing the momentum a team has built up. At the end of the day, this is not a sport where a team can turn the switch on and off, frankly I don’t know of a sport that is, so by resting starters teams are in essence dooming themselves. Post comments and leave your opinions on resting starters, and good luck with your league championship games!
-Sir Fantasy Drake is one of the Fantasy staff writers for MaddenArena.com. He resides in Chicago and has been a die hard Bears fan since birth. He has also been playing Fantasy Sports since 5th grade. You can ask questions to him, and any of our experts, for any fantasy advice by signing up on the forums or posting below.