Week 17 Fantasy Football Start/Sit Candidates: Running Backs

Dec 28, 2022
Week 17 Start/Sit Candidates: Running Backs

Wondering whom to start and sit at running back this week? Below are three top-notch starts and one sit option at the running back position for Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season.

More Start/Sit: QB | WR | TE

Week 16 Review – half-PPR scoring



Running Back – Starts

Travis Etienne (Jacksonville Jaguars) @ Houston Texans

The Jacksonville Jaguars are four-point road favorites with a healthy 23.75-point implied team total against the Houston Texans.

Jacksonville No. 1 running back Travis Etienne was half-PPR’s RB12 in Weeks 1-10 but sunk to the RB36 in Weeks 12-16, after the team’s Week 11 bye, perhaps slowed by a Week 12-foot injury. Having averaged just 16.5 intended touches (rush attempts and targets) in Weeks 13 and 14, Etienne promisingly hiked that number up to 23 per game over the last two weeks, just in time for a bout with fantasy football’s fourth most running back-friendly defense, Houston, who is currently allowing 26.9 half-PPR points per game to opposing running backs per 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed.

Among 38 running backs with at least 100 rush attempts, Etienne’s 4.9 yards per carry is tied for sixth and his 6.3% broken tackle rate ranks 12th, per 4for4’s NFL Player Stats Explorer.

Houston’s 169.6 rushing yards allowed per game and 7.9% explosive run plays allowed rate both rank dead last, per 4for4’s NFL Team Stats Explorer.

Tyler Allgeier (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Atlanta Falcons are four-point home favorites with a 22.5-point implied team total against fantasy football’s most running back-friendly defense in the league, the Arizona Cardinals (28.6 half-PPR points allowed per game).

In Atlanta’s post-Week 14 world, rookie running back Tyler Allgeier has stolen the lead role from veteran Cordarrelle Patterson, out-carrying Patterson 36-to-22 and out-targeting him six-to-four. Allgeier even took the third-down role, hogging a 63.3% third-down snap share over Patterson’s 36.7% while hoarding rush attempts inside the opponent’s five-yard line even more harshly, 71.4% to 14.3%.

Among 49 NFL running backs with at least 10 rush attempts in Weeks 15 and 16, Allgeier’s 107.5 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards after contact per rush attempt both rank No. 2.

Arizona’s 5.7% explosive run plays allowed rate is tied for the seventh highest.

Zonovan Knight (New York Jets) @ Seattle Seahawks

The New York Jets are implied to score 22.25 points as two-point road favorites against the Seattle Seahawks.

New York quarterback Mike White is relieving Zach Wilson of his duties this week, offering renewed hope to fans and fantasy managers alike.

In Weeks 12-14 with White at the helm, New York averaged 416.3 offensive yards per game, the third most in the NFL, and 21.7 points per game, the 15th most. Under Wilson’s guidance over the last two weeks, New York flailed to the tune of 282.0 offensive yards per game, ranking 25th, and 10.0 points per game which sits 31st.

Rookie running back Zonovan Knight has seen both his participation and efficiency decrease over the last two weeks but the offensive environment was downright hostile and he still maintained the lead rushing role.

Both Seattle’s 27.7 half-PPR points per game allowed to opposing running backs and 156.7 rushing yards allowed per game are bottom-three in the league and their 5.3% explosive run plays allowed rate is tied for the ninth-worst.

*Check out our full RB Rankings here.

Running Back – Sits

Latavius Murray (Denver Broncos) @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Denver Broncos are 13.0-point road underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs.

In-season trade acquisition Chase Edmonds (ankle) returned from the Injured Reserve last week, throwing Denver’s backfield into chaos. Prior to Edmonds’ return and after Melvin Gordon’s release in Week 12, fellow in-season acquisition and lead running back Latavius Murray hogged a 63.3% backfield rush attempts share and a 9.0% team target share. With Edmonds in the mix, Murray’s numbers dropped to 42.9% and 8.8%, respectively.

Kansas City is allowing 18.2 half-PPR points per game to opposing running backs, tying them for the 10th fewest overall. The Chiefs' 108.3 rushing yards and 3.8% explosive run plays allowed per game both rank among the top eight in the NFL.

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