Aaron Jones: It’s possible that a lot of fantasy football managers who were counting on Travis Etienne Jr., De’Von Achane, or Kenneth Walker III had their hopes of winning a fantasy championship suddenly dashed the previous week. Those of you who were able to make it to the championship round, however, can think of this as an early gift for the Christmas season.
Here are some of my start/sit options at the RB position for a pivotal Week 17 of NFL action.
Which RB Should You Start in Fantasy This Week?
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones has been on the start ’em side of this piece for what seems like an eternity, but on Sunday, when the Panthers were playing, the talented back finally showed that he is the excellent player that we have been observing over the course of the past five years.
In the sixteenth week of the season, Jones carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards, which was his first 100-yard rushing effort of the year. The game was against Carolina. There was only one thing that prevented him from having a monster fantasy day, and that was the fact that AJ Dillon and Jordan Love both scored touchdowns on the ground that were one yard in length.
If the offense of the Packers continues to click against the Minnesota Vikings, then Jones will be right back in the conversation for the top 15 running back position for Week 17.
Ty Chandler, RB, Minnesota Vikings
And while we’re on the subject of the Vikings, when it became public knowledge that Alexander Mattison would be participating in Week 16, many fantasy managers probably made the decision to bench Ty Chandler due to the uncertainty around the workload that would be shared between these two running backs.
Chandler, who had eight runs for 17 yards and a touchdown, had a somewhat better day than Mattison, who finished with -1 yard on only two carries. Unfortunately, neither player did much of anything against the Lions on Sunday. Chandler had a slightly better day than Mattison.
Expect a more efficient day at the office for Chandler against a Packers defense that has allowed four rushing scores over the last three games.
Which RB Should You Sit in Fantasy This Week?
De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins
As of right now, De’Von Achane, a rookie running back for the Miami Dolphins, is experiencing a sense of unease. Since his return from injured reserve (IR), fantasy managers have not seen nearly as much of the dynamic playmaking abilities that we witnessed from him earlier in the season.
Through the first week of the 2023 season, Achane had a staggering average of 12.1 yards per carry, a total of 460 yards on the ground, and five touchdowns; all of this was accomplished on just 38 carries. However, since his comeback in Week 11, Achane has not only accumulated 177 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries, but he has also averaged 4.3 yards per carry, which is a modest but nonetheless efficient number.
Achane’s number of carries working behind Raheem Mostert at this efficiency clip aren’t enough to make him an automatic start in your fantasy lineup. He falls more into the boom-or-bust RB2 category, which is a bad place to be when heading into a matchup against a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense in Week 17.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Just when fantasy managers were starting to consider Joe Mixon an RB1 play again, he posted a single-digit fantasy performance in PPR formats for the second time in the last five weeks in a big spot for fantasy managers.
Both of those fantasy duds came against the Steelers. The Bengals found themselves in a negative game script very quickly last week, but the performance was still disappointing nonetheless.
If Cincinnati’s offense gets off to a slow start again versus the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs in Week 17, it could be a long day at Arrowhead for Mixon.
Trending Searches for RB Start/Sit
Did you know that we have a Start/Sit Optimizer here at Pro Football Network?! It’s completely free to use, and it allows you to enter up to six players to find the best option to plug into your starting lineup!
It also allows us to see the most popular trending searches, some of which we’ve jotted down here to help provide some clarity on!
Should You Start De’Von Achane or Breece Hall?
Both of these players have big-play potential, but Breece Hall has proven to have a more reliable fantasy floor because of his pass-catching role and higher weekly fantasy floor than Achane because of his touches.
Hall may be a risky play against a talented Cleveland Browns defense, but Achane simply hasn’t shown us the big-play ability that made him a fantasy star since returning from IR.
Should You Start Ty Chandler or Austin Ekeler?
Austin Ekeler fantasy managers were likely still disappointed by his overall production from Week 16, but at least he was utilized in a leading role. Chandler was the leading man in his backfield too, but was rather ineffective in his leading role.
The ceiling feels like it could be higher for Chandler while the Chargers’ offense continues to figure it out with Easton Stick under center. If Mattison gets more involved, though, it could lower Chandler’s ceiling.
In a big spot, I’d lean Ekeler by the smallest of margins.