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What to do with Sam Darnold in Week 17 of the fantasy football playoffs

Sam Darnold’s improved play in recent weeks helped cost the Jets the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to land Clemson signal-caller Trevor Lawrence.

Sam Darnold #14 and Breshad Perriman #19 of the New York Jets celebrate their 23 to 16 win over the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on December 27, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

By the end of the first month of the season, fans of the New York Jets had only one goal in mind: secure the NFL’s worst record and go draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the offseason. However, those plans wilted on the vine when the Jets won back-to-back games the past two weeks, an unexpected surprise driven in part by improved play from quarterback Sam Darnold.

While Lawrence no longer figures into the Jets’ future, Darnold has one more game to showcase his abilities for the franchise or any other team potentially interested in his services.

Fantasy Football analysis: Jets QB Sam Darnold

Darnold’s last three starts have gone better than the rest of his 2020 season, but that doesn’t mean he has played at a high level either. Darnold has avoided turnovers during that stretch but has only accounted for three touchdowns. Still, that heightened play contributed to the Jets’ successfully upsetting the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.

Whether Darnold can build on those gains remains unclear. The Jets’ Week 17 opponent, the New England Patriots, does not resemble the annual Super Bowl contender of yesteryear and lacks reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Just last week, the Patriots allowed 331 passing yards and four touchdowns to fellow AFC East signal-caller Josh Allen.

But Darnold hasn’t played at Allen’s level at any point this season, and New England’s defense has otherwise given little to quarterbacks in recent weeks. The unit allowed just one passing touchdown during the four games preceding Allen’s standout performance while forcing five interceptions, none of which bodes well for Darnold and the talent-deficient Jets offense.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Sit Darnold in all formats.