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3 RBs to start and 3 RBs to fade in Week 17 fantasy football

We go over who you should start and who you should sit at running back for Week 17.

Ronald Jones #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball during the third quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

We are heading into Week 17 of the NFL and fantasy football seasons. With the new 18-week schedule, most fantasy leagues have their championships this week. Whether you are vying for fantasy immortality or if you are avoiding having to sit in a Waffle House for 24 hours, you need to be playing the best matchups you can. With that in mind, here are three running backs to start and three running backs to sit in Week 17.

Running Back Starts

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Jets

No Leonard Fournette? No problem. Jones has been waiting in the wings all season and he answered the call in Week 16. Jones finished with 15 total fantasy points and finished as the overall RB12 on 20 carries for 65 yards and a TD. This week, he faces a Jets defense giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers' defense has been stingy against wide receivers, which is great news for the Broncos whose wideouts have been playing horribly. It just means that more volume will be there for Javonte Williams and hopefully, he can improve on last week’s outing. Even though he didn’t have the yardage, he did still find the endzone and that’s what we like to see. The Chargers are giving up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

Keep an eye on this one as Mitchell is still banged up with a knee injury, but is expected to play. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is likely missing the game so there will be more impetus on the run game. The Texans are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Fire up Mitchell if he is active, or if he sits, apply all of this to teammate Jeff Wilson Jr.

Running Back Sits

Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

When Christian McCaffrey went down with an injury it looked like Hubbard would be the beneficiary and get the volume that could translate to fantasy success. Welp, that didn’t happen. The Panthers' offense is in shambles as they can’t decide who to keep under center. Now, Hubbard draws the Saints defense giving up the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Leave him on your bench or drop him for a back that can actually help your team.

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans

We thought it was bad when Gaskin had to compete for touches with Salvon Ahmed and now he has both Philip Lindsay and Duke Johnson that are not only taking his touches, but they are outperforming him. Gaskin is getting lost in the shuffle and his matchup this week doesn't help. The Titans are giving up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Johnson at least has the upside of short-yardage touchdowns, leaving Gaskin with basically no upside.

Michael Carter, New York Jets vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On the other side of the ball from Jones, we have the rookie Michael Carter. He has had some solid outings this season when healthy but runs into a brick wall this week. This game is going to be all sorts of ugly for the Jets and my guess is that the ball is going to be taken out of Carter’s hands pretty early. The Bucs defense is giving up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.