Start Cam Akers, Sit D’Andre Swift

Week 17 of the fantasy football season has a great slate of games, with some strong playoff contenders going head-to-head. Hopefully, your carefully curated roster is in good shape after the devastating slew of injuries that have affected the NFL. You’re in the right place if you’re in a challenging situation with your start/sit questions.

We’ve dug through the latest roster percentages to identify fantasy football players who you must either start or sit. Our two starting options are currently starting in around 40% or fewer leagues, whereas our two sitting players are at around 70% or more.

Jerry Jewdy, WR, Denver Broncos

Although he’s marked as questionable to play this week due to a re-aggravated ankle injury that caused him to leave practice on Wednesday, Jerry Jeudy has quietly been very good over the last month. He’s averaging 82.75 receiving yards on 6.25 receptions per game. That’s good enough to be WR9 over that stretch.

If Jeudy plays, he’ll continue to be a featured weapon against a weak Kansas City Chiefs secondary in Week 17. Jeudy torched the Chiefs for 73 yards and three touchdowns in Week 14, and although that scoring output is highly unlikely to replicate, it’s clear Jeudy has become an alpha receiver on this team.

MORE: Christian Watson and Jerry Jewdy Listed on the Week 17 WR Injury Report

Considering Courtland Sutton and Kendall Hinton are also battling injuries this week, I think Jeudy is more likely to play and participate with his usual workload of about 75% of the total snaps. Jeudy’s shown since Week 7 that when he’s active, he’s a perfectly solid WR2 on a championship-level fantasy lineup.

With the Chiefs allowing 13.1 receptions, 154.7 yards, and 1.27 touchdowns per game to receivers, I’m expecting another high-end WR2 or low-end WR1 game from Jeudy if he’s active.

Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Would you believe that Cam Akers has been RB5 in PPR leagues since Week 13? Talk about a roller-coaster season for the Rams back, who had requested a trade and failed to garner enough interest for the team to unload him. Now, Akers appears more primed to be the clear starter again in 2023.

Some of the improvement has come from the Rams’ offensive line, which is now suddenly creating some wiggle room. Akers has two of his highest rushing totals in a row despite facing solid run defenses in Green Bay and Denver. He’s also benefited from the play of quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has helped get the offense into scoring position more often.

Akers has six rushing touchdowns over the last four games after notching just one in the first 12 weeks. It’s hard to project more outbursts like his three scores against Denver last week, but it’s a huge upside we have to consider.

You can consider taking the higher on Akers’ rushing categories on Underdog Fantasy because the Chargers are weak against the run. Our PFN expert PPR fantasy rankings for Week 17 have Akers as the RB30 against the Rams, making him a viable Flex play.

The Chargers are an incredibly favorable opponent in Week 17. It’s possible Akers could go from a waiver wire addition to a starting lineup because things have changed so quickly. They’re especially weak against the run, allowing the second-most rushing yards per game despite being solid against receiving backs.

Akers should be close to a lock for you to start this week. It’d be an incredible full-circle moment if he swings championship matchups, and I’m predicting he’ll have a low-end RB1 game.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

I’m not sure if there’s been a more disappointing fantasy season from a player when healthy than D’Andre Swift this season.

It’s not as if Swift has been especially dangerous as a receiver. He had only two games with more than 31 yards. I thought he would thrive behind this offensive line, but he’s shrunk to a borderline fantasy Flex option in any given week.

Swift’s matchup against Chicago is strong, but it’d be shocking if he got enough touches to be viable for fantasy managers. The Bears are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs per game. Most notable are the 115.7 yards and 1.07 scores on the ground.

MORE: Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 17

Swift had only four rushes for 12 yards and one reception on five targets for 13 yards last week. He played 56% of snaps, and the Lions were trailing almost immediately, making his lack of receiving production shocking.

With only one touchdown within the last five weeks and waning usage, I’d prefer to sit Swift this week. If you’re playing him, around seven fantasy points is the best expectation.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy managers have been holding out hope that Mike Evans would regain the success he was seeing until Week 9, but now is not the time to risk busting him once again. Since Week 8’s 15.3-point performance, Evans has scored more than 7.9 points only once. He hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 4.

Carolina’s average pass defense isn’t good enough to stop Evans, but Tom Brady’s declining skill set is. Evans has seen at least eight targets in seven of his last nine games but hasn’t caught more than five passes since Week 8. That inefficiency is a result of Brady’s discomfort in the pocket and struggles driving the ball into tight windows.

Both teams should bring their best as they duking it out to win the NFC South. Carolina has allowed over 241 passing yards just once since Week 7, and that was in last week’s blowout of Detroit, where the Lions were trying to claw back into the game.

Evans had 96 yards on nine catches in their first matchup, but the Buccaneers have gone south since then. I’ll be sitting Evans this week in favor of higher-upside receiving options.

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