Derrick Gore or Darrel Williams Start/Sit Week 17: Can either back produce with Clyde Edwards-Helaire out?

It might be your fantasy football championship week, but should you start Darrel Williams or Derrick Gore with CEH out?

The Kansas City Chiefs have had one of the top offenses in the NFL for a long time. Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, they’ve often been the first resort for fantasy football managers looking for consistent points. That production hasn’t always spread to running backs, though. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams have been the two top options, but should you start either in fantasy championships this week, and is Derrick Gore an alternative?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the Chiefs’ RB1

Edwards-Helaire has been KC’s top option at running back this season. Injury has meant he’s missed five games and doesn’t lead the team in rushing attempts. Yet when active, he has had more touches than any Chiefs RB.

Edwards-Helaire has rushed 119 times for 517 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns. He’s had moments that have shown why the Chiefs believe in him. Nonetheless, he’s struggled to stand out among Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, and the other talented running backs from the 2020 NFL Draft class.

Is Edwards-Helaire playing this week?

Edwards-Helaire has been dealing with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t practiced yet this week and has been ruled out of the game. Fantasy managers will have to look elsewhere.

Darrel Williams is an important part of the offense

Now that CEH is inactive, Williams should see a considerable increase in his workload. Andy Reid has shown faith in Williams before and likely will again.

Derrick Gore is third on the depth chart and could be in line for more touches. Gore has rushed 41 times for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns this year. He also has caught all 7 of his targets for 97 yards. Gore will presumably be the backup, brought in as a change-of-pace option. He’ll be used when Williams needs a breather and would be a risky play in anything other than deep leagues.

Williams has been a constant for the Chiefs this season, playing in all 15 games. He has rushed 123 times for 453 yards and 4 TDs. He hasn’t been the most efficient runner, but he’s built up a consistent role as a receiver, an area where Edwards-Helaire was originally expected to have an edge.

Williams has been targeted 50 times, the fourth-most on the team. He has caught 41 of those for 403 yards and 2 touchdowns. In deep points per reception (PPR) leagues, he has emerged as a steady option.

Cincy’s defense provides opportunities

The Chiefs face the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. The Bengals have done an impressive job slowing down running backs in fantasy football this season. Furthermore, they’re allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs in standard scoring.

One area that the Bengals are vulnerable is receptions to running backs. Only three teams have allowed more catches than the 100 that the Bengals have. This means that, despite limiting production, they’re allowing the 14th-most points to RBs in PPR leagues.

With CEH inactive, Williams becomes much less of a risk for fantasy managers. Williams will lead the backfield in touches, and we will continue to see how important volume is for running backs. You may have more talented options to choose from as you compete for a fantasy championship, but Williams’ situation is incredibly appealing.

He should dominate opportunities in the backfield. As a result, he could be primed for a good week in what should be a high-scoring matchup between the Chiefs and Bengals.

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