Facebook Pixel

    Early Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Picks for Week 17: De’Von Achane, Tee Higgins, Aaron Jones, and Others

    It's never too early to look ahead -- here are some early start 'em, sit 'em options for your fantasy football team heading into a crucial Week 17.

    Published on

    Before I begin, allow me to wish you and your family a very happy holiday. One of the best ways to enhance the good vibes during the holiday experience is to find fantasy football success in your championship round.

    Every single player going into your starting lineup can either make or break your chance at a fantasy football championship, so let’s take a closer look at some of my favorite early fantasy start ’em, sit ’em picks for Week 17.

    Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Picks for Week 17

    Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions

    The Detroit Lions have already clinched the NFC North and punched their ticket to the postseason. Now, they enter the month of January with a level of optimism that hasn’t been associated with this team for a very long time.

    Furthermore, the Lions are still very much in the thick of the race for home-field advantage in the NFC. A big part of the reason why this team is positioned so well has been the play of QB Jared Goff.

    Goff has 3,984 yards and 27 scores through the first 15 games of the season and could be in for another busy day in Week 17 with a matchup against a Dallas Cowboys squad that has lost two straight but will return home where they have been far more successful this year.

    Goff has thrown for more than 200 yards in all but one game this season, and could find himself in a shootout if the Cowboys offense continues to put an average of 39 points per game at home this season.

    Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

    It has felt like an eternity since Aaron Jones found himself on the start ’em side of this article, but on Sunday against the Panthers, the talented back finally looked like the exceptional playmaker we’ve been watching over the last five years.

    Jones produced his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season in Week 16 with 127 yards on 21 carries against Carolina. The only thing that prevented him from having a monster fantasy day was getting vultured on a pair of one-yard rushing TDs by AJ Dillon and Jordan Love.

    MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

    If the Packers’ offense continues to click against the Minnesota Vikings, then Jones is right back in the top-15 conversation at the RB position for Week 17.

    Ty Chandler, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    Speaking of the Vikings, when word got out that Alexander Mattison was going to be active for Week 16, many fantasy managers likely decided to bench Ty Chandler because of the unknown workload split between these two backs.

    Unfortunately, neither player did much of anything against the Lions on Sunday, with Chandler — eight carries for 17 yards and a score — having a slightly better day than Mattison, who finished with -1 yard on just two carries.

    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.

    Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    The loss of Ja’Marr Chase may not be helping the Bengals’ chances of advancing to the NFL postseason, but it may have helped fantasy shareholders of Tee Higgins to make a run at their fantasy football championship.

    Higgins has scored three touchdowns over his last two games and was very productive against the Steelers on Saturday with 140 yards on five receptions.

    His connection with QB Jake Browning has vastly improved over the last two weeks, seeing a minimum of eight targets in both contests. Sure, the matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs isn’t ideal, but expect Higgins to continue to be the focal point of this Bengals passing attack while Chase is out of the lineup.

    George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

    For those of you who decided to bench George Pickens in Week 16, only to watch him go off with four receptions for 195 and two scores… Then allow me to offer my condolences and hope that the decision did not directly prevent you from advancing to the championship round.

    The move from Mitchell Trubisky to Mason Rudolph proved to be a great thing for Pickens, and it could be the case again for him in Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks. The unknown at the moment is Kenny Pickett’s potential return as the starter. Either way, Pickens feels like a WR2 option this week in the hopes he can build off of a career day.

    David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns

    Raise your hand if you thought we would be talking about a four-game stretch with 250+ passing yards and 2+ TD passes from Cleveland Browns QB Joe Flacco heading into Week 17… For the record, my hand is not raised.

    One of the biggest beneficiaries — if not the biggest beneficiary — from Flacco’s recent run of passing production is TE David Njoku.

    MORE: Joe Flacco and Gardner Minshew Lead Week 17 QB Streamers

    In the last three games, Njoku has averaged 10 targets, seven receptions, 79 yards, and over a touchdown per game.

    The matchup against the New York Jets secondary isn’t ideal, but Njoku is simply too productive to send to the fantasy bench right now.

    Fantasy Football Sit ‘Em Picks for Week 17

    Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    I give Trevor Lawrence all of the kudos in the world for battling through a plethora of injuries over the last four weeks. He’s suffered a concussion, a high ankle sprain, and now a shoulder injury.

    For the record, he still hasn’t missed a game this year, which speaks to this kid’s toughness. However, the production has dropped off considerably over the last two games, one of which featured a matchup against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has been one of the most favorable fantasy matchups for opposing QBs this year.

    Additionally, the losses of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones aren’t exactly doing him any favors at the moment, which makes Lawrence a very risky play heading into Week 17.

    De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins

    Something feels a bit amiss right now for Miami Dolphins rookie RB De’Von Achane. Fantasy managers haven’t seen very much of the dynamic playmaking ability we saw from him earlier this season since returning from injured reserve (IR).

    Achane averaged an absurd 12.1 yards per carry while totaling 460 rushing yards and five scores on just 38 carries through the first week of the 2023 season. Since his return, however, back in Week 11, Achane has averaged a modest — but still effective — 4.3 ypc with 177 yards and two scores on 41 carries.

    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.

    Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans

    Nico Collins’ 13 fantasy points in a PPR format against the Browns in Week 16 feels really deceiving when you realize he scored a late touchdown and two-point conversion in garbage time, which saved an otherwise uninspiring fantasy day.

    Sure, the Texans expect QB C.J. Stroud to clear concussion protocol and return to the starting lineup this week against Tennessee, but that was the exact same line of thinking last week, which proves nothing is really guaranteed when players are in concussion protocol.

    This same Titans defense held the Texans to just 16 points in regulation just a couple weeks ago and has held teams to an average of just 19.5 points over the last two weeks.

    Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

    Cleveland’s defense has been a problem for most offensive units this season, allowing an average of 22.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers — the third-lowest mark in the league.

    Sure, the Jets’ offense managed to produce points against the Commanders’ woeful defensive unit last week, but the Browns are a completely different story.

    MORE: Early Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups

    Garrett Wilson will undoubtedly continue to see a healthy amount of volume in the passing game, but Cleveland’s defense is capable of making any quarterback look average. That doesn’t bode well for the Jets’ below-average QB play producing very many points in Week 17.

    Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills

    It has been a tale of two very different stories this season for Bills rookie TE Dalton Kincaid.

    When Dawson Knox is out of the lineup, you should start Kincaid on your fantasy team. When Knox is in the lineup, then Kincaid should be out of your fantasy lineup.

    Kincaid has caught just one pass for seven yards over the last two games combined with Knox back into the mix.

    Kincaid is a very talented pass-catching TE prospect, but his fantasy ceiling has proven to be significantly capped/impacted by Knox’s presence throughout the 2023 season.

    Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles