You came to the right place for all of your fantasy football start/sit needs. Week 17 has a critical NFC North matchup between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. We’re here to project how the tough decisions will play out so you can bring home your fantasy league trophy.
Two key playmakers to watch this week between the Lions and Bears are running backs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Let’s dive into whether you should start either player against Chicago.
Should You Start D’Andre Swift vs. the Bears?
I’m not sure if there’s been a more disappointing fantasy season from a player when healthy than Swift this season.
The 23-year-old still has one year left on his rookie contract and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season, but his usage has been quite telling. After starting the year with 18 touches and racking up a season-high 175 yards, Swift’s only had more than eight carries in one game once since then. In 12 games played, he has only 82 rushing attempts and 37 receptions.
Swift’s missed at least four games in each of his three seasons and appears to be settling into a turbo-charged receiving-back role that doesn’t thrive in the red zone. Williams, meanwhile, has 116 more touches despite playing 52 more snaps. It’s shocking to see Swift’s game log feature only three games of 52+ rushing yards since Week 1.
It’s not as if Swift has been especially dangerous as a receiver. He’s 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.
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.
Should You Start Jamaal Williams vs. the Bears?
You should absolutely be starting Williams this week. The NFL’s leader in rushing touchdowns is having a career season, with the most carries, yards, and TDs of his career. Detroit is squeezing as much as they can out of Williams before he turns 28 and hits free agency this offseason.
Williams is a non-traditional fantasy value. Much like how James Conner created value for managers last season, Williams isn’t a big threat to get 70+ rushing yards (he hasn’t totaled more than 66 yards since Week 9) or be a receiving option, but he gets into the end zone.
After three straight games without getting into the end zone against stronger run defenses, this is the right matchup for Williams to reach paydirt at least once. Barring another shocking first quarter where Detroit is asleep as their foe delivers haymakers to put them down three scores, Detroit should thrive against Chicago’s bottom-feeding defense.
It would be a needed bounce-back game for Williams’ managers, considering he had his three worst outputs of the season in Weeks 14, 15, and 16. He’s carried you this far, though, and I like relying on Williams once again to get you double-digit points, as the Bears are extremely weak against the run.