Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Breaking Down the Toughest RB Decisions

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the New York Jets at LP Field on December 17, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There is no room for lineup mistakes in fantasy championship week. This guide will help alleviate some of the disastrous potential with the running back position. 

The final week of the regular season can make it difficult to project production. Teams are playing for vastly different reasons. Some are playing for playoff seeding, their playoff existence, or simply trying to grab something positive to roll into the offseason with. 

All of these factors will be weighed as the definitive answer is given for the following three running backs. 


Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

Week 17 Opponent: vs. Jaguars

 It has been another season of frustration for Chris Johnson fantasy owners. He has 1,187 rushing yards on the season, but he only has five touchdowns and his production has been completely inconsistent. 

The last two weeks are a perfect example. In Week 15 against the Jets, Johnson ran for 122 yards and a score. Last week against the Packers, he had just 28 rushing yards and no touchdowns. 

The good news for fantasy owners is that Johnson is ready for a big finish to the season as he is taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 31st rushing defense. 

Johnson had 81 rushing yards in Week 12 when the Titans fell to the Jaguars in Week 12 action, but Johnson should better those numbers as these two battle in Tennessee.

The Jaguars have allowed the second most points to running backs, and that will only get worse as Johnson ends his year with a couple of big runs. 

Verdict: Start Him


Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets

Week 17 Opponent: at Bills 

Shonn Greene’s production has been wildly inconsistent and he has struggled as opposing teams have increasingly stacked the box as the Jets' passing game has disintegrated.

Last week against the Chargers, Greene rushed for just 38 yards on 14 carries. However, he added another 42 yards on two catches and finished with two touchdowns.

This week, Greene will be going against a Bills' rushing defense that has consistently been terrible. They are last in rushing yards allowed and points allowed to running backs. This is also a matchup where Greene has consistently produced. 

In his last five games against the Bills, Green has gained at least 70 rushing yards.

Greene went against the Bills in Week 1 of this season and he went for 94 rushing yards and a touchdown in one of his better games of the season.

Greene should get plenty of carries in this one, and it is nearly impossible for running backs not to produce against the Bills.

Verdict: Start Him


Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

Week 17 Opponent: at Seahawks

The Rams have nothing to play for but pride, and they will be battling a team going for playoff positioning in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. This does not bode well for 29-year-old Steven Jackson.

I don't expect this competitive Rams team to mail it in, they will want to finish on a good note, but that doesn't mean they need to overuse their veteran ball carrier.

The Rams will be better served to give some of their younger rushers a look, which could lead to limited touches for Jackson—who isn't in a position to produce in the first place.

The Seahawks have allowed the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs this year. The first time Jackson faced the Seahawks this season he went for 55 yards on 18 carries, and he won't even be that successful this week. 

Verdict: Sit Him