Todd Gurley's playoff run was out of this world. And just think, he was a late second-round ADP player in the preseason.
For those still playing in week 17, Gurley is an attractive option as the No. 1 overall running back once again. He's an every-down back with a re-energized passing game. And the last time he squared off against San Francisco, he only had his third-highest fantasy point total.
As we look ahead, the 2018 fantasy football draft is far more intriguing than the 2017 one. We debated for weeks about only two running backs atop the list in 2017. In 2018, that will be a far different story, with a handful of running backs vying for that top spot. That will be discussed more next month. For now, here's the week 17 running backs start 'em, sit 'em guide in fantasy football.
Kenyan Drake vs. Buffalo Bills
Drake disappointed in week 16, but he should get back on track in week 17 against a Bills team surprisingly terrible against the run. It showed horribly in week 16 against New England, and it's been that way for the majority of the season.
Buffalo gives up the most fantasy points per game to running backs and they give up the third-most rushing yards per game in the NFL. That's a bad combination against a team desperate to run the football. And while Drake was ineffective in week 16 against Kansas City, that isn't entirely his fault. The game flow didn't work in his favor, so week 17 should offer a closer contest.
When given the opportunity to run, Drake has produced for Miami. He has more than 100 total yards in three of the last four games, so I'll trust him in week 17 against Buffalo's terrible rush defense.
Alex Collins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
He hasn't been good in recent weeks. Past production isn't always the greatest barometer of future success.
Collins is still getting plenty of volume in an offense that is committed to running the football. He's dipped below 15 carries only once in the last six games, with 18 carries in the week 16 win against Indianapolis. He's not running for a solid yards per carry anymore, but that doesn't worry me with all the volume he's seeing.
And against the Bengals, that volume should turn into solid production. The Bengals give up the second-most fantasy points per game against running backs and allow 128 yards per game on the ground, the second-worst mark in the NFL.
That should give Collins an opportunity to put up at least RB2 points this week after a slow few weeks.
Frank Gore vs. Houston Texans
It will be a volume-heavy day for Gore in a game that I don't believe Houston will show up for. And if I know much about the Colts, they'll show up for this week 17 matchup at home.
Even with the Texans being terrible against the pass, Gore will get carries, which should lead to fantasy points. He has at least 17 carries in five of the last seven games. He's not turning in touchdowns, but I won't ignore that kind of volume.
In the last three weeks, the Texans have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game in the NFL. That should open up some lanes for Gore, who is consistently a monster in the carry department.
You can trust Gore this week, especially with Houston likely failing to show up in week 17.
Carlos Hyde vs. Los Angeles Rams
Hyde is getting carries, but he's not seeing the production we saw earlier this season.
He has less than 70 total yards in three of the past five games. And while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has showcased his skills, Hyde has taken a backseat, even to Matt Breida, who is looking more efficient than Hyde in both phases of the game.
The Rams haven't been great against the run, but I don't trust Hyde at this point of the season. Breida is looking like more of a weapon out of the backfield, and there could be some concern that since Hyde may not come back in 2018, the 49ers could be looking to the future in week 17.
Jordan Howard vs. Minnesota Vikings
Howard owners have to be thankful for touchdowns. Howard totaled just 44 total yards in week 16, but scored two touchdowns, putting him in the top-10 among running backs in fantasy scoring.
For all the quality production Howard has had at times this season, he's been inconsistent. Since week 10, he has three double-digit fantasy weeks, with four single-digit efforts.
This week will be another one of those efforts.
The Vikings are the best team against running backs in fantasy football. And the game flow of this contest won't be desirable for Howard owners. The Vikings will build an early lead and will force the Bears out of the running game.
Seattle RBs vs. Arizona Cardinals
No matter who has been Seattle's running back this season, they haven't produced in fantasy football. And even if you believe you're going to get volume out of Mike Davis, or whoever will line up for the Seahawks in the backfield, it won't be enough against Arizona.
The Cardinals have been the best defense against the run in recent weeks, giving up just 46 yards per game in the last three games.
That will continue this week with Seattle not able to get any sort of running game going in 2017. That's something to keep an eye on going forward into 2018, when looking not only at the running backs, but also at quarterback Russell Wilson.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH