Fantasy Football Week 17 Rankings: Final Season Position-by-Position Review

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Fantasy Football Week 17 Rankings: Final Season Position-by-Position Review
David Richard/Associated Press
Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge isn't a player to miss in Week 17.

The end of another fantasy season looms.

Not looms as in maybe the way relocation looms over certain franchises. Less dread. Looms as in franchises content with their fate already peeking at NFL draft boards.

Fantasy footballers can do the same if they aren't alive in the final week. For those who are, Week 17 provides a shot at glory and one last application of the skills that got them to this point.

Below, let's take a look at one final set of rankings based on matchups, trends and more before rankings morph into draft talk.

 

Quarterbacks

Rank Player
1 Cam Newton
2 Ben Roethlisberger
3 Eli Manning
4 Alex Smith
5 Tom Brady
6 Carson Palmer
7 Matt Ryan
8 Drew Brees
9 Russell Wilson
10 Aaron Rodgers
11 Blake Bortles
12 Brian Hoyer*
13 Matthew Stafford
14 Ryan Fitzpatrick

Author's projections. *If he plays.

It's not hard to see the who and why at the top of the quarterback list.

How about focusing on a star who doesn't get enough credit? Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs certainly qualifies. He's provided solid output all year, failing to reach double digits just once.

Smith has a juicy matchup this week against the Oakland Raiders, a team he torched for 24 points on the road back in Week 13. Little's changed since, with the Raiders still allowing the 10th-most points to the position, so owners shouldn't be shocked when Smith finishes with one of the top point totals.

How about a sleeper before the season ends? Look at Brian Hoyer of the Houston Texans, who coach Bill O'Brien says is good to go for the finale, according to the team on Twitter:

Hoyer was a quality streamer all season, posting seven double-digit outings while leaning on DeAndre Hopkins. He's already played the Jacksonville Jaguars once this year and posted 23 points.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, still allows the fourth-most points to the position and just gave up 412 passing yards, three scores and 28 points last week.

Those who for some reason need a quarterback, such as, say, Andy Dalton owners, don't need to look any further.

 

Running Backs

Rank Player
1 Devonta Freeman
2 DeAngelo Williams
3 Adrian Peterson
4 Todd Gurley*
5 Tim Hightower
6 David Johnson
7 Darren McFadden
8 Charcandrick West
9 Jonathan Stewart*
10 Jeremy Hill
11 Frank Gore
12 Matt Forte*
13 Karlos Williams
14 C.J. Anderson
15 Antonio Andrews
16 Jeremy Langford
17 Chris Ivory
18 Doug Martin
19 Lamar Miller
20 Rashad Jennings
21 Latavius Murray
22 Giovani Bernard
23 Eddie Lacy
24 Javorius Allen
25 Darren Sproles
26 Ronnie Hillman
27 Brandon Bolden
28 Denard Robinson
29 Danny Woodhead
30 DeMarco Murray

Author's projections. *If he plays.

The breakout year for Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman won't have any issues ending on a high note.

Freeman, after posting 15 and 14 points to end a rough streak over his past two outings, remains fantasy's highest-scoring back with Adrian Peterson right on his tail.

He shouldn't have any issues taking home first place, though, in large part thanks to a matchup with the New Orleans Saints. He blasted the unit on the road in Week 6 for 27 points and little has changed, with the Saints still allowing the third-most points to the position.

Antonio Andrews of the Tennessee Titans would be one of the top sleepers to know this week.

He's only posted four double-digit outings while battling with injuries and just nailing down the starting job in the mind of the coaching staff. But Andrews looks like the every-down starter now on a team needing to run often with Marcus Mariota out of the picture.

Andrews gets the Indianapolis Colts, one of the teams struggling the most against backs. He carried 12 times for 49 yards and a score for 11 points against the unit back in Week 3 and should see an even bigger usage rate this time out.

 

Wide Receivers

Rank Player
1 Antonio Brown
2 Odell Beckham Jr.
3 DeAndre Hopkins
4 Julio Jones
5 Calvin Johnson
6 A.J. Green
7 Brandon Marshall
8 Alshon Jeffery*
9 Michael Floyd
10 Ted Ginn
11 Eric Decker
12 Martavis Bryant
13 Mike Evans
14 Allen Robinson
15 Larry Fitzgerald
16 Jeremy Maclin
17 Jarvis Landry
18 Doug Baldwin
19 Michael Crabtree
20 Brandin Cooks
21 Julian Edelman*
22 Golden Tate
23 Sammy Watkins
24 Nate Washington
25 Travis Benjamin
26 Demaryius Thomas
27 Kamar Aiken
28 Jordan Matthews
29 Tavon Austin
30 Emmanuel Sanders
31 Anquan Boldin
32 Amari Cooper
33 Tyler Lockett
34 Willie Snead
35 John Brown

Author's projections. *If he plays.

How odd has wideout been this year? Ted Ginn of the Carolina Panthers qualifies as a top star. 

Ginn's been on absolute fire this year, and though he posted no points last week in the team's first loss, over the three games before that he posted two touchdowns in each.

Look for Ginn to get back on track this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The defense allows the 11th-most points to the position, and way back in Week 4, Ginn posted two touchdowns and 13 points on the unit.

It turns out the explosive outing wasn't a fluke.

For a sleeper, keep an eye on someone such as Marvin Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals. Even with AJ McCarron under center, Jones should have a big day while the Baltimore Ravens focus on shutting down A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.

The proof? Not only do the Ravens allow the fourth-most points to the position, but Jones exploded for 15 points against the unit in the same scenario in Week 3, the difference being this one comes at home.

 

Tight Ends

Rank Player
1 Rob Gronkowski
2 Gary Barnidge
3 Travis Kelce
4 Benjamin Watson
5 Delanie Walker
6 Greg Olsen
7 Antonio Gates
8 Julius Thomas
9 Heath Miller
10 Will Tye
11 Zach Miller
12 Zach Ertz

Author's projections. *If he plays.

If there was a Cleveland Browns player to know this season it was tight end Gary Barnidge.

Despite the situation, Barnidge posted eight trips to double digits on the season. He's been a tad quiet as of late, but an encounter with the Pittsburgh Steelers tends to do most players at his position some good.

Barnidge managed 12 points against the Steelers on the road in Week 10. Now he's at home and the Steelers still allow the eighth-most points to the spot, making Barnidge one of the surefire stars yet again.

Sometimes the best sleeper comes from the most unlikely places, like the self-destructing Philadelphia Eagles. Zach Ertz has just two trips to double digits this year, but both have come over the past two weeks to save one of the year's most disappointing fantasy campaigns.

Ertz looks to be a major part of the offense now just in time for a game against the New York Giants, the team allowing the second-most points to tight ends. Look for him to make it three in a row and give owners something to think about in next year's fantasy drafts.

 

Defense/Special Teams

Rank Unit
1 Broncos
2 Steelers
3 Rams
4 Cardinals
5 Chiefs
6 Panthers
7 Vikings
8 Ravens
9 Giants
10 Eagles

Author's projections.

With or without star defensive end Robert Quinn, the St. Louis Rams tend to hang around as one of the top-scoring units each week.

It's simply the franchise's strength right now. The unit has six showings of 12 or more points, two of which have come over its last three games.

Expect the positive trend to continue at the end of the season thanks to a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, an offense led by Blaine Gabbert.

Those 49ers allow the third-most points to opposing defenses this year and let St. Louis post 12 back in Week 8.

 

Kickers 

Rank Player
1 Brandon McManus
2 Stephen Gostkowski
3 Chandler Catanzaro
4 Cairo Santos
5 Graham Gano
6 Chris Boswell
7 Josh Brown
8 Steven Hauschka
9 Connor Barth
10 Robbie Gould

Author's projections.

Always a rough spot for owners to nail down, look for Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers to have a big day this weekend to cap a superb fantasy effort.

Boswell hit double digits seven times despite no points over the first four games of the season and has double digits in six of his last seven outings.

It's a cupcake this weekend for Boswell against the Browns, who cough up the sixth-most points to the position and let Boswell cruise to 10 points in their last encounter.

Expect Boswell to keep streaking and help his standing in fantasy drafts next year in a big way.

 

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as are points-against info and ownership stats as of January 1.

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