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

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2022

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

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    San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey
    San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffreyLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    One NFL game is in the books for Week 17, and it may have left a few fantasy managers in a hole. Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry both missed Thursday night's game, while Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb went off (11 catches, 100 yards).

    The good news is that 15 games remain with which managers can make up ground. To win a championship, though, managers must start the right players the rest of the way.

    Below, you'll find a look at our full rankings, along with a deeper dive into the key positions—quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end.

    All rankings are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.


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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesDavid Eulitt/Getty Images

    1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

    3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

    4. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

    5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

    6. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

    7. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

    8. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

    9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    10. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

    11. Gardner Minshew II, Philadelphia Eagles

    12. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes tops our rankings, which shouldn't come as a surprise. Though the Denver Broncos do have a good defense, Mahomes knows them well and tends to overcome.

    Though he tossed three interceptions in the first meeting, Mahomes also threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has an ideal matchup this week, placing the dangerous dual-threat in the No. 2 spot. He'll battle a Detroit Lions team that has allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs than any other team this season.

    Expect Fields to chew up yards on the ground while doing his fair share of damage through the air. In the first meeting of 2022, Fields finished with 167 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 147 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

    On the sleeper front, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy represents a solid play and a potential waiver-wire target. He's thrown two touchdowns in each of his four games this season, faces a Las Vegas Raiders team that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and is widely available in most leagues.

    Purdy is still only rostered in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues and 35 percent of ESPN leagues.

    Gardner Minshew II makes our list, as Philadelphia Eagles starter Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is doubtful against the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans has a solid secondary, but Minshew will still get to throw to the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (knee) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) are also out this week.

Running Back

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    Giants RB Saquon Barkley
    Giants RB Saquon BarkleyNick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    1. Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

    2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

    3. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

    4. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

    5. Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

    6. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

    7. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

    8. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

    9. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

    10. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

    11. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

    12. Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders

    13. Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs

    14. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

    15. Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks

    16. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

    17. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    18. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

    19. Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

    20. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

    21. AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers

    22. Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons

    23. Zonovan Knight, New York Jets

    24. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

    25. Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos

    The Raiders have also been susceptible to the run this season and have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. This is part of the reason that dynamic 49ers back Christian McCaffrey tops our rankings.

    The other reason? The Raiders have decided to bench starting quarterback Derek Carr for the remainder of the season. Jarret Stidham is unlikely to provide the offense with a spark, and there's a real chance that San Francisco gets up early. That could mean a lot of ground work for McCaffrey—until San Francisco decides to pull him in order to avoid injury.

    New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is a very close No. 2, though, and it should surprise no one if he finishes ahead of McCaffrey in fantasy points. The Indianapolis Colts have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs, and the Giants have plenty to play for in Week 17.

    The Giants are one win away from securing a playoff berth.

    Atlanta Falcons back Tyler Allgeier cracks our top 25, and like Purdy, he may be available on the wire still. The rookie is rostered in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues and 60 percent of ESPN leagues and will face a suspect Arizona Cardinals run defense.

    Arizona has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs.

    Managers should also be cautious and monitor injury situations heading into Sunday. We've already seen Pollard and Henry miss starts. Running backs who are questionable this week include Rhamondre Stevenson of the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III and Raiders rookie Zamir White.

    The Washington Commanders have ruled out Antonio Gibson (foot/knee), which sets the stage for a big performance by Brian Robinson Jr. The Cleveland Browns have allowed the third-most fantasy points to RBs this season.

Wide Receiver

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    Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase
    Bengals WR Ja'Marr ChaseNick Grace/Getty Images

    1. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

    2. Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

    3. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

    4. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

    5. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

    6. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

    7. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

    8. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

    9. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

    10. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

    11. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

    12. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

    13. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    14. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

    15. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

    16. Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders

    17. Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders

    18. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    19. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

    20. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs

    21. Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns

    22. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

    23. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

    24. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

    25. Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills

    Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson tops our list because, well, he's Justin Jefferson. Though the Green Bay Packers have a good secondary, Jefferson's floor is simply too high to ignore.

    When the Packers and Vikings faced off in Week 1, Jefferson logged nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

    Don't be shocked, though, if Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja'Marr Chase actually leads this week in fantasy points. The Bengals battle the Buffalo Bills on Monday in what could be a preview of the AFC title game.

    The Bills have a strong defense but haven't exactly shut down opposing receivers. Buffalo has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points (tied) to opposing wideouts in 2022. With plenty of back-and-forth between Josh Allen and Joe Burrow expected, Chase should shine.

    Managers needing a fill-in should race to claim Washington wideout Jahan Dotson. The rookie is still only rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues and 41 percent of ESPN leagues despite being on a fantasy tear.

    Dotson has caught touchdown passes in each of the last three weeks and has averaged five receptions and 78 receiving yards in that span.

    49ers star receiver/runner Deebo Samuel won't be back to face the Raiders. However, he could return from his ankle injury for the season finale.

    "We'll see how practice goes," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said, per David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone.

    Along with Samuel, Patriots wideout DeVante Parker will miss Week 17. Other injuries to monitor include those of Christian Watson, Marquise Goodwin, DeAndre Hopkins, Chase Claypool, Chris Olave and Julio Jones—all of whom are questionable.

Tight End

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    Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
    Chiefs TE Travis KelceLeslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

    3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

    4. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

    5. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

    6. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

    7. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

    8. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

    9. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

    10. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

    11. Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

    12. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

    Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Mark Andrews are all must-start tight ends in Week 17. However, Kelce has the matchup needed to lead teams to a fantasy championship.

    The Broncos have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing TEs, and Kelce remains Mahomes' No. 1 target. While Kelce had a modest (for him) four catches and 71 yards the last time these two teams faced off, but he should be even more involved this time around.

    This is a must-win game for the Chiefs. They share the AFC's best record with Buffalo, but the Bills own the head-to-head tiebreaker. A loss here could potentially eliminate Kansas City from the race for the No. 1 seed.

    Bears tight end Cole Kmet is a sneaky-good play in Week 17. While he isn't on Kelce's level overall, he could put up similar numbers against the Lions—who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing TEs.

    When Kmet last faced Detroit, he caught four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.

    New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin—who is rostered in is rostered in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues and 37 percent of ESPN leagues—tops the waiver list this week. While he isn't a big contributor to the Jets offense, he does have a juicy matchup against Seattle.

    No one has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Seahawks.

    Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury this week, and New England will be without Jonnu Smith. Fellow Patriots tight end Hunter Henry and Rams tight end Tyler Higbee are questionable.

Kicker and Defense/Special Teams Rankings

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    49ers edge-rusher Nick Bosa
    49ers edge-rusher Nick BosaLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images


    1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

    2. Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills

    3. Cameron Dicker, Los Angeles Chargers

    4. Riley Patterson, Jacksonville Jaguars

    5. Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons

    6. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles

    7. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers

    8. Matt Gay, Los Angeles Rams

    9. Chase McLaughlin, Indianapolis Colts

    10. Graham Gano, New York Giants

    Defense/Special Teams

    1. San Francisco 49ers

    2. Philadelphia Eagles

    3. Baltimore Ravens

    4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    5. New York Giants

    6. Los Angeles Chargers

    7. Jacksonville Jaguars

    8. Cleveland Browns

    9. Washington Commanders

    10. Kansas City Chiefs

    *Fantasy roster and scoring information via FantasyPros.