Fantasy Football Week 17: Matt Camp's Fantasy Big Board
The final week of the NFL season is typically rough for fantasy owners playing in championship games. Playing-time issues arise due to injuries and teams with no motivation to risk top players before the playoffs.
You'll have to navigate some of those concerns in Week 17.
The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys are locked into their respective seeds in the NFC. The Saints are the top seed and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, while the Cowboys are the No. 4 seed and will host a Wild Card Game. Even if they start, it's hard to expect a lot out of top fantasy options like Drew Brees, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Amari Cooper and Michael Thomas.
The Carolina Panthers are out of contention and are down to their third-string quarterback with Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke out for the season finale. Head coach Ron Rivera has hinted at using Week 17 to evaluate players, which could mean a lesser role for Christian McCaffrey.
There's good news if you have Patrick Mahomes or any Kansas City Chiefs in your starting lineup. Their loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16 means the Chiefs are still battling for the top seed in the AFC and could fall down to the fifth seed with a loss, so they have plenty of motivation to play hard Sunday.
Here’s the first look at points-per-reception (PPR) rankings for Week 17. These will change throughout the week and up to Sunday's action as we get more information about injuries and limitations, so make sure to bookmark this page for my full rankings for all scoring formats.
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I present my top 100 players (minus quarterbacks) for the week as a way to help determine your flex spots. You may favor a certain position or player over another based on his role and/or your scoring rules.
As an additional tiebreaker, here are the teams I like as a whole this week based on their matchups:
- Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Oakland Raiders)
- New England Patriots (vs. New York Jets)
- Los Angeles Chargers (at Denver Broncos)
- Seattle Seahawks (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
Week 17 Top 100 PPR Rankings
Better than Usual
Matt Ryan, ATL (at TB)
A lost season for the Falcons hasn't been a lost one for Ryan. He's quietly moved up to the No. 3 spot on the year at 21.7 fantasy points per game. In last week's win over the Carolina Panthers, Ryan posted a QB12 finish with 19.5 fantasy points thanks to 239 yards on 15-of-29 passing, three touchdowns and one lost fumble. There's a good chance he'll beat those numbers in Week 17.
Ryan faces a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that's been average against fantasy quarterbacks in the last month. For the season, Tampa Bay has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and the 10th-most passing yards per game (251.4). Without a concern about the matchup, you can use Ryan with top-five expectations this weekend.
Drew Brees, NO (vs. CAR)
Brees and the New Orleans Saints needed a comeback to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend, but even in the win, Brees was QB15 with 16.9 fantasy points. Over the last four weeks, he's averaging only 11.0 fantasy points, making him a major disappointment at the worst possible time. According to Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune, Brees said there's "no doubt" Teddy Bridgewater will get some playing time against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. With the Saints locked into the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Saints could limit Brees' snaps or not play him at all. You should steer clear of him.
Dak Prescott, DAL (at NYG)
Prescott has been a fringe starter in the last month with 15.3 fantasy points per game. Even with a prime home matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16, Prescott managed only 16.6 fantasy points and a QB16 finish.
The Dallas Cowboys hit the road to take on the New York Giants on Sunday, but with no way to improve on their standing as the fourth seed in the NFC, it doesn't make much sense to play Prescott for the entire game. He'll likely be limited in his action, which is enough reason to keep him out of your lineup.
Nick Foles, PHI (at WAS)
Foles was in the streamer conversation for Week 16, but how well he played was a surprise. The reigning Super Bowl MVP finished as the No. 3 quarterback for the week with 30.9 fantasy points by going 35-of-49 for 471 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. In his last two starts, Foles has 741 yards on 59-of-80 passing, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
With Carson Wentz still nursing a back injury, Foles will get another start in a must-win game for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Washington Redskins have been a below-average matchup for quarterbacks over the past month, although they faced the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants in the last three weeks. Wentz hung 306 yards, two scores and an interception on them back in Week 13. You can go back to Foles as a fantasy starter this week.
Week 17 Quarterback Rankings
|1||Patrick Mahomes (KC)|
|2||Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)|
|3||Aaron Rodgers (GB)|
|4||Andrew Luck (IND)|
|5||Matt Ryan (ATL)|
|6||Russell Wilson (SEA)|
|7||Deshaun Watson (HOU)|
|8||Philip Rivers (LAC)|
|9||Lamar Jackson (BAL)|
|10||Nick Foles (PHI)|
|11||Jared Goff (LAR)|
|12||Tom Brady (NE)|
|13||Jameis Winston (TB)|
|14||Kirk Cousins (MIN)|
|15||Sam Darnold (NYJ)|
|16||Josh Allen (BUF)|
|17||Mitch Trubisky (CHI)|
|18||Baker Mayfield (CLE)|
|19||Teddy Bridgewater (NO)|
|20||Derek Carr (OAK)|
|21||Matthew Stafford (DET)|
|22||Josh Johnson (WAS)|
|23||Nick Mullens (SF)|
|24||Case Keenum (DEN)|
|25||Eli Manning (NYG)|
|26||Dak Prescott (DAL)|
|27||Drew Brees (NO)|
|28||Ryan Tannehill (MIA)|
|29||Blaine Gabbert (TEN)|
|30||Jeff Driskel (CIN)|
|31||Blake Bortles (JAC)|
|32||Josh Rosen (ARI)|
|33||Kyle Allen (CAR)|
|34||Cooper Rush (DAL)|
Better Than Usual
Sony Michel, NE (vs. NYJ)
The New England Patriots ended their two-game losing streak by getting back to a rushing attack that's been one of the most consistent parts of their offense this season. That meant a heavy dose of Michel against the Buffalo Bills. He responded by rushing for 116 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, which made him the No. 11 running back for Week 16 with 17.6 fantasy points.
The last time Michel had 100 yards or a touchdown came in Week 12, when he rushed for 133 yards and a score on 21 attempts on the road against the New York Jets. On Sunday, the Patriots host the Jets with a chance to earn a first-round playoff bye. Logic says Michel should be in for another busy and productive afternoon, so start him with RB1 expectations.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR (at NO)
McCaffrey comes into Week 17 as the No. 1 fantasy running back with 380.5 fantasy points and 25.4 fantasy points per game. In Week 16, he set the record for most receptions by a running back in a season (106) and became only the third running back ever to have 100 receptions and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. In spite of that, the Carolina Panthers lost their seventh straight game and officially fell out of playoff contention.
The Week 17 B.S. Meter covered concern with McCaffrey's playing time based on head coach Ron Rivera's comments relating to evaluating players in an otherwise meaningless game. Nothing is set in stone with McCaffrey's role, but you should be aware of a possible limited snap count and workload for him.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, NO (vs. CAR)
Since Ingram returned from his four-game suspension in Week 5, Kamara has been the No. 5 fantasy running back while Ingram is RB20. In the last four weeks, Kamara is RB6 and Ingram is RB29. Even though Kamara has clearly been the better option, both players have been useful fantasy options and are important to the New Orleans Saints offense.
That's why New Orleans may limit how much those two play in Sunday's game with the Panthers. The Saints have no motivation to risk either back with the No. 1 seed already locked up following last week's win over the Steelers. Make alternate plans if Kamara and/or Ingram are regulars in your starting lineup.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (at NYG)
Elliott has been the busiest running back in the NFL this season. He leads the league in both rushing attempts (304) and rushing yards (1,434). He's also fifth amongst running backs and is tied for 20th overall with 77 receptions for 567 yards. There's no doubt he's the most important part of the Dallas Cowboys offense, so he may get some rest this weekend since Dallas is already set as the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Even though Elliott hasn't missed a game this season, he's been on the injury report with hip and shoulder issues. Don't expect him to do much, if anything, on Sunday.
Peyton Barber, TB (vs. ATL)
Barber has easily been the best of a bad backfield in Tampa Bay this season, especially since he's getting the majority of the volume with rookie Ronald Jones playing no role (zero carries in the last three weeks). In the right matchup, Barber has been a useful fantasy option, and he could be in line for one of those Sunday with the Buccaneers hosting the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have been an average matchup for running backs in the last four weeks, but on the season, they've allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (127.1). Barber had a productive game in the first meeting back in Week 6 with 13 carries for 82 yards and four receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown to give him 20.6 fantasy points and an RB9 finish. He's a sneaky play for the season finale in this rematch.
Week 17 Running Back PPR Rankings
Better Than Usual
Calvin Ridley, ATL (at TB)
Ridley has been better than expected as a rookie, although he's far from consistent. He has only five games with at least five receptions and five games with at least 60 yards. He's been able to make up for that inconsistency with nine touchdowns. Ridley wasn't busy in Week 16, but he was productive with three receptions on five targets for 90 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. He'll have a good chance to end his first year on a high note in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers have been a tougher matchup for wide receivers in the last four weeks, although those games came against the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. Ridley had only three receptions for 47 yards when these teams met back in the Falcons' Week 6 loss.
The Falcons have injury problems in the backfield, specifically Tevin Coleman's groin, so Ridley may get more targets as a result. He could be a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in Week 17.
Michael Thomas, NO (vs. CAR)
Heading into Week 17, Thomas leads the league with 120 receptions and is seventh with 1,376 receiving yards. He's been the only consistent, high-end option for New Orleans' passing game in both fantasy and reality. Since the Saints have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Thomas may not play much Sunday against the Panthers. He can't be counted on for his usual output.
Amari Cooper, DAL (at NYG)
Since debuting for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, Cooper is the No. 6 fantasy wide receiver with 152.4 fantasy points (19.1 fantasy points per game). In that stretch, he has 48 receptions on 65 targets for 694 yards and six touchdowns. Most importantly, the Cowboys are 6-2 since acquiring Cooper, and they secured the NFC East title with last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At 9-6, the Cowboys will be the No. 4 seed in the NFC, regardless of what happens in their Week 17 game against the Giants. That should be reason enough to rest star players like Cooper. Don't expect him to play anywhere near enough to be a useful fantasy option.
Tre'Quan Smith, NO (vs. CAR)
If the Saints decide to limit or rest their top players, Smith could be in line for a bigger role, and he'll still have a good quarterback throwing him the ball in Teddy Bridgewater. Smith has flashed this season, but he hasn't been involved on a regular basis. That's made him tough to trust for fantasy, although he's worth a look for Sunday's game with the Panthers.
Over the last four weeks, Carolina has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so this is a beatable matchup for Smith. Keep an eye on any potential hints from the team throughout the week as it relates to playing time. Smith's fantasy stock would rise if the Saints plan to rest top options like Michael Thomas.
Week 17 Wide Receiver PPR Rankings
Better Than Usual
Jared Cook, OAK (at KC)
When you rely on a player on a bad team, disappointment will come even if the matchup looks good. That happened to Cook in Week 16 when he managed only two receptions on three targets for 20 yards in what was one of his worst fantasy outings of the season. Luckily, he'll have a chance to bounce back in Week 17 when the Raiders try to play spoiler in Kansas City against the Chiefs.
When Cook last faced the Chiefs in Week 14, he turned eight targets into seven receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown in 40-33 loss. Over the last four games, which includes that Week 14 contest against the Raiders, the Chiefs have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends. Even though the Chiefs could be the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win, their defense is vulnerable, and Cook can take advantage of that for the second time this month.
Evan Engram, NYG (vs. DAL)
Odell Beckham Jr.'s absence hasn't been good for the New York Giants, but it has been good for Engram's fantasy value. With Beckham out for the last three games, Engram has 15 receptions for 239 yards on 23 targets. That includes six receptions on six targets for 87 yards in last week's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Engram is the No. 4 tight end over the last three weeks with 14.5 fantasy points per game.
Beckham continues to deal with his quad injury and is far from a lock to return to action for what will be a meaningless game for the Giants. It's also a meaningless game for the Cowboys, who are locked into the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Engram's increased role without Beckham has turned him back into a weekly starter, so you should use him with confidence in Week 17.
Chris Herndon, NYJ (at NE)
While far from consistent, Herndon has been a bright spot for the New York Jets in an otherwise disappointing season. Last week was Herndon's best game of the season with six receptions on seven targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. He was TE3 for Week 16 with 20.2 fantasy points. Since Week 9, Herndon is the No. 10 fantasy tight end with 65.3 fantasy points (9.3 fantasy points per game).
Coming off his best game of the season, Herndon and the Jets go on the road to take on the New England Patriots. Even though the Patriots have been the sixth-toughest matchup for tight ends in the last four weeks, they haven't faced any elite competition in the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. The Jets should keep Herndon busy in their last chance to evaluate him this year, which makes him a fine reach play Sunday.
Week 17 Tight End PPR Rankings
|1||Travis Kelce (KC)|
|2||Zach Ertz (PHI)|
|3||George Kittle (SF)|
|4||Jared Cook (OAK)|
|5||Evan Engram (NYG)|
|6||Rob Gronkowski (NE)|
|7||David Njoku (CLE)|
|8||Cameron Brate (TB)|
|9||Vance McDonald (PIT)|
|10||Austin Hooper (ATL)|
|11||Chris Herndon IV (NYJ)|
|12||Trey Burton (CHI)|
|13||C.J. Uzomah (CIN)|
|14||Kyle Rudolph (MIN)|
|15||Ian Thomas (CAR)|
|16||Gerald Everett (LAR)|
|17||Mark Andrews (BAL)|
|18||Jimmy Graham (GB)|
|19||Dallas Goedert (PHI)|
|20||Antonio Gates (LAC)|
|21||Nick Vannett (SEA)|
|22||Benjamin Watson (NO)|
|23||Anthony Firkser (TEN)|
|24||Jesse James (PIT)|
|25||Tyler Higbee (LAR)|
|26||Jordan Thomas (HOU)|
|27||Ed Dickson (SEA)|
|28||Blake Jarwin (DAL)|
|29||Ricky Seals-Jones (ARI)|
|30||Mo Alie-Cox (IND)|
Best Streaming Option
Indianapolis Colts (at TEN)
The Colts were a preferred option in Week 16 against the New York Giants, but they disappointed with only one interception and 27 points allowed in a squeaker of a victory. However, you should give them another look this weekend when they face the Tennessee Titans with a playoff spot on the line.
The Titans may not have Marcus Mariota available, as he continues to deal with effects of a stinger he suffered in Week 16. The Colts knocked Mariota out of their last matchup back in Week 11 and logged five sacks and two interceptions while limiting the Titans to only 10 points. If Mariota can't play, the Titans will turn to Blaine Gabbert, which would be a clear advantage for the Colts. Other than Derrick Henry, the Titans don't have any consistent options in their offense. Put your faith back in the Colts defense in Week 17 with this matchup looking favorable.
Ownership percentage: ESPN, 30.2; Yahoo, 53.0
Week 17 Defense Rankings
|1||Houston Texans (vs. JAC)|
|2||Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE)|
|3||Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)|
|4||Indianapolis Colts (at TEN)|
|5||Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)|
|6||New England Patriots (vs. NYJ)|
|7||Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CIN)|
|8||Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)|
|9||Chicago Bears (at MIN)|
|10||Los Angeles Chargers (at DEN)|
|11||Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA)|
|12||Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS)|
|13||Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)|
|14||Miami Dolphins (at BUF)|
|15||New York Giants (vs. DAL)|
|16||Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)|
|17||Dallas Cowboys (at NYG)|
|18||Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)|
|19||Tennessee Titans (vs. IND)|
|20||Cleveland Browns (at BAL)|
Best Streaming Option
Jake Elliott, PHI (at WAS)
The Philadelphia Eagles have come up with two big wins against the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans over the last two weeks to keep their playoff hopes alive heading into a Week 17 divisional matchup with the Washington Redskins. Elliott has connected on 14 of his 15 field-goal attempts in his last eight games, and he should have another busy outing in Sunday's must-win game. He's a likely top-10 kicker.
Ownership percentages: ESPN, 31.1; Yahoo, 53.0
Week 17 Kicker Rankings
|1||Harrison Butker (KC)|
|2||Greg Zuerlein (LAR)|
|3||Stephen Gostkowski (NE)|
|4||Justin Tucker (BAL)|
|5||Michael Badgley (LAC)|
|6||Mason Crosby (GB)|
|7||Ka'imi Fairbairn (HOU)|
|8||Matt Bryant (ATL)|
|9||Jake Elliott (PHI)|
|10||Wil Lutz (NO)|
|11||Sebastian Janikowski (SEA)|
|12||Aldrick Rosas (NYG)|
|13||Adam Vinatieri (IND)|
|14||Chris Boswell (PIT)|
|15||Dan Bailey (MIN)|
|16||Brandon McManus (DEN)|
|17||Steven Hauschka (BUF)|
|18||Brett Maher (DAL)|
|19||Greg Joseph (CLE)|
|20||Cody Parkey (CHI)|