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Fantasy Football Week 17: Final Rankings, Projections, Early Waiver-Wire Tips

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

Daniel Jones, quarterback de los Giants de Nueva York, lanza un pase en el partido ante los Redskins de Washington, el domingo 22 de diciembre de 2019 (AP Foto/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Week 17 can be the wild west of the fantasy football world. Not every league plays it, and those that do can't possibly predict it.

Teams might sit stars ahead of playoff runs, although there's plenty left to sort out, so there might be less shenanigans than usual. Even still, this is a week in which some teams take the extra cautious route with injuries while others throw caution to the wind.

It's a wild ride, and we're here to help you navigate it. We'll lay out our top-10 positional rankings at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, assuming for now that stars don't sit out the festivities. Then, we'll identify a waiver-wire target at each of those positions and project their Week 17 output.

                      

Positional Rankings for Week 17

Quarterback

1. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

8. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

9. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

10. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

                    

Running Back

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

3. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

5. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

7. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

8. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts

9. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

10. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

                    

Wide Receiver

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

5. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins

6. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

7. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

8. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

9. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

10. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

                      

Waiver-Wire Targets, Projections

QB: Daniel Jones, New York Giants (19 Percent Owned)

Daniel Jones returned in Week 16 and did what a streaming quarterback must do: pounce on a favorable matchup.

The Washington Redskins entered the contest as one of the more generous defenses to opposing passers, and Jones made them look the part. The rookie quarterback delivered a career-high five touchdown passes without a single interception, while hitting on 66.7 percent of his attempts for 352 yards.

"He did awesome," Giants tight end Kaden Smith told reporters. "... Everyone was confident in him, he was confident in himself and he just made all the right plays."

It probably won't be quite as simple next Sunday against the Eagles, who allow the 14th-fewest fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo Sports. But Jones is capable of engineering those outbursts (third game with at least four touchdowns and no picks), and his willingness to run (five games with 25-plus rushing yards) might raise his floor above the danger zone.

Projected stats: 225 passing yards, 18 rushing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions

                   

RB: Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (10 Percent Owned)

And in the 17th week of the 2019 NFL season, the fantasy football gods said, "Let there be Gus."

Baltimore's backup rusher is looking at a near-perfect storm for Week 17. The Ravens already have the AFC's top seed sewn up, so they're the likeliest team to sit their starters. That's almost the guaranteed treatment for Mark Ingram, who exited Sunday's win with a calf strain.

An involved Edwards could be a real difference-maker. Sunday marked his fifth time this season to top 50 rushing yards, even though it was only his third game with double-digit carries. He averages a healthy 5.2 yards per carry, and that matches his output from last season (when he played a more prominent role).

The Ravens are the NFL's run-heaviest team by a mile. But even by their standards, the weight of their Week 17 rushing attack could be extreme with Robert Griffin III potentially starting in Lamar Jackson's place.

Edwards' opportunity is so sweet that he's the priority target at the position even against a stingy Steelers defense.

Projected stats: 87 rushing yards, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

                      

WR: Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (41 Percent Owned)

When perusing the waiver wire, Cole Beasley's name is too easy to gloss over. He seems like the classically boring combination of a limited ceiling but a higher floor than most streamers.

That's true to an extent. He's one of Josh Allen's favorite targets, but Beasley is more of a chain-mover than a field-stretcher. He can find soft spots in the defense, just don't expect him to take the top off of it.

In all honesty, though, he's more volatile than you think—in a good way. Saturday marked his second 100-yard effort in four weeks. It was his sixth game this season with more than 70 receiving yards. He has six touchdowns in the campaign, courtesy of two separate three-game scoring streaks. Altogether, he's kept busy enough to be this season's WR23, per NFL.com.

Beasley is more flashy than you think, and that should be especially true in Week 17, when he goes against a Jets defense allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Projected stats: 7 receptions, 82 yards, 1 touchdown

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