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

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2019

Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22 runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Although some fantasy football leagues have already held their championship, Week 17 is the conclusion of the 2019 season for many others.

The difficulty of the final regular-season week is working around known absences, such as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson or running back Mark Ingram II.

How much the dreaded "he'll start but might sit early" discussion will affect Sunday's action is a lingering question, though. NFC home-field advantage and a total of three first-round byes remain unclaimed, but the Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans may all rest some players.

Our rankings are based on the expectation that, unless otherwise reported, if someone is active, he's playing the entire game. The scoring format is PPR (points per reception).

           

Quarterback

1. Patrick Mahomes, KC (vs. LAC)
2. Jameis Winston, TB (vs. ATL)
3. Drew Brees, NO (at CAR)
4. Matt Ryan, ATL (at TB)
5. Dak Prescott, DAL (vs. WAS)
6. Ryan Tannehill, TEN (at HOU)
7. Carson Wentz, PHI (at NYG)
8. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SF)
9. Aaron Rodgers, GB (at DET)
10. Deshaun Watson, HOU (vs. TEN)

Deshaun Watson is a big question mark.

Because the Houston Texans play in the late-afternoon window, they might already be locked into the AFC's No. 4 seed. If the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Los Angeles Chargers earlier in the day, Houston will know it cannot rise.

If that's the case, will they bother playing Watson, who's missed practice time because of a back issue? Texans coach Bill O'Brien didn't provide much help.

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Bill O'Brien on resting starters if game doesn't affect seeding: 'Anytime we take the field, based on what we're all about, we're about trying to win'

Climbing to No. 3 in the standings means avoiding any possibility of meeting the Baltimore Ravens until the AFC Championship Game. The Texans lost to Baltimore 41-7 but toppled the New England Patriots 28-22 during the regular season.

Should the Chiefs win, having a backup plan to replace Watson in your fantasy lineup is a smart idea.

         

Running Back

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (vs. NO)
2. Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. PHI)
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. WAS)
4. Derrick Henry, TEN (at HOU)
5. Nick Chubb, CLE (at CIN)
6. Aaron Jones, GB (at DET)
7. Miles Sanders, PHI (at NYG)
8. Marlon Mack, IND (at JAC)
9. Alvin Kamara, NO (at CAR)
10. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. CLE)
11. Kenyan Drake, ARI (at LAR)
12. Le'Veon Bell, NYJ (at BUF)
13. Melvin Gordon, LAC (at KC)
14. Leonard Fournette, JAC (vs. IND)
15. Sony Michel, NE (vs, MIA)
16. Austin Ekeler, LAC (at KC)
17. Phillip Lindsay, DEN (vs. OAK)
18. Gus Edwards, BAL (vs. PIT)
19. Kareem Hunt, CLE (at CIN)
20. Todd Gurley II, LAR (vs. ARI)

Despite having a chance at reaching 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards, Christian McCaffrey isn't focused on the numbers.

"Winning is the only thing that matters. That's all I care about," he said, per ESPN's David Newton. "Individual statistics get highlighted in today's society because of fantasy football, because of gambling, because of all this other stuff."

He's right. He's a fantasy superstar anyway.

Ryan McDowell @RyanMc23

Last year, Christian McCaffrey became the 4th RB to catch 100 balls, setting the record with 107. He broke that this season with 109. CMC-109 CMC-107 Forte-102 Centers-101 Tomlinson-100

Given that McCaffrey enters the weekend with 387 touches and the Carolina Panthers can't make the playoffs, a lower workload would be reasonable. That won't be the case, interim coach Perry Fewell said, per Zach Goins of the team's official site.

McCaffrey has carried both the Panthers and fantasy teams all season, and it's not about to change in Week 17.

         

Wide Receiver

1. Julio Jones, ATL (at TB)
2. Michael Thomas, NO (at CAR)
3. Davante Adams, GB (at DET)
4. Allen Robinson, CHI (at MIN)
5. A.J. Brown, TEN (at HOU)
6. Tyreek Hill, KC (vs. LAC)
7. Kenny Golladay, DET (vs. GB)
8. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. TEN)
9. Breshad Perriman, TB (vs. ATL)
10. Courtland Sutton, DEN (vs. OAK)
11. Robert Woods, LAR (vs. ARI)
12. Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. CLE)
13. Devante Parker, MIA (at NE)
14. Amari Cooper, DAL (vs. WAS)
15. Julian Edelman, NE (vs. MIA)
16. Keenan Allen, LAC (at KC)
17. Jarvis Landry, CLE (at CIN)
18. Tyler Lockett, SEA (vs. SF)
19. Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs. PHI)
20. Emmanuel Sanders, SF (at SEA)

Not only did a midseason switch from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill spark the Tennessee Titans as a team, it helped rookie A.J. Brown emerge as a big-play weapon.

Heading into Week 17, the Ole Miss product has scored five touchdowns in the last five games. During that stretch, he's surpassed the 100-yard mark on three occasionsincluding a 114-yard effort against the Texans two weeks ago.

Context only helps Brown's outlook for Sunday.

The Titans can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, so an aggressive offensive plan is likely. Plus, the Texans may rest some starters, potentially easing Brown's matchup.

Brown is still working through the inconsistency that often follows rookies, but he's a worthy top play in Week 17.

         

Tight End

1. George Kittle, SF (at SEA)
2. Travis Kelce, KC (vs. LAC)
3. Tyler Higbee, LAR (vs. ARI)
4. Dallas Goedert, PHI (at NYG)
5. Austin Hooper, ATL (at TB)
6. Darren Waller, OAK (at DEN)
7. Hunter Henry, LAC (at KC)
8. Jared Cook, NO (at CAR)
9. Jacob Hollister, SEA (vs. SF)
10. Mike Gesicki, MIA (at NE)

Because the Los Angeles Rams are no longer in playoff contention, Tyler Higbee hasn't attracted many headlines nationally.

But he's demanded the attention of defensive coordinators.

Heading into December, Higbee had mustered 26 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown this season. During this month alone, he's exploded with four straight 100-yard games, totaling 438 yards and one score on 35 catches.

The late-season breakout star will challenge an Arizona Cardinals defense that has allowed the most yards (1,062) and touchdowns (15) to opposing tight ends in 2019.

         

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.