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Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings - The Blueprint

Dec 29th 2022

Hayden Winks

Every site has a fantasy football rankings column. None of them will be as charted up on a Thursday afternoon up as this one. I'll go position-by-position with the charts, matchup notes, film, and injury nuggets that I view as worth your time.

Week 17 QB Rankings

1. Josh Allen - Bills @ CIN (25.25 team total, -1.0 spread)

Even against a very well-coached defense on the road, the Bills are fifth in implied points in a game with the second-highest total on the week. Allen hasn't been the same passer behind a worse OL (pay attention to C Mitch Morse's concussion), but he's averaging more carries and rushing yards this year to keep him in the QB1 overall discussion. When dual threat QBs are in must win games, they run more. Buffalo needs to win to stay ahead of the Chiefs in the first seed race.

2. Patrick Mahomes - Chiefs vs. DEN (28.75, -12.5)

The Broncos defense threw in the towel in Week 16, and Mahomes is on a mission for another MVP. Let's ride. Kansas City is first in implied points this week.

3. Justin Fields - Bears @ DET (23.25, +6.0)

Since the bye, Fields has had 8 and 3 designed QB runs (my indication of Fields' fantasy ceiling chances and the tank rating for the Bears in general). It looks like Fields is not being held back much right now, and the Bears' respectable 23.0-point team total reflects that. Detroit just allowed 320 rushing yards to the Panthers last week, so this looks like a bounce back spot for Fields even if Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool (questionable) are injured.

4. Joe Burrow - Bengals vs. BUF (24.25, +1.0)

The EDGE Von Miller and RT La'El Collins ACL injuries are a wash, and there's fair weather on Monday Night Football. We're getting a great game here. As for the matchup, Burrow will face a lot of two-high zone looks with few blitzes against the Bills most likely, but he's 5th in success rate and 1st in total yards against those looks, as most of the league defends Cincy this way regardless.

5. Dak Prescott - Cowboys @ TEN (27.0, -13.5)

The Titans are the most injured team in the NFL, on both sides of the ball right now. Plus, Tennessee only clinches the playoffs with a Week 18 win, so they're incentivized to rest up in Week 17. And they are. Prescott, coming off a (another) ludicrous game, should do whatever he wants on Thursday Night Football. In normal circumstances, offenses facing the Titans are choosing to pass in neutral situations at the league's highest rate. Dallas, meanwhile, is mid-pack in neutral pass rate over the last month with the ground game firing.

6. Jared Goff - Lions vs. CHI (29.25, -6.0)

The Lions have the second-highest team total of the week (29.0), and it's 3.25 points higher than the third-highest team. The tanking Bears defense has nothing to play for and has lost LB1 Roquan Smith (trade), EDGE1 Robert Quinn (trade), CB1 Jaylon Johnson (IR), S1 Eddie Jackson (IR), and CB2 Kindle Vildor (IR). Since those two trades in Week 7/8, the Bears defense is 32nd in success rate, 32nd in EPA/play, 32nd in passing EPA, and 26th in rushing EPA allowed.

7. Justin Herbert - Chargers vs. LAR (24.5, -6.5)

His EPA/attempt climbs from -0.04 to +0.12 with stud C Corey Linsley on the field per SIS on a sample of over 244 plays each way. Similar splits exist with Keenan Allen, too.

8. Trevor Lawrence - Jaguars @ HOU (23.0, -3.0)

INCENTIVES: The Week 18 game between the Titans and Jaguars will dictate who wins the AFC South, so Trevor Lawrence and the starters could not play the entire game in preparation for the win-and-in game next week. But I think they will play because they'd still have an 8% chance at a wild card spot if they win this week and lose next week.

9. Aaron Rodgers - Packers vs. MIN (25.5, -3.0)

Minnesota has been getting shredded through the air, leading to a No. 28 ranking against fantasy QBs. Rodgers hasn't been able to crack the fantasy QB1 tier all year, however, with Green Bay ranking 21st in neutral pass rate and 29th in neutral pace. He could be without big play threat Christian Watson (DNP Wednesday), but this is a must-win home game in December, where Rodgers/LaFleur has never lost.

10. Daniel Jones - Giants vs. IND (22.25, -5.5)

11. Tom Brady - Bucs vs. CAR (22.25, -4.0)

It's too early to tell who actual plays, but LT Donovan Smith (limited x3), RT Tristan Wirfs (full on Friday), and C Ryan Jansen (eligible to come off IR) were all at practice this week, while Panthers CB Jaycee Horn (wrist) is out. This game more-or-less dictates who wins the NFC South.

12. Kirk Cousins - Vikings @ GB (22.5, +3.0)

INCENTIVES: The Vikings would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general... As for the matchup, offenses facing the Packers choose to run in neutral situations at the third-highest rate, which has helped Green Bay be the No. 8 fantasy QB defense. This is a below-average outside matchup, but T.J. Hockenson has unlocked the pass-game upside for the Vikings with Justin Jefferson playing like the most valuable non-QB in the NFL.

13. Gardner Minshew - Eagles vs. NO (23.5, -5.5)

The Eagles clinch the first seed with a win and beating the Saints (their 2022 NFL Draft trade partner) helps the Eagles' 2023 NFL Draft order, so starters (aside from Jalen Hurtswill very likely be playing.

14. Brock Purdy - 49ers @ LV (26.0, -9.5)

INCENTIVES: The 49ers would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

15. Geno Smith - Seahawks vs. NYJ (20.5, +1.5)

The Seahawks' young OL has been acting up, and this is a matchup that could be exposed against the Jets' No. 10 adjusted sack rate defense. Sauce Gardner will be on DK Metcalf, while Tyler Lockett (finger) at least attempts a come back. Smith's can get hot at any time (he's simply good enough to do so), but this is a tough environment, even at home. Seattle is 19th in team total this week for these reasons.

16. Mike White - Jets @ SEA (22.0, -1.5)

The Jets offense can play in rhythm again with Mike White (ribs) back as starter. He avoids pressure at a much higher clip and is more accurate, leading to 0.8 more yards per attempt for the Jets pass game per SIS. A road contest isn't ideal, but the Seahawks defense (particularly on the ground) has collapsed and is 23rd against fantasy QBs. This is a must-win game for both teams.

17. Teddy Bridgewater - Dolphins @ NE (19.25, +2.5)

Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) is likely out after reporting symptoms on Monday following a first-half hit from last Sunday. That would be his second reported concussion of the year (read: third actual concussion) and could result in another multi-week absence despite the Dolphins playoff odds dropping on this 4-game losing streak. Teddy Bridgewater should expect a very physical defense to continue throwing off the timing of the Dolphins fast but slender WRs. It's a matchup of size (Pats) vs. speed (Phins) playing in 50-degree New England weather, but Bridgewater at least has averaged 8.7 YPA this year (compared to Tua's 8.9).

18. Carson Wentz - Commanders vs. CLE (21.5, -2.0)

The Commanders neutral pass rate with Carson Wentz (52%, 15th) was much higher than it was with Taylor Heinicke (35%, 32nd). Wentz is a better QB and definitely a better passer than Heinicke in my opinion, so the pass-game upside is higher now, especially with Jahan Dotson balling in his Post-Bye Rookie Bump. The matchup issue this week is offenses facing the Browns have attacked them on the ground, where they're 32nd in rushing EPA allowed. This is a must-win home game for the Commanders.

19. Deshaun Watson - Browns @ WAS (19.5, +2.0)

20. Desmond Ridder - Falcons vs. ARI (23.5, -6.0)

The Cardinals season is over, and their defense is falling apart, with Byron Murphy and Budda Baker going to injured reserve.

21. Mac Jones - Patriots vs. DEN (21.75, -2.5)

22. Tyler Huntley - Ravens vs. PIT (18.75, -2.5)

23. Sam Darnold - Panthers @ TB (18.25, +4.0)

24. Kenny Pickett - Steelers @ BAL (16.25, +2.5)

25. Josh Dobbs - Titans vs. DAL (13.5, +13.5)

Lowest team total of the week.

26. Davis Mills - Texans vs. JAX (20.0, +3.0)

29. Russell Wilson - Broncos @ KC (16.25, +12.5)

27. Baker Mayfield - Rams @ LAC (18.0, +6.5)

28. Andy Dalton - Saints @ PHI (18.0, +5.5)

Chris Olave is back.

30. David Blough - Cardinals @ ATL (17.5, +6.0)

31. Jarrett Stidham - Raiders vs. SF (16.5, +9.5)

32. Nick Foles - Colts @ NYG (16.75, +5.5)

Week 17 RB Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Christian McCaffrey - INCENTIVES: The 49ers would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

  2. Saquon Barkley

  3. Austin Ekeler (Questionable) - He banged up his knee late last week and popped on the injury report on Wednesday. If Ekeler needs to rest with the Chargers already playoffs clinched, Joshua Kelley would be the top RB. He's a must add right now.

  4. Ezekiel Elliott - League winner if Tony Pollard (DNPx3) misses, and his status is "in doubt" per ESPN. He's traveling but needs a pre-game workout to solidify his status. The Cowboys are 1st in team RB fantasy usage over the last month, 3rd in team total this week (26.5), and 1st in point spread (-13.0).

  5. James Conner - I'm the only one tweeting positive things about the RB who is averaging 19.1 half PPR points over their last six games on rare snap rates. Conner haters in shambles again.

  6. Joe Mixon - The Bengals are 4th in run rate against light boxes, and the Bills defense is light in the box at the 10th-highest rate. A high-scoring home game with an even RB matchup has the setup for a Mixon ceiling game.

  7. Travis Etienne - One of the biggest positive regression candidates of the week, Etienne goes from RB32 in production over the last month to 4-point favorites against the No. 32 defense vs. fantasy RBs. The Jaguars boost their wild card odds with a win and are a young team that needs more reps, so there is reason to play in Week 17.

  8. Dalvin Cook - INCENTIVES: The Vikings would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1pm EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

  9. Kenneth Walker - Even while losing after not practicing much, Walker saw a big Week 16 workload. They'll need him again in a must-win game.

  10. Nick Chubb - The Browns activated RB John Kelley off the practice squad, a potential signal that the Browns make soon-to-be free agent Hunt a healthy scratch now that Cleveland has been eliminated from the playoffs.

  11. Miles Sanders

  12. Brian Robinson - Antonio Gibson (foot, knee) is out, and this is an "eruption spot" against the league's worst rushing EPA defense. Washington's team total (21.25) is higher than usual ... because Wentz is better than Heinicke imo.

  13. Rhamondre Stevenson (Questionable) - He was limited all week again, but the difference this week is the return of Damien Harris, who was left off the injury report after getting in a full practice.

  14. D'Andre Swift - See RB15 Jamaal Williams, noting that Justin Jackson (hip) was added to the injury report on Friday and is listed as questionable.

  15. Tyler Allgeier - An "eruption spot" at home against the Cardinals on paper. After being eliminated from the playoffs, Atlanta has given Allgeier a bigger share of the work than 31-year-old cut candidate Cordarrelle Patterson.

  16. Jamaal Williams - The Lions' 29.0-point team total is the second-highest on the week. It's time for some end zone gyrations from our late-round best ball king. The Bears are 26th in rushing EPA allowed since trading their two best front-seven defenders in Week 7/8.

  17. David Montgomery

  18. Josh Jacobs - It'll be much harder to reach the end zone with Jarrett Stidham playing over Derek Carr, who was benched to ensure his 2023 injury guarantees wouldn't lock in meaningless 2022 games. Jacobs doesn't have future guarantees, so he should play as normal.

  19. Aaron Jones (Questionable) - He was limited all week with knee and ankle injuries. This is a must-win game for the Packers, so Jones will give it a go, but there is downside risk here. He was able to play through his ailments (sparingly) last week:

  20. Jerick McKinnon

  21. AJ Dillon - See RB19 Aaron Jones.

  22. Leonard Fournette - He's playing through a lisfranc injury, but this is a must-win game and Fournette played more than usual in Week 16.

  23. Cam Akers - He's been "the RB you need" in best ball tournaments, and the hot hand continues against the No. 29 rushing EPA defense.

  24. Najee Harris

  25. Isiah Pacheco

  26. Alvin Kamara (Questionable) - Something is up after two DNPs (personal), but he returned on Friday for a full practice. Kamara has lost critical passing down snaps because of pass protection this year.

  27. Devin Singletary

  28. Rachaad White

  29. Zack Moss

  30. D'Onta Foreman

  31. Zonovan Knight

  32. Cordarrelle Patterson - See RB16 Tyler Allgeier.

  33. J.K. Dobbins - See RB34 Gus Edwards.

  34. Gus Edwards - The Ravens have a playoff spot already, so why keep banging the battling JK Dobbins in nearly meaningless games?

  35. Latavius Murray

  36. Hassan Haskins - INCENTIVES: The Week 18 game between the Titans and Jaguars will dictate who wins the AFC South, so Derrick Henry and many starters will not play this week in preparation for the win-and-in game next week. Rookie Hassan Haskins is in line for snaps as the only non-Henry RB to play snaps in the last two weeks, though the Titans are projected for the fewest points on the week (15.0).

  37. Jeff Wilson

  38. Raheem Mostert

  39. James Cook

  40. Chuba Hubbard

  41. Royce Freeman

  42. Michael Carter

  43. Khalil Herbert

  44. Samaje Perine

  45. Kareem Hunt (Questionable) - The Browns activated RB John Kelley off the practice squad, a potential signal that the Browns make soon-to-be free agent Hunt a healthy scratch now that Cleveland has been eliminated from the playoffs.

Week 17 WR Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Justin Jefferson - INCENTIVES: The Vikings would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, especially Jefferson who needs 244 more receiving yards to reach 2,000 on the year. He's the OPOY by a landslide to me.

  2. Amon-Ra St. Brown - Since Week 9, the Bears defense is 32nd in passing EPA allowed, while losing LB1 Roquan Smith (trade), EDGE1 Robert Quinn (trade), CB1 Jaylon Johnson (IR), S1 Eddie Jackson (IR), and CB2 Kindle Vildor (IR). Detroit is 2nd in team total this week in a must-win home game.

  3. Ja'Marr Chase

  4. Stefon Diggs - No CB1 Chidobe Awuzie for the Bengals.

  5. Tyreek Hill - No Tua Tagovailoa (concussion), but the Patriots are at least missing CB Jack Jones (knee) and CB Marcus Jones (concussion). Even CB Jalen Mills (questionable) went DNP-DNP-limited in practice.

  6. CeeDee Lamb - TEN entire defense is on injured reserve.

  7. A.J. Brown

  8. Tee Higgins

  9. Garrett Wilson - Averaging 17.1 expected half PPR points in non-Zach Wilson games this year. Mike White is the best QB he's played with, and this is a must-win game for the Jets.

  10. Keenan Allen

  11. Chris Godwin

  12. DK Metcalf - Tyler Lockett (hand) returns.

  13. Davante Adams - Accounting for Jarrett Stidham starting now.

  14. Mike Williams

  15. Christian Kirk

  16. D.J. Moore - No Bucs CB Carlton Davis, and S Antonio Winfield (questionable) was limited all week.

  17. Drake London - Watch the MFin tape.

  18. JuJu Smith-Schuster

  19. Jaylen Waddle - No Tua Tagovailoa (concussion), but the Patriots are at least missing CB Jack Jones (knee) and CB Marcus Jones (concussion). Even CB Jalen Mills (questionable) went DNP-DNP-limited in practice.

  20. Amari Cooper - He went DNP-limited-limited but was left off the final injury report.

  21. Mike Evans

  22. Brandon Aiyuk - INCENTIVES: The 49ers would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

  23. Terry McLaurin

  24. Allen Lazard - This assumes Christian Watson (DNP-DNP-limited) is out or limited.

  25. Tyler Lockett (Questionable) - He went DNP-limited-full in practice and is expected to return for the Seahawks' must-win game against the Jets' stud outside corners. No Marquise Goodwin either.

  26. Marquise Brown - DeAndre Hopkins (knee) is out, but David Blough is his QB.

  27. DeVonta Smith

  28. Zay Jones

  29. Michael Pittman - No CB Adoree' Jackson (knee), but Nick Foles had one of the worst QBed games of the 2022 NFL season last week.

  30. Gabe Davis

  31. Jerry Jeudy (Questionable) - He was limited all week (ankle), while Greg Dulcich was ruled out. Courtland Sutton was a full participant on Friday.

  32. Jakobi Meyers - No Jonnu Smith and Devante Parker, while Hunter Henry (questionable) and Tyquan Thornton (knee) were limited all week in practice. This is a must-win game for the Patriots. Expect Kendrick Bourne to get more playing time after a big second half last week.

  33. Chris Olave (Questionable) - He's expected to play after a week of limited practices. The Saints have 3% odds of making the playoffs, so they could be rushing him back here before he's ready.

  34. Greg Dortch - No DeAndre Hopkins means Dortch is likely heading into 2-WR sets.

  35. DJ Chark - See WR2 Amon-Ra St. Brown.

  36. Brandin Cooks

  37. Jahan Dotson

  38. George Pickens

  39. Diontae Johnson

  40. Curtis Samuel

  41. Adam Thielen

  42. Courtland Sutton - See WR31 Jerry Jeudy.

  43. Darius Slayton

  44. Chris Moore

  45. Chase Claypool (Questionable) - He barely practiced this week but is expected to play in the Bears' relatively meaningless Week 17 game. Claypool gets a soft Lions defense in a game with the highest team total of the week in his return.

  46. Donovan Peoples-Jones

  47. Joshua Palmer

  48. Isaiah Hodgins

  49. Richie James

  50. Michael Gallup

  51. K.J. Osborn

  52. Romeo Doubs

  53. Tyler Boyd

  54. Marquez Valdes-Scantling

  55. Corey Davis

  56. Elijah Moore

  57. Russell Gage - Julio Jones (Questionable) was limited all week.

  58. Rashid Shaheed - Chris Olave returns.

  59. Demarcus Robinson

  60. Isaiah McKenzie

  61. Parris Campbell

  62. Van Jefferson

  63. Mack Hollins

  64. Treylon Burks

  65. Alec Pierce

  66. Tutu Atwell

  67. Terrace Marshall

  68. Kendrick Bourne

  69. Noah Brown

  70. Hunter Renfrow

  71. Kadarius Toney

Week 17 TE Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Travis Kelce

  2. George Kittle - INCENTIVES: The 49ers would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

  3. T.J. Hockenson - INCENTIVES: The Vikings would be eliminated from the first seed if the Eagles win in the 1EST window, but they'd still be alive for the second seed either way. They'll likely play starters for most of the game in either situation, though they could be pulled earlier than normal or played fewer in general.

  4. Dalton Schultz

  5. Evan Engram

  6. Mark Andrews

  7. David Njoku

  8. Dallas Goedert

  9. Dawson Knox

  10. Cole Kmet - High team total with banged up WRs.

  11. Tyler Higbee - No WR Ben Skowronek (calf), allowing Higbee to run more routes and play in most personnel packages.

  12. Pat Freiermuth

  13. Cade Otton - His role changed, now playing way more passing downs.

  14. Hayden Hurst - Returning to the lineup.

  15. Gerald Everett

  16. Darren Waller

  17. Taysom Hill

  18. Jelani Woods - No TE Kylen Granson (ankle).

  19. Noah Fant

  20. Tyler Conklin

  21. Hunter Henry (Questionable) - Jonnu Smith is in the concussion protocol, so Henry could be a full-time player if he's healthy enough to play after banging knees with Jonny mid-route last week.

  22. Jordan Akins

  23. Juwan Johnson

  24. Daniel Bellinger

  25. Chigoziem Okonkwo

  26. Robert Tonyan

  27. Logan Thomas

  28. Trey McBride

  29. Austin Hooper

  30. Mike Gesicki

Week 17 Fantasy Defenses For Sickos

The defenses of the week are the Cowboys, Chiefs, Chargers, Bucs, Eagles, Giants, Ravens, Lions, Jets, Patriots, and Steelers.

Underdog Fantasy "Battle Royale" DFS

To me, this is the most beatable DFS game out there, as drafters too often go off the default rankings. Simply add one or two players who are commonly undrafted to get a unique DFS team. And of course, stack. I truly believe my readers/followers would enjoy the game theory (and the edge) of this contest.