Championship week is upon us in fantasy football. Week 17 traditionally sees some teams who are locked into their playoff seedings decide to rest players. This year is no different, and this could mean some unexpected names in the Week 17 fantasy RB rankings. We will update our list as more head coaches announce their plans. RB busts, must starts, and sleepers could have an unfamiliar feel this week.
Star running backs set to miss Week 17
As always, make sure that you check RB availability throughout the week. Dalvin Cook will, unfortunately, miss Week 17 due to the death of his father. Alexander Mattison should inherit the majority of the workload. Christian McCaffrey has already been ruled out, and his backup, Mike Davis, won’t play either. Rodney Smith is expected to be the next man up.
The New Orleans Saints are in a tough situation. Alvin Kamara, coming off a six-touchdown performance, won’t play. Latavius Murray is also unavailable and Dwayne Washington, who is usually third on the depth chart, will also miss the game. Ty Montgomery is expected to see an increase in carries, although Taysom Hill will see a big role. Hill is a QB and won’t be eligible at running back but has seen heavy usage in the red zone.
As always, make sure that you check the injury reports for updates before the games.
Note: Please keep in mind that these are PPR RB rankings. PPR in fantasy means that a running back gets an additional full point for each reception. This can play a big factor when deciding which players to put into your lineups and makes volume all that much more important. Schematically, some defenses are better than others at stopping RBs in the passing game, and it’s important to note who those teams are.
Top 5 running backs in fantasy football for Week 17
1) Derrick Henry at Houston Texans
2) Jonathan Taylor vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
3) David Montgomery vs. Green Bay Packers
4) Melvin Gordon vs. Las Vegas Raiders
5) Alexander Mattison at Detroit Lions
The fact that 23 carries for 98 rushing yards can be considered disappointing tells you everything about how good Derrick Henry is. Despite the down week in Week 16, Henry still sits atop the Week 17 fantasy RB rankings. No team allows more fantasy points to running backs than the Texans, and Henry has every chance of finishing the regular season on a high.
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns in Week 16. He drew a blank as a receiver, but he has had a reception in every other game this season. The Jaguars are a great matchup for running backs, and Taylor is in impressive form.
David Montgomery has now had over 100 total yards and a touchdown in his last five games. He racked up 143 yards and a touchdown when he last faced the Packers. The Bears can clinch a playoff spot with a win, and their best chance could be to feed Montgomery early and often.
Melvin Gordon and Alexander Mattison will be workhorse RBs
Melvin Gordon didn’t have the best performance against the Raiders in Week 10. He’s the clear workhorse in the Broncos backfield, though. The Raiders have struggled against RBs, and Gordon should punish them.
Alexander Mattison isn’t Dalvin Cook. He’s a backup rather than a superstar. This week, though, he gets the Detroit Lions. The Lions are allowing the second-most fantasy PPR points to RBs this season. Cook had 252 yards and two touchdowns when these two teams played earlier in the season, and Mattison should have a big game.
Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17: Alexander Mattison rounds out Tier 1
6) Austin Ekeler at Kansas City Chiefs
7) D’Andre Swift vs. Minnesota Vikings
8) J.K. Dobbins at Cincinnati Bengals
9) David Johnson vs. Tennessee Titans
10) Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. Seattle Seahawks
Austin Ekeler has struggled with production since returning. He’s still being targeted heavily, though, which makes him an intriguing PPR option. The Chiefs have already confirmed that they’re going to be resting starters, which could provide the Chargers with scoring opportunities.
D’Andre Swift is clearly the most talented RB that the Lions have. He has had 10 or more carries in four of his last five games and has been targeted at least four times in 11 of his 12 games this season. Swift had 97 total yards when the Lions played the Vikings earlier in the season.
J.K. Dobbins has become the lead back for the Ravens in the second half of the season. Gus Edwards is still involved and Lamar Jackson is always liable to run with the ball himself but the Ravens are showing why they used a second-round pick on Dobbins in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s not as involved in the passing game as fantasy managers would like but the Bengals is an appealing matchup.
David Johnson and Jeff Wilson shone in Week 16
David Johnson is coming off his best rushing performance of the season. He had 128 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 16. The Tennessee Titans allow the eighth-most points per game to RBs, and Johnson should see a heavy workload.
The 49ers struck gold last week against the Cardinals. Jeff Wilson touched the ball 23 times, finishing with 204 total yards and a touchdown. Raheem Mostert is out again, and the 49ers should lean on Wilson again.
Tier 2: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17
11) Myles Gaskin at Buffalo Bills
12) Aaron Jones at Chicago Bears
13) Antonio Gibson at Philadelphia Eagles
14) Ronald Jones vs. Atlanta Falcons
15) Nick Chubb vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
16) Josh Jacobs at Denver Broncos
17) Wayne Gallman vs. Dallas Cowboys
18) Ezekiel Elliott at New York Giants
19) Nyheim Hines vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
20) Chris Carson at San Francisco 49ers
Tier 3: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17
21) James Conner at Cleveland Browns
22) Miles Sanders at Washington Football Team
23) J.D. McKissic at Philadelphia Eagles
24) Sony Michel vs. New York Jets
25) Dare Ogunbowale at Indianapolis Colts
26) Kenyan Drake at Los Angeles Rams
27) Ty Montgomery at Carolina Panthers
28) Kareem Hunt vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
29) Malcolm Brown vs. Arizona Cardinals
30) Giovani Bernard vs. Baltimore Ravens
Tier 4: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17
31) Rodney Smith vs. New Orleans Saints
32) Darwin Thompson vs. Los Angeles Chargers
33) James White vs. New York Jets
34) La’Mical Perine at New England Patriots
35) A.J. Dillon at Chicago Bears
36) Devin Singletary vs. Miami Dolphins
37) Ito Smith vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
38) Gus Edwards at Cincinnati Bengals
39) Leonard Fournette vs. Atlanta Falcons
40) Lynn Bowden at Buffalo Bills
Tier 5: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17
41) Zack Moss vs. Miami Dolphins
42) Darrel Williams vs. Los Angeles Chargers
43) Mike Boone at Detroit Lions
44) Chase Edmonds at Los Angeles Rams
45) Tony Pollard at New York Giants
46) Adrian Peterson vs. Minnesota Vikings
47) Samaje Perine vs. Baltimore Ravens
48) Carlos Hyde at San Francisco 49ers
49) Salvon Ahmed at Buffalo Bills
50) Kalen Ballage at Kansas City Chiefs
Tier 6: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 17
51) Le’Veon Bell vs. Los Angeles Chargers
52) Todd Gurley at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
53) Benny Snell at Cleveland Browns
54) Ty Johnson at New England Patriots
55) Jerick McKinnon vs. Seattle Seahawks
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