2017 Fantasy Football: Positional Rankings

By John Leinweber
Aug. 11, 2017

These are my updated ranking through August 11th. These contain everything including a Zeke suspension, Sammy Watkins trade, and Jordan Matthews trade. Understand these rankings are for redraft leagues only, and don't affect keeper or dynasty rankings at all. With Zeke missing the first six games, I can't see drafting him in the first round anymore. I have him ranked as a RB2 in all formats, and see him as a fourth round pick. With Watkins surprisingly traded to the Rams, his value drops significantly. Being tied to an unproven Jared Goff is much worse than Tyrod Taylor. I also feel like Buffalo wouldn't have trade him if Watkins wasn't still having injury issues or issues negotiating a future contract. This trade also lowers Robert Woods' value in Los Angeles.

In Buffalo, the remaining receivers include Jordan Matthews (from Philly), Anquan Boldin, and Zay Jones. With Watkins now gone, their values all increase. I like Boldin the most in Standard scoring because he will be the only red zone threat in town. Jordan Matthews will have good value as the reception receiver and will hold flex value in PPR formats. In Philadelphia, this has opened the door for Nelson Agholor to be the full time slot receiver. After seeing his poor season last year, I can't see him being anything more than an option in very deep leagues. Overall, the biggest losers for fantasy are Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, while the winners are all other Buffalo receivers and Nelson Agholor.

We start off here at Quarterback, which is without a doubt the deepest position in fantasy. Everyone has their different strategies of when to draft the position, but a vast majority of experts will wait at Quarterback. When you can wait until the tenth round and choose between Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, and Derek Carr, it’s tough to convince me to draft Aaron Rodgers in the third or fourth round.

However, everything depends on the format of your league and what rules are in place. If it’s a two Quarterback league, feel free to take a Quarterback when ever you would like. I’ve seen a 2 QB mock draft on ESPN, where experts who missed out on the best six players will go with Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Quarterbacks also hold more value when a passing touchdown is worth six points instead of four. If your Quarterback throws 30 touchdowns in this scoring format, it’s an additional 60 points for your season.

When you look at just the rankings, you’ll notice that there’s a lot more hype around younger Quarterbacks, and regression for older Quarterbacks (minus Tom Brady and Drew Brees). Perhaps the biggest indicators of this are Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. Big Ben has sustained big injuries in both of his last two seasons, and has been terrible on the road as of late. Even though Rivers has played all 16 games since 2006, he has had many injuries to his receiver corps in the last two years and has thrown way too many interceptions. Even though these players aren’t hyped up, they can have great fantasy performances as long as you play the matchups correctly. Drafting them as your second QB, or pairing them with someone drafted a couple rounds earlier can pay huge dividends for you. Below are my Quarterback rankings for this upcoming fantasy football season.

Top 32 Quarterbacks for 2017

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
  4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
  5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
  6. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
  7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
  8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  9. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
  10. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
  11. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  12. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
  13. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
  14. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
  15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
  16. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
  17. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
  18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
  19. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
  20. Eli Manning, New York Giants
  21. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
  22. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
  23. Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers
  24. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
  25. Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins
  26. Mike Glennon, Chicago Bears
  27. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
  28. Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
  29. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
  30. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
  31. Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns
  32. Tom Savage, Houston Texans

Running back is always a tough position to draft in fantasy because of the volatility of production and injuries. Just because a running back is being drafted in the first round, doesn’t mean he will return that value. In fact, many experts firmly believe that running backs should not be drafted until the later rounds of the draft. This allows fantasy players to load of wide receivers, and address Quarterback and tight end earlier than other owners. Just look at the top ten running backs for this season, only six of my top ten ranked running backs went in the first rounds of drafts last season. That doesn’t even necessarily mean that provided top 30 pick value, but that at their ceiling that is the value they should produce this season.

Now even amidst the strategies of waiting on running backs, I feel we have to continue to draft running backs highly. There are only a few running backs who are considered true bellcow backs, and they provide great fantasy value. Last season, the best wide receivers went first overall in drafts, but the outstanding production from Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliott has shot them up to the top of draft boards. Because there are so few bellcow backs in the league, they are all being drafted in the first two or three rounds. Even though the position is the riskiest in fantasy, missing out on this kind of production can badly hurt your fantasy season because of the number of running back committees in the league.

Top 50 Running Backs for 2017 (Standard Scoring)

  1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  5. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
  7. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
  8. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  10. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  11. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  13. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  14. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
  15. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  16. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
  17. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  18. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
  19. Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots
  20. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
  21. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
  22. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  23. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  24. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
  25. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins
  26. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks
  27. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
  28. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  29. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
  30. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
  31. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
  32. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens
  33. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  34. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints
  35. James White, New England Patriots
  36. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
  37. Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
  38. Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  39. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
  40. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
  41. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
  42. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
  43. Matt Forte, New York Jets
  44. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
  45. Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
  46. Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
  47. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
  48. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  49. Jonathan Williams, Buffalo Bills
  50. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Top 50 Running Backs for 2017 (PPR Scoring)

  1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  5. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  6. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  7. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
  8. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
  9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  10. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  11. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  12. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  13. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  14. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  15. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  16. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
  17. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
  18. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
  19. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  20. Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
  21. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
  22. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  23. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
  24. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
  25. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
  26. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  27. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
  28. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
  29. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
  30. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks
  31. Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots
  32. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens
  33. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins
  34. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns
  35. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  36. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
  37. James White, New England Patriots
  38. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
  39. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
  40. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
  41. C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks
  42. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints
  43. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
  44. Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  45. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
  46. Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
  47. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  48. Matt Forte, New York Jets
  49. Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
  50. Shane Vereen, New York Giants

Wide Receiver is often the most consistent position in fantasy from a production standpoint. The reason that players like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. have been first or second round picks in each of the last three seasons is because of their consistent high level of production. However, this doesn’t mean that wide receivers can’t always live up to expectations. I previously wrote an article shown here, that illustrates the issues regarding all receivers going in the third or fourth rounds of drafts, and what is holding them back from being a WR1. Receivers don’t always get the consistent touches that running backs get, so there can be a fairly low floor on a week to week basis. However, overall the numbers wide receivers are expected to produce are often very consistent. The biggest concerns in drafts are navigating injury history, poor Quarterback play, and ultimately finding the diamond in the rough.

The rankings below are for standard scoring, which traditionally favors running backs over receivers. This is because points are not allotted per touch, so the scoring is seriously dependent on touchdowns. Even though more and more teams are throwing inside the 10 yardline, teams ideally would like to run the ball in for six. This scoring system increases the value in big play threats and red zone threats, like Ted Ginn Jr., Donte Moncrief, and Eric Decker. It also lowers the fantasy value in receivers that catch a lot of passes but don’t have a high touchdown total, like Julian Edelman, Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate. This is taken into account in the rankings below, and should part of your thought process on draft day.

Top 50 Wide Receivers 2017 (Standard Scoring)

  1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
  3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
  4. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
  6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
  7. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
  9. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
  10. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
  11. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
  12. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
  13. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
  14. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  15. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
  16. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  17. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
  18. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  19. Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington Redskins
  20. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  21. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
  22. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
  23. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  24. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
  25. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
  26. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers
  27. Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams
  28. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  29. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
  30. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
  31. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
  32. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  33. Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
  34. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
  35. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
  36. Anquan Boldin, Buffalo Bills
  37. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
  38. Jordan Matthews, Buffalo Bills
  39. Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
  40. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
  41. Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
  42. Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens
  43. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
  44. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  45. Ted Ginn Jr. New Orleans Saints
  46. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
  47. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
  48. Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
  49. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
  50. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

The rankings below are for PPR scoring, which traditionally favor receivers more than running backs. This is because any player who catches a pass automatically receives a point for the receptions, and a point per 10 yards. Even though this rule doesn’t only help out receivers, this position is the primary beneficiary. This will bump up the value of receivers who catch a lot of passes but aren’t big touchdown threats, like Julian Edelman, Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate. However, this format also decreases the value of big play threats, like Ted Ginn Jr., Kenny Stills, and Marvin Jones. This is all important to take into consideration on draft day, and focus on understanding your league’s rules.

Top 50 Wide Receivers 2017 (PPR Scoring)

  1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
  3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
  4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
  7. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
  9. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
  10. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
  11. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
  12. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
  13. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
  14. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
  15. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  16. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  17. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
  18. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
  19. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
  20. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
  21. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
  22. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  23. Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington Redskins
  24. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  25. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  26. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
  27. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers
  28. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  29. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
  30. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
  31. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
  32. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
  33. Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Chargers
  34. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
  35. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  36. Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens
  37. Jordan Matthews, Buffalo Bills
  38. Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
  39. Anquan Boldin, Buffalo Bills
  40. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
  41. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
  42. Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
  43. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
  44. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  45. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
  46. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
  47. Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
  48. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
  49. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
  50. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

Tight End is always a tricky position to draft for fantasy players who aren’t positive what they’re doing. Despite having a strong class of consistent studs in the middle of drafts, players seem to either draft an injury-prone star in the beginning or wait until the last few rounds. The important thing to understand where you are drafting each tight end option. If you look at the top tight ends in Gronk and Jordan Reed, both are being drafted at their ceiling. The concern however is that Gronk hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2011, and Reed never has. This makes these players incredibly boom or bust options, but if they’re falling in drafts, it’s really tough not to pull the trigger.

However, a majority of fantasy experts in the industry don’t care to waste early picks on tight ends. Most of us seem to focus our first five or six rounds completely on running backs and wide receivers. This means we will likely miss out on the top six tight end options, and we’ll wait until the final rounds for the position. This shouldn’t be a concern though because many of these options aren’t being drafted at their ceiling. Just look at Kyle Rudolph, who was the number two tight end in PPR formats last season, and is now being drafted as the 7th or 8th tight end off the board. A lot of these sleeper options are being drafted somewhere in between their normal expectations and their floor, which means these options have lots of upside. Just think about Jack Doyle with no Dwayne Allen in Indy, or Eric Ebron with no more Anquan Boldin in Detroit. All of these options from TE9-TE15 have tremendous upside without having to use a high draft pick on them. This is why so many experts love to wait on the position.

But enough of all this strategy, it all depends how your draft board falls to you. Even though I like waiting at the position, if you love Rob Gronkowski, then take him (or trade for him after he gets injured a couple weeks in). Below are my rankings for Tight Ends in both Standard and PPR formats.

Top 25 Tight Ends 2017 (Standard and PPR Scoring)

  1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
  2. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
  3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
  5. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
  6. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
  7. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
  8. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
  9. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
  10. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers
  11. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
  12. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
  13. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
  14. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  15. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans
  16. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
  17. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets
  18. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
  19. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
  20. Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  22. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
  23. Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins
  24. Evan Engram, New York Giants
  25. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Top 20 Defense/Special Teams Units 2017

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. New England Patriots
  5. Houston Texans
  6. Kansas City Chiefs
  7. New York Giants
  8. Arizona Cardinals
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars
  10. Baltimore Ravens
  11. San Diego Chargers
  12. Pittsburgh Steelers
  13. Chicago Bears
  14. Cincinnati Bengals
  15. Tennessee Titans
  16. Atlanta Falcons
  17. Philadelphia Eagles
  18. Oakland Raiders
  19. Buffalo Bills
  20. Green Bay Packers

2017 Fantasy Football: Kicker Rankings

  1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
  2. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
  3. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
  4. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
  5. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
  6. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions
  7. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
  8. Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs
  9. Will Lutz, New Orleans Saints
  10. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders
  11. Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
  12. Dustin Hopkins, Washington Redskins
  13. Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers
  14. Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia Eagles
  15. Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans
  16. Nick Novak, Houston Texans
  17. Josh Lambo, Los Angeles Chargers
  18. Steven Hauschka, Buffalo Bills
  19. Randy Bullock, Cincinnati Bengals
  20. Phil Dawson, Arizona Cardinals
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