2017 Fantasy Football: Positional Rankings

By John Leinweber
Jul. 22, 2017

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers (PPR)

Tight End

Defense/Special Teams

*All rankings will be subject to change up until the start of the season.

Quarterbacks

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.

*Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

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. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
  16. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
  17. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
  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. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
  24. Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers
  25. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
  26. Mike Glennon, Chicago Bears
  27. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
  28. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
  29. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
  30. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
  31. Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns
  32. Tom Savage, Houston Texans

Running Backs

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.

*Courtesy of FFcouchcoach.com

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. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  4. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  5. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  6. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
  8. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
  9. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  10. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  11. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  12. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  13. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  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. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  23. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
  24. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins
  25. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  26. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks
  27. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
  29. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  30. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
  31. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
  32. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
  33. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints
  34. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens
  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. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
  42. Matt Forte, New York Jets
  43. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
  44. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
  45. Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
  46. Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
  47. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
  48. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  49. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
  50. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens

Top 50 Running Backs for 2017 (PPR Scoring)

  1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
  3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  4. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
  5. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
  6. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
  7. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
  8. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
  9. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
  10. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
  11. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
  12. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  13. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  14. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
  15. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  16. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  17. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
  18. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
  19. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
  20. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  21. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  22. Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
  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. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins
  33. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns
  34. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  35. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles
  36. James White, New England Patriots
  37. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
  38. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
  39. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
  40. C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks
  41. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens
  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

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.

*Courtesy of Backyard Banter

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. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  13. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
  14. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
  15. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
  16. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  17. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
  18. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  19. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  20. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
  21. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
  22. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
  23. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  24. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
  25. Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington Redskins
  26. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
  27. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers
  28. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  29. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  30. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
  31. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
  32. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
  33. Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
  34. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
  35. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
  36. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
  37. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
  38. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  39. Ted Ginn Jr. New Orleans Saints
  40. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
  41. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
  42. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
  43. Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
  44. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
  45. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
  46. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
  47. Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
  48. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
  49. Kevin White, Chicago Bears
  50. Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

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. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
  13. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
  14. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
  15. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  16. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
  17. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
  18. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
  19. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
  20. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
  21. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  22. Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington Redskins
  23. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  24. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  25. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
  26. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers
  27. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
  28. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
  29. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
  30. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
  31. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
  32. Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
  33. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
  34. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  35. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
  36. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
  37. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
  38. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
  39. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
  40. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  41. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
  42. Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens
  43. Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears
  44. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
  45. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
  46. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
  47. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
  48. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
  49. Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
  50. Kevin White, Chicago Bears

Tight End

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. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
  15. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  16. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans
  17. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
  18. Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers
  19. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
  20. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  21. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets
  22. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
  23. Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins
  24. Evan Engram, New York Giants
  25. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Defense/Special Teams

Top 20 Defense/Special Teams Units 2017

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. New England Patriots
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Arizona Cardinals
  7. Houston Texans
  8. New York Giants
  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

Kickers

Top 20 Kickers for 2017

  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