2017 Fantasy Football Rankings

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As the NFL season approaches, so does the fantasy season–so lets take a look at some of the best players available at the key positions.

The NFL season is almost here, and that means that the Fantasy Football season is almost here as well. As the time to draft approaches, it seems like a good time to lay out some rankings for the most important fantasy football positions.


Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

1. Aaron Rodgers GB QB
This was an easy pick. Rodgers was the number one quarterback in 2016, averaging two points per game more than any other player in the league– and there’s no reason that he will slow down this season. With a healthy Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Rodgers will surely continue to put up big numbers in 2017.

2. Matt Ryan ATL QB
Matt Ryan, despite a heart-breaking end to the 2016 season, actually had a very strong year, finishing the fantasy season as the number two QB in the league. Ryan will open this season, much like Brady did last year, with something to prove–and with a top three receiver in Julio Jones, and perhaps the best receiving back in the league in Devonta Freeman, Ryan has a chance to become a two-time MVP in 2017.

3. Tom Brady NE QB
At 39 years old, Brady had a ridiculous season in 2016, averaging 23.4 points per game — only 0.4 points per game less than Rodgers — if we exclude his four game suspension. If Brady and his supporting staff can stay healthy throughout the season, he should be able to contend for the number one QB spot in 2017, despite his age.

4. Drew Brees NO QB
Brees was the number three QB in 2016, despite having a relatively poor receiving squad to throw to. As he returns this season with similar receivers but a more threatening backfield (after the addition of Adrian Peterson), the passing game should open up more easily in 2017. While his production may dip slightly due to age, Brees will have a strong year in New Orleans.

5. Andrew Luck IND QB
Andrew Luck is a phenomenal talent and has proven it time and time again. He is one of the most gifted passers in the NFL, is surprisingly mobile when he needs to be, and has the potential to become the best quarterback in the league. However, he is also working with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, and has consequently proven in recent years to be injury prone. Luck may very well not play the entirety of the 2017 NFL season due to injury problems, but if he can stay healthy and play all 16 games, he will be even higher on this list.


Courtesy ESPN.com

1. David Johnson ARI RB
David Johnson finished the 2016 season averaging 20.7 points per game, which is two points per game more than any other back in the league. Given Arizona’s unpredictable receiving squad and an aging Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals will likely rely on Johnson in both the running and the passing game more than ever.

2. Le’Veon Bell PIT RB
Bell’s inconsistency in the 2016 season held him back from competing with Elliott and Johnson for the number one RB position. When he did play, however, he continually put up 18-19 points per game, even scoring 47 points in week 14. If he can stay on the field consistently in 2017, Pittsburgh will rely heavily on him, and he will likely be a top 3 half-back in fantasy football.

3. Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB
Elliott gave the Cowboys an energetic spark in the 2016 season, totaling over 1,600 yards on the ground and averaging almost five yards per carry. A large part of Elliott’s success was the dominant offensive line that he was dealt last season, but unfortunately for him, Dallas lost a couple of key starters at left guard and right tackle to free agency. Although the line still features three perennial pro bowlers, it may lose a bit of the flare that it had in the 2016 season. As Elliott has surely developed and improved since last season, he will still have a good year, but will not put up 2016 numbers. (Since this article was written, Elliott has been handed down a six game suspension.)

4. Devonta Freeman ATL RB
Freeman just signed a five year deal reportedly worth 41.25 million dollars, which is the richest contract for a running back in the history of the NFL. Undoubtedly, he will be determined to prove his worth in the upcoming season. In addition, Atlanta’s tendency to split carries evenly between Freeman and his backup, Tevin Coleman, sometimes held Freeman back last year. However, the vast difference in their production last season, combined with the fact that the Falcons just invested 40 million dollars in Freeman, could mean more touches for him–and less for Coleman.

5. Lesean McCoy BUF RB
Lesean McCoy had a solid 2016 fantasy season, averaging 15.5 points per game, and finishing in the top 3 for running backs. While a lack of goal-line touches could prove to be a problem for McCoy in 2017, he may be able to make up for it in a heavier receiving load. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has a history of targeting running backs in the passing game, and McCoy’s fast and agile running style will only encourage that. If Buffalo makes McCoy their primary pass-catcher (along with Sammy Watkins) as well as their go-to back, McCoy could be in for a career year.


Courtesy Sports Illustrated

1. Antonio Brown PIT WR
Antonio Brown is indisputably the best wide receiver in the NFL, and has the numbers to prove it. Although some regard his 12 touchdown, 1200+ yard 2016 season as a let down, he still finished as the highest scoring (per game played) wide receiver in the league. He is by far Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target, and at 29 years old, he is still in the prime years of his career. Brown will produce the best fantasy numbers for receivers in 2017.

2. Julio Jones ATL WR
Julio Jones was wildly inconsistent in 2016, both in terms of health and in overall production, and part of the problem was that he was being targeted less by Matt Ryan compared to previous years. He still is, however, one of toughest receivers to guard in the NFL, and if Ryan targets him more in the Red Zone, he will certainly have a big year in 2017.

3. Dez Bryant DAL WR
Dez Bryant, much like Jones, was unpredictable in 2016. There were games where he and Prescott looked unstoppable together, and then there were games where he would only be targeted twice. To me, that can be explained by the slow developing chemistry between a rookie quarterback and a star receiver. After a season and an offseason of growing their chemistry together, Dez should be targeted more frequently and more consistently in 2017. And if so, he will return to superstar form.

4. Odell Beckham jr. NYG WR
Odell was the fourth highest producing wide receiver in 2016, and I don’t see why that should change. While he does have some of the best hands in the league, his production largely depends off of big plays, which tends to result in inconsistency between weeks. Although he will have a strong 2017 season, don’t expect anything too much better than his 2016 campaign.

5. T.Y Hilton IND WR
T.Y Hilton’s production almost entirely depends on Andrew Luck’s health. If Luck can stay healthy, T.Y will continue to be the favorite target and he will likely be a top 5 receiver in fantasy. If Luck can’t stay on the field, however, T.Y will be a mediocre, perhaps slightly above average WR2. Watch closely to see if Luck will start the NFL season injured or not, because T.Y’s fantasy production (as well as the other Colts receivers) is largely dependent on it.


About Toby Kleyn

I live in Massachusetts where I grew up playing tennis, soccer, and basketball. A high school senior, I’ve played a variety of sports for school teams. I have a passion for writing, especially about sports and political topics. I plan on pursuing a career in journalism.

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