Skip to main content

Fitz’s Fantasy Football Rankings, Tiers & Start/Sit Advice (Week 17)

Fitz’s Fantasy Football Rankings, Tiers & Start/Sit Advice (Week 17)

The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” is the greatest rock album of all time — in my view, anyway — and it includes an absolute banger of a song called “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.”

That song and the glorious, cacophonous, conga-infused instrumental jam that closes it reverberate through my head this time of year whenever I make it to the championship game in one of my fantasy leagues.

Those of you playing for a fantasy championship this week have reached the doorstep of your destination. Now it’s just a matter of getting inside.

Time to start knocking.

What a journey it’s been to get here, friends. You have survived the myriad pitfalls that can ensnare a fantasy team and just need one final victory.

Perhaps there were missteps along the way. Most of us can look back on the season and think of waiver claims we wish we’d made or regrettable lineup decisions that may have cost us a game.

But if you’ve made it this far, you’ve clearly done a lot of things right.

Maybe you knocked it out of the park in your draft and snuck away with undervalued gems such as Rachaad White and Sam LaPorta.

Maybe you worked the waiver wire like a boss and picked up difference-makers such as Kyren Williams, Puka Nacua, Rashee Rice or Trey McBride.

Maybe you consummated a series of shrewd trades that transformed your team from an also-ran into a war machine.

Or maybe you did all three.

There are so many factors that can make our fantasy seasons go sideways, and a lot of them are beyond our control.

You can be the person who catches every opponent at the worst possible time and ends up leading your league in opponent points against.

You can be the person who loses every close game.

You can be the person who gets ravaged by injuries so badly that it’s a struggle just to field a competitive team.

We can manage the hell out of our teams, but if one or more of these fates befall us, our battleships might be sunk despite all of our diligent efforts.

But not you this year. Not you, Mr. or Mrs. Championship Game Participant. You’ve dodged all this banana peels, and here you are, knocking on the door.

Sing it, Mick:

Can’t you hear me knockin’?

Ahh, are you safe asleep?

Can’t you hear me knockin’?

Yeah, down the gas light street, now

Can’t you hear me knockin’?

Yeah, throw me down the keys

Alright now

Behind that door are the spoils that every fantasy manager covets: a trophy and a winner’s check. Best of all, there’s the invisible spoil: bragging rights.

You can be the 2023 champion of your league, and no one will ever be able to take that honor away from you. It’ll be a nice little card to play next year when a rival boasts about beating you or teases you for a roster move gone awry. Talk to the trophy, son.

So here you are, knocking at the door. One more game. One more win.

I hope that door swings wide open for you this week.

And if it doesn’t, get yourself a battering ram and smash right through it.

As always, feel free to use these tiered rankings as a tiebreaker for your difficult lineup decisions. Beneath the tiers, I’ll offer a few brief thoughts on some of the borderline start/sit guys and some other interesting cases.

Check out the rest of our fantasy football content partner-arrow

Fitz’s Fantasy Football Week 17 Tiers & Rankings

QUARTERBACKS

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5

It’s easy to understand why Brock Purdy investors are feeling nervous. Purdy was a train wreck in a critical nationally televised game against the Ravens on Christmas Night, with four interceptions and no touchdowns in San Francisco’s 33-19 loss. Purdy also sustained a stinger and was removed in favor of Sam Darnold. Whether it qualified as a benching is open to debate, but the removal might be giving some Purdy stakeholders pause about starting the former Mr. Irrelevant in their fantasy championships. Fear not, Brock lobsters. Purdy is going from one of the most difficult matchups an NFL quarterback can face to one of the easiest. Purdy will be facing the Commanders, who are giving up 21 fantasy points per game to QBs, tied with the Eagles for most in the league. Washington has allowed an NFL-high 33 TD passes and is giving up 272.5 passing yards per game and 7.7 yards per pass attempt. The Commanders’ opponent passer rating is 102.9, highest in the league. Even good quarterbacks have a clunker of a game now and again. Purdy has been terrific all season, and he has an amazing group of pass catchers who should feast on the Washington defense. Start Purdy with confidence.

I know that some fantasy managers are facing a QB choice between Patrick Mahomes and either Brock Purdy or Justin Fields. I’d start Purdy or Fields over Mahomes. Last week in this space, I postulated that Mahomes struggles are largely due to a dire shortage of pass-catching firepower. Travis Kelce is getting older. Rashee Rice is more of a gadget player than a classic receiver who can get open and make plays downfield. The rest of Kansas City’s wide receivers are, to use a technical term, hot garbage juice. Over his last eight starts, Mahomes is averaging 240.1 yards and 1.4 TD passes per game and 6.36 yards per attempt. Mahomes’ matchup against the Bengals isn’t bad, and I would still start Mahomes over most other quarterbacks, but it’s not inconceivable that benching Mahomes in your championship game could be the right move.

Jared Goff has played a couple of good road games this season, but his best performances on the road came against the Chargers and Buccaneers, two of the easier matchups for quarterbacks. Goff has played three games against teams with pass defenses that rank inside the top 10 in DVOA — the Chiefs, Ravens and Saints. Goff averaged 250 passing yards in those contests, with three TD passes. His fantasy finishes those three weeks: QB18, QB24, QB14. Goff visits Dallas this week for a matchup against a Cowboys pass defense that ranks sixth in DVOA. I have Goff ranked QB14 and wouldn’t be especially eager to roll him out for a title game.

RUNNING BACKS

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5

Tier 6

Tier 7

Zamir White has carried 39 times for 214 yards and a touchdown the last two weeks. With Josh Jacobs listed as doubtful this week, White checks in as a high-end RB2 and becomes an attractive fantasy option. The only drawback with White is that he won’t do much as a pass catcher — it simply isn’t part of his repertoire.

Some people might feel uneasy about rolling out Aaron Jones for the most important game of the fantasy season. Jones has been plagued by injuries for much of the season, missing six games. When he’s played, he’s been uncharacteristically ineffective. Before last week, Jones had averaged 37.3 rushing yards per game and had scored three only three touchdowns. Jones didn’t find the end zone last week, but he trampled the Panthers for 127 rushing yards on a season-high 21 carries. Jones has a more difficult matchup this week against a Minnesota run defense that ranks ninth in DVOA, but it is by no means a skull-and-crossbones matchup either. Jones looked healthy and spry last week, he has run/catch versatility, and the Packers will probably lean on him heavily again with A.J. Dillon dealing with a thumb injury that limited him to seven carries last week.

In Ty Chandler‘s first start of the season, he had 23-132-1 rushing and 3-25-0 receiving in the Vikings’ Week 15 loss to the Bengals. In Chandler’s second start, he had 8-17-1 rushing and was held without a catch in a Week 16 loss to the Lions. Chandler’s investors might be feeling trepidation about starting him this week after last week’s disappointment. But Chandler’s anemic rushing totals against Detroit were largely the product of a game script gone awry for Minnesota. The Vikings ran only 47 offensive plays, mostly because QB Nick Mullens kept short-circuiting drives with interceptions (four of them). The Lions also have one of the better run defenses in the league. But Chandler gets a much easier matchup this week against a Green Bay run defense that ranks 25th in DVOA and has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to RBs. Chandler shareholders needn’t worry about the presence of Alexander Mattison. The Vikings’ former starting RB returned from his ankle injury last week, but Chandler out-snapped him 36-5. It’s Chandler’s show now.

I felt uneasy ranking Tony Pollard as a low-end RB1 last week when his output has been so pedestrian for most of the season, so I’m not going to fall into that trap again. The sharps loved Pollard’s outlook this season. The sharps have been dead wrong. Pollard was far more efficient as a part-time player in past seasons than he has been in a lead role this year. He hasn’t had 80 or more rushing yards in a game since Week 4, and he’s scored only three touchdowns in his last 14 games. I’m fading Pollard this week, ranking him as a low-end RB2 in a difficult matchup vs. a Detroit defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs this season.

I’m running for president of the De’Von Achane Fan Club, but I probably won’t win the election since I’m below consensus on Achane in this week’s rankings, slotting him in as a midrange RB3. Achane’s rare speed and contact balance give him oodles of big-pay potential, and he could meet his weekly fantasy quota with just one big play. But the Dolphins have given Achane fewer than 10 carries in each of his last three games. The electric rookie has averaged 54.7 yards from scrimmage over that span, with no touchdowns. With the prospect of limited touch volume against a nasty Baltimore defense, it’s hard for even true believers like me to be bullish on Achane this week.

FantasyPros Mobile Apps: Dominate your NFL, MLB and NBA fantasy leagues from anywhere

WIDE RECEIVERS

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5

Tier 6

Tier 7

Do you dare bench Stefon Diggs for your championship game? Over his last three outings, Diggs has produced 13-101-0 on 24 targets. It’s the second straight year that Diggs’ production has cratered at the most critical point of the fantasy season. Last year, he had 10-123-0 over a three-game stretch from Week 14 to Week 16, then had Week 17 nullified because of the Damar Hamlin episode. I’m not necessarily an adherent to the “always start your studs” mantra, but I would still be inclined to start Diggs this week against an average New England pass defense. He isn’t hurt, and he’s still drawing plenty of targets. Even during his three-game swoon, Diggs has averaged 8.0 targets a game. I’ve dropped him out of WR1 range, but he still checks in at WR15. Unless you have an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver, you should probably stick with Diggs.

Over the first 13 weeks of the season, there were only two games in which Chris Godwin had double-digit targets. He’s now drawn double-digit targets in three consecutive games, averaging 7.0 catches and 95.3 receiving yards over that stretch. Godwin has scored only one touchdown all season, but now that he’s getting robust target shares again, he should be in fantasy lineups. Godwin has a favorable matchup this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to WRs.

How could anyone bench George Pickens after his 4-195-2 explosion against the Bengals last week? Well, that’s the thing: Pickens managed to put up 35.5 PPR points on only six targets. We know that Pickens’ weekly target totals are typically modest whenever fellow WR Diontae Johnson is healthy. Before the big day against Cincinnati, Pickens had averaged 5.4 targets and 39.3 receiving yards over his previous eight games. Even though his matchup against the Seahawks isn’t a bad one, I can only rank Pickens as a midrange WR3. It’s fair to say that the boom-or-bust Pickens has a vast range of possible outcomes this week.

Romeo Doubs is a reasonable fantasy option this week. He faces a Minnesota pass defense that has yielded the third-most receptions, ninth-most receiving yards and 10th-most fantasy points to WRs. Just don’t assume that Doubs will be peppered with targets if the Packers are missing Christian Watson and/or Dontayvion Wicks. With Watson and Jayden Reed both out last week against the Panthers, Doubs checked in with a nice 4-79-1 stat line, but he drew only five targets. Over his Last eight games, Doubs hasn’t drawn more than seven targets in any contest.

If Jordan Addison is out this week after sustaining an ankle injury in Week 16, K.J. Osborn becomes a mildly intriguing fantasy option for Championship Week. In Weeks 6-8, when Kirk Cousins was still healthy and Justin Jefferson was sidelined by a hamstring injury, Osborn averaged 7.0 targets, 5.7 catches and 64.7 receiving yards per game over that span. His best game during that stretch was an 8-99-0 performance against the Packers, whom he’ll be facing this week. Green Bay’s pass defense has been firebombed by the Buccaneers and Panthers the last two weeks, and now Green Bay has to face Minnesota without its best cornerback, Jaire Alexander, who was given a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. I’m not as bullish on Osborn with Jaren Hall starting at QB for the Vikings as I would have been with aggressive-to-a-fault Nick Mullens at quarterback, but I’m tentatively ranking Osborn as a WR4.

TIGHT ENDS

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5

Tier 6

Luke Musgrave (lacerated kidney) is practicing again for the Packers but probably won’t return this week. If he remains out, Tucker Kraft will be a solid Week 17 option at tight end. In the five games Musgrave has missed, Kraft has compiled 17-233-2 receiving on 24 targets and has been TE10 in PPR scoring over that span. The Packers are banged up at wide receiver, with Christian Watson and Dontayvion Wicks dealing with injuries, and Kraft’s matchup against the Vikings is neutral at worst.

Dalton Kincaid‘s production has nose-dived. Over a five-game stretch from Week 7 through Week 11, Kincaid was TE3 in PPR scoring. But since Week 12, Kincaid is TE41 in fantasy points per game, behind such luminaries as Elijah Higgins, Will Mallory and Lucas Krull. Kincaid also has a tricky matchup this week against the Patriots, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to TEs. I still have Kincaid ranked as a low-end TE1 because he’s a talented player in a potent offense triggered by one of the best quarterbacks in the game. But I’m not going to try talking you out of benching Kincaid if you feel as if his ship is sinking.

After failing to establish a firm foothold in the Tennessee offense for most of the season, Chig Okonkwo has become a consistent target earner in recent weeks. Over his last five games, he’s had 21-252-1 on 27 targets, with a 17.8% target share over that span. Okonkwo is a viable fantasy option this week against a Texans defense that has yielded the third-most receiving yards and sixth-most fantasy points to TEs. Houston has given up a league-high 100 receptions to tight ends.

If you need to stream a TE this week, Logan Thomas might not be a bad option. Thomas, who’s currently rostered in only 38% of Yahoo leagues, gets a Week 17 matchup against a 49ers defense that suddenly can’t seem to cover tight ends. Over their last three games, the Niners have given up 24-311-2 to opposing TEs. Thomas is coming off a solid 5-36-1 game against the Jets in which he logged a respectable 17.1% target share.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

More Articles

19 Consensus Early Breakout Candidates (2024 Fantasy Football)

19 Consensus Early Breakout Candidates (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 8 min read
Thor Nystrom’s 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Tight End

Thor Nystrom’s 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Tight End

fp-headshot by Thor Nystrom | 1 min read
Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: Superflex, Four Rounds (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: Superflex, Four Rounds (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Pat Fitzmaurice | 7 min read
Dynasty Rookie Draft Sleepers: Running Back (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Draft Sleepers: Running Back (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Andrew Erickson | 5 min read

About Author

Hide

Current Article

8 min read

19 Consensus Early Breakout Candidates (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Up - 19 Consensus Early Breakout Candidates (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Article