It’s business time!
Because all of you are insane Fantasy Football fiends that are never satisfied, I just finished working on my way too early 2017 Fantasy Football rankings. It goes without saying – then why are you saying it Jake? – that these rankings will change and assumptions will be made. For instance, last year, I ranked Jay Ajayi as RB16 since I expected the Dolphins to give him the lead job (unfortunately, that took a few weeks). Because these are “way too early,” I have to rank with aspects such as free agency, coaches and more factored in. That’s simply all to say that these rankings are for fun and starting discussions… not to set them in stone as gospel.
2017 Quarterback Rankings
Ranking the No. 2 quarterback fifth might seem a bit low when it comes to Matt Ryan. However, Kyle Shanahan is out the door, and this was only Ryan’s second time passing for 30-plus touchdowns while setting a career high in yards (4,944)… Marcus Mariota might seem high at No. 7, but no quarterback had more points from Weeks 5-12, as Mariota had 21 touchdowns to three interceptions with only Tom Brady averaging more FPPG. You can’t ignore how Mariota finished the season, but you can’t ignore his growth and added rushing ability… Someone will be smarter than the Bills are and let Tyrod Taylor be their starting quarterback of the future. He’s averaged 18.9 FPPG the last two years with 568 and 580 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing… Kirk Cousins will move up if DeSean Jackson re-signs or another receiver comes in, but as much as I love Josh Doctson, having only him and Jamison Crowder is worrisome… Ben Roethlisberger will finish higher, especially if he plays 16 games, but I don’t want him for the injury risk and his egregious home/road splits.
2017 Running Back Rankings
Jordan Howard is the real deal, and as long as John Fox doesn’t pull a John Fox and screw with Howard next year, he’s in store for a big year. Howard was one of six running backs with nearly 200 carries or more (Isaiah Crowell had 198) that averaged three-plus yards after contact… Speaking of YAC, Jay Ajayi led all running backs with at least 100 carries at 3.5 YAC. He’s the running back version of Brandin Cooks/Amari Cooper/etc. in that he’ll have huge games offset by quiet ones, but few players have a ceiling like his… I still have faith in Todd Gurley, but he’s pushing it. There is talk that the Saints might be ready/willing to move on from and trade Mark Ingram, and if so, I’m sure his new team will use Ingram more consistently than the Saints did. Even if Ingram is back with the Saints, expect more consistency next year, as Tim Hightower doesn’t have a ton left… Matt Forte is on the downside and seems likely to lose more touches next year… I’m obviously ignoring John Harbaugh.
Kenneth Dixon has the talent, and just as with the Dolphins, his team just needs to wake up… Devontae Booker clearly wasn’t the answer for the Broncos, and C.J. Anderson actually looked pretty good at times before his injury.
The Giants should turn to Paul Perkins in 2017, as they did down the stretch, but Shane Vereen‘s return caps his potential some… Eddie Lacy will be elsewhere next year, but will any team treat him as a bellcow? I obviously have doubts… Thomas Rawls looked great against the Lions, but he also bombed against the 49ers, and C.J. Prosise is explosive and significantly better in the passing game… I want to believe Jamaal Charles still has something left to offer, but it’s tough at this point… I don’t expect Latavius Murray back with the Raiders. Will Murray see as much work elsewhere and will DeAndre Washington be the top option for the Raiders?… The Lions situation is a mess, and a Lacy type could help them quite a bit… There is talk that not only will Giovani Bernard be the lead option for the Bengals, but the team could also bring in another option behind him and push Jeremy Hill to third on the depth chart. Ouch.
2017 Wide Receiver Rankings
In case you didn’t notice, Michael Thomas is the real deal and the Saints best receiver. I said it numerous times this season and will continue to sing his praise (even though he won’t follow me on Twitter); he’s the new and improved Marques Colston… Few players made a bigger leap and more improvements than Davante Adams did this year… Keenan Allen was a Top 20 receiver as a rookie and could have three Top 10 finishes if not for injuries… I won’t own Amari Cooper anywhere, and neither should you if he costs a Top 20 pick. He would be a terrific WR2 for your team, but his cost will be as a WR1 again, and the inconsistency can’t be ignored… Allen Robinson‘s ranking may seem aggressive, but something clicked between Blake Bortles and ARob after Doug Marrone took over, and Robinson finished fourth in 2015… Alshon Jeffery will likely have a new team, and if he could just make it 16 games, he would be a WR1 no matter where he plays… Brock Osweiler torpedoes DeAndre Hopkins’ value, and that contract is too restrictive for the Texans to move on already.
Terrelle Pryor could outperform this ranking with a better quarterback or new team… It’s hard to place Brandon Marshall (surprising drop-off) and Eric Decker (all he does is catch touchdowns) higher not knowing the Jets quarterback situation… Sammy Watkins can’t stop getting hurt, and now he has a huge question mark at quarterback… Kelvin Benjamin had a decent return to football, but again, he caught around half of his targets. Nevertheless, he finished inside the Top 20, and Cam Newton should rebound next year… Kevin White, Martavis Bryant and Josh Doctson should all impress in returns to the field (injuries and a suspension)… Adam Thielen is the Vikings best receiver at this point. While Laquon Treadwell has plenty of skill, you have to be concerned over his rookie season/how it transpired, and it’s tough to like three receivers in the Vikings offense.
Mike Wallace has little competition for targets as of today, but I don’t expect Breshad Perriman to make a huge leap and believe the Ravens add a receiver… J.J. Nelson has a big opportunity as the team’s No. 2 (check that, No. 3 when you factor in David Johnson) receiver, but his value is on shaky ground with Carson Palmer‘s and John Brown‘s situations… Kenny Britt had his first career 1,000-yard season, but you can’t like the thought of Jared Goff at quarterback for 16 games… Corey Coleman has the talent to rank higher, especially if Pryor departs, but as the team’s current No. 2 and with that Browns’ quarterback mess, this range feels acceptable… Tyler Lockett and Michael Floyd are significantly more talented than the ranking would suggest, but does Lockett see enough snaps in 2017, and where will Floyd play?
2017 Tight End Rankings
Do you know which tight ends had more Fantasy points than Cameron Brate from Weeks 3-16? Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham, the end. From Weeks 8-16? Just Kelce… Speaking of Graham, he is now the poster boy for returning from a torn patellar tendon. His season was impressive given that injury’s history with NFL players… Can Tyler Eifert stay healthy? If so, a Top 3 finish is a real possibility… Hunter Henry will break out next year, assuming Antonio Gates retires or finds a new team, maybe even if he doesn’t… Gates has one year left on his deal, but with a $500k cap hit if they release him, I’m not positive that the Chargers don’t move on to Henry… Zach Miller was having his breakout year before a season-ending injury… Jason Witten is still hanging on, similar to Frank Gore.
Main Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire