Fantasy Football RB PPR Rankings Week 17: Who to start, best sleepers at running back

A lot has changed in the fantasy football landscape since we drafted last August or September, but one thing has stayed the same: The importance of running backs. Few would have suspected guys like Kyren Williams, Raheem Mostert, and Ezekiel Elliott (!) would be top-15 backs in our Week 17 fantasy RB PPR rankings, but here we are, and you’re title hopes might depend on them.

Of course, there are plenty of surprising names dotting the RB2 and flex tiers, too, as injuries have done their usual number on fantasy’s most important position. Just last week, we saw at least one more key back go down (Isiah Pacheco), putting his status for Week 17 in danger while opening the door for a new sleeper to emerge.

Let’s get to it and break down our Week 17 RB rankings so you can take home a title.

Who are the best fantasy RBs in Week 17?

Once again, Christian McCaffrey (@ Commanders in Week 17) is atop our rankings, with Kyren Williams (@ Giants), Travis Etienne (vs. Panthers), Austin Ekeler (@ Broncos), and Jonathan Taylor (vs. Raiders) joining him in the top five. Ekeler probably feels too high, but the Broncos allow the second-most fantasy points to RBs, so we’re willing to ride with him in a must-win matchup after he got 18 touches last week.

QBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Kenneth Walker III (vs. Steelers), Josh Jacobs (@ Colts), Saquon Barkley (vs. Rams), Breece Hall (@ Browns), and Alvin Kamara (@ Buccaneers) round out our top 10. Not everyone in this group has a favorable matchup, but their TD/reception upside makes them safe plays in PPR leagues.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Who are the best fantasy RB sleepers, waiver pickups Week 17?

Deciding whether to play Ty Chandler (vs. Packers) and Jerome Ford (vs. Jets) usually comes down to matchups, and both face defenses that entered last week in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to RBs. You can feel comfortable with both in 12-team leagues. Ditto for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren (@ Seahawks), who have an even better matchup against Seattle’s bottom-five RB defense.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Bengals) will be a must-start if Isiah Pacheco (concussion) is out, and even if Pacheco is cleared, CEH has upside given the matchup and Jerick McKinnon’s groin injury. 

In deep leagues, you can consider using handcuffs Tyjae Spears (@ Texans), Kenneth Gainwell (vs. Cardinals), and Kareem Hunt (vs. Jets). All have favorable matchups, with Spears (targets) and Gainwell (best possible matchup) having the most upside.

Main slate DK/FD lineups | DET-DAL lineup | Best values

Who are the biggest potential fantasy RB busts in Week 17?

Tony Pollard (vs. Lions), Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery (@ Cowboys), De’Von Achane (vs. Dolphins), James Conner (@ Eagles), Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon (@ Vikings), and Gus Edwards and Justice Hill (vs. Dolphins) all have tough matchups against defenses that entered Week 16 in the bottom 12 in fantasy points allowed to running backs. We know their ceilings are solid (especially Gibbs), but you might be able to find “safer” or higher-upside options. Montgomery and Edwards have especially low floors since they’re rarely involved in their teams’ passing games, but they’re always good candidates for touchdowns.

We wouldn’t touch any of the Bears’ RBs (vs. Falcons) or Commanders’ RBs (vs. 49ers). Even if Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring) is back, Washington mixes its backs too much to trust in a bottom-seven matchup. You can get away with Chris Rodriguez Jr. (ankle) in standard leagues if he plays, but the TD-dependent back loses value in PPR formats.

Start ’em, sit ’em | Sleepers | Busts | Projections

What are the biggest RB injuries in Week 17?

Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle), Josh Jacobs (quad), and Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring) have both missed at least the past two games, and they’re all up in the air for this week. We’re pretty pessimistic about Stevenson’s and Robinson Jr.’s chances of returning, but Jacobs seems likely to give it a go after almost returning last week.

Isiah Pacheco is in concussion protocol and figures to have a tough time returning given the short week. With Jerick McKinnon (groin) on IR, Clyde Edwards-Helaire would dominate touches in the backfield. Chris Rodriguez Jr. (ankle) also limped off early in his game and will have to be monitored in practice.

We’ll be updating these RB PPR rankings all week, so check back for the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB PPR Rankings Week 17: Who to start, sit at running back

Rankings based on full-point PPR scoring formats 

Rank    Player
1    Christian McCaffrey, 49ers @ Commanders
2    Kyren Williams, Rams @ Giants
3    Travis Etienne, Jaguars vs. Panthers
4    Austin Ekeler, Chargers @ Broncos
5    Jonathan Taylor, Colts vs. Raiders
6    Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks vs. Steelers
7    Saquon Barkley, Giants vs. Rams
8    Breece Hall, Jets @ Browns
9    Alvin Kamara, Saints @ Buccaneers
10    Raheem Mostert, Dolphins @ Ravens
11    D’Andre Swift, Eagles vs. Cardinals
12    Rachaad White, Buccaneers vs. Saints
13    Ezekiel Elliott, Patriots @ Bills
14    Bijan Robinson, Falcons @ Bears
15    Zamir White, Raiders @ Colts
16    Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs vs. Bengals
17    Ty Chandler, Vikings vs. Packers
18    Javonte Williams, Broncos vs. Chargers
19    Devin Singletary, Texans vs. Titans
20    James Cook, Bills vs. Patriots
21    Derrick Henry, Titans @ Texans
22    Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions @ Cowboys
23    Joe Mixon, Bengals @ Chiefs
24    Najee Harris, Steelers @ Seahawks
25    Chuba Hubbard, Panthers @ Jaguars
26    Jaylen Warren, Steelers @ Seahawks
27    Jerome Ford, Browns vs. Jets
28    Tony Pollard, Cowboys vs. Lions
29    James Conner, Cardinals @ Eagles
30    Aaron Jones, Packers @ Vikings
31    David Montgomery, Lions @ Cowboys
32    Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders vs. 49ers
33    De’Von Achane, Dolphins @ Ravens
34    Tyjae Spears, Titans @ Texans
35    Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles vs. Cardinals
36    Gus Edwards, Ravens vs. Dolphins
37    Justice Hill, Ravens vs. Dolphins
38    Chase Brown, Bengals @ Chiefs
39    Tyler Allgeier, Falcons @ Bears
40    Antonio Gibson, Commanders vs. 49ers
41    Khalil Herbert, Bears vs. Falcons
42    Kareem Hunt, Browns vs. Jets
43    AJ Dillon, Packers @ Vikings
44    Elijah Mitchell, 49ers @ Commanders
45    Alexander Mattison, Vikings vs. Packers
46    Joshua Kelley, Chargers @ Broncos
47    D’Onta Foreman, Bears vs. Falcons
48    Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks vs. Steelers
49    Chase Edmonds, Buccaneers vs. Saints
50    Roschon Johnson, Bears vs. Falcons
51    Isaiah Spiller, Chargers @ Broncos
52    Jaleel McLaughlin, Broncos vs. Chargers
53    Dameon Pierce, Texans vs. Titans
54    Miles Sanders, Panthers @ Jaguars
55    Dalvin Cook, Jets @ Browns
56    Deuce Vaughn, Cowboys vs. Lions
57    Jamaal Williams, Saints @ Buccaneers
58    Ameer Abdullah, Raiders @ Colts
59    Trey Sermon, Colts vs. Raiders
60    Kevin Harris, Patriots @ Bills
61    Samaje Perine, Broncos vs. Chargers
62    Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons @ Bears
63    Leonard Fournette, Bills vs. Patriots
64    Ronnie Rivers, Rams @ Giants
65    D’Ernest Johnson, Jaguars vs. Panthers
66    Jeff Wilson Jr., Dolphins @ Raiders
67    Matt Breida, Giants vs. Rams
68    Boston Scott, Eagles vs. Cardinals


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