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

The whole season comes down to this, and fantasy football’s most important position has never been more important. Having the right running backs — whether they’re studs you’ve been riding all year or sleepers you picked up off the waiver wire last week — is key to taking home a championship. Our Week 17 fantasy RB rankings for standard leagues can help you discern between the contenders and pretenders.

As has been the case for the past few weeks, it’s all about the players with the best matchups. The player’s name doesn’t matter, nor where you drafted him last August. That was a long time ago, and we’ve learned a lot since then. Injuries have taken some players out of commission and opened the door for others, and we saw a few such instances of that last weekend (Isiah Pacheco being the most notable), creating more unlikely Week 17 heroes (Clyde Edwards-Helaire, anyone?).

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

Who are the best fantasy RBs in Week 17?

Christian McCaffrey (@ Commanders in Week 17) once again tops our list, and he’s followed Kyren Williams (@ Giants), Travis Etienne (vs. Panthers), Jonathan Taylor (vs. Raiders), and Kenneth Walker III (vs. Steelers), all of whom are facing defenses that entered last week in the top 12 in fantasy points allowed to RBs.

WEEK 17 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBsWRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Raheem Mostert (vs. Ravens), Austin Ekeler (@ Broncos), Josh Jacobs (@ Colts), Saquon Barkley (vs. Rams), and D’Andre Swift (vs. Cardinals)  round out the top 10. Ekeler bounced back with 18 touches last week and 86 total yards last week, and he has the second-best RB matchup possible, so even though there are concerns about L.A.’s offense, he should have success this week. We’re also banking on Jacobs (quad) returning to his usual high-volume ways against a Colts’ defense that was just decimated on the ground by the Falcons.

WEEK 17 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

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

Ty Chandler (vs. Packers) and Jerome Ford (vs. Jets) are both committee backs who are always on the start-sit bubble, but with top-10 matchups this week, they both deserve starting spots in 12-team leagues. The same goes for both Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris (@ Seahawks), who face Seattle’s bottom-five RB defense.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Bengals) could see 20-plus touches with Isiah Pacheco in concussion protocol and Jerick McKinnon (groin) on IR. CEH is a must-start in all formats. Chris Rodriguez Jr. (vs. 49ers) isn’t quite at that level because of his matchup, but he’s a solid deep-league plug-and-play if he’s over his ankle injury and Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring) remains out.

Going deeper, “change-of-pace” backs Tyjae Spears (@ Texans), Kenneth Gainwell (vs. Cardinals), Tyler Allgeier (@ Bears), and Kareem Hunt (vs. Jets) all have favorable matchups this week and could be worth using as deep-league flexes. Gainwell is particularly interesting in the best possible RB matchup, as he’s been seeing over 40 percent of snaps over the past month. 

WEEK 17 FANTASY ADVICE:
Start ’em, sit ’em | Sleepers | Busts | Projections

Who are the biggest potential RB busts in Week 17?

It’s tough to sit guys like Tony Pollard (vs. Lions), Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery (@ Cowboys), De’Von Achane (vs. Ravens), Gus Edwards and Justice Hill (vs. Dolphins), Aaron Jones (@ Vikings), and James Conner (@ Eagles) in championship matchups, but all have matchups against defenses that entered last week in the bottom 12 for fantasy points allowed to RBs. All still have high ceilings, especially Gibbs, but their floors are lower than usual, especially since most share carries. In deep leagues, most are likely still must-starts, but in shallow leagues, you might be able to do better.

Chicago’s RBs (vs. Falcons) will be tough to trust no matter how deep your league and no matter what your format is. The matchup is brutal, and the usage is simply too unpredictable if D’Onta Foreman (personal) returns.

WEEK 17 DFS:
Main slate DK/FD lineups | DET-DAL lineup | Best values

What are the biggest RB injuries in Week 17?

Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring) and Josh Jacobs (quad) missed their second straight games last week, and Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) missed his third straight contest. At this point in the season, it seems unlikely that either Robinson Jr. or Stevenson will return, but they both bear monitoring in practice. Jacobs was reportedly a legit game-time decision last week, and with the Raiders still technically in the playoff hunt, we think he’ll return this week.

Isiah Pacheco (concussion) and Chris Rodriguez Jr. (ankle) both exited their games early. Pacheco could have a tough time clearing protocol on a short week, and with Jerick McKinnon (groin) already on the IR, Clyde Edwards-Helaire would dominate touches against Cincinnati. 

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

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

Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring

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

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