Week 15 was one of the wildest weeks of NFL action we have seen in quite some time. It featured the largest comeback in NFL history and also the greatest play in New England Patriots’ history. OK, that last part might only be my opinion. In any event, it was a wacky week for fantasy managers as well. Jerick McKinnon, Zay Jones, K.J. Osborn, Russell Gage, Juwan Johnson, and C.J. Uzomah all posted top-five weekly finishes at their respective positions. Fantasy managers may have started a couple of those players depending on their options. But for the most part, these performances came out of nowhere. There were also several injuries suffered that will affect my playoff rankings, as you will see below.
Once again I will go position by position, accounting for the next two weeks only. I am leaving out Week 18 since most leagues do not incorporate that week in their settings. I will also list where I ranked each player last week for easy reference. These playoff rankings are based on half-PPR scoring, so adjust as needed. If you have any questions, drop them below.
2022 Updated Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings
Quarterback Notes and Playoff Rankings
Somehow there are only two weeks left in the fantasy football playoffs and I ranked more quarterbacks this week than I did last week. There are just a lot of situations that are up in the air at the moment. Several quarterbacks have injury concerns which will have to be monitored in the coming days. Most NFL teams have a short week this week because of the Christmas holiday. Only 14 teams have a full seven days between their last game and this week’s contest. That may be something for fantasy managers to consider. The lack of a full week off may prohibit some players who are banged up from taking the field this week.
The big news coming out of Week 15 was the injury to MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. Hurts suffered a sprained shoulder in last week’s victory and is uncertain to play this weekend. The Eagles, who are two games in front of Minnesota for the NFC lead, may play it safe with Hurts. He sat out Tuesday’s practice as expected. Hurts is the top-scoring fantasy quarterback on the season, and that was again the case last week. Even in a tough matchup, I cannot envision a scenario in which you are benching Hurts if he plays. However, I would do everything I could to have a backup plan. Philadelphia plays in the late-afternoon slate on Saturday, so keep that in mind. If Gardner Minshew plays, he would be a dicey QB2 for me in 12-team leagues.
Lamar Jackson also has yet to practice this week. He has been out of action since going down early in Week 13. In the three games since Jackson’s injury, the Baltimore Ravens have scored just 29 points and two total touchdowns. As is the case with Hurts, I am hopeful that Jackson will return to the lineup this week. This is a very important game for Baltimore, who has fallen into second place in the AFC North. If Jackson cannot go, it will be another week of Tyler Huntley for Baltimore. Huntley is the overall QB22 over the past three weeks, finishing outside the top 25 in two of the three games. That includes Week 14 when only 26 NFL teams were in action. You do not want to be starting Tyler Huntley this week in standard fantasy football formats.
Some other signal callers whose status is a question mark as of this writing include Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, and Colt McCoy. Tannehill gutted his way through an ankle sprain on Sunday, and will likely do the same with Tennessee’s division lead shrinking by the week. The Titans play the Houston Texans, so this figures to be a Derrick Henry game regardless of who is behind center. Even if Tannehill plays, he is probably a low-end QB2. Backup Malik Willis is not a recommended play if he is forced into action, despite his rushing upside. Willis has completed just 44.7 percent of his passes and averages 4.7 yards per attempt. Denver and Arizona have little reason to rush back Wilson and McCoy from their respective concussions. Both teams have been eliminated from playoff competition and are simply playing out the string at this point.
Running Back Notes and Playoff Rankings
Jonathan Taylor suffered a high-ankle sprain on his only touch on Saturday. The injury was a death blow for many fantasy managers, as Taylor was in virtually all starting lineups. Unfortunately, the injury is season-ending for last year’s NFL leading rusher. With Taylor out of the picture, Deon Jackson and Zack Moss should share the Colts’ backfield duties moving forward. Moss out-touched Jackson 24-14 last week, but that game was a bit of an anomaly, to say the least. Indianapolis jumped out to a 33-0 halftime lead before essentially sitting on the ball in the second half, only to lose the game in overtime. When it comes to this running back pair, my playoff rankings are likely to differ from my upcoming Flex rankings, which will only incorporate Week 16.
Before last week, Tyler Allgeier had been the quintessential high-floor, low-ceiling fantasy running back. Allgeier had between 39 and 55 rushing yards in seven of nine games, with just two total touchdowns. In Week 15, however, Allgeier finally had his breakout game. He ran for 139 yards and a score in Atlanta’s loss to New Orleans. The Falcons started rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder in that game, and he struggled mightily. I expect Atlanta to continue to rely on their running game going forward. And they will now be without Caleb Huntley, who suffered an Achilles injury on Sunday. That means that both Allgeier and Patterson should get all the work they can handle going forward. I believe both Falcons’ backs are RB3s for the duration of the fantasy football playoffs.
|14||Kenneth Walker III||SEA||18|
|41||Jeffery Wilson Jr.||MIA||37|
|72||Pierre Strong Jr.||NE||84|
|89||Melvin Gordon III||KC||86|
|101||Ronald Jones II||KC||N/A|
Wide Receiver Notes and Playoff Rankings
Lest you think the names mentioned at the top of the piece were the only out-of-nowhere results last week among wide receivers, that was not the case. Others who posted WR1 value in 12-team leagues included Noah Brown, Jahan Dotson, and Rashid Shaheed. Dotson had never reached 60 yards in any of his first eight NFL games before last week’s 105-yard breakout performance. Brown had one career touchdown in 62 games before Sunday’s multi-score effort. And though Shaheed has now exceeded 50 yards in three straight tilts, he has been targeted just 19 times in nine games. I couldn’t imagine starting any of them in a must-win situation for fantasy managers this week. They would be little more than desperation dart throws in weekly formats.
Tyler Lockett is the biggest faller among high-end wide receivers in this week’s playoff rankings. That is because the Seattle star broke his finger last week. He has already had surgery to repair the fracture and is optimistic that he will play in Week 17. Because of that, I ranked him inside my top 50 going forward. Just keep in mind that he is not playing this upcoming week. If you need the roster spot for a more productive player in your playoff matchup this week, you can probably justify dropping Lockett. Even if he does return next week, he will have a less-than-ideal matchup against the New York Jets.
The Houston Texans managed to take the Kansas City Chiefs to overtime last week despite not having a top-40 fantasy running back or a top-50 fantasy wide receiver. Chris Moore led the way with nine targets but managed a pedestrian 4-42-0 line. Despite the disappointment, he could be in for another hefty workload this week. Much of that would depend on the status of fellow Texan wideouts Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins. Both have missed the last two weeks, leaving Moore and Amari Rodgers as Houston’s top two receiving threats. The Texans face the Tennessee Titans, who are an extreme pass funnel on defense. Whoever suits up for Houston this weekend could be in line for a fair share of targets against a vulnerable Titans secondary.
|7||Amon-Ra St. Brown||DET||8|
|22||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||26|
|44||D.J. Chark Jr.||DET||49|
|57||Terrace Marshall Jr.||CAR||60|
|61||Richie James Jr.||NYG||74|
|74||Marvin Jones Jr.||JAC||69|
|91||Phillip Dorsett II||HOU||113|
|96||Laviska Shenault Jr.||CAR||85|
|101||Equanimeous St. Brown||CHI||94|
|107||Odell Beckham Jr.||FA||112|
|114||Cedrick Wilson Jr.||MIA||121|
|115||Keelan Cole Sr.||LV||117|
|116||Velus Jones Jr.||CHI||128|
|121||Steven Sims Jr.||PIT||115|
|124||James Proche II||BAL||126|
|139||David Sills V||NYG||148|
|166||Demetric Felton Jr.||CLE||N/A|
Tight End Notes and Playoff Rankings
Another week, another handful of relative nobodies putting up fantasy numbers at the tight end position. In addition to Juwan Johnson and C.J. Uzomah posting top-five fantasy numbers, Brock Wright, Mitchell Wilcox, and Eric Tomlinson were among those who finished the week as TE1s in 12-team leagues. The three players were targeted a combined seven times, meaning there is not much to see here. Unless you count me seeing Brock Wright running free right in front of me like a gimpy horse in an open field in my nightmares.
Turning the page towards tight ends who are good at football, Darren Waller returned to action last week after missing over two months with a hamstring injury. He caught a touchdown and finished as a top-six tight end. He is a top-10 tight end for me for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs. The same goes for Dallas Goedert. Goedert is expected to make his return this weekend. Even if Gardner Minshew is Philadelphia’s quarterback this week, I would not shy away from Goedert. There is such a lack of consistency and volume among tight ends that I cannot envision many scenarios where I would bench Waller and/or Goedert.
|45||Donald Parham Jr.||LAC||72|
|78||Irv Smith Jr.||MIN||N/A|
Defense/Special Teams Notes and Playoff Rankings
Fantasy football is a game of matchups. This often plays out when it comes to defensive and special teams units. We can usually safely target certain offenses and opposing quarterbacks. That means that rankings of D/ST units can change quite a bit from week to week. Such is the case with my playoff rankings. For example, I barely had the Los Angeles Chargers’ D/ST inside my top 20 a week ago. Now, they are a top-10 playoff outfit. The reason is that their next two matchups are against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams. Both offenses are top-three in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing D/ST. I will gladly take my chances against Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield if I am looking for a defense to score fantasy points against.
On the flip side, Denver and New Orleans are among those who I dropped quite a bit in my latest playoff rankings. The Broncos have been a top-eight fantasy defense on the season. And they do get the aforementioned Rams this coming week. However, they face the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. I believe the negative outweighs the positive overall, though I would highly recommend playing Denver in Week 16. The Saints have been a solid real-life defense of late, but the fantasy points have simply not been there. With upcoming road matchups against Cleveland and Philadelphia, I am not sure how much that changes, especially concerning the Eagles matchup.
|2||San Francisco 49ers||2|
|3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5|
|4||Kansas City Chiefs||3|
|8||Los Angeles Chargers||19|
|9||New York Jets||9|
|11||New England Patriots||8|
|15||Green Bay Packers||13|
|18||New Orleans Saints||10|
|19||Los Angeles Rams||22|
|25||New York Giants||27|
|26||Las Vegas Raiders||24|
Kicker Notes and Playoff Rankings
One of the tricky issues for fantasy managers to navigate as it pertains to kickers can be the weather. Last week, I had Jason Sanders outside my top-12 fantasy kickers. Part of my logic was that Miami was facing a good Buffalo Bills defense. But part of it was also the expected bad weather. Of course, by the time the bad weather finally hit, Sanders had already nailed three field goals. So much for that. At the risk of repeating my mistake, there will be several games this week that will be played in frigid conditions. As far as kicking is concerned, pay attention to wind speeds. I cannot imagine kicking in the cold is fun, but it should not hamper most NFL kickers. Wind, however, can play a huge role in the kicking game.
More Week 16 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Flex Rankings