We have made it to the championship round of the 2022 fantasy football season. Well, when I say “we”, I mean “hopefully you”, because I did not make any finals this year. It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that it is all skill when I win and all luck when I lose. So I will simply say that if you are reading this and have made it to your championship, you have my respect and you should pat yourself on the back. Hopefully, my advice and rankings have assisted you on your journey on some level. Now enough of that because you have a championship to win! Second place is just the first loser, if you’re not first, you’re last, and so on and so on.
Below are my updated playoff rankings. Please keep a couple of things in mind before citing these as gospel. First, these are only for this week and do not incorporate Week 18. Most leagues worth their salt have eliminated Week 18 due to the wonky nature of the proceedings. So in a manner of speaking, these are essentially my early Week 17 rankings. They are also based on half-PPR scoring. If you use a different scoring system, please adjust as needed. Finally, there is still quite a bit in the air concerning injuries and the like. Make sure you keep up with the latest news on the injury front regarding these players. Now that all of the formalities are out of the way, here are my updated playoff rankings. Go win yourself a championship!
Updated Playoff Rankings for Fantasy Football
Quarterback Notes and Playoff Rankings
Jared Goff, Gardner Minshew, and Sam Darnold were all top-eight fantasy quarterbacks in Week 16. As strange as those finishes may seem, none of them hold a candle to Chris Streveler outscoring Justin Herbert. As we head into Week 17, there are still some question marks surrounding some popular signal-callers. Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson may miss another week with their respective injuries. And Tua Tagovailoa is in the league’s concussion protocol for the second time this season. You could surmise with a quick gander at my rankings that I do not expect any of them to play on Sunday.
If they cannot go, Gardner Minshew is the only backup I would consider a potential fantasy starter in Week 17. I have him ranked as my QB14, and that may be a bit low. Minshew was the overall QB5 a week ago, putting up 360 total yards and three touchdowns against Dallas. A matchup against the New Orleans Saints is fairly neutral from a fantasy perspective. The Saints have only allowed 16 passing touchdowns on the year, tied for fourth-best in the NFL. However, they have also intercepted just four passes, which is tied for the fewest in the league. I have Tyler Huntley 18th and Teddy Bridgewater 23rd this week among quarterbacks. Neither is a recommended start against defenses who are top-three in interceptions this year.
Running Back Notes and Playoff Rankings
For now, I am still treating Rhamondre Stevenson like the top-10 fantasy back he has been this season. However, there are a couple of factors to consider. First is the potential return of Damien Harris. Harris has missed a month with a thigh injury but could be back this week. On top of that, you could make the argument that Stevenson has cost the Patriots two games in a row due to his lack of ball security. New England is in a must-win scenario on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Miami has allowed 17 total touchdowns to opposing backs this year, including an NFL-high six through the air. If Harris cannot go, I think Stevenson is in line for a huge workload even with his recent struggles. No other Patriot running back besides Stevenson and Harris has more than 18 carries for the entire year.
Another situation to keep an eye on is in Dallas, where Tony Pollard is also dealing with a thigh injury. The Cowboys play on Thursday night, so at least we will know what to do with Pollard. I ranked Pollard lower than I normally would if he had a clean bill of health. Still, I would imagine that if he is a-go, you would be starting him in most instances. His possible absence would give a boost to Ezekiel Elliott, but I also think you are staring Elliott anyway. There is a narrative that suggests that the Tennessee Titans will rest some key players on Thursday, as they only need to win their Week 18 matchup against Jacksonville to secure a playoff berth. I don’t know if I buy into that, but such a scenario could also benefit both Cowboys’ backs.
Wide Receiver Notes and Playoff Rankings
Saints rookie standout Chris Olave missed last week’s game due to a hamstring injury. Fantasy managers did not miss much based on how that game played out. The game was played in brutal weather conditions and quarterback Andy Dalton threw just 15 times for 92 yards. While it is safe to assume that Dalton will be busier on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, we do not yet know Olave’s status. Olave has not had many “ceiling” games of late. In his last seven games, he has only scored one touchdown. That came back in Week 11, which was also his last double-digit fantasy output. However, he has consistently shown a relatively high floor. He has at least three catches and 40 yards in every game in which he has played. If he plays on Sunday, I think Olave is a mid-range WR3 in 12-team leagues.
Another wide receiver whose Week 17 status is in doubt is Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks. Lockett broke a finger less than two weeks ago and had surgery immediately thereafter. Head coach Pete Carroll was optimistic about Lockett’s ability to return after missing just one game. We have not heard anything definitive from Carroll or the training staff since last week’s game. Lockett has been one of the most consistent fantasy wideouts this year, a far cry from previous campaigns. He has at least 60 yards in six of seven ballgames and had scored in six straight before the game in which he broke his finger. I currently have Lockett outside my top 50, but he is likely a top-20 fantasy wide receiver this week if we get good news in the next couple of days.
|4||Amon-Ra St. Brown||DET|
|106||Equanimeous St. Brown||CHI|
Tight End Notes and Playoff Rankings
There was almost a sense of normalcy at the tight end position last week. Almost. We had double-digit performances from T.J. Hockenson, George Kittle, Evan Engram, Travis Kelce, Greg Dulcich, Taysom Hill (of course), Dawson Knox, and Pat Freiermuth. Others such as Dallas Goedert, Darren Waller, and Mark Andrews fell a bit short of expectations. But even they provided fantasy managers with a decent floor. Then, of course, you have Shane Zylstra scoring twice and finishing as the TE4. Or Marcedes Lewis going for 32 yards and a score when he entered the game with just 36 yards and a score on the year. Such is life in fantasy football, but seemingly more so at the tight end position.
I think my tight end rankings this week are pretty standard. One player whom I have dropped in my fantasy football playoff rankings compared to two weeks ago is Chigoziem Okonkwo of the Tennessee Titans. Before last week, Okonkwo had seven straight games of at least 30 receiving yards as well as four straight with at least three receptions. That is not anything to scoff at when it comes to the tight end position. However, the loss of quarterback Ryan Tannehill hurts Okonkwo’s stock. The Titans simply do not trust rookie Malik Willis to throw the football. And honestly, it’s hard to blame them. Willis has made three starts and has yet to throw for 100 yards. That feels almost impossible to accomplish, regardless of outside factors. Okonkwo has exactly one catch in each of Willis’ three starts, making it difficult for fantasy managers to trust him.
Defense/Special Teams Notes and Playoff Rankings
If you have an elite fantasy defense such as Dallas or Philadelphia, you are likely riding the wave in Week 17. Those teams will be facing Malik Willis and Andy Dalton, respectively. If you are playing the streaming game, there are a couple of interesting options this week. Only five fantasy defenses have scored fewer points than the New York Giants this season. However, New York hosts an Indianapolis squad that is limping toward the finish line. They have lost five straight and have scored fewer than 20 points in four of the five. The Colts turned to Nick Foles last week, but he threw three interceptions and failed to generate a touchdown drive. The Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns have underwhelmed from a fantasy D/ST point but could be in line for good weeks as well.
|1||Kansas City Chiefs|
|6||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|8||San Francisco 49ers|
|10||Los Angeles Chargers|
|12||New England Patriots|
|13||New York Giants|
|14||New York Jets|
|17||Green Bay Packers|
|21||Los Angeles Rams|
|26||Las Vegas Raiders|
|29||New Orleans Saints|
Kicker Notes and Playoff Rankings
What a difference a week makes. Last week we had bomb cyclones and frigid temperatures throughout much of the land. This week, not a single game is projected to be played in freezing weather. And none are expected to have high winds either. That means it should be status quo on the kicking front. It seems that half the league is playing in must-win games this week. The advent of analytics has been tricky for fantasy managers to navigate when it comes to kickers. Many coaches go for it on fourth down more than ever, forgoing field goal attempts or even punts. I wonder how many will continue to do so with their season potentially on the line this week. I have a feeling we will see more field goal attempts than usual this week.