There are just two weekends left before the NFL starts the regular season. Thousands of fantasy football leagues will be drafting soon. Through Saturday I’ll share my rankings for each position. I started with quarterbacks Tuesday, followed by running backs Wednesday, wide receivers Thursday and tight ends Friday. We’ll close out with defense rankings. This year I’ve added tiers to better help you prepare for your draft.
Not much has changed for the top two teams in this tier, so they should be very good once again. The Jaguars had the best pass defense in the league and the Vikings gave up the least amount of points. Additions to the defensive backfield and in the trenches can help the Rams take a step forward. The defending Super Bowl champs led the league in rushing yards allowed per game. They’ve had some changes up front, but they should remain solid.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. Los Angeles Rams
4. Philadelphia Eagles
The pass rush of the Chargers is enough to make fantasy owners excited about drafting them in the 11th round. That pass rush coupled with a good defensive backfield is a recipe for creating turnovers. The first surprise in these rankings is the Saints at No. 6. They aren’t the same Saints you’re used to, sacking the quarterback 42 times (tied for 7th in NFL) while making 20 interceptions (3rd) last season.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
6. New Orleans Saints
7. Denver Broncos
8. Houston Texans
9. Baltimore Ravens
The Cardinals have last season’s sack leader in Chandler Jones. He led the league with 17 of the Cardinals’ 37 sacks. They forced 18 fumbles and intercepted 15 passes while allowing 22.6 points per game. The points allowed doesn’t sound outstanding, but the offense was in shambles without David Johnson and Carson Palmer. Johnson is back and Sam Bradford, though an injury risk, should be a decent steward of the offense. That could help the Cardinals’ defense stay fresh for longer.
10. Arizona Cardinals
11. Carolina Panthers
12. New England Patriots
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Chicago Bears
16. Seattle Seahawks
Week 7 starts today and there have been a few injury updates ahead of the action. Leonard Fournette isn’t expected to play, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. I moved Fournette down on my rankings, but make sure there’s not a game time surprise before you sit him. Here are the rest of my updated Week 7 fantasy football rankings by position.
Are you hanging in there? I’m pulling for you all. Just a reminder that an 0-3 start in fantasy football isn’t the same as it is in the NFL. You’ve still got a decent chance to make the playoffs. Don’t give up and stay engaged. With that said, here are my Week 4 fantasy football rankings by position.
The 2017 fantasy football season started Thursday but things really get rolling the first Sunday of the season. You should make a final check of our week 1 rankings at the bottom of the page. Also stay updated on injuries heading into the week with these NFL insiders.
While the Giants believe Odell Beckham Jr. is considered a game-time decision, there is real doubt whether he will play, per sources.
After seeing this tweet I’ve downgraded Beckham Jr., thinking even if he plays then he won’t be as effective as he’d be at 100 percent. Be sure to have him in your flex spot if you have other options playing Sunday night or Monday. That way you can swap in other positions, not just wide receivers, if he can’t play.
Washington WR Jamison Crowder, listed as questionable with a hip injury, is expected to play Sunday vs Eagles, per source.
There are just two weekends left before the NFL starts the regular season. Thousands of fantasy football leagues will be drafting this weekend. For the next few days reigning 3-peat Office Football League champ Rich Tijerina and I will share our rankings for each position side-by-side. We’ve ranked quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. Up next are tight ends followed by defenses. At the end of this list are a few questions regarding where we ranked the tight ends. Ranks in bold are discussed at the bottom.
Who outside of your top 12 has the best opportunity to outperform their current ranking?
Tijerina: Cameron Brate, at 14. O.J. Howard will probably go before Brate on draft day, but those two both will put up good numbers. Rookies are usually fantasy wildcards; Howard has been hit or miss this preseason though he did get a couple of red zone targets last week. Brate’s been steady throughout and knows the offense.
Vasquez: Jack Doyle can inch his way into the top 12 by the end of the year. Dwayne Allen isn’t on the team anymore so things should open up for Doyle. Hopefully Andrew Luck doesn’t miss more than a game so that Doyle can put up TE1 numbers during the season. I expect him to catch more than five touchdowns this year.
Will a rookie be relevant for fantasy by the end of the year? Which one?
Tijerina: Relevant? O.J. Howard and Evan Engram. Either would be suitable backups with upside. But they also both have roster issues to contend with when it comes to red-zone targets. I don’t think David Njoku does much this year. Keep an eye on possible sleeper George Kittle, who only has Vance McDonald ahead of him on the 49ers’ depth chart; the fifth-rounder scored on a nice 29-yard catch and run in his first preseason game.
Vasquez: Rookie tight ends don’t typically produce in fantasy football, but if anyone can this season, I’d bet on O.J. Howard of Tampa Bay. He’s finding his way onto the field with Cameron Brate at the same time. That makes things interesting, but it’s hard to be relevant when you’re sharing targets with the other tight end on the team.
Should you even draft a backup tight end? Or is it OK to pull one with a good matchup off the waiver wire during your starter’s bye week?
Tijerina: It’s OK to go with one tight end — if that tight end is one of the first 12 on our lists. If you’re only going with one, make sure he’s a true TE1. You can manage byes or injuries with waivers. By the time you’re considering drafting a second tight end, you’re already in best-available mode in the later rounds. You have better odds hitting on a late-round shot on a receiver or running back than a tight end. It’s a numbers thing: More draftable receivers and backs in the fantasy pond than tight ends.
Vasquez: I go back and forth on this one. If I can get a tight end with upside, like an Evan Engram, then I’ll take a shot late. If the options just aren’t exciting after I’ve drafted a tight end, I’ll go for upside on a receiver or a running back. I would advise doing that during the draft and picking up a substitute tight end off the waiver wire when necessary.
Over the next few weeks we’ll take an early look at our 2017 fantasy football position rankings. This week we’ll talk about the signal callers before turning our attention to running backs next week. We’ll rank the QBs from 1 to 32, the running backs from 1-36, the wide receivers 1-36 and the tight ends 1-24. Defenses and kickers will be ranked 1-12.
First up we’ve got the quarterbacks. You’ll notice Matt Ryan is still in the top-5, but he’s not the No. 1 quarterback like he was at the end of the 2016 season.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers—He still has Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Davante Adams is a rising star and the addition of Martellus Bennett should help Rodgers have the best season among QBs.
2. Tom Brady, Patriots—He’ll be 40 by the time the season starts but he seems to have a lot of tread left on the tires. The addition of Brandin Cooks and Mike Gillislee adds more weapons for the Super Bowl MVP.
3. Drew Brees, Saints—Probably one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, Brees just seems to put up numbers with whatever talent he has on the roster. His home-away split is a factor, but he should still end up top-3.
4. Andrew Luck, Colts—All the guy needs is time in the pocket and he’ll feast. The Colts got some protection help in the draft so his production should improve over last year.
5. Matt Ryan, Falcons—Last year was a career year for Ryan, his tenth in the league. He lost his offensive guru in Kyle Shanahan, so I’m expecting a bit of a regression in numbers.
6. Russell Wilson, Seahawks—Wilson’s best seasons have been when he’s been able to run around and make plays with his legs. Last season he was hurt early in the year. If he’s healthy to start the season he’ll start strong and possibly play well wire to wire.
7. Derek Carr, Raiders—Carr was very solid last season and he seems on the verge of breaking into the top-5. He’s got Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and now Marshawn Lynch to help him out.
8. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers—A big winner after free agency and the draft was Winston. He got DeSean Jackson, a big-play threat, and O.J. Howard, a versatile rookie tight end, as new weapons.
9. Dak Prescott, Cowboys—You worry about a sophomore jinx, but with how poised he played last season he might be immune. He’ll have a full offseason to work with his receivers and you can’t forget about Zeke Elliott who can take a seemingly harmless screen pass 80 yards to the house.
10. Philip Rivers, Chargers—If Keenan Allen can stay healthy, Rivers can be even better than last year. He finished in the top six in standard scoring last season with a bunch of nobodies catching passes. Now he has Mike Williams, the top receiver in the draft, as another option.
11. Kirk Cousins, Redskins—He was actually one of the best fantasy quarterbacks last season and nearly threw for 5,000 yards. Losing DeSean Jackson hurts, but Jamison Crowder is coming on and the Redskins added Terrelle Pryor.
12. Cam Newton, Panthers—He’s still in my top-12, but barely. The addition of Christian McCaffrey should help him. He’s just not an accurate quarterback and his value drops when he isn’t running, which is something he cut back on when he was getting punished weekly.
13. Marcus Mariota, Titans
14. Eli Manning, Giants
15. Andy Dalton, Bengals
16. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
17. Matthew Stafford, Lions
18. Carson Palmer, Cardinals
19. Alex Smith, Chiefs
20. Blake Bortles, Jaguars
21. Tyrod Taylor, Bills
22. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
23. Carson Wentz, Eagles
24. Joe Flacco, Ravens
25. Sam Bradford, Vikings
26. Trevor Siemian, Broncos
27. Josh McCown, Jets
28. Brian Hoyer, 49ers
29. Tom Savage or DeShaun Watson, Texans (will update as starter becomes clear)
30. Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky, Bears (will update as starter becomes clear)