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Chris Thomas’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 17

David Johnson

This year more than ever it has been difficult to make decisions about fantasy football lineups because of injuries, byes, and Covid-19 concerns. With players like Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffery/Mike Davis, Alvin Kamara, and Miles Sanders sitting out this week championship fantasy teams could be largely affected and could force teams to start emergency options.

This week is the second week of championship week in a majority of leagues so owners may have a few running backs on their roster that they have been flipping between all season. Deciding between them could be the difference between winning and losing. For owners who have to stream a running back this week, it may be difficult to choose who to put into the lineup.

Here are my running back rankings for Week 17 of the 2020 NFL Season.

*Ratings are subject to change due to injury reports or possible move to reserve/COVID-19 list*

(Check out the section below for details on players already rumored to possibly miss this week and how their replacement options rank for the week)

Must Start- a player who is in your lineup regardless of the matchup or most circumstances. They Will likely finish near the top of the league in points that week and in most weeks.
Starting RB1- a player who makes fantasy owners comfortable starting week after week. Regardless of the matchup, this player has a high floor.
High-End RB2- a player who may isn’t likely to carry a lineup that week, but has the ability to have a breakout game and is teetering between RB1 and RB2 category.
Starting RB2- a player who should be started in most lineups and should reach their point projection. This player is started is because of their consistency and moderately high floor
Low RB2- a player who may not be a lock to start for a team every week, but will start more times than not. Their production may not be pretty or win a person their lineup but the production is consistent enough to make a fantasy owner comfortable starting them.
Flex- a player who could float around the territory of being benched, but is started due to the potential to play better than their point projection. However, this player has the potential to flop and causes a fantasy team to lose if he has a bad game.
Deep League Flex- a player who is more of a Hail Mary throw at the position. There are enough reasons to leave this player on the bench, but their upside makes them an attractive option. Desperate times may call for a player like this to be inserted into starting lineups.
Leave on the Bench- a player who should be avoided in all lineups that week. Many times this player could even be left on waivers.
Must StartDerrick Henryvs Houston TexansRB1
InactiveAlvin Kamaravs Carolina PanthersOUT
Must StartNick Chubbvs Pittsburgh SteelersRB2
Must StartJonathan Taylorvs Jacksonville JaguarsRB3
Must StartDavid Montgomeryvs Green Bay PackerRB4
Starting RB1Austin Ekelervs Kansas City ChiefsRB5
Starting RB1Myles Gaskinvs Buffalo BillsRB6
Starting RB1D’Andre Swiftvs Minnesota VikingsRB7
InactiveMiles Sandersvs Washington Football TeamOUT
Starting RB1David Johnsonvs Tennessee TitansRB8
High End RB2Jeff Wilson Jr.vs Seattle SeahawksRB9
Starting RB2Alexander Mattisonvs Detroit LionsRB10
Starting RB2Aaron Jonesvs Chicago BearsRB11
Starting RB2J.K. Dobbinsvs Cincinnati BengalsRB12
Starting RB2Melvin Gordonvs Las Vegas RaidersRB13
Starting RB2Chris Carsonvs San Francisco 49ersRB14
Starting RB2Josh Jacobsvs Denver BroncosRB15
Low RB2Antonio Gibsonvs Philadelphia EaglesRB16
Low RB2Ronald Jonesvs Atlanta FalconsRB17
Low RB2Ezekiel Elliotvs New York GiantsRB18
Low RB2Kenyan Drakevs Los Angeles RamsRB19
FlexWayne Gallmanvs Dallas CowboysRB20
FlexGus Edwardsvs Cincinnati BengalsRB21
FlexNyheim Hinesvs Pittsburgh SteelersRB22
FlexMalcolm Brown*vs Arizona CardinalsRB23
FlexJ.D. McKissicvs Philadelphia EaglesRB24
FlexDare Ogunbowalevs Indianapolis ColtsRB25
FlexZack Mossvs Miami DolphinsRB26
FlexJames Connervs Cleveland BrownsRB27
FlexGiovanni Bernardvs Baltimore RavensRB28
InactiveDamien Harris*vs New York JetsOUT
 FlexTy Montgomery vs Carolina PanthersRB29
Deep League Flex A.J. Dillonvs Chicago BearsRB30
Deep League FlexTy Johnsonvs New England PatriotsRB31
Deep League Flex Boston Scottvs Washington Football TeamRB32
Deep League FlexKareem Huntvs Pittsburgh SteelersRB33
Deep League FlexSony Michelvs New York JetsRB34
Deep League FlexDarrel Williamsvs Los Angles ChargersRB35
InactiveLatavius Murrayvs Carolina PanthersOUT
Deep League FlexRodney Smithvs New Orleans SaintsRB36
Deep League FlexDevin Singletaryvs Miami DolphinsRB37
Deep League FlexIto Smithvs Tampa Bay BuccaneersRB38
Deep League FlexTony Pollardvs New York GiantsRB39
Deep League FlexMike Boonevs Detroit LionsRB40
Deep League FlexDuke Johnson Jr.*vs Tennessee TitansRB41
Deep League FlexJosh Adamsvs New England PatriotsRB42
Deep League FlexSamaje Perinevs Baltimore RavensRB43
Deep League FlexAdrian Petersonvs Minnesota VikingsRB44
Deep League FlexBenny Snellvs Cleveland BrownsRB45
Leave on the BenchLeonard Fournettevs Atlanta FalconsRB46
Leave on the BenchJames Whitevs New York JetsRB47
Leave on the BenchChase Edmondsvs Los Angeles RamsRB48
Leave on the BenchKalen Ballagevs Kansas City ChiefsRB49
Leave on the BenchSalvon Ahmedvs Buffalo BillsRB50
Leave on the BenchDevonta Freemanvs Dallas CowboysRB51
Leave on the BenchLe’Veon Bell*vs Los Angeles ChargersRB53
Leave on the BenchDevontae Bookervs Denver BroncosRB54
Leave on the BenchJerick McKinnonvs Seattle SeahawksRB55
Leave on the BenchTodd Gurleyvs Tampa Bay BuccaneersRB56
Leave on the BenchCarlos Hydevs San Fransisco 49ersRB57
Leave on the BenchRoyce Freemanvs Las Vegas RaidersRB58
Leave on the BenchJamaal Williamsvs Chicago BearsRB59

Possible Changes that can occur before Sunday

New Orleans Saints Running Backs: Alvin Kamara & Latavius Murray

Both Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list making them ineligible to play in Week 17. The Saints will likely deploy a committee led by flex player Ty Montgomery who could fill in for Kamara. The Saints are also expected to sign a running back off their practice squad. That running back can be Tony Jones Jr. Both Montgomery and Jones Jr. would be risky starts in a championship week. But if someone is forced to pick up Montgomery he ranks as RB29 on the week between Giovanni Bernard and A.J. Dillon.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are resting some of their starters for Week 17. One of those major starters is running back Miles Sanders who is listed with a knee injury. With Sanders out of the lineup, Boston Scott becomes RB32 between Ty Johnson and Kareem Hunt.

RB23 Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams

Originally when the week started it seemed very clear that Malcolm Brown would be the Rams starting running back for Week 17. However, there is a slight chance that Cam Akers could return this week. If Akers returns he would become RB21 between Wayne Gallman and Gus Edwards. While Brown would move back to RB37 between Rodney Smith and Devin Singletary.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Damien Harris has missed the past two weeks with an ankle injury and will make it three in a row this week. Sony Michel will once again slide into Harris’ role on the offense and be RB34 between Kareem Hunt and Darrell Williams. Also, J.J. Taylor becomes an interesting name as a boom or bust play in deep leagues. He will see more work with Harris out. Taylor slides into the RB52 spot between Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell.

RB41 Duke Johnson Jr., Houston Texans

David Johnson has played extremely well during Duke Johnson’s absence. Duke Johnson has missed the past two weeks because of a neck injury. With not much to play for The Texans may keep David Johnson’s role the same if Duke was to return just to see what type of production they could get from his as a full-time work-horse back. David Johnson is still a great play regardless of Duke Johnson playing or not.

RB52 Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs

Last week Le’Veon Bell did not look great and was out-snapped by Darrell Williams. Bell has not practiced Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury. Even if Bell is active he could be rested since the Chiefs are resting their starters. If that is the case Darwin Thompson could slide into Bell’s RB53 slot. If Darrel Williams was to be rested Sunday as well Thompson would jump into the RB38 spot in between Ito Smith and Tony Pollard.

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