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Fantasy Football: Week 17 RB rankings

/ by Bijan Todd
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The fantasy football championships are finally upon us. It's time to set your lineup, get overly confident, then become really upset when your best point-getter has 'DNP' beside them on the practice report.

But this week more than ever, it's extra important you take a look at the weekly running back rankings to ensure you don't leave dozens of unclaimed points on your bench. Most, if not all, major-name running backs should be good to suit up this week, meaning the waiver wire might not be as tasty this week as in weeks past.

With injuries, COVID, and the bragging rights of a fantasy football championship in mind, here are the best running back matchups for Week 17:

Week 17 rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams

2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL RB RANKINGS: WEEK 17

1. Jonathan Taylor (Colts) vs. Raiders

  • 2021 rushing stats: 297 attempts, 1,626 yards, 17 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 36 catches, 336 yards, 2 TDs
  • 2021 points: 342.2

Taylor's monstrous 2021 season should culminate in a torrid performance vs. the Raiders in Week 17. Though he couldn't find the end zone last week vs. Arizona, the possible MVP will be taking on one of the league's worst run defenses, setting Taylor up nicely for a huge workload and a boatload of fantasy points.

 

2. Ronald Jones II (Buccaneers) at Jets

  • 2021 rushing stats: 91 attempts, 402 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 9 catches, 63 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 75.5

Stepping in for the injured Leonard Fournette as Tampa's lead back, Jones proved capable of providing fantasy owners with a nice serving of 16.1 points last week. If you spend a huge chunk of your waiver money on him and are still alive in your league, good on you: Jones takes on the league-worst Jets in what should be a run-heavy offensive scheme for the Bucs.

3. Austin Ekeler (Chargers) vs. Broncos

  • 2021 rushing stats: 173 attempts, 789 yards, 10 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 62 catches, 558 yards, 7 TDs
  • 2021 points: 294.7

Ekeler was out with COVID last week, setting up a Justin Jackson masterclass in an upset loss vs. the Texans. Ekeler has since cleared protocols, though, and will be lacing 'em up again in Week 17 against the Broncos, who he torched for a huge receiving game and a touchdown last time out. He, as he's been all season, is a top-tier RB1 in a potential championship-clinching game in your league.

4. Dalvin Cook (Vikings) at Packers

  • 2021 rushing stats: 226 attempts, 1,067 yards, 6 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 30 catches, 221 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 192.8

It would be fair to call Dalvin Cook's 2021 fantasy season a disappointment, as the universal first-round pick will end up being outside the top-10 among RBs in terms of points scored. He's back from a stint on the COVID list, though, and should take care of business against the Packers. Cook scored over 22 points last time up against Green Bay, and in a must-win game for the Vikings, his workload should be massive.

5. Najee Harris (Steelers) vs. Browns

  • 2021 rushing stats: 268 attempts, 984 yards, 6 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 67 catches, 422 yards, 3 TDs
  • 2021 points: 261.6

Harris' rookie year was delightful and he should be a very early second-round pick, at the very least, in every fantasy draft next season. Putting up an average of 17.4 points per contest, Harris should put the cherry on top of his campaign vs. Cleveland this week. His volume alone makes him a must-start each week, and Week 17 vs. the Browns should be another case in point. He scored 21.0 points against the Browns last time up.

6. D'Andre Swift (Lions) at Seahawks

  • 2021 rushing stats: 140 attempts, 555 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 56 catches, 429 yards, 2 TDs
  • 2021 points: 188.4

Swift has missed the last four games due to injuries but will return for the fantasy championships in an extra-tasty matchup vs. the second-worst run defense in the NFL. Swift's workload as a pass-catching RB for Detroit should set him up nicely for a 15+ point fantasy outing.

7. Joe Mixon (Bengals) vs. Chiefs

  • 2021 rushing stats: 280 attempts, 1,159 yards, 13 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 35 catches, 274 yards, 3 TDs
  • 2021 points: 272.3

If you had Mixon on your roster last week vs. the Ravens, congrats on winning your semifinal matchup: Cincy's lead back torched Baltimore for 135 scrimmage yards and two scores for a 31.5 point fantasy outing. Mixon's immense responsibility in the Bengals' backfield should work out nicely against a Chiefs defense that's been generous to opposing backs all season.

8. David Montgomery (Bears) vs. Giants

  • 2021 rushing stats: 183 attempts, 713 yards, 5 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 38 catches, 277 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 165.0

Montgomery took advantage of Seattle's Swiss cheese defense for 23.6 points last week -- the second-best fantasy game he's had all season. He should carry that momentum to Week 17 against a weak Giants' front, making him a high-end RB2 this Sunday. Start Montgomery if you've got him.

9. Nick Chubb (Browns) at Steelers

  • 2021 rushing stats: 207 attempts, 1,143 yards, 8 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 19 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD
  • 2021 points: 202.5

Chubb saved the best for last this season, putting up his best fantasy performance last week vs. Packers. He ran for 126 (!) yards and a touchdown and hauled in 58 receiving yards for 27.4 points. Pittsburgh's defense has been soft against the run all year, so Chubb is an excellent option for all fantasy managers.

 

10. Alvin Kamara (Saints) vs. Panthers

  • 2021 rushing stats: 197 attempts, 720 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 40 catches, 355 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 points: 195.5

Sadly for fantasy owners, Kamara put up his third sub-10 point night on Monday vs. Miami. His massive workload in New Orleans' backfield salvages his fantasy stock for this week as he takes on a strong Carolina defensive unit. Kamara is a must-start thanks to his volume alone, but start him with caution.

11. Antonio Gibson (Washington Football Team) vs. Eagles

  • 2021 rushing stats: 237 attempts, 891 yards, 6 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 41 catches, 289 yards, 3 TDs
  • 2021 points: 207.0

12. Elijah Mitchell (49ers) vs. Texans

  • 2021 rushing stats: 165 attempts, 759 yards, 5 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 17 catches, 126 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 135.5

13. Aaron Jones (Packers) vs. Vikings

  • 2021 rushing stats: 163 attempts, 723 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 47 catches, 361 yards 6 TDs
  • 2021 points: 213.4

14. Devin Singletary (Bills) vs. Falcons

  • 2021 rushing stats: 146 attempts, 672 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 38 catches, 204 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 149.6

15. Josh Jacobs (Raiders) at Colts

  • 2021 rushing stats: 175 attempts, 677 yards, 7 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 48 catches, 319 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2021 points: 185.6

16. Darrel Wiliams (Chiefs) at Bengals

  • 2021 rushing stats: 123 attempts, 453 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 41 catches, 403 yards, 2 TDs
  • 2021 points: 162.6

17. Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) vs. Cardinals

  • 2021 rushing stats: 210 attempts, 899 yards, 10 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 45 catches, 270 yards, 2 TDs
  • 2021 points: 238.1

18. Javonte Williams (Broncos) at Chargers

  • 2021 rushing stats: 177 attempts, 827 yards, 4 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 40 catches, 296 yards, 3 TDs
  • 2021 points: 192.3

19. Sony Michel (Rams) at Ravens

  • 2021 rushing stats: 168 attempts, 728 yards, 3 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 17 catches, 97 yards, 1 TDs
  • 2021 points: 121.5

20. Cordarrelle Patterson (Falcons) at Bills

  • 2021 rushing stats: 140 attempts, 579 yards, 6 TDs
  • 2021 receiving stats: 49 catches, 523 yards, 5 TDs
  • 2021 points: 225.2

Week 17 rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams