Our Week 17 fantasy WR rankings are sure to see a ton of changes throughout the week thanks to injuries and COVID, so let’s just say this up front: Be sure to build as much depth as possible and have a decent understanding of the potential sleepers deeper in the rankings. You never know who you might need to start, even in the fantasy championship game.

Keenan Allen (vs. Broncos) and Justin Jefferson (@ Packers) are in the toughest spots matchup wide among stud WRs, but obviously, there are zero reasons to bench them. Those of you that have ridden with them all the way to the finals already know they’re matchup proof.

Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

What really matters are the guys in the middle of the rankings who are typically on the start-or-sit bubble. The best streaming options (players around 50-percent owned in Yahoo leagues) include Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard (@ Vikings), Robby Anderson (@ Saints), Kendrick Bourne (vs. Jaguars), Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney (@ Bears), Allen Robinson (vs. Giants), Nico Collins and Chris Conley (@ 49ers), Jamison Crowder/Braxton Berrios (vs. Buccaneers), and Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie (vs. Falcons). Each of these players have some of the best WR matchups possible, and while the floors and ceilings vary wildly, there’s potential for each of these receivers to come through. 

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

If you’re looking for the safest guy from that group, it’s probably Sanders or McKenzie since Gabriel Davis (reserve/COVID) will be out and Cole Beasley (reserve/COVID) will have barely practiced if he plays. MVS and Lazard obviously have a great QB and will have the best matchup, but they somewhat limit each other. Anderson has been playing well, while Bourne has been solid most of the season. Golladay, Toney, Robinson, and Collins are total wild cards, but each has some upside in those matchups. The same goes for Crowder if he returns from a calf injury, however with Elijah Moore (quad) also due back, Crowder (or Berrios) is more a PPR-only option. (Update: Toney, Crowder, and Moore are out.)

WEEK 17 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

Obviously, there are some guys who are over 50-percent owned on the start-or-sit bubble, too, and we think you can roll with A.J. Green and Christian Kirk (@ Cowboys), Michael Gallup (vs. Cardinals), Darnell Mooney (vs. Giants), Van Jefferson (@ Ravens), and maybe, just maybe, Julio Jones (vs. Dolphins). These are all some of the juiciest matchups possible for receivers who’ve had more than a few good weeks this year. Jones, of course, is super risky, so unless you own him in a deep league, you might want to hold off, especially after his disappearing act in a favorable matchup last week. (Update: Jones is out.)

MORE WEEK 17 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup builder

Guys like Michael Pittman Jr. (vs. Raiders), Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman (@ Rams), Russell Gage (@ Bills), Jerry Jeudy (@ Chargers), Chase Claypool (vs. Browns), and Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds (@ Seahawks) all have very different degrees up upside, but each of them has real bust potential for Week 17. St. Brown and Brown have QB issues and Pittman had been tailing off before a solid Week 16, but matchups have a big impact on their fantasy outlooks. Meanwhile, Claypool, Gage, Jeudy, and Reynolds have tough matchups and haven’t been productive enough to really trust them in this spot. St. Brown might actually be the safest here, but Pittman and Brown at least have decent floors, too. (Update: Jeudy and Reynolds are out.)

WEEK 17 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

We’ve constantly been hammering home the idea that we have to be prepared for everything this week, but it’s the reality of the situation. It’s not going to be fun to lose a fantasy title because of a star player on the reserve/COVID list, so seriously, just take a little bit of time to acquire some decent backups so you can take home the grand prize. The wide receiver position always has plenty of options, even if they are risky.

UPDATE: NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports the NFL informed clubs that unvaccinated players who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days are eligible to play on Sunday under the new protocols provided their symptoms have improved. That said, Mike Williams (vs. Broncos) and Gabriel Davis (vs. Falcons) could play this week, after initially having no shot at clearing protocols.

Note: We’ll be updating these WR rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

​Fantasy WR Rankings Week 17: Who to start at wide receiver

Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring

1Cooper Kupp, LAR @ BAL
2Davante Adams, GB vs. MIN
3Deebo Samuel, SF vs. HOU
4Justin Jefferson, MIN @ GB
5Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. ATL
6Jaylen Waddle, MIA @ TEN. See DeVante Parker.
7Antonio Brown, TB @ NYJ
8Tyreek Hill, KC @ CIN
9Keenan Allen, LAC vs. DEN
10Tyler Lockett, SEA vs. DET. See DK Metcalf.
11Brandin Cooks, HOU @ SF
12D.J. Moore, CAR @ NO. There’s obviously a lot of uncertainty at the quarterback position for Carolina, but Moore has at least produced a little bit, and New Orleans is a top-10 matchup for fantasy WRs. Sam Darnold getting more playing time actually helps Moore, as it was Darnold at QB when he got off to the explosive start this season. He could bust if QB play is awful, but he’s commanding a lot of targets and is due for a breakout game in a favorable matchup. Robby Anderson is more of a safe-floor guy lately, so he doesn’t have the upside of Moore, but he has a similar floor and can be played purely because of the matchup.
13A.J. Brown, TEN vs. MIA. Is Brown officially back? It’s tough to look at his 16 target, 11 catch, 145 yards, and a touchdown performance against the 49ers and think otherwise. He commanded an incredible 55-percent target share, so if you had any worries last week about starting him, those are all gone. Miami has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs this season, so his ceiling is once again a top-five finish. We try not to overreact too much to one game though, which is why we place him as a high-end WR2. Miami has several defensive backs who are far better than anybody the Niners have. Julio Jones is the definition of a risky start, but if Miami puts all of its defensive attention on Brown, could we see Jones finally show out? It’s a tough call in the fantasy championship, so we’ll leave that decision to you.
14Diontae Johnson, PIT vs. CLE. Johnson can only do so much if Ben Roethlisberger is having a bad day, but his absurd target figures always keep his ceiling high, even in a tough matchup with Cleveland. He’s always been a better PPR option, but he’s scored seven touchdowns this season, so he can produce a WR1 finish in standard leagues. too. Chase Claypool should be viewed as purely a standard league TD-or-bust option in this matchup.
15DK Metcalf, SEA vs. DET. It’s easy to get excited about Metcalf if you just watched the highlight of his long touchdown against the Bears, but he caught just two-of-five targets for 41 yards, so he’s still very much a risky play. That said, it’s tough to bench him in against the Lions, but we won’t pretend like he can’t bust. He’s a better standard league option since he’s a big-play-dependent player, so be a little more cautious in PPR leagues, but the upside is there. Tyler Lockett is the better play here, but neither guy has a safe floor by any means.
16DeVonta Smith, PHI @ WAS. We know by now Smith is far from safe but after a five-catch, 80 yards, and a touchdown game against the Giants, perhaps he’ll carry some momentum into a rematch with Washington. Washington came into Week 16 allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs, and we all saw what happened on Sunday night when it surrendered 42 points in the first half. The Eagles’ are just fine running the ball all game long until the clock hits zero if they can, though, so Smith will have to get it done with efficiency rather than volume, That has been the case all season long.
17Ja’Marr Chase, CIN vs. KC. Kansas City is one of the top-12 teams against fantasy WRs, but there are zero reasons to bench Chase or Tee Higgins coming off nuclear performances against the Ravens. Joe Burrow is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now, so neither of the two wideouts are benchable, in any matchup — ever. Tyler Boyd draws some starting consideration in what could be a shootout, but since the target competition is so stiff, he never has a safe floor.
18Tee Higgins, CIN vs. KC. See Ja’Marr Chase.
19DeVante Parker, MIA @ TEN. Tennessee allows the second-most fantasy points to WRs, so while its defense has looked impressive at times, that has all been a product of their front seven. Tua Tagovailoa gets the ball out quick, so Jaylen Waddle and Parker are better suited for PPR leagues, but in such a great matchup, we Waddle as a WR1 and Parker as a WR2.
20CeeDee Lamb, DAL vs. ARI. The Cowboys’ offense has been hot and cold and even an offensive explosion against Washington, it was Amari Cooper who led the Cowboys’ in receiving yards. We still think Lamb is the more desirable guy to play, but both have a ton of upside. They’re lower than usual in our rankings because you never know which Dallas offense is going to show up. All that said, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lamb or Cooper had WR1 weeks if this turns into a shootout. As always, Michael Gallup draws flex consideration, but he’s never guaranteed a ton of looks with the stiff target competition.
21Odell Beckham Jr., LAR @ BAL. Beckham has scored four touchdowns since joining the Rams but has also failed to reach 40 receiving yards in four-of-six games with the team. That said, his upside isn’t super high, which makes sense with Cooper Kupp hogging so many targets. That said, Baltimore has probably been the worst defense in all of football over the past couple of weeks, and we just saw Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd go off against its secondary. If that trio of wideouts could all end up with monster fantasy days, Kupp, Beckham Jr., and Van Jefferson can too.
22Brandon Aiyuk, SF vs. HOU. Houston is just a neutral matchup for WRs, but the Niners should score plenty of points here, and Aiyuk now has five touchdowns on the season and has been efficient with the limited targets he’s been getting. It’s tough to see San Francisco throwing the ball much in the game, but the deep passing game and YAC opportunities make Aiyuk an appealing play at WR2 or flex. His floor isn’t safe if game conditions aren’t on his side, but his upside is always high against a lackluster Texans defense.
23Amari Cooper, DAL vs. ARI. See CeeDee Lamb.
24Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. PHI. McLaurin’s floor is as low as it has been in quite some time thanks to Taylor Heinicke’s struggles, and ultimately, if there was ever a time you could have a decent case for benching one of our top-26 wideouts, this would be it. However, if Heinicke even plays decent here, McLaurin should continue to be a target hog and as the only stud pass-catcher for Washington, his upside remains at least somewhat high.
25A.J. Green, ARI @ DAL. Green, along with Christian Kirk, are boom-or-bust wideouts in a struggling Arizona offense. They’ll match up with a Dallas defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy point to WRs, but it’s tough to know whether Green or Kirk is the better play. They’ve rarely produced at the same time, so more often than not, one will produce while the other busts, Kirk probably has the safer floor, while Green has the red-zone touchdown upside fit for standard leagues.
26Darnell Mooney, CHI vs. NYG. Mooney has drawn at least five targets in 14 of 15 games this year, and we know his speed always sets up for a potential home-run ball. That said, he has a safe PPR floor with real standard league upside, so he’s attractive in both formats at the flex. The Giants are a top-12 matchup for WRs, so perhaps he can turn in a WR2 finish. Allen Robinson has finally been activated off the reserve/COVID list, but we’re not worried Mooney will lose a ton of targets. Robinson should be viewed as a desperation deep league play.
27Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET @ SEA. Seattle is strong against fantasy WRs, but St. Brown’s production has been far too strong to ignore. With Tim Boyle at QB, he caught nine-of-11 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. In the three games before that, he drew at least 11 targets, caught at least eight passes, and scored two touchdowns during that span. Whether Boyle or Jared Goff starts, we don’t think you can bench a red hot receiver in the championship. Josh Reynolds is a deep-league play with real upside, but his floor and ceiling are a step or two below St. Brown’s
28Mike Evans, TB @ NYJ
29Kenny Golladay, NYG @ CHI
30Mike Williams, LAC vs. DEN.
31Hunter Renfrow, LV @ IND. Renfrow has caught just six passes on eight targets for 72 yards over the past two weeks, so it’s tough to view him as a high upside WR2 anymore in a neutral matchup with the Colts.
32Courtland Sutton, DEN @ CHI
33Van Jefferson, LAR @ BAL. See Odell Beckham Jr.
34Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. MIN. If MVS clears COVID protocols, he’s a tremendous boom-or-bust play against the best matchup for WRs. His upside is 100-plus yards and two touchdowns, and he can be the reason you win the fantasy title. Of course, he could also flame out with a 3-40-0 line, so play him at your own risk, but there are no streamers with more upside. If he’s out, Allen Lazard should be viewed in a similar light, but with a bit less upside.
35Christian Kirk, ARI @ DAL. See A.J. Green.
36Robby Anderson, CAR @ NO. See D.J. Moore.
37Marquise Brown, BAL vs. LAR. Brown has commanded seven-plus targets in each of his past four games, but he’s only put up 55, 41, 43, and 44 yards in those contests. Even if Lamar Jackson (ankle) comes back for this game, we can only view Brown as a high-ceiling option in PPR, with limited upside. His hot start to the season appears to be an outlier and an aberration, so while you can certainly hope for him to have his first WR1 finish since Week 5, don’t expect it. Rashod Bateman is now the deep-threat X-receiver, but he essentially has no real floor.
38Michael Pittman Jr., IND vs. LV. Las Vegas is a top-five defense against fantasy WRs and Pittman Jr. was just the WR50 from Weeks 10 to 15 in standard leagues. His deep receptions haven’t been as prevalent and the touchdowns aren’t coming lately, either. However, we still do think he has upside, but in a run-first offense, he’s now too dependent on big plays. (update: Carson Wentz could be out in Week 17 after being placed on the reserve/COVID list, so Pittman Jr. takes a slight hit in our rankings).
39Gabriel Davis, BUF vs. ATL
40Emmanuel Sanders, BUF vs. ATL. Sanders was shown up by Isaiah McKenzie’s nuclear performance against the Patriots, but since Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley could remain out on the reserve/COVID list, both are strong flex options against the Falcons. We all know Atlanta hasn’t been able to stop WRs in years, so Sanders and McKenzie both have at least WR2 upside in the Bills’ deep passing game. If Beasley plays, he’s a decent PPR play, but he doesn’t have the deep-shot acumen of Sanders or McKenzie, thus his upside is capped.
41Kendrick Bourne, NE vs. JAX. Bourne is a touchdown-or-bust option in a matchup that should mean a strong Patriots’ ground attack. That said, the passing volume likely won’t be there, so he’ll have to “luck” into some end zone targets in all likelihood. Jakobi Meyers is an OK play in PPR leagues, but again, the passing game will be low-volume here, and that’s the only way Meyers gets it done.
42Jarvis Landry, CLE @ PIT. The Steelers present a fairly favorable matchup for wideouts, but the Browns’ passing attack is not to be trusted, even in the most favorable situations. Expect the Browns to try to win this game with Nick Chubb, and since Landry isn’t much of a deep threat, he’s only really attractive in PPR leagues. Donovan People-Jones is a standard league boom-or-bust play, but he’s difficult to trust with so much on the line.
43Jakobi Meyers, NE vs. JAX. See Kendrick Bourne.
44Braxton Berrios, NYJ vs. TB
45Russell Gage, ATL @ BUF. Gage’s ceiling will be limited by the strongest defense against fantasy WRs, so unlike in PPR leagues where a WR can have a decent day with volume, he’s not a great standard league play here. He could get a touchdown in garbage time, but we’re not banking on that at such a crucial time in the playoffs.
46Cole Beasley, BUF vs. ATL. See Emmanuel Sanders.
47Allen Robinson, CHI vs. NYG. See Darnell Mooney.
48Chase Claypool, PIT vs. CLE. See Diontae Johnson.
49Michael Gallup, DAL vs. ARI. See CeeDee Lamb.
50K.J. Osborn, MIN @ GB.
51Breshad Perriman, TB @ NYJ. Perriman will operate outside if Mike Evans (hamstring, reserve/COVID list) misses another game, and he’s a perfect boom-or-bust play in a favorable matchup with the Jets.
52Keelan Cole, NYJ vs. TB
53Nick Westbrook Ikhine, TEN vs. MIA
54Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. KC. See Ja’Marr Chase.
55Nico Collins, HOU @ SF. Collins and Chris Conley are interesting plays if Brandin Cook remains out on the reserve/COVID list in one of the friendliest matchups for WRs, but if Cooks plays, neither guy is tough to trust. Either one of them could serve as a DFS dart throw in that case, but they should remain on the bench or on waivers in regular fantasy leagues.
56Allen Lazard, GB vs. MIN. See Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
57Chris Conley, HOU @ SF. See Nico Collins.
58Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE @ PIT. See Jarvis Landry.
59Marquez Callaway, NO vs. CAR
60Rashod Bateman, BAL vs. LAR. See Marquise Brown.
61Jalen Guyton, LAC vs. DEN
62Mecole Hardman, KC @ CIN
63Marvin Jones, JAX @ NE
64DeSean Jackson, LV @ IND
65Josh Palmer, LAC vs. DEN
66Laquon Treadwell, JAX @ NE
67Curtis Samuel, WAS vs. PHI
68Antoine Wesley, ARI @ DAL
69Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX @ NE
70T.Y. Hilton, IND vs. LV
71Isaiah McKenzie, BUF vs. ATL
72James Washington, PIT vs. CLE
73Sammy Watkins, BAL vs. LAR
74Chester Rogers, TEN vs. MIA
75Dee Eskridge, SEA vs. DET
76DeAndre Carter, WAS vs. PHI
77Tyler Johnson, TB @ NYJ
78Jauan Jennings, SF vs. HOU
79Zay Jones, LV @ IND