Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: A sneak peek at who'll be the best players in 2017. Putting together the ideal postseason lineup. And grading the FFI rankings for last year.

Question 1

Since 2016 is over, just wondering what top picks for next year look like.


I haven’t looked at in any detail yet, but off the top of my head, I would go with something like this …

TOP 25 FOR 2017
1Ezekiel Elliott
2David Johnson
3LeVeon Bell
4Antonio Brown
5Odell Beckham Jr.
6Melvin Gordon
7Mike Evans
8Aaron Rodgers
9Jordan Howard
10Devonta Freeman
11Jay Ajayi
12Andrew Luck
13Tom Brady
14Drew Brees
15T.Y. Hilton
16Julio Jones
17DeAndre Hopkins
18A.J. Green
19Jordy Nelson
20Amari Cooper
21LeSean McCoy
22Leonard Fournette (R)
23Isaiah Crowell
24Carlos Hyde
25Todd Gurley

Quarterbacks tend to be devalued in most formats, but there are four that look like real nice players. I think Rodgers, Luck, Brady and Brees are those guys for 2017. Will be tough to let those guys slide past the second round. (When you get down to the third round, then the likes of Ryan and Newton look awfully tempting.) I haven’t studied the rookie runners closely yet, but from what I’ve seen, I think Leonard Fournette looks like the best – an athletic 235-pounder who can run people over. Fournette looks like a faster version of Jordan Howard, who had the really nice rookie season for the Bears. Will be very interesting to see where Fournette lands. For now, I am slotting him ahead of Dalvin Cook, but Cook could be a lot more productive as a receiver, and that will need to be factored in after we see where they land. To me, an NFL team should draft a running back in the first round only if it thinks he’s really special. I don’t see that with Cook. I just re-watched all of Cook’s touches from his big bowl game, and I didn’t see super special; I saw more of a good, competent back who got a couple of big holes but on most carries was a pretty ordinary back. NFL teams find backs like that in the second and third rounds every year. (I don’t think Christian McCaffrey is as good as Fournette or Cook.)

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Question 2

In a PPR scoring playoff league, yet you can only pick one player from each team. Positions are 1QB, TE, K, DEF and 4 WR-RB. Players will continue to accrue points throughout the duration of the playoffs. How would you build your team? Who would be your choices?

dan renzi (Moorestown, NJ)

You don’t take players from four teams. So I am eliminating the Raiders, Dolphins and Lions; I think they’re the most likely to play only one game. Jimmy Graham is the tight end. He’s my No. 4 player at that position, but three above him all have more coveted players at other positions. Tom Brady is the quarterback – the safest choice to play three games. LeVeon Bell is my Steeler; on my projected points, I’ve got him well ahead of Antonio Brown. Similarly, Devonta Freeman grades out higher than Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott beats Dez Bryant. Kansas City is an easy choice at defense – a chance to tap into Tyreek Hill’s return ability with burning a RB-WR spot on him. For the final WR spot, you would have decide between Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham; I give the nano-edge to Nelson. At kicker, I went with Nick Novak, whom I think could be really big this weekend. But via my stat projections, it would be just as good to go Beckham-Crosby as Nelson-Novak.

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Question 3

Just was wondering if you heard feedback on results from fantasy leagues whereby the Fantasy Index really shows its value. My wife and I have been in a 10-team league for the last 11 years using Fantasy Index and we have won five of the last 11 championships and five of the last high points. It would have been six out of 11 if I wouldn't have benched Brees and played Rivers two weeks ago, but that's a separate story. Thanks for all you do.

Bob Phipps (Orlando, FL)

Thanks for the kind words. There’s no way to official score this kind of thing, but my sense was the 2016 was probably below average in comparison to a typical year. Three of the most key players were Donte Moncrief, Isaiah Crowell and Carlos Hyde. If you used our rankings, those guys were probably on your team. None of those guys were busts, but none quite blew the lid of things either. Moncrief scored in all of his complete games, but he got hurt and didn’t catch enough passes even when he was out there. The Browns were running the ball really well at the start of the season but ran out of seam. Hyde had some good games but got hurt and his team was lousy. None of those guys were awful picks, but they didn’t power teams to championships.

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Question 4

I'm looking at the custom rankings and it seems like the projections for how many special teams and defensive touchdowns are too high. For my scoring system for D/ST it has New England scoring 63.6 points, making it even more valuable than Tom Brady at 60.2. The scoring system we use for D/ST is pretty standard.

Jason Henkemeyer (Sartell, MN)

Yes. You and others quickly noticed the error. It’s been repaired, and the correct numbers were loaded in the custom rankings area. For defenses (as with the other positions), we don’t rank them 1 thru 12. That is, we don’t rank them Patriots-Cowboys-Falcons or whatever. Instead, we project each of the numbers individually. For an average defense, we use per-game numbers of 2.2 sacks, .55 fumbles, .80 interceptions, .16 defensive touchdowns and .04 kick-return touchdowns. Then, via studying the teams and their opponents, all of those numbers get adjusted. For this playoff project, the value of players is greatly impacted by how many games the teams will play. The Patriots look like a pretty safe choice to play 3 games, so they’re way up there. The Dolphins most likely are playing only one game, so they’re down at the bottom. But when putting the final touches on these rankings Monday morning, I mangled the coding, using addition rather than subtraction. So for defensive touchdowns (for example), Patriots should have been .21 (TD) x 2.85 (games) = .59 (that is, a 59 percent chance of them scoring a touchdown in the postseason in about three games. Instead, it was .21 + 2.85 = 3.06 TDs, which is of course way too high. Apologies, but it’s fixed now.

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Question 5

First off thank you for helping me win both of the fantasy leagues I play in this year! First time I've ever done that. And it's especially cool because one is a keeper league and the other we start fresh every year, so you were able to help me win totally different types of leagues! Anyway my question is, in my keeper league I have to drop one of the following RBs: either one of a couple rookies off my taxi squad, Josh Ferguson or Tyler Ervin, or Jerick McKinnon. What's your recommendation?

David Jung (San Francisco, CA)

McKinnon is the best of those players. The Vikings might have to release Adrian Peterson. Certainly they don’t want to pay him $18 million. So McKinnon might be their starter entering camp. I would be comfortable cutting both Ferguson and Ervin. If I were keeping one, it would be Ferguson. I kind of liked the way he was playing, and Frank Gore is 33, so they’re probably in the market for a new starting tailback. I doubt that it will be Ferguson, but there’s a least some chance he might start at some point in the 2017 season. Unlikely but possible. With Ervin, the hope would be that he might develop into their third-down back in his second year. He didn’t do much as a rookie.

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Question 6

Long-time subscriber and podcast listener, 21 years. Won my third championship (second in a row this year). Made some dramatic roster moves throughout the year, none greater than the finals. Finals roster: Cardinals D, Hopkins, Ebron, Crowell, Eli Rogers, Meredith, David Johnson, Draughn, Savage (but the idea was good, Brock's points could have been his).

RICH MICHELI (Washington, DC)

Savage was a disappointment in Week 17. I really liked the way he played in the second half of the Cincinnati game, when they had him running more of an up-tempo system. Against that really leaky Tennessee defense, I thought Savage would be an above-average passer in Week 17 (particularly with a lot of regular starters sitting out). But Savage was disappointing in that game even before leaving with a concussion. Apologies.

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