We tend to throw the term "league winner" around a lot in the fantasy community. One definition isn't exactly defined for "league winner" either. Sometimes it means a random waiver wire pickup who unexpectedly becomes a season-long lineup fixture. Other times it's that late-round player we drafted who not only awakens from his sleeper status but blows it out of the water.
And other times, well, a league winner is simply a player who goes off at the perfect time — specifically, during the fantasy football playoffs.
So, with that all in mind, can we call Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon a league winner?
The argument is there for him to be known as one. McKinnon has not only delivered four straight weeks of double-digit fantasy points (after delivering next to nothing and subpar outings in his first 11 games), but he finished as the No. 1-scoring running back in fantasy two weeks in a row (Weeks 14 and 15 — aka, the fantasy playoff quarter- and semifinals).
Sure, McKinnon only scored 11.30 points in a juicy Week 16 matchup against the Seahawks, one week after scoring 30.20, but he still scored a touchdown. We can't exactly be angry about that production when you consider that McKinnon wasn't supposed to be a topic of fantasy discussion anyway.
We all expected Clyde Edwards-Helaire to be a post-hype sleeper in 2022. He had some weeks, but never really developed consistency and then got hurt. We then expected rookie Isiah Pacheco to take over the Chiefs backfield and become the workhorse we've wanted taking handoffs from Patrick Mahomes. That didn't happen either.
Through it all, McKinnon has been there. He's delivered in both the pass and run games when his number has been called late this season — just like last year.
Even with that down week, McKinnon represents a high-upside FLEX option in Week 17. Check out how the rest of the options shake out in our rankings: