The 34-year-old, who defended his 10,000m world title in London in August, will compete with Wayde van Niekerk and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim.
South African Van Niekerk retained his world 400m world title in London, where Barshim won the high jump.
Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi, Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana are up for the female award.
Stefanidi won the pole vault title at London 2017, adding to her Olympic crown, while Thiam added the world heptathlon title to her gold from Rio 2016 and Olympic 10,000m champion Ayana also added the world title to her collection.
Four-time Olympic champion Farah retired from track racing to concentrate on marathons after winning 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver at the World Championships in August.
The winners will be announced at the IAAF Athletics Awards in Monaco on 24 November.