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Deeper Sleepers for Fantasy Football (Week 17)


We've reached the end of the 2017 NFL season. If you're still here and reading this, you're probably in a league that plays a Week 17 championship game. That's always risky since some teams have clinched their playoff positions and won't be playing their starters the full time. The NFL has tried to fix that issue a little bit by scheduling a week of all divisional battles and having all the teams within each division play at the same time, a move that at least ensures teams won't find out at the last minute that they've clinched something and you won't find yourself out of a QB at 3:15 p.m.

So, here's how this column is going to work this week: I'm just going to avoid teams that are in the will they rest/won't they rest position. There are rumors, for instance, that the Chiefs are thinking of getting Patrick Mahomes some playing time. Cool! But how much? Who knows! For that reason, these teams are being avoided this week because they don't have any playoff positioning to play for: Kansas City, Jacksonville, and Philadelphia.

Anyway, let's look at deeper waiver wire targets and sleepers for Week 17, players whose ownership is currently under 20% and are likely available in many of your leagues. Note: All ownership percentages are for Yahoo leagues.

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Deeper Waiver Wire Targets for Week 17

QUARTERBACKS

Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts - 13% owned

There's nothing up for grabs in this game except for draft positioning (for the Colts) and, uhh, draft positioning for the Cleveland Browns (for the Texans). The Colts are at home, the Texans are coming off back-to-back blowout losses, and Brissett was completed 66 percent of his passes for 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns the last time he played Houston. Brissett is set for a big game against a defense that has been reeling.

Brett Hundley, Green Bay Packers - 8% owned

In what is probably Hundley's last game as Green Bay's starter (unless you're buying these rumors about Aaron Rodgers being cut because of a violation of league policy regarding the Injured Reserve, which...isn't going to happen), he plays a Lions team that he had one of his best games of the season against earlier in the year. Hundley struggled in a loss to Minnesota, but he could be set for a bounce back this week.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Tion Green, Detroit Lions - 5% owned

I felt pretty weird about including Green on this list last week because he's a Detroit Lions running back, but he found the end zone against the Bengals and looked like Detroit's best back. Detroit could still finish 9-7, but they've been eliminated from the playoff picture, which means they don't have anything to really play for against the Packers. This could be a time to give Green a good number of carries and see what they could have in him, especially when Detroit's long history of having a poor rushing attack is factored in. Do whatever it takes to fix that. Try new things against a Green Bay defense that's allowed the 10th-most points to fantasy running backs this season.

Alfred Blue, Houston Texans - 0% owned

If you need someone to fill in for you at running back this week, Alfred Blue is a decent option against a Colts run defense that's allowing the fifth-most points to running backs. Blue had 16 carries for 108 yards against the Steelers, which is more carries and yards than starter Lamar Miller. Blue's been around as Houston's top backup for awhile and could see a lot of playing time in Week 17 as the Texans just try to get this season to end. Houston lost another quarterback--back-up Taylor Heinicke--to a concussion this week and had starter T.J. Yates miss a series while being evaluated for a concussion, so it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see Houston run the ball into the ground. Blue should be a big factor in that.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Roger Lewis, New York Giants  - 1% owned

Lewis has been targeted at least ten times for three consecutive games, but he's done basically nothing with that. The Giants play a Washington defense that does pretty well against fantasy wide outs. There's not really much enticing about Lewis, except that the numbers suggest he's bound to get the ball thrown his way. If you're desperate, he's worth a shot, even if those 32 targets in three games have only resulted in 15 catches and a pair of games with less than 50 receiving yards. He's got more value in PPR, but there's some value in Standard as well.

Jakeem Grant, Miami Dolphins  - 0% owned

Not entirely sure what to think about Grant, who seemed to come out of nowhere this week on the way to four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. This is where I'm going to put on my Justin is about to say something wild and speculative hat, because it's Week 17 and it seems like a good time to do that. Here's my thought: this could be Jay Cutler's final career game, since Miami should have Ryan Tannehill back and also because Jay Cutler is pretty clearly past his prime. The most Jay Cutler thing I can imagine is Jay Cutler just throwing the football a whole, whole bunch of times against the Bills. That would benefit Grant. (It would also benefit the Buffalo defense, who would undoubtedly get a few interceptions in this scenario.) (Note: do not trust the fate of your fantasy team to this wildly speculative idea, but if you're already out of contention and just want to screw around with your lineup or you want to do something to remember Smokin' Jay by, why not?)

 

TIGHT ENDS

Lance Kendricks, Green Bay Packers - 0% owned

I have a lot of personal rules for fantasy football and one of those is to never trust a Packers tight end, but I'm looking at the list of available tight ends right now and the only one that's jumping out to me is Kendricks, who was targeted nine times against the Vikings in Week 16. There's a chance that the Packers will be without Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, and Richard Rodgers in Week 17, which means Kendricks is likely to get a good amount of looks. He's not a great choice, but he's the best I can come up with right now. Sorry. It's Week 17 and the tight end position isn't deep enough for there to be a solid threat left in deeper leagues right now.

 

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By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Chargers961cS) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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