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Running Backs Waiver Wire - Week 17 Pickups and Adds

It's the final week of the NFL season and you're still fighting for something, even if it's just pride. Good for you. While many dedicated fantasy managers deride leagues where Week 17 counts for anything at all, there's something to be said for for seeing things through to the end. Plus, with the potential for many star players on playoff-bound teams resting and several others from losing teams put on IR or benched to give chances to younger players, it makes for a whole new set of strategic thinking. Plus, this is by far the most fun week to play tournaments in daily leagues as you try to predict which no-name player will break out with a huge game.

This article will aim to highlight Week 17 waiver wire adds for running backs, players that you should consider targeting on your league's waiver wire if available. Running backs will be split up into three tiers - from most desirable, to most desperate.

I will also include RBs at the bottom of this list that you might consider cutting in order to make room for your new additions. I won't suggest a FAAB% from this point on since you have no business having money left on the table if you're still playing for a championship. If so, spend it all!

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Frontrunners for Week 17 - Waiver Wire Running Backs

Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots - 31% owned

Oh, the irony. A player who was on many preseason sleeper lists and drafted higher than Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara in many leagues, Gillislee proved to be one of the biggest busts of the year. Now, for teams fighting for a fantasy championship in Week 17, he could still be a league-winner picked up for nothing off waivers. The Pats have the division wrapped up and will be home for the playoffs. They wind up the regular season at home against a Jets team licking their wounds from another losing campaign. You can bet James White and Dion Lewis won't be risked and Rex Burkhead is still hurt, so it wouldn't be crazy to think Gillislee gets 20+ carries for the first time in a Patriots jersey. Plus, that would be such a Bill Belichick thing to do.

Tion Green, Detroit Lions - 5% owned

The Lions have gone from intrigued to downright enamored with Tion Green. OK, so he only took seven handoffs in Week 16, but Ameer Abdullah only saw six and Green was far more effective. Green ran for 43 yards and scored his second NFL touchdown. With the Lions eliminated from Wild Card contention, they should stick with Green to see what he can do with a bigger workload.

Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 32% owned

Barber became the starter by default with Doug Martin suspended, but he kept the job this week because he's been the better back this season. He should retain the job for the season finale, as the team should finally part ways with Martin after next week. Barber's last three games have had eerily similar lines in terms of rushes and yards: 12-58, 13-53, 13-51. Prior to that, he did have a 102-yard game when he carried it 23 times, and the week before that he scored twice. Plug him into your flex spot and hope for more usage and/or a trip to the end zone.


In The Running - Week 17 Waiver Wire Running Backs

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals - 45% owned

Again??? As long as Joe Mixon can't stay healthy, Bernard will continue to be a factor. He should be pretty fresh at this point in the season because he's still 100 carries for the season after only taking 91 handoffs last year. With nothing to play for, it wouldn't be surprising to see rookie Brian Hill get a long look, just like Rex Burkhead did at the end of last season. That said, Bernard should start the game and figures to be a relatively safe PPR play.

Kapri Bibbs, Washington Redskins - 10% owned

Game flow did not favor the pass-catching Bibbs, as Washington got up huge on Denver early and never let up. Samaje Perine fumbled again, so Bibbs may get a chance to see more touches as the year comes to a close in Week 17. The Skins face a hopeless Giants team that has no problem letting opponents score, giving Bibbs the best matchup of all the longshots listed in this column.

Rhett Ellison, New York Giants - 0% owned

What's more unusual: A running back you can put in your tight end slot or a Giants player that could actually score fantasy points? Now you can have both! Ellison is the rare hybrid who plays as a tight end but could still line up in the backfield as an H-back. Evan Engram left early with an injury, so Ellison could see more action if he's out again next week in an utterly meaningless game. He caught four passes for 60 yards and was targeted seven times this week. Just two weeks earlier, he caught four passes and scored a touchdown against Dallas. In PPR leagues, he's a sneaky play at either position, especially since the Redskins are one of the worst at defending tight ends. In case you're wondering, it is rumored that Eli Manning will start Week 17, so that shouldn't be a concern.

Honorable Mentions: Devontae Booker (16% owned), Javorius Allen (29% owned), Rod Smith (18% owned)


Dark Horses - Week 17 Running Backs Waiver Wire

Brian Hill, Cincinnati Bengals - 0% owned

As mentioned above, the Bengals would be wise to rest Mixon in the final game even if he is deemed healthy enough to play. They already know what they have in Bernard, so Hill could get a look to see if he can fill Jeremy Hill's role next season. He took four rush attempts against the Lions and turned them into 17 yards, while Bernard got most of the work. Remember though, this is the team that gave a then-unknown Rex Burkhead 27 carries in Week 16 last year, helping him parlay that performance into a free agent deal with the Patriots. Hill may need a strong showing just to prove he should stay in the league, so the motivation is there.

Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears - 44% owned

If you're going to play Week 17, why not go with one of the biggest boom-bust players of the 2017 season? Cohen saw a whopping two carries for the second straight week following a 12-carry, 80-yard game in which he nearly scored twice. All it takes is one long run for him to pay off, but you have to know that there is just as good a chance he gives you absolutely nothing, as he's done in five of the last seven games.

Matt Dayes, Cleveland Browns - 0% owned

In terms of Hail Mary plays for the final weekend, it's only fitting we finish with a Browns RB. Isaiah Crowell can complain all he wants, but he isn't getting the ball more than he has. In Week 17 last year, George Atkinson scored a touchdown for the 1-15 Browns. Maybe Dayes will be the one to cash in this week.

Honorable Mentions: Elijhaa Penny (7% owned), Terron Ward (1% owned), Kyle Juszczyk (0% owned)


Time To Say Goodbye

DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans - 97% owned

Murray found the end zone and put up 59 yards in Week 16, but left with a right leg injury and didn't return. It's initially being diagnosed as an MCL sprain, but could be worse and should end his regular season at the very least. You hate to see anybody's go out this way, but it's especially painful when it comes in a loss that could take out your team's playoff hopes. If Derrick Henry is out there floating on the waiver wire somehow, grab him immediately!

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals - 87% owned

First a concussion, now an ankle injury. Even if Mixon is free and clear to play in Week 17, how much do you think a team with nothing to play for will risk their rookie RB1? I anticipate the team shutting him down and giving Brian Hill a chance to share the backfield with Gio Bernard. Even if he plays, a road game versus the Ravens is not a place you want to gamble with a player coming off injury.

Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys - 59% owned

No need for handcuffs any more. Ezekiel Elliott was always due to come back in Week 16, but injuries are always a possibility after a long layoff. That's no longer a concern and Morris was riding the pine in favor of Rod Smith as the backup, so he has no place on fantasy rosters.


More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis

Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

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