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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 17 - Baker Mayfield, Derek Carr, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chigoziem Okonkwo, and More!

Chigoziem Okonkwo - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

This is it, championship week! The NFL season is a long, windy road. So much changes and it never goes how we draw it up all spring and summer long. But winning a title is not just about drafting the best team. It is not about playing the waiver wire the best or making the top trades. Winning a title takes a bit of all three of those things, plus some luck. 

As someone who had several teams lead their leagues from wire to wire only to be bumped in the fantasy semi-finals, I can say the best team does not always win. But that is how real sports work as well. No one can take this away from you! 

You drafted well, you played the waiver wire well, and made some trades. All of that lead you to this week. My biggest advice is do not try to galaxy brain and overthink things this week. It is fine to tinker and play the matchups like you have been all year, but do not change up too much from what got you here. I mean, you made the chip doing what you’ve been doing! Good luck and let's take this thing home! 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Baker Mayfield is as safe as a QB streamer can come. He has topped 16 fantasy points in 10 of 15 games, including scoring over 19 in three straight. He has multiple passing touchdowns in three of his last four. The Saints may not be the best matchup on paper, but we just saw them get torched through the air against Matthew Stafford and the Rams. Plus, Mayfield got the Saints for three touchdowns and 23 fantasy points on the road in Week 4. He is a great streamer or pivot option. 

Derek Carr is playing his best ball of the season -- at least for fantasy purposes. He has topped 20 fantasy points in two straight and thrown multiple passing touchdowns in each of his last three. It is often when the Saints are in catch-up mode, but that easily could be the case again this week against Tampa, who can put up points. The Bucs have allowed the eighth-most fantasy PPG to QBs. Carr is a strong pivot option in championship week. 

Tyrod Taylor is in play this week as he can add valuable points with his legs. He also can and will take some shots downfield and likely will have to put up points to try and keep up with the red-hot Rams offense. Los Angeles has allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season. While Taylor is preferred in two-QB formats, if you are searching for a plug-and-play replacement off the waiver wire, say for Trevor Lawrence, Taylor is in play. 


Mason Rudolph and Will Levis are both two-QB league options. Rudolph, who scored 20 fantasy points against the Bengals last week, will face the Seahawks, who have allowed the 12th-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season. Levis missed last week but had been playing his best ball of his young career. Both bring a low floor, but some upside, which is why they are best suited for these formats. 


Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Update: CEH and Pacheco are both listed as questionable.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to win people championships if Isiah Pacheco is unable to play this week after getting kicked in the head by a teammate and then falling through the medical table. CEH would be the last man standing with Jerick McKinnon already on IR. The Bengals can be had against the run and especially struggle limiting runs of 10-plus yards. Additionally, the Chiefs love to throw to their RBs near the goal line. CEH winning people titles will be a full-circle moment going back to draft night when the Chiefs selected him. 

Emari Demercado has scored at least 12 fantasy points in each of his last two games. He was targeted eight times last week and has been the back playing on passing downs such as in the two-minute drill. Last week, the Cards opted to throw a bunch to their backs instead of trying to run against a Bears' defensive line that has been shutting it down. They could take the same approach this week against the Eagles. The floor is low, but there is a sneaky upside here with Demercado. 

Zamir White would be in play only if Josh Jacobs is out this week (currently listed as doubtful). He could not have filled in any better, going for 85 yards and a touchdown in Week 15 and then running for 145 in the Christmas win over the Chiefs. He scored 17.5 and 14.5 PPR points in those two games. If Jacobs returns, White becomes unusable again in fantasy. But if Jacobs is out again this week, White becomes a smash start against the Colts, who have struggled mightily against the run. They’ve allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs. 

Chase Brown is a low-floor play, but he does bring some upside as the big play threat in the Bengals' backfield. The Chiefs have been stingy against the run, so I would look to avoid Brown if possible. But he has a role, and if the Bengals are in catch-up mode, we could see some passes go his way. He is purely for those in need of a deeper option this week. 


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Romeo Doubs and Dontayvion Wicks would be options if Jayden Reed and Christian Watson are out again this week. But the issue is Wicks himself is banged up now after leaving early last week. He did so after catching a touchdown. Dobbs led the way for Green Bay with 79 yards and a touchdown last week. The health of the Packers' receivers will need to be monitored all week, but the top options would be in play for fantasy this week. I rank those options (if all are healthy): Reed, Watson, Doubs, and Wicks. 

Rashid Shaheed was a sleeper of mine last week and he went off in a big way with nine targets, five catches, 70 yards, and a touchdown. He went over 18 fantasy points for the fourth time this season. The issue is that he is as boom-or-bust as they come. But the Bucs have allowed the most yards to receivers and the fourth-most on deep passes. He is best suited for those who are big underdogs and need a big play shot to even the score. 

Demarcus Robinson went off last week even with Tutu Atwell back. He caught all six of his targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. In his last four games, he has scored 15.5, 13.6, 14.7, and 20.2 PPR points. That is extremely reliable. There is a chance he fails to live up to that production, but if you need a waiver wire plug-and-play, he is one of the top options. 

K.J. Osborn is in play this week because T.J. Hockenson is done for the year and Jordan Addison is banged up. That could leave Osborn as the number two target behind Justin Jefferson. We have seen Osborn flop when given a volume boost, but that was with just Jefferson out. He should be heavily involved for a QB that has thrown for over 700 yards the last two weeks. 

Demario Douglas saw eight targets last week. In his last six games, he has seen seven or more targets in all but one -- twice finishing with nine targets. He brings a much safer floor than many of the options listed here, albeit a lower ceiling. If you are looking for a safe 10 to 12 fantasy points, Douglas is a great option. 

Greg Dortch is in play against the Eagles, who have allowed the third-most yards, and most touchdowns and fantasy PPG to receivers this season. Dortch has seen more consistent volume than Rondale Moore or Michael Wilson, which is why he is my preferred play of the bunch. He also is capable of breaking out a random big play here or there. 


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Chigoziem Okonkwo has scored more than eight fantasy points in four of his last five games, which is a safe floor for a streaming tight end. He also is coming off his best game of the season, where he caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, on a team-high six targets. Now, he faces the Texans, who are in the top five in yards allowed to tight ends this season and since Week 12. They’ve allowed the sixth-most fantasy PPG to tight ends. Okonkwo is a plug-and-play option if you have been streaming tight ends. 

Hunter Henry was out last week, but do not forget that he scored three touchdowns in his last two games with 19 or more fantasy points in each. He has established himself as the go-to red zone option for Bailey Zappe. The Pats will need to put up points this week, which could mean added volume for Henry. He remains in play as a streaming option. 

Gerald Everett has eight targets in three straight games. He has remained productive with Easton Stick leading this offense. Everett has topped eight fantasy points in five straight games, which is a very safe floor when talking about a streaming tight end. Now he gets the Broncos, who have allowed the most fantasy PPG to tight ends. He remains a streaming option in championship week.

Tucker Kraft has a tough matchup, but if you are diving deeper at tight end, he is in play for you. He has six targets in three of his last four games and with so many of the Packers' receivers banged up, he could see added volume.

Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.

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